Flyers and billboards look great, but Luke Rose, a Webelos den leader with Pack 873 of Annandale, Va., says there’s no recruiting technique that tops word of mouth.
“Cub Scout events are fun, and the Scouts talk about them in school, at other civic organizations and around their neighborhoods,” he says. “We posted pictures of the activities on social media sites, which drew interest and got parents and grandparents talking.”
As you add girl dens to your existing pack, begin with the obvious. Talk to every sister, cousin, neighbor and school friend of the boys in your pack. Start there, and your pack will thrive.
“After the shock of seeing a girl classmate in a field uniform wore off, the boy Cub Scouts didn’t care one bit that there were girls at their pack meeting,” Rose says.
Here are his top tips:
- Don’t overthink it. If you’re a veteran Cub Scouter with a year or two under your belt, this is the same program you’ve been perfecting since you started. If you’re new, just follow the handbook, keep it simple and have fun.
- Ask for help. Find someone from a nearby pack or den who is willing to share ideas for can’t-miss meeting activities and memorable outings in your community.
- Recruit and train volunteers. Start with the parents of your Cub Scouts. Now that their son and daughter can join the same pack, they’ll spend less time shuttling kids from one activity to the next and more time enjoying Scouting as a family.
- Communicate often. Keep your families informed about upcoming meetings and events. Share frequent updates with your chartered organization to let them know their support is making a difference.
- Take lots of photos. Nothing tells the Cub Scouting story quite like a picture. Take photos any time your Cub Scouts gather. With the parents’ permission, share those photos online so others can see the joy of Cub Scouting.
- Be accommodating. Understand that new families are still learning the basics about Cub Scouting. Be welcoming and patient as you explain the difference between a Wolf and a Webelos. Remind them you once were in their shoes.
- Don’t let detractors get to you. “The bottom line is that our goal is to deliver character development and values-based leadership to the youth of America,” Rose says. “If someone is unwilling to support your pursuit of that goal, be friendly and courteous, and then find others that will help.”
Meet and Greet
STEP 1: Seek out your chartered organization representative, the volunteer who oversees Scouting at your chartered organization (the school, community group or religious institution that sponsors your unit). Ask how Scouting aligns with the organization’s mission and what your unit can do to help. This is especially important if you’re the unit leader (Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Advisor or Skipper) or committee chair.
STEP 2: Meet your district executive and unit commissioner. The district executive is the professional Scouter who oversees Scouting in your community; the commissioner is an experienced volunteer charged with supporting your unit. Their goal is to make your unit successful, and they have access to lots of useful resources.
STEP 3: Find a mentor in your district who holds (or recently held) the same position as you. Discuss any challenges you’re facing, and then visit one of your mentor’s meetings to see him or her in action.
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