scouts-l Mail Archive for May of 2000: School Night Suggestions
Tue May 02 2000 - 08:40:20 CDT
We found in our District that 90% of the families that come to Scout night
intend to join. So we pushed most of our efforts towards getting them there.
I forget what it is called, but we have a day in our District where the parents
and kids visit the school a week before it starts to meet the teachers and see
their rooms. That's when we set up a Scouting Table with pictures, pinewood
derbies, cub-mobiles, uniforms and anything else that would make a boy pull his
mom over to ask questions. Then we get both the boys and parents name, address
and age. Then we call to remind them about Scout night. "Hint", I learned to
call and try to get them to join the Pack before that night so we could get our
Dens organized early. It works well and usually I find and adult leader. It
requires about a day of calling.
We also send handouts to the schools to give all the boys day before Scout
night. This can be tricky because some schools don't want to mess with the
handouts and some don't support Scouts. We would try and hand them out outside
of the school or at churches if the schools were a problem.
We asked the scouts to call their friends and invite them to Scout night. If you
give the Scout and incentive like candy bar or trinket, this can have some
As for Scout night, I always started out talking to the boys and ended talking
to the parents. We start with Webelos presenting the flag, roll right into a
couple of walk-on skits to annoy the Cubmaster and then a quick song. I pull all
the kids right up front and get them to sing loud. All of them, sisters
brothers, even dads who forgot their age. Then I tell them about swimming,
archery, camping, games, pinewood derbies and all the cool stuff boys want to
do. This takes about ten minutes and pretty much sells boys. Now the adults. We
ask a couple of adults and/or Webelos to take the boys and teach them a song of
make paper airplanes to have a contest which should keep them busy in the next
room for about 20 minutes. Then I talk with the adults about a quality program
of building character and fitness. I mention the game with a purpose. The game
is fun, the purpose is building men. I explain the benefits of good role models
for their boys and point out how these guys develop good leadership and
communication skills. I like to explain how Scouts builds good self respect and
confidence from a program that encourages them to think and act for themselves
and learn from the experience. That usually sells the parents on the program.
Then the harder part is explaining they have to help. Units need leaders and
helpers. Our District has a tradition of branding plastic mugs. At each district
event, they can get their mugs branded. I point out to the adults that by the
time they finish Scouting, they can track their Scouting career by looking at
the brands on the mug. Then I explain that Cub Scouts are empty mugs waiting to
get branded by adults who can help them be better fathers and husbands. Each
adult leader is a brand that can effect each boy for the rest of his life. Just
like the mug loaded down with brands, each boy needs lots of adults to guide him
through Scouts. Each adult needs to commit in some way and they will find the
experience rewarding, but most important, fun.
Then we sit down and build the dens and find leaders.
Ideas that make the evening go faster is hand out a boy and adult application as
the families walk in the door and get the parents to fill them out as they sit
down. That will save time at end when they have questions and you want to talk
with them about leadership. Have a leader at their table all the time so they
can answer questions and talk about the program while waiting for the CM to get
this thing rolling.
Have at least one experienced leader at each age group or table. The more
experience adults you have, the better they can explain the program to parents
with questions and help them with the paperwork.
Take no more than an hour and push for 45 minutes. After that everyone is ready
to go home because the kids are antsy. Get everyone's name in case some folks
want to think about it. Call them a little later and ask if they have more
Our Pack learned how to develop new leaders in the Spring. That was a huge help
because we walked into Scout night with Den Leaders ready for new Scouts. Then
we could get the parents to look at other small positions in the Pack.
One other idea we developed While I was on the District committee was a District
Scout Night coordination meeting in late July to give pack leaders ideas of
recruiting adult leaders as well as Scouts. Many of these units don't have a
clue about recruiting and I find many of them only recruit to the level of the
adults they already have in place. Help them feel more comfortable about
recruiting the adults and they work a lot harder for the Scouts. This meeting
was also a good place for us to talk with the leaders and find out which packs
were struggling with leadership. It helped us identify troubled packs and start
giving them some help.
If I had to pick one idea that made a noticeable increase in our District
recruiting, it was signing up families at the school visitation day. After we
taught this to our units, we received several panicky calls asking for guidance
of recruiting adults because their sign up was so successful. These are good
Good luck, recruiting can be fun or scary depending on how prepared you are
going into it. The fact you are looking at this now shows your units will be way