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SlowDerbyRacer

Recruiting Territories

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I want to take a slightly different slant on our traditional recruiting related discussions.  Most seem to focus recruiting tactics, retention concerns, general decline in scouting interest, etc.  And I just saw another post which mentioned declining numbers.  

 

Whenever I see complaints like that I want to ask - how big is your area you are drawing from?  Are you competing with other packs?  To me I wonder if many of the problems are quality of program driven, or if it's because there are too few kids to draw from.  In my case our local pack pretty much aligns with our elementary school.  That's our territory and we're successful.  I can't imagine trying to run a pack with a target area any smaller than that.  But I suspect there might be other packs that tie to a church, for example.  In that case, they "territory" is the congregation, but they're also competing with all the local school packs.  In those cases maybe the competition is just too stiff and the pack is fighting a losing battle to stay afloat?

 

What do you all see as your territory?  Is it the right size?  What do think the ideal is?

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We do our recruiting from 2 local elementary schools. Our main school pto is our charter organization. The other smaller school is recruited from and always given the option of starting its own pack but no one ever wants to step up and lead so their boys come to us.

The other pack in town recruits from the other 2 schools. A lot of recruiting goes on outside of the school recruitment events. We work hard to have a good reputation in our community. Our pack parents and boys know that they can always bring a friend who wants to see what scouting is about. We have several families not from our two "assigned" schools because we see recruiting as an ongoing year round thing.

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Many years ago, most of the elementary school PTAs chartered Packs.  Then in the early 90s they dumped all of the Packs in protest and the Packs are now chartered by local civic groups, churches, etc. but yet they still typically are associated with one or more schools.

 

My Pack is tied through its history to one school in particular, but after another school's Pack failed that school started feeding into our Pack as well.  That second school has a Charter School within the school, so depending on how you count it that is either two or three schools feeding into our Pack.

 

Lately, the District has been sending boys from another school toward our Pack.  We haven't traditionally recruited at that school, and in fact earlier this summer I was told another Pack considers that school part of their territory, which is fine by me, yet the District staff keeps sending boys from that School to me, so I'm not sure what is going on at this point.

 

I think you have a point about too few kids... I've found that if we can have a large den, we have better retention, but once a den drops to 4 boys or less it is almost a death spiral - you recruit boys but you lose them in a short amount of time.  I think 5-6 boys is the minimum size for a healthy den, and 8-9 is probably the maximum you'd want without additional den leaders.  The BSA really hit it right on with 6-8 boys in a Den.  That's the ideal number, more is too big, and less isn't enough to keep the Den Healthy long term.

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Recruiting issues are as varied as the locales. Growing up, each pack had 1 or 2 schools they recruited from. Because my current locale has gerrymandered school zones, 3 packs may recruit at the same school, and may have 4 or 5 schools to recruit from. Round ups starts mid Sept., and can extend up to Dec. When hurricanes are involved!

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@@SlowDerbyRacer, interesting topic.

 

In my area (Dallas area) packs are assigned to an elementary school. However, like @@meyerc13, the schools basically distanced themselves from all civic groups though some are still allowed to meet and recruit at these schools. Most charter orgs are churches, though there are some "Friends of" and civic group COs.

 

Your "territory" is seen as your school and around your CO. With the drop in overall BSA membership, policy changes, demographic changes, etc., packs have been forced to look beyond "their schools" and to recruit elsewhere. We are just now seeing multiple packs recruiting at the same schools. The district tried to get involved and tell packs they could only recruit at their home school. A few leaders (lawyers) asked to see the BSA policy limiting pack recruiting to their schools. The DE crawled back in to his hole, and the packs worked cordially to divide up new "territory". ;)

 

I have no doubt it will be a shoot out next fall too.

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Our 'territory' is shared by at least three packs and it is defined by the distance that parents are willing to travel to get to den or pack meetings. That means a radius of about 10 miles or so. Recruiting is done by all of the packs presenting at a 'roundup' in late summer or early fall. In one case the church chartering organization has an expectation that the families of that church will go to the pack that they charter. In another case the chartering organization (another church) has almost none of their families in the unit they charter. Other packs are a mixture. It's very confusing to parents, I should add. They want to know what the difference is and THAT is a tough question.

