As a unit commissioner, I’ve been helping plan and assist with recruiting nights at Cub Scout packs in our town this year. This is nothing new to me; I’ve conducted many during my time in Cub Scouts. I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly, so I thought I’d share with you some of my thoughts on what to do and what not to do. Of course, you may have very good reasons for doing things the way you do, and if they work, there’s probably no reason to change. Here we go:
- Have a good plan. Know what you’re going to talk about and who is going to do it. This is one of the biggest nights of the year. To try to stumble through without a plan will only show your potential members that you’re disorganized, and they’d probably want their sons to look elsewhere for an activity.
- Have all your registered adults present. You’re hopefully going to recruit more than Tigers. Your den leaders can introduce themselves to parents of prospective Wolves, Bears and Webelos, and fill them in on den activity details.
- Have something fun for the boys. They should do something separately while you talk to the parents. You could hire a magician, or arrange for an animal demonstration, but it’s probably better to have a simple activity or activities. You can usually enlist the Boy Scout troops to help. It’s best to keep it simple; you can entice them back with the promise of a lizard show next week. Remember KISMIF!
- Have application forms on hand and handbooks available. There’s nothing worse than having a boy ready to join and not having the application form. And selling them a handbook now acts as another hook to help ensure that they come back. And turn in your completed applications promptly; they’re not a Scout until they are registered.
- Waste people’s time. Parents of six-year-olds are pressed for time and need to get their kids home and off to bed. Dragging it on until 9:00 puts them way past bedtime, so keep your pitch short and to the point.
- Provide too much information. Going on and on about pack organization, budget, council structure or anything about Boy Scouts is more than they need to know right now. It already feels like drinking from a firehose; don’t turn it up higher. Give them the essentials – the time commitment, the cost and the range of activities. Push the pack meeting program and the fun things you’re doing this fall.
- Try to re-register your current Scouts the same night. Make this event just for new families. If you bog down the process by including current families in the registration line, you’ll further delay those first graders from their bedtime. Have your returning families re-up at the pack meeting instead.
What else can you think of that a pack should or shouldn’t do at its recruiting night? Please leave a comment below.
Image from BSA Heart of Virginia Council