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  • #16
    Find a neighbor who is friendly to scouting and lives across the street from the school. Set up a couple tents and a banner during school pick up. Do it at a couple friendly churches as well.

    You definitely have to incentify the boys to recruit.

    Makes me appreciative of our schools and the fact they let us flyer and generally do boy talks.


    • #17
      I know why a lot of the school stopped sending home flyers.
      Most of the people who drop off flyers drop off a pile of flyers, say 700 of em. Then the school staff has to sort them into piles counting out each one. if they have enough school volunteers to do the work, fine, but when they don't have any volunteers or time, it uses up a lot of staff time.

      And then there is the issue of who do you allow to send home flyers? every tom dick and harry? every sports league? every youth group? There really are quite a few different groups that want to send home flyers nowadays, fills the teacher's boxes up.

      anyway, at our schools if I show up with the flyers already sorted with enough for each classroom teacher, for all the grades 1st thru 5th, the school secretary sighs with relief and I ask do you want me to put them into the teacher' boxes for you too? and they say YES!

      and then I ask if there is anything else I can do for them. sometimes I sort out all the sports flyers into stacks for each classroom and spend an hour of time. It's worth it to keep a good relationship with the secretary of the schools--but I recruit from 13 different schools so putting in an hour helpin each one can use up a couple days of my time. eh?


      • #18
        Baden P writes,

        "Have you tried talking to your DE about approaching the schools for you? It was one of my duties as a DE to talk to school administrators each year so the volunteers or I could set up a display table at lunch or after school and pass out flyers. The DE represents the National BSA and school leaders were always open to talking with me. In some schools I had my GSUSA counterpart with me and the schools allowed us to actually hold an assembly just before lunch where the kids could see and touch some of the equipment, crafts,PWD cars, badges, etc. that they would earn as scouts.

        I know times have changed with schools but with the right people initially approaching the school you might be surprised at the results. In my five years as a DE all the school districts were open to us at the beginning of each year. It should NOT be all on the volunteers shoulders in talking to schools. "

        Not in MY neck of the woods !! The ONLY people local PUBLIC schools will even interact with anymore are VOLUNTEERS !! You show up as a pro-scouter and state you are representing national, and you're likely to be disinvited from campus, followed by an earful from any and all school administrators regarding BSA's recent "reaffirmation" regarding their policy stance on joining requirements.

        My son's grade school has a principle that is in a "non-traditional" relationship. He still allows the unit to use school grounds to meet, and even lets us do a recruit booth at back to school night. I have a very good rapport with him and if someone showed up stating they represent national or national's views, he'd likely call the cops to have them removed from his campus!! He, unlike BSA understands the difference between scouting at the unit level and national's misguided, prejudiced policies...

        DE shows up, CE shows up - they're gonna get the whole unit booted off campus - period.

        The pros made their policy bed - now they can sleep in it... thankfully, some more open minded vols and open minded school admin. see the benefit of keeping scouting availible to youth despite nearsighted national policy.

        I would NEVER claim to represent national scouting at a public school facility in SoCal... you're just asking for trouble (and an uninvite).


        • #19

          I hear what you are saying but you are just one individual scouter in one council and in one school district which does not reflect the nation as a whole. Recent events over the last few years I am sure have changed things some what, but you are not in a position to talk for all school districts in the nation. I was relaying what worked very well for me and my volunteers in two districts from 1987 thru 1992 in Northern California. Your tirade while based on your own personal experience really does not speak for all the country, does it.


          • #20
            What we could do a few short years ago, is certainly different than what we can do in schools today.
            But to compare what worked in the 80's and 90's to today is ridiculous.

            Sooooo much has changed in the acceptance of outside visitors into the schools and classrooms. Many schools do not allow ANY volunteers inside the school unless they've passed a school background check and have been fingerprinted.


            • #21

              I hear what you are saying, but folks at national and pros of all ranks at the council level NEED to here this. They NEED to understand and appreciate WHAT the national stance on addimitance DOES to units at least at SOME of the local levels.

              You can debate the merit of the policy all you want, but the truth of the matter is national's policy DOES cause trouble for local units, and not just in the liberal area(s) like California.

              I will not be quiet and I will not stand down until BSA changes its policy. While I do not agree with the "lifestyle", I neither agree with discrimination. It needs to be a mutual respect to agree to disagree with all youth welcomed into scouting.

