The Fall Recruiting Season
The beginning of the school year is the busiest time of the Cub Scout recruiting season; it is the time of the year when we recruit the most families into our program. Families have many choices when deciding programs and activities in which to participate; being prepared to present Cub Scouts as a viable choice requires planning, effective marketing and staging a well-organized registration event.
Begin planning your Fall Recruiting season in the spring so that you are ready to engage when school begins in the fall.
- Attend the annual Ignite Your Membership workshop in March and begin strategizing.
- Update your Annual Pack Calendar to include school visits, marketing outreach activities, registration night and parent orientation.
- Attend August Roundtable for your district and gather marketing materials and provide your registration night.
- If your Pack represents more than one elementary school, plan for recruiting at each elementary school on separate days and holding a registration night at each of those elementary schools.
- Visit both public and private schools in your area to set up dates so that ALL the youth have an opportunity to be in Scouts.
Traditional marketing includes a visit to the local elementary school, public and private, with an opportunity to “sticker” the youth and hand out fliers with information about the upcoming Registration Night. Visits to elementary schools are a vital part of our recruiting efforts and also a great way for families to see who, in their neighborhood, is involved in Cub Scouts. To know how to exactly approach a school to visit, please check out the information provided by National about how to make the relationship between Scouting and the school successful. Some elementary schools allow access to the lunch room to speak with the youth or direct access to classrooms. Other schools allow paper fliers, some only electronic fliers. Work with your individual school to determine access. Availability may change each year so be sure to revisit and create an opportunity each year.
Lunch time is a wonderful time for access; it does not interrupt the school day or the classroom. Once your Registration Night is set, work with the school and their procedures to set up and distribute recruitment information during lunch time and advertise your night time registration meeting.
- Create a display area in the lunch room. Your display may include pinewood derby cars, rain gutter boats, a scrapbook of activities, or a photo presentation on a lap top or tablet.
- Have something fun to give the kids at lunch time to take home that includes the recruitment night information and the name and number of the membership chair. Our Council does provide Boys Life mini-magazines, stickers, and flyers to hand out.
- Place a sticker with your Registration Night information on each youth Kindergarten to 4th grade, or put the sticker on their lunch box or back pack.
No lunch time access? Work with the school to determine how you can best work with them to get stickers and/or fliers to each family. Perhaps you can sticker the youth as they leave school for the day while boarding the bus or greeting their parents as they pick up their kids. You may be asked to participate in the “back to school” function when the kids meet their new teachers. Curriculum night is also an opportunity to distribute information about Cub Scouts.
- If you have a display, make an announcement during lunch letting the youth know that you are there and to stop by your display area. Sticker the youth as they stop by. If you do not have a display, make an announcement about Cub Scouts, and then stop by each child and sticker them.
- Encourage current Cub Scouts to wear their uniforms or Pack T-shirts to school on recruitment day.
- Do not limit recruiting to any specific grade level, recruit from K to 4th grade. Even if your pack does not have a den for a grade that a child may be interested in, have them come to Join Night. Contact your District Executive to find a pack with a den that they can join.
- Invite a local older Scouts troop representative to join you and recruit for all Scout age youth.
- Contact the recruiter for the Girl Scouts and try to set something up at lunch time for the same day.
- With the school's permission, post signs around the school listing the time, date and location of your Registration Night.
- Have a Cub Scout make the morning announcements on the intercom and include a plug for Cub Scouts.
- Be creative, work within the culture and personality of your community. If you have been doing the same thing for several years, then try something new!
- Not able to make an in-school visit or distribute materials? Check out the "Community Outreach Ideas" page.
Now that you have the youth interested in scouting, this is the time to educate the parents and get the family signed up. Approach the night as a Registration Night not a Recruitment event, you have a youth attend your pack meeting, ready to go. Your job is to get the family signed up. Go into the night with the approach that no one leaves without filling out an application and paying their initial fees.
If your Pack recruits from more than one elementary school, hold a Registration Night at each elementary school. This is the place where they feel most comfortable and want to see other families that are familiar. If Registration Night is held at an elementary school that is not familiar to them, there is the potential that they will not see anyone that they know or recognize. The goal is to have families be comfortable and engaged.
The Marketing and Membership Hub has a Sign Up Night Playbook available to help set up a successful event.
