National Website:


Recruiting Ideas:

• When providing written materials (fliers, business cards, web sites, etc.) be sure that you provide a way for people to contact your unit. Don’t just provide information about when/where you meet. People may want to contact you prior to attending. A contact name and phone number and/or e-mail address are very important (ex: “For more information about Pack 123, contact John Doe at (815) 555-5555 or via e-mail:”). Also add to your written materials.

• Recruiting flyers are available through council. These are very colorful and eye-pleasing. You may customize the wording shown.

• Update your unit information on Be sure to update information whenever there is a change

• Hold both a spring and a fall “Round-up” but don’t stop recruiting there – recruit all year long

• Recruit through schools:

  • Speak with school principals, guidance counselors, and/or key administrators to see how Scouting can be promoted within the school

  • Flyers/information table at school registration

  • Flyers/information table at school Open House

  • Set up a table at the school during “drop off” days for school supplies. This usually is a day or two before school starts

  • Flyer/information table at school activities such as

    • PTA/PTO meetings

    • Concerts Sports games (basketball, baseball, etc.)

    • Flyers/information to school administrators

    • Flyers/information to school guidance counselors o Participate in flag ceremonies (ex: Veterans Day, present the flag at sporting events or assemblies, etc.) • Reach out to home school groups in your area

• Recruit through churches:

  • See if you can set up an information table or get information into their church bulletin

  • Pay special attend to those churches that do not have a Cub Scout pack or Boy Scout troop affiliated with them as this may be an untapped resource. You can check which churches have packs/troops at

  • Key times to set up information tables may include:

    • Registration date for the church’s Sunday school program (or CCD/Confirmation class/etc.)

    • Church events such as picnics, pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners, etc. Vacation Bible School

  • Contact your Charter organization to see what they can do to help you promote your unit

•Your current Scouts are one of the best possible resources to get new youth into the program o Provide incentives to Scouts to recruit. BSA already has a “Recruiter” patch available. What other incentives can your group suggest?

• “Bring a Friend” – ask your youth to bring a friend to your meetings/activities

This could be any meeting or You could have a special “Bring a Friend” meeting

Provide your current youth with written material that they can give to their friends:


Pocket size invitations

Business card size information

• Invite those interested in joining to a Scout event:

Be sure to include the parents of the youth

Be sure that they can participate in the activity – no one wants to just “watch”, they want to “do”

The event should be a “taste” of Scouting and, initially, be limited to a few hours. Those that are very interested can attend another event that lasts longer if they are still interested but want a further “taste”

Showcase projects that the Scouts will be doing. Ex: balloon launches, crafts, rocket launches, Pinewood Derby, skill demonstrations, Dutch oven cooking, etc.

Ideas for social activities that could be used: ice cream social, pizza party for Venturing crews, WhirlyBall for Venturing crews

• Promotion/Advertising:

Post events/flyers at the community library

Flyer/information brochure on community bulletin boards

Flyer/information at Chamber of Commerce

Ensure that information is correct for your unit in any community information. Many communities publish a small booklet yearly listing local churches, businesses, and organizations. Be sure to update this information whenever there is a change in your unit contact information, meeting time/place

Promote Scouting on community signs

Request “Join Scouting” signs from council and post in areas where they will be seen – such as in front of businesses that are attractive to youth

Promote your unit’s events in the local newspaper – be sure to include contact information for someone within your unit

Put an ad in the local newspapers promoting joining your unit. You could advertise a fun “joining” activity

Look into advertising at movie theaters on the “at the movies” previews before the movie. Ex: the one at the McHenry indoor is inexpensive o Promote through church bulletins (see above)

Community web sites – be sure that your unit is listed on your town’s web site with the correct contact information. Include meeting dates/times/locations and a link to your unit’s web site (if you have one)

Contact the park districts in your community to see if they will allow you to post information at their facilities or set up a booth at their activities o If your unit has a web site, make sure that the contact information is up to date. Periodically update the other information on your web page to “keep it fresh”

• Hand out recruiting cards/invitations at community/school events

• Include the Hispanic families by providing bilingual written materials

• Showcase Scouting through your fundraising activities:

o Wear the proper Scout uniform o Present a positive image by being clean, polite, and professional

o Provide flyers/information to those who ask o Store-front popcorn sales

o Pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners, etc.

• Have a physical “presence” at community events:

o Community festivals, picnics, and parades. Be sure to have a sign on your float or carry a sign promoting joining Scouting

o Have a booth at the event (ex: lemonade stand – be sure to check health department codes first before doing anything involving food)

o Pay attention to how both the leaders and the youth present themselves in public. A lot of times, image is everything

Encourage them to wear their uniforms (rather than a t-shirt) and to wear the uniform properly (shirt tucked in, neat and tidy, etc.)

Everyone should behave in a “Scout-like” manner Friends and co-workers know you are a Scout or leader, even when you aren’t wearing the uniform. Act accordingly (following the Scout Oath and Law in your daily lives)

• Service Projects: When your Scouts are working on any community service project, make Scouting “visible”

o If your unit has a trailer with your unit information on it, park it where people will see it while you work on your project

o Display your unit and U.S. flags where you are working

o When distributing bags for Scouting for Food, include a flyer about joining Scouting

o Write articles for the newspapers detailing your service project – include pictures

o Ask the organization that you are doing the project for to promote Scouting by displaying information about your project (some of the local schools actually put a display in their showcases)

• Word of mouth – tell everyone you know what a great program Scouting is

• Follow up with any prospective member by phone or e-mail

o Be sure to have a “I want more information” box available any time you set up a recruiting display. Interested people can fill out a slip that gives their contact information. Be sure to contact everyone who fills out a slip

Recruiting- Program Specific Ideas: Cub Scout Packs:

• Speak to the kindergarten classes at the end of the school year to get them excited about becoming a Tiger Cub


Boy Scout Troops and Venturing Crews:

• Troops need to have a good relationship with the Cub Scout packs in their area

• Have trained Den Chiefs assisting with Cub Scout dens. They can discuss the fun things they have done to give the Cubs Scouts an incentive to want to join your troop.

