This is called putting Scouting on the map.
James Williamson, a Webelos Scout from Pack 800 of Aberdeen, N.C., has sold at least one bag or box of Scout popcorn to someone from each of the 50 states and Puerto Rico.
That means he’s spread the good word about Scouting — and raised money for his pack and council — from sea to shining sea.
And because Scouting is international, James went ahead and sold popcorn online to customers in Kuwait and Germany, too.
In addition to helping his council through these fundraising efforts, James has been invited to speak at local Scouting events about his experiences selling popcorn. He has told adult leaders and fellow Scouts how setting a seemingly unreachable goal can stem sales success.
He says the secret is to announce the goal right up front. James told people he was trying to sell to every state. He showed them a map of the 50 states, with the ones he had completed shaded in red.
James says it’s important to remind potential customers that they aren’t just buying popcorn. They’re supporting Scouting, and the popcorn is a delicious thank-you gift for that support. James tells customers that their support “directly helps me and my unit create lifelong memorable experiences.” (See more sales tips here.)
These aren’t new concepts. What James was able to accomplish is possible by any Scout with the proper amount of determination, drive and ingenuity.
The ultimate road trip
Most of James’ sales happened during a 5,000-mile road trip from North Carolina to Idaho and back. The family visited 18 states during their two-week journey.
James sold at rest stops, gas stations, national parks, monuments and pretty much everywhere he and his family stopped. Popular sites like Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park and Devils Tower draw people from across the country, making it easier for James to find customers from far-away states.
Whenever James made a sale, he’d ask the customer where he or she was from. He started coloring in states one by one.
For the remaining states, James worked with his mom to connect with customers online. By announcing which states he hadn’t yet covered, James was able to get extra publicity for his cause.
Eventually, every state was represented. Fifty for 50. James had covered the map.
In James’ time in Scouting, he has sold more than $20,000 in Scout popcorn. And he’s not planning to quit any time soon.