Edited by cyclops

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We recruit form one elementary school complex two buildings lunch spin ups and back to school nights very busy time of the year. Our DE tells us what schools we can go into but one pack in our area does not listen to him and showed up at our Join Scout Night and just confused the parents not a fun thing.  We also preform word of mouth and keep growing

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I am sad for those of you that have to compete with other packs. The other pack and our pack work together to make sure that scouting is available to any boy and his family that want it.

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For me, it's almost an opposite problem.

 

About half my pack come from a single school - the one we meet at (rented space).  About a quarter go to an elementary school that has their own "associated" pack.  (Our school district has some interesting dividing lines for school assignments; and many of the families at the second school are friends of families at the first.)

The pack runs a JSN at "our" school.  In general, the pack committee is comfortable with the current pack size (45-55 boys)

 

There are not many other options in the nearby area, one recently folded - so the area is very underserved.

 

I personally do not want to see a boy miss the opportunity for scouting simply because they went to the "wrong" school, so I help the district with JSNs at schools near our pack, and I go out of my way to encourage some of the other (kind of) nearby packs to join.  My son and I missed his Tiger year because "his" school did not have an associated pack and district recruiting efforts were dismal.

 

When I present, I am very open about the fact that "my" pack may not meet their schedule; and if so, I've got the information for most of the packs within 10 miles or so, and gladly share it.  I also keep this information on me when I am out in the community (fair, etc), and help families find their best fit.

 

I'm just happy to see a boy find scouting, it doesn't have to be my pack.

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We are bordered on one side of town by a river and on the other side hills.  North of us are 3 troops vying for Cubs and south of us are another 2-3 doing the same thing.  There used to be a couple of troops in the area many moons ago  but have folded over the years.  It's a no-man's land.  We have 3 schools heavily recruited by the half dozen troops, but we're starting our new troop in this middle of this no-man's land.  Our CO is 2 blocks from one of the schools and that pack just was moved over to our CO.  We have two other schools we are competitively recruiting from as well.  The long tradition of recruiting by outside units is indicative of the fact that all the scouts of our CO (a church) belong to other troops.  The CO's boys come from the neighborhood and are all still working on S-FC skills at the present time.

 

So when it comes to recruiting territories, we will compete with any and all units in the area.  Of course we were instrumental in luring the one pack away from the school into our CO.  Why not, all's fair in love and war.  Of course our trump card is the fact that we are the only troop in the immediate area that runs heavily the boy-led, patrol-method and that helps give a recruiting edge.

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I am sad for those of you that have to compete with other packs. The other pack and our pack work together to make sure that scouting is available to any boy and his family that want it.

 

We have 42 packs within a 15 minute drive of each other. Most are separated by only a mile or so. Some are clustered where you have three or four schools within a one mile radius of each other. This model was built by council and perpetuated all these years. Since council does little forward planning on such issues, it has evolved in to this.

 

The irony is that when the demographics change to such a point that packs need to merge, council swoops right in and tries to build a new pack where the old one left. The fallacious thinking on their part is that they (council) believe the reason the pack went wrong was due to poor volunteer management. If they just asked the pack (which floundered for years) they'd realize that demographics have changed so much in that area that a pack is just not sustainable. A simple case of council clinging to a model instead of changing with the times.

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Our Pack is in a corner of Minneapolis, several blocks from the next pack over, and 1/4 mile from two more.  The school district locks things down, so our district (basically Minneapolis and two small suburbs) handles recruiting flyers through the school, the flyer has kick-off dates/contacts for every Pack.  Our Pack is medium-size (40), the neighbor is mega (100), and other Packs in the city run the gamut from 10-100. 

 

The mega Pack meets on Mondays, our Pack distinguishes itself by meeting on Thursdays.  The other Pack has a closer Pack/Troop connection (both groups meet the same night at the same place), so the Pack has more campouts with help from the Troop.  Our Pack is camping more regularly, with less help from the Troop, but I'm hoping to get that improved now that my foot is firmly being planted in the Troop dirt.

 

All Packs draw from all schools because of the recruiting flyer.  While I have a sizable group from one school (25%), and from our Chartered Catholic School (10%), I have 1-2 families at each of 11 different area elementary, charter, magnet, private, and suburban schools.

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