Archive for the ‘recruitement’ Category

I recently wrote an article about recruiting parents to become involved in the pack and troop. I posted an interesting talk I found called the “adding machine tape presentation”. I decided to use it during the Pack’s recruitment drive and recorded it. I was surprised to see how well it worked to get the parents to think about their time with their boys. Click HERE if you would like to read the presentation.

As today’s post to the Melrose Scout Production Podcast, I submit the “Adding Machine Tape Presentation”. Have you used this in your own Pack or Troop? If you have, how did parents receive it?

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    Thursday evening the pack (and troop) are holding a Night To Join Scouting at the local elementary school. The pack currently only has three members so this will be a critical meeting for the future of the pack. Our district commissioner has been to the schools to talk to the boys, and we have placed an ad about the meeting in the newspaper. A couple of the banks/credit unions are also promoting the meeting on their outdoor marquees.

    I plan to attend the meeting in case any Boy Scout age boys show up. I also want to talk to the parents about accepting a leadership role in the pack. One of the favorite talks I have come across is the Adding Machine Tape Demonstration for adult recruiting. I plan to use it this year. Here is how it goes:

    You need an 8-10 foot long piece of adding machine or calculator tape. Mark off the tape in ten year increments with 0 at the left end and 100 at the right. Use large numbers so parents can see from the audience. Roll the tape back up, so that the 100 is in the center of the roll. For the presentation you will need two helpers to hold the tape in front of you so you can point at various points on the tape.

    Start out saying:
    With the current advances in medical technology it’s very likely that your son will live about 100 years.
    (Have your helpers unroll the tape in front of you, so the whole time line is visible.) “Here’s a time line of his life.”

    If you’re 35 now, statistically, you’ll likely live until you’re 75 or so, when your son will be about 50.(Rip the tape off at the 1/2 way point and hand the end to your helper. Let the other half fall to the floor — very important dramatic effect). “This represents the years you and your son will have together in his lifetime.”

    “And he’s probably about 8 or 9 now.” (Rip of the tape slightly below 10 and let that piece fall to the floor. Hand the end to your helper). So here’s the time you have left together.

    How old do you suppose your son will be when he goes away to college (or you decide its time for him to be out on his own)? 18 – 20? (Rip off the tape someplace in this vicinity. Let that chunk fall to the floor. Hand the end to your helper). This is the amount of time you have left with him at home.

    When he’s about 13 – middle school age – his friends start to become a much bigger, maybe the major, influence in his life.” (If you can – assuming you have teenager – make a comment about how you know this from experience.) (Rip off the tape someplace in this vicinity. Let that chunk fall to the floor. Hand the end to your helper).

    (Take the very short piece of tape from your helpers and hold in it front of you, and thank your helpers.)

    “This is the time you have left to be the major shaping force in your son’s life. You can show him how important he is to you by becoming involved in Scouting with him. Scouting is a remarkable opportunity for you and your son to share a great variety of fun, exciting and positive experiences.
    Experiences that give you that opportunity to help him grow into an adult that you’ll be proud to point to and say: ‘That’s my son – he’s a good person.'”

    (Go on to talk about volunteer opportunities in your unit and how parents can participate in them.)

    So, what do you think about this presentation?

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      Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 held a recruitment drive in the city park last Saturday, May 9th. We had a model campsite set up, dutch oven deserts prepared, and the council’s bouldering wall for the boys to climb. Seven of our nine Boy Scouts where on hand to assist. Even the Cub Scout Pack had a couple parents and Cubs on hand.

      The troop had advertised the event. We handed out flyers at the schools, set up displays and posters around town, and listed the event in the local newspapers and the local television stations. The cities banks and credit union even placed a note about it on the outdoor marquees. We thought we had done a good job of covering all the bases to get the word out…

      But no one showed up. Well, let me rephrase that. There was one first grader who checked things out, but not one boy of Boy Scout age choose to check out the program.

      The troop has nine Boy Scouts. One will be leaving in August when he turns 18 years old. Another is thinking about dropping out of Scouting. Currently, our youngest Scout is 13 years old.

      The Pack is in even worse shape with only seven members. Only one of them is a second year Webelos Scout. If something does not change soon, the Cub Pack will die out. And the troop will soon follow.

      We have tried many ideas over the last several years to get boys and families involved in Scouting with minimal success. It is very frustrating, especially considering that ten years ago we had a strong troop with nearly 40 members.

      Oh well, this recruitment drive is over, and it was a bust. The troop will now concentrate on its summer program. Hopefully, we will have better luck in the fall or Scouts in Melrose will become an endangered species.

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        That is the slogan Boy Scout Troop 68 will be using during a spring recruitment drive to be held on Saturday, May 9th. The Boy Scouts, troop leadership, and committee are planning an afternoon of fun at the city park to introduce new boys and their parents to the adventure of Scouting.

