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NationalTrailEagle84

Recruiting Nightmares

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So we had a sign up for Scouting event at our local municipal airport with a tour of the planes, facilities and a fly in from a local medical helicopter team.  The problem is we only had about 3-5 newbies.  The rest were scouts already in the pack and their parents.  The DE walked away that day with 2 new apps.  The school district doesn't do "flyers" as handouts, they only send them electronically, email to those in the school district that have email and the DE wasn't able to "boy talk" to all the elementary aged boys, just the first graders, so now I am wondering what have you all done in the past that was successful?  Not looking to recruit a whole new pack, but would like to think there are more than 2 families in our school that are not in scouting that are interested.

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Electronic mail is automatically filtered by most savvy parents.There is just too much noise. If flyers aren't being hand-carried home by enthusiastic boys, you're wasting time. If the principal can't free up the time for a full school assembly, save the paper and have some fun ...

 

Talk to the local PTA about your scouts hosting a family night event. For example, maybe an informal pinewood derby race. Loan old cars or build there.

Not too complicated, use some blocks to color and stick on some well-made flatbeds would do. Or whatever ... a mix of craft and competition. No keeping score, just sending as many wheels down the track as possible.

 

Then get your best committtee member to work the crowd ... "All this and more could be yours ..."

 

Team up with the local GSUSA council and see they can provide another activity ... kill two birds with one stone.

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The personal connection/recommendation is your best bet.  Ask each of your families to identify 2 or 3 other boys that they know that they think might enjoy scouts.  Have them e-mail or contact those families to invite them to an event.  Then get that contact information and follow up by adding your own personal invitation to theirs.  Make sure that you tell prospective families not just about the program but about yourself.

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So we had a sign up for Scouting event at our local municipal airport with a tour of the planes, facilities and a fly in from a local medical helicopter team.  The problem is we only had about 3-5 newbies.  The rest were scouts already in the pack and their parents.  The DE walked away that day with 2 new apps.  The school district doesn't do "flyers" as handouts, they only send them electronically, email to those in the school district that have email and the DE wasn't able to "boy talk" to all the elementary aged boys, just the first graders, so now I am wondering what have you all done in the past that was successful?  Not looking to recruit a whole new pack, but would like to think there are more than 2 families in our school that are not in scouting that are interested.

 

Partner with a local scout troop and do something. We help a few local packs with stuff. One we did a mock PWD. The other we launched rockets. Another we did archery (professional range). Another we just did scoutcraft.

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<<The personal connection/recommendation is your best bet.  Ask each of your families to identify 2 or 3 other boys that they know that they think might enjoy scouts.  Have them e-mail or contact those families to invite them to an event.  Then get that contact information and follow up by adding your own personal invitation to theirs.  Make sure that you tell prospective families not just about the program but about yourself.>>

 

 

Yes,  peer-to-peer recruiting can be highly effective,  if boys and parents will help you out.  Never had good results with that myself.

 

 

The most effective recruiting strategy for me has been school visits during lunches.   I have an attractive event to shill,  such as stomp bottle rockets or raingutter regatta.  I take a rocket or boat with me to show boys and invite them to come and make a boat  themselves,  and then race it against their buddies to see who has the FASTEST boat (rocket that goes the farthest)

 

Each time their boat or rocket beats someone else,  they get a sticker to put on their rocket, boat or whatever.

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I'm sorry but I had to check out this thread.  Why would anyone go out and recruit nightmares?  We have enough of them slip through the cracks and sign registration forms before we know it as it is.

Edited by Stosh
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I'll described what has been one of our moust successful recruiting tool so far ..

First, let me preface that my pack does meet in a School, and the School does allow fliers.

However, because the school only allows a group 4 fliers per year, I was discouraged by the district from putting out our own.

 

So for our may pack meeting, our unit got bumped from our meeting space for a PTA event.

We decided to still meet at the school that night and have an outdoor event (in front of the school), organized as fun for the scouts and as a recruiting opportunity.  It was sports and team type activities (tug of war, relay races, beach-ball vollyball, etc.)

We encouraged our scouts to wear their field uniforms or activity uniforms to school that day, and to pass out peer-to-peer cards.

 

We got about 5-7 boys not in the pack to attend.  I did not hard sell joining that night (especially since the free Tiger book for registering in June had not kicked in).  The families were all invited to our pack end of year event which would follow about 2 weeks later.  At that even I got 3 signed up oficially, and another 2 since then - not everyone was at the earlier events, but It had some visibility and word of mouth.  We also encouraged our parents to encourage the parents of their Boys' playmates.

 

This is the first year, that even before fall recruiting I have an up and running Tiger den.  All-in-all have have about 6 or 7 new scouts already joined, and at least 5 more likely perspectives - again all before our normal fall recruiting (which last year was a dismal 4 scouts joining).

 

While these are a lot of effort for what sounds like only a few bodies, our pack is 45-55 typically, and can maintain that if we at least replace the bridging Scouts (we had 9 this year), moving Scouts (2), and other Scouts that drop out (which for us is prettty low, 2-3 a year at most).

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Our school does automated calls as reminders to parents about all sorts of things ( sports sign ups, team fundraisers, etc). We have in the past had our principal read a message inviting boys to signup night.

