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Scout Recruiting At A Parade

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  • Scout Recruiting At A Parade

    Scouts, packs and troops participate in a 4th of July Parade each year. This year I decided to see what I could do about using the parade as a recruiting vehicle for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

    The council printed up 500 copies of a simple flyer I could use. Each flyer was a quarter of an 8x11" sheet. It contained a simple invitation to join Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts and provided the website as a way of locating a Scout unit.

    Secondarily, it supplied my name, phone number and e-mail address as the district membership chair with an invitation for people to contact me for help finding a unit.

    I recruited Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts to hand out leaflets and invite people to join Scouting.

    I also did my own pitch on one side of the parade route to evry boy of Scouting age as I went along. My usual pitch was to ask boys if they would like to go hiking and camping, and secondarily if they would like to shoot BBguns and bows and arrows.

    Older boys I asked if they'd like to go backpacking and bicycle camping with the Boy Scouts.

    Usually the parents were right there to hear the pitch as well, especially for Cub Scout age boys.

    We distributed about 250 of the flyers during the parade. The rest I will use for other recruiting activities as needed.

    No calls yet.

    Anyone else use parades for recruiting? If so, what methods do you use?

  • #2
    IMHO, you will not see many new scouts directly from parades.

    BUT BUT BUT ... IMHO ... they are extremely important to visibility and perception of scouting in the communitty. People who attend parades are exactly the population you'd see putting their kids in scouts. I wish every unit would own a parade and then get as many scouts from all the local units to appear in the parade. It's like that old Fred McMurray image of scouting. I think people crave for their sons to be in something resembling the innocence of the past.


    • #3
      It may work.. Give you credit for trying..

      My son went to a parade yesterday, and came home a little miffed. While the cubbies were all dressed in class A's and looking spiff.. The boyscouts had only one boy in his class A's and the rest marched in their class B's..


      • #4
        Don't sweat the class b's, they won't slow recruiting. The boys will just have fewer pockets in which to put the ladies phone #s!


        • #5
          We handed out about 350 postcard size recruiting flyers at a 4th of July parade in a town that did not have any scouting groups years ago while my son was in cubs. There were a couple of scouts from that town that were part of scout packs about 12 miles away, but not many.

          After handing out all of our flyers, we waiting for people to call or show up at our recruiting nights, but got zero response.

          Maybe since most parade participants throw out candy, we should have included this on our flyers:

          "In order the pick up the candy the scouts would have thrown to the crowds, please visit us with your scout age son on recruiting night"


          • #6
            In regards to " Activity Uniforms" ( ok gonna be the smart alecky Uniform Police )
            I hope that A) everyone has the same one and B) they have a big old Boy Scout, Sea Scout, Cub Scout, or Venturing logo on the shirt.

            I know of one unit that switched shirt designs and colors, and about 1/3 of the unit still has the old shirts.

            And my troop growing up had a new shirt every single year. PLC picked the color shirt, used the same logo, just added a year underneath the logo.


            • #7
              Recruiting is like fishing......Ya never know till you throw the line in.

              I wouldn't think it would be very successful, but heck, why not.

              Now if ya had a bunch of guys on MT. Bikes doin tricks, boy scouts with packs and climbing gear...Ya may have made a sale.


              • #8
                I think the parade is a good thing but it indirectly affects recruiting. Plants the seeds in some boys that scouts might be cool. They pester their parents and sometime later might make a move. Make sure your unit number is visible in the media--we used to have a parent push out press releases on a regular basis. Get your Troop put in the news enough you get perceived as a "good unit".


                • #9
                  It occurs to me that, as far as recruiting for Boy Scouts at a parade, folks might be more successful if the lads weren't wearing the "Class A's" but instead were wearing t-shirts with the logo, troop number, and a silohuette of a Scout wearing a helmet and climbing a rope up a rock wall. Alternatively, a troop of Scouts wearing an 'activity uniform' while wearing backpacks and using walking sticks would be even more impressive, I would think, to the target audience.


                  • #10
                    Maybe a color guard in class "A", followed by a group of boys dressed as Hikers, climbers, kayakers, etc. Kinda hit both worlds. The adventure theme for the boys and the uniform for the parents.


                    • #11
                      We handed out fliers at our 4th of July Parade yesterday. Maybe even the same one you were at SP?

                      We have done this every year since I have been in this pack, and from hearing about it, for as long as anybody can remember. we gave out a bunch of fliers, but usually don't get much of a response. we had better fliers this year though. we did give out about 4000 pieces of candy though.


                      • #12
                        It's said that you need 6-8 "touches" to make a sale. Consider the parade one touch, and if you get them to take a flyer home, a second touch (if they look at it again before recycling it). Summer plans are set, but they will reconsider in the fall.

                        Make sure your flyer is for _you_, either with a contact, website, or other "google-able" reference to pack/troop number. People want to join the group they just saw go by, not some random address-located reference point.

                        If a parent specifically asks for the "more information" flyer, give them 2-3 for their friends (but if they are just accepting it as a courtesy, just give them one.)


                        • #13
                          Still no contacts as a result of the flyers yesterday.

                          As other noted, I wouldn't expect it to be a hugely effective method. But it does wave the flag and it helps to carry out my general objective as district membership chair to invite every boy of Scouting age to join Scouting.

                          The nicest thing for me is that I was recognized by boys or parents watching the parade forty or more times. Some were folks who've been in units I've been associated with. Others are boys who see me in their schools doing recruiting in the spring and fall.

                          The other nice thing is the warm reception I always got from those watching the parade. I could pretty much always elicit an interest in hiking, camping, shooting BB Guns and bows and arrows from boys. And parents always gave me a smiling reception when I importuned their children. That can't hurt.

                          My favorite interaction was when I was being passed by a car bearing some ancient veterans of the nation's wars. When I asked one old Vet if he had been in Boy Scouts as a youth, he replied in the affirmative with enthusiasm and recalled some of his Scouting experiences.

                          It is very nice to tap into that deep well of support for Scouting which still dwells in the hearts of Americans.


                          • #14
                            We handed out flyers at our parade as well. Invited all 6 local packs to be on the float with us, only two were there.

                            Oh well, we listed contact information for all 6 packs on the fliers, and the DE's contact info for people who came from a bit farther away.


                            • #15
                              We march in a parade as well. Exposure if nothing else. Our council had a fishing derby in May. Handed out 3500 flyers in school. Had 9 kids show up including mine. I try to wear a camp shirt and have recuited from that as well. All you need is few and you never know when and where they will come from!