The fall recruiting season for Cub Scouts, and Boy Scout Troop shopping season is just beginning. This is a very exciting time of the year. To help with attracting families to all that Scouting has to offer, we need to make sure that any barriers to joining are removed.
Here are 3 things that will help grow your membership :
Have a Join Night Families have a lot of choices and mom’s want to make sure that activities they pick for their family will work into their lives seamlessly. Today’s families like to try activities before they commit. When setting up a recruiting event, focus on an experience that will show the benefits of the program, encourages parent participation, and invokes the fun and adventure we so often talk about. Advertise your event with Peachjar, flyers, peer-to-peer invitations and road signs. Having an experience can do more a verbal pitch about the program. Here are some great join night activities:
Cub Scouts – Choose one of the following and ask a your Webelos II to help lead the event
- Stomp Rockets
- Raingutter Regatta (with actual wooden boats or pool noodle boats)
- Marble Racers
Boy Scouts – Have current scouts set up stations for the recruits to try different things
- Cooking in a or over the fire
- Chopping wood with an ax
- Fire starting
- Games like Mafia or Hunger Games or Zombie Tag
All ages – Host an event at a local youth attraction and give scouts “party” like invitations to invite their friends and classmates
- Community pool
- Climbing gym
- Skating rink
- Trampoline park
In addition to join night, Pack meetings should have an open door policy for families to stop in and experience what you have to offer. Troops can encourage their Scouts to bring along a friend on outings. Remember to talk to parents while the kids are playing. It is easy for a youth to get excited about a program but to get a new registered scout, you must convey why scouting is important to the parent.
Here is a sample Join Night Agenda
Be Prepared …Now where have I heard that before? Have stations set up for parents to learn about the programs while their youth are entertained with the join night activity. Millennials expect programs to have an easy to navigate joining process, a calendar of upcoming events, and trained leaders. Parents new to scouting need an orientation to scouting. Things to think about:
- Ensure that your unit information is correct on BeAScout.org so that families can find their local unit
- Register new families online by turning on your unit’s PIN on BeAScout.org
- All units are encouraged to have a published annual calendar of all unit meetings, activities, outings and adventures. Click here for an editable template Pack template 2016-2017 Schedule
- Use ScoutBook for youth to track their advancement
- Do not use acronyms or assume everyone knows what the pinewood derby is. Consider a separate parent orientation night for all joining families.
Set Expectations for the Year Everyone Volunteers – Can we all just say a big HOORAY! Millennial moms fully expect to volunteer for organizations that they join. Volunteer activities need to be well defined, with a constrained time period and expectations spelled out. Working as a group or team to share responsibilities is common. At the annual parent orientation sell volunteering and have everyone sign up for a volunteer task or position.
A recent national survey indicates that today’s families do think that Boy Scouts is a great program that helps build a better boy. We need to do our part and help families navigate our program and create a culture of successful integration.
More information can be found at scouting.org.