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Tiger Recruitment in Spring

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I recently had some discussions with other District Scouters on the effectiveness of recruiting new Tigers in the Spring. I've listed some of the comments made below.

 

On one side was the chance to get boys involved in time for summer day camp, allow them to participate in the Pack summer time program, let the den get started during the summer months, and get the boys started in Scouting before other activities get going.

 

On the other side were concerns about retention since the Pack programs are not as consistent over the summer and the extra demands placed on Pack leadership by having another focused recruitment period and then supporting the start-up of new Den(s) (just as the "wind-down" starts at the end of the primary scout year).

 

I'd like to get some feedback on how effective it has worked for other Packs who have tried it. What are the key requirements for it to work? Any special techniques you used? If it was not successful, what were the problem areas or concerns? Did most/all of the new Tigers return in the fall? Are you planning on doing it again?

 

Thanks.

 

Mike

 

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We have recruited new tigers specifically for day camp every spring, except for last year. In a pack of approx 30-40 boys we typically got anywhere from 7-12 new tigers who signed up and went to camp. Of those, some parents were very clear that they simply wanted a cheap, accessible introductory day camp experience and that's ok with me. However, probably 70% of the boys who signed up and went to camp with us came back in the fall as part of our pack's regular program. Also, the parents of these boys tended to be fairly willing to get involved as volunteers, once they saw how the cub pack works and what fun we all had at camp together. By the time fall rolled around, these families had already become acclimated to the program, which made getting our regular tiger den up and running much easier.

 

The only downside to having that many new tigers at camp was that these guys are really young and were pretty worn out by the end of the day camp day. So we told their parents that we strongly recommended that the parent - or another adult the boy already knew well - attend day camp too, when possible. At least for the first day. That seemed to work best.

 

Last year, we did not do spring tiger recruiting. The person who was supposed to be in charge didn't carry through and no one knew until it was too late (long story there). Interestingly enough, the pack got very few (3-4) new tigers to sign up in the fall this year and of those who did, the parents were pretty unwilling to take on any responsibilities at all in the pack. So I'm inclined to think that we reached a different population of families with the spring recruiting drive, and got people who otherwise wouldn't have joined if we waited until fall.

 

On the downside - yes, it is hard when you don't have a summer program beyond camp. Our pack dealt with this in 2 different ways. First, those years where we actually shut down, we were very up front about this with the parents so they knew what to expect. That worked ok. It worked better though (better retention rates), when our pack planned a couple of low-stress summer events and made sure to let prospective new parents know that they were welcome. Ex: we went to a minor league baseball game (June), had a picnic (July) and helped with a community clean up project (August).

 

 

Lisa'bob

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I meant to add: We never ran a regular den program during summer months and did not try at all to get a new tiger den up and running until after our fall round up. At most, we had a few very simple pack events. So I don't think it is necessary to try and get the whole tiger program started in order for spring recruitment to be a successful recruitment and retention tool. In fact this might have backfired, as people around here are so busy in the summer and the new den might have fallen apart due to low attendance.

 

Lisa'bob

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Every May we invite boys from K thru 4, to come to our Graduation Pack meeting. They can participate in the games & stuff & see what we do. We encourage interested families to sign up & attend Day Camp (Tigers MUST have a parent with them at Day Camp just like at all other activities) with the rest of the Pack.

 

Every year we have a few families come & look, but not sign up. Often they will come back for Fall registration.

 

We seem to have the same problem with our Spring District Tiger Roundup too. Very small showing, lots of interest, but no registrations. We do hand out registration forms & a list of area Packs with contact info, so maybe some register directly with the Pack.

 

We will keep having our Spring Pack Open House. It is not really any trouble & if we get registrations GREAT!

 

 

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Our Pack has seen better retainment when we had Spring Round-up (we do this for all ages,not just new Tigers), compared to only having Fall Round-up. The last 2 years, we had 10-12 new Tigers join each Spring, and every one of them continued through the whole next year.

 

We do not have regular den meetings in the summer, but we contacted each new scout and gave them our list of summer activities, including Day Camp. Our council requires all new Tigers to have a parent (or babysitter, grandparent, etc.) be with them at Day Camp, just like the parents are required to stay at den meetings with their Tiger.

 

Last summer was the first year that our Day Camp didn't offer a "Tot Lot" for the younger siblings. A few of our Tigers were unable to attend Day Camp, since we didn't have a place for younger siblings to be during the day. We charge $2.00/day (to cover cost of crafts, etc.) for Tot Lot kids, and it is run by adult volunteers as well as older sisters of scouts at camp. The Tots get to "swim" in a wading pool, go fishing, hiking, and do crafts and games. The boy Tots can't wait to become scouts so they can do archery and BBs, too!

 

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While this will be the first year we run a Spring Rally, we have had new Tigers (including my son two years ago) bridge at graduation into the new Tiger den. At this time, they get the Tiger book and the neckerchief.

 

In addition to Day Camp, we typically run another 3 or so pack activities (i.e. water gun fight/picnic, water park, fieldtrips, etc.).

