Article Submitted by Lauren Howery Family Scouting Executive Last Frontier Council, Oklahoma City

Recruiting is an integral part of our service to the youth and units in our communities and can have its difficulties during a normal year, let alone during a pandemic. As Unit Serving Executives face an uncertain future of what recruiting may look like in the fall, I have compiled some information on recruiting Cub- and Scouts-BSA-aged youth, both during the virus and if/when we return to “normal.” The information below is a compilation of research, personal experience, and observations made as a public-school teacher.

Before we can talk about recruiting, there are some important things we need to keep in mind about youth today that relate to recruitment.

Information on Cub-Scout-Aged Youth

  • This is one of the smallest generations, based on birthrate, compared with previous generations. In 2018, the birthrate in the United States reached its lowest level in 32 years.
  • This is the most racially diverse generation in the history of the United States, so it’s important to make sure your marketing reflects that.
  • Appeal to their flexibility by connecting through video stories (e.g. YouTube). Keep up with new social media platforms.
  • Offer transparency. These youth will call you out on false promises that aren’t kept.
  • Uniforms are fun and exciting for this age group. Their dream jobs at this age are typically something in a uniform (doctors, nurses, soldiers, police, fire, etc).

Information on Scouts-BSA-Aged Youth

  • Give them a sense of purpose. These youth want to change the world. Ask the question, “What do you want to change about your community or our world?” Talk about how joining Scouts offers a way to do that!
  • Offer opportunities for growth.
  • Get social and relatable.
  • They want to see kids that look like them doing cool things via videos, pictures, and social media. They don’t just want to hear about it.
  • They are building their personal brand already.
  • If you remember being this age, you may recall that, at this age, the opinions of peers are incredibly important, whether they admit it or not.
  • They are often mortified by public praise. Public praise works well with younger kids, but the older youth often do not appreciate this, and it could reduce their interest in joining.
  • For older youth, be mindful of the negative effect that seeing adults in uniforms may have on them. It may be more effective to dress in something other than the full BSA field uniform when interacting with this group. 
  • Some members of this group may be interested in increased independence and pulling away a bit from their parents. Talk about the independence that Scouts teaches and the “Scout led” aspects of the program.
  • Kids don’t care what you know until they know that you care. They can tell if you’re being genuine from a mile away, and that sticks with them.
  • They want new friends, but they probably won’t actually say that. Talk about the opportunity to make new friends and go on adventures together.
  • Members of this group often respond to challenges. For example, you might say something like “I don’t know if y’all could handle trekking in the wilderness for a week,” or “I bet this group is faster than this group,” etc. Have your sarcasm and wit ready, because they will make comments and fire back at you, but being able to respond in a fun and relatable way is a quick way to build that trust and make them more likely to listen. The kid making fun of you or the program at the table in the back may actually be the most interested and could get the most from the program.

Recruiting Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA Youth Virtually or in Small Groups (following CDC and local guidelines)

  • Utilize online Facebook communities (such as “mom” groups, outdoor activity groups, local groups, etc.). You don’t specifically need to say “Hey, this is an ad for Scouts BSA,” but you can post things like “Thank you to everyone who came out with Pack ____ to help clean up the local park today while social distancing! If you’re interested in helping with our next project contact _____.” 
  • Families and kids recruiting their friends is still the best way to get them involved! Make it a contest or game to bring in more youth to their unit.
  • Whether online or in person, most schools use newsletters or something of the sort. Utilize connections with local schools to put a blurb in their newsletters!
  • Youth organizations, religious communities, and charter organizations often have newsletters or bulletins that will allow us to promote Scouting.
  • To hold parent sign-up meetings or get information out, utilize technology like video conferencing, or other platforms (following all Youth Protection Guidelines and guidance found in this Safety Moment).
  • Make sure any group you are talking to or advertising toward knows Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA is for boys AND girls! Many in communities still don’t know this, and making sure both boys and girls are represented in photos, videos, and in language related to Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA is important.
  • Using yard signs with a phone number, website, or email address for more information has worked well for many units! Nothing too wordy, just something someone driving by may see and call/visit a website for more info.
  • (Socially Distanced) public appearances in uniform/something designating everyone as Scouts is a great way to let the public know we are still here and active! Whether it’s a single person or small group service project, let the public know these are Scouts and they are still helping the community!

