Recruit or Die
Every February at our Pack Blue and Gold banquet, we have a group of Webelos cross over to Scouts BSA. Recruiting Scouts into the Troop every year is essential. Otherwise our numbers will decrease due to older Scouts aging out of the program or due to Scouts deciding to drop out.
But there is another group which is prime for recruiting. We know of a number of middle school students who are not currently involved in Scouting. So this is a good time of year to try to recruit them into the Troop.
The best recruitment tool we have is our current Scouts. And in the past, we have gained two or three Scouts per year just because a youth member has asked a classmate to come see what our Troop does. Recruiting Scouts often happens by word of mouth.
They usually plan a “fun” meeting in September for recruiting Scouts. Let’s face it – inviting somebody who is completely unfamiliar to the program to a meeting which is all business might not be the best enticement. The meeting can be focused on organized games or an “open house” type event. Basically, they plan something pretty lively and invite their friends to come.
After the meeting, the Scoutmaster follows up with a call to the parents to explain the program. This is important, because sometimes there is more resistance from the parents than from the middle schoolers.
As an added bonus, Scouts who bring a friend to the meeting are fulfilling Requirement 10 for the First Class rank: Tell someone who is eligible to join Scouts BSA, or an inactive Scout, about your troop’s activities. Invite him to a troop outing, activity, service project or meeting. Tell him how to join, or encourage the inactive Scout to become active.
Normal Friend Activities
Bryan on Scouting has an article on Normal Friend Activities which also digs into the idea of peer-to-peer recruiting. It explains “An NFA might be a hike, a picnic, an ice cream party, a service project, a trip to a local sporting event or anything else you can dream up.”