Recruiting and retention is a hot topic in Scouting. Today we’ll focus on Cub Scouts. How do we get them and how do we keep them?
Recruiting methods can vary from one council to another. But on the Pack level, a personal touch works well. If you are charted by a church or school or other organization which has a ready supply of grade school kids, then recruiting Tigers is pretty straightforward. Go to the first graders and talk to them directly. Make sure you get some information to the parents also.
How do you get more Wolves, Bears and Webelos though? First, look for the new kids at your school or church. A family who has just moved to the area might be looking for a way for their son to make some new friends. Talk to the parents personally. Tell them what a great program you have. Explain how Cub Scouting is a wonderful way for their son to broaden his social circle.
Don’t forget to keep trying to recruit the kids who have been around but who have never been Cub Scouts. Or maybe they tried it and decided it wasn’t for them. Fourth grade is an especially good time for this. Explain that the Webelos program is completely different than the programs for the younger Cub Scouts. Emphasize your outdoor program and the adventure it provides.
What is the secret to retention? The best way to retain your Cub Scouts is to have a great program. Make sure your direct contact leaders (Cubmaster, Den Leaders, etc.) are trained. This is the first step. Then recruit other adults to plan other activities. Have variety in your program. And don’t forget to throw in plenty of hikes, family campouts, Webelos den campouts, and other outdoor activities. When most kids think of Scouts, they are envisioning lots of outdoor adventure. Make sure they aren’t disappointed.
What does your Pack do to encourage recruiting and retention? Share your best ideas by leaving a comment.