The big push is over but not the work of getting every youth eligible into Scouting. With the weather on some joining nights being bad and some families had other engagement, what is your unit doing to host a second joining opportunity?
Schedule an evening to invite youth to your meeting location to find out about Scouting and all the fun you have. Some units have invited youth to an ice cream social. Work with your district executive to schedule and get flyers into the schools.
Have you contacted all of the people that have submitted a Be-A-Scout request for information? These people self-selected your unit as the best unit for them so call them to offer the personal invitation to your next meeting.
Membership is one of the district’s top priorities. The district’s success depends on positioning our resources to be successful in the future. Unit leaders can find many resources and ideas on the National Membership Resources webpage. The District Committee Chair, your Unit Commissioner, and District Executive are standing by to assist you in having a great recruiting event.
District Membership has three key components:
- New Units
Some Facts to Help You Recruit Parents
Recruiting is not only recruiting the youths but recruiting the parents. You need them to see the value of having their child join Scouts first. After they parents see the value, they are more likely to sign up their child. Also as they get engaged then they may become an adult leader. Here are some facts to help you discuss Scouting with parents.
- Cub Scouts reported significant increases in cheerfulness, helpfulness, kindness, obedience, trustworthiness, and hopeful future expectations When asked what was “most important” to them, Scouts were significantly more likely than non-Scouts to choose “helping others” or “doing the right thing” vs. “being smart,” “being the
best,” or “playing sports”
- As Scouts’ tenure in the program increases, they report higher levels of trustworthiness, intentional self-regulation, hopeful future expectation, and better grades
Remember that all new adult leaders must complete basic training and Youth Protection Training prior to being registered. Please include the completion certificates with the adult application. To make things go smoother, submit adult applications separately from youth applications.
New Units means starting packs or troops in those areas that the Membership Committee identifies as unserved or underserved. The Membership Committee will identify a New Unit Organizer, Commissioner, and Trainer to help start a unit in those communities. If you are interested in helping with this, contact Richard Becker.
There are many communities in the district that do not currently have a local Scout unit of any type. These youth are not getting an opportunity to join our great program. If you are a member of a church in one of these neighborhoods, please contact Richard Becker.
Schools in Bayside without a dedicated Cub Scout Pack:
1. Camp Allen – currently being served by Pack 3
2. Chesterfield Academy – Troop 70 would like to start a Pack here
3. Coleman Place
5. Fairlawn – Combined with Poplar Halls
8. James Monroe
9. Larrymoore – currently being referred to Pack 381
12. Ocean View
13. Poplar Halls – combined with Fairlawn
14. Richard Bowling
15. Sherwood Forest
16. Suburban Park
17. Tanners Creek
18. Tarrallton – currently being referred to Pack 376
19. Tidewater Park
20. Willard Model – currently being referred to Pack 628
22. Bayside – currently be served by Pack 67
Getting new youth and adults to join your unit is very important. If your unit is not recruiting new youth and growing in membership, you may not be doing well for the long-term health of the unit. Use peer-to-peer recruiting efforts to invite youth to your activities. Once they see the fun you’re having, they may sign up for all of your activities and meetings.
Recruiting never really ends. It should be an ongoing, monthly part of your unit’s plan. The more successful Packs in keeping and growing their membership make it part of this schedule. They are not hosting a council supported event every month, but are doing something related to membership growth every month.
It can be as simple as inviting friends to a meeting or outing. Having “How to Join” information available at Pack events to include popcorn and have that information at their chartered organizaton.
The district has a list of 100 youth who have asked to join Scouts but has not yet. These people selected a unit and were sent information about when/where the unit meets but has not signed up. The district leadership would like unit leaders to take a look at their Be-A-Scout leads and contact them again to find out why they have not come to a meeting and invite them again.
If someone does not want to join the your unit, please let the your District Executive know so they can be removed from the list.
Here are some suggestions that may help your unit.
1. Look for an Opening – This means look for an opening to talk to parents about Scouting and its value to a youth. An opening can be your fellow parents at a school or sporting event, or someone with family stickers on the back of their car. Carry recruiting cards and unit information flyers with you at all times. Tell folks who we are and what we do. Don’t forget to invite them to you next meeting. You can also refer them to the council office to find a unit close to them.
2. Recruiting Materials – Your District Executive can help you with flyers to hand out inviting people to your meeting. There are other materials available however. You can download a template to make your own invitation business cards from National’s website. Have a poster contest in your unit and place the posters in your local library, grocery store, and other places that youth congregates.
3. Public Relations – This is different than advertising. Invite community leaders to your service projects, invite the press to your Blue and Gold or Courts of Honor to see what great things the youth are doing. Talk to your chartered partner about having articles about what great things your unit is doing placed in their newsletter and also in your subdivision’s newsletter if they have one.
4. Lock the Back Door – Find out why people are leaving your unit and address their concerns. Discuss if another unit may suit their needs better than yours and refer them to it. Recharter time is an excellent opportunity to do this.
5. Community Involvement – Set up a booth at local community events and tell the Scouting story. We need to get out and let people know that Scouting is still in their community. Help out at community events such as your school carnivals by running a booth and being in uniform.
6. Mentor – Take the time to help a new parent understand Scouting. We have our own lingo and customs that they need to understand. Have someone from the unit explain it to them when they join.
Retention is the third leg of membership. Youth try out a program and need to be continually recruited to keep attending. Participation is based on a number of factors. Are they having fun? How is the program structured? Are their friends in the program?
Factors that stop families from coming back may be socioeconomic reasons, off-putting adult leadership behavior, and the youth not forming friendships.
To help with retention:
- Assign a veteran Scouter be the mentor of the new family
- Have an outdoor focus, it can be field trips, day hikes, or camping but go out of the normal meeting location frequently
- Use youth to recruit other youth
- Invite the person who left back to your unit or help them find a unit that fits their needs better
- Get the new parents involved in the unit committee
- Communication with the families is important. A monthly newsletter, text or email is key
- Summer is when boys have the most free time on their hands, and it is when they need Cub Scouting the most. So plan on earning the Summertime Pack Award and the Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award
You can find our retention statistics on the Journey to Excellence page of the district website.