Recruiting

11 Steps for Recruiting Scout Parents
Excited leaders from Pack 112, Brownville, Maine.

11 Steps for Recruiting Scout Parents

“How do I get the parents in my den to help out?” might be the most common question I see from the people I know running Cub Scout packs. It’s also the most important, by far. Packs that are getting enough help tend to run a great program, which in turn helps you keep the scouts you have, and helps you recruit new ones. So, here are a few things to remember when you’re recruiting scout parents to be volunteers in your pack.

1. Let them see you having fun

Ever read Tom Sawyer? Remember how Tom got his friends to whitewash the picket fence. He made the job seem enjoyable. The difference for you is that you’re not actually asking people to do your work for you – but to do a job that will provide a better program and experience for their kids.

Let them see you enjoying what you’re doing. The one common element I can think of in big packs and troops out there is that the leaders are having fun. People like to have fun. Those are the teams that people want to be on. They like laughing and joking. Be that group. By the time you actually get around to asking for help, it’s going to be a lot easier to do so.

Volunteering is something that you get to do, not that you have to do. It’s something you get to do to help your kids – the most important things in your life. I know that in my time working with scouts, I’ve had a blast, and I wouldn’t trade a second of it.

Be Kermit, not Eeyore.

eeyore photo

We love Eeyore, but he’s not a good role model for recruiters.Photo by HarshLight

2. Be the Pack People Want to Volunteer In

This may sound like the chicken or the egg, but it’s really not. Run the best possible program you can with what you have. Start by making sure your current leaders you have been trained. Get trained yourself. Follow the program in the literature. It works.

Run aggressive programs. Go places. Do things – even if you think they’re a little bit above what your current resources allow. Don’t be afraid to ask your district for help in doing this. See if the other packs around you can do joint events if need be. But do a great program for kids, and people will want to join you.

And also…

Don’t cancel meetings or events unless of disaster. Unless it’s not safe to get to the meeting – find some way to make your meeting happen. People need to know that they can count on your pack. Disappointed kids stop showing up, and parents are the ones who have to explain a canceled meeting to them.

3. Thank the Volunteers You Already Have

Make sure that you’re publicly thanking the helpers you already have. Pretty much everyone likes to be recognized for the good work that they do. Letting the parents in your pack see that you’re grateful for the help you already get will plant the seeds in their mind. Put it in their mind that they might be the one being thanked someday.

Aside from the BSA’s leader awards, there are lots of other creative ways of thanking leaders.


4. Don’t Rush it, but Rather, Lay the Foundation for the Ask

Yes, I’ve heard the stories where a heroic scout leader getting in front of the room, telling a gripping story, and coming out with all the volunteers the pack could possibly need. I’ve done it, and I’ve seen others do it, but it’s risky.

You could wind up with the wrong people in the wrong jobs – or two, you could wind up with a volunteer who feels like they’ve been coerced into the job. Furthermore, you’re much more likely to get the wrong person in the wrong job if you haven’t taken the time to get to know them first. Den Leader may be the most important job in Scouting – so why would you trust it to the first person who doesn’t say no?

When you recruit new scouts, you should absolutely include a few expectations. Not an immediate ask, but rather a laying of ground rules. Something along the lines of “Our pack works much better the more help we get,” and “Everybody here has some talent that can help us provide a great program for your kids.”

And most importantly, tell them why you personally volunteer. Whatever your reason is, share it. Whether it’s to spend quality time with your kids before they grow up, to give back to the program that helped you, or just because it’s fun, let them know what your heartfelt motivation is.

But I’d discourage the hostage mentality. Yes, we need volunteers to run a good program. But “volunteer or else” isn’t the best long-term strategy to get committed volunteers.

 

5. Build the Relationship!

This is the key to recruiting scout parents or anyone at all. So I gave it a big subheading and changed the color – because it’s the most important one – by far. It’s the key to everything. Get to know people’s names. What do they do for a living? Learn what they’re interested in. What makes them laugh? What color eyes do they have? Do they have hobbies the kids would like? Where are they from? Where did they go to school? Do they have a Scouting history? Do your homework on them. Get to know them.

Building the relationship will make everything else easier. Whatever you’re going to ask for later will be made much easier if you’ve established a rapport first. This will also help you learn what they’re good at. What skills do they have? Do they have a dynamic personality, and are great with kids? Maybe they could be a good Den Leader or Cubmaster. Are they good with numbers and accounting? What about public relations? Are they very organized? This sort of person might be a better fit for your committee. By the time you’re ready to ask them to serve in a position, you’ll be able to ask them to serve in the position that’s right for them. You want the right person for the right job.

By the time you’re ready to make the ask, the relationship you’ve built will make you much more likely to get the “yes” you’re looking for.

 

6. Don’t Say No For Anyone

This one’s tricky. Sometimes it goes against human nature. If you think someone’s perfect for the job, but don’t think they’ll accept it, ask anyway!

The worst thing that will happen will be that they’ll say no. It’s very unlikely that they’ll hit you. More than likely, they’ll be honored that you asked. If they say no, take their no graciously, as it usually doesn’t mean “never”, it means “not now”, or “I don’t want to do that job, but I might like to do something else.”

In the words of my podcast guest Dave Parry, “Bless and release.”

It’s also a possibility that they might know someone else who’d be great at the job, and they may well be willing to help you recruit that person.

 

7. You’re Not Asking for You

You’re asking for them.

cub scouts photo

Photo by GraceFamily

 

8. Make Individual Asks

Now that you’ve built the relationship, you’re going to make an individual ask. You’re going to go in with a specific job description for what you want the person to actually do. Feel free to customize the national job description down to the four or five things you really need them to do.

Personalize the ask to them. Find a place where they’re comfortable, be it their home, favorite restaurant, or a campout, and make the ask there. If there’s a specific person in the pack they can’t say no to, have them help you in the ask meeting.

 

9. Don’t Downplay the Job

The temptation when recruiting scout parents is to undersell the importance of the job you’re asking them to do. But every job in Scouting is important in some ways. Because if the job isn’t important, why are you asking them?

It’s easy to think that if you pretend like you’re not asking them for that much, they’ll be more likely to say yes. But are a couple of huge problems with that:

  1. “If the job isn’t that important, why are you asking me?”
  2. When the job does turn out to be more difficult than you let on, you’re going to have lost their trust.

