You may ask yourself if Scouting has a place in this work? The Council’s membership committee surely thinks so. In fact they have released materials to help you (see “Real Growth—Peer-to-Peer Recruitment Campaign” and the nice thing is that “all registration fees for youth and adults, including those of other faiths who join Latter-day Saint units, are paid directly from Church headquarters to the BSA National Council. (see 2014 LDS Scouting Handbook at LDS.org)
Ryan Bertram, a District Director in Chillicothe, OH explained how they visited schools this week. Outside the school they put up a tent, then they asked the boys to see how many they could get into it (you’ve got to wonder how durable a tent you need to use for this idea). They they talked about camp, inviting boys to join packs and troops near the school so they can go to camp. Ryan explained that he carries a bag full of these things to help with his boy talks at schools:
-remote controlled helicopter
and stickers telling parents to ask their kid what he brought home from school today (i.e. recruitment flyer). He holds up each item and asks the boys who likes to play with this? Which gets them talking, then he tells them about camp and how to join a nearby Pack.
Ryan went on to explain that at a troop meeting last Monday, they had never considered peer-to-peer recruiting! They did not know they could invite a friend to attend a Scouting event. So, they were encouraged to invite a friend to an upcoming troop fishing weekend.
Ben Summerhalder, a Cub Scout Leader in Provo UT, suggested these ideas to help with peer=to-peer recruiting: “For Cub Scouts, any derby – Pinewood, Space or Raingutter Regatta – is a great activity to get boys interested in joining. The Cub Scout Academics and Sports Program is also a good way to get boys involved since it offers so many different activities for Cub Scout-age boys. The STEM Nova program is another way to engage the interest of boys.”
Mark R. Francis, Director of LDS–BSA Relationships, shared this story of one troop: Wyoming can be a cold and snowy place in the wintertime. That’s why one troop decided to make
snowshoes. During the fall they were looking ahead to the Klondike derby coming up in January. They wanted an activity that could prepare them for winter camping.
Under the direction of their Scoutmaster and deacons quorum adviser, the young men went online to find a pattern and instructions for making snowshoes out of rawhide and wood. “We realized this project was going to take a long time,” says Sam F., deacons quorum president, “but we were all excited, and we had a plan.”
As the young men worked on their snowshoe frames, they discussed how they could help others in the quorum who were less active, and they made a plan to visit them. “We visited every boy on our list and invited them to come to Scouts,” Sam says. “We told them we were making snowshoes for the winter campout coming up.” Having a clear goal was helpful in drawing other boys to the troop.
As the snowshoes progressed, so did the quorum. Six young men started the snowshoe project, but soon others joined in, including one of another faith.
John B.’s friend, Timothy N., was active in his church, but it didn’t have a Scout troop, so he started coming with his friend. His brother, Thomas, even joined the ward’s 11-year-old Scout patrol and earned his religious award. He was then presented with the award at his own church service.
While the young men and leaders worked, they made religious connections between wrapping the rawhide tightly and bringing their quorum together.
Jacob D. started coming regularly to the Scout meetings. His mother, Heather P., later thanked the troop for welcoming her son and their family. Other young men who had never attended church came to the Scout meetings to make snowshoes.
By January, the snowshoes were finished and each young man had a pair to use during the Klondike derby. Aiden H. said what they all felt about making snowshoes: “It was fun because we got to use them!”
“We learned a lot about enduring to the end on a project and about strengthening our quorum through Scouting,” Sam says. “My snowshoes will last a long time, and whenever I see them I’ll remember this experience, as well as the great friends we made in our troop and quorum.”
Author: Darryl Alder | Director of Support Services, Utah National Parks Council, BSA