you ever heard of "best practices?" One benefit of being 100+ years
old is that the Boy Scouts of America knows what works and what
doesn't. The following detailed fall recruitment, or "School Night to
Join Scouting," (SNJS) plan is one of those best practices and is used
by units across the country.
Marketing experts tell us a person needs to be exposed to something
seven times for best results. We need parents and boys to hear about
Scouting seven times! This includes school flyers (two sets), posters
at schools and on community billboards, yard signs, telephone calls,
school and PTO/PTA newsletters, newspapers, television and radio
announcements, stickers, tables at open houses, automated e-mail and
phone blasts, classroom talks, boys wearing their uniforms to
school that day and more!
Parents attend events when held at their children's school more often
than when they are at a park, church, etc. This is why most SNJS events
are held at schools. [Also see point 7 below.]
The SNJS event must be FUN! It has to be more than a table with papers
on it. Set up a mock campsite, have some rope games, have snacks, show
pictures from campouts, have small giveaways, etc. This is a night to
sign up for Scouts and Scouts only. It should be in addition to
anything you do at a school open house or similar function.
Plan EARLY! Parents want to see the pack's 2012-13 program calendar
that night (They've already seen the sports team's game schedule and the
martial arts practice schedule; you have to be as prepared!). Make it
full of fun outings and exciting lessons. Part of this also means
setting your SNJS date early. The council print shop needs at least two
weeks' notice to print flyers (free to you) and district
executives needs even more advance time to arrange classroom talks with
principals. Set your SNJS date as soon as possible and notify the
office of the details when you do.
"Be Prepared" -- Parents and boys should sign up THAT NIGHT. This is
not a night to learn about Scouts, take home a flyer and come back in
the future if they want to join (although some can). Have
applications, spare change, your 2012-13 calendar, parent guides
(available from the council), additional costs (den dues, uniforms,
etc.), flyers showing where materials can be purchased and what they
need, exact details about when and where the first meeting will be,
position descriptions for recruiting new leaders, new den leader kits (available online), "Cub Scouting Day One" (formerly "Taste of Scouting") flyers. posters and yard signs, displays showing the fun things
your pack does, plenty of pens, someone to emcee the night, helpers to
entertain the kids and someone to collect money and applications. All
unit leaders should be there. Your commissioner staff will help too.
Other district personnel may be available to help. Let us know if you
Sign up for "Cub Scouting Day One" (formerly "Taste of Scouting") online or with a flyer HERE.
Have a back-up plan! If it rains on your outdoor event, do parents
know where to go? If you are locked out of the school when you arrive,
do you know who to contact? Can you set up in the parking lot if you
have to? It has happened before. Be prepared.
7. If your program has been successful in the past, don't change it!
The points listed are the "best practices" of the SNJS plan. However,
you know your community best. If the your area knows Scouts recruit at
a big park event every fall, then that's what they expect. The
district committee, commissioner staff and professional staff want to
help you make it successful!
Immediately following the event, submit the new youth
and adult applications and payments received to the headquarters listed below.
08/23 - Riverview Gardens School District - Lemasters Elementary School / Cafeteria (1825 Crown Point Dr., St. Louis, MO 63136) - 6:00-9:30 p.m.
08/30 - Hazelwood School District - Hazelwood School District Admin. Bldg. / Break Room (15955 New Halls Ferry Rd., Florissant, MO 63031) - 5:30-9:30 p.m.
- Ferguson/Florissant School District - Ferguson/Florissant School District Admin. Bldg. / Staff Development Bldg. B (1005 Waterford Dr., Florissant, 63033) - 5:30-9:30 p.m.
09/27 - Jennings School District - Woodland Elementary School Cafeteria (8420 Sunbury Avenue, Jennings, 63136) - 5:30-8:00 p.m.
the SNJS plan focuses primarily on Cub Scouts because it is their first
exposure to Scouting, every troop and crew can adopt similar strategies
for their fall recruitment events. Good luck! Contact North Star
Membership Chairman Steven Francis for any help or questions along the way.