 

10. Let Them Know What Support Exists

Get to know all the training courses that exist for their position, and let them know about them. Let them know about roundtables. Tell them about BALOO, OWL, and Wood Badge. Let them know that there are leader guides to help them every step of the way. They don’t have to write the program themselves. Show them Scouting Magazine, Bryan on Scouting, and maybe even share my website with them. Help them create a my.scouting account.

Have a card with the names, emails and phone numbers of the people on the unit and district level that they can call for help.

Don’t let them think that they have to make the program up on their own.


11. Follow Up

Visit a few of their meetings. Call them on the phone from time-to-time. Catch up with them over a cup of coffee. Buy them lunch. See how things are going on a regular basis. Be encouraging. Be there to answer questions. You don’t want to leave them out there by themselves. That’s a great way to burn a volunteer. Not only will they never help you again, but they’ll tell their friends, and they won’t help you either.

Make sure they’re spreading a positive message about volunteering.

Any tips I missed for Recruiting Scout Parents?

Let me know in the comments below, and than you for reading.

 

Posted by Mike Cooney in Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Grow Your Group, Recruiting, Scouting, Volunteering, 0 comments
Cub Scout October Recruiting Checklist

Cub Scout October Recruiting Checklist

It’s now October. Can you believe it? The leaves are starting to fall, and there’s a chill in the air (in some places.) The first round of Cub Scout recruiting is over. Perhaps your pack hit that jackpot. Maybe you struggled. In either case, here are some October recruiting tips to help you reach as many families as possible this fall, and grow your pack.

 

Get Joining Night 2 on the Calendar

It’s perfectly acceptable and even encouraged for you to have another joining night, or at least, to do a round of flyers for your October pack meeting. I may be wrong, but it’s a pretty safe bet that your council would love nothing more than to print another round of joining night flyers for you. Council’s generally have a reserve of recruiting supplies set aside for second round recruiting.


 

Hit the Soccer Fields

The one nice thing about kids in soccer is that you know their parents are willing to sign them up for activities and are willing to take them to those activities on a regular basis. The other nice thing is soccer tends to be seasonal, and in many places, is winding down right about now. So have a plan to work the sidelines at the last few youth soccer games of the season. I vividly remember the Cubmaster of Pack 171 in Presque Isle, Maine using this strategy masterfully to grow the numbers in her pack each fall.

Aside that has nothing to do with recruiting. I think soccer is much more entertaining the younger the players are. In college, I covered both soccer teams, and it wasn’t nearly as entertaining as watching a herd of five-year-olds running after the ball, and falling over randomly. Just my opinion.

 

Trick-or-Treat!

As opposed to the rest of the year, when you’re going to have to go out and hit the bricks to get to your audience, at Halloween, your target audience will literally knock on your door. Why not give the families in your pack some business cards with your pack’s information on it to hand to trick-or-treaters this Halloween?

Of course, you want to make sure that the people giving out the cards 1. look and act friendly, and 2. have really, really good candy to go along with the cards.

It’s always good to associate your message with someone else’s happy experience, and for kids, getting candy is a pretty happy experience.

Do That Boy Talk

Doing an in-school recruiting talk will on average, triple the number of families you’ll recruit. If you didn’t get a Boy Talk done before your first recruiting night, now would be a good time. Schools are into the flow of the year,

The biggest reason that Boy Talks don’t get scheduled is that people don’t ask. And I’ve found I’ve always had much more success asking in person. Put the phone down, get in the car, drop by the school between 3 and 4 pm, and ask the principal if there would be a good time for you to come in at lunch

For a lot more on Boy Talks, click here.

 

Go to Church

If you’ve already gone to every church in your service area, then I suppose you can skip this one. But most packs never get around to actually doing this. They usually get their chartering organization but miss the other houses of worship in their area.

Take the time to make a list of all the religious organizations in your area, and assign someone from your pack to reach out to them. Find all the churches, synagogues, parishes, mosques, etc. in your area, and make contact with them. Go to their website, send them an email, call them on the phone, visit their office hours, or even visit one of their weekly services – but make contact!

When I was starting a pack in tiny Monticello, Maine, the only way to make contact with the church in town was to go to church on Sunday.

What you want is for them to put an announcement about your pack in their weekly bulletin. Maybe something on their Facebook page, and perhaps a poster in their children’s area. Getting a pastor or rabbi to talk about scouting from the pulpit is a home run every time.

 

Day Cares and After-School Programs

These are big ones to hit, especially if you’ve got school access issues. They tend to be pretty welcoming, and will just about always let you do flyers. Better yet, see if they’ll let you come in and talk to the kids. You could even offer to come in and do some program for the kids. Maybe some nature program, maybe some knots, or maybe a craft. If you can provide some value for them, your odds will improve.

 

 

Move those Yard Signs

If your signs have been in the same place for a month, it’s likely that everyone who was going to see them there has seen them. So go get them, and put them in other high-traffic areas in your town.

 

You Have to Ask

Remember that the biggest reason that people don’t join Cub Scouts is that nobody asked them to. And getting a flyer is not an ask. A flyer is a reminder, not an invitation. October is a great time to invite families to join your pack.

Good luck!

 

 

Photo by makelessnoise

Posted by Mike Cooney in Cub Scouts, Grow Your Group, Marketing, Recruiting, Scouting
The Cub Scout Recruiting 30 Day Rule

The Cub Scout Recruiting 30 Day Rule

So now that you’ve recruited an excited group of brand new Cub Scouts. The key now is to retain them in the program. So how do you go about doing that? By following the Cub Scout recruiting 30 day rule:

You need to get them outside within one month of joining!

Why did they sign up?

You’ve recruited these boys with a flyer that tells them about the outdoor adventures you’re going to have as Cub Scouts. They’re excited to go exploring, go camping, shoot guns, launch rockets, and that’s just for starters.

Think in your mind what it’s like to be an eight-year-old boy. Think about how excited they are about your program. Consider what they think they signed up for.

Then think about how disappointed they’ll be when the first few months of meetings they go to are nothing but arts and crafts. So, you can’t very well then just have meeting after meeting in the church basement and expect them to be anything other than disappointed.

Remember that the odds that you’ll retain your new scouts go down dramatically if you don’t have some sort of big, fun activity within 30 days of them signing up.

 

Council or District Activities

It could be a council activity. The Connecticut Rivers Council, for example, is doing a Scout Expo where the boys can do all sorts of fun activities. Councils and Districts all over the country are doing Cub Fun Days, Family Weekends, Spooktaculars and Haunted Hay Rides. Find out what your activities are available in your council, and take advantage of them!

