RE: Recruiting into Explorers
(no name) ((no email))
Sat, 14 Nov 1992 01:30:57 CST
"David D. Miller +49 6221 404415" <DDM@DHDIBM1.BITNET> writes:
>Some more ideas: (About 140 lines)
David: Jeanne stated that she did NT want to "take Scouts from the
Troop"; therefore, the ideas that I listed were ones involving NON-
Scouts and new members into her Ship. Exploring is a scary thing for
many Scouters....particularily Boy Scouters. As we all know, the
seniormost boys leave Scouting for Exploring, making my program the
target for lots of stares and ome non-so-pleasant words between
Advisor/Skipper and the Scouters, particularily narrow-minded
Scoutmasters and Assistants (and some professionals and others that
are equally narrow-minded in this area).
Therefore, please take the following as advice coming from BOTH an
experienced and longtime Scoutmaster and District/Council leader that
can understand the concerns of the Troop; and as a Exploring leader of
several layers and different types of posts (and working with Ships on
a Regional basis). It is not meant as critism, because your ideas
are great and sound; buit realistically, in her Council (and most
Councils that have separate Exploring diviions and unlike TAC, does
not incorporate all elements of Scouting under one large umbrella)
would not be in her Ship's better interest to do......
>o Have the Post/Ship actively help out with the Troop programs. As a
> first step, see what Merit Badges you can help with. Later on, how
> about a Venture Crew or Varsity Team, with an experienced Ship member
> as Coach, working with the small boats only. (Look at how a
> Webelos Den relates to a Scout Troop.)
Great analogy, wrong expectations. Remember first that you are
dealing with the same age group....14-21. You are also "encouraging"
Varsity and Venture members with established programs to join this
Ship. Scouts do NOT "graduate" to Exploring as we did in the past...
Exploring is a separate program and we are NOT trying to retain Scouts
in Scouting by placing them in Explorer Posts and Ships; we are
retaining them through the Varsity and Venture programs and by serving
as Junior Assistant and later Assistant Scoutmasters.
>o Arrange to run an activity base at the District Camporee, using a
> Sea Exploring theme: Knotting, Signalling, etc. At some camps, you
> may get the opportunity to take a group of Scouts away for a couple
> of hours to visit your base, look over the ships and go for a short
Again, you are under the impression that a District WILL let you have
a place in their camporee....we used to let the medical posts do the
first aid and the law enforcement posts do the security for various
events and they did a great job doing both....but when we do this on a
District basis, we end up getting more Scouts to switch from Scouting
to Exploring, something that Scoutmasters would howl bloody about!
Save the senior boys for the senior positions...a better idea would be
to have those "senior boys" serve as Staff members, thereby giving
them more responsibiity (and exposure) than giving it to Explorers
which 1) don't really care about advancement since the Exploring
program doen not stress it enought; 2) are only there as
"demostrations" and not as "instructors" and 3)won't in most
likelyhood be there for the entire weekend. (there are some
exceptions, but those that are there are not looked upon kindly by the
Scout folk, believe me...I've been on the receiving end of several
"you've done your jobs, now hit the road" speeches!)
>o Don't forget that your Post is also open to those who weren't Boy
> Scouts. Check if your members have anything else in common, like
> the same school, same part of town, skateboarding, liking pizza.
> Once you build up a profile of a 'typical member' go out and find
> more of the same.
> At the same time, go for the potential members who don't share these
> common interests. Go out and find something totally new to do as a
> Post, and invite friends to take part. Is there any reason why a
> Sea Scout Unit shouldn't spend an evening at the opera? Or Air
> Scouts taking part in a raft race?
Or outdoor adventure Explorers watching a judo demostration or a Law
and Government Post going to see Hulk Hogan and the Macho Man duke it
out in the bigcity arena?? Or a Law Enforcement Post camping??
> You may decide to spend 50% of the winter meetings and 25% of the
> summer meetings doing land-based activities, and use the increased
> social time at these to welcome new members.
All Explorer Posts (including Career Awareness Explorers, the BSA
program which is done on high school and junior college classtime)
have six "experience areas" in which to draw activities and program
from. Each Post should try to incorporate as many or all elements of
the six experience areas in their MONTHLY program....Citizenship,
Service, Outdoor, Career, Vocational/Interest Area, and Fitness.
If a Post or Ship, in Jeanne's case, does elements of all six during
a monthly meeting, all members would be welcomed and throught the
activities of the Ship, would want to come back for more.
> (One of my most memorable events on an incident hike for Venture
> Scouts was teaching them a couple of Scottish country dances in
> preparation for the evening's Ceilidh: Teaching them to dance while
> they were all wearing their heavy, muddy, winter hiking boots!)
>o If there's an APO chapter near you, go and remind them that you're
> part of BSA (& WOSM). Many college students are still under 21, and
> therefore prospective members. Yes, APO will get most of them, but
> every year there will be a couple who want to bypass APO and get back
> into real Scouting in the local community.
