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Failed recruiting night

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Well.... We had our annual fall join scouting night. We are a very healthy pack who has recruited 20+ cubs each year.


The school district changed their policy this year to not send home flyers with the kids. Last year, we could send one home. Now, none.


The result, five new cubs. Pack across town got seven new cubs versus 20+ last year.


If this continues, I'm not sure our pack will be around in five years.

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What if you have a bring a buddy night pack meeting....lots of fun games and a recruiter patch for each kid who brings a friend that signs up.

Or have a day where all registered cubs wear their class b/ pack t shirt to school and they can give business cards to the kids not in the pack ....

We had that same policy come down on us. Our school principle was ok with the pack having a table - trade show style- at open house and we had flyers for the parents. They also let the local y and park and rec come too.....worked out well for us

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I use a flyer campaign, but it's really not an especially effective recruiting tool.


The MOST effective recruiting method I've found is a school visit. I get permission to visit the school cafeteria during lunch and invite boys to our recruiting night directly --- the day of the event or the day before, if I'm recruiting at a second school.


I wear a uniform and carry a backpack and "Join Cub Scouts" flag, like a den flag. I also carry an example of the model rockets boys will build and the rocket launcher used to launch them to show boys.


I sell Cub Scout activities.


I talk to each group of boys while they are eating:


"Do you like to go hiking and camping?


Would you like to shoot BB guns and bows and arrows?


Would you like to come to our Cub Scout meeting tonight and make model rockets and shoot them to see whose rocket will go the highest and farthest?"






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Yeah it's really tough when school districts won't let you send home flyers. And usually if they won't let you send home flyers, they won't let you go talk to the boys within the schools like Seattle suggests. Actually I don't believe any of the school districts in our area will allow adults to go into the school and talk to the boys.


Occassionally we can set up a table in the meet and greet night before school starts, but that's hard cause we recruit from 12 different schools that have meet and greet on the same night the first thursday in August. I don't have enough leaders or parents to cover all the schools. We were averaging 3 scouts per school, but this year it's about 1 per school, not sure of why the drop exactly but can guess at a few reasons.


Recruiting patches to anyone who brings a friend.

flyers in the neighborhoods wherever you can put one up.

make sure your pin on the beascout.org website is accurate.

It's really hard if you can't use the schools, it complicates recruiting significantly.




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I'm betting if the school district has stopped fliers, they have also banned school visits.


Many school districts have gone that route.


You need to think outside of the school box.


Put ads in the local paper, church newsletters, store bulletin boards, local library, etc.


Have your Scouts pass out stickers to the boys in their class after school, the day before your meeting.


Set up a recruitment booth at your CO, during a CO activity.


Set up a a recruitment booth outside of the library, grocery, park district, etc. Make sure to get permission.





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I think the above comments are all great ideas.


If you still want to get a flyer out:


Does the PTO publish a directory?


Do the laws in your area allow for directory type of information to be distributed by the schools? (we have an opt-out notice to fill out)


Perhaps a direct mailing would work for your flyers, if you could logically create a list of boys at the school.

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I sent flyers to the parents via email. Asking them to forward it on the boys's Playdate/School Friends....(Yes, I said playdates..ugh.)


That's how I get around the system of sending flyers home sooner and quicker. The district allows flyers in backpacks, but this is a good way to get info out. Use the Parents Network....

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I feel your pain. We gave our fliers to the school administration a week in advance---they handed them out the DAY OF THE ROUNDUP!


On the positive side, we picked up 2 new Cubs.


Why not make recruiting a year-round effort? Many people are under the assumption that if they miss round-up night, they are shut out for the rest of the year--not true!!(This message has been edited by FrankScout)

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Our Schools have become a lot more strict.


No boy talks, fliers only allowed if the boy goes by the office to pick it up himself on the way out to the bus.


One school nearby went from 50 boys down to 5. Our Pack recruited at 6 schools this year, just to stay even with last year. Most packs are facing huge drops.


Girl Scouts are getting hit just as hard, my wife is district recruiter for them.


We have tried the invite a friend approach, without much luck. We need to get the attention of the parents who make the decision, not just hand a flier from one kid to another.

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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.

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Have you tried working through the PTA/PTO channel? We can put an announcement in our PTA bulletin?


Does your neighborhood/community have a FaceBook group? Any Homeowner Associations to hit up?


How about hanging at the local soccer (ugh) complex one Saturday with stomp rockets and other cool things?

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We recruited several boys by creating a Facebook page, inviting parents to 'Like' our page, then creating recruiting notices and events for the pack parents to 'Share' with their FB friends list. It was more successful than I thought it would be, on par with our school night recruitment which includes boy talks and flyers. I should not have been so surprised, it's the digital version of word of mouth which I find is the best recruitment tool.

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I suggest a booth at a town fair or event.....bring your pinewood track.....have some cars to race....or seattles stomp rockets......


All excellent ideas. Our pack did stomp rockets at the town parade/fair and they were a big hit. The other pack in town has run raingutter regattas too, which are pretty fun. The only real problem with the PWD track is making sure you have enough room, they're kinda big, but if you plan ahead and work with the event organizers, maybe you can make it not just a booth, but part of a Kid's Fun Area.


The other thing we do is provide Color Guards for various civic events. We have a decent relationship with the schools here - when the elementary school had the grand re-opening after some extensive remodeling we were the color guard. Same thing when the new Public Library opened.


Don't overlook yard signs. I mean, maybe not this time of year, but once all the political signs are down you might organize an open house and put up some yard signs advertising it - check with your DE, they may have some free for Cub Scouts.

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