Or Plan Your Own…

If your council isn’t putting anything on like this, or if it’s inconvenient for you to get there for distance or scheduling reasons – hold your own.

It could be a fall overnight campout. If you think your new families aren’t ready to camp out overnight in the great outdoors, most Boy Scout camps offer some form of cabin camping that would be a great first step. You’ll need to make sure someone in your pack has completed Baloo training first.

Hikes

Alltrails.com is my new favorite app

You could also opt for a short hike. You don’t need to travel a great distance for one of these. Plan a Saturday morning for a few hours, and take the boys for a walk in the woods. Nothing too elaborate. Leave the mountain climbing for another day. But find a trail that’s fun, and accessible for the boys and new parents. Try it out yourself before you do the same trail with 20 or 30 boys.

There are great apps now, like Alltrails that will give you a pretty good overview of the available trails in your area. It’s not exhaustive, but it’s pretty good. It gives you distance, reviews, rating, and the app itself will help you stay on the trail. Getting lost while leading Cub Scouts on a hike isn’t a great first impression.

Take the time to learn about your local plant and animal life. You have the chance to show your scouts the world in a whole different way. Let them know that if they’re quiet in the woods, and paying attention, they’ll see far more animals than they otherwise would.

Rocket Launches

Obviously, you want to put safety first here, so you need to pick an appropriate location and do a test run before you do your main launch event, but launching rockets is a great way to get your new scouts’ imaginations fired up. The other great thing about launching rockets is that, like Pinewood Derby, it’s by nature a “parent and me” activity. They’re going to be working together as a team, and that’s what the program is all about. You may be able to find rocket kits at your local scout shop, or you can get them from Amazon in the links below.

Other activities

Stay within the rules of the Guide to Safe Scouting. But use your imagination, just make sure it’s fun. Maybe you could plan a field day of carnival style games. Get in a game of Gaga Ball. Perhaps a fishing derby. Think about the resources available in your area. Consider the resources available to you in terms of the skills of your leaders and parents.

But have fun with it. Remember, as good as your marketing is, it’s fun, exciting program that’s going to keep kids in your pack, and program that’s going to get them to bring their friends.

 

Photo by woodleywonderworks


Posted by Mike Cooney in Cub Scouts, Grow Your Group, Marketing, Recruiting, Scouting
Cub Scout Joining Night Checklist

Cub Scout Joining Night Checklist

So, it’s September. Packs all over the country will be doing Joining Nights in the next month. Over the years, I’ve run and helped run a lot of Cub Scout joining nights. So here’s a quick Cub Scout joining night checklist of some things you’re going to want to have in place at your recruiting event. This is no time for improv. Know what you’re going to say, and rehearse it if you have to. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Some supplies you’ll want to have on hand.

Proper Signage

When families come to your event, will it be obvious where you are in the building? So having directional signs on the road and on the property can be very handy to you. Don’t assume that people will know where you are. You want people to be comfortable when they come to your event, and nothing makes people less comfortable than having to hunt for your meeting.

Have Something for the kids to do

If at all possible, having a supervised second room for the kids. This makes getting information to the parents go much, much smoother than if they’re trying to wrangle their child at the same time. It’s also much more fun for the boys, who I can guarantee you were thinking that their first night of Cub Scouts was going to be something other than sitting at a table in a basement watching mom or dad fill out paperwork and hear a talk about insurance.

You want to have some sort of fun activity for these boys to do. It could be a game, or a craft, or a puzzle – but it needs to be fun.

I also like to do a fun exercise that starts the boys on the advancement trail. You get the new scouts together and teach them the Cub Scout sign. Tell the boys that the two fingers represent the ears of Akela, the leader. I then let them know that in the wild, the lead wolf raises his ears to let the other wolves know when there’s danger, or food, or fun to be had. It’s when we need their attention, so if you see a leader put up their sign, you need to be quiet and pay attention.

Then you can practice. Let them get really loud, and put up the sign. Once they’ve got this mastered, you can repeat the exercise once they’re back in the other room with their parents. Tell their parents to try using the Scout sign at home.




A presentation on the Scouting Program in general

Prepare a 5-10 minute overview of the Cub Scout program. Talk about the goals of the program and the aims and methods of Cub Scouting. Be able to give a brief overview of the advancement program. Be able to explain the BSA’s youth protection policies. It’s also a good idea to be able to explain the BSA’s sickness and accident, and liability insurance policies.

Follow this up with a brief overview of the Scouting program in general, describe how the boys will cross over into a Boy Scout troop after completing their Arrow of Light. Let them know that the program will evolve with their boy.

A presentation on your pack’s specific program

Every pack is a little bit different. Who are the people in your pack they should know?  Know when the dens meet. What your pack meeting schedule is. What are some of the cool things your pack does every year? Where do you go? How often do the dens meet? Talk about the Pinewood Derby. This is your chance to let them know what your pack is all about.

A photo display or display video of your pack’s activities would be really useful here.

At the very least, you need to let them know when the next meeting is.

Pack Welcome Packets

You should have a basic packet of information about your pack’s activities, rules, fees, fundraisers, and expectations. Here’s an example from Pack 241 in Boynton Beach, Florida. Your packet should include or come with a calendar of your pack’s activities for the year. It should also include contact information for multiple people in the pack, and relevant websites and Facebook pages

 

Family Expectations

Make sure you set clear and realistic expectations for every family. Using a 100-point form is a handy way of doing this. Make it clear that every family is expected to help out in some way. But don’t set this as an onerous chore but as an opportunity. Nobody is good at everything, but everybody is good at something, and if everyone pitches in a little, we’ll have a much better program for the boys.

I like to have fun with this, and let them know that they’ll have just as much fun in Scouting as their children will. This really isn’t the time to recruit new leaders, but rather the time to be identifying leaders you’ll want to recruit later.

Popcorn or other Fundraising Paperwork

One of the big questions that will come up during the meeting is: How much does Scouting cost?

Apart from letting them know the costs, and that we don’t want any child to miss out on the Scouting program because of their family’s financial situation, this is a great time to let them know about popcorn (or whatever fundraiser your pack does.) Let them know that this is an opportunity to help them defray the costs of Scouting. Have a handout about any pack or council incentives that may apply.

Apart from providing needed funds for your pack, selling popcorn is a great way to teach the boys salesmanship.



Summer Camp Info

Every scout should have some sort of camping experience every summer, be it overnight resident camp, or Cub Scout Day Camp. These programs are the Super Bowl of Scouting, and every pack should have this as part of their yearly program.