              If our generation fails this - I am convinced there will not be a 200th anniversary of scouting. The BSA will die at its own hand in the next generation. Our children will not tolerate the policy as it now stands. The failed policy will accomplish what the Great Depression, two world wars, and countless other national and societal challenges could not - the end of BSA. Why? Because we will render ourselves obsolete to the youth we strive to serve.



              • #22
                "Send home flyers" by non-school groups have been banned in our school district for as long as my kids have been in school.

                The schools maintain a kiosk in the offices, in which flyers from District-approved groups can be placed.

                You have to submit the flyer and an application to the District, who then approve or disapprove it before you can put the flyers in the school.

                Of course, there is still a big bias for Scouts. Scouts get to use the school facilities for only the cost of the lights and the janitor. ($20/meeting)

                Youth sports programs however, cost three times that.


                • #23

                  Many so called youth experts and many scouters feel that the BSA has already become obsolete, and they quote ever shrinking numbers of members and units to prove it. IMO the main cause is that the BSA has long ago gotten away from their roots and replaced it with a weak, poorly thought out program that is too "classroom based and school like". Recruiting nights failing, units failing and membership shrinking can be directly linked to the BSA not really offering anything unique activity wise, a false notion that boys today do not like or are drawn to the outdoors anymore, a growing number of lazy and poorly trained leaders who have never camped in their lives and have no intention in ever learning any outdoor skills.

                  You ask any ex scout why they left scouting and the answer is usually "because it was boring and not any fun, and we never got outdoors enough." Our crew is constantly getting 12 and 13 year old boy scouts asking to join us because their troops programs are mostly indoor activities and rarely do they get to experience anything outdoors. After going to Boy Scout RT's in our district and council I understand what these boys are talking about, the era of the "couch potato scoutmasters" has arrived in our council, and our ever dwindling numbers of troops and boy scouts just proves that the BSA has really lost touch with our youth.


                  • #24


                    • #25
                      With my appologies to the OP for pulling this thread more off topic...

                      Yes, BP and SP, I agree with your assesment regarding classrom vs. outdoor adventure - it is a huge issue.

                      The BIG 4 issues I see affecting BSA enrollment and retention:

                      1) Lack of recruitment access, due to many factors. However, mostly due to school's increased policy regulating who and what can be sent home or who can come on campus. This is aggrivated by BSA's recent reaffirmation of its non-inclusive membership policies. This leaves civic organizations and churches as places to recruit.

                      2) Lack of quality ADVENTURE program. Too much classroom, "discuss, explain,.." and too little "do, show, build...". This is partly due to laziness of leaders at many levels, some of it is due to fear of litigation with activities that once were deemed OK, but are now off limits. Some is even due to well intentioned program additions such as LNT. Can't have 50 boys cutting down branches to build survival shelters for a weekend campout... not really LNT, is it? Don't get me started on no trenching around a tent when camping in the rain... of actually building the pioneering latrine with an earth trench dug under it for a campout - not gonna happen.

                      3) Paperwork / training - while most of this is good - I wonder what its going to be like for the next generation of leaders. In speaking with my father (who was an ASM for me as a boy), he can't believe the amount of crap paperwork (tour permit, health forms, talent release form, permission slip, shooting sports form) required to take the kids on a simple one weekend campout! I generation ago, it was a background check for adults and a signed permission slip for the boy. if the slip was signed, he was cleared to swim, shoot, pioneering, whatever they unit was doing that weekend!! The paperwork is a choke point and some units just avoid outings (or dumb them down) because its too much of a hassle, might as well have a "lock in" at the church.

                      The training issue is a big one too. Hard to get "certified" adult leaders when almost every month national comes out with a new webinar that MUST be redone every two years or the council won't sign off on the tour permit. Has this made scouts safer? I don't know. I do KNOW it makes adults reluctant to volunteer because they barely have time to devote to the unit. They do NOT have time for BALOO, IOLS, God forbid Woodbadge when most if not all are just checking the box coursework that really does very little to near nothing to increase safety OR the adult's knowledge base on the subject being taught.