Recruiting Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA Youth In Person in the Fall (following CDC and local guidelines)

  • Where local guidelines permit, offer to be a guest speaker to specific classes or student groups with interested youth, such as gym classes, band, choir, orchestra, arts, after-school clubs.
  • Set up an informational booth at Peewee sports team games! It’s a great way to get the attention of siblings/parents watching in the stands.
  • At any show and sells, make sure that the adults there have information available about local packs and troops in the area for anyone who may be interested.
  • “Wear Your Uniform to School Day” (for Cub-Scout-age youth, NOT Scouts BSA). Make sure it has been cleared with the Principal.
  • Back-to-School nights
  • When it is safe to do so, (especially when working with older youth) make sure that other kids their age are present to talk to them! They are more likely to listen to their peers than to you.
  • Local neighborhood events – as long as they follow all local and national recommendations on social distancing, if necessary (e.g. carnivals, block parties, parks, food truck rallies, garage sales, etc.).
  • If you are able to do school talks in the fall, utilize lunch room talks for middle school youth. The smaller crowds are more likely to listen to you, and sometimes you can even go table-to-table to talk with them and make that trust connection a little better. They may not ask questions in front of the whole lunch room, but they may ask those questions when at a table with some friends who seem interested.

Overall, when in doubt, ask the youth and families you already serve the best way to connect to their communities. We are in an uncertain time, so don’t be afraid to be creative and try new things as long as you’re focusing on the safety of youth, adults, and yourself. Our job is so unique and important, and we will come out of this stronger than ever.

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

Thursday, 21 May 2020 19:09

BSA Membership Is for All Faiths

Article Submitted by Gene Butler, Growth Coach, National Service Center

When asked where religion came into Scouting, founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell replied, “It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting.” Faith organizations are good for Scouting, and Scouting is good for faith organizations.

The Religious Relationships Membership Committee (RRMC) is charged with growing Scouting by joining faith communities with local Scouting communities. BSA has entered into Memoranda of Understanding with at least 30 religious partners as of May 2020.

We are excited to report that that 71 percent of all Scout units are chartered by faith-based organizations and 59 percent of all Scouts are members of a unit chartered to a faith community. This is good news, but we are fishing in a small pond. There is an ocean of opportunity out there. There are many more families in faith-based communities that would benefit from Scouting.

The RRMC has created two tools that can be used to help grow Scouting:

–    A document you can use to start a District or Council Religious Relationships Committee, which will help you:

  • Identify local faith groups as potential charter partners.
  • Introduce you to local faith groups and help you effectively communicate with them.
  • Inform local faith groups that their faith, in many instances, has an established relationship with the BSA.

–    A Pamphlet called “What Every Religious Leader Should Know About the BSA.” Many faith leaders, especially some younger leaders, know little about BSA.

  • The pamphlet introduces religious leaders to the BSA and explains how a BSA unit can expand their ministry.
  • This pamphlet can be mailed to the Houses of Worship in your district; better yet, it can be brought by you and a Religious Relationship Committee member to a House of Worship.
  • This pamphlet speaks to the values of Scouting, how they match religious values, and how the BSA provides activities with youth-appeal, accompanied by effective adult training.

You must tell the BSA story, and it begins with solid relationships with faith-based partners.

Please contact Gene Butler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you need help connecting with a representative of a particular faith organization or for access to any supporting resources.

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

Thursday, 21 May 2020 19:08

Fall Recruiting Strategies From the Pros

As Unit Serving Executives prepare for Fall Recruitment, they are encouraged to check out some tips and tools provided by other key professionals from around the BSA network. Below are a few items that can assist you and your membership team as you prepare for Fall Recruitment.

Faye Hammond, Assistant Director of Field Service, Atlanta Area Council

  • Contact 15 principals now to get a sense of what will be allowed once school has started.
  • Secure a donor to pay for principal gifts during fall recruiting (suggested donation: $5,000).
  • Encourage units to be ready to receive online applications.
  • We are now positioned to securely receive adult applications electronically. This provides an additional level of internal security and allows leaders and executives to electronically transmit information without fear of exposing personal information.
  • Develop plans to deliver your buzz-up (video) via closed-circuit television – it may be your only avenue.

