Why every Scout unit needs a New Member Coordinator

The official logo for the New Member Coordinator position.

Joining a new Scout unit can be a little overwhelming at first. You’re presented with a calendar full of fun upcoming activities, but all the new people, places and things can seem like a lot to digest.

Fortunately for anyone joining Scouting in 2017 or beyond, there’s help. It comes in the form of a volunteer whose job is to make new members feel right at home.

It’s called the New Member Coordinator. If your unit recharters soon, you should find one or more volunteers to serve in this vital role.

Wearing a blue “Welcome” pin on their hat or shirt, the New Member Coordinator is easily easily identifiable at unit gatherings. He or she welcomes new members with a smile and points them in the right direction — literally and figuratively.

What a New Member Coordinator does

The New Member Coordinator forms a connection with new members and their families. He or she is appointed by and reports to the Unit Committee Chair.

Each unit should have one — or, ideally, more than one — New Member Coordinator

In general, all New Member Coordinators:

  • Serve as welcoming ambassadors for the unit.
  • Work with the unit committee in developing and implementing the Unit Membership Plan.
  • Participate in New Member Coordinator training and collaborate with the district membership team.

“New Member Coordinators can be a game-changer for membership retention as well as recruitment,” says Linda Baker, chairwoman of the New Member Coordinator Task Force. “Having one or more NMCs in a unit can make everything easier and more fun.”

How to register as a New Member Coordiantor

The easiest time to register someone as a New Member Coordinator is when your pack, troop or crew recharters.

The New Member Coordinator, which uses the registration code “NM,” is a member of the unit committee.

This role replaces the roles of Unit Membership Chair and Parent Coordinator, which are no longer available. Anyone registered in one of those now-retired positions should have received an email from the national membership vice president encouraging him or her to register as a New Member Coordinator in 2018 and beyond.

How to get started as a New Member Coordinator

Make scouting.org/NMC your first stop.

You’ll find training information, forms, printable brochures, videos, logos and much more.

35 Comments

  1. I’m a little confused. Is the New Member coordinator suppose to work with youth or the parents? If it’s youth, wouldn’t it be the Troop Guide respnsibility at the Scout level.

    If they work with adults, then should it not be New Parent Coordinator since A) Adults cannot be members, only volunteers, and B ) the Den Leader should be working with the new Cub Scout, and having adults work with youth on the Scout, Sea Scout, and Venturing level is taking away from youth responsibilities?

    • Thanks for your questions. The general idea is to provide a welcoming focal point for families who visit unit meetings looking to learn more / join, and the position is designed from the visiting family’s point of view (which is why the title is focused on members and not, say, parents).

      From a practical standpoint, this person might say “Delighted you’re visiting our pack meeting! Would your son like to join Den B for their activity while you and I talk about the fun opportunities for quality time that Cub Scouting offers?” (or something like that)

      This is not a Troop Guide role focused on skill training — it is essentially someone who helps welcome and onboard families, with a practical focus on tactical parent questions — e.g., these are the forms you need to fill out, here is how dues work, don’t worry if you can’t attend all meetings, etc.

  2. What is the difference between the New Member Coordinator and the old ScoutParent Coordinator (2007 – 2013)?

    Other that granting bonus points on the Council JTE Scorecard, what is National going to do different to make the New Member Coordinator position succeed where the ScoutParent Coordinator failed.

    Aren’t the responsibilities of this position just a subset on what a good unit Membership Chair should be doing already?

    • The New Member Coordinator has a different focus than the ScoutParent Coordinator — the focus is on onboarding new families. Envision a family walking into a unit meeting — perhaps they don’t arrive on time, perhaps most adult leaders are busy with their responsibilities, perhaps it all seems confusing. This person’s job is to be available to welcome families and get them started (e.g., to potential scout: “You’re 9 years old? Would you like to join Den B as they ?”, to potential parent: “thanks so much for visiting us! Let me walk you through the activities we have planned for the year and tell you about all the fun we have. You’d like to sign up? Excellent — here’s the registration form, and here’s what you need to know to fill it out.”). It was designed from the perspective of the family who enters a busy unit meeting room and doesn’t know what to do next.

