Recruitment time for Scouts can be a stressful time for leaders trying to either gain more youth into your unit. Many of the promotions involved flyers to send into the schools, or postings in the community. Some have had success with school fairs or other events in the community, but that often requires a school open to recruiting or significant long-term planning for success.
But one fairly easy, low involvement with high impact way of recruiting is having the youth you already have in your unit recruit other youth! It is just like everything else in life, why do you go to a certain restaurant, play a certain game, what sport you play, or where you take your kids for swimming or choose a doctor? Sometimes its simply a luck thing you saw a flyer read a review, but often you had a friend tell you how awesome they were and you have to check it out.
That’s where a Bring-a-Friend event comes in! Have your Scouts invite their friend to the monthly unit outing – hiking, or climbing, or other event where they get to have fun, play games, and experience what it means to be a Scout. It’s a great way to introduce Scouts of all ages to Scouting!
Always be sure to review whether your planned activities align with the Northern Star Scouting Covid-19 Unit Meeting standards. Several of the games and event below can be done in small groups (like dens or patrols) or by scheduling sign-up times, etc to meet the standards. Several units have started planning for recruiting events by considering one option with the current restrictions, and another with lightened restrictions. Above all – make sure to keep our Scouts safe!
For Packs – make sure you’re working on age appropriate events. That may mean a different event for Lions and Tigers than what is done for Webelos (or it may not). As the youth are playing / having fun, make sure you have one or more leaders designated to talk to parents, answer questions, and be there to sign-up the youth that night.
For Troops – make sure your SPL and Patrol Leaders Council (PLC) are planning this event. As leaders, they need to understand the purpose of the event, identify what would be a great activity they think is interesting, and be able to plan and execute.
A couple of Bring-a-Friend Activities
Carnival Game Party
Set up different games for Cub Scouts (and future Cub Scouts) to play. While the youth are playing games, bus sure to have enough help have leaders talk to parents. If you need ideas for games this website has 12 easy to put together games to play. Click here
Photo Scavenger Hunt
This can work for both Packs and Troops. For Cub Scouts, this is a great activity for parents and youth to do together! For Troops, it can be a Patrol Competition — a great way to introduce prospective Scouts and their parents to the Patrol Method. You may need to adjust the difficulty, and the number of items, based on the age you’re working with https://www.scavify.com/blog/the-ultimate-photo-scavenger-hunt-guide-40-ideas-and-tips
Host a Campfire!
This would be a fun way to have youth and parents attending make a S’more. Have your unit host a campfire, with skits and songs – and of course, S’mores! Give the kids and their parents an introduction to Scouting, without having to dive into an overnighter.
Picnic in the Park
Bring food and fun — and they will come. Include a few games and crafts while having a great time getting to know prospective Scouts.
Minute to Win It Game Fall Rally
Minute to Win It Games are popular and many versions are available. Host several stations that let attendees participate at different times / what they want to choose. Give out tickets for prizes / candy for those who participate. Build games that involve Scout skills like knots, first aid, or other activities (particularly for Troops – a great way to build those Tenderfoot to 1st Class skills!).
Think about where your unit could serve others — and what would be both fun and meaningful to your Scouts. Service projects don’t have to be tiresome and tedious, and many youth are drawn to help others.
Outdoor Hike (or other activities)
Don’t forget that outdoor hikes, or other outdoor programs, are a key draw to potential Scouts (but maybe don’t have it be one in the middle of your Philmont training program). Cool days hikes are available locally, or even just a 30-45 minutes away for some different scenery and opportunity.
Yep, good old fashioned bowling is still a fun way to socialize, get the youth to meet others, and get to have fun. Think about mixing up the teams so any new scout/parent is combined with an experienced scout family
Lots of youth love rock-climbing and getting the opportunity to hang out with their friends. Talk to Base Camp about their great rock wall and stay tuned for additional programming this fall.