Growing Your Scouting Unit

Scouting is more fun with more youth, families and leaders. Engaging more youth in Scouting enables us to spread Scouting’s values further into our community and make a deeper impact as we “Build Stronger Families Through Scouting”. Cub Scout recruiting must focus on the family joining – Scout and parents – and can be most successful by peer to peer, family to family invitations to attend fun den and pack activities. New Scouts can join any time during the year – that’s certainly true in Troops and Crews, but also in Cub Scout Packs, where recruiting must not begin and end at School Sign-Up Night. Any fun Den, Pack, Troop or Crew activity can be a welcoming and joining event for new youth and adult leaders! All programs should implement a membership mindset, find the best ways for your unit to welcome new members all year long, and follow through to help them join. The goal of the Council is to empower our units and leaders to use their resources to build the foundations that will welcome more families into Scouting – youth and adult leaders.

To meet that goal, our Steps to Successful and Sustainable Cub Scout Family Recruiting start with (1) Make a Calendar of Fun Activities and Program, then (2) Let People Know – Promote Your Program!, followed right on by (3) Recruit More Leaders and Helpers, and (4) Grow your School and Community Presence, leading to (5) Sign-Up Events: School Sign-Up Nights and Fun Den and Fun Welcoming Activities Too. Step (6) is More Fun Activities that lead to retaining your signups, plus more growth. While the Step by Step pages focus mostly on Cub Scout Recruiting, the Steps work for Troops and Crews too.

Fun Activities

Kids want to know what they will do in Cub Scouting. Parents too. Research shows that the number one “satisfaction factor” in Cub Scouting is having great outdoor activities. Scouting is Outing, so Get Out and Cub Scout! Cub Scouting is also “fun, family and friends”, especially in spring and summer where den and pack families just get out and do fun*simple*easy activities together, get to know each other and plan more fun activities. In Troops and Crews, youth are almost always going to more attracted to action and activities, not mere “meetings”.

Promote Your Pack Program

Got Activities? Share them. Make a one page handout listing them with some photos, add a QR code for more information – call that your “Pack Packet” or “Troop Ticket”. Share with current families, and empower your parents to share – peer to peer – with friends and classmates. Leaders can leverage parents to recruit and help onboard new families, because any parent who likes Cub Scouting can be a welcoming New Member Coordinator for your den and pack (troops and crews too). In troops and crews, youth to youth contact will be more powerful, so be sure your promotional methods have “buy-in” from your youth. There are many methods to get the word out … use what works for you.

Recruting Parent Leaders

Parents are the primary source of Leaders in Scouting – and lack of leaders is the number one reason why families leave Cub Scouting. Many packs and dens have an “Every Parent Leads” (something) policy, because that’s a key to success. There are different roles within the Unit that can fit the schedule and interests of any parent or volunteer. The key is to recruit the right adult for the position, in order to make your Unit as effective as can be. Recruiting leaders is hard and there is no one way that works every time with every parent – but there are many ways that work sometime with some parents. In Cub Scout Packs, simple fun activities for friends and families (not highly structured meetings), especially in spring and summer, are a great way to get to know your parents and help them find out how they can help. Find what works for you! See the link below.

Sign Up Events – Anytime

While packs will gain new members through school sign-up nights in the fall organized by your District Executive, packs should also schedule their own fun activities and have your families invite friends and classmates. Dens and packs also have the opportunity to use spring and summer events, from swimming to biking to parades to cookouts to day camp to whatever you like to do, to entice new youth and families to the program. It is worth repeating: Any fun Den, Pack, Troop or Crew activity can be a welcoming and joining event for new youth and adult leaders!

Communication & Information

Regular, clear communication with all den and pack (and troop and crew) families is critical to helping them feel at home in Scouting. After any Sign Up Event in a Cub Scout pack, have a fun activity for kids with a Parent Orientation alongside to get new and returning parents up to speed on your pack and dens. And keep the communication going about upcoming activities. The same idea applies to troops and crews, so that parents understand how to let their Scouts enjoy the Scouts BSA and Venturing programs and how they can contribute.

More Activities, Adventure and Outings

This Guide shares plenty of ideas for pack and den activities and outings. A big part of den activities will be Advancement toward Rank awards – and the link below will take you to sharable resource pages to help parents and parent/leaders lead hands-on active Adventures from the Handbooks.

Growing Your Scouts BSA Troop

Scouts BSA Troop recruiting starts with the same steps of a strong activity calendar (things your Scouts want to do) that you – and your Scouts – share with others. Scout recruiting (youth to youth) is key – that’s the peer to peer recruiting that will cause new Scouts to stick with your Troop. Almost any of those activities can be a welcoming and joining event, whether it’s a formal Troop open house or a regular Troop activity or campout. Be sure to schedule campouts and other activities with 5th Grade Arrow of Light Dens so that they see what Troops do and will want to join you (cross over) in late winter or early spring. Don’t forget their 5th Grade friends turning 10 years old who will benefit from joining the Troop and going to Summer Camp – any 10 year old 5th grader can join a Scouts BSA Troop after March 1 of their 5th grade year (that'’ a new rule from April, 2022).