Article Submitted by Scot Fuller, Director of Field Service, Longhorn Council

Back in June, the Longhorn Council held a focus group targeting our highest performing units when it comes to recruitment. One general theme came out of this meeting: it takes the entire Scouting unit and their network engaging the families in their community to be successful. This was true for Cub Scout packs and Scouts BSA troops alike. As we heard this feedback, we put together plans on how we could do this in a new virtual world that we live in. We have worked to engage multiple networks to deliver the same message: Scouting continues, and we want you and your family to be a part of it.

  • We need our packs and troops having a social media presence. One of our council membership committee members and an assistant council commissioner does marketing for a living. He understands the complexities of social media and that every platform put together a different message to get the word out. He put together a great two-month guide for units to be able to market their message through multiple platforms. You can download the guide here: Growing your Scouting unit – Social media
  • We have more friends of Scouting than just current Cub Scout families. In discussion with our council VP of Membership, we talked through the idea that we typically only engage Cub Scout families on a fall recruitment campaign. We knew we needed to break this trend. We have networks in other program levels, in alumni, and especially our NESA members in our council. We put together a communication asking them to help us advertise for the BSA Family Fun Fest by simply adding the Family Fun Fest Facebook frame on their profile picture. It was a small ask, but it goes a long way. We are currently putting together a BeAScout.org frame as well to continue our marketing push.
  • Engaging our former Scouts. 2020 has been like no other year in Scouting. We saw very early that we did not have the same number of cross-overs that we have had in previous years, and we knew we needed to get on that. We put together our Save a Scout plan to reach out to former Scouts and re-invite them to the program. Besides our personal phone calls and emails, we also are inviting these Scouts back to our membership recruitment events in the fall. In addition, we started building relationships committees to re-engage our former Scouts of different religions and backgrounds and inviting them back to Scouting at a grass-roots level.

These are all things that are new to the Longhorn Council in 2020. We have not stopped pushing our traditional marketing tools, i.e. Scout talks, fliers, yard signs, geo-fencing, etc., but we realize that they may not have the same impact this year as they have in years past. We are working to ensure that we have as many asks out into the community as possible and that if someone does not join Scouting, it is by their choice, not because we did not invite them to join.

Scouting Wire would like to thank Scot Fuller for submitting this article. 

Article Submitted by Tim Hays, Senior District Executive, Longhorn Council

By the time October hits, there are a few things that we, as unit-serving executives, should be doing and aware of as we continue to recruit new youth for our districts.

During October, many of our first rounds of sign-up nights are done, so at this point we should be looking at where we are membership-wise and where we need to be to reach our goals by the end of December. After we have done this, we can look at which of our units could benefit from holding a follow-up joining event. Many parents are not aware that if they miss that first sign up night, that they are still able to join the BSA at any other date. If you haven’t already, I would suggest putting something along those lines into your flyers and other advertisements to parents. 

There are so many tools at your disposal to find the numbers to track your goals through mybsa, DTR’s OPR’s etc., that you should be able to find what you need fairly easily. 

You can also be working on starting or finishing up more of those new units around this time to grow Scouting and reach the under-served areas in your district. Working through the 12 steps to starting a new unit should help you to be on pace to have at 2-3 new units in your district by the time December hits. That will not only help your goals, but also put your newer units on the same recharter calendar as the rest of your packs, troops, and crews in the district. 

Either you can start a unit fresh with the help of your commissioners, pursue the full family of Scouting with some of your troops who don’t have feeder packs, or focus on your packs who don’t have troops for their youth to cross over into.  Also, keep an eye on the troops who are exceptionally good at helping their youth to reach Eagle, then have a conversation with that Scoutmaster and some of those parents and figure out what the right kind of Venturing Crew would be to start with that troop. 

While, we’re on the topic of interests, you can also use this time to do some career interest surveys at your local junior high and high school to see what kind of Clubs and Explorer Posts could be in your district’s future. Exploring is an important part of membership, and it can make an impact on your membership numbers at year end.

October is also the month where I like to start on my unit inventories. We all have leaders who are busy and sometimes take a little longer to get information to us than others. That’s why you want to start a little earlier before December hits to make sure you have time to get rosters from units, compare to the roster in your Council’s database, identify any missing youth, then get the applications and money from the unit before those youth leave for their winter breaks and vacations. 

Remember that this is going to be a very busy time, so be sure to manage your time wisely and keep up with your calendar and back dating. Friends of Scouting will be in the beginning phases, and popcorn sales will also be happening in many councils. You don’t want to neglect any volunteers, but don’t spread yourself too thin either.