      I would agree that a good unit Membership Chair could be doing these activities; the goal of the New Member Coordinator position is to make clear that someone should be doing these activities.

        • Not specific to Cub Scouts — my understanding is that any unit could have one. The Cub Scout example came easily to mind, so that’s why I used it above.

        • I’m confused. If we are welcoming adults, not members, then shouldn’t we reactivate ScoutParent coordinator position again?

      • I’m a bit confused. Brian indicates that this position replaces the roles of Unit Membership Chair and Parent Coordinator and has some planning roles; however, what you describe sounds like a designated greeter. Is this person maintaining membership records, assisting or coordinating recharter, promoting recruitment, processing new applications, assisting with crossover, etc., etc.? Or is it envisioned that this would be handled by someone else on the unit committee?

        You mentioned “families” about six times, but it sounds like the person in this position basically hands the boy off to the unit leadership after a quick handshake and then focuses on the parent (which seems appropriate). If this is true, then why the repeated emphasis on “family,” or am I missing something?

        Also, I’m assuming that you are speaking as a representative of the National office since you are thanking someone for their questions. Is that accurate? Just trying to be clear.

        • Thanks! I’m a member of the task force that created it but wouldn’t presume to speak for the National office. Just trying to help.

          There is a lot of information at http://scoutingwire.org/marketing-and-membership-hub/councils/new-member-coordinator/ that should answer your questions. In particular, a position description that should answer your first question (if not, let me know and I’ll pass that feedback along). Greeting is part of the role, and the role is designed to be flexible so that you could have a team of NMCs that perform different elements.

          I emphasize families because that’s the group that comes through the door. How each NMC goes about their role will be in part based on their judgment given the unit’s specific circumstance.

        • Echo VA SM above,
          By “replacing” Membership Chair and Parent Coordinator, the new title should assume functions of both roles. The MC is essential to maintain membership yet not required to register (in able finish chartering), the PC can be carry out with many people and is mandatory for chartering.

          If the new NM needs to do all those (plus recruit) and is required registration for unit chartered, This naturally need experienced trained adult to task. Of course, the more the better, all volunteers already task for different responsibilities. I don’t think unit to register multiple NMs is practical. (again, with or without title, many people already doing the welcome naturally )

        • VA Scoutmaster,
          I also have difficulty seeing the role of the “New Member Coordinator” after the first few months with no longer a new Scout and new parent(s, or ___), with no Memership Chair or Parent Coordinator for the unit.
          That there should alway be a few ‘new’ people, this is aspirational for any vital unit, but not the question being asked.
          — — —
          If the “New member Coordinator” also has MEMBERSHIP and PARENT duties of the prior abolished charter office(s), the the new post is poorly named?

      • Why does National force a small unit to have a NM? Member Care tells us in a committee of 3, one person must be NM or the charter will not be accepted.

        • Hello Old_Scouter, I’m very surprised that Member Care says that NM is required as I don’t believe that is part of the NMC position. (I’m not questioning what you say; just that I’m surprised.) I would like to learn more about what you have been told. Bryan can put you in touch with me or if you list your email, I’ll contact you.
          Like Andrew, I was on the Task Force which created this position and we want to have it be as useful as possible for you.

      • You paint such a pretty picture. Yes that is exactly what I want my Membership Chair to do. But as VA Scoutmaster pointed out (that I did not pick up on at first) – according to this article, the New Member Coordinator replaces both the Scout Parent Coordinator and the Unit Membership Chair. So who now becomes responsible for ensuring the tasks of the Unit Membership Chair gets done?

        • <>

          Hello glisonh,
          It’s great that you wanted your Membership Chair to do this. And it’s even greater if you actually had a Membership Chair doing this. National registration figures suggested that very, very few units had Membership Chairs and then when we did surveys and interviews on what those few Membership Chairs were actually doing, in most cases it was just paperwork. Families felt they were not being welcomed into the units. Families said they were caused to feel that Scouting was very complex with a lot of insider knowledge and they weren’t being helped to become part of the unit and lose newcomer status. So the New Member Coordinator function has a key responsibility of welcoming those new families (both parents and youth) and helping them feel like part of the unit and not outsiders.
          We encourage more than one NMC if your unit has that kind of adult support. One or more might primarily take the welcoming function and another NMC might take the recordkeeping function you mention. And while I would never downplay accurate records (Scoutbook should help a lot with this), it’s hard to imagine a more significant thing to do than welcome new members and families into your unit and help them feel part of your group.

