E. C. HALE (ARTHALE@EKU.BITNET)
Thu, 30 Sep 1993 03:38:13 -0400
Mary Lee Foley and Mike Walton:
First a comment: Mary Lee; no, I wouldn't be surprised at what the
parents don't know regarding their boy's interest in Scouting or that there
is to be an informational meeting, time, place, etc. . . I taught junior
high for five years and have become a little cynical in that regard! Actually,
any leader who has seen boys leave their most cherished possessions behind when
leaving camp knows that it seems to be a characteristic of the age for them
to forget everything the moment they go from one place to another. I used to
joke that notice of the Second Coming would have to be personally delivered to
each parent by the teacher if he/she wanted it to get home. Then again, I've
attended far to many school open-houses where the teachers outnumbered the
parents and it wasn't just that the message didn't get home - some parents
just don't care.
Now, a suggestion regarding the recruiting woes alluded to by Mary Lee
and described, at length, by Mike Walton: I've know a number of people who
could do a great job of whipping up enthusiasm for scouting in a school
presentation. It's actually fairly easy - we all know pretty well what "turns-
on" boys of scouting age. I'll skip over that part. Most schools, if they'll
let you make a presentation, will often want it at a special time (an assembly?)
you should try to make this presentation to your target group (e.g., just 5th
and 6th grade boys) and exclude non-target (like the girls). This is for the
sake of efficiency.
The program that follows was developed by Kenneth W. "Doc" Mitchell,
a master salesman and former scoutmaster of Troop-118.
At your presentation you need to get the boys to fill out a paper
which is returned to you at the end of the presentation. The paper is
ostensibly an interest survey. It has on it a list of scout activities for
the boys to check off as showing their interest in scouting. In that sense
it is exactly what it seems, BUT IT IS MORE! On the paper are spaces for the
boy's name, his 'phone number, his parents names. MAKE SURE THEY ARE FILLED IN
This info is the recruiter's gold/goal.
THAT NIGHT, no later, you make telephone contact with the parents.
Have those troop committee members with pleasant 'phone personalities call
the parents of the boys (who responded positively) with a pitch. The gist
of the pitch is; "Mr./Mrs./Ms. . . . (it's important to address with a given
name) our troop was at - name of boy -'s school today and we found out that he
would love to be in scouting . . . we are going to have an open house at our
troop - place, date, time - and you and your son (name) are invited." At this
point you may get some excuses or, worse yet, hostility from the parent. Remain
calm and polite and continue with your sales job - point out the advantages of
Scouting, refer to the corporation heads, astronauts, etc. that were scouts
and so on. If you get the least sort of positive response from the parent
close with the promise to send them a blue envelope with a notice about the
meeting and other pertinent info. At this point check with the parent re. the
proper address - this certifies your info and builds an implied consent to the
attend the open house on the part of the parent.
SEND THE ENVELOPE THAT NIGHT (You can have the members of your
committee who don't have the proper persona for telemarketing do the addressing
of the envelopes.) The notice should arrive within two days and the
open-house should be held within three days of the receipt of the envelope.
There are sound marketing reasons for the various time-frames, but they are too
arcane to go into here (also I'm ignorant of the theory.) The color of the
envelope is important! A colored envelope was chosen so it would "stand-out"
in the mail. Blue was chosen because it is "non-threatening".
If at all possible, the open-house should be held on a regular scout
night. The meeting is actually a double-session. After initial greetings and
introductions, the parents and boys are separated. The boys take part/observe
in a meeting filled with interesting activity (T-118 stages an first-aid show
that features victims of an airplane crash with spurting blood etc.). Their
parents are taken to another room and the goals and programs of Scouting are
presented (overview form) to them. The troop's program and requirements are
explained. At this point you take time to get the registration forms filled-
out . . . DO YOUR BEST TO RECRUIT THE PARENTS TOO! The parents and boys are
brought back together in time for an inspirational closing.
A word about the scheduling here: if, for example, your meeting night
is on a Monday or Tuesday, the school presentation should take place on
Wednesday at the latest so that the envelope will arrive by Friday. People
often ignore Saturday mail for a day or two and wont be reminded of the
open house until it's too late. On the other hand, if your meeting is on a
Wednesday you could make your presentation on Thursday and come out all right.
I hope this is of help. If there are typos in here, TOO BAD! It's
03:30 and I'm tired.
Yours in Scouting,
Carroll Hale (SM T-118) SAINT MARK RICHMOND, KENTUCKY
BEAVERS GET THE JOB DONE !
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Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City