cub scout recruiting

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