Sign-Up Events

Sign Up Event Topics on this Page (click to jump):

Sign-Up Events are “Step Five” in our Steps to Successful and Sustainable Recruiting, after (1) a Calendar of Fun Activities, (2) a plan to promote Pack activities like a “Pack Packet” and a decent BeAScout profile, (3) a Plan to Recruit Leaders, plus (4) strong School and Community Presence. All of those steps will make any Sign-Up Event and Fun Den and Pack Joining Events much more successful at recruiting new families and keeping them in the program.


Family Focus:  Sign-Up Events Should Target Families

For Cub Scout Packs, our goal is not just to sign up new youth. 

Our goal is to sign up new Families!

  • The Cub Scout program is a family program, designed to make stronger connections between kids and adults, which will make parenting easier!
  • And without parental involvement – adult leaders – those kids can’t have Cub Scouting.
  • If your Pack program is fun, active, full of adventure, this is the kind of program that families should want to join, that kids will want to do, that parents will participate in.
  • Cub Scouting is Fun, Family and Friends.

If you and your current leaders recruit just new youth, you may fail if you don’t already have more parent involvement than you need for current Scouts.  If your Pack has a shortage of actively engaged leaders, recruit carefully: either be sure you’re lining up more active, engaged leaders, or only bring on the youth your leaders can handle – and let other Packs recruit those youth you cannot handle.Year-Round Sign-Up Events.  When can you have Joining Events?  Any time of the year!

Year-Round Sign-Up Events.  When can you have Joining Events?  Any time of the year!

  • Certainly if you want more families in your Den or Pack, recruit any time.
  • Spring and Summer are terrific times to welcome new families – especially to Fun, Simple, Easy activities that your families want to do.  Dens and Packs have the Power to do this.
    • In Winter and Spring, some worry “What about Rank advancement?  How will we ‘catch them up’ with the rest of the Den?”  And worry that this puts more work and pressure on a Den Leader.
    • Suggestion:  Other than whatever Adventure you may be working on with your Den or Pack, don’t worry about it at all!  If a parent is super keen on their Scout completing the whole rank – even if they join in the late Spring – the parent has the power to do the remedial work at home through our Advancement Resources.  Den Leaders don’t need to repeat the entire curriculum for those who sign up after the start of a program year.
  • Back to School time, or “fall recruiting” Sign-Up Events, are also essential.  That’s the beginning of the “program year” for Scouts and families to work on their new Rank and Handbook Adventures.
    • Getting to know new families who join you for Spring and Summer activities will only help you with fall recruiting – they will already be “on board” with Scouting.
    • And you might have (should have) discerned how the parents can help the Den and Pack.

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Two Types of Sign-Up Events: Fun Pack Joining Events and School Sign-Up Night

You can have new families join at two basic types of events – Fun Pack Joining Events and School Sign-Up Nights:

  • Fun Pack Joining Events.  Any Fun Den or Pack Activity can be a Welcoming and Joining Event if you have a plan for how new families can attend, be welcomed, do your activity, meet new families, and sign up. 
    • At its core, Cub Scouting is Fun, Family and Friends
    • Keep It Simple, Make It Fun, Make New Friends Who Join Your Pack.

 

The “Sign-Up” Messages Are Identical At Both Events.  Though the overall formats of Fun Pack Joining Events and School Sign-Up Nights are different – more time and more fun at a Pack Fun Joining Event compared to concise/quick and short/sweet at School Sign-Up Nights – your “pitch” about your Pack to Parents is really the same for both events. 

