Sign-Up Events

(maybe a School Sign-Up Night, but maybe not) and your Fun Den and Pack Welcoming Events, you should be well along in the recruiting process.  The Pack Leader’s Guide to Recruiting found at www.atlantabsa.org/recruitingresources describes 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.

Welcome New Families at Sign-Up Events and Fun Welcoming Activities

In the Spring, and again when School starts back up at the end of Summer, Packs should have one or more Sign-Up Events – both formal Sign-Up Events and Fun Den and Pack Welcoming Events where new families can attend, do your activity, and sign up.

  • This section will focus on the “just joining” events, similar to classic “School Sign-Up Nights”.
    • Don’t Count on a School Sign Up Night.  In 2021, many schools will not yet be comfortable opening up their facilities for those classic “Sign-Up Nights”.
    • Some will, and when and if your school does open up, having a Sign-Up Night at the school will be a great option – but don’t wait on that to recruit.
  • In the next section, we’ll address how Fun Den and Pack Activities can be your most effective Welcoming Events where new families can attend, be welcomed, do your activity, meet new families and sign up.

Your District Professional will work with you to schedule one or more Pack Sign-Up Events to give a brief introduction to Cub Scouting and your Pack, and to 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.  If you have a “just joining” Sign-Up Event, you’ll focus just getting families signed up.
    • 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.
  • Sign-Up Formats.  There are three basic formats for a Sign-Up Event that’s simply a “just joining” event.
    • In-Person Group Presentation – useful if you have limited leaders available to present your topics.  Basically, one group 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.
    • In-Person “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.
      • Another iteration of this form of “rotational recruiting” is a “drive in” event, where the stations are in a large parking lot, and families drive from station to station.
    • Virtual Sign-Up Event – most likely a group presentation (with different presenters), although you could also have “break out rooms” for den by den discussions.
      • Some additional ideas are below.
    • Sign-Up Script.  Attached at the bottom of this page is a Sign-Up Event Script that you can use at any Sign-Up Event.
      • It has a generic way to give “the basics”, but 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.  Because this will be a Pack-run event, you might have fun added for kids attending – just be sure that if it works with the District Professional plan to get Applications and Registration fees.
      • 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.
    • Virtual Sign-Up Option Ideas.  Because of the Covid-19 concerns described our page entitled "What Does Cub Scouting Look Like Now?", many families may not be comfortable with a large in-person “Pack Sized” Sign-Up Event.
      • In that case, you might do a Sign-Up Event over Zoom or other connectivity that the school community is used to using.
        • The fundamentals of delivery of a School Sign-Up Event pitch and program don't really change if you go "virtual":  you have to have a team to make presentations and share information.
        • But Beware:  In the fall of 2020, Zoom recruiting events were not very successful.  Whether it was Zoom fatigue or waning to actually see and do Cub Scouting in a test drive format in order to decide if Cub Scouting is safe and fun and worthwhile, we don’t know.
        • That said, to try to contact as many families as possible – and because every new family counts – you might use a virtual Sign-Up as one of your routes.  Maybe after a Fun Den or Pack Welcoming Activity so that you can show pictures and video to the virtual attendees, and invite them to future Fun Den and Pack Welcoming Events.
        • Also, a new parent orientation might work better over Zoom and get better attendance.
      • There are some possible advantages to a "virtual" Sign-Up Event too (so you might do both a virtual sign-up event and an in-person event):
        • Running a photo montage or video of your Pack in action in past years while your speakers present can be a "plus", and it simplifies running a Pack information PowerPoint since you don’t need a projector and screen like at an in-person event.
        • With a "pre-registration" application like Zoom, your host can have already collected data for anyone coming into the Zoom Sign Up – have your registration include parent names, child name, phone, and email address.
          • So you'll have a good start on a contact list for when you get up and running, and for follow up.
          • And that information can be used to generate "Invitations" to join your Pack, using "Invitation Manager" in My.Scouting.org by a Key 3 Leader or a Key 3 Delegate, and then receive online Applications. See this "Update BeAScout" page for how to get your online Application process streamlined.
        • You can pre-record some of the messages that Pack and Den Leaders might present, to be sure that the messages are tight and brief enough for a first encounter.
        • So long as you don't have youth participants on the Zoom (not speaking, no names on any photo/video, keep your view at "speaker" view), you can record your Sign-Up Event for the benefit of those who want to watch it later.
  • Welcome Package: Handouts or Weblinks for New Families.  Be sure that families leave any Sign-Up Event with some key information they need to keep Scouting in your Den and Pack.  That package – which could be paper or could be printed (or might be a Flyer with key contacts and dates plus a QR Code for the rest) – might include:
    • Contact List of leaders (maybe other den families, especially if you link to a website roster)
    • Calendar of Fun Activities
    • Key “Getting Started” FAQs About Your Pack, like:
      • How to Get Handbooks  /  Den Activity Schedule
      • Uniform Policy (do they need it all; any T Shirt?)
      • Dues and Fundraisers
    • How to Sign Up and Pay Registration
    • Maybe a Bobcat Adventure Plan from this First Meeting Plans (and Bobcat) Page