Gwangi Shipp, Family Scouting & Finance Development Director, Occoneechee Council

  • When preparing to meet with a superintendent or principal, always do your homework before meeting with them. Find out something about them that you can relate to, like where they are from, what college they attended, or what their hobbies are. This is key to building a good relationship.
  • Always bring a thank you gift to their administrative assistant or whoever serves as “gate keeper” for them. Making a memorable impression with them will help you in the future.
  • 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, South Florida Council

  • 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 and would welcome the opportunity for their assistance in helping a very worthwhile program recruit even more of their students.
  • 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.
Monday, 11 May 2020 13:00

On My Way!

Story by Kendall Jackson, Life Scout (future Eagle) and Venturing Crew President from Pathway to Adventure Council
Schererville, Indiana

Kendall, a Scout in Troop 53G.

Just like every other youth, I’m not attending school right now. For me, online learning is just a change in routine; however, for some, not going to school means losing one or two meals a day. Understanding there is a need, I currently volunteer to shop, along with other Scouting families, to stock my church’s food pantry (while maintaining all safety recommendations from the CDC). This ensures that youth in hard-to-serve areas do not have to miss any meals.

As a Scout, I want to be of service to others – lending a helping hand. Doing my part for my community keeps me connected to the world, while maintaining a safe distance. Right now, Scouting and my church help me feel connected, happy, and safe.

Kendall and her older brother, Kenny.

When my brother, Kenny, was a Scout, my mother was his Scoutmaster. Kenny is nine years older than me, and, at a young age, I was consistently described as his “shadow.” If he was in the dirt, I was in the dirt. If he was doing community service, I was by his side. Since I was always at meetings and outings, mom helped me learn how to be a Scout, too. Just as I learned the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes and the Twenty-Third Psalm for church, I learned the Scout Oath and Law.

After years of hard work, meetings, and camping trips, Kenny earned his Eagle in 2011. At his court of honor, I stood in front of the audience as a proud little sister – looking up at my giant brother, holding my Dad’s hand, seeing the pride in my Grandma’s eyes and thinking, we did it! Right then, I knew I really wanted to be an Eagle Scout. But how could that even be possible for me?

February 1, 2019, everything changed. First thing that morning, Mom and I drove to the Pathway to Adventure Council office. I held the paperwork for the new Scouts BSA Troop 53G so tightly in my hand, I almost smeared the ink. My mom was quiet as we walked in. As I submitted the paperwork, she started wiping her eyes. I didn’t understand at that moment why she was so emotional. I mean I was excited, but why the tears?

Kendall and fellow Scouts.

Now, I get it. I was no longer the “little sister.” I could now be a Scout! She knew I now had the same opportunities in Scouting as my brother did. I could learn to solve problems and work to come up with my own answers. She could see Scouting as a part of my future, and I could now experience all Scouting had offered my brother and so many other young men she had helped to guide during her 21 years of being a Scoutmaster – Discipline, Knowledge, Responsibility, and Opportunity.

Like many girls new to Scouts BSA, I am working to be among the first female Eagle Scouts. I’m 16 now, and nothing is going to get in my way –– not even social distancing requirements during a pandemic! I’m using video conferencing to work with my merit badge counselors and taking this extra time to plan my Eagle project. Our troops and crew also meet once a week through video conferencing. And, as President of Venturing Crew 53 and Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 53G, I will continue to help others reach their goals, as well.

I’m truly blessed because I can say Scouting has always been a part of my life. I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who knows how important Scouting can be for all youth, and I am so proud to call my mom one of them. She has not only been a volunteer for over 20 years, but she works every day at the Pathway to Adventure Council to help youth who are underserved to join Scouting, too. It has now been over a year since I became a founding member of Troop 53G and started my own path to Eagle. I am on my way!

Roger Mosby Address from Boy Scouts of America on Vimeo.

Today I would like to share some thoughts with you regarding the challenges that all of us are facing in these trying times and how the Scouting community is coping with the many challenges of social distancing, sheltering in place, and working and schooling from home.

These are challenging times, but it is important to recognize that these are the moments we prepare for. And this is when the Scouting family shines.

During some of our country’s most challenging hours, our Scouting movement has shouldered the burden when it was too heavy for many communities to bear.

As in previous crises, Scouts have stepped up to meet the challenge, and that continues today.

In just a few weeks, Scouts have mobilized countless initiatives to support communities hit hardest by COVID-19. This includes the following efforts:

  • Used 3-D printers to make visors, face shields and ear savers
  • Facilitated the donation of thousands of neckerchiefs to offset shortages of face coverings
  • Collected food to replenish food pantries
  • Lifted the spirits of those suffering loneliness
  • Honored those that fell victim to this pandemic

Scouts are always united in their commitment to help other people.