Be on the lookout during your sign-up nights for potential new volunteers that are already established in the units or joining that night. Of course you don’t want to recruit new parents to your district committee while they’re signing up their child, but make those mental notes of where you think those individuals can help you in the future. October can arguably be one of the busiest times of the year, so be sure to utilize your volunteers and let them know how and where to help you succeed in growing the Scouting program in your district.

Scouting Wire would like to thank Tim for submitting this article.

As part of the ongoing process to identify how to optimize the Boy Scouts of America for success in the future, the National Executive Committee (NEC) recently asked the National Management Team to facilitate the evaluation of the 26 primary proposed recommendations that resulted from the Churchill Project. In addition to receiving survey input from Scouting stakeholders, the Management Team also evaluated inputs from individual Action Teams, whose work helped explain the efforts that would be needed to implement each recommendation should it be approved by the NEC to move forward.

Late last week, the National Executive Committee reviewed and agreed with the recommendations of the Management Team to move forward with 15 of the 26 proposed actions, which can be characterized by the following priorities.

  • Keeping Youth Safety at the Forefront – Keeping youth in our programs safe is a priority, and recommendations that seek to bolster the processes surrounding youth safety, including onboarding, incident reporting and easy-to-navigate resources, are moving forward so that we can continue evolving and improving upon our youth safety programs that experts agree are some of the strongest among youth-serving organizations.
  • Engaging and Empowering Volunteers – Volunteers continue to be vital in our ability to deliver an engaging and rewarding Scouting program in communities throughout our organization. Recommendations that help engage and empower more volunteers to deliver and support Scouting locally will move forward, which will be vital to our Movement’s sustainability since financial challenges prevent us from being able to meet demands with professional staff alone.
  • Streamlining to Enable Local Council Success – In addition to moving forward with recommendations focused at streamlining our structure, events and processes, we will also move forward with the recommendation to focus the services that the national organization provides to what local councils need most and cannot effectively or efficiently handle alone so that councils can focus on bringing Scouting to youth, families and communities with the support of local volunteers.

Recommendations that were paused for possible consideration of implementation in the future, include:

  • Establishing a fee-based structure for councils in place of the National BSA collecting membership fees from councils, and
  • Creating a non-traditional membership category for families that is focused on experiences, rather than advancement.

The Management Team will be reviewing those two recommendations while they are on pause for how they may be beneficial to the Movement in the future.

The NEC also agreed that the following three recommendations will not be considered at this time:

  • Combining Sea Scouting into Exploring,
  • Ending all youth programs at the age of 18, and
  • Sunsetting the Learning for Life curriculum

Although we are not moving forward with these recommendations, we will continue the dialog that prompted the recommendations to ensure that we continue to benefit as a Movement from the evaluation and analysis conducted by the Churchill teams that studied those areas.

We continue to extend our gratitude to the teams of volunteers and professionals that worked hard to evaluate the important areas of the Churchill Project, an important initiative that engaged local, regional and national volunteers and professionals to create the catalyst for positive changes that will propel the BSA forward. These steps chart a continuous improvement process for the organization that will benefit youth, families, communities, and the entire Movement.

As the namesake of the project, we turn to Winston Churchill in closing,

“There is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure.”

Let us all embrace this thought as we forge ahead, knowing that change is never easy, but let us be bold and daring in our decisions both locally and nationally to ensure we emerge from this challenging time poised to serve even more young people in this great Movement we call Scouting.

What’s the easiest way for potential members to join your Scout unit?

BeAScout.org!

It works even better if your unit information is up-to-date. Now, if you update your pin, your Scout unit could win!

Just make sure your unit BeAScout pin is updated anytime between June 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2020, and your unit will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $500 Scout Shop Gift card, or one of five $100 Scout Shop Gift cards. See the full rules for the giveaway here.

Need help updating your pin? Find a complete set of step-by-step instructions on how to update your BeAScout pin in this guide, and/or watch this “Setting Up Your BeAScout Unit Pin” instructional video.

As we move into join-Scouting season, now is the time to be Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, and Kind by doing a Good Turn and updating your pin so people who are looking for a great Scouting unit can find you! You just might win something in the process!

Dear Scouting Family, 

With more than half of the year behind us, it’s natural for us to look back at the challenges we have navigated in the past few months, as a movement and as a country. But it’s even more important that we look ahead at the opportunities ahead of us.

This is the time of year when we band together with our volunteers to introduce Scouting to youth and their families. And even though many things may feel different right now, bringing Scouting to life for millions of young people is one thing that should not change. Sure, it might look a little different this year, but it is a calling that deserves our energy and attention right now.