 

Since I'll be (one of) the new Tiger Den Leaders, I'm considering having a few informal den meetings during the summer to start acclimating the new kids and perhaps get most of the Bobcat requirements out of the way. Who out there runs a summer den program and what advice can you offer?

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Ok stupid question,but here it goes: what month do you do the recruiting, and how do you handle the grade issues? My kindergartner son is chomping at the bit to be a TC, saying he want to take me camping for my birthday in May. he's visited me at camp and a few cub scout functions, and cannot wait. I told him he had to wait until the school year ended and he was in first grade, especially since he has a sept. b-day.

 

Thanks

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We have our Cub Scout graduation at the end of May, which is at the end of the school year. At graduation, all ranks bridge over to the next rank, and the new Tigers can bridge "in."

 

The way we look at it, once a child completes, for example, Kindergarden, they are considered a first grader and eligible to start Tigers (and thus enjoy all the summer activities, particularly Day Camp).

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The boys have to be out of kindergarten in order to register as a Tiger Cub Scout.

 

Typically, we will take any Tiger registrations at our last Pack meeting of the school year, at the end of May. After June 1st they are considered official Tigers by BSA.

 

As for running Tiger den meetings during the Summer, I do not think that would work well.

 

While sometimes you might get lucky, and register an entire den of Tigers, the most likely scenario is that you will get 1, or 2 (1 being your son), signed up in May. They are typically siblings of older Scouts already in your Pack, who have been going to Cub Scout meetings for a few years, and don't need to be "acclimatized".

 

The majority of your brand new Tigers will not join until school starts up in August/September.

 

With the couple of Spring Tigers you register, it would be better to simply let them have fun with the rest of the Pack at the Summer Pack activities. If the Pack does not give the Scouts their handbooks, encourage the Tiger's families to purchase the Tiger handbook, and work on the Bobcat, and maybe the Tiger FAMILY, requirements over the Summer with their sons.

 

Also, encourage them to sign up for your District Day Camp. That is a great, fun into to Scouts.

 

Have fun, and relax with your new Tiger this Summer. Remember, in the Tiger program, the Tiger den leader does NOT plan and run all of the den meetings. In fact, they are more of a coordinator, a back-up, and a bridge to the Pack.

 

Just a note - wait until Fall to purchase the uniform. While you might feel you are buying it big enough in Spring to last 3-4 years, if they have a good growing spurt over the Summer, you might end up lucky to get 1-2 years out of it.

 

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ScoutNut,

 

We'll likely have between 4 and 6 siblings join the new Tiger Den in May. I suspect we'll pick up another 2 to 4 during Spring Rally. That will get us a pretty full Den to start off with. We're considering not formalizing the Den (or Dens) until Fall, but I want to keep the new kids (and parents) involved through the summer. We'll definitely be attending Day Camp as a Tiger Den, as well as the other summer pack activities.

 

All of the older discussion threads that mentioned running a summer den program (though most seemed to meet less frequently) seemed to have positive things to say about a summer den program.

 

Any others out there running summer den meetings? I'd like to hear from you. What about those that used to do it but stopped for some reason?

 

All input appreciated.

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We have been told by council we can accept Tiger registrations as of June 1st. Since all the school districts have various ending datesa dn it gets pushed back even further with snow dates. I think this allows for a June recruting and able to sign them up.

We have been having several pack activities each summer month. It's up to the dens if they have meetings. A few have done them once a month. Our council recomended we have the Tigers at least have den meetings or outings to get them involved.

Our CC wants to do a spring recruting this year. I have a feeling we wont' as he does not follow through on lots of things so if he comes through we will. At this point as CM I'm pretty fried as I have done lots of things to fill in for others. I'm letting others step up for once. I'm going to do the summer camps and get others to do summer activities.

Our Tigers can't go to camps in our district which I think they shoudl be able if parent goes. They do a one day fun day on a Friday. I dont' knwo what type of turnout it gets.

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According to my DE, the fine print in the registrar's manual says that boys must be "promotable" to the first grade. Around here that means sometime in mid-May. Honestly, it seems like smoke and mirrors to me. May 15 is as good as June 1 is as good as Sept. 1.

 

There are a lot of good administrative reasons for recruiting Tigers in the spring, but not many good program reasons. We're going to get them all pumped up and excited and then say, "see you in September?" (I suppose you could sing it if you like.) At best, you're going to get the Tigers to a couple summer time activities, but only if they happen to fit in with the schedule.

 

Tiger cubs at day camp is another issue. Of course they have to have a parent with them at all times, which can be a show stopper. Registration and planning is an issue too. Depending on how camp is run, how do you plan for boys who aren't even register Scouts?

 

I'm certainly not saying it can't be done, but there's a lot of consideration and effort into doing it right.

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By state mandate in NC, public schools here end in mid June. Grant you my son is homeschooled, so that doesn't play to big a factor, but I 've been told that SCOUTNET will kickout problem b-dates. Not looking to do meetings, but looking to do summer camp and the pack activities. Like I said the kid is chomping at the bit :)

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