Membership & Recruiting
The Council has in-stock flyers can be custom printed with your unit’s Joining Night information. Using standard templates on the reverse side of an eye-catching image, your staff at the Council will print school flyers for your upcoming event. In an effort to maintain positive school relationships and avoid overwhelming school administrators, only one flyer per town for each age groups (Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts) will be printed. The flyer will contain joining night information for all units within the town. Unit’s who do not have dates scheduled will simply have their contact information advertised. Utilizing one flyer also allows families the opportunity to explore all of their options which is important for areas that do not have neighborhood schools.
The most successful Joining Nights are conducted by using the following steps:
The joining night is planned at an actual school. Families are familiar with schools and more likely to attend a program there. Many families do not feel comfortable attending an event at a church different than their denomination. If you take that fear out by having it at a neutral location it will give them the opportunity to get to know your unit before making assumptions.
Joining Nights are more successful when scheduled on Tuesday-Thursday nights! Many families have their weekends planned far in advance. The best time to have a joining night is a week night and it shouldn’t last more than an hour and a half. Consider trying yours from 6:00PM-7:30PM so families still have time to pick their children up after work and plan dinner and bedtime routines afterward.
After your date is scheduled make sure you have a full month of advertising! Talk to your District Executive and Membership Chair about flyers, boy talks and yard signs. Ask your church if you can put information in their bulletin. See if your local pizza shop will put flyers on their boxes over a weekend if your unit helps put them together for them. Ask your local youth sports teams if you can have a table at one of their games to advertise your joining night. Talk to your Chartered Organization Representative about how they can help you with promotions. Make sure your BeAScout.org pin is up to date and include your joining information on it!
The night is planned as a partnership between the Pack and the Troop. It is extremely successful to have representatives from the Boy Scout Troop (including Den Chiefs) on hand to run a few small games and activities with the youth while the Cub Scout leaders address parents. Often times, older siblings attend with their family and want to join the troop. Another option is to have extra help just to entertain the youth and parent breakout sessions for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.
The unit leadership should make a formal presentation. This night is not a one-on-one conversation between the leader and every parent who walks through the door. A presentation discussing the values of Scouting, a calendar of events, and joining costs should be made and then open the floor for questions and possibly one-on-one discussions. Parents need to see that your unit is organized and ready for their child.
Make Scouting Visible
It is helpful to have photos and props on hand from your past Scout outings. Some creative examples are: set up a mock campsite in the school cafeteria, have some old Pinewood Derby cars on hand, build an entry way using lashings, haul in your soap box derby cars, have a slide show or display your unit website on a screen!
A “school talk” is a 3-5 minute talk about Scouting that your District Executive can conduct within your school building or Sunday School class to advertise upcoming joining events. Once an event is scheduled your DE can contact your school and ask to talk to youth. These talks should never take up educational time (but can be done during lunch or another pre-arranged time). A short script is sent ahead of time to the principal so he/she knows exactly what will be said.
Scout Troops should plan an open house in March or April with a May or June campout being the first activity for new members. Cub Scout Packs should plan an open house in April or May with a Council activity being the first big event for new members.