We now have the opportunity to welcome hundreds of thousands of new youth and families into Scouting at a time when we are needed most. Youth, families, and communities need Scouting as a partner to help build character and leadership in young people during these uncertain times. While many other programs may not be possible during this school year, Scouting can and will continue.

To give families a taste of what Scouting can bring to life, we’re hosting Family Fun Fest, August 8 and September 12. Not only are these interactive, online events an ‘open house’ for Scouting, but they’re also a chance for families to break away from the at-home routines to enjoy a Saturday escape. Those of you who participated in the National Camp-In can attest to the fun these virtual festivities offer, as well as the family time they can create.

Family Fun Fest takes the excitement of Scouting activities, and kicks it up a notch with new faces, new skills to learn, and new experiences that families can enjoy together. The events will feature interviews with NASCAR drivers and astronauts, interactive games and activities, fun with pets, prizes, and in the spirit of Scouting, a service project supporting schools that everyone can participate in from home.

As fun as this event will be for all of us in Scouting, it is even more important to get the word out to our friends and family not yet in Scouting to join us for this virtual celebration of Scouting. This event is for families with Scout-aged kids who are looking for new ways this fall to prepare their kids for life. 

I ask that we all take a step out of our comfort zones this week and invite friends and families around us who could benefit from Scouting to join us for Family Fun Fest. If you have some famous friends that would like to lend their support, that too is welcome, but kids and families are the real stars here.

For the full details on Family Fun Fest, visit scouting.org/familyfunfest, where you can register for emails so you’ll get updates and be entered for a chance to win some great prizes.

Better yet, get in on the fun by downloading the Family Fun Fest Adventure Log to get the word out.

See you at Family Fun Fest on August 8th and September 12th – so we can show America how to Scout On!

-Roger Mosby

Please join us in congratulating Jared Pickens, who will serve as Scout executive of the Cherokee Area Council in Chattanooga, Tennessee, effective September 1, 2020.

Jared began his Scouting career as a district executive and then senior district executive at the Great Smoky Mountain Council in Knoxville, Tennessee. He moved on to the Last Frontier Council in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to serve as the director of development, and most recently as the director of field service/chief operating officer.

Jared is a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow who enjoys spending time with family, playing soccer, hiking, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

Jared and his wife, Ashley, have one child, Theodore.

In the comments below, please help us send Jared our well wishes as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Cherokee Area Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

As the school year begins, it’s time to encourage everyone to use social media to spread the word about Scouting.

You can start sharing right now with a few simple items like hashtags or ready-to-post social content.

Be sure to visit the BSA Brand Center and use the official logos, social media images, videos, and other assets like the ones available for Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing, Exploring, and Sea Scouts. Also direct people to Scouting.org or BeAScout.org so they can learn more or join!

As a reminder, focus your social posts on the value of the programs of the Boy Scouts of America, and never criticize other youth activities/organizations or those who may not share your perspective.

HASHTAGS

Incorporate one or more of the hashtags below in short social posts about your unit’s open house, a positive personal Scouting experience, or why this opportunity is meaningful to your family.

  • #ScoutMeIn
  • #ScoutsBSA
  • #CubScouts
  • #Venturing
  • #SeaScouts
  • #Exploring
  • #BeAScout
  • #BoyScoutsofAmerica
  • #BSA
  • #Scouting

READY-MADE SOCIAL POSTS

Facebook

  • When it comes to adventure, you just have to get your feet wet. Scouting will give your son or daughter the skills they’ll need to make waves in the world.   
  • Scouting will help your son or daughter see that nothing is impossible when you’re Prepared for Life. Learn more at Scouting.org.
  • Help your son or daughter earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Find a Scouts BSA troop near you at BeAScout.org.
  • Scouting can give your kids the tools they’ll need to succeed now and throughout their lives. Find out more at Scouting.org.
  • We’re inviting all boys and girls ages 11-17 to say “Scout Me In” to Scouts BSA! Experience fun and adventure while learning life skills and giving back to the community. To learn more, visit BeAScout.org.

Instagram

Use these text options to complement photos of the incredible adventures Scouting has to offer. You can find some great photos to use in the BSA Brand Center.

TIP: Instagram does not allow links in captions so be sure to add BeAScout.org to your bio and reference it in your captions. Remember to use hashtags.

  • Sometimes the road less traveled isn’t a road.
  • It’s a big world. Explore it in Scouting.
  • It’s not just something I do. It’s something I am. #Scouting
  • Scouting is learning to be your best.

How will recruitment work this year? If you haven’t asked this question yourself, you’ve likely heard it asked at least several times over the past few months. With many communities practicing social distancing—or even stay-at-home orders—it’s no secret that introducing more families to Scouting could be a challenge, but Scouters are ready! Now, more than ever, the world needs Scouting, and the organization is at a pivotal moment to grow and find new opportunities to unite our communities.