Youth Applications Checklist

Don’t give them the applications to go home with. Set a time in your meeting when applications are going to be filled out. Give them pens and applications, and explain how to fill out the applications. With few exceptions, if they’ve taken the time to come to your joining night, they’ve decided to register. But you need to make sure to actually ask them to fill out the applications.

In order to be processed, each youth application needs:

  • The scout’s full legal name
  • Their birthdate
  • Address and phone number
  • Grade in school
  • Their parent or guardian’s name
  • Their birthdate
  • Parent or guardian’s signature
  • Cubmaster’s signature
  • appropriate fees

Email addresses are optional, but getting them now makes your life much easier later. Also, make sure that everything on the application is legible. Your council’s registrar is going to be processing hundreds of applications this year, and one of the biggest reasons for errors is unreadable handwriting. Make sure you keep the unit copies.

 

After the Meeting

Shoot a quick email to your District Executive, Charter Rep, and Committee Chair letting them know how the event went. How many kids did you get? You’ll also want to make arrangements to get the completed applications to the council office as quickly as possible. You’ll also want to make sure you get one check along with the applications, so make sure your Pack treasurer is on hand that evening.

It’s also nice to send thank you emails or notes to anyone who helped you with the event, and welcome emails to all the families who signed up reminding them of the next meeting.

Then take a few minutes to celebrate. Your efforts will make a big impact in these kids lives. For a complete discussion of fall recruiting strategies, you can listen to my podcast episode with Matt Ghirarda. Thank you for what you’re doing!

 

 



Photo by Melissa Hillier

 

Joining Night Checklist by Mike Cooney

 

Posted by Mike Cooney in Cub Scouts, Grow Your Group, Recruiting, Scouting, Volunteering
5 Simple Things You Can Do To Grow Scouting This Fall

5 Simple Things You Can Do To Grow Scouting This Fall

Percentage-wise, most people in Scouting aren’t Cubmasters. They aren’t in charge of fall recruiting campaigns this fall, but they can make all the difference when it comes to the success or failure of fall recruiting campaigns. Recruiting Cub Scouts is an exhausting endeavor, so they can use all the help they can get. If we’re going to grow Scouting, we need all hands on deck.

Are you a Scout parent who’s not volunteering with the pack, but wants to help make a better program for your son? Even if you haven’t been involved in Scouting for years, you can be a helper. You can make a difference. Even if your kids are long since grown and out of the house, you can make a difference. You can make sure that kids will get a program that will change their lives for the better.

So, if you’re a camp person, and you want your camp to be filled and vibrant over the years to come, you can’t ignore the recruiting of new scouts. You can’t just assume that someone else is going to do it. If you’re a Boy Scout leader, and you want kids in your troop in five years, then your help is needed to grow Scouting right now.

There are a lot of really simple things that you can volunteer to do in just a little bit of your spare time in the coming weeks that can make a huge difference in getting more families involved in Scouting. Here are just a few things you can do to help get the word out.

Like and Share Scouting Content on Facebook

Okay, if you’ve got an internet connection, a few Facebook account, and a pulse, you can help grow Scouting. If you’re not familiar with the way Facebook decides what shows up on people’s newsfeeds, the number of likes and shares has a great deal to do with it. So, if you’d rather see more scouting stuff in your newsfeed, and less stuff about the eclipse,

Are there community Facebook groups that you’re a member of? Share an article about Scouting in there. Share more than one. I wrote my 10 reasons you should sign your kid up for Cub Scouts. Feel free to share mine or write your own. Sharing content in popular groups is the best way to make sure

Check the local pack Facebook pages for Joining Night Events in your area. Share them on your Facebook Page, or better yet, invite your friends who have Cub Scout-aged kids or grandkids.

 

Talk about Scouting with your Friends

Have conversations with your friends about Scouting. If they’ve got kids or grandkids, let them know why they should sign them up. Find out when your local pack is having their joining night, and shoot off an email about it.

 

Volunteer to Do a Boy Talk

Some schools don’t allow Boy Talks, but many others do and don’t get covered because of a lack of volunteers to take the hour or so off work to go and actually do so. I’ve done lots of these, and they’re really a lot of fun to do. If your local public school won’t allow them, then check with your local private and parochial schools. Can you take a couple of hours out of your September to help grow Scouting?

Don’t just limit yourself to schools. Think about after-school programs, Sunday schools, day cares, rec leagues, PALs. Where can you go to talk scouting?

 

Put Up Yard Signs to grow Scouting

Does your yard have a “Join Scouting Sign” in it? Does your business? What about your church? Contact your local council or your local Cub Scout pack and ask them for one. Pay particular attention to the major routes in town, particularly to schools and major employers.

yard signs

The yard sign across from the school is always a big win.

One of the Cubmasters in a district I used to cover lived at the intersection of the road to the local elementary school. Right smack dab at the stop light. So every year, we made sure there was a Join Scouting sign on his lawn so that everyone who drove to the school would see it. When his family crossed over to the troop, I asked if he’d mind if we put a yard sign on his lawn whenever we were going to do a Joining Night. He, of course, approved.

We also had a church that chartered one of the local troops that agreed to let us put up a yard sign directly across from the driveway of the elementary school.

I’d also be thinking about the roads along the way to the busiest beaches and playgrounds in town. Where’s the traffic?

The more people see the message, the more likely your going to be to grow Scouting in your community.

Deliver Flyers, and Put up Posters

Do you have a business? Can you put a flyer or poster up in your window? What about the businesses around you? What about the lunch room at your office?

Even in the smallest of towns, there are places where you can hang flyers. Every ice cream shop should have a flyer on the bulletin board. Can you take a handful of flyers and put them up in storefronts around town?

Think of the places that parents and kids go in town, and make sure that there’s a flyer taped or pinned up there.

 

 

Photo by b0jangles

Posted by Mike Cooney in Cub Scouts, Grow Your Group, Marketing, Recruiting, Scouting
My Top 10 Reasons to Sign Your Son Up For Cub Scouts

My Top 10 Reasons to Sign Your Son Up For Cub Scouts

This September is a great time to sign your son in Kindergarten through 5th grade up for Cub Scouts. All over the country, Cub Scout packs will be welcoming new members. They’ll be holding joining nights where you can sign up your boy for an adventure that will prepare him for life.

My mom signed me up as a Cub Scout in 1985, in the basement of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Putnam. The program changed my life. Next June, I’ll be signing my now 4-year-old son up for the program. Now, you might be on the fence as to whether or not you should register your son. Here are my 10 reasons why I think you should. There are thousands more.

