Scouts-L Mail Archive for October of 1998: Re: Why join now?
Re: Why join now?
Thu, 22 Oct 1998 07:17:05 -0400
Mark Arend <arend@CENTURYINTER.NET> wrote:
> We're starting our recruitment among the Webelos dens. One of the problems
> in the past has been boys & parents who are interested but never follow
> through. Instead of joining in March or April they wait "until school is
> out". Then it's "summer is so busy with [baseball, play practice,
> whatever]--we'll wait until that's over". I think we could keep some of
> these kids if we could snag them in the spring but by the time September
> rolls around they've pretty much lost interest. And even if they do come in
> they've missed quite a bit and start out behind their peers.
> I know all the reasons why they should start right away but does anyone have
> a fun way to present it to the parents (or the kids). Perhaps something
> like "Top ten reasons you should join Scouts now" or some other light,
> humorous way to get the message across.
I don't know how to answer your question with anything you can use as an
argument to make with the boys and their parents come March, but you might
take a slightly different approach. Let me illustrate with an example.
Three weekends ago we had our Fall Camporee. We invited the Webelos to join
us, and four of them did. They had a ball! Three of them are trying to figure
out how to join _now_ rather than wait and cross over with their buddies in
March! They all went out and bought Scout handbooks, read the joining
requirements, can earn their Arrow of Light within a month or so, and don't
see why they need to wait until March to join the troop! We are encouraging
them to stay with the Pack (their time to be "Top Dog") and to come over with
the 10-12 Webelos who will cross over next spring (sort of in-house recruiters).
We are planning two more events between now and March that will include both
the first and second year Webelos and have made including them in our
activities throughout the year a high priority. We have sucessfully recruited
kids from the middle school who have never been Cub Scouts, but we know that
the future of the Troop lies in a successful Pack program - and that includes
a successful transition.
We will be training Den Chiefs and having boys work closely with the dens in
the future, although we have not done that yet. I believe that the Den Chief
program works to get the boys excited about moving up, but I know that
actively involving them works. I've seen the results first hand.
In this light, we have no Cub recruiting problems. I would suspect you could
have the same impact. We will still lose some I'm sure, but we don't have to
worry about being placed last on the priority list as spring and summer
activities steal away precious free time, by trying to sell them on a program
that they are not really sure they want to join.
There is one thing that I think most of us miss in all of this. Coming out of
a Pack program after 4-5 years, those Webelos - top dogs in their neighborhood
- become low man on the totem pole. This is not an easy transition for some of
these kids. If the boys don't already feel accepted in the Troop environment,
this added stress could push some of them to opt for an extra "baseball
practice" rather than a Troop meeting or camping trip. If you can break
through this barrier early, the trepidation that many of these boys feel on
"moving up" can be greatly reduced.
Tim Hewitt, Scoutmaster
Troop 350, Old Orchard Beach, Maine