How you can welcome families moving from LDS units to your pack or troop

Mati Mayfield has a helpful, friendly and courteous message for Scouting families who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

She wants them to know that their Scouting journey doesn’t have to end at the end of 2019.

Last year, we reported that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is bringing its youth programs in-house, meaning the Church will no longer charter Scout units beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

The dedicated volunteer from the BSA’s Utah National Parks Council has a plan to welcome those families into community-based packs and troops.

This advice didn’t come from thin air. Mayfield has hit the trail to talk with Church members and fellow Scouting volunteers. And because a Scout is helpful and kind, she’s sharing what she’s learned with Bryan on Scouting readers.

Meet Mati Mayfield

You probably know a volunteer a lot like Mayfield — the kind of Scouter who makes friends everywhere she goes.

She’s the one who bakes cupcakes that say “Den Hike: Thursday 9 a.m.” to remind pack members of an upcoming event. She’s the one who rallies hundreds of her fellow Scouters at the Philmont Training Center. And she’s the one in the bright red New Member Coordinator polo introducing Scouting to new families at recruiting events.

She does all of this with a smile that serves as an immediate icebreaker. By meeting Mayfield, families get instant confirmation that Scouting is the right fit for them — and they get a delicious treat that makes the encounter even more memorable.

“She enjoys inviting new members to join in the fun — finding their talents and interests,” says Linda Baker, a Silver Buffalo Award recipient and chair of the New Member Coordinator Task Force. “Delivering personalized, homemade cakes is part of her repertoire of involving everyone.”

Now that you’ve met Mayfield, let’s get back to her latest mission: Making sure Latter-day Saints feel welcome as they continue their involvement with Scouting.

For Church members looking for a new Scouting home

Mayfield encourages members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to explore the BSA’s unit locator tool, found at BeAScout.org.

Families can enter their ZIP code, and the site shows the closest Cub Scout packs, Scouts BSA troops, Venturing crews and Sea Scout ships. (This is a good reminder to unit leaders to make sure your BeAScout pin is up to date!)

Once families have identified a few nearby units, Mayfield suggests a few more steps:

  1. Visit more than one unit. “You might find that one suits your family more than another one, even if it’s a bit farther away,” she says. “Not all units Scout the same way.”
  2. Visit your top unit more than once.
  3. Take the family and a friend to the unit meeting.
  4. Ask questions and get contact information. “Getting contact information from their New Member Coordinator means that you can ask questions when you get home,” Mayfield says. “Not all questions come to mind while at the meeting.”

For community packs and troops welcoming Church members

Mayfield might be biased, but she believes all packs and troops should have a New Member Coordinator. (We agree and have been making that case for a while, both here and on Scouting magazine’s ScoutCast podcast.)

“It’s a relatively new position — but one that is extremely valuable,” Mayfield says. “This person, or group of people, can have a variety of responsibilities and can help new families feel welcome when they arrive for meetings or events.”

She offers these reminders about the New Member Coordinator:

  • The New Member Coordinator doesn’t wear a uniform because a new family might feel more comfortable being welcomed by someone in casual clothing. The BSA has a whole line of New Member Coordinator accessories to help you be identified.
  • Provide new families with a welcome packet that includes information about the unit, meetings, outings, fundraising, membership, uniforming and more.
  • Sit with the new family during the meeting, get their contact information and invite them back for the new meeting. “I hand them my business card with my information and get their cell number and text them a thank you right away,” Mayfield says.

Beyond the importance of a New Member Coordinator, Mayfield offers three more tips:

  • Keep your website and social media accounts up to date. When families who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are looking for a new unit, they’ll likely scout you out online.
  • Be warm, welcoming and willing to talk. Latter-day Saints understand the aims and methods of Scouting, but because of the unique nature of their involvement, there are some aspects of Scouting they haven’t experienced. For example, they might be less familiar with recruitment strategies or fundraising projects.
  • Welcome people the way that you welcome them. For Mayfield, that’s baking. “I’ll make cookies, cupcakes and even cakes to welcome people,” she says. “There’s nothing quite like the personal touch of having a treat delivered to your door.”
About Bryan Wendell 2871 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.