Sign-Up Events

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

Sign-Up Events Build On Top Of Your Recruiting Plan Steps.  When your recruiting gets to Sign-Up Events – both a School Sign-Up Night plus your Fun Den and Pack Welcoming Events – you should be well along in the recruiting process and these steps to lead up to your sign-up events:  Create a Calendar of Fun Activities, Promote Your Pack – Flyers and Media and More, and Recruit Leaders (Turn Parents into Helpers) and Build Your School and Community Presence.  All of those steps will make any Sign-Up Event and Fun Den and Pack Welcoming 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 existing 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.

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.
    • 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 Bobcat and 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.
  • 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 discerned how the parents can help the Den and Pack.

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

You can have new families join at two basic types of events:

  • Fun Pack Events.  Any Fun Den or Pack Activity can be a Welcoming 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.
    • See this 2021 Bryan on Scouting Blog about having "Normal Friend Activities" in your unit to make new families feel welcomed. 
    • Do activities that your families like, and empower your families to invite other families and friends.  Keep it simple and make it fun.
    • (Pro Tip: don’t call it a “Normal Friend Activity” when you invite someone.  That sounds weird.)
  • School Sign-Up Nights.  Once this was the only focus of “Fall Recruiting”, and it still remains a great tool – and is even stronger if it is coupled with Fun Pack Events.  Your District Professional will work with Pack Leaders and your schools to schedule a “School Sign-Up Night” at the school or schools in your Pack’s area. 

There are some common elements that Packs might do that are useful for both Fun Pack Events that are Joining Events and School Sign-Up Nights.  These include:

  • Share Your “Pack Packet” for New Families.  Be sure that new families get a “Pack Packet” with some key information they need to keep Scouting in your Den and Pack. 
    • The simplest Pack Packet is a Flyer with some pictures plus key contact information and dates, and a QR Code for the rest on topics like your full Calendar of Fun Activities and “Getting Started” FAQs About Your Pack, like the Den Activity Schedule, Uniform expectations, Dues and Fundraisers, How to Sign Up and Pay Registration.
    • You might hand out paper versions of key items like calendar and leader contacts, and maybe a Bobcat Adventure Plan from this First Meeting Plans (and Bobcat) Page.
  • Maybe a Welcome Package for New Scouts.  Even better, have a “Welcome Package” for new Scouts – School Sign-Up Nights will have at least two items, a Handbook and some other fun item (in 2021, it was slime!).  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 use those in advance of a Fun Den or Pack Welcoming Event, as an invitation to attend.

More on both types of events are below.

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Fun Pack Events as Welcoming Sign-Up Events

A great way – any time – to get families to join your Den and Pack is to host a Family Fun Den or Pack Welcoming Event.  You can do this at any time -- but you definitely should do fun events shortly after any School Sign-Up Night, especially to convince the undecided families to join.  And if your School Sign-Up Night isn’t early in August, you will benefit from having a Fun Pack Event before School Sign-Up Night – you can advertise this to new families at your school Open House / Meet the Teacher / Meet and Greet / Registration Day, and using other promotion channels.

  • Key Concept – Let Families “Test Drive” Fun Cub Scout Events.  Many families will want to see and do an event before they decide to register and pay the necessary joining fees.
    • They might hear about what Cub Scouts do, and maybe see pictures and videos of what you did – but many families don’t know what Cub Scouting is.
    • If they have a hands-on experience, participate with other Den and Pack families, and see that child likes it and wants to do more – they are more likely to join.
  • Use Your Current Families – Have Them at Your Fun Events.  When you’re having a Family Fun Den or Pack Welcoming Event, be sure that you have some parents to be “welcoming” New Member Coordinators.
    • 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.
    • Having a fun event works to show old and new families the fun of Cub Scouting and to give new families who couldn’t make Pack Sign-Up Event with another chance to join.
  • What Fun to Do?  It’s Up To You!  Your Pack or Den will run your Fun Family Welcoming Events, so the program and schedule are up to you.
    • It could be a Bike Rodeo, a Fishing Derby, a Picnic with Field Sports, a Rocket Launch, a Kite Fly, or a Creepy Crawly Critter Event.  Some set up a Pinewood Derby Track and cars and run for fun, or play Chess, or cook hot dogs and S’ Mores.
    • In the summer, some Packs do a pool party at a lifeguarded community pool.
    • 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.
    • Do what your families like to do.
  • Want more ideas about what to do and where to go?
  • Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  You can do more than one Fun Family Den or Pack Welcoming 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.
    • Depending on your fun activity (and your promotion efforts), you might have fewer families attend a Fun Family Den or Pack Welcoming Event compared to a heavily promoted School Sign-Up Night.
      • But the upside of that is 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.
    • Many Packs do a Fun Pack Event before your School Sign-Up Night as a “Welcome Back to the Pack” party or picnic for both returning families and new families.
    • After your School Sign-Up Night, do more Fun Family Den or Pack Welcoming Events as “second chance sign-up” events.

