Baloo's Bugle

May 2008 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 14, Issue 10
June 2008 Theme

Theme: Go For The Gold
Webelos: Traveler & Handyman
Tiger Cub Activities


Recruiting Success
Bill Smith, the Roundtable Guy

I know what you’re thinking:

No, Bill, we won’t be recruiting until September. That’s still four months away.

That is exactly my point. You are already late, so you had better start working on it!

Recruiting must come before anything else.  Before program planning, before pack meetings, before den meetings, service projects or outings you have to get the boys and the leaders. Good, solid recruiting is the foundation, upon which, everything else you do as a Cub Scout leader rests. If your recruiting is weak, your whole program for the coming year is built on shifting sand.

There is much that can be done, should be done and must be done if your pack is looking for lots of fun, adventure and success next year. If you haven’t started to plan your Recruiting Drive, start now!

Plan to be Visible

No one is going to show up at your Recruiting Night if they don’t know you exist. Between now and then, get out and be seen. Start your planning by considering the possibilities to be seen by the families you want to recruit.

Think parades on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Where do families in your neighborhood gather in the spring and summer? Be there, in uniform with flags, banners and anything else that tells people who you are and what you stand for. Don’t be shy. We have a fabulous program for them. Let them know about it.

How about holding a picnic in a local park with lots of active games, and a rain gutter regatta. Or host a bicycle rodeo and invite everyone from your neighborhood elementary school. Keep planting the seed that your pack is there, you are active and the boys have fun.

Service projects, sleep-ins at ball parks, museums and other places where you can be seen by local residents all help. A leader recently told us that their pack goes to minor league baseball games where they do the color guard (and they try to pick a night with fireworks.)

Another posted this on Yahoo’s Cub-Scout-Talk forum:We had a very successful recruiting year last year. What we did was on the open house/back to school nights we had a campsite set up that the kids and parents walked by on their way into the school. We set up a tent, some camp chairs, had some boys in their uniforms, a fake campfire, the works. It got a lot of attention. Then at the beginning of the open house we led a flag ceremony. Our school also has various vendors (PTA, school fundraiser companies, scouts) set up in the cafeteria. This is where we placed our sign up table. On our table we had literature as well as some pinewood derby cars, pictures, scrapbooks, brag rags, you name it-- things to get the attention of the boys. Last year was the first year we did the opening and camp set up and our recruiting more than doubled.

This all didn’t happen by accident. There were excellent leaders and committee members who planned it and then worked hard to make it happen.

And, of course you too will need the names of who is going to run each item and bring all those props and displays. Who will promote it and who will do the necessary paperwork? Spread the jobs around. You will need lots of help but it will all be worth it.

Plan to Inform

The Boy Scouts of America has all sort of material to tell the world about us. Your DE should be able to supply you with yard signs, pamphlets, posters and other neat gimmicks. There are good lists at the Cub Scouting Recruiting and Online Resources. There are all sorts of things on those pages that your council can get for you.

Let people know what we are about. Can you get copies of Scouting Magazine and Boy’s life into places where boys and parents may show up. Check out School libraries, waiting rooms in pediatric and orthodontic clinics. You probably have lots of copies around your homes. Share them with your neighbors.

Look for local places and events where you may hand out pamphlets and flyers. I particularly like the Cub Scouting's 12 Core Values (#13-323) and Race to Cub Scouting Recruiting Flyer, No. 34188. Your Council should be able to supply these in quantity for you at no cost.

Another venue is your local Home-Schooling community. I have had wonderful times attending their curriculum fairs and conferences. They generally welcome Scouting and may even permit a Scouting booth. A quick check on Google indicates that strong Home School organizations abound in almost every city.

Plan to Welcome

First Impressions are precious. Don’t waste them. You will want to impress the boys and parents as they arrive. No, more than impress, you really want to astound, bedazzle, dumbfound, and boggle the minds of, all & sundry with electrifying talent, bewildering knowledge, and breathtaking technique.

For some families, their very first introduction to Scouting may be when they walk in the door to your recruiting night. What will they see, how will they feel at that moment? Set your room up to WOW them as they come in. Get well-prepared greeters at the doors, in the hallways and perhaps even out in the parking lot.

Plan to have the greeters ready and waiting for them. The newcomers may not understand what is going to happen or what everyone else is doing there. Point out the displays, help them find  seating and make sure they have all the handouts. Introduce them to a few people and, above all, show them that we give good will and that we help other people

Plan to look Organized

No one wants to board a sinking ship. No matter what state your pack is in, plan to appear like a well-oiled machine running smoothly and efficiently. Everyone will be in proper uniform and everyone following THE PLAN. Have as many uniformed leaders as possible there and helping.

Plan to get Participation

Remember, you are recruiting families, not just boys. Make it plain that we are all volunteers, all parents and we all attend pack meetings and events; we all work with our boys in their Cub Scout Books, and we all pitch into make the pack go. Make sure the parents understand, up front, that the Parent Agreement they sign is important and that they know that they will be asked to help.

Two Comments I read that might help you involve parents in their sons’ Cub Scouting:

Parents can be real experts in the art of excuses; for example: they are too busy right now, the will do something else instead of, they work, they have children, they don’t drive, their car has a flat tire, the guy next door won’t, they’ve never done that sort of thing, their parents didn’t do it, or their spouse won’t let them.  From Three Fires Council.

So be ready to counter with this one:

Imagine a program that can help your son learn, grown, and mature while he is having fun. There are activities in which you and he can participate together with the rest of the family and get to know each other even better. This is exactly what Scouting is. Every activity gives you and your son the chance to discover and share together.      Minsi Trails Council.

What are YOU going to do now?

Be sure to visit Bill’s website to find more ideas on everything Cub Scouting.

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