                      4) THE BIG ONE - Finally, fear of litigation has paralized the ADVENTURE of scouting and relagated 95% of it to car camping, hiking, and in rare cases watercraft. No red wagons, no pioneering projects above 6 feet, no rope bridges over water features, fire restrictions, no lazer tag / no paintball, NO PATROL CAMPING WITHOUT ADULT SUPERVISION - heck no patrol ANYTHING with just the PL in charge... all equals an adventure that SUCKS and the youth KNOW it. Maybe not when they join, but they figure it out REAL fast by the age of about 14. Once they go on family vacation and go skiing behind a powerboat (or get to drive the powerboat). Go inter tubbing and white water rafting in currents G2SS does not allow. They go to the climbing gym and go beyond G2SS allowed levels in they're first two visits. They go to the range with their friends / parents and shoot AR type weapons / handguns / etc... some shoot crossbows - all a big No No in BSA land. Same with lazer tag, paintball, or airsoft wars.

                      Around here - many go to the desert and are driving ATV's or dirt bikes for recreation or even racing by the time they are 12-14. Very hard to complete when BSA won't let a kid TOUCH anything motorized (save maybe a pilot program with PWC's in a very few select councils).

                      I'm not suggesting that BSA throw caution to the wind and open up everything with little to no oversight - BUT we have to be realistic with what we are competing with.

                      Our brand of "adventure" is hard to stack up against, ATV's, dirt bikes, contact football, Lacrosse, the miriad of martial arts now offered, hunting, etc... all of those things are big draws to the youth we serve, but all are off limits in a BSA program.

                      I think back to when I quit scouting as a youth... it was because I had discovered more "daring" things in life... Why when I camped with my family, I could drive the boat and tow my sister skiing, but at BSA I got a canoe or row boat? How come we could take the motorcross bike camping with us as a family, but at the same state campground on a scout outing, it wasn't allowed? How come on a winter campout with my dad (and my scoutmaster at the time), we could bow hunt wild turkey the entire weekend with compound bows and broadtip arrows. BSA camp we could shoot archery with a recurve at paper targets - Yea!

                      I wish I had stuck it out and made Eagle, but I also understand why I did not. You factor in the above and add on to it the fact I discovered that females had boobs at about the same time in life... forget it - it was over. I was on to bigger and what I percieved to be better things at the time.


                      • #26
                        We find out the dates of "open house" or "meet the teacher" nights of 3 elementary schools and we go there in person, set up a small table with information, applications, and flyers. We secure the permission of the principals beforehand. We usually get a good response with interested folks taking applications and giving them the date of our next pack meeting. By far this our most effective way of recruiting. By my estimate, we signed-up about 15 boys using this method.

                        Blindly sending out flyers to the boys does not work well for us - the schools have too many restrictions on how this is be done so we avoid that hassle. Face time with parents is most effective.


                        • #27
                          "...I think back to when I quit scouting as a youth... it was because I had discovered more "daring" things in life... Why when I camped with my family, I could drive the boat and tow my sister skiing, but at BSA I got a canoe or row boat? How come we could take the motorcross bike camping with us as a family, but at the same state campground on a scout outing, it wasn't allowed? How come on a winter campout with my dad (and my scoutmaster at the time), we could bow hunt wild turkey the entire weekend with compound bows and broadtip arrows. BSA camp we could shoot archery with a recurve at paper targets - Yea!.. "

                          Yes, we need to get outdoors because that's what the boys want and what I enjoy as well. However, the motorboating, motorcrosss, and hunting experiences and skills described above are not typical for the average boy and adult. Camps can provide some of these, especially motorboating, but under a controlled environment so the boys can be allowed to safely learn something new. Can you imagine scouts being allowed to drive a motorboat with no experience or training? As a Cubmaster, I love the outdoors, but I can tell you that a scout becoming seriously injured is not something I want on my watch. The parents would appreciate my position as well. Once a serious injury occurs, the fun is over for everyone.

                          You can go outdoors, have a great time, and be safe.(This message has been edited by Jeffrey H)


                          • #28
                            jeffrey H-

                            I agree completely... However, the pendulum of "safety" has swung so far to one side that we might as well bubble wrap the kids and only let them look at pictures of outdoor adventures...

                            When little red wagons and squirt gun water fights are off limits, something is far amiss in the "keeping kids safe" category, IMHO...



                            • #29
                              Our school still allows fliers, a table at back to school night, but that's a parents only night. And we can speak at back to school night.
                              And we are a one school pack. It's hit or miss. two years ago, 13 tigers. last year, 1 tiger, this year 12 tigers and 4 wolf's.

                              The one thing I think about the idea of having kids invite a buddy from their class doesn't help that much when it's brand new 1st graders you are trying to recruit.

                              We are also still an odd pack, still sponsored by the PTA.