To work with District Professionals about your Pack’s message to families, see the plan and script for a Sign-Up Event attached below and other ideas in the Pack Leader’s Guide to Recruiting at our Recruiting Resources overview page.

Fun Family Den and Pack Activities Can Be Welcoming Events

Another way to get families to join your Den and Pack is to host a Family Fun Den or Pack Welcoming Event.  You can do this shortly after any “just joining” Sign-Up Event, especially to convince the undecided families to join.

  • Key Concept – Let Families “Test Drive” Fun Cub Scout Events.  Especially as families prize safety as we come out of pandemic, 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 if they have a hands-on experience, see that your Den events are fun and safe, and if their child likes it and wants to do more – they are more likely to join.
  • Use Your Families – They’ll Be 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 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.
  • Whatever You Do – Do It Safely.  As we describe on our page titled "What Does Cub Scouting Look Like Now?" a big in-person event may not be something you should do or something your families want to do.
    • That’s why the emphasis isn’t just on “Pack Sign-Up Events” – you may do recruiting through Fun Family Den Welcoming Events to keep it smaller and safer.
    • Families watching – and doing – the in-person group activities can get a sense of whether their concerns about matters like physical distancing are being considered and adhered to by attendees.
  • Welcome Package: Handouts or Weblinks for New Families.  Any welcoming parent serving as a New Member Coordinator at a Family Fun Den or Pack Welcoming Event Be sure that new families get a Welcome Package with some key information they need to keep Scouting in your Den and Pack.  That package – which could be paper or could be printed (or might be a Flyer with key contacts and dates plus a QR Code for the rest) – might include a Contact List, Calendar of Fun Activities, “Getting Started” FAQs About Your Pack, like How to Get Handbooks  /  Den Activity Schedule, Uniform Policy, Dues and Fundraisers, How to Sign Up and Pay Registration, and maybe the Family Led Bobcat Adventure Plan from this First Meeting Plans (and Bobcat) Page.
  • Welcome Package for New Scouts.  Even better, have a “Welcome Package” for new Scouts.
    • 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 Family Fun Den or Pack Welcoming Event, as an invitation to attend.
  • 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 attend.
      • Many have reported that it’s “one on one” discussions, or “peer to peer” persuasion, that is most successful at getting new families to join.
    • At the end of the Summer, and especially if your Pack Sign-Up event is after mid-August, you might do a Fun Family Den or Pack Welcoming Event before your “back to school” Pack Sign-Up Event as a “Welcome Back to the Pack” party or picnic for both returning families and new families.
    • After your “back to school” Pack Sign-Up Event, do more Fun Family Den or Pack Welcoming Events as “second chance sign-up” events.

The Power of Spring Recruiting – Easy, Fun, Family-Friendly

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.  (See this Bryan on Scouting Blog about Fun in the Summertime and no Advancement stress.)  By joining in the Spring or Summer, there won’t be pressure to earn a rank and set up a series of regular den meetings to start earning Rank Adventures, so there will be less stress on new families.  (Of course, new families can earn the joining rank, Bobcat, which is easy to do – see the simple plans found at this First Meeting Plans - and Bobcat - Page.)

Unlike fall recruiting, there should be no Leader Recruitment Panic that arises when an impending program year results in announcements or emails like “one family from each grade needs to volunteer as a Den Leader, and another family needs to volunteer as a Pack Committee Member, and you need to volunteer pronto!”  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.

Easy family fun spring and summer activities 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, which does 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.

As Packs emerge from pandemic dormancy and/or Zoom meeting fatigue, having some of these simple, safe, smaller, outdoors Fun Den and Pack Welcoming Activities will be appealing ways for families to Spring Into Scouting.

Pack Audiovisuals and PowerPoints

A PowerPoint Display might be a good tool for Pack Sign-Up Events with a lot of people (and any virtual Sign-Up Event) – 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.

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