They also allow us to put up yard signs about sign up night.

we have the scouts wear their class b tshirts to school all on the same day around sign up time.

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When you can't send home flyers it sucks.

You know what is worse?

When you can send home flyer and council prints them for you,

but they print them so small (2 on a page but set up wrong so it was huge margins and nobody can read them! 

 

Yeah that was the stupidity from our DE last fall in a cost saving measure to cut printing costs.  Too small of flyers get lost in the backpacks.  I told him we would have PAID good money to council if they printed regular sized flyers, or he could have printed 1/2 to 1/4 of the number of flyers full size and we would have just targeted fewer grade levels at the elementary school, or he could have told me what he was going to do we would have had time to just print our own flyers. And He was so nice, he delivered the stupd too small to be readable flyers to the schools who then refused to send home those flyers and replacement better flyers by the time we found out what the DE did wasn't time to get them to the parents in time for the event.

So our great idea of a cub scout open house, with free ice cream and a derby race didn't really have much chance of working. 

That was the recruitment night where nobody showed up and the pack folded right afterwards due to just not.enough.

 

Our best recruitment night was probably the cowboy roundup night--gave everyone a cheap red bandana, turned twinkies into green cactuses with green frosting and pieces of pretzels stuck in, roping, milking and riding a fake horse games with candy prizes, singing home on the range and giving everyone a strip of paper with a stupid cowboy joke one it. We signed up 18 cubs that night.

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We had an incredible opportunity to fall into our laps this year!  We are a small (20 boys) pack in an extremely rural area.  A local Hunting/fishing sporting goods store holds a yearly event called "Kids Outdoors"  it focuses on showcasing activities for kids to do outside.  This event has drawn nearly 300 kids in previous years  Our council has a portable rock wall./climbing tower.  We just so happened to have it reserved for the day of this outdoors event and was planning on setting it up elsewhere.

 

Well word got around that we were bringing in the rock wall and the sporting goods store jumped at the chance and asked us to set it up at their event.  After making sure it was clear that, A) it was to be open to anybody and everybody (within safety guidelines) for free.  B)They needed to help us with getting parental release forms signed. and C) we were going to use it as a recruitment opportunity.  They were more than happy to partner with us!

 

Its a win-win for both of us.  They get another "activity" to add to their event, and we get direct access to hundreds of kids with a hands on activity that promotes the adventure of scouting.

 

The event is in a couple weeks, so hopefully all goes well!

Edited by Daped01
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You have to keep at it on all fronts.  Emails via school, direct asks by parents when you see them at other school/sport functions, get your scout to give you a list of his friends he wants to have in scouting, contact parents directly and find families in the younger grades.  You also recruite the kindergartner parents during the year.    It takes several times to get people to a Join Night.  But then you are NOT done.  You keep Recruiting.  ALL YEAR.

 

I have been out of the Pack 3 years now, and I am still recruiting for them and others.

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We had an incredible opportunity to fall into our laps this year!  We are a small (20 boys) pack in an extremely rural area.  A local Hunting/fishing sporting goods store holds a yearly event called "Kids Outdoors"  it focuses on showcasing activities for kids to do outside.  This event has drawn nearly 300 kids in previous years  Our council has a portable rock wall./climbing tower.  We just so happened to have it reserved for the day of this outdoors event and was planning on setting it up elsewhere.

 

Well word got around that we were bringing in the rock wall and the sporting goods store jumped at the chance and asked us to set it up at their event.  After making sure it was clear that, A) it was to be open to anybody and everybody (within safety guidelines) for free.  B)They needed to help us with getting parental release forms signed. and C) we were going to use it as a recruitment opportunity.  They were more than happy to partner with us!

 

Its a win-win for both of us.  They get another "activity" to add to their event, and we get direct access to hundreds of kids with a hands on activity that promotes the adventure of scouting.

 

The event is in a couple weeks, so hopefully all goes well!

 

Sound good.  Please let us know how it goes.

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There were nearly 150 kids that attended the event.  each kid took at least 2 turns on the wall, some more.  We estimated close to 400 climbs!  We will see tonight if it turns into applications as our registration night is tonight!

Rock%20Wall%201_zps6tz8epxl.jpgRock%20Wall%202_zpscslg43oy.jpgRock%20Wall%204_zpsz5kcbi1b.jpgROck%20Wall%203_zpsw9pb5vtk.jpg

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I spoke to the Unit Commissioner for both us and the pack associated with our CO.  She told me that she was able to recruit 20 new boys for the pack at all levels, not just Tigers, which is great because they have been seeing membership dwindle over the past couple of years.  The pack's response to this was "What are we supposed to do with all these new boys?"  With that response, I wonder how many of those 20 will stay.

 

I also received an email from our new Lead DE this morning that he is going to set up recruiting talks in the 6th and 7th grades at our schools in October to try and get older boys recruited into the troop.  I am impressed, initially at least, that he is doing this as we haven't had this done before.  If this works, I will stop my criticism of district professionals.  At least for a year  :D .

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I have been pushing recruiting on the Council level for 6th graders for years and still no help in this area.

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