Some tips about both of these events include:

  • Use the Plan and Script Below – Edit As Needed For Your Pack.  Download the Plan and Script for Sign-Up Events found in the Downloads below – this is in Word, so you can edit to fit your Pack. 
    • FYI, just because a Fun Pack Joining Event can run longer, don't put the extra time into "longer speeches". 
    • Put your extra time into “more fun” and letting families get to know each other.
  • Use Your Current Families – Put Them On Your “Welcome Team”.  Put some parents to work just welcoming new families and making sure they meet other families - and do "Peer to Peer" recruiting. 
    • They can welcome returning families, and seek out new families and give them information about your Den and Pack, and how to sign up.
    • That frees up your Den and Pack Leaders to lead the fun event and have longer conversations where needed.
    • Scouts can help too – incentivize them with a “Recruiter” patch.
  • Share Your Pack Packet for New Families.  Your “Welcome Team” can share your “Pack Packet” with key information they need to do Scouting in your Den and Pack.
  • Maybe a Welcome Package for New Scouts.  If you want a more impactful welcome, have a “Welcome Package” for new Scouts – School Sign-Up Nights will have a Handbook and pop-it fidget toys for the kids who sign up.  But Packs can personalize too.
    • See this Blog post that begins “For a new Cub Scout family, nothing says ‘we’re glad you’re here’ quite like a handcrafted kit containing some items you’ll need during your Scouting journey. Oh, and snacks help, too. A Cub Scout pack in Michigan welcomes new members with cleverly designed bags — made by the pack’s current Cub Scouts — that include a few Scouting essentials and an invitation to the pack’s next hike.”
    • There’s lots of different ways to pack those welcome bags – but it may be the homemade thought that counts the most.
    • Scouts can also use those in advance of a Fun Pack Joining Event, as an invitation to attend.

More on both types of events below.

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Fun Pack & Den Events as Welcoming Sign-Up Events

  • You know what Cub Scouting is – but do the families at your School know?
  • You will tell them what Scouting is – but will they really know after a School Sign-Up Night?
  • Better idea:  let the families “test drive” Cub Scouting at your Fun Pack or Den Event!

A great way – any time – to get families to join your Den and Pack is to host them at a Family Fun Joining Event. 

  • Having a fun event works to show old and new families the fun of Cub Scouting.
    • Keep it Simple, Make it Fun – Cub Scouting if Fun, Family and Friends.
    • It’s OK to have more than one fun event!
  • You can do this at any time -- but you definitely should do fun events shortly after any School Sign-Up Night, especially to give new families who couldn’t make School Sign-Up Event or who were undecided that night more chances to join. 
    • And if your School Sign-Up Night isn’t early in August, you will benefit from having a Fun Pack Joining Event before School Sign-Up Night too.
    • You can advertise this with less “joining” pressure: sure, you’re putting on a “Fun Pack Joining Event” but you’ll advertise it as a “Fun Pack & Den Event”, like Back to School Picnic with Pack 1234, or End of Summer Swim Party with Pack 1234, or Cookout or Bike Ride or Field Day or …
  • Advertise your Fun Pack Joining Event to new families at your school Open House / Meet the Teacher / Meet and Greet / Registration Day, and using other promotion channels.

Some ideas about a Fun Pack Joining Event are below (applies also to any Fun Den Joining Event):