That is precisely why it is important that Scouting continues during these uncertain times.

Since mid-March, Cub Scouts have worked on or completed more than 115,000 Adventures, and Scouts have worked on or completed nearly 73,000 merit badges – all from the safety of their home.

Thanks to the selfless dedication of our volunteers, councils and staff – Scouts continue to meet, learn, and grow. Online platforms have taken the place of community halls, with all the same Youth Protection policies still in place, and I’m thrilled to know that the camaraderie and learning continue – thanks to you.  Our Scouts, our organization and our movement are grateful that you have stepped up and provided powerful Scouting lessons during this time of uncertainty. I know I speak for many of us when I say we prefer the outdoors to the digital world, but you have navigated the challenge with inspiring fortitude.

And that strength is something we all need at times like these. The financial impact of this crisis has dealt a devastating blow to our communities, and these challenges are felt within our national organization and local councils – the very people you count on to help continue Scouting. Tuesday, May 5th is special edition of Giving Tuesday, and I hope you will take the opportunity to support your councils in whatever way possible so that they can come through this challenging time with the resources we need to continue bringing Scouting to children in our communities. You can find some social media images you can use to promote Giving Tuesday here: Giving Tuesday assets

Now more than ever, social distancing protects us, but Scouting connects us.

And that is why we are excited to invite ALL American families to join us in a National Camp-In on May 2nd – a nationwide day of virtual adventures, skill-building, service, and of course, camping, that we hope will provide a respite of fun for families. I encourage you to attend, and I ask that you also invite neighbors and friends to do the same because we all know that everybody can benefit. Find all of the latest details about the event on the National Camp-In homepage: www.scouting.org/campin.

Families can count on the Boy Scouts of America to help make the most of the time we have together, but we are also the organization that will stand shoulder to shoulder with others in times of need.

For years, Scouting for Food has been at the heart of how we give back. Since collecting food is not feasible right now because of the reality of the pandemic, we are instead dedicating time during our National Camp-In for a National Good Turn to raise money through a virtual 5K that will help Feeding America replenish food banks nationwide as they face unprecedented demands in the fight against hunger and food insecurity.  This is our national call to action.

After all, a Scout is helpful.

Our Scouts, volunteers, employees, and families prove that time and time again.

Thank you again for all that you are doing for your communities and especially Scouting.

-Roger

The Chartered Organization Representative, the Chaplain, and the Chaplain’s Aide are known in their units as the “Faithful 3.” Supporting the work of the Faithful 3 can be one method unit-serving executives can use to further strengthen relationships with units.

As you work with the Chartered Organization Representative, Chaplain, and Chaplain’s Aide for your local units, make sure they are aware of the online Chaplain Training program that was introduced in 2018 and launched through the Members’ BSA Learn Center.

This training program fulfills the position-specific training requirements for any Chaplain role across all Scouting programs. Since its introduction, thousands of adults have completed the course.

The online Chaplain Training is divided into three modules.

  • The first module, “Chaplain Roles & Responsibilities,” provides an understanding of the various opportunities and identifies the duties of both the Unit Chaplain and the Chaplain’s Aide.
  • The second module, “Religious Emblems & Awards,” introduces participants to the religious emblems, badges, patches and awards available in Scouting.
  • The third module, “Interfaith Considerations,” helps participants become aware of the various unit worship opportunities.

The course was developed by members of the National Religious Relationships Committee alongside representatives of many different faith groups. The entire training can be completed in less than an hour.

This training supports the vital role of Chaplain, Chaplain’s Aide, and the Charter Organization Representative as they work hand-in-hand to provide extraordinary faithful service to their Scouters.

Chaplains:

  • Remind Scouters that they have a Duty to God.
  • Serve as mentors for the youth Chaplain’s Aide position.
  • Encourage their units to provide appropriate Interfaith worship experiences on campouts and outings.
  • Advocate participation in the Religious Emblems Programs.

Many Scouting units charter to places of worship; however, others charter to civic organizations, educational facilities, and other businesses where there is no direct faith or spiritual aspect to the Scouting partnership. Together with a Chartered Organization Representative and a Chaplain’s Aide, a trained Chaplain can make an impactful difference in the program of the units you serve.

Follow-up with your units to inquire if they have a “Faithful 3,” and make sure to inform them about the online Chaplain Training available in the BSA Learn Center.

