Recruiting Scouts from those who have been Webelos is very different than recruiting form those who haven’t.
Much has been written on Webelos transitions so I will not retrench the subject here. Here’s discussions of retaining the Webelos you recruit and some notes on transitioning Webelos leaders. By way of review –
- Find all the Webelos Dens in your community within reasonable driving distance of your Troop.
- Offer them support, camping opportunities and (perhaps most importantly) Den Chiefs.
- Stay in touch with them throughout the entire year, don’t ever give up.
Recruiting Webelos takes more than it once did around here. There are fewer Webelos now than there were five or ten years ago. One of my assistant Scoutmasters maintains contact with three or four Cub Packs and we place as many Den Chiefs out there as we can in any den that wants them (Tiger through Webelos II). A Scout Troop may approach any Cub Scout Pack, there are no exclusive rights to a Cub Pack even if they share the same unit number as a Troop.
Recruiting everybody else is another story entirely.
What follows is based on twenty five years of attempting to recruit Scouts from the seventh through eighth grades. Recruiting Cub Scouts is much different and I don’t address it here.
We get one or two new Scouts a year by the force of gravity an active Scout-led program creates. They hear about the things their friends are doing and want to join in. We don’t actively recruit them, they just kind of show up.I have tried the ‘cold call’ methods (school visits, open houses) of recruiting Scouts for the general population over the years with very little success. Frankly I cannot recall recruiting more than one or two Scouts this way. It is tremendously little return for the effort and I don’t know as I can recommend them to you. There are more promising ways to boost your numbers. In my experience we recruit one Scout from every;
- Ten thousand boys who see a TV commercial, print ad or yard sign.
- Five hundred boys who hear a direct mass appeal like School visits.
- Ten or fifteen who are approached by a friend in Scouting.
- Five or ten boys who’s parents are approached by a friend with a son in Scouting.
To my mind we should concentrate on the two most promising approaches.
One way our Troop will celebrate the centennial year of the BSA is by getting our Scouts to approach, one-on-one, 100 boys who are not Scouts.
We’re going to record this effort by asking our Scouts to keep track of three to five contacts they make over the course of the year. We will also actively encourage parents to contact their friends with Scout-aged sons. Is it really that simple? I don’t really know, but we’ll soon see.