I don't think this is a great idea right now...as a APO member and
monitoring the latest developments, APO is trying to distance itself
from the BSA for "political and social" reasons. Again, the target
group is not those interested in service (as APO is designed to do);
you are interested in getting people interested in the open waters as
recreation or as a livilyhood....they would want to get back into
Exploring, yes...but their age would tend to scare off high
school-aged potential members. That APO chapter, however, COULD be a
source for additional adut leadership and consultants to the Ship.
>o Arrange some notice board space where your potential members can see.
> And use it! Always keep an up-to-date list of contact points posted,
> along with a list of upcoming events. The week before each event
> add a notice with full details, and highlight this with "Tomorrow!"
> or "Today!" as appropriate. Never leave out-of-date information
> on the board: always look to the future.
> My former Venture Scout Unit got hold of an A3 (16"x12") space on
> the main school notice board, with 800 potential members reading the
> official school notices right beside it on a daily basis.
> We were often surprised at how much non-Ventures knew about the Unit
> and what it did. Although we had well under 5% of the students
> registered, we had such a high profile through the board that other
> clubs and organizations began to plan to avoid our published program
> dates. (And date conflicts _was_ one of the primary reasons given
> for not joining...)
This is a great idea and one that I have extracted and will use in my
training tours this spring....
>o Don't rely on nationally provided promotional posters. Your audience
> may not know, or care, what Exploring is, but they might be attracted
> by specific activities of a given Post or Ship. Sell the program that
> you provide to the youth, and don't try to push Exploring till
> you've already recruited them.
Wait a minute!! I helped put together some of that PR!!!! *grin*
The PR that is placed out in the field DOES NOT STATE THE CONNECTION
BETWEEN EXPLORING AND SCOUTING (and rightfully so...there is only ONE
connection and that is Exploring is a major division of the BSA, like
GMC is a major division of General Motors). The posters and printed
material does allow space for you to "tell your own story" and yes,
Jeanne, there is lots of printed Sea Exploring materials out there.
The idea is to get them interested enough to attend that meeting....
....at the same time, the BEST printed materials are those that come
from the POST or SHIP itself (and I have lots of examples of such
things). The things that David is alluding to, however, is important:
DON'T SAY "SCOUTING" (or my favorite, "Explorer Scouts"---I HATE
THAT!); DO SHOW MEMBERS DOING SOMETHING; DO TELL WHAT YOU PLAN ON
DOING; and DON'T TRY TO USE MORE THAN 40 WORDS ON A POSTER!
At your Firstnighter, is the time to tell new members and their
parents about Exploring and Scouting, about the specifics and to
> I seem to remember hearing somewhere that "Program equals advancement"
> for Boy Scouts, and I don't see why it shouldn't hold true for
> Explorers as well. After all, the first step of advancement is
Can't agree with you more, except to say that Exploring has three
routes of "advancement" dependent upon the youth, his or her
motivation to become an Explorer and the emphasis the Post or Ship
places upon the advancement portion of the program. Sea Explorers may
earn the Quartermaster Award and the Explorer Achievement Award (both
with different amounts and set of requirements). Former First Class
Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts that "gravitate" to Exploring may
continue to earn Eagle until they turn 18 or work on the EAA or both.
Other Explorers have the EAA to work on IF THEY CHOOSE TO DO SO.
>o Unless you have separate Exploring Roundtables, see if you can
> attend the Boy Scout Roundtable. Also, if any of your Explorers
> also work as ASM or as adults in Cubbing, arrange to all turn up in
> your Exploring uniform. You can't wear both shirts at once, so take
> turn about and raise the profile of Exploring in the District.
Wrong move here.....Most Councils have Exploring Roundtables, called
Advisor/Skippers' Quarterly Meetings (Unlike Scouting, the Exploring
program works in quarters, whereby significant Exploring events occur
once each quarter and training and ongoing coaching events happen in
most Councils each quarter. This is to prevent Explorers from having
to plan Council/District events each month into what should be teens'
already busy scheldues, and this is without the Exploring events!).
Some Exploring Ships and Posts have such a busy planning calendar,
that to have individuals to serve as ASM or Cubbing leaders, is, well,
stretching them a little further than they can handle. However, lots
of individuals do find the time (as I did and will continue to do so)
to serve in both program areas, enhancing the programs in both
Again, can you *see* the expressions on Scoutmasters' faces when
Explorers show up for a Troop meeting in their Exploring "uniform"
(which, David, for many Exploring Posts and Ships are NOT the
"traditional" green or blue or white uniforms...but instead,
tee-shirts or sweaters or jackets)??? They would NOT be taken
seriously and would be politely "shown the door". Again, the
Exploring program is a different animal all together, and its
situations like that we place teens in that don't understand anything
except that this is a program where we can "sink or swim" without
harm-- that does the worst good for Exploring. And Scouting.
