School and Community Presence

School and Community Presence Topics on this Page (click to jump)

Strong School and Community Presence Helps Recruiting

A year round recruiting process with key preliminary steps of (1) Creating a Calendar of Fun Activities, (2) Pack Promotion – Flyers and Media and More, and (3) Recruiting Leaders, will really benefit from the added promotion – and partnerships – that come from expanding your School and Community Presence.

All of these steps help your success at Pack Sign-Up Events, because a high profile at schools, churches and other community spaces will increase awareness of your Pack Program – and may develop some “win-win” partnerships with groups that can help your Pack and Dens.  Including getting better access for School Sign-Up Nights and other Scouting activities. 

Ways to Build a Strong School Presence – Year-Round

There are many ways to build your presence with your School community – teachers, staff, parents – and these can be a great “win / win” for both Pack and School.

An essential Pack contact with your School is in connection with your Pack School Sign-Up Nights.

Those would be scheduled at Schools in August by the Pack Volunteers, in coordination with the District Executive.  (See your District Page for your District Executive – they want great School relations too, and can help coach in how to work with school staff.)

School Sign-Up Nights are a good start to build a bridge between Packs and Schools – but even better is to use these year-round tools too, starting in the spring:

Spring and Summer Fun Events Can Be Welcoming and Joining Events.

  • Have one or more “end of School Year” Fun Events like an End of the School Year Pack Party!
  • You can invite rising Kindergarten kids as well as classmates and friends in the higher grades to join your Pack.
  • They can see you “graduate” your Scouts into their next rank level – maybe awarding their new Handbook for the coming school year.
    • Invite friends and families at your school to fun events like Pack Pinewood Derbies, Raingutter Regattas, Pack Parties.  (If you already did one, you can do it again if you liked it – Scouts can bring extra cars or boats and share them with visiting friends so they can participate.)
    • See much more at this segment about The Power of Spring and Summer Fun Event Recruiting.
  • Summer and Fall Fun Welcoming and Joining Events.  Repeat the same idea over the summer, at back to school time (or “Back to the Pack” time!), and in the fall. Maybe a Bike Rodeo, Fishing Derby, Picnic with Field Sports, kite fly, or go somewhere to swim, bowl, putt or have other family fun

Open House – Meet the Teacher – Meet and Greet – Registration Day:

  • A day of families coming to school to meet their teachers and plan their upcoming school year?
  • Open House (or Meet the Teacher / Meet and Greet / Registration Day) are great opportunities for Cub Scout recruiting … because you’ll be doing one on one family recruiting and making connections with kids and parents to focus on what they like to do and how that lines up with what you’ll do in your Den and Pack.
    • Be sure you have the School's approval and follow their rules
      • Can you set up a display inside?  Ask. 
    • Can you set up outside the school, where families will be coming and going?  Ask!
      • Getting permission to set up a tent or a small portable campfire will attract kids and parents more than just handing out flyers.  (Do hand out flyers after they come to the tent, however.)
      • An outdoor display is a great idea, since Cub Scouting is an outdoor program.
    • Casual, friendly, one on one – parent to parent and kid to kid – contacts can be a much more effective sales tool than any speech in a gym.  You can also set up a display of what your Pack does. See this Cub Scout Ideas page on Pack displays.
      • A strong presence at a School Open House / Meet and Greet Day can turn a Pack with one active leader and a handful of kids into a Pack of 40 or 50 or 60 families who are attracted to your Pack program.
      • Some Packs do significant youth and adult recruiting at these events because one on one attention gets better results, especially if you’re recruiting families, not just signing up the youth.

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Sidewalk Talk?  Car Pool Chat?  

  • What if you can’t get space or a table inside the school during Open House – Meet the Teacher – Meet and Greet – Registration Day?
  • Can You Hand Out Flyers at Car Pool Pickup or Dropoff?  Ask, and maybe you can.  (Probably, so long as you’re not holding up traffic!)
  • Can you do an outdoor display some days?  You don’t know if you don’t ask.
    • These will be helpful ways to communicate that “the Pack is back”, so promote your Spring or Fall Fun Pack or Den Joining Events where families can join you for fun activities.
    • Volunteers with something to catch the attention of the families as they are leaving school – whether being in uniform, or having a tent set up on the grass, maybe making s’mores – will remind the families about your upcoming Fun Den or Pack Joining Events and prompt parents to ask questions about your program.
    • Talk to the families as they visit the tent or other display and invite them to your event.
    • Sharing flyers or stickers or other items is a plus.
    • Can you do custom, Scout-made chalk drawings on the sidewalk?  Ask, and the answer may be "yes".  (Not only for "Join Cub Scout Pack 1234", but also "Thank You <Local> Elementary School for Supporting Pack 1234!")