  • Key Concept One – Make Sure Current Families Attend.  Make this event fun first for current families – for a Fun Pack Joining Event to work, you need your current families attending. 
    • Do Not Let Them Think: “aw, that’s not for us – we don’t go to that – that’s just for new families”.
    • Make it Fun For Current Families, and when they have fun they can make it Fun for Future Families.
  • Key Concept Two – Let New Families “Test Drive” Fun Cub Scouting and Like It.  Many families will want to see and do Cub Scouting before they decide to register and pay the necessary joining fees.
    • If they have a hands-on experience, participate with other Den and Pack families, and see that their child likes it and wants to do more – they are more likely to join.
  • What Fun to Do?  It’s Up To You!  Your Pack or Den will run your Fun Family Joining Events, so the program and schedule are up to you.  Do what you like to do!
    • It could be a Bike Ride (doesn’t need to be a full “rodeo”, just a ride), fishing, games, field sports, rocket launches, kites, maybe Pinewood Derby Track and cars and run for fun, or cook hot dogs and S’ Mores. More ideas below.
    • Do what your current families like to do – have all your current families invite new families to attend.
  • Make It Fun Fun Fun! Not Complicated.  Make your Fun Family Joining Event as simple as possible. 
    • Especially at “end of summer” or “back to school” time, take it easy.  Simple.  Fun.
      • No need for “advancement” program or “requirements”.
      • The “agenda” is simple: here’s some games, there’s some food.
      • No need for uniforms that make new families feel like “we’re not part of the group”.
      • Just have fun activities for kids and families. And food!
      • Too much about Scouting is complicated – that can create a barrier to joining. 
      • Make this all about “fun, family and friends”.
    • For more, see this On Scouting Blog about having Fun Joining Events in your unit to make new families feel welcomed. (The blog calls them “Normal Friend Activities”, but we share this Pro Tip: please never call something a “Normal Friend Activity” when you invite someone.  That sounds weird.)
      • Concept: do activities that your families like and that new families will like.
      • Empower your families to invite other families and friends.  Keep it simple and make it fun. 
      • That post describes “a hike, a picnic, an ice cream party, a service project … backyard movie nights and barbecues … a trip to a local sporting event or anything else you can dream up” (we’ve dreamed up this list of fun – what are your dreams for fun?).
      • Have Fun.  Get to know each other.
    • Other tips included that the primary focus should be on kids and parents getting to know one another and doing the fun activities — not on high-pressure recruiting pitches. 
      • But don’t read that as “no recruiting pitches”!
      • Read that as “no high pressure” pitches.  This is no “timeshare sales pitch” event!
      • A quick pitch like the script in the Downloads below will be just right – and if you do “stations”, it’s even more “low pressure”.
    • P.S.: This idea for fun events for building relationships and “getting to know each other as people” is also a great activity for your current families, especially in the spring and summer.
  • Want more ideas about what to do and where to go?  Some ideas are noted above, but also …
    • Check out our new (and growing) menu of Fun, Simple and Easy activities that Den and Pack families can do.  And can invite other families to join you!
      • Some go somewhere like Six Flags or a neighborhood pool or White Water or Rock Climbing Gym or Zip Lines or Miniature Golf or Bowling – and gather for a picnic or cookout.
      • In the summer, some Packs do a pool party at a lifeguarded community pool.
    • (What you do doesn't need to be Advancement related.  There will be time for that later.)
    • If it's fun for kids and fun for families and safe, then it's Cub Scouting -- and families can invite other families to do these fun activities with your den or pack.
  • Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  You can and should do more than one Fun Family Den or Pack Joining Event – after all, you want to have a lot of fun family events on your Den and Pack calendar, so just be sure you have assigned parents to be welcoming New Member Coordinators at each event.
    • Can’t decide whether to do a swim party or a bike ride or a kickball day? 
      • Go ahead and do all three!
      • Let the swimmers swim, the bikers bike and the kickballers kick!
      • Depending on your fun activity (and your promotion efforts), you might have fewer families attend a Fun Family Den or Pack Joining Event compared to a heavily promoted School Sign-Up Night.
        • Good News: you’ll be able to give better attention to those who do attend.
        • “One on one” discussions, or “peer to peer” persuasion, is most successful at getting new families to join.
      • Fun Den or Pack Joining Events are not just for “fall recruiting" time.
  • Den Joining Events?  Isn’t Recruiting Required to be Only Pack-Wide Events?  Nope.
    • Not every Pack has even numbers at every grade level … not every grade level has the same appetite for more Scouts and maybe even more Dens!
    • If your Den has a greater appetite for (or need for) more families, go ahead and do your own Fun Den Joining Events.  (Do share ideas with other Pack leaders, and they may follow your lead.)

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School Sign-Up Night!

Did You See?  New in 2024:  No longer will District Professionals “run” School Sign-Up Nights.  School Sign-Up Nights will now be run by local Pack Volunteers.  Your District Professional will coach Pack Leaders about how to put on a “School Sign-Up Night”.

These events should be concise/quick and short/sweet events that give a brief introduction to Cub Scouting and your Pack, and collect applications and registration fees for the remainder of the calendar year.

Pack Leaders and District Professionals need to work together so that the pitch they make is about how your Pack does Scouting.  More details are in the School Playbook for August School Sign-Up Nights found in the downloads below.

