Join the Excitement, Join Scouting
Growing Scouting is exciting because we can share the fun we have with more youth and impart important lessons along the way. The question is: how can commissioners help leaders grow their units?
Start with – “What makes your unit special compared to other programs competing for young people’s attention?” Shooting sports, campfires, and outdoor adventure are probably some of those things. Then ask, “what makes your unit special compared to other units?” Remember this quote from Lord Baden Powell, the founder of Scouting:
“A fisherman does not bait his hook with food he likes. He uses food the fish likes. So with boys”
Another thing to keep at the top of your mind is the potential Scout’s mom. Moms are generally (but not always) the gatekeepers of their children’s time and activities. You need to help them see why they want their children to join. Be sure that your unit leaders have their “elevator speech” (30 seconds on why a child should join scouting) ready and on the tip of their tongue. The child having fun and being with friends is a big part of the answer, but so are the lifelong values we teach.
Once you help the unit find out why youth would want to join them, and why a mom would want their child to join the movement, you need to help the unit share their story. There are many ways to tell the story; having the Scouts invite their friends to join is one of the most effective. Have the Scouts share the fun they are having; youth always want to join activities with their friends.
Like with the Scouts themselves, talking about Scouting parent to parent is an effective way to reach families. Be sure to explore all the communication channels available to you at schools and organizations: Back to School nights, PTA/PTO meetings, flyers home, Facebook, email, electronic folders, and so many more.
You and your unit leaders are not alone in this effort. Please check out all of the webinars, brochures, and other materials available at Recruitment | Boy Scouts of America (scouting.org).
Remember to have an exciting pack and den meeting the month after your Join Scouting Night – you want Scouts to be on the edge of their seats looking forward to attending. Be sure that you share all the resources families will need in order to start the year off on the right foot.
If Scouts are having fun, and if they are with their friends, you will have a successful program siblings and friends will want to join.