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Lisabob

would you go to this?

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Kicking around some topics of discussion for our district membership folks (yep that's me) - I'm curious to know what those of you associated with troops think about these ideas.

 

Do any of your districts host lock-ins as recruiting events for boy scout troops? I am not talking about individual troops doing a lock-in (a favorite webelos recruiting activity around here in late December/early January when the weather is miserable). What I am asking about is an event hosted by the district. Current boy scouts could attend and would be encouraged to invite a non-scout friend to join scouts so they could attend too.

 

Alternately, would you prefer to see a daytime event such as a shooting day for boy scouts at the local range? Would you expect boys to be likely to recruit their friends to join scouts for an event such as this?

 

What are your thoughts? If your district made something like either of these events available, helped advertise it well in advance, and did a decent job of organizing it, would you encourage your troop to participate? Would you expect to get new boys joining your troop in order to attend, on invitation from your current scouts? Would you see this as the district helping to support your existing program and/or providing fun & easy opportunities for boys to meet that (somewhat silly) 1st Cl. requirement to invite a friend?

 

I know there are other ways to try to reach boys, but for the purposes of this thread, I'd appreciate it if you would limit your comments to the above ideas, and I thank you. Consider yourselves deputized as honorary membership committee advisers!

 

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To me lock-ins are just another form of a parent led activity that is usually sedentary and I don't care for them.

 

For Scout recruiting, I'd rather see outdoors stuff like shooting, fishing, archery directed as much as possible by youth. Of course, the shooting instructor would have to be 18 but that doesn't preclude having assistants from the local high school rifle team on hand to help.

 

Other fun activities could be relay races doing a two-man carry. Setting up a pup tent. Tug of war.

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I think these are great ideas! Yes, the lock-in may not appeal to some, but to use as a recruiting tool, I think would work. It would get potential new members in the door, and then we can go from there. Definitely the shooting day would be great as well. If it could be set up at the district/council camp (if it has a range), it could be piggybacked with some other activities at the camp, maybe even an overnight camping trip to introduce the prospective members to the outdoors portion of scouting. I whole-heartily agree that if the district sponsored it, I definitely would view it as a district helping with recruitment, and would give it my full support. Whereas right now in my district, district help with recruiting for Boy Scouts is non-existant.

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Boys loves lock ins.

 

Do it at the YMCA and you have facility of things to do like swimming and basketball in a building designed for those activities.

 

My experience is that boys are attracted to lock-ins for the simple reason of just staying up all night long.

 

Our troop does computer lock-ins where scouts bring in computers to play video games all night long.

 

We even did one once at an Air Force Base where the Scouts got to sleep in a C-17.

 

Our District does Cub Scout lock-ins at a local museum designed for kids doing hands on experienments. Usually attracts about 600 cubs and parents.

 

Not done one for recruiting, but I love thinking out of the box.

 

Barry

 

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Any event that attracts boys, and gives us the opportunity to present the positive aspects of scouting is a good idea.

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Lisa,

Ask your son if he would go to a lock in.

 

Just because some of don't like them, doesn't mean the boys wouldn't.

 

 

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1) To overcome GW's objection, leverage your HS age Life and Eagle Scouts. Ask them to help design program, help find resources (people and gear) and help make it happen!

 

2) Yes, invite-a-friend by S-T-2 kids should be the direct focus. Find high-speed, low-drag S-L-E kids to be area heads and keep things going.

 

3) Lock-in doesn't need to be in a building. It can be any manageable environment, including a camp site. The challenge of going outdoors is helping the non-Scouts be warm. You may have to borrow quality sleeping bags and have current Scouts show their friends how they make a warm winters' ground bed. That said, there's an appeal to indoor challenges as well.

 

Lisa, how strong is your local OA chapter? This might be a great project for them to assist you with.

 

I'll be interested in hearing if you decide to go forward, and how.

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I had this very thought a year ago and never had the nerve to mantion it. In my case we have several very small troops in the district so it would be a chance for the boys to meet others from these towns.

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I think John-in-KC touched on a great idea to make the "invite-your-frind recruiting lock-in" a success. If your OA chapter is capable, get them involved and let them put together the plan. You can be their advisor.

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Thanks for all feedback so far. Several area troops (including my son's) do annual lock-ins that are a huge success, both in terms of recruiting webelos and in terms of attendance by existing troop members. My son loves the one his troop does because they have an entire university sports complex available to them all night long. There's nothing sedentary about it - those guys are up and running the whole time.

 

It is not, however, typical scouting, that's true. On the other hand, there's a concern voiced by several folks in our area that parents might be unwilling to send their little darlings on a campout right off the bat as their very first scout activity ever - especially given that Michigan winters aren't terribly cooperative most of the time.

 

Unfortunately our local OA is moribund at this time. It is hard to get them to even run elections, let alone do anything program-related. However, they did just get a new adviser and maybe it would pay off to talk with him, so I will pursue that.

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I'm game for anything that gets more kids to join!

Some things I'd want to think about.

* If the District is doing all this? How do or who does decide what Troop the youth who don't come with a friend go too?

*Is there a "Danger" that the workers will be the people who do this type of activity anyway? Might it ruin it for them?

*I kinda think I'd give some thought to having the parent drop them off, fill out a permission slip and leave contact information and have the parent pick them up and hopefully fill out the paper work and pay the registration fees.

 

While no time is ever the best time!!

If this were to become an annual event?

December is hard for parents! Santa is expensive!!

January might be tough!! Parents are broke and trying to get them to buy everything that is needed and maybe pay the deposit for summer camp?

February might be a little better, a lot of the Christmas bills will be paid and tax refunds might be on the way!!

But no matter when! Doing something sure as heck beats doing nothing!!

Ea.

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I'm struck by how different our communities are. Our district doesn't do any recruiting activities at all for troops, so far as I know. And to be honest, I don't think they'd have any success if they tried. Many of our troops are growing and do their own recruiting.

 

Even at that, my own troop doesn't do any particular recruiting activities, other than working closely with the rising Webelos. But we do let boys invite their friends along any time, and that's produced a small but relatively consistent influx of boys.

 

I'm not a big fan of district events. They tend to be chaotic, as they're usually run by volunteers who don't have a lot of experience with large groups. I'd be much more likely to attend smaller recruiting events.

 

Your situation might be entirely different, though, and maybe you'd have some success. For me, though, I'd stay away from having 'recruiting events' as a specific activity. I'd try to come up with other activities that would stand on their own as great Scouting activities, and just happen to allow others to be invited along as well. The shooting day might be just such an activity. But I'd set it up in such a way that it could be called a success whether or not any new boys showed up.

 

Now, granted, I'm not on the district membership committee, so I don't have any skin in the game. :-)

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