  • School Sign-Up Night is: Just Joining.  At a School Sign-Up Night you’ll share just enough information to get families signed up and started – keep it brief and simple so that those who have decided to join can get in and out quickly.
    • A full “parent orientation” briefing can be at the next Pack event – see our Parent Orientation page for tips on that.
    • Be sure you capture parent names, child name, phone, and email addresses as part of any event so that you can follow up with everyone, not just those who signed up that night.
  • Sign-Up Formats.  There are two basic formats for a School Sign-Up Night or “just joining” event.
    • Group Presentation – useful if you have limited leaders available to present your topics.  Basically, the entire group is looking at one speaker at a time – it’s good to rotate who the speakers are so that families see that multiple parents are helping.
      • Try to seat each grade level in their own area so that families can meet each other more easily.
    • “Station to Station” Event – this works if you have enough leaders to staff stations like “Welcome/Sign In”, “Our Calendar of Activities”, “Dens, Handbooks & Advancement”, “Den Leadership”, “Uniforms”, “Costs and Fundraisers” and “Application Turn-in & Check Out”. 
      • This can set up well outdoors at a series of picnic tables.
  • Pack Family Sign-Up Event Plan and Script.  See the Pack Family Sign-Up Event Plan and Script attached in the Downloads at the bottom of this page.  This is a Word document that can be edited to fit your format and to make it specific to your Pack, your activities, your dues and fundraising, and other local options.
    • The script has a generic way to give “the basics” on key topics.
    • The goal is to be brief while your District Professionals and you and your other leaders describe what your Pack will do.
  • You Can Still Add Fun For Kids.  Your Pack has the power to have fun added for kids attending, especially to get kids off to the side (or outside) and let parents focus on your briefing and get signed up. –
    • Be sure that your kid fun plan works with the District Professional plan to get Applications and Registration fees and is consistent with space and time constraints from the school.
    • Your fun could be games outside, maybe a Pinewood Derby Track, a tent campsite, a portable campfire outside for s’mores, balsa wood or paper airplanes, stomp rockets and water rockets, a rain gutter regatta, or some other activity that your Pack likes.
  • Use Your Families.  Invite returning families and Scouts to the Sign-Up Event, because they can help with “peer to peer” recruiting and as a “Welcome Team”.
    • Some Packs will have a stash of “Recruiter” patches to award Scouts who recruit a friend.
    • If you enlist families to help welcome, they can also help spot potential leaders you might approach at or after School Sign-Up Event.

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The Power of Spring and Summer Recruiting – Easy Fun, Family and Friend Events

Spring and Summer recruiting can be a game changer for Packs.

Dens and Packs can transform into full year-round communities, not just school year programs. 

The fun family foundations made in spring and summer will help your back to school recruiting in many ways and let you launch a new program year when school starts with more leaders and helpers.

