Scouts-L Mail Archive for November of 1998: Re: Cool Scouts....
Re: Cool Scouts....
Mon, 23 Nov 1998 08:43:47 -0500
In a message dated 11/22/98 7:59:08 PM, LClossen@AOL.COM wrote:
<<We have tried everything we could to get the troop to grow, we have
a fair average of Scouts and a wonderful reputation, but in the last months,
we are being overshadowed by sports, school programs and girl friends...The
most common thing I have heard from possible Scouts is that it is not cool...
only dweeby boys want to be Scouts...
how did you make your troop grow???
Also, I am trying to combat the "Cool" title... do you know any "cool"
celebrities, sports figures etc whose name might impress some young boys??>>
I hope that some other leaders can give more immediate help than I can. But
here is what I have learned through experience.
Unlike Cub Scouts, where School Night for Scouting will bring young men in
groups, Boy Scouting requires one-on-one recruiting. By and large, that means
a boy invites his friend to visit and join.
The exception to that is recruiting of graduating Webelos Scouts. These are
boys who, because of their participation in Cub Scouting and Webelos Scouting,
either are not impressed by the "uncool" image. Almost all growing Troops
that I know have a strong Webelos Scout recruiting program. So this is one
key element. If you are not recruiting Webelos Scouts or are not keeping
them, that is a very major concern.
Some other thoughts: If you are having problems with competition with girls,
school sports, etc. it suggests that you have mainly older boys. If so, they
do consider Scouting "uncool" and start to drop out. They also have no
particular interest in recruiting 10 and 11 year olds and aren't particularly
good at it. Your situation may have started years ago as you had a solid
group of friends who stayed together as they got older but made no particular
effort to get younger boys and may have even discouraged younger members.
So what can you do?
1) If there is the possibility of establishing a relationship with a WEbelos
Den in your area, do so immediately
2) If you have any younger boys in your Troop, get them to recruit their
friends. Use the "Recruiter" badge and other techniques to overcome the
embarrassment of asking people to do things uncool. You could hold a
recruiting night at a local sports event where a boy can ask a friend to come
to the event in connection with the troop. It makes it much easier to say
"Come to the hockey game with me and my troop" than it is to say "Come to my
3) For your older boys, consider starting a Venture Crew. This can also have
female members and "immediately doubles your chances."
4) Look for younger brothers, etc. of your current members. You likely need
to make a generational shift in your membership profile.
5) If the attitude is that only dweeby boys want to be Scouts, this may
suggest your market. Realistically, in many communities, the very popular
athletic boys do youth sports and the bookworms, non-athletes, etc. become
Scouts. If the boys you are trying to get say that in their circles, only
dweebs become Scouts, they maybe you are targeting the wrong boys; the ones
who don't need Scouting.
5) Contact your Commissioner and your DE for assistance.
I am sure some of the list members have some other ideas.