July 2006 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue
| Volume 12, Issue 12
August 2006 Theme
Theme: Scouting It Out
Naturalist & Forester
Tiger Cub Activities
Your Recruiting Night - Your Most Important Event
Bill Smith, the Roundtable Guy
Your September Recruiting Night might be the most important event of the year. Plan it well.
Your pack’s future may well depend on how successfully you can make things happen. Not only is it vital to recruit new boys and their families, but also what kind of leadership and adult help will you attract. Bob Untch, one of Cub Scouting’s greatest National Directors, used to tell us to concentrate on recruiting den leaders rather than boys. Get the DL first and the boys will come.
DISTRICT AND COUNCIL HELP. Check with your DE and District Roundup Coordinator. They should have packets of things like flyers, posters, yard signs, Parent Guides, New Leader Guides and Bobcat Trail pamphlets for you. Get a good supply and be ready to use all of it. The district may also supply some human help like the DE going into the school and doing a rah-rah talk to the kids, great, but one of the parents from the school should set it up and be there too (preferably in Scout uniform.) In August, your district may hold a Roundup kick-off. Be sure to attend with some of your key helpers.
Make sure that your uniforms, flags, banners etc. are seen. Remember there probably is a sizable Home School population in your area. Typically they favor Scouting. Let them know you exist.
START PLANNING NOW.State your objective: hopefully to recruit DL's and other leaders. Collect your resources: get commitments from every leader in the pack to be there. Delegate jobs like:
- Putting up posters and yard signs – This may be vital if you lack good access to schools.
- Greeters at the door – First impressions can make the difference.
- Entertaining the kids while …….
- The most persuasive person in your pack sells the program to the parents.
- Displays of pinewood derbies, etc. and especially camp photos.
- Create a Power Point presentation of your activities, that's a winner.
- Check for help from neighborhood Scout troops.
Don't wait to get these things lined up. Do it now!
MAKE AN ACTIVITY SCHEDULE. Get your annual plan down on paper and have copies on hand for your recruiting night. Hopefully it includes all sorts of neat activities. Have a budget so you can inform parents what it's going to cost them.
RECRUITING FLYERS. If you can distribute flyers, give some thought on what you want printed on them. Certainly the time and place of your pack's recruiting night, phone numbers and email in case they can't make it. How about registration fees, leader's names, program highlights? What do you think your neighbors will want to know before they show up? Your council may even print your message on the flyers if you have the copy ready when your order them.
LOOK SHARP. On your recruiting night, try to look well organized. Have the room set up well in advance. Everybody should know their roles and be on hand a bit early. When the new folk arrive, they should be greeted at the door or even in the parking lot. Give them registration forms, and other handouts and have them sit by grades so you can easily form dens later. Be ready for one parent to show up with kids in more than one grade. Be ready for siblings of all ages. Start things off with a stirring flag ceremony. A Webelos den or perhaps a Boy Scout patrol.
Pull out all stops. It's your first impression. You may want to do a couple fun sparklers to get things rolling, especially if you have a good song leader or cheer master in your pack. Tell them about your program. I have seen Webelos do great jobs reporting on summer camp and other activities.
If possible separate the kids from the parents and then sell the program to the adults. Don't be negative. Sell the values of the program. Sell the ideals, core values and Character Connections. I strongly believe that most parents love their kids and are willing to put out a lot of time and effort it they believe your program is worth it. Show them that it is. Let them know that everyone will be asked to help and that you expect them to say yes. Tell them about support like training and literature.
Make sure that every parent there reads and understands that PARENT AGREEMENT on the second page of the boy’s Application To Join The Pack. Remind them that by signing the boy’s application, they are promising to:
- Work with their son in his Tiger, Wolf or Bear Book,
- Attend meetings and activities, depending on the level of the program, and
- Helping pack leaders when asked.
This is not meant as an idle promise. Really mean it.
FULFILL THE PROMISE. Make sure that before the evening is over, both boys and adults are invited to some special activity. Many councils runs special open house programs at their Cub Camps in October just for new recruits. The kids come and shoot bows and arrows and bb-guns and other stuff and the parents stand around and gawk. Why not a pack campout? We promised those kids that Cub Scouting is fun and adventure, let's make sure they get some as soon as possible.
COMPLETE THE PAPER WORK. Before they leave collect registration forms and money. Turn it in as soon as possible so that each boy is covered by your pack insurance and starts getting his Boy's Life on time. Do follow up calls to those who didn't make it.
Minsi Trails Council of Lehigh Valley, PA has a great list of downloadable resources at:
Pacific Skyline Council has some very practicable tips at:
Geoff Blaesing, Membership Committee Chair of Potawatamie Council, Wisconsin has Tips for Successful Cub Scout Recruiting at:
Remember for your new leaders – Fast Start training and Youth Protection training is available on-line -
Fast Start training -- http://www.scouting.org/cubscouts/faststart/
Youth Protection Online -- http://www.scouting.org/pubs/ypt/ypt.jsp
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