• Don’t rely exclusively on Cub Scouts. Youth that were not Cub Scouts can join a Boy Scout troop or Venturing crew

• Middle school is the prime age to recruit youth into a Scout troop

• Older youth may be interested to know that their Scouting experience may be beneficial if they join the military


• Have a year round program. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you meet every week, but that you provide activities/meetings on a regular basis all 12 months of the year

• Give the Scouts the opportunity to choose what they want as part of their program. Typically, Scout troops and Venturing crews are led by the youth but Cub Scouts should also be given the opportunity to make suggestions as to what activities they would like to participate in

• Establish and share your unit’s calendar with the families of the youth. This calendar should include all regularly scheduled meetings, outings, etc. If details (dates, location, etc.) need to change, contact the families as soon as possible. Be sure to check school calendars for possible conflicts!

• Sports are a big part of our youth’s lives. They don’t need to choose one or the other. Allow the youth to miss meetings or arrive late to a meeting to allow for their sports schedules

• Follow the program that BSA provides. Make minor modifications when you need to, but using the basic program as outlined works very well


Retention –

Cub Scout Packs

• Have smaller dens – the ideal size is 6 – 8

• Keep den meetings organized and fun

• Work with the parents of your Lions and Tiger Cubs to ensure that they understand the program. They are a great resource for your Pack’s future leadership

• Have a trained Den Chief working with each Cub Scout den. These Scouts talk about the fun things they do in Scouts to give the Cub Scouts an incentive to want to stay in the program.


Scout Troops:

• Encourage dual membership between a Scout troop and an Exploring Unit or Venturing crew





1. Make recruiting a year-round effort. Don’t just rely on a fall membership drive.

2. Send direct mail invitations to join to youth prospects.

3. Identify alternate sign-up locations for a coordinated “night for joining Scouting.”

4. Distribute yard signs in the yard of every chartered organization in the council.

5. Give every Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, and Venture several “buddy cards” for them to give their friends, inviting them to a joining night. Peer-to-peer influence is powerful.

6. Consider renting schools for a coordinated join- Scouting night.

7. Set up “super Saturdays” at high-traffic shopping centers and supermarkets. Use unit displays, distribute fliers, and have Scouts available to help carry packages to people’s cars.

8. Place short articles in local community, company, subdivision, and city newspapers/newsletters.

9. Get joining info into church newsletters and bulletin inserts.

10. Place join Scouting fliers, displays, and announcements at local community events and civic functions.

11. Distribute joining information at community Good Turn projects.

12. Contact churches and church groups. Conduct Joining Nights in large congregations. Visit Sunday schools.

13. Develop a pack, troop, team, or crew information sheet to hand out.

14. Utilize display cases, bulletin boards, and business, church, and school marquees.

15. Have all Cub Scouts wear their uniform to school the day of Joining Night and publicize on a peer-to-peer basis. Peer-to-peer relationships are powerful.

16. Use business window or counter displays.

17. Pursue opportunities to speak to conferences of churches and community organizations.

18. Mobilize parents and volunteers to hand out Joining Night fliers as children board school buses.

19. Facilitate Webelos-to-Boy Scout and Boy Scout-to-Venture transition plans.

20. A Scouting event in highly visible public locations and a major outdoor event at fall or spring roundup time can excite new members as well as encourage new youth to join.

21. Our council has the ability to print out names and addresses of Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, and Venture dropouts. Invite them to rejoin Scouting.

22. Find out about and use the latest membership resource materials of the BSA (recruiting tools, marketing resources, school relationship materials, etc.).

23. Begin your recruiting campaign in the spring, with other recruiting events in early fall. This takes advantage of the warm weather to give new Scouts an early chance at outdoor programs. It gives new families a great experience immediately after joining (day camp, parentchild weekends, and Tiger Cub days). New unit leaders can get trained before the kickoff of fall programs, and units get off to a great start.

24. Ask Ventures to compile a list of all their friends and send them an invitation to join.

25. An e-mail template is an easy way to share the message of your Scouting recruitment events with other parents in your community. Engage the parents of current Scouts to become ambassadors of Scouting. Suggest that they send the e-mail to everyone on their contact list: sports team families, school/PTA families, etc. An engaged and enthusiastic Scouting parent is one of the keys to recruitment.

26. Implement a fire-up for scouting at fire stations

27. Ask local supermarkets to insert fliers in grocery bags

28. Ask local pizza company to place fliers on pizza boxes

29. Day Care campaign

30. Use cable TV (The electronic Bulletin Board)

31. Set up info Tables at local sporting events

32. Partner with libraries and create book marks for distribution and promotions

33. Schedule day to wear Scout uniforms

34. Door hangers handed out during door-to-door sales

35. Bookmarks at door-to-door sales

36. Webelos to scout activities at public locations

37. Link BeAScout to school website

38. Sign up night on back of school shopping lists in stores

39. Belt loop presentations at sign up nights

40. Join Scouting Night on microwave popcorn bag distributed at sign up night

41. Local athletes and respected individuals to youth at sign up nights

42. Have the principal regularly inform school on scouting activities

43. Run OA Ceremonies at public parks and camps

44. Put “Join Cub Scouting” stickers on Halloween Candy  / Trunk or Treat

45. Participate in a local community parade and hand out mini Boys’ Life magazines with how to join Cub Scouting stickers on the back





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