Cub Scouting's National Roundup Hits Full Speed

By Bill Sloan

NASCAR's Jeff Gordon leads 'Race to Cub Scouting'

Ladies and gentlemen of Cub Scouting, start your engines! A new, nationally supported roundup campaign called "Race to Cub Scouting" hits full speed this month.

Promising "Fun at Every Turn," the racing theme is the heart of one of the most extensive efforts to sign up new members in Cub Scouting history. Every Cub Scout and adult volunteer is being asked to join the race. And they'll get some high-powered help from a "pit crew" including NASCAR racing champion Jeff Gordon and the Chevrolet Division of General Motors.

Gordon has amassed a record number of championships in many of the world's most prestigious auto races, including four Winston Cups and the Daytona and Talladega 500s. Nicknamed "The Kid" when he started professional racing at age 20 in 1991, he has given professional auto racing a fresh, new image.

For several months, a series of 15- and 30-second promotional TV spots featuring Gordon have been highlighting the fun of Cub Scouting. A typical spot shows a group of Cub Scouts helping Gordon polish his famed Chevy racing car as he talks about the fun and excitement of Cub Scouting.

Step-by-step program

The campaign recognizes that membership is a year-round effort; it combines the key elements of a successful fall roundup with a coordinated marketing and public relations emphasis.

A roundup Official Tool Kit of marketing materials and other resources was sent to councils last fall. Among the "tools" are materials for packs to use in implementing a successful roundup campaign that will involve individual Cub Scouts and their families in the recruiting process.

For example, among the pack materials is a Peer-to-Peer Recruiting Plan, with personalized invitations and "reminder cards" for Cub Scouts to use in inviting their two best friends to join.

Families of Cub Scouts are also urged to participate in the campaign, by inviting their friends who have Cub Scout-age boys to attend a pack open house.

"From soup to nuts, this package, along with local council resources, gives volunteer Scouters a complete, detailed marketing plan for attracting new members to Cub Scouting," said Matt Thornton, who was Scout executive of the Monmouth Council in Morganville, N.J., at the time the council first began successfully implementing the program. (Thornton is now Scout executive for the Boston Minuteman Council in Massachusetts.) "It contains everything you need for successful recruiting and marketing, including how-to's for school nights, sample press releases and school newsletters, training materials—the works."

The BSA has also designed special electronic files that can be downloaded by local councils to make stickers, business cards, or invitation cards bearing Jeff Gordon's signature, the number of his racing car, and the message "Join Jeff Gordon in the Race to Cub Scouting."

Pinewood derby kits

As an added recruiting incentive, a New Cub Scout Kit (BSA No. 17966) containing everything necessary to build a scale-model pinewood derby car is available for purchase by units in all councils for presentation to newly recruited Cub Scouts.

John Smith, GM's group vice president of global product planning—who also serves as a member of the BSA National Executive Board and chairman of its Strategic Initiatives Committee—has been instrumental in forming the Cub Scout-Chevrolet-Jeff Gordon partnership.

"John Smith helped get GM and its local dealerships involved in promoting the benefits of Cub Scouting," said Stephen Medlicott, director of the BSA Marketing & Communications Division.

"He also put us in contact with the Chevy racing team manager, and he, in turn, linked us up with Jeff Gordon. We're very grateful for the Chevrolet collaboration and Jeff's commitment. He's at the top of his profession, and his support is a tremendous asset for reaching youth with a Cub Scouting message."

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