Tuesday, October 3, 2017

How to Strengthen Your Relationships with Local Schools

Our relationships with our local schools can always be improved.  A strong relationship with schools can lead to more families joining the pack and more opportunities for the Scouts!

Below are some selected highlights from a story “BryanOnScouting” produced for us.

In many cities and towns, the mission to grow Scouting begins at schools. That’s where lots of young people first learn about the Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops of which their classmates are members.
The alignment is natural and robust. Scouting and schools emphasize civics, preparedness, and service to the community. Ready to strengthen the relationship between Scouting and schools in your area? The BSA has several resources to help.

Here’s a look at four of these tools — some new, some revised to meet modern needs.

1. Adopt-A-School
The BSA’s Adopt-A-School program often is the first step in connecting Scout units with schools.
Units make a minimum one-year commitment to partner with school administrations and offer the volunteer services that most effectively meet the school’s needs.  Here’s what this often looks like: In exchange for meeting space and other support from the school, Scout units complete at least four service projects to beautify the school inside and out.  The school and surrounding community benefit greatly, and units get service hours that count toward Journey to Excellence progress. It is the very definition of “win-win.”

2. Outstanding Educator Award
The Elbert K. Fretwell Outstanding Educator Award is a new BSA award with real potential to result in membership growth.  It’s named after the professor of education at Columbia University who became the BSA’s second Chief Scout Executive, succeeding James E. West.  The Outstanding Educator Award — also referred to as the Fretwell Award — is presented to teachers, educational support staff, and school administrators who instill Scouting values in their students. It recognizes a person’s work for students in his or her professional role — not for what the person does directly for Scouting.  The award can be presented at the district, council, area, regional, and national levels. There is no minimum or maximum number of awards that can be presented per school year. That said, a good guideline is one award per year per school.

3. Report to the School District
Each year, the BSA sends a group of impressive young men and women to Washington, D.C. to present the Report to the Nation. The report, mandated in the BSA’s 1916 charter, is basically a Scouting good-news tour. The delegates meet with several key officials to tell them about the accomplishments of Scouts from the previous year.  Many BSA councils also organize a Report to the State trip. Same idea, different scale.  Report to the School District follows this pattern. Scouts meet with district leaders to tell them how Scouting supports the community. This is a great way to promote Scouting and renew relationships with schools.  It is also an opportunity to highlight and share the ways Scouting affects the local school district.

4. School Access Training Module
The phrase