We are a brand new Venturing Crew and have about a dozen members, mostly high school freshmen. One of the goals our youth leadership has is to increase our membership.
Recruiting new Crew members presents some challenges. With the Troop and the Pack, we can go to our parish grade school and do recruitment drives, but the high school students in our parish go to many different area schools. So our Crew leadership has been trying to come up with some different ways to encourage more youth to join.
Since our Crew serves as the high school youth group for our parish, most of our recruitment efforts are through our church. One thing we do is put announcements in the parish bulletin about our meetings and activities.
They also want to recruit heavily from the eighth grade students. So they are thinking about trying to visit the eighth graders in the parish day school and evening religious instruction classes for those in public school in the fall. The idea is to invite them to come to a few of the meetings or activities which don’t require BSA membership, like a Christmas party or a bowling night.
On a recent campout they painted a couple of large banners to hang in the church’s gathering space on weekends when there is a Crew activity. One of the banners advertises the group as our high school youth group. They are going to have all of the crew members sign this banner. As new members join, they will get to add their names. The second banner promotes the group as a Venturing crew. They are going to write all of the activities we do on this banner, adding as we go. Hopefully that will help prospective members see the kinds of activities we do.
Our president is also going to ask our pastor if she can speak directly to the congregation from the pulpit at Masses some Sunday this fall, possibly on World Youth Day which is celebrated on Oct 24 this year. She wants to get up and tell everyone directly about all of the social and service activities the Crew has been doing. Fortunately our pastor is very supportive of the Scouting programs at our parish, so this can probably be arranged.
I really like that our Crew officers are driving this effort and excited about getting new members. I think the ideas they have come up with so far are very good.