Inviting new families to join Scouting is one of the most important things we can do to forward the Scouting movement. Throughout the year our Scouting units actively invite new families to join. Most youth join our program in the fall. Sustaining strong membership in a unit depends partly on reaching new audiences to invite them to join the unit and partly on engaging new members and their families so that they feel welcomed and want to stay. The role of the New Member Coordinator is to ensure that both keys to success take place.
Remember your first pack meeting? How overwhelming and lost you felt being inundated with the wealth of new Scouting information? Every year units lose Scouts after the first pack meeting. Imagine how much more valued new families would feel if there was someone to personally welcome them, answer their questions, connect with their family on a deeper level, and guide them through their first few months. Many units also struggle to implement a good Scouting program with limited volunteers. Through cultivating relationships with new members, units will develop a team foundation resulting in new leaders and increased volunteerism.
We encourage all our packs to hold a “Back to the Pack” event prior to beginning your recruitment efforts. The purpose is to help your pack get ready for the fall by re-engaging your current members and recruiting needed leadership before the school year starts. Many Packs will hold a picnic or similar event to draw in existing families and start the new program year off right. Research has shown many families will not continue in Scouting without being personally contacted. In other words, in their minds, they have only taken a vacation during the summer and are waiting to be contacted about when to start attending the meetings again. The goal of the “Back to the Pack” event is to help your families re-join their pack after the summer break, giving all Cub Scouts a better chance of continuing their Scouting journey.
Packs that recruit the most youth have a coordinated recruitment plan that all current families participate in. These efforts are set up in advance, often at the Back to the Pack event. As part of the meeting we encourage you to engage your families in sharing their Cub Scout experience with others and help with the packs fall recruitment efforts.