To listen to this as a podcast, click here.

 

10. He’ll Try New Things

The first mountain I ever climbed came during my time as a Cub Scout. My mom, who was also my den leader, climbed it with me. Mount Monadnock is the second-most climbed mountain in the world (because it’s easy to get to, and not terrifically difficult.) But when you’re 10, it’s a big deal. I remember getting to the summit. You see the world differently from up there. It’s a perspective that you can’t get anywhere else. You see that this really is a great big world, but you also see that if you keep working, you can get just about anywhere.

Cub Scouts launch rockets. Sometimes they’re model rockets. Maybe they’ll be water rockets. Sometimes air powered, but they launch stuff. It always gets oohs and aahs. There’s a certain amount of awe and confidence gained when the model rocket that they built shoots into the sky.

There will be lots of life-changing experiences like this. It could be the first night ever staying over in a tent. Maybe it’ll be the first time cooking their own food (with supervision, obviously.)

Cub Scouts is like the weather in New England. It always changes. One week they’re building birdhouses, the next, visiting the local firehouse, and the next they’re doing a community service project.

As life is varied, so is Cub Scouts. Nobody just does one thing. Throughout our lives, we play many roles, and in Scouting, you get to try out a lot of those roles.

 

9. You’ll Get to Experience Cub Scouts With Him

Cub Scouting is a family program. For kindergarten and first grade boys, it’s a “parent and me” program. You get to jump in with your boy. You get to be silly. The two of you will get to work together, going on adventures, and play together. You’ll probably learn things at the same time he does.

You get to be there when he does this impossible. You were there for his first step and remember his first word. Why wouldn’t you want to be there when he spends his first night in a tent, catches his first fish, or is awarded his Bear Badge? How much fun will it be to work with him building that Pinewood Derby car? Or baking that cake together?

Our kids grow up really fast, and these are moments that only come once in a lifetime.

cub scout photo

Photo by jillccarlson

 

8. He’ll Learn By Doing

There’s an old Chinese proverb, “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

Scouts get to try things. They get to experience being a leader. He’ll get to build things. There will be exploring. He’ll see what it’s like to go to the TV station. Through “Go See Its” he’ll discover how things work.

He’ll learn to help his community by… helping in his community. Scouts in the US do over 13 million hours of community service each year.

 

7. Cub Scouts will Help Him Overcome Shyness

I think on some level, everyone has some level of shyness. Maybe you remember the old Jerry Seinfeld joke about people being more afraid of public speaking than death? Well, there’s really only one way to get over that fear, and that’s to actually get in front of people. Cub Scouts get to try out performing songs and skits in front of their whole Pack.

Now, this video may not be the same as acting on a Broadway stage, but it takes a great deal of bravery to get up in front of your friends to perform like this.



6. He’ll Make New Friends

A Scout is Friendly is a point of the Scout Law, but Cub Scouts learn to make friends. In Cub Scouts, the kids from the country get to meet and play with kids from the big city. As they get older in the program and go to more events, they more they’ll meet.

Through scouting I’ve made friends from all over the country, and all over the world. In the course of my time in Scouting I’ve made friends from all over the country, and all over the world. One year on camp staff I roomed with an exchange scout from Egypt. The biggest thing you get isn’t how different people are, but how similar they are. Sure, the climate and landscape of Egypt and Connecticut are different. The cultures are vastly different – but Shicco was amazing at working with the kids. He also got a lot of text messages from his friends who I don’t think realized he was on the other side of the world, so his phone buzzed at 3 a.m. rather often.

When you’re six, your world is pretty small. You know your family, your friends, your teachers, and the kids at school. And that’s about it. But through Scouting you can meet people you otherwise would never come in contact with. You’ll get to realize that while, sure, there are lots of things that make us different, at the end of the day, we’re more similar than we aren’t.

While in school he may learn about other countries, but it’s a far different experience to actually meet them.

5. He’ll Lose at Pinewood Derby (And Build Character)

Cub Scouts build Pinewood Derby Cars with their parents or grandparents. They learn some basic physics. They see that the streamlined car goes faster. That weight distribution on the car matters. But more important than that, they learn sportsmanship. They learn how to be a good loser when things don’t go their way, and a gracious winner when they do.

I jokingly say that physics don’t apply to Pinewood Derby cars. So he’ll learn how to lose, and try again next year. In life, lots of things go wrong. Some of them we can control, and some are beyond our control – but either way, we need to be able to deal with it, and move forward.

From failure, we learn resilience. We learn to keep trying. We learn from our mistakes, and we learn that some things are the end of the world… and some things are not.

Scouting is a safe place to fail – and more importantly, to learn from that failure to succeed.

 

4. It’s Remarkably Safe

The Boy Scouts of America has a remarkable record of safety and abuse prevention. Their Youth Protection Policies work. No adult is ever one-on-one with a child that is not their own. Every leader undergoes a full background check when they register. Each and every leader is required to complete Youth Protection Training every two years – and you can take that training online yourself right now.

There’s a whole guide to tell leaders what activities the kids should and should not be doing, and at what age – that you can read yourself. Leaders are required to complete specific training before they take youth on outings, and it’s not just specific to the activity, but to the age of the youth. There’s a vast difference between taking a 7-year-old and a 17-year-old camping.

3. They’ll Get Great Role Models

You might be the most impressive person on Earth, but in this mortal coil, we are limited. Everybody’s good at something, but nobody’s good at everything. Through scouting, your child can meet (and learn from) adults from all walks of life.

It’s amazing the range of volunteers you find in Scouting. It may not be obvious at first (because the leaders are usually in uniform), but you can have lawyers and business leaders, construction workers and farmers all leading the same Pack. They’ll get to see great examples of productive people, and community leadership.

But it will be in an informal, silly, and comfortable environment. They’ll see that the firefighter they look up to isn’t all that different from them. At some point, they’ll make the connection that the people they look up to used to be just like them.


 

2. Cub Scouts is Fun

Cub Scouts giggle. A lot. The one thing you can be sure to see at just about any Cub meeting you go to is kids having fun.

I’ve always thought of Cub Scouts as a big magic trick. A good magician shows you what he wants you to see while hiding what they’re actually doing from view. This is how your grandfather made the quarter appear behind your ear.

The kids see the fun. They see the games. They see the pinewood derby cars, the rockets, the hikes, the swimming, and the other activities. What they don’t realize until later is what they were actually learning. Character. Citizenship. Fitness. Self-confidence. Empathy. Leadership.

