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BeAScout.Org

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BSA rolled out a new aid that helps those searching for a Pack, Troop or Crew search those available in their area. Punch in BeAScout.Org in your browser and give it a try.

 

I see it's been improved recently and is simpler to use than it was.

 

Units can update the "pin" that appears when their unit is selected to include information about their program.

 

I actually got one hit off this website a few months ago.

 

Some councils are promoting it, others are not.

 

I found two active Cub Packs in my district that weren't listed, and one unit that doesn't exist that is listed. I brought these to the attention of my DE.

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Interesting site... no new Scouts from here to join our Troop.

 

But maybe that's just as well, as I find the videos really do not show what we do in our Troop. If someone joined thinking we did high adventure activities all the time, they'd be sorely disappointed. We do a lot of camping - 11 months out of every 12 we spend at least 2 nights in tents under all kinds of climatic, biotic, and terrain conditions. While our Scouts do some biking, they mostly hike, explore, and do a lot of fire building, wood chopping, and cooking. And they do the unglamorous preparations for these activities and the even more unexciting cleaning up after a camping trip. And yet they love it. Not sure how a video could convey what Scouting really is, but it sure isn't all high adventure all the time. And yes, the videos do show the service that we and all Scouts do, which is a good thing, so I do understand that the videos aren't all hyper-activity fluff!

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We customized our "pin" and Pack info when it first came out almost a year ago.

 

We've received not a single hit, or recruit from it.... Seems to be a failed idea...? I have not heard of any units getting more than 1-2 recruits this way.

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I get several requests for information about Boy Scouts each month. I do not know if it is from this or just a Google Search. It could be someone looking to join, drop off a flag to be retired or ask for some help.

 

I use it then to help the person find a unit that might be closer or an age match. I do wish more would change their information as most just give the council phone number.

 

About 1/4 of our new scouts found us through our website.

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I don't know if its necessarily a failed idea, but its use and effectiveness probably depends a lot on other recruiting efforts that are already occurring in a given geographical area. My guess is that this tool won't be as needed in areas where units are aggressively doing face to face recruiting, and reaching a large portion of families in their area. Clearly face to face recruiting is more effective than online recruiting, so I'm guessing that areas where most families are already getting exposed to Scout recruiting through other means won't see much use of this online tool. I'm guessing the website would see more use in areas where the units generally don't do as much aggressive recruiting, or maybe in very urban areas or very rural areas, where units may just not have the time or resources to reach out to enough families in their area.

 

While it sounds like most units are only recruiting a handful of scouts per year (if that) via this tool, I wonder how the numbers work out when viewed at the district/council/national level? Even, hypothetically, if your troop brings in 20 new scouts a year (which would seem like a lot), and only 2 of them utilized the online service, that's still 10% of your new scouts who may not have joined your troop if not for this resource. True, that's not a huge number, but its definitely non-negligible, and potentially you've reached some scouts who otherwise would never have joined the program at all.

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I would be curious to know how many parents of non-scouts even know of the website? Have local council's gotten the word out to their communities that there is such a website? I have seen in my travels around the country that some area council's actually pay for space on billboards - a good place to post a web address. My council once actually had a TV commercial using the mayor of the city to promote Scouting, (what was really funny was in the background of the commercial there were video clips of boys doing really cool stuff like skydiving!)

 

How well have your council's gotten the word out concerning the BeAScout website?

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I was just going to post something along the lines of what Abel just posted. How useful is this tool if potential scouts are not even aware that it exisits?

IMO, it still comes down to advertising. To this day, I do not understand why BSA does not spend some $$ on advertising.

All of these online videos are good as a source of info, but if the target audience doesn't know that they exist, let alone know how to access them, then they are useless.

Open houses and school visits are good tools, and right now probably the most effective methods of recruiting, but the folks at national can do a tremendous service and create advertisements to be shown while kids are watching Spongebob.

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I think BeAScout.org is just not promoted enough or correctly. We've received dozens of calls over the years from our council unit promotion web site.

 

http://AdventureIsCalling.org

 

Not a single call from anyone using BeAScout.org. But then again, the council does not promote BeAScout.org and has for many years promoted the AdventureIsCalling.org site.

 

Plus, the old version of BeAScout.org was hard to use, slow and clunky. The AdventureIsCalling.org is quick and also includes unit mapping if you punch in your home address. Try it with zip code 55125. For a map, search using "1584 Hadley Avenue North, Oakdale, MN 55128"

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Great council promotion website. Easy to use with multiple options for searching. How does your council get the word out to the community about the website?

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Can't update my pin. Keep getting "There are no units for this user or the unit where the user is a member is not supported by the BeAScout program. "

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Only CC's, COR's, and SM's or CM's are able to change the information online. If you are in one of these positions and still can't do it, I would contact your council office, as I believe they have control over this access.(This message has been edited by the blancmange)

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"Great council promotion website. Easy to use with multiple options for searching. How does your council get the word out to the community about the website?"

 

The AdventureIsCalling.org site is promoted on every flier and anything resembling recruitment material. Also, it's been called out on TV, radio and web. Here's the best commercial that was used for it. http://www.scoutinggoodforlife.org Very touching ad.

 

The council marketing director does a 1st class job between centenial events, jamboree events and such. My favorite was a Lego convention from last month. I was very proud of my son and the service he provided. http://www.northernstarbsa.org/News.aspx?articleID=964

 

I believe the council Facebook site has other TV commercials that have played. But the earlier mentioned one is by far the best.(This message has been edited by fred8033)

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