When Webelos and their parents visit one of our meetings we send the Webelos to our Senior Patrol leader who sees that they are welcomed and join in the activities. The parents meet with myself and a couple of Assistant Scoutmasters.
I used to have a set program for visiting parents. I would sit with them and go through some standard information and answer questions. Then I would ask the ASM’s to do a pre-arranged talk about some aspect of the Troop program. We even did a couple of multi-media presentations last year.
Somewhere along the way I hit on the idea that we get the Scouts to come and talk to the parents. This started as a pretty structured undertaking with each Scout assigned an aspect of the Troop program. What has evolved is a much less structured evening where four or five Scouts come in one at a time and talk to the parents. While we make sure the Senior Patrol Leader gets a turn and we have at least one of the Scouts that has joined the Troop in the past year the rest of the Scouts are chosen at random (I think next time we’ll just put all their names in a hat and let the parents pick them out).
The parents are usually a little taken aback by this and aren’t sure what to ask the Scouts, but with a little prompting they warm up to the task. The Scouts do remarkably well at representing their Troop, so much so that I remind the parents that these Scouts were chosen at random and have had no coaching.
This has proved to be remarkably effective and is really stunningly simple in concept – after all the Troop belongs to the Scouts. Who better to let prospective parents know how it works?