They just think they’re having fun.

1. Cub Scouts will Improve His Life

It will prepare him for life. A Tufts University study tracked over 2,000 scouts and non-scouts in the Philadelphia area over the course of two-and-a-half years and studied the changes in their behavior and their attitudes. They did this so that they could control for the attitudes and values of the young people over the course of the study – to counter the argument that “Scouting merely attracts better young people instead of helping make them.”

The study found that scouts had huge increases when compared to non-scouts when it came to cheerfulness, kindness, hopeful future expectations, trustworthiness, helpfulness, and obedience. Scouts in the survey were more likely to respond with answers like “helping others” or “doing the right thing.”

The study shows us that the program actually does what it claims to do. It does improve lives. It does build character. The values that Scouting teaches actually do improve the lives of young people. As it turns out, repeating and reflecting on the values contained in the Scout Oath and Law has an impact.

The point of Cub Scouting is not to make the world’s best 9-year-old, though that’s a nice side-effect. The point is to prepare them to have well-rounded, successful lives.

To find a pack near you for your son, go to beascout.org.

If you didn’t see your favorite reason, feel free to list it below.

Scouting units and districts, please feel free to copy this material for your website, I just ask that you link to the original when doing so. Thanks.

 

 

Posted by Mike Cooney in Cub Scouts, Grow Your Group, Marketing, Recruiting, Scouting, Volunteering
August Recruiting Checklist: 5 Things to Do Right Now

August Recruiting Checklist: 5 Things to Do Right Now

Your Recruiting Checklist

This Tuesday is August 1st. Great recruiting campaigns are made and broken with what you do in early August. What you do right now will determine whether you’ve got a full room come at your joining night in September, or whether you’re going to be lonely, wondering what went wrong. To help you out, here’s a quick recruiting checklist of things you need to get done in early August to make you successful.

 

Get your Recruiting Date Set

This is the big one. Everything else flows from getting this done. Like yesterday. Getting the date, time and location of your recruiting event set now lets you print your marketing materials, and set up your Facebook event. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve communicated this information to your council, as they will get calls from families in your area looking to join.

So now is the time to finalize your building reservations. Make sure you’ve reviewed all the relevant local calendars (School calendar, PTO, School Athletics, Chamber of Commerce, etc.) Also, make sure to check it against your council and district calendars.

 

 

Secure School Approvals

Now is the time to stop by all the schools you recruit from and have the important conversations. How many flyers are you going to need? How do they want flyers bundled? Who needs to approve them?

Will they let you do a school recruiting talk, and can you schedule it now?

Do you have your plan set for school open houses? Who’s going to be staffing them and what are they going to be handing out?



 

Compose your Marketing Plan

Have you designed your flyer yet? What about your posters? Have they been printed? What about business cards? Now is the time to get those things squared away.

Do you know where in town you’re going to hang those flyers and posters?

What about yard signs? Do you know where you’re going to put those?

Have you got marketing tables set up, and the places to do them? Are there any town fairs, carnivals, or any other big public gatherings where could get you a lot of exposure?

Have you got a list of all the newspapers, radio and TV stations that you’re going to send press releases to? Have you started working on your press releases?

 

And your Social Media Plan

It’s 2017. You need a social media plan. If you’re going to do a paid Facebook ad campaign, you’ll want to start planning it now.

If you’re going to do an organic Facebook campaign, have you made a checklist of all the big Facebook groups in your town? Have you set up your Facebook event, and asked ALL the families in your pack to invite any potential scouting families they know?

It’s also time for councils to get their free Google AdWords campaigns set up.

 

Update Your Be A Scout Pin

Make sure your BeAScout.org pin is updated. You can find instructions here on just how to do that.

 

Photo by AJC1

Posted by Mike Cooney in Cub Scouts, Grow Your Group, Marketing, Recruiting, Scouting, Social Media
Doing a School Recruiting Talk

Doing a School Recruiting Talk

Over the years I’ve done hundreds of school recruiting talks or “Boy Talks.”

They’re a great tool for bulking up your recruiting numbers. On average, it’s estimated that a good school recruiting talk can triple the number of families who will actually show up to your joining night.

Let me start with a little story about one of the first Boy Talks I ever did, or rather the result. That year I did around 20 Boy Talks in schools around Aroostook County, Maine. We had a great recruiting season and increased our membership as a district. But that seemed a little abstract to me.

It stopped feeling abstract when I was walking around Camp Roosevelt for one of the Cub resident camps the next summer. A boy who looked to be about eight stopped me on the trail and said, “You’re the man from the school.”

Those few words made my whole summer.

It probably took me about 25 minutes round trip to drive from my house in Presque Isle to his school in Mapleton. Probably another two hours to talk to all the kids in the lunch waves that day. But that brief bit of time got him to join Scouting, got him to camp, and changed his life for the better.

The biggest reason that kids don’t join the program is that nobody asked them. Getting a flyer is not an ask. A personal invite from you is an ask.




Getting the Boy Talk

I think the first question I think of when someone talks about something like this is, that’s great, but how do I get in the door?

You don’t want to overcomplicate this. In my experience, the best way is to just ask them. Go to the school, talk to the secretary, ask to speak to the principal, and tell them what you want to do. You want 3-5 minutes during each lunch period to talk to the kids about Scouting.

Ideally, the person doing the ask is a person with kids in the school, who knows the secretary, knows the principle, and is involved with the school community.

I’ve found that late July / early August are the best times to stop by schools to ask about doing a talk. There’s not a lot going on at the school, so they’re usually in a pretty good mood, and much more likely to entertain your request. If you go the first week of school in September, it’s going to be hectic, and you’re much less likely to get a “yes.”

You want to be prepared for possible objections. You appreciate that they don’t want to take away from the kids instructional time. Let them know that you’re on the same page here. You should also let them know that you’re going to stick to your 3-5 minutes in the lunchroom.

Each school is different and getting to know the people is usually the key to success.

 

Don’t Forget Private Schools

In over a decade of doing these, I have never, ever, ever been turned down when asking a Catholic School to do a school recruiting talk. My success rate at all private schools is nearly perfect. These schools tend to be extremely supportive, and receptive to your message.

Also, don’t overlook Day Cares and other afterschool programs. If you’ve got a tough time getting school access to do a presentation, these can be the next best thing. Also, don’t overlook the possibility of making presentations at Sunday Schools or other religious organizations.

Who Can Do a School Recruiting Talk?