There is no question that the impact of COVID-19 has created a unique and unprecedented challenge for recruiting new members to the Scouting movement, but rising to the occasion is what Scouters do best. In recent weeks, BSA professionals from across the country have been sharing their knowledge of what works well in their councils. These insights, as well as the new ideas they can inspire in your own council, will help us deliver the benefits of BSA’s programs to more youth than ever before.

Take a look at these Fall 2020 recruitment ideas, curated from councils around the country, and your creative process will be rolling before you know it! Also be sure to follow the hyperlinks under each section to get the full scope of each Scouter’s perspective.


Longhorn Council district executive, Paul Verwers suggests:

  • Track your recruitment data. Know how many Scouts each school/unit recruited at its sign-up nights the year before. This will let you know if the pack is on track or underperforming on expectations.
  • Communicate with your fall sign-up chair and district membership committee. We have great volunteers in the BSA, but they still need support and guidance. Verify that everyone knows the sign-up night location [or URL], schedule, and any local health guidance.
  • Are you are doing virtual Scout talks or sending previously recorded videos to schools? If so, ensure that the schools have the capabilities to share those videos and that the videos have the correct info on how to join BSA. (Find downloadable Scout Talk videos for youth and 5 Questions about Scouting videos for parents in the BSA Brand Center)
  • Work with your training chair to set up new leader training. Have several training opportunities throughout the fall to help strengthen their skills and confidence.
  • Work with your commissioner core. Engage your commissioners to support your membership efforts. Having a strong commissioner team is a key to keep your units active and in good health.

Read more about Paul’s take on the road ahead in his piece, Fall recruitment strategies from the pros.


Faye Hammond, Assistant Director of Field Service at Atlanta Area Council recommends:

  • Encourage units to be ready to receive online applications.
  • Develop plans to deliver your buzz-up (video) via closed-circuit television – it may be your only avenue.

Occoneechee Council’s Family Scouting & Finance Development Director Gwangi Shipp gave this valuable reminder:

  • Are your units prepared for recruitment with items such as a unit program calendar, year-round budget, fact sheet about the unit, leadership contact sheet, and an updated BeAScout pin?

Peggy Durbin, Assistant Scout Executive of  South Florida Council proves her eye for strategy with these tips:

  • Call your principals to let them know Scouting has been active and promoting continuing education through our programs during these challenging times. Tell them we look forward to being able to reconnect again this fall…
  • Reach out to your unit leaders and families and ask them to produce short video clips of their Scouts engaged in the fun Scouting activities they have been doing throughout the lock-down and encourage them to share those videos with their family and friends.  
  • Both of these suggestions are also in video form that can be uploaded for a virtual Program Kick-off via Facebook.

Get the full set of tips from these three brilliant BSA pros in their post on fall recruiting strategies.


Connecticut Rivers Council Field Director Sean Fogle made this customer-centric recommendation:

  • Make content relevant: Our families at home are suffering in unseen ways. Providing relevant content into their homes and at their own pace is key. Everything we have done has been designed around healthy living tips or ways to make life at home more enjoyable. For instance, we interviewed a professional board game designer on his favorite games to play, and we encouraged a family game night to get away from the electronics. It is important to also make it fun through the whole process. Our virtual summer camp introduced in early May is called Camp Kinda-Like-A. We have a nice theme song and all marketing for it has been light and fun. We have a couple hundred kids signed up for it already. You can watch our Spirit Week videos here

Learn more about Sean’s approach to ‘forging the roadmap’ for virtual program delivery in his piece, 7 Steps to Success With Virtual Program Initiatives.


 Field Director for Last Frontier Council Carl Hanke’s tips are sure to inspire socially distant resourcefulness:

  • Host drive-thru sign-up events. If schools do not allow us to use the cafeteria due to cleaning policies, have a drive-thru sign-up in the parking lot.
  • Make videos to use as digital school talks/sign-ups. If we are not allowed to visit students in classrooms or assemblies, videos can be used to reach them.
  • Partner with online schools.
  • Partner with other digital events. Use other youth activities that hold online meetings to promote Scouting.

Check out what else Carl had to say in his article, Fall Membership Plans & Executions are More Important Than Ever Before.


That’s not all—keep your eyes open for a new playbook covering the basics of virtual recruitment coming soon!

Collaborate and make an impact

Remember, the keys to effective recruiting are to Be Prepared, inspire others, and provide recruitment ideas. Do you have any tips or ideas that have worked well for you? Share your success stories (or upcoming plans) in the comments below! You never know what new and exciting ideas your input might spark.

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