Other School Channels

  • There are other ways to get better connected with your school community.
  • Find out how to get space or broadcast time on School communication channels for kids and parents.
    • Do they have a website?  (Probably)
      • Can you get a “Cub Scout Corner” space on the site to promote what you do?
      • And what you did, with pictures and videos.
      • And promotion of upcoming Fun Den or Pack Joining Events.
    • Do they have a weekly email blast?  (Probably)
      • Can you write content for that with your Scouting Stories?
      • Some schools use delivery systems like Peachjar, so ask parents at the school what the school uses, and be sure your flyer and other materials can be sent in that system (tips on that are here from BSA Marketing).
    • “Pack Fun Event promotion” options to increase your presence include all of the ideas in our Promote Your Pack Program page, like yard signs, posters, flyers, websites, bulletins, email, social media, Peer to Peer Invite Cards.
      • You can use your Pack and event flyers and posters to promote your year-round events – not just School Sign Up Nights.
      • You’ll want to welcome new families to participate in those activities.
    • Can you get a bulletin board where you show Scout pictures and updates?
      • Or part of one – maybe share with Girl Scouts?

Be There Strong at PTA and PTO and Other School Events

  • Teachers and staff are not the only school contacts and organizations.  PTA/PTO can be Powerful!
  • Check Your School Calendar and find out what you can do for the PTA/PTO and at your local school events – these can make a difference, both because more families will see you and the school will know that “we do Cub Scouting here”.
    • Have Scouts do flag ceremonies at those meetings and events, and get them recognition for their School Service Projects.
      • (If you help the PTA/PTO, they might let you have a sign-up table where you can pitch new parents.)
    • Can You Have Hands-On Displays Inside or Outside? Maybe a tent or games or derby track? 
      • Check with Your School to see what they’ll let you do
    • You never know what will make a family say: “we want to do that too with you”.

Scout Uniform Days.

  • The Cub Scout uniform is one way to increase your school presence and make kids, parents, teachers and staff know that “we do Cub Scouting here”.
  • Can your Scouts wear their uniforms to school?
    • If so, coordinate with your families to all wear the uniform on days when you have activities, or when you’re promoting Fun Den or Pack Joining Events.
    • Setting up your Scouts with “Peer to Peer” join us cards and stickers is a big help.

Pack Leadership Volunteer Day

  • Scouts Serve!
  • Service is a core message we want schools and parents and teachers and staff to understand about Scouting.
    • A team of your adult leaders can arrange with the Principal to come to the school (in uniform) to do things as simple as opening the doors for the kids, helping with carpool, raising and lowering the flags.
      • Maybe bring snacks, cupcakes or cookies for the teachers’ lounge with a big “thank you from Pack 1234?” display
      • The more you’re seen – the more people will be aware of you.

Use Your Excited Families – Old and New.

  • Your Pack should have an “every parent helps” policy.
  • One way parents can help is to share information with other families at school – to promote joining the Pack.
  • When families take a “test drive” of Scouting at one of your fun Den or Pack events, or – even better – attend Day and Twilight Camp and Cub Scout Summer Camp, those families will have a good time, be “sold” on Scouting, and maybe become new leaders or assistants.
    • Get them, and all returning Pack families, to spend time welcoming new families at “Back to School” Open House / Meet and Greet Days.
    • These parents can be part of your “welcome team” and part of “peer to peer” welcome into your unit.
      • Set them up with copies of your “Pack packet” that they can share.
    • Using them for one on one recruiting is the strongest tool.

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How Packs Can Increase Community Presence

How can we get “seen” at Churches and in the community?  Use tools similar to school outlets, and use your local resources:

  • Church and Community Website and Bulletins and eBlasts and Facebook and Twitter, plus local news outlets
  • Yard signs and posters at Churches and Community Locations (to promote your Pack Program and share contact info)
  • Flyers for handout and website posting and email and Facebook.
  • Get on the agenda: Scout Days at Church, recognition at civic groups for your service projects and for Advancement recognition of your Scouts.
  • Don’t forget Adult Leader Recognition at your Chartered Organization, your Schools, and your community.
    • Can there be a “Proclamation” lauding the years of service of your Cubmaster?
    • Sure – ask your local Town or County Councilperson, or your State Representative.