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School Sign-Up Night!

Your District Professional will work with Pack Leaders to put on a “School Sign-Up Night”.  These events should be brief 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.  Be sure that your Pack Leaders and New Member Coordinators work together with your District Professional so that the pitch they make is about how your Pack does Scouting. 

  • Just Joining.  At a School Sign-Up Night you’ll share just enough information to get families started – and 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 address as part of any event so that you can follow up with everyone.
  • 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 at the bottom of this page.  This is a Word document that can be edited to fit your format and your Pack. Sign-Up Script. 
    • The script has a generic way to give “the basics” on key topics, but please download, copy and edit to make it specific to your Pack, your activities, your dues and fundraising, and other local options.
    • 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.  Your Pack has the power to have fun added for kids attending – just be sure that if it 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.
    • Because the goal of Sign-Up Event is to gather Applications and Registration fees (Youth and Adult), your fun added might be a “taste of what’s to come” at future Fun Den and Pack Welcoming Events
  • Use Your Families.  Invite returning families and Scouts to the Sign-Up Event, because they can help with “peer to peer” recruiting.
    • 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 Recruiting – Easy Fun, Family and Friends

Spring and Summer recruiting can be a game changer for Packs, making “back to school” recruiting easier, but also making Dens and Packs full year-round communities, not just school year programs.

  • A key advantage of Spring and Summer Recruiting is that families can join to do just fun stuff – fun spring and summer outdoor events that can be more family-oriented, plus summer activities like Day or Twilight Camp and Summer Resident Camp. 
  • 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.
    • So there will be less stress on new families and on leaders. 
    • Of course, new Scouts can earn the joining rank, Bobcat, which is easy to do – see the simple plans found at this First Meeting Plans - and Bobcat - Page.

Summertime, and the Living is Easy.  Unlike fall recruiting time when a new program year needs to be scheduled, there should be no Leader Recruitment anxiety at Spring or Summer Events.  No need for announcements or emails like “one family from each grade needs to volunteer as a Den Leader right now!” 

  • The highlight of joining a Pack in the spring can be summer fun events like Day Camp and Summer Resident Overnight Camp weekends – which families can do on their own (they don’t need a Den Leader or Cubmaster to take them). 
  • Those events are often the highlight of a Cub Scout year anyway, so Spring and Summer recruits get an extra round of fun.

Fun, Simple, Easy spring and summer activities for families and friends don’t have that sort of stress – picnics, hikes, bike rides, mini-golf, kites, skating, swimming, exploring, field trips, 4th of July outings, and other fun can be easily done by families together with minimal leader investment.  Then:

  • If new families like those fun events, they will want to be on board for a full program year when school starts.
  • Your old families may enjoy these laid-back activities too, and the fellowship of gathering with other families in casual fun ways.
  • From these activities, you’ll also be able to get to know your parents better.  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 and lure more leaders.
  • You can use tools like those in the Recruiting Leaders page to have non-leaders do some things, maybe lead some simple games or help with food or fishing or whatever you’re doing.
  • When you do this, you can see the families in action and learn who follows through when asked – that can help you discern who would be good den leaders or assistants for the coming year.
  • As a result, 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.

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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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File Name Description
Cheers and Walk Ons and Knock Knock Jokes Cub Download
Pack Family Sign-Up Event Plan and Script Download