When I moved to South Dakota and got involved with the Cub Scout membership efforts, I learned two great methods I would like to share:
- Peer to peer recruiting
- School recruiting
Peer to peer recruiting is easy to do and can be done with little effort on the part of the leaders. First conduct a special fun pack meeting or even a den meeting and ask the boys in the unit to invite a friend that does not come to scouts to attend. Invite the parents as well. Have the various projects, crafts, pictures of outing etc. on display. Also have a calendar of future meetings and the contact information of the leaders ready to give the boy and his parents along with the cub handbook for the boy. Relate the vision of what you are trying to do in your pack or den and how much fun it would be to have them as part of the group. If possible help them fill out an application on the spot. Follow-up with a call or email after the meeting to encourage additional participation.
School recruiting is very effective. I have been to school night events and recruited as many as 30 kids in one evening into cub scouts. School recruiting does take some planning, but is not difficult. There are several ways to do school recruiting. Decide what method would work best your pack and get permission from the school principal to proceed.
- Back to school night recruiting. Every school conducts a back to school night shortly after school begins. Set up a booth in the main part of the school on that night and recruit boys. Bring pinewood derby cars or rain gutter regatta boats, or whatever you have to get the attention of those walking by. Bring applications and a calendar of events with leader contact information to give to anyone interested. Have anyone you talk to sign in and get phone numbers or email address. The idea here is to contact as many people as you can. Then follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.
- Pack meeting recruiting. Make up a flyer that has all the information you can thank of about you pack and announce the time and place of your next pack meeting. Make enough copies for every boy in the school. Ask permission to pass these flyers out in each classroom if possible. Be prepared to give a brief exciting pep talk to the class about your program. Sometimes you can use wristbands along with the flyers to communicate when and when the pack meeting is being held. If you cannot pass out the flyers yourself have the school secretary put the flyers into the teacher boxes with instructions as to what to do. Make sure that your pack meeting recognizes the visitors and spent time with the parents explaining the details of your program.
- Lunch room or assembly recruiting. Make up flyers about your program and schedule time at a regular assembly or during lunch to pass out the flyers. Bring some visual aids and be prepared to give a little pep talk about your program. If possible set up a pinewood derby track to add to the excitement. The flyers should announce your up-coming pack meeting.
- Drive by recruiting. Make up flyers and give them to every vehicle that come to pick up their children.
All these methods should be fun for the boys and leaders. It about the boys. It about helping boys get involved in scouting so that they can enjoy the benefits of scouting. With a little effort every unit can recruit more boys into their packs.