  3. Our unit just completed recharter electronically and the system indicated this is a required position. It actually would not let the COR finish the recharter until someone was designated NM. However, all documentation we have seen from National indicated this is not a required position.

    So which is it: required or suggested?

    • As mentioned, Old Scouter, I would very much like to learn what system indicated that you can’t register without an NMC. Thanks very much.

      • Neil – I’ll respond to this comment since I can’t respond to your comment to me above.

        National can only assume that units don’t have a Membership Chair or someone fulfilling the duties of the Membership Chair – since it is not a position that has a title in the registration system other than Committee Member.

        I will agree that there are many Packs or other units that probably are getting by with the bare minimum of 3 committee members. (a Chair and two members)

        As a former Committee Chair with only two members – any duties of the committee that were not covered by the two members were the responsibility of the Chair. Not the optimal situation, but there are very few units that have every identified committee position covered with a warm body.

    • Just finished my Pack, Troop, & Crew Recharter online. I was not required to identify a NMC for any of the units. Either they fixed the glitch or maybe each Council has the leeway to determine if it is a required position…

  4. How about a general adult registration position for the adults we are required to register if they attend BSA summer camp and other similar activities? Right now I have to register them as MC (committee member), which in most cases they are not.

    • There is one. It’s called Unit Scouter Reserve. Only training requirement is Youth Protection. This is perfect for parents who just register to Camp sometimes or even new leaders that you may be awaiting to place in a position while they get trained. (Many units require that people are trained before they take on positions – this allows them to get registered in the meantime which is a great idea).

    • Try Unit Scouter Reserve position (91U) it was created for supportive adults who have no immediate, specific leadership role. Like all registered BSA adult positions, this role requires a criminal background check and the completion of Youth Protection training.

  5. Hello, I am a New Member Coordinator for a Troop in Northern California. The purpose of the position is to welcome and help new families joining your unit, answering questions they may have and giving them a point of contact. This position also includes putting together small events to help your unit recruit new members as well. Stuff like open houses setting up a night the community can come in and see what your troop does with mini events and information on what scouting is to those that have never been given the opportunity to experience it before.
    On a side note anyone registered with BSA is a member not just the youth. So therefore the position is titled New Member Coordinator.

  6. A new mandatory position? Wear the blue pin on their hat or shirt? I assume official BSA hat since lot of meetings are held indoors. How much is the new pin? I think not, we don’t need yet another required committee position, especially with average troop sizes dropping and fewer parents volunteering. How about National deciding to stop making so many changes so quickly and keeping Scouting as simple as possible. How about we focus on something like figuring out why advancement nationwide has tanked….done… Scouts look at the long list of requirements for making next rank advancement and tell us no thanks. I have had 4 scouts quit in 6 months because they cant get it done, plus homework, sports, etc. I am sick and tired of all the changes to the program and organization.

    • It’s not supposed to be a mandatory position — sounds like there might have been an error in the IT system (Neil is investigating, per his comments further up the discussion chain).

      To your larger point on program complexity, the New Member Coordinator role was created in part because families were telling us that the process of joining a unit was too complex — learning the lingo, understanding the unit calendar, etc. Part of the goal is to make it easier for families to fully join a unit (more than just filling out the membership form — feeling like they belong), which should lead to more engaged youth, more engaged families, and more engaged volunteers.

      I don’t mean to imply that your unit doesn’t already have these — for those that don’t, though, it is our hope that this (optional) position is helpful.

      • Andrew, you have mentioned “families joining a unit” a few times. I understand that reasoning for packs and troops, but not for crews. We may not see parents as youth drive themselves to meetings, and then the President welcomes them, etc. Completely different structure, so I don’t see this position offering much value to crews, IMO. YMMV, of course.

        • Good point–units where new members are older youth, or units that have high retention of new members, might not need the role. And that’s great!