So in just about every district, there’s a math problem. Packs tend to think that only their District Executive can do Boy Talks. But most districts have a lot of elementary schools and only one DE. Combine this with a limited number of days before your joining night, and you can see how a lot of schools won’t get covered.

So who else can do Boy Talks? The short answer is anyone. Of course, you want someone who’s pretty good at public speaking. Someone friendly and warm, who’s going to get the message across soundly.

You want someone who’s not going to fall apart at the snarky comments of fifth graders.

So what types of people should you consider?

  • Cubmasters and Den Leaders
  • Committee Members
  • Pack Parents
  • Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters from your local troop
  • Commissioners
  • Nearby District Committee Members
  • Eagle Scout Alumni




Types of Presentations

Lunch Talks

This the preferred method of school recruiting talk right now. You show up at the school before the first lunch wave. Someone from the school takes you to the cafeteria. When the kids are done eating, you give a 3-5 minute talk on what Scouting is.

These are probably the most exhausting type for you to do, as in some bigger schools you might actually be there for 4+ hours.

Classroom-to-Classroom

These are most common in private schools, particularly Catholic schools. Usually, they send someone with you to escort you from room to room. The teacher stops class for a few minutes, and you talk about Scouting.

School Assemblies

These used to be the most common. The kids are called from class to the auditorium, or cafeteria, or cafetorium. You then get 5-10 minutes to tell them about Scouting.

You can also get some schools to let you do brief assemblies at the end of the day, right before the kids get on the bus.

 

Doing Your School Recruiting Talk

There are lots of ways to actually do school recruiting presentations. No matter what you do, you want to keep it short, to the point. And you absolutely positively have to end it with a memorable call-to-action. “Come to the School Cafeteria at 6:00 pm tonight, bring a parent or guardian and be ready to have fun.”

My own school recruiting talk was pretty simple.

“Who here likes fun?”

Wait for the kids to raise their hands.

“Good, because Scouts have fun. They do fun things. How many here think it would be fun to go camping? (wait for hands) And put up a tent with mom or dad? (wait) How many think it would be fun to go swimming? (wait)”

And I’d list off a bunch of different activities that Cub Scouts do. If you’ve got girls in the room, make sure to talk a little bit about Girl Scouts. Better yet, have a Girl Scout representative with you.

Also, I usually steer clear of talking about shooting sports. You have plenty of other exciting activities you can talk about, that aren’t as likely to cause you trouble with a school administrator.

Make sure you have something to give them. A sticker with a phone number and a website. Maybe a pencil? Perhaps the flyer. I used to have pretty good success giving the kids their flyers and telling them to fold them up and put them in their socks to show to mom when they got home.

When you’re done giving your talk, you can “work the room”, going from table to table answering questions.

Here are a couple of other examples of a school recruiting talk.

You can find a lot more examples of Boy Talks on YouTube.

Take from them what works for you. Make it your own. And have fun with it.
Other Recruiting Articles

7 Things to Do Right Now To Get Ready For Fall Recruiting

9 Summertime Recruiting Opportunities

23 Great Places to Hang Flyers

 

Looking for great deals on camping supplies, check out our guide to Amazon Prime Day.

Photo by USDAgov

Posted by Mike Cooney in Cub Scouts, Grow Your Group, Marketing, Recruiting, Scouting
7 Things to Do Right Now To Get Ready For Fall Recruiting

7 Things to Do Right Now To Get Ready For Fall Recruiting

So, right now most packs are thinking about Day Camp, or Resident Camp, or the Fourth of July Parade. They may be doing one of the things listed in our Summer Recruiting Guide. But most of them are thinking that fall recruiting is a long ways away. But the days until school’s get back in session will tick off quickly, and there are a lot of things that Packs can do right now to get ready for fall recruiting.

Now I probably love camp as much as anyone, but we need to recruit kids before they can go camping, and you can go with them.  The key to fall recruiting is preparation – so here are some big things you can do right now to make sure you’re successful.




 Get Fall Recruiting Dates and Locations Set ASAP

Everything sort of flows from this one. This lets you create your Facebook event. This lets you order your flyers and posters. It gives you a date to work back from.

Now, ideally, you’re holding your recruiting date at each school you recruit from. Many schools are difficult to nail down for dates until August, but the sooner you start having that conversation, the better.

Notice that I put down recruiting dates, plural. You want to schedule multiple joining nights. You don’t want your entire recruiting campaign to be one night. You’ll need follow-up events for the people who couldn’t get there to the first event. Life happens. People get sick. Calendar conflicts occur.

Then, once you’ve got your date set, let your district know about it, so they can properly support your efforts.

Check Community Calendars

There are so many reasons to do this. First, you want to make sure your recruiting night isn’t scheduled for your school’s open house night, or the big soccer nights in town. You want to make sure that as many people as possible can come to your joining night. So check the school department’s calendar, check the Chamber of Commerce’s calendar.

Not only can you pick the best date for your event, but you can also find other events that you can be present at to promote your event.

Visit Your Schools

Summertime is a good time to stop by the school(s) your pack covers and have a discussion about their flyer policy. Who needs to approve the flyer? Can they also include your flyer in their digital backpack?

How do they want the flyers packaged? Groups of 10? 15? Paper clipped? Colored-paper separated? How many flyers will you need? If you want the flyers to actually go home with the kids, then you need to know this. Will they allow you to do a classroom, or lunchroom presentation? (Informally, a “Boy Talk.)

When will the school open house be in the fall? Can you reserve a table at that event?

Of course, there are some schools who don’t allow you any access, and it’s better to know that now.

Eaglemoss

Do A Social Media InventorySee Facebook Posts

What are the Facebook Groups in your town where it would be appropriate to share your fall recruiting info? Does your town have a News and Info Group or a Community Events Group? Is there a School PTO Group? Just put your town’s name in the search bar on Facebook and see what you find. Then ask the other people in your unit to do the same. Make sure you’ve got members of your pack or troop in these groups before recruiting season.

Are there pages in your community that would and should share your recruiting info? Radio stations? TV stations? Schools? Businesses?

You want to make sure that when it’s time to do your social media blitz in advance of your recruiting night that you’re not doing so haphazardly. While you’re at it, make sure that you’ve got everyone on Facebook in your group liking your Facebook page, send out an email invitation to everyone on your unit mailing list.

The whole point of this exercise is to get as many eyes on your Recruiting posts as possible. Just posting something on Facebook and hoping for the best isn’t going to make that happen. You need a plan, and now is that time to write that plan.

