Re: Membership Committee
Fri, 17 Apr 1998 13:25:26 -0400
In a message dated 4/16/98 5:42:56 PM, dwgentry@POLARCONSULT.COM wrote:
<<Is anybody on or familiar with a membership committee at the District or
Council level? We're just starting to re-launch just such a committee and
are interested in the kinds of activities and responsibilities to give it.
As with everything in Scouting, there is literature on what to do. I suggest
that you check out that literature. However, when I have held the Membership
job in a Council, here are some of the things I have tried to do:
1) I believe that the job is Membership/Relationships. The relationship part
involves the Catholic committee, the LDS committee, etc. So if that is part
of your responsibility, you at least need to be aware of it.
2) The job involves strategy and tactics. Strategy to me meant putting
together a plan for membership in the council. As an example, in my council
15 years ago, we looked at the demographics and realized that the population
of Scout age children was going to drop over 35% over the next 5-8 years. So
we knew that just doing what we were doing, there was no way we could even
stay even in membership. We decided to place much more emphasis on Learning
for Life (at that time called In-School Exploring) and we were able to build
enough participation in that program that our membership plussed out for 10
Similarly, in another council, we concluded that our membership was divided
roughly into thirds: One third LDS, one third Latino and one third suburban
white non-LDS Scouting. We reasoned that the LDS membership would be handled
by the relationships group and put together separate programs for the Latino
and suburban groups.
3) Tactics means the specifics of what you will do. In my current council,
for example, we have concluded that our job of recruiting Cub Scouts could be
better. So next year, we have decided to do a "crunch week" of one week in
September concentrating on Cub Scout units. Every other District or Council
function has been deferred and we will worry only about Cub Scout membership
and recruiting that week. There is a specific plan for how we will work as a
Council and as Districts to build CS participation and recruiting in
Tactics also can mean putting together the outline and plan for School Night
for Scouting. It also can mean helping recruit the District Membership
Chairmen, helping them recruit a committee, training them and then working
with them in doing the job.
Tactics can also mean deciding where to organize units and putting together a
plan of which units will be organized when and why and organizing them.
A Membership Committee should work closely with a good Commissioner's staff.
Ideally, a commissioner should work with the organizing team and pick up the
ball after the unit is up and running.
I am sure that other list members can give more ideas. The final thing I
would say, though, is like the old story of how you eat an elephant -- one
bite at a time. When you restart a membership committee, don't try to do
everything at once. Prioritize what will really make an impact and which
tasks you have manpower to do. It's a little like a good Wood Badge Ticket --
goals that are challenging, concrete, measurable and doable in a realistic
period of time. There is always the time and space to do more next year.
Membership Committee work can be great fun and very rewarding. Have a great
time doing it.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City