The most common — and some say the most effective — time to recruit new Scouts is when they’re at Tiger Cub age. They start at the start, and they’re hooked for life.
But that’s of no use to troops, ships and crews looking to increase the number of young men and women in their unit.
So what’s the secret to getting older youth into the program?
Start by listening to the August 2014 ScoutCast. In it, you’ll hear from Scott Woolery, the chartered organization representative for a Minnesota troop that boasts a whopping 104 current youth members. Woolery is also a Northern Star Council board member.
What are the benefits of having a larger troop or crew?
“If you have more youth, you typically have more adults,” Woolery tells the podcast hosts. “And if you have more adults, you have more resources available for the kids to go out and have fun.”
Woolery offers these ideas for recruiting older Scouts and Venturers:
- Try peer-to-peer recruiting (“Bring a friend” isn’t just for Cub Scouts)
- Hold open houses or presentations at schools (assuming the school/district allows it)
- Tap into other youth organizations, such as church youth groups
- Find recruiting tools online
- Find recruiting tools available through your council
- Make sure parents get involved
To that last point, Woolery explains that parents “have contact with other adults who have kids that are the same age as their own children are.” So it makes sense for them to approach those adults and invite them to a meeting or campout.
When do you recruit older Scouts and Venturers? Constantly, Woolery says.
“Recruiting is a 12-month opportunity,” he says. “If we think we’re only going to recruit in the fall, we will only recruit in the fall. On the other hand, if every time a unit or a district or a council has an event and they ask themselves what can we do to make this a bring-a-friend event,” recruiting will naturally follow.
How do you recruit older Scouts and Venturers?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below.