 

Do A Bulletin Board Inventory

Where are the places you can hang flyers in town? Take a walk or a drive around your community and look for bulletin boards. Look for businesses that hang community flyers in the windows. Make notes of where these are, so that when it’s time to actually recruit put flyers up, you won’t be nearly so rushed. This will keep you far more organized, and make your life much easier. To get you started, here’s my list of 23 places to hang flyers.

 

Contact Your Local Churches / Religious Organizations for Bulletin Info

How many churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, etc. are there in your town? Would they be willing to share your joining night info with their members?

In my experience, most would. Can you get them either a small flyer to insert into their bulletins or at least a couple of sentences they can print in those bulletins over the summer?

But they can be tricky to get a hold of, so start now. Not all of them will have someone there during business hours. It’s also a lot easier if you figure out who in your unit belongs to each religious organization. So start scouring websites now for contact phone #s and emails, and office hours.




Contact Your Local Service Clubs

Think about your Rotary Club, Elks Club, Moose Lodge, Lions Clubs, Masons, Knights of Columbus, American Legion, etc.

These are groups with stated mission to make their communities better places to be. So they are predisposed to support you. The only trouble is, that usually nobody ever asks them to do so, and they can help you in a myriad of ways.

They can put up your fall recruiting flyers in their businesses, or work lunchrooms, and share your joining event on their Facebook pages. They can include you in their summer events. It’s also possible that they parents of Scouting-aged boys in their membership.  Many of these groups will have Scouting alumni who may be willing to volunteer to do some little things to help you out in the future. You could meet school board members, business leaders, community leaders, and people who will have some great ideas for promoting your joining night.

Give them a call, and find if you can come to one of their meetings. Rotary clubs, for example, are always looking for speakers – especially in the summer. And that connection you build now will be extremely beneficial for you going forward.

Photo by woodleywonderworks


Posted by Mike Cooney in Cub Scouts, Grow Your Group, Marketing, Recruiting, Scouting, Social Media, Volunteering
How a Game of Catch Helped Build a Little League

How a Game of Catch Helped Build a Little League

This evening I’m running practice for my son’s Little League T-Ball team. The regular head coach has to be somewhere else, so I’m subbing. It got me thinking of the first time I volunteered to coach a Little League team, back in 1998. I think there’s a pretty good lesson to be learned from it, although not really from anything I did, but rather, in the way I was recruited.  definitely wouldn’t recommend you find volunteers this way – but there are some important lessons to be learned from this story.

A Game of Catch

I was 20. A sophomore at Northeastern University in Boston. It was a nice spring afternoon. My buddy Lazlo (not his real name, but really what we called him) and I were playing catch on the street behind our fraternity house on Mission Hill. Normally, I wouldn’t suggest playing catch on the street, but this one only had about five cars an hour, and most of those. Thanks to the miracle of Google Maps, here’s the exact spot.

In the 1990s, people actually bought cars that looked like this. (original photo link )

After a while, a Geo Tracker came by. Trackers weren’t a good looking car in the 1990s (of course, I had no car at all, so there’s that.) A man in his early 40s rolled down the window rolled down the window, and introduced himself as Mitch from the Mission Hill Little League.

He said he’d brought his kids to the Haunted House that the fraternity ran every year (highlighted by my buddy Jeremy wielding a chain saw with the blade removed), had heard we were a bunch of good guys, and said that he needed help with coaches for the league.

Lazlo couldn’t do it, as he was a physical therapy major, and didn’t have the time. I was kinda looking for some way to help the community, and said okay. I got a few of my other fraternity brothers to help me out, and the next month we were assistant coaches at a practice for the Mission Hill Reds.

A Little League Head Coach

By 1999, the head coach had moved up to coach at a higher level, and I found myself a 20-year-old head coach of a Little League team in a poor neighborhood of Boston. And I loved every minute of it. As a parent now, I can only imagine what the parents thought when they found their kids had been placed on a team coached by a 20-year-old. One of the parents was the uncle of Red Sox prospect Manny Delcarmen, and he agreed to help me out. He was actually the first volunteer I ever recruited.

These were great kids, and we had a lot of fun. We won a lot of games for two simple reasons. We played our infield in the whole game, and we ran hard on everything. I figured that the kids couldn’t throw that well any way, so why put them in position to have to make long throws. With the infield in, they were in a position to succeed.

On the other side, I figured that if other teams could make the throws to get us out, that they should do so. Plus, it made the game really fun for the kids. They learned how to play the right way. Took a while to get the parents in the stands behind me to cease screaming at their kids to stop at third when I was waving them home, but eventually we all got on the same page.

In 2000, we actually went undefeated. I’m not bragging about this, I just had really good kids who played really hard. In my basement, I’ve still got the score-book from that season.

Getting Help

In 2001, they asked me to serve on the board of the league. They only had five people on the board, so I think they were asking anyone who they thought might say yes. Turns out we had the same problem that they’d had when Mitch had stopped to recruit me. So I thought about it, and started asking people I knew to help. I had a little bit of luck asking my fraternity brothers, but the key was asking the guys in the other fraternities on the hill. Once we got other fraternities involved, the league had a steady supply of coaches, and a great relationship was born.

There has always been some tension on Mission Hill between college students looking for a place to stay while attending school, and the local population. I like to think that our coaching has helped to ease that.

An Unlikely Legacy

After graduating school, I lost track of the league for a while. I took a job out of the city, moved off Mission Hill, and stopped coaching. My fraternity eventually disbanded. I moved first to Connecticut, then to Maine, and then back to Connecticut. Got married. Had a family.

You can imagine my surprise when a couple of years ago I Googled some of my old friends in the league to find that the league, which had been struggling was now thriving, and doing so in large part because of the number of college kids who were volunteering to coach the teams. When I looked at the current coaching roster for the league, there are a lot of kids with husky.neu.edu email addresses.

I certainly didn’t think that any of my players would almost make the majors. One of them did, getting to AAA with the Mets. I remember him as a kid with great hands at 9-years-old. I do wonder how the rest of them are doing.

And all of it happened because Mitch stopped his car and said hello. I don’t recommend the “stop the car and ask people on the street to volunteer for you”, but I do recommend always keeping your eyes peeled for potential volunteers, and not ruling people out because they’re too young. For all the high-tech ways we think of bringing people in, never overlook the power of saying, “hello.”

You could be getting a future leader, and maybe, lots of them.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend. I hope it’s a good one for your and family.

 

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Photo by Ron Cogswell

 


Posted by Mike Cooney in Grow Your Group, Recruiting, Volunteering