who’s it gonna be?

First of all, thank you all for the congratulations and nice comments about my oldest son earning his Eagle Award.  On behalf of John and the rest of the family, we are thankful and appreciate the comments.  It’s been a helluva week around here and I have not made time to sit and write.  I’ll try to make it up to you.
Now- on with the blog.
Thursday night was our District committee meeting.  The main topic was on Cub Scout recruiting.  Now Jerry… this is a blog that focus’ on Boy Scout subjects, why bother us with Cub Scout recruiting.  Great question.  And the answer is simple.  BECAUSE IT IS THE MAIN THING!
The main thing is providing Scouting for boys!  If they join Cub Scouts, the statistics tell us that by and large they stay in Scouts.  So Boy Scout leaders.. you need to grow Cub Scout Packs if you want to have a healthy Troop.  And that’s the fact.. Jack! as Bill Murray would have said.
So the other night we dove into the subject searching for answers and trying to establish a workable plan to grow Cub Scouting in our area.  Our Council has set a goal of 3oo new Scout units over the next 3 years.  100 units a year.. should be a piece of cake right.  The numbers show that Boy Scout Troops are healthy and doing well.. but over the last 5 years there has been a steady decline in the Cub Scout program.  So how do we reverse this trend?  How do we get 300 new units chartered?  How do we sell the Cub Scout program in our area?
Well, the answer to these and other questions seem to be a mystery, a tough nut to crack.  But I think we can offer some suggestions as least from the discussion we had the other night.
First.  We all know that we continuously preach to the same old choir.  We all belong to a group of dedicated Scouters that love this program.  And I have heard the sermon.. it’s good.  What we need is a bigger choir!
I am sure that your Roundtable nights are very much like our Roundtable nights, the same Scouters hanging out, great training, fantastic discussion, but only reaching about 30% of the Scouters in the District.  I am probably high on the 30% number.    So we need to get the word out.  We need to take our sermon to the streets and get where the Scouters and potential Scout parents and Scouts are.  We need to evangelize the word of Scouting.  Everyone at our meeting concluded that this was a major part of growing Scouting.  But who’s it gonna be?  Who’s going to be the Evangelist for Scouting?  I suggested that everyone in the room was responsible for preaching the word of Scouting.  Further, Scoutmasters.  You play a big role in this plan.  Develop relationships with Cub Scout Packs in your area.  Think outside of the traditional “Territorial” box and create choices for Cub Scouts crossing over.  Just because they go to a certain church or school does not mean they must attend that Pack or Troop.  Boys stay in Scouting when they are having fun.  The right Troop that offers they right program for that individual Scout is the answer.
Scoutmasters.  Create contacts with prospective Chartering partners.  You have been around longer than most Cubmasters and Den leaders… help them out by setting up prospects and visits.  You know the Scouting program and can sell Scouting to new Chartering partners.
Scoutmasters, you need to become evangilists for Scouting.  Pay a visit to a Pack in your area and talk to parents about the value of Scouting. Invite Webelos to camp with you and encourage them to attend resident camps.  Ask Packs if you can help them with their next join night. Bring Scouts with you.
Committee members.  You need to be evangelists for Scouting.  You are resource people.  You have contacts and ways of getting things done in Scouting.  Do not sit idly by and let Scouting happen.  Get in the mix and help grow Scouting.  You can arrange visits, parent meetings, and use your contacts to find new Chartering partners.
Get trained.  EVERYONE!  What I know for sure is that “You don’t know what you don’t know”.  One of the reasons Cub Scout leaders fail to grow their units is that they do not understand the value of Scouting and/or they do not know what lay ahead for the Scouts in their Packs.  Den Leaders and Cubmaster across the Nation need to get trained.  In our Council only 43% of all direct contact leaders are trained!  They don’t know what they don’t know.  Training opens the program up and sets Scouters on a course to make their units successful.  There’s that choir again.. and we keep preaching to the same old folks.
With training comes confidence and direction.  As soon as leaders are trained, they get excited about delivering the promise.  So who’s it gonna be?  Who’s willing to step up and be the evangelists for Scouting?  The answer to all of our problems is in the answer to that question.
Who’s it gonna be?
Have a Great Scouting day!

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Categories: blog, Leadership, training | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “who’s it gonna be?

  1. The other Scoutmaster Jerry

    Amen, brother Jerry! I was District Commissioner for three years and offended many greybeards because all we ever talked about was Cub Scouts. It amazes me how few get that it’s all about the little dudes in blue! (a vivacious, enthusiastic, dedicated Pack Trainer is the key to a Pack. these new parents haven’t drank the punch yet; they haven’t seen the difference in their own son! You can recruit adults all day, but if you don’t have someone to tell them what the heck to do and why, they will walk)

  2. SMDave

    Jerry, Does the Council (I am in your district) talk only of “New” units? What is the annual rate of units lost/disbanded or merged into a neighboring unit? Was there any talk of identifying struggling units that need some assistance from neighboring healthy units? Retention is usually easier than brand new start ups. I don’t disagree with the need for new units, I just think that something should be done to reach out to struggling units and I would think that the district or council would have a way of identfying them.

    • Yes, the District and the Council have many discussions about units that need assistants. As the District Chairman, I am constantly in this discussion. The question is, who is going to help. We are shooting for a 3 unit to 1 Commissioner ratio. We don’t have that. Most if not all the Commissioners have units they also serve. I am not pinning the rose on the commissioners.. but this is their wheel house. Units that need help are easy to find. When you look at their programs, training of leadership, community involvement, service.. and the list goes on, it is easy to see why some units struggle and others don’t.
      I have made some unit visits recently and it is painfully obvious why they are struggling.
      I agree that there is a need to “Reach out”.. but at the some time, the struggling units need to seek help also. The struggling units identify themselves every quarter when they do not have Scouts advance, they don’t sign up for summer camp, they do not have an active outdoor program… you get the picture.
      Thanks for the comment.
      Jerry

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