        The troop plans to have five areas of activity, four for the boys and one for the parents. The parents’ area is actually a place for the committee to talk to parents about the Scouting program and what it has to offer their families.

        The four boy areas are designed to introduce the new boys to the fun Scouting has to offer. One area will be a model campsite at which boys will have the chance to set up a tent. The second area will feature fire building and fire safety. (What boy doesn’t like to sit near a fire?) The third area will feature dutch oven cooking. Boys will be able to help make various dishes and then eat them.

        The fourth station is the biggest. We will be setting up the council’s bouldering wall on which the boys will climb horizontally instead of vertically. We expect this to be the big draw that brings the boys down to the park.

        The Cub Pack is also hoping to organize a station to talk to boys and their parents about the Cub Scout program. We are hoping they are able to get their leadership together for this event. The Pack could use more Scouts just as much as the troop does.

        The troop plans to advertise the event pretty heavily through all the free ways we can think of. We have created our own flyers which will be going to the three elementary schools in the area. The flyers were sketched by me and feature pictures of the four activities. (See the picture with this article.) A local business created the final version and printed 300 copies for us at a very reasonable price.

        The troop also plans to get press releases out to the local weekly newspapers and the local television stations. We will also contact the banks and credit unions to get a notice run on their outdoor marquees. Posters will be placed around town and we hope to get a few large banners to place across the school, at the local grocery store, and on the fence along the park.

        I really hope all this effort will pay off. I would hate to see all this work being done and then only see a couple boys show up. I will keep you posted to how things turn out.

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          Another annual fall “School Night To Join Scouting” has come and gone but this year was a little different then the past few years. The pack did well with new membership and recruiting new leadership.

          The cubmaster and I (the scoutmaster) really tried to get the word out this year, as you may have read about in an earlier blog entry. A dozen new boys joined the pack so I guess the promotion work paid off. If all the previous year’s membership returns the the pack should have a couple dozen members.

          The thing that pleasantly surprised us is that all the pack’s leadership and committee positions were filled that night! This is the first time in a few years that this has happened. The trick will be to get these new leaders through Fast Start training and start attending roundtables.

          I owe the part of the success of the leadership drive to Mr. Bob of the Akela’s Adventure podcast. On one of his episodes he spoke of a recruitment pitch he used recently that worked very well in his pack. I emailed him for a copy of the scenario and after reading it decided it was worth giving it a try. Little did I know it would work as well as it did.

          During the presentation I put the new cubmaster on the spot. He did not know what I had planned until I started sticking a lot of three by five cards onto his shirt listing the various jobs and duties he has within his family, and then added more showing what he does for the troop. I also added a card for every leadership and committee position that needed to be filled. He was a good sport and played along with the presentation. He was quite pleased to have a full committee by the end of the presentation. Especially since he really did not have a committee at the start of the meeting.

          While the school night was a success for the Cub Pack it did not go well for Boy Scout recruitment. Not one boy of Boy Scout age (other then a couple of Scouts who were there to help out) showed up at the meeting. Oh well, hopefully the pack will be able to hold on to its members long enough to graduate the boys into Boy Scouting. Then the evening will have been worthwhile for the troop.

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            Here are a few interesting facts about the Boy Scouts of America. As of December 31, 2005, the total membership of Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts was at 943,426 young men, nearly one million strong. The were 50,996 Boy Scout troops and Varsity teams. There were 543,971 registered adult volunteers.

            Think about that for a moment. Over one half of a million adults in this country believed in the ideals, spirit, and goals of Boy Scouting so much that they were willing to give their time to help the BSA accomplish its goals to our young men. That is quite a statement.

            So, what are the goals of the Boy Scouts of America? The BSA was incorporated in 1910 to provide a program that offers effective character, citizenship, and personal fitness training to our boys and young men. To quote the official BSA website (, “…the BSA endeavors to develop American citizens who are physically, mentally, and emotionally fit; have a high degree of self-reliance as evidenced in such qualities as initiative, courage, and resourcefulness; have personal values based on religious concepts; have the desire and skills to help others; understand the principles of the American social, economic, and governmental systems; are knowledgeable about and take pride in their American heritage and understand our nation’s role in the world; have a keen respect for the basic rights of all people; and are prepared to participate in and give leadership to American society.”

            That is an ambitious set of goals for any organization to meet, especially one that has been designed for boys. The BSA has been accomplishing these ideals for over 97 years. The organization is able to meet these goals through eight methods: Ideals (the Scout Oath, Law, Slogan, and Motto), Patrols, Outdoor program, Advancement, Association with adults, Personal growth, Leadership development, and the Uniform.

            Many of the half million adults are parents of Scouts who wish want their boys to get the best experience out of their local Scouting unit. There are many more adults who do not have sons involved in the program. They are college students, middle age workers, retirees, single and married. They come from all walks of life.

