Archive for August, 2012

Recruiting Time—Inviting New Players to the Game of Scouting

August 31, 2012
Wolf Cubs in Virginia

Wolf Cubs in Virginia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recruitment is a never-ending task… and it is a constant opportunity to spread the “game with a purpose” to new youth and adults, year ’round.

My Council has made the move to Spring recruiting.  There’s a big push to get Leaders at the April Roundtable, with “mandatory” attendance for a bonus on popcorn sales.  Biggest roundtable of the year… which is too bad, because its the most boring roundtable of the year, except maybe August, another “mandatory” meeting where they go over annual budgets.  No wonder few Scouters come back for the good stuff the rest of the year.

Is your Spring and/or Fall recruitment like our roundtables?  A one-off, boring lecture or high-pressure sales campaign?  “Come to our Big Meeting and Buy Into Scouting!”

Or is recruiting just one more part of your Scouting year?  Do you make it easy for boys to join when it’s convenient for them?  Do you make it easy for Adults—parents, alumni, other volunteers—to pick up whatever ball is in the air and start when it’s convenient for them?

I hate to admit it, but our Scouting program, especially our Pack, has been a School Year program.  We tried Spring recruiting, but fell down on the job during the summer and those Cub Scouts who joined in May never came back.  We’ve also burned out our long-time Cub leaders, such that we’re having trouble even doing Fall recruiting this year.  They say hindsight is 20/20, but I’m really seeing the value of giving every adult a job sometime somehow during the year.  Finding ways to get parents to buy into Scouting as a family program, not just another activity where you hire a coach and drop the kids off.  To schedule more events for guests to build relationships instead of making a sale.

That as it is, I offer our mistakes not as a complaint, but as a parable.  We can look at recruitment as a chore, or as a chance.  A one-time event, or as a way of doing business.  Our ongoing opportunity to invite new players to the game of Scouting.  I’ll try, if you will too.