Unit Membership Toolkit

Great Rivers District Membership Toolkit -

Ideas for Units to Recruit and Retain

Not just a 1-day event…

1.  Chartered Organization

  • Complete an annual plan – not only does this meet a Journey to Excellence point but we know that having a full year plan is allows constant planning opportunities while also providing a full calendar to parents to avoid conflicts. This also provides a visual for parents to have a better understanding of what they and their scout are getting for their money.
  • Fill the New Member Coordinator position.
  • Announcements about Scouting Programs in the Bulletin promoting opportunities for social, charitable and developmental; include a “Scout Corner” that would provide a regular invite to boys and girls.
  • Participate in Scout Sunday by providing readers, ushers, greeters, sit as a group – both cubs and scouts
  • Provide one or two service projects to the CO annually – spring/fall cleanups, set up for breakfasts, lunches, etc. Partner both Cubs and Scouts.
  • Photos of Eagle Scouts from Unit displayed in the CO.
  • Photos of activities displayed in the CO.  Update regularly.
  • Reminders of time, place and contact information.
  • Consider an incentive program like the Sharp & Pointy incentive – for each new registration both the scout and the new scout receive a pocket knife or _______. This could be budgeted via fundraiser $s or a new fundraiser.
  • Partner with other Chartered Organizations on events/activities.
  • Schedule more bring a friend event.
  • Promote Den Chief positions to support packs in the community to create a relationship between units; Den Chiefs staff Webelos Woods as patrol leaders
  • Troop to host Webelos at Camporee
  • Troops should attend Pack events to help; host/run B&G
  • Hold one or more additional meetings to help new members get up to speed.
  • Identify a mechanism to help manage the budget with late-joining scouts.
  • Messages to potential parents/scouts about why scouting is important and a benefit to them:
    • Research shows that scouts are more confident in interviews
    • Opportunities provided to Eagle Scouts over other candidates
    • Opportunities to try things they may never had the chance to
  • Event Ideas:

    • Camp cooking:  Dutch oven – kick-off the meeting introducing guests to this concept and have them help get the recipe together, attend the meeting, head back to dutch ovens and share the treat.

    • Summer events: fishing, bowling, park activities/competitions, scavenger hunt, etc. à offer awards

    • Halloween Tent

  • YouTube Challenge

  • Rename crossover A of L to “Troop Early Admission” to give a sense of transition, not an end to cubs, rather advancement

  • Engage parents of cubs early

  • Share summer campout dates with Packs for Navajo visit, Tuesday B4 Navajo starts

  • Re-recruit leaders back to scouts – we can use their experience and passion

  • Provide a minimum of one high adventure trip each year to ensure programming for older scouts.

  • Provide flexibility for scouts non-scouting activities, particularly for older scouts.


2.  Work with Community

  • Participation in Parades and other Community Events (Fairs, Youth focused multiorganizational events Sawfest, Green Fair set-up)

  • Adopt a park or roadway and send a note to the local paper with a photo, Earth Day

  • Follow-up after events – ensure there is a mechanism to capture youth and parent’s name as well as contact information.

  • Neighborhood service opportunities à invite community members via fliers.

  • Identify a 2nd recruiting opportunity.

  • Consider holding an event at a public place frequented by parents and youth à increasing the visibility. Example: scouting expo at Maplewood Mall, kickball, movie night, game nights, etc.  Summer is a great time as parents are looking for activities for their kids.

  • Incorporate the Scout Law and Oath in each activity.

  • Offer to teach a class in the school – leave no trace, environmental science, etc. Wear scout uniform. Connect with your children’s teachers.

  • Fliers for distribution.

  • Summer Cub Club” – allows scouts joining in Spring/Summer to catch up incorporating activities over the summer.


3.  Work Peer to Peer
  • Invite your friends to meetings, camp outs and activities (provide fliers)

  • Annual holiday party invitations to friends.

  • Wear uniform to School.

  • Tell friends you are a Scout.

  • Offer your extra gear to provide a great start – hand-me-downs (Class A, B t-shirts, etc.)

  • Invite friends to participate with you in Eagle Projects or other service projects.

  • Social Media (Both scouts and parents)  – share pictures of themselves (or their scout) participating in activities, rock climbing, etc (The “Look what I did Today” campaign) or as a way to invite others to an event. This is something that needs to be weighed with the no phone policies – how can we use it to our advantage. Perhaps in your unit, photos are taken by leaders and shared with the scouts to share with friends.

  • Identify an event incorporating Cubs, Scouts BSA, Venturing and OA with some competitive events.


4.  Other Opportunities
  • Plaques on Eagle Projects, include the Troop/CO

  • Do a targeted mailing to National Eagle Scout Association members letting them know hot o sign their children up.

  • District events:  Cub Anapolis, Regatta, Space Derby, push cart derby, Scout-o-Rama – incorporate an invite a friend (and parents).

  • REMINDER:  If a cub does not meet 1 of the 3 rules for advancement to Scouts BSA (1-11 years old, AofL, or 5th grade) there are 2 options to help them to advance:

  • Be a “guest” within the Troop until requirements met.

  • Register in the Pack (if not a member) and work on Arrow of Light requirements until June.

5.  Retaining / Increasing adult volunteers:

  • Provide more District sponsored outdoor training opportunities to include BALOO, Wilderness First Aide, etc.

  • Do a targeted mailing to National Eagle Scout Association members letting them know ho to sign their children up.

  • Ensure attendance at Roundtables – valuable information from announcements to training.

  • Could incorporate RT attendance as a JTE requirement (District level idea). 

6.  Things to remember while doing your planning to increase your success: 

  • We know that scouts at all levels are more successful when we bring them in at younger ages and ensure they have friends in the unit. Goal is before Bear.

  • Be attentive to the time barrier issues with parents/scouts – they’re busy, we need to be flexible ensuring parents and potential scouts that we will help them be successful à they won’t be left behind because they started after their friends. This also applies to boys who are involved in sports – our message should be positive.

  • Scouting is an investment in time à overcoming the barrier of engagement is a must.

  • Consider youth who do not make high school sports teams – offer them an alternative.



Always Remember

Always have application forms on hand and handbooks available.

There’s nothing worse than having a boy ready to join and not having the application form. And selling them a handbook now acts as another hook to help ensure that they come back. And turn in your completed applications promptly; they’re not a Scout until they are registered.

Recruit early and Often.   Recruit every day. 

REMEMBER:  Retaining your current scouts is as important as new recruits.

District Volunteers

De Granstrom
 Great Rivers - District Chair
     (651) 485-4796
     [email protected]

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District Volunteers