Re: Heads up on School Night (LONG)
Mark Ray (info@EAGLEBOOK.COM)
Mon, 21 Jul 1997 09:45:33 +0000
Here are a few thoughts on School Night from my D.E. days (in no particular
1. People come to School Night to sign up. They've already decided to join,
so they don't need a sales pitch. Keep the meeting as brief as possible
(under 45 minutes) and focus on why you're there. If people want to stay
afterwards and ask questions, that's fine; but end the formal meeting as
quickly as possible.
2. Leave the jargon, complicated details, gossip, and war stories for a
later time. These people are joining a den and a pack--not a district or a
council--so just focus on pack-level terms. They're joining in August or
September, so don't focus on day camp, resident camp, Summertime Pack
Award, how our dens might weekly through the school year but then just meet
monthly during the summer, etc.
3. Have a packet for each family that includes the year's calendar, key
leader phone numbers, a page or two of general Cub Scout info, etc. That
way they have the key information in writing, in case they have to leave
early or miss something you say.
4. Have a sign-in sheet at the door and get everyone's name and phone
number. Thay way you can contact people who don't sign up for whatever
5. If people want to sign up and leave, let them. You can fill them in
later on the details they missed. Don't turn them off to Cub Scouting
because they have to endure a 90-minute meeting just to sign their kid up.
6. Explicitly tell people what they should do next (e.g., buy a Wolf book,
come to the pack meeting next Thursday, etc.). Don't assume that they can
extract the critical few details from the mass of information they'll
7. Recruiting den leaders at School Night is a delicate process. Remember,
these people don't understand (yet) that Scouting is a family activity. To
them, signing up for Cub Scouting is no different than signing up for
baseball. They assume you already have leaders in place and all they need
to do is pay. Gently disabuse them of this notion.
8. Have a date/time/location for Fast Start training scheduled in advance.
Gather your new leaders briefly at School Night and announce this training
date. Don't worry about basic training (unless it's the following week),
roundtable, Pow Wow, or Wood Badge. Just get them to Fast Start and get
their den meetings going. (Some people think it's reassuring to explain all
the training opportunities that are available--I think doing so makes
people think the job is just too complicated.)
9. Well before School Night, confirm the leadership and membership of your
existing dens. (In fact, they should start holding meetings even before
School Night.) Also make sure as many pack leadership positions as possible
are already filled. That way, on School Night you can concentrate on
filling existing dens and creating new dens. You'll know exactly what you
have and what you need. Current Scouts need not attend School Night to sign
9. Displays are great because they tell the Scouting story without taking
time out from your meeting. Plus, pictures and pinewood derby cars are more
effective than speeches.
10. Have a pre-opening activity for those who arrive early (something
simple like a Cub Scout word search).
11. Have plenty of pens, tons of applications, and spare change.
12. Have lots of leaders around in uniform to answer questions and direct
13. As for money, just focus on the basic registration and Boys' Life fees
at School Night; this is probably the amount that the council puts on its
flyers. You can explain that the pack charges dues and that there are fees
for certain activities, but leave the details till later.
14. Have displays and other promotions in the school in the days leading up
to School Night. Have boys wear uniforms one day or raise the flag or lead
the Pledge on the school's morning TV news.
15. Ask your leaders to think back to the School Night where they signed
up. What were their expectations? What did they need to know? What was good
and bad about the School Night they attended?
Well, that's probably more than you wanted to know. Hopefully these ideas
will help you have a GREAT School Night this year!
(These are my thoughts only, and I'm sure some people will disagree--no
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City