  • The Power of Spring + Summer Fun Events for Current Families.  Some Dens and Packs grind out the school year just to get the rank badge – too many leave leadership to a single den leader – too many don’t become a community of fun, family and friends.  Cub Scouting can be a community.  Fun, Family and Friends.
    • Rank Advancement den meetings often leave den leaders struggling.
      • Like “how to engage parents” and “how to get them to help”.
      • Den leaders often can’t connect with parents if they have to lead the Scouts in Advancement requirement work.
    • But fun, simple, easy, casual cookouts, swim parties, picnics, game days, hikes, field trips, bike rides, mini-golf, kites, exploring, 4th of July outings, and other fun can be easily done by families together with minimal leader investment and with greater parent to parent connection and community – bringing Cub Scouting back to Fun, Family and Friends. 
      • If you create a casual environment where parents get to know each other, you can create a community where more parents will help each other in your Den and/or Pack.
      • It’s easy to ask parents “can you guys help grill the hot dogs?” or “can you guys lead a kickball game?” 
      • That will allow you to better size up new and old families based on what they like about your activities, and that can help you plan the next program year.
      • You can lure more leaders!  And begin (or continue) a cycle of succession planning that lifts weights off all leaders of your Den and Pack.
  • The Power of Spring + Summer Fun Events for New Families.  In Spring and Summer Recruiting families can join your event and just do fun stuff in your Cub Scout community.
  • Spring + Summertime (and the Living is Easy).  Unlike fall recruiting time when so much needs to be start like den meetings (!), advancement requirements (!), popcorn (!), campouts (!) and such right away (or very soon!) … in Spring + Summer, just chill.  Relax.  Hang out.
    • For more testimonials about the power of spring and summer recruiting, see this On Scouting blog post titled “All the Advantages of Recruiting New Cub Scouts in the Spring” – their advice is "just let the new families hang out in a stress-free environment and enjoy this time with their kids“.
    • Chilling and relaxing, hanging out and getting to know parents will help you in recruiting and planning your year.
      • Spring and summer recruiting “could actually ease some of the headaches commonly encountered when starting new dens from scratch in the fall”.
      • Families who like those fun events will on board for a full program year when school starts.
    • These are for new families and old: your old (current) families may enjoy these laid-back activities too, and the fellowship of gathering with other families in casual fun ways.
      • As you get to know parents, you can have a full slate of den leaders in the fall to take that pressure off families and begin (or continue) a cycle of succession planning that lifts weights off all members of your Pack and Committee.
  • This Doesn’t Need to be Complicated.  Fun, Simple and Easy is better for Fun with Family and Friends.
    • Families joining in the Spring or Summer should have no pressure to earn a rank or set up a series of regular den meetings to start earning Rank Adventures.
      • Current leaders need not feel obligated to “get them this year’s rank”.
      • Fun, Simple, Easy activities for families and friends don’t need that stress.
    • Promote easy summer events like Day and Twilight Camp and Cub Scout Summer Camp even if you, as a leader, can’t attend – because others might.
      • These are open to a Scout and Parent attending – you don’t need the whole Den or Pack.
      • Those events are often the highlight of a Cub Scout year anyway, so Spring and Summer recruits get an extra round of fun.

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Pack Audiovisuals and PowerPoints

A PowerPoint Display might be a good tool for Sign-Up Events with a lot of people – but keep it simple, and don’t overwhelm parents who are trying to decide to join.

  • An example of a PowerPoint you could copy and edit down for a Sign-Up Event is found attached at the bottom of our Parent Orientation page.
  • You can download that and revise to describe your Pack’s big weekend activities, when and where you meet, and what you charge for Dues, and use this for your Parent Orientation if you like it.
  • You can have a more expanded version for parent orientation sessions for families who have registered.

For any Pack Sign-Up Event, a great tool is to scroll photos and videos of your Scouts and Families doing Scouting – kids will love to see themselves and point themselves out to their friends.

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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
A) Pack Family Sign-Up Event Plan and Script (Word Version) Download and Edit to Fit your Pack – Share with your District Professional Download
B) Sign In Sheet Download and Edit if Needed (you might add an “Email QR Code”) and print multiple copies Download
C) Parent Skill Survey Download and print enough for your event and needs – share at Sign-In and Collect when Families Leave Download
D1) Adult Paper Application Adult Application in the Download - print enough for the most you expect at your event – NOTE: must be signed on two pages, “BSA Adult Application” and “Additional Disclosures” Download
D2) English Youth Paper Application Access from the website in the Download – print enough of Youth and Adult for your event Download
D3) Spanish Youth Paper Application Spanish Youth Application in the Download - print enough for the most you expect at your event Download
E) How to Sign Up Online Through BeAScout Download and Edit ... Update with your BeAScout Online Registration QR Code and print enough for your event Download
G) 2024 Pack Family Sign-Up Night PowerPoint Download and Edit to Fit your Pack and Script – Share with your District Professional Download
H) Yardstick Timeline Pack Family Recruiting Script As a motivational pitch to parents, you might use this demonstration. Download
I) School Playbook for August School Sign-Up Nights | Word Details from the 2024-25 AAC Recruiting Plan about Best Practices for School Sign-Up Nights Download
J) Yells and Cheers and Walk Ons and Knock Knock Jokes To add some fun to your Sign Up Event Download