            On Tuesday, September 25, Cub Scout Pack 68 and Boy Scout Troop 68 of Melrose will be holding their annual fall “School Night To Join Scouting”. This meeting will begin at 7:00 pm at the Melrose High School Cafeteria. Boys in the first grade through fifth grade are invited to join the Cub Scout Pack. Boys in sixth grade or higher are invited to join the Boy Scout Troop. Boys must be accompanied by a parent.

            So… Why not Scouting? Why not enroll your son in a program that has over 95 years of experience in helping our boys and young men develop into tomorrow’s outstanding citizens? And have fun while they are doing it! We hope to see you and your son at School Night To Join Scouting on Tuesday, September 25th.

            (This is an article that was sent to our local newspapers to promote School Night.)

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              Our troop and pack will be holding the annual fall “School Night To Join Scouting” just as many troops and packs around the country will be doing. It’s like, you know, a tradition or something.

              The cubmaster and I (the scoutmaster) have already spoke on the phone a few times coming up with ideas to get the word out to both the boys and their parents. Here are a few of the ideas that we came up with. If you have other ideas I would like to hear them also.

              School Visits – Since the cubmaster and I have full time jobs that would make this hard to do we leave this up to the district executive. He goes to the elementary schools and talks to the boys about Scouting. (My gripe is that he concentrates on Cub Scouting, and not much about Boy Scouting.) Unfortunately, not every school in the area will allow him to talk to the boys. Would you believe the Catholic school will not let anyone in to talk about Scouting? The D.E. will hand out flyers for the boys to take home to their parents.

              Posters – Another part of the plan is to get posters displayed in the school and around town. The posters in school are to remind the boys. The posters around town are to remind the parents. Banks, credit unions, grocery stores, and other popular places of business would be good places for posters.

              Newspapers – There are three local weekly newspapers found in our area. All of them would be happy for us to place an ad, of course, but that would have a cost with it. Luckily, they all except stories about Scouting if we take the time to write them. They will print articles at no charge. Add a picture to the article and I think it would attract as much, if not more, attention then an ad would.

              Yard Signs – I have collected several yard signs for School Night overs the years. They are sort of generic and do not have a date on them. The trick will be to place them in strategic places around town, high traffic areas.

              Church Bulletins – By putting a short, simple note in local church bulletins we can reach hundreds of families… for free!

              Mailings – Yes, we could mail a flyer to each family in the area with a Scout-age boy, that it is expensive and time consuming. The troop tried it several years ago. We were not pleased with the result of our efforts.

              Community Access Television – We regularly make use of our local access television station. We video tape out courts of honor and other Scouting events to be played on the air. The station also has a bulletin board that plays between programs that lists local meetings and events. We will be sure to get School Night listed on that.

              Bank and Business Marquees – The credit union and both banks have electronic marquees outside of their buildings. We hope that each will agree to place a notice for a few days before School Night.

              Well, there you have it. A few low cost ways to get the word out about School Night to Join Scouting that we intend to employ. I will write an article in a few weeks to let you know how it turns out.

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                We have all heard the slogan, “Outing is half of Scouting”. It is very true, of course. Most boys are in Scouting for the outings. Now, let’s take the last half of Scoutng and apply it to a different word that is equally important – promoting. I think Boy Scouting could use a lot more promoting. Think about it. Membership is down nationally. Councils have a hard time meeting their goals. Many troops are having a hard time recruiting members.

                Promotion is essential for success in today’s world. A business advertises to bring customers through its doors. A new video game is promoted and sells millions of copies. Promotion is done nationally, locally, and even through word of mouth.

                But when do we see Boy Scouting being promoted? Almost never, at least around these parts of the country. However, I see plenty of negative news about the BSA in the newspapers, on the internet, and on the national news. What kind of opinion does the pubic form about Scouting when that is all they see or hear?

                And where is the National BSA during all of this? They seem to be comfortable sitting silently behind their desks in Texas, making the occasional public statement. They need to get out of those padded office chairs and start talking to people working with the boys more often.

                Those of us invovled with the Scouting program know it is one of the best programs available for a young man to belong to. But with all the negative news and stories over the last few years there are now many boys and parents who may have the impression that Scouting is a thing of the past.

                Hogwash! I say. Boy Scouting and its ideals are more important now then ever. But we need to get the word out about it, and what the program offers boys and their families.

                So, who’s job is it to promote Scouting? Most troops and packs do not have the money, people, or skills to do it. I would think it is the council’s responsibility to do local promotions. But it must be the regions and national offices responability to promote Scouting on a larger scale. If they don’t, then who will? The national office needs to promote Boy Scouting in addition to Cub Scouting! I am so sick of seeing so much effort going to the Cubs, and almost nothing going toward the older boy programs. (Unfortunately, if a boy quits during Cub Scouting it is very difficult to get him involved with Boy Scouting.)

                Okay, that is enough of my ranting and raving for now. I welcome welcome your comments and opinions. Do not be afraid to leave a comment.

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