How to recruit older Scouts and Venturers

scoutcast-logo1The 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.

Listen to the August 2014 ScoutCast here.

How do you recruit older Scouts and Venturers?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


  1. Don’t discount the Cubbies. Remember long-term recruiting. A Webelos Den is full of kids who are only 3-4 years away from eligibility, and 1 year away from participating on a limited basis as a Boy Scout. Our Sea Scout Ship periodically attends Cub Scout meetings to demonstrate crazy stuff and shamelessly ingratiate ourselves to these future Sea Scouts. We used leaf blowers and toilet paper to teach “Bernoulli’s Principle” – which covered the kids in 24 rolls of toilet paper. We help with Raingutter Regatta. The benefit to the Pack is that we help them run a cool program, and the kids look up to the Sea Scouts as the future of Scouting for them. And in the meantime, we can take them sailing as Boy Scouts.

  2. Most of our crew is younger sisters of Scouts from various troops. Most are former Girl Scouts too, who have grown out of that program. They have watched from across the lake at family camp as the boys did fun things and sat at home while their older brothers got to do cool things like Philmont and Sea Base. Now it’s their turn!

    Others in crew are older Scouts from the troop, but we have made it clear they need to stay dual registered and still participate in the troop. We don’t want to be accused of stealing troop members!

  3. “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.”

    Agree with that statement completely. But when you have a compensation program for the council executive that rewards the starting of new troops, versus taking current troops and building them up, you end up with small troops. Troops with 10 boys in them. It is not in council executive’s interest to have bigger troops. Just more troops.

  4. The Explorer Post that I work with specializes in technology and engineering.
    (1) We have a great recruiting “First Nighter” (now called Open House) attracting 90+ participants. Most of those stay and participate in our
    (2) great program (currently robotics projects).
    (3) Many of those bring a friend, who often stay.

  5. Hi. Our Crew has recruited several members by simply asking our chartered org to spread the news that we exist. They share safe pictures on their Facebook page, and note that they charter a Crew on their website. They are building a new facility, and want to purchase another Crew flag and place it over the door of the classroom we use.
    The owner of our C.O. Is an Eagle Scout who sees the greatness of Scouting, so he recruits for us all the time.
    Mark Madden
    Chartered Org. Rep
    Crew 223
    Chartered by Thunderbird Tactical
    Wichita, KS

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