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SeattlePioneer

Recruiting At Public Events

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I've tried recruiting at public events a number of times.  I'm talking about things like setting up a table at a school or community event and attracting the attention of those walking by to Cub Scouts.

 

 

I've never recruited a person by that means.  People are just walking by,  not seriously interested in a new activity like Cub Scouts.

 

 

Our Cubmaster is planning to try again.  We are discussing a combination event that would allow boys to make a model boat,  which only takes a few minutes. The boy and family would tehen be invited to a follow on recruiting event a couple days later in which boys would bring their boats and do Raingutter Regatta style boat racing,  and be offered the chance to join the pack.

 

We might hold the race as a summer pack event, too.

 

Any ideas to make this kind of thing work would be welcome.

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Hey SP

 

Our pack sets up a pinewood derby track at a local mall twice a year where the kids can race old cars, and there is an area to buy a simple kit to build their own car under adult supervision. The mall loves all the extra customers they get from this event, and the pack gets a lot of new members every year.

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I recruit at school events all the time.  You do need something to attract attention.  We recently did an elementary school carnival and had a room with a "campout" set-up (tent, stove, fake fire, etc) and a pinewood derby track in the gym.  Got 6 sign-ups.

 

I've also done Farmers Markets which are less successful, but I think because it was a table with a couple of guys in uniform and no real "attractant" for the kids.

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Our troop had a table at a community street fair last fall. I think the Scouts set up a tent as a demonstration, but there was nothing really "fun" or interesting to attract kids or their parents. We probably got a little more attention because we were right next to the multiple tables of the high school robotics team, which did have some interesting things going on until their batteries ran out.

 

We did recruit one new Scout from that event. It seems like he is having a good time and is going to stick around, and his father (who had no prior Scouting experience as far as I can tell) has registered as a committee member and has gone on a few camping trips. So that's a lot better than nothing, but the troop does need to do a better job at recruiting.

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Setting up in the mall with a PWD track is a great idea. We have a presence in parades and local fairs. I have no idea if it results in recruitment.

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We've had similar experiences in recruiting at community events. Lots of good feelings and interest, no actual scouts signed up. Last year we ran a raingutter regatta-style activity at a local festival. It was the most popular activity for kids. No cub scouts. We've been asked back but I don't know if it is worth the time investment.

 

Seattle, if you are interested, we had the kids build boats on the spot from sections of pool noodles, sails from foam sheets and masts with bamboo skewers. The pieces were pre-cut and easy enough for 4yos to assemble a simple boat, while older kids could make more complex boats. Cheap, too.

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<<We've had similar experiences in recruiting at community events. Lots of good feelings and interest, no actual scouts signed up. Last year we ran a raingutter regatta-style activity at a local festival. It was the most popular activity for kids. No cub scouts. We've been asked back but I don't know if it is worth the time investment.>>

 

 

Yes.  The theory I want to try to avoid that is to strongly link building a boat with racing the boat,  which would take place at a Cub Scout Den meeting or recruiting event that follows shortly after the public event.

 

Boys would build a boat as you suggest at the public event,  and then boys and parents would be invited to come for the races a day or two later.  Boys and parents both love friendly competition,  so my theory is they would be drawn to the bopat racing.

 

<<Seattle, if you are interested, we had the kids build boats on the spot from sections of pool noodles, sails from foam sheets and masts with bamboo skewers. The pieces were pre-cut and easy enough for 4yos to assemble a simple boat, while older kids could make more complex boats. Cheap, too.>>

 

 

I cut boat from .75 inch wood in a boat shape on a table saw. 

 

I recycle street signs using corrugated plastic for the sign hung on a wire frame.

 

I cut the wire frame into pieces that are used for masts,  and sharpen one end of the wire "nail" on a grinder.  The boys can pound his mast in wherever he like on the wood hull. 

 

The sail is from pieces of the corrugated plastic sign,  spray painted in different colors to cover up the advertizing.  Boys choose the size of sail they like and push the mast through the corrugated plastic sail.

 

Boys are invited to decorate their boat and sail,  and each time boys win a raingutter regatta race they get a sticker to put on their boat or sail.

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My experience has been that scouts don't register at public events. Ok a few do, but most parents aren't ready to register at a public event.
 
Interesting items to get the scouts and parents attention is important, but the most important thing to do is get a piece of paper in their hand with your units info and contact information and collect from the parents their contact information.

 

A few days later contact the family and invite them to a unit event. Answer any questions they have. Tell them how many boys from their childs school are already in the unit. Be prepared to call them a few more times.

 

The follow through is what gets the semi-interested to attend an event. The event si what gets them to register.

 

Other advice: every adult from the unit at the event is either in uniform or wearing a unit t-shirt. Don't stand behind the table. Get in the middle of the crowd and say hi to every family that walks by. Your uniform is what makes you easy to spot, so don't hide it behind a table.

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<<We've had similar experiences in recruiting at community events. Lots of good feelings and interest, no actual scouts signed up. Last year we ran a raingutter regatta-style activity at a local festival. It was the most popular activity for kids. No cub scouts. We've been asked back but I don't know if it is worth the time investment.>>

 

 

Yes.  The theory I want to try to avoid that is to strongly link building a boat with racing the boat,  which would take place at a Cub Scout Den meeting or recruiting event that follows shortly after the public event.

 

Boys would build a boat as you suggest at the public event,  and then boys and parents would be invited to come for the races a day or two later.  Boys and parents both love friendly competition,  so my theory is they would be drawn to the bopat racing.

 

As a parent, I would not be kindly disposed to such a tactic. Perhaps it will work for you. Do you have a plan for the girls who want to participate?

 

After years of unit and district recruitment, I've come to the conclusion that scout recruitment in our area will not improve until BSA improves its reputation among young parents in regards to gay leadership and youth safety.

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When I recruit at public events, I collect email addresses of interested parents.  Then I invite them to our recruit event the following week, but I love the idea of the boat.  It would really draw children to the table.  In the past, I have good results with stickers, but boats would be better.  One year I used rocks.  I bought some decorative river stones at the Dollar Store and drew paw prints on them with a sharpie, then I had a page on my table, they could figure out if it was a bobcat print, a wolf print or a bear print, and they could take the rock with them.  It was surprisingly popular.

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At presen the council has made up flyers and stickers for this public event.

 

The stickers have the date, time and place of the boat race,  which will be on the Monday following the weekend event.  Boy who make a boat will be given a sticker to wear and parents will be given a flyer and both invited to come to the races.

 

I may wind up putting contact/joining information on a sticker on the bottom of the boat,  so that it will be available should boys or parents have a desire to join the pack at a later date.

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Regarding plans for girls: The service unit coordinator for your area should be somebody you have contact with on a regular basis. Their job is to connect girls to troops. It is amazing how many people have both boys and girls in their family.

 

At every public event I have had a person who has said I have a daughter who wants to join girl scouts. I give the parent the contact info for the unit coordinator, and I give their info to the coordinator. I even had one person talk to me when I was in my uniform at a fast food restaurant.

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I wait till about three weeks into the school year and head out to all the schools.  This is the only time we do that.

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I wait till about three weeks into the school year and head out to all the schools.  This is the only time we do that.>>

 

 

Please describe your fall recruiting plan in more detail.

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