The Registration Event should include an activity for the parents to do with their youth and an “onboarding” piece for the parents. There are several methods for getting families registered and comfortable with expectations.
Option One Two nights
- Night One: Registration Only with parent/youth adventure oriented activity held at the end of the registration process or planned for another day in the immediate future.
- Night Two: Parent Only Orientation
Option Two One night
- Welcome everyone.
- Separate parents and kids.
- Complete registration while doing parent orientation with parents.
- Youth entertained with Pack activity.
Prior to Registration Night
- Contact the location where you to made your reservation for a Registration Night. If you have already reserved the location, double-check!
- Invite your Unit Commissioner and your District Executive to attend Registration Night. They can help answer questions that families may have, provide moral support, and just by being there, they show scout leadership within the community.
- Place yard signs with the Registration Night date and time around the location.
Registration Night Set Up
- Create a display area with craft items, pictures of den outings and day camp, uniforms, books, and anything else that people might be interested in looking at and that they can touch. This table should also be available to the kids.
- Have a sign in sheet for all new families at the display area.
- Have a “Greeter” at the front door to personally welcome each new family and guide them to the registration materials.
- Ensure that adequate registration materials are available either paper applications with a pen or use the online application available via www.beascout.org for your unit. Be sure to be able to collect fees using a credit card, use a “Square” that attaches to a smart phone.
- Create a color coded file folder to hand out to each family (IE Orange for Tigers, Red for Wolves, Blue for Bears) that includes everything for a family to get started:
- Annual calendar of Pack events and activities
- List with Pack a fee break-down: registration, Boys Life, Pack dues
- List of other expenses: uniform, book, camps
- List of expenses that the Pack covers
- Information on Friends of Scouting
- Information on Popcorn fundraiser or other fundraiser that the Pack may participate in
- Council Onboarding postcard you can get this from your District Executive
- Current leaders and short bios
- Leadership positions available
- Volunteer opportunities complete with description
- Information for purchase of uniform and book
- Camping opportunities from the Council: Summer Day Camp, Parent/Pal Camp, Residence Camp, Camp Edward
- Pack specific information
- Family Guide Book
- Set up individual registration tables with tents listing the grade level and Cub Scout rank.
- BSA registration forms should be filled out and fees paid that night. Do not let families leave without registering their child. State multiple times that financial aid is available. If your pack is not able to provide aid, contact your DE. Money is never an obstacle. Using the online registration tool and collecting fees using a credit card works well with today’s generation of parents.
- Provide an incentive to register, give the new scout a pack T-shirt or their first book when registering that evening.
- Provide background on Boy Scouts of America and the value to building a better scout. Refer to the 2015 Tufts Study on character development.
- Talk about famous Cub Scouts and who is an Eagle Scout. Give some Scouting Facts about kids who participate in Scouting, IE very few appear in the juvenile court system; 3 out of 4 leaders in business, politics and religion were Scouts at one time.
- List out what the kids did over the past year: BB guns, archery, pinewood derby, hiking, biking, rocket launch, day camp.
- Provide information about day camp and the activities that the scouts get to participate in such as BB guns and archery. Let them know a probable price point for day camp and remind that about what a great bargain it is.
- Talk about community service projects and family oriented events. Remind parents that scouting is a family activity. You can bring along the younger (and older) siblings.
- Scouting does not have to be an "either or" activity. Remind parents that most of the youth in scouting also participate in soccer, baseball, basketball, math club, taekwondo, and many other activities. There is no penalty for missing a pack meeting or a den meeting. Youth are always welcome at Scouts.
- Share the concept of volunteering. Cub Scouts is a volunteer run program and everyone will be asked (required) to volunteer each year. Have sign ups with specific tasks, the timing of the task and the amount of time required to do the task ready to go.
- Let families know that Scouting is a true bargain. Of all the activities that a family participates in, they will get the biggest return on their investment from Scouting. Their monetary investment will be relatively small compared to anything else that they participate in.
- Introduce the Friends of Scouting campaign and what the funds help with: Council camps and program support. Registration fees are turned over to National Council for their support.
- Talk about your unit fundraiser (popcorn) and what you do with the funds.
- Present company names that will match donations both financially and with volunteer hours.
- Have time for a Question and Answer session.