School Night To Join Scouting

on September 7, 2007 in recruitement, Scouting

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.

Thanks for Sharing!

    2 Responses to “School Night To Join Scouting”

    1. Anonymous says:

      Those are all great recruiting ideas. A few thoughts though, if I may.

      School Visits – always great, but not always feasible. With No Child Left Behind, schools are much more reluctant to allow us in to talk. To skirt that, ask to do them over the lunch period or during the last 15 minutes of the day. Those last 15 minutes are a waste of teaching time. Remember, your DE is only one person. If any of your leaders can get the day off, that is helpful. If any of your older/more responsible Scouts can leave school for the day, see if they can come along in uniform. Kids are more likely to follow the cool older kids. During the week, encourage all current members to wear an activity shirt. Day camp, Pack shirt, resident camp, etc. Then on Sign up night wear the Scout Uniform to School. Another great in-school recruiting tool is peer to peer recruiting. Have little Johnny invite little Timmy to come to sign up night. Johnny can pass out invitations to everyone (boys that is). Your DE focuses mostly on the Cub Scouts, because that’s where most of your Boy Scouts come from. As a general rule, if we don’t have them by 6th grade, they’re not going to join. If the Catholic Schools are giving you a hard time, talk to your Catholic Committee on Scouting. There’s someone who can open the door for you. You just need to find them.

      Because this isn’t an election year, it may be a little harder to do, but next year, look for where those political signs grow. Those are key places to put yard signs.

      The mailing idea is not the best way to reach people. Generally if it’s not something expected, or is something that looks like junk mail, it gets pitched. Too much time and money invested for too small of a return.

      It looks like you’re doing just about everything right. Best wishes for your sign up night. Can’t wait to hear how it goes.

    2. Mike says:

      Thanks for sharing some new ideas!

      We set up a table at “Meet the Teacher Night” before school starts and sign up people who might be interested. We also invite them to a dessert social at a local park, one of our annual “back to school” late summer activities, which is after the first day of school but a week or so before School Night. We then call or email people who signed up in advance to remind them about School Night. Finally, we put Cub Scout signs in the school yard the morning of the School Night as a reminder for kids and parents.

      I am able to go in during the lunch hour(s) to invite boys to the School Night. This year, I spent $8 on 120 little Cub Scout stickers from our Scout Shop. I told the boys that if they were interested in joining Scouts, I’d give them a sticker to wear. I told them “When Mom or Dad ask what that sticker is for, tell them to bring you to school tomorrow night to sign up for Cub Scouts!” I ran out of stickers before I ran out of 4th grade boys. We had a record sign-up the next night, and several came because they got stickers. The best $8 investment we’ve made for School Night!

      Yours in Scouting,
      Mike
      Columbia, MO

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