Front Line Stuff
Edited by Mark Ray
School District Limits Recruiting Night Promotion
Schools in Scouter C.S.'s area don't let Scout units do much promotion for 'School Night for Scouting.' Packs and troops are limited to sending home fliers two weeks before the event. C.S. asks about other effective, low-cost ways to advertise recruiting nights.
Scouts themselves are always your best promoters. Get them pumped up, then give them invitations to hand out to friends a week or so before the event.
Ask businesses, organizations, and churches that have signs or message boards to post notice of School Night for Scouting for a few days before the event. If your school's parent organization has a newsletter, ask if it will list School Night for Scouting on its schedule of upcoming events at the school.
One option is to link School Night for Scouting with parent orientation, a PTA meeting, or some other event that is more heavily promoted. Our pack often provides crafts and games for the children while parents are meeting teachers.
Let the boys you already have in your unit be your advertisement. Who better to tell the benefits of Scouting than a Scout? Having boys wear their uniforms and Scout-related T-shirts always sparks interest at my son's school.
Small community newspapers are always looking for news; a story about School Night for Scouting with a picture of a fun event from the previous year would likely be printed. (One paper prints our news releases verbatim!)
We participate in local parades and pass out fliers to those who are interested. We also set up activity booths and displays at community events and offer "open house" nights at our chartered organizations for youths to see Scouting in action. Our local council is a tremendous help in providing road signs and posters to be displayed within our communities.
Our kids' elementary school has a back-to-school night about three weeks into each school year. The school allows the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to set up an information table at these events. The past few years we've had kids from our Cub Scout pack and Brownie troop staff the table in uniform (along with adults). They also bring along projects they've done, pinewood derby trophies, etc. It really gets parents' attention when they see the kids in their uniforms.
In our area, the schools publish "buzz books" with student names and phone numbers and make them available to families for a few dollars. If you have access to that type of information, Scout committee members, friends, parents of Scouts, and even Scouts needing service hours can telephone boys' homes and deliver a scripted invitation to School Night for Scouting.
Ask a business with phones at numerous workstations to let you use them for several evenings. Make it fun and serve soda and pizza to the workers. Invite your local media to cover the phone workers in action and help publicize your message.
Every Friday, our school has a morning flag assembly at which awards are presented and announcements are made. The week before our roundup, the principal allows us to make an announcement at this assembly.
Of course, our announcement is livened up with a few words about fishing, BB guns, and archery; display of pinewood derby cars, rain gutter regatta boats, and space-derby spaceships; and a fun repeat-after-me song.
After the flag assembly, the principal allows us to talk to a few classes. Last fall, we talked to several fourth-grade classes. Guess where our biggest group of new Cub Scouts was? That's right. First-year Webelos Scouts.
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