Growing Scouting through Great Program
Following a year and half of pandemic restrictions and waiting for easements to allow social gathering and traveling, many folks spent this summer enjoying the great outdoors and traveling to see friends and relatives all over the country. Scouting was no exception as high adventure bases as well as local camps were filled with participants enjoying quality programs, outdoor adventures, and training events. This is a great foundation to growing scouting we enter the Fall season of back to school.
Summer time is generally a down period for packs and troops as families travel for vacation. This is the opportune time to invite new families to join our Scouts in more relaxed and informal settings like a baseball game, a favorite fishing hole, or a backyard BBQ. Developing relationships with new families is an important first step in creating a welcoming environment. Invitations to follow-on activities will allow these families to meet more people and provide natural opportunities to talk about the benefits of scouting or address any questions they may have about the program.
Folks are drawn to Scouting because of what the program has to offer our youths. During a Join Scouting Night at your local elementary school, parents who stop for pack information already have a positive impression about the Scouting program. It’s a matter of providing key information on cost, logistics and benefits of participating that convinces the family to join. The pack committee should also provide a calendar of all activities for the year. New families appreciate upfront information on how they can participate, especially the amount of time and financial commitment required. Quality programs attract and retain both young scouts and their families, so advance planning and leadership training will go a long way in preparing the unit in Growing Scouting.
Given the membership challenges we are facing with Scouting across the board, it’s time to utilize all forms of communication to share Scouting accomplishments this summer. It’s time to let our friends and neighbors know that youths are coming back to the outdoors and experiencing great adventures with their units. Units are starting up again this fall and all new scouts are welcomed. Utilize social media, emails, and word of mouth to invite potential youths. Share all the great program activities your unit has to offer this coming year and introduce them to the leadership team who will be guiding them through all these fun activities.
Program support to Growing Scouting entails helping units run fantastic programs that are fun, adventurous, and impactful to the lives of youth. As commissioners, let’s make sure the unit has trained leadership, informed unit committees, available resources, and positive unit health overall. Deficiency in any one of these areas will affect the quality of the programs that unit offers. Now is the time to revisit JTE performance and identify goals to improve unit health. Let’s get our units ready to bring in more Scouts when they all return back to school in the Fall.