Participate in Community Events.  All Scouting is Local, and your locale will determine what community events you might want to participate in.  Ideas include:

  • Parades (4th of July, Veterans, MLK, others)
  • Block Parties / Neighborhood Parties
  • National Nights Out
  • Lantern Parades
  • Festivals and Fairs – Town Squares, Parks, State Parks, Nature Centers
  • Bike Rodeos
  • Fire Safety Expos
  • Halloween Parties and “Trunk or Treat” events
  • “Movie Nights” on the Town Square
  • Red Cross Blood Drives
  • Church Events – maybe sponsor “coffee hour” after services and provide food
  • Product Sales – can you get visibility at a restaurant or other place families gather or shop, and sell popcorn or camp cards?
  • Events offered by other community organizations and your own chartered organization
  • School Events, like Back-to-School Nights and PTO/PTA Events described above.

You might participate in these “just for fun” or as a service to the community (maybe helping with “information booths” or helping with event clean up).  Especially if you’re helping an event, you can probably also be an exhibitor or have some Unit display to welcome families to your Pack.

Active Recruiting While Doing Community Activities.  See this “On Scouting” Blog Post from 2023 about the benefits of (1) doing activities like this and (2) with recruiting for your Scouting Unit in mind. 

  • Simplest way:  be sure multiple parents and leaders have multiple copies of your “Pack packet” to share with people who show any interest in what you do. 
  • Yeah, that blog post calls it “passive” recruiting, which sounds … indifferent. Idle.  Inert.

This is “active” recruiting, just not a full-on “Sign-Up Event”.  Think of it as “real-time” recruiting or “real-life” recruiting: after all, you’re in the community IRL (In Real Life) doing things and recruiting.  Actively. 

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Service Projects as a Key to Unlock School and Community Doors

Service Project Ideas.  To really get strong support from Schools and other community organizations, leverage service project opportunities.  After all, “A Scout is Helpful” – it’s what we do, and you want to be known for it in your Schools and other community organizations.  For ideas about what to do, see this service project page – it is a compendium of ideas about what Scouts can do to help others, from large "service projects" that can be organized by Scouts and/or Units, to existing service opportunities that you can join in, as well as small ways that a Scout can help others (for younger Scouts, with help from the family).

  • Don’t Just JTE Report – Let the Community Know.  Many Unit Leaders know that “reporting service hours” is encouraged for Council and National “Journey to Excellence” purposes – and that’s good to do. 
  • If a Tree Falls in the Forest, Does it Make a Sound?  Even more important, let your communities know what you’re doing and what you did.
    • Promote your Unit by sharing reports on completed service projects, using methods described in our Promote Your Pack Program page.
    • If your Scout or Den or Pack or Troop or Crew does a service project in the forest, it does not make a sound unless you make the noise about it!

Adopt a School.  Working through principals, teachers, other staff, PTA, and parents is essential and can help support you and recruit more leaders. A BSA program to help you is the Adopt-a-School Program, billed as “an exciting and comprehensive undertaking that will connect Scout packs, troops, and crews across the country with schools in their communities”.

  • An AAC Adopt Your School plan is attached below.
    • The basic ideas are: 
      • It’s good to help Your School.
      • Also, if Scouts help Schools, Schools can help Scouts.
  • How can Scouts help Schools?
    • Grounds beautification, clean up days, tree planting and flower planting
    • Teacher and staff appreciation events (lunches, snacks, ceremonies), thank you cards
    • Raising/lowering school flags, flag ceremonies at School events
    • Scout help at festivals, book drives, food drives (Scouting for Food), clothing drives, or another service
    • Scout support for activities like tutoring/mentoring, schoolyard games, library cleanup, and more.
    • Ask your school and find out where they need help.
  • Then, when you do help, don’t be shy: get the word out, using methods described in our Promote Your Pack Program page.

Adopt a … Church, Community Center, Village, Neighborhood.  The “Adopt a School” concept works just as well for Churches and other community groups and neighborhoods too, especially if you or your families use their facilities and you want to do this to “give back” to those that support you.

  • Your primary focus may be on organizations or communities where your families live and play because you’ll be more visible to the other families who live and play there.
  • But you may have an attractive opportunity to help organizations or communities that don’t have Cub Scout aged kids – like senior living centers – and they need help too.
    • When you do help, be sure to spread the word about what you did among your families and other families you’d like to join.
    • Your Chartered Organization and the Schools you draw Scouts from should always want this sort of “good news” content about how Scouts serve the community.

All of this helps your success at Sign-Up Events and in recruiting new families.

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Click to jump to other Recruiting Resource pages: Recruiting Resources (Home)Step One: Make a Calendar of Fun ActivitiesStep Two: Promote your Unit! (and BeAScout / Online Apps), Step Three: Recruiting LeadersStep Four: School and Community PresenceStep Five: Sign-Up EventsParent Orientation, and Scouts BSA Troop Recruiting

File Name Description
Adopt Your School Plan Download