Scouting U will be holding the newly developed FUNDRAISING ESSENTIALS COURSE December 2 – 5, 2020, at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.

This course is designed for 3- to 5-year BSA professionals who aspire to strengthen their development skills. It is also an excellent opportunity for professionals who are considering the fundraising/development track as they advance their career.

The course will also qualify for 16 hours of continuing education credit toward earning the Certified Fundraising Executive credential.

Fundraising Essentials will include high-level training in all facets of a council’s annual development plan as well as long term donor cultivation.

Participants will arrive on Wednesday, December 2nd and depart on the morning of Saturday, December 5th. Guests will be housed at the newly constructed Yamagata Lodge with instruction being presented in the adjacent Marriott Leadership Center.

In addition, participants will be able to participate in several Summit program opportunities while on site.

Cost for this event including course fee, meals, lodging and recreation programs is $750.00. For more information, please contact Courtney Chiv at 972-580-2337 and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Article submitted by Deanna Heisler, Norwela Council-Caddo District Director

Some Unit Serving Executives may be unfamiliar with the value of Exploring in driving growth for their council; however, by making use of available resources and utilizing key tactics, Unit Serving Executives can make Exploring an integral part of a successful growth strategy. 

So, what is Exploring? It is a mentorship opportunity for youth looking to discover their future. It is made possible by direct relationships in the community with businesses, departments, and municipalities. Exploring serves two different age groups, both coed. Exploring clubs serve middle schoolers, aged 10 – 14, in sixth through eighth grades. Exploring posts serve older youth 14 – 20 years old. The program model is the same for both age groups – hands-on and interactive character and career activities are facilitated by trained business leaders in your local community.

Pro tip: What major departments in your town would benefit from a youth program? Do any of these experience high turnover of employees? Who has adequate facilities ready for instruction of youth in an Exploring program? You would be surprised just how many you already know!

The Benefits of Exploring

You may be asking yourself, “Why is Exploring so beneficial to a council and a district?”

Exploring can: 

  • Impact the council JTE score
  • Boost council and district membership
  • Create community service opportunities
  • Build relationships and networking potential for new charter partners otherwise not involved in Scouting
  • Retain members by offering new and exciting challenges
  • Provide critical information to councils seeking the long term effects of the Scouting program

Many Scouters may be organizing Exploring posts and clubs for the very first time. If you’re one of these new Exploring leaders, don’t let planning a new program overwhelm you. There are multiple resources at your fingertips! Being familiar with the Exploring.org website makes you a fantastic resource to your units for information and quick answers on topics such as:

  • Planning hands-on activities, guest speakers, and field trips
  • Who to include in the planning process
  • Building an Exploring program calendar
  • Where to recruit

Timeline model for Exploring Success (full year):

First Quarter- Identify available opportunities (i.e. youth programs already in the area who would be a great partner, charter partners)

Second Quarter- Conduct Surveys at schools and schedule meetings with key individuals at departments/organizations

Third Quarter-Promote new clubs/posts to schools. Schedule/plan/complete open houses

Fourth Quarter- Train commissioners and establish an Exploring Officers Association if you don’t already have one. Host a super activity and help new units through the recharter process.

** Host quarterly Exploring meetings in addition to the above

Resources for Growing Exploring

With 12 different career fields and a multitude of subcategories, the Exploring program offers a repeatable model for standing up units in these different fields. Finding the right opportunities comes down to knowing the area and having the right tools to promote Exploring in your community. 

Marketing & Membership Hub for Exploring – Now, you can easily navigate to the most effective sales and recruitment tools to grow your Exploring programs.

Career-field-specific resources and PSA videos – The BSA Brand Center is your go-to source for a host of career-field-specific promotional resources, including videos. Did you know your local television stations will run public service announcements (PSAs) at no cost? You can find multiple PSAs in the Brand Center that you download and provide to your local TV station. Make the ask and have them to play these clips as often as possible through a certain date. 

Club anthem video and Career Interest Survey video – The BSA marketing team has been working hard to bring you even more testimonial assets to wow future Explorers and advisors. Check out the videos featuring Exploring clubs and the Career Interest Survey (CIS). The Career Interest Survey is a great tool for high school counselors, as well. It helps provide an opportunity to better serve their students as well as give you another tool to bring a potential charter partner to show the need from the youth in the community.

You can find many additional resources at Exploring.org and in the Exploring section of the BSA Brand Center

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

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