  7. BSA has this wonderful online training tool. Instead of making up new positions why don’t they create specific modules for the various committee positions covering what the roles and responsibilities are for them. They already have Troop Chaplain. They could continue this with Membership Chair and then move on to the other ones: Secretary, Treasurer, Advancement, Equipment, Outdoor/Activities, Training, Public Relations, Friends of Scouting (FOS), Scouting for Food, and Fundraising.

    If units haven’t had the leadership to fill the Membership Chair position what makes one think that giving a person a pin is going to get units to fill the New Member Coordinator position

    • It’s a fair question on why units without the leadership to fill the Membership Chair position would have more success filling the NMC position(s). Part of the effort in designing this role was to address reasons that parents might not be willing to volunteer, so that we increase the likelihood that the role will be filled by a new volunteer.

      Specifically, we have tried through the position design to make it appealing to millennial parents by explicitly incorporating things that they value. By doing so, we hope to appeal to a set of parents who otherwise might not have been willing to volunteer.

      For example, we understand they value mentorship and coaching and are willing to volunteer provided they feel prepared, so the position explicitly includes “Be mentored by the District Membership Chair and become part of the District Membership team.”

      We also understand that they prefer to learn and work as part of a team, so the position “Use[s] a team approach by encouraging more than one NMC in a unit, allowing them to tailor their work to individual interests/expertise, as well as to recognize the particular needs of the unit.”

      So, we are attempting to address what we believe are underlying reasons why (millennial) parents are reluctant to volunteer. And we recognize the importance of a functioning District Membership team to successfully recruiting NMCs; we have developed district-level incentives (focused on DEs and District Membership chairs) as part of the NMC launch.

      • So when do the new Roles and Responsibilities for the District Membership Chair role out? Will they be expected to go from unit to unit mentoring NMCs?

        Personally I would not want a person that is new to Scouting to be the NMC. I would want someone with a clue as to what is going on. Someone that knows the program and someone that knows how the unit operates.

        Many Districts are lucky to have a Chair for each position let alone a “team”. Is the expectation to add another night people will have to meet to support a District Membership Team?

        “they (millennials) prefer to learn and work as part of a team, so the position “Use[s] a team approach by encouraging more than one NMC in a unit, allowing them to tailor their work to individual interests/expertise. So how many years until the JTE Requirement states units should have teams of NMCs? Will it be 1 NMC for Bronze, 2 for Silver and 3 for Gold?

        “…we have developed district-level incentives (focused on DEs and District Membership chairs) as part of the NMC launch”. In effect they have placed a new box on JTE that the District will have to check. That worked well with the SCOUTStrong initiative.

        • To your question on district membership chair expectations: we’re not mandating how they go about the mentoring–they should work with NMCs to develop an approach that works for them both. There is no expectation for a mandatory unit visit by the membership chair.

          District membership roles and responsibilities: I’m not sure when that publication is up for revision, but we are trying to track the relevant publications to add NMC details in as they come up for revision. In the meantime, we’ve been doing outreach to get the word out in advance of all publications being updated.

          I didn’t mean to imply the NMC would be brand-new to scouting — I think the position would be appealing to parents whose children are in the unit (and have been for a year or more) but who have not yet volunteered for a unit-level role. So, they’re familiar with the unit and with the unit’s activities, but they’re a new volunteer. But that’s not a requirement and I expect units will do whatever makes the most sense to them in their context.

          We’re not mandating in-person meetings for District Membership Teams–if they currently meet, super. If they want to start meeting, super. If they want to just distribute contact info and speak on an as-needed basis, super.

          I doubt any JTE requirements will change to specify how many NMCs a unit has — it seems inconsistent with the level of granularity of the other requirements. Plus, I understand that the JTE group prefers not to add a requirement without taking one off.

          I don’t agree that offering the incentive imposes a new District JTE requirement. We certainly hope that this will encourage districts to support the position, but there’s no direct consequence if they don’t.

          I’m sure there are things we haven’t thought of, and I appreciate the time you’ve taken to engage and ask questions. All of us on the task force are excited about the potential this position has to help units, and we are doing our best to ensure the roll-out is successful.

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