As Scouters who have served in Scouting through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have not had to worry much about knowing our youth market. For example, Church headquarters has paid membership fees and charter fees, usually registering every boy in the ward’s boundaries, now that will be the unit committee’s job. Someone in the Primary welcomed new Cub Scouts, that task belongs to the New Member Coordinator. Ward budgets have paid fees, now the unit will need to have fundraisers such as popcorn sales. The need for parental involvement was negligible, but now getting the whole family involved will be very important, maybe even job #1!
As successful Ambassadors, you need to understand pack, troop and crew operations, but initially, we’re focused on boy troops and you will see why as you read on.
Gather the “Low Hanging Fruit”—Scouts on the Eagle Trail
In our last post, we explained the need to get to work now, during the transition and before the end of the year. There are many boys and parents who want Scouting in your neighborhood. Many of these youth are on the trail to Eagle and need a way to finish.
Using LDS tools for your stake, you can easily make a list of your area Scoutmasters. Email or call them about your new troop and ask them to let parents know about what is going on. Invite them to a recruitment night or new troop open house.
Once you have the date, let the Bishops and young men’s leaders know about the meeting, be sure to reach out to Scoutmasters and parents where possible, and ask ward bulletin editors to post the meeting in Sunday notices and by email to members.
Also to help you, the Council and your district will be inviting parents of current Scouts to a Stake recruitment night sometime soon. (See my comment at the end of this post for a sample). But, you do not have to wait, contact your Stake president for permission to hold your own recruitment night and talk your DE, who will be more than glad to help you.
These meetings test the interest level of your neighbors, so come prepared to recruit the youth with an exciting list of your program plans. Tell them where you plan to meet and what your summer camping plans might be.
For those who are interested, you will need to record name, address, and birthdate for youth and parent email or cell number, (for follow up and parent permission). Boys who are currently registered in a pack or troop can transfer into your new troop while they are registered with their ward. This will save those families more than $30 and most of the paperwork. (For girls and new boys 6–18 not currently registered, send them home with Youth Applications and for their parents Adult Applications, but make sure you have a way to follow up
Following your open house, you can organize your new unit(s) including paperwork, training, funding, etc, but that is Part 3 for our next Ambassador Tool Chest post. Check back in a week for more help.
Just focus the next few months on gathering interested boys and parents into your new troop. This ought to be the initial nucleus to build your troop and get things going
Getting to Know the Youth Market
To get an idea of how many youth with be interested, you may download the Fall Enrollment by Demographics October 1, 2018-2019, from the Utah State Board of Education. Look for your district, then for your school; charter schools are listed below all districts.
This report lets you know how many boys and girls there are at your school and with a bit of math, you will know your ratios. For example, my neighborhood school is Lakeview Elementary and it covers most of my Stake area. It has 823 total students, with 386 (47%) girls and 438 (53%) boys.
Then move to the next report, Fall Enrollment by Grade Level October 1, 2018-2019; click on the lower tab “By School” to get grade totals. Because these are last year’s school figures use 5th–9th grades for Scout BSA and K–4th for Cub Scouts.
Our youth the market is not typical, nearly 70 percent of the youth in our area are already registered Scouts. Many of their parents know what Scouts do. This makes the initial youth marketing easy as described above, but as you plan for future growth 3.5% should be your minimum result, but in many areas of the country 15 percent of youth will join. So plan somewhere in between.
So for our troop this fall we are planning for 22 boys. As we find charter partners for a girl troop, there should be 18 registered. And for a pack 40 boys and girls. If our high school allows us to have a High Adventure Club for Venturing, for upwards of another 40 teens.
Reaching the Youth Market
In 2014, and after extensive research, the BSA determined peer to peer recruitment (youth speaking to youth or friend to friend) is the most effective way to enroll members into a Cub Scout Pack, Boy Scout troop, or Venturing crew. But then just three years later they discovered that parent-to-parent social media marketing was more effective than traditional School Nights for Scouting. Our next post explores all three of these ways to reach new youth.
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