>o When putting on demos for other organizations, or for friends and
> parents, go out of your way to make an impression. If necessary, put
> one of your boats on a trailer and push it to the demo site. (Take
> down the mast before going under any power lines!) There's nothing
> more attention getting than a small sailboat, fully rigged, parked
> where it shouldn't be. Just let the sails flap loose so that
> there's no chance of blowing over, but also be aware of the danger
> of swinging booms over dry land: point it into wind.
>o Choose your meeting times and places to allow potential members to
> get there and back easily. There's no point in virtually requiring
> each and every member to own a car before he can get to the meetings.
> If you do hold meetings in unusual places, arrange to meet somewhere
> centrally first, and car pool from there. You might need to meet
> 15-20 minutes earlier, but if that allows four additional people to
> take part, it could easily make it worthwhile.
Those are all great ideas....There are lots more great ones in the Sea
> One of the older-boy programs in Heidelberg always meets at the same
> time and place as Roundtable. With leaders converging on PHV from
> every corner of the community, they have no excuse for not finding
>o From the Troops, or otherwise, build up a record of youth too young
> for Exploring. Send each and every prospective member in your area
> a 14th Birthday card, together with details of the program and
> contact points. If they had wanted to be an Explorer when they were
> still too young, a gentle and friendly reminder might be enough to
> bring them into the fold.
WHOA!!!! I would want them to STAY in MY troop, than to leave it when
they turn 14 (or finishes eighth grade)! As Scoutmaster, I would send
ALL of my Scouts a birthday card and even go as far as placing a
message in there ("Hope that you are ready for another year of
challenge...through Scouting. GO FORWARD, Pete!") to spur them onward
> How much does a birthday card cost? How much is a new member worth?
>o Instead of paying for advertisements in the local press, why not send
> them a Press Release. Give them some news to report, and they should
> be happy to report it. In Scotland, we found that a well worded press
> release was often printed word for word, and, for things affecting
> the whole community (e.g., Scoutpost), on the front page too. With
> local papers exchanging 'community interest' stories, some of our
> press releases were included in local papers 50 miles away.
> Don't forget student papers at the High Schools, but don't expect
> too much from them either. One of our A4 (11x8) press releases was
> reprinted exactly, reduced to A7 (an eighth of the size) and totally
Again, great ideas....
>o Arrange for the Scoutmasters to keep an eye on good Scouts who simply
> drop out of the program at age 14+. Once it's been decided that the
> Troop can't hold him, pass the name on to the Ship/Post so that they
> can 'actively' recruit without a danger of 'poaching'.
And once more, please don't rely on the Scoutmasters to do this...in
TAC, there is such a large level of cooperation between units and
between leaders...stateside, there is not this same level or even
cooperation, particularily in large urban areas as Detriot. The Troop
should have been looking at this this kid as a candidate for the
Varsity Team/Squad or the Venture Crew of the Troop or elsewhere.
Again, the Exploring program is unique to Scouting because we try to
get new members from those that have been turned off by the idea of
working with "little boys" and "weekly meetings". We attract a
different clintele than the traditional Scouting units do.
>Reviewing what I've just typed, together with the notes from Sam and
>Mike, there seem to be three basic themes:
>- Get the program working as it should
>- Publicize everything that you do
>- Identify potential membership and target your recruitment energy
>Hope these ideas are useful, and successful!
>David D. Miller
>Scouting in Europe - A Unique Experience
David, again the notes that I've appended here is not meant to slight
your ideas for improving her membership in the Ship..they're all great
ideas, if her Ship was in Mannheim or Garmisch or other places within
the Transatlantic Council (TAC). However, Jeanne is facing an uphill
battle in Detroit, where in addition to external forces pulling kids
away, there are several Scout Troops that do NOT want the extra
compettion from an exciting program for their older boys....with or
without a Varsity/Venture program in the Troops. Exploring is
different in its approach to youth, to the content of the program, to
the way the program is carried out and the organization of the program
in the local Council. While Exploring started out as a place for the
older boy, today it is a place for the girl and boy of high school age
to look at hoby or career areas and to do it in an environment that
encourages the "changing of minds" and the "individual probing of what
I *really* want to do" in this area. The methods we used to attract
older boys into Exploring in the past won't work today...we have to
stress the uniqueness of the program (the post or ship) and the fun
that could be had in discovering that this may or may not be what you
want to do. That's why is it still called Exploring!
( Settummanque, the blackeagle... ) )
((MAJ) Mike L. Walton (among other "endearing" names) ( )
( (insert good paying job here with lots of benefits!) ___)_ )
( Phone 502-782-7992 | |] )
(3201-D Cave Springs Avenue -- Greenwood, KY 42104-4439 -------- )
( WALTOML@WKUVX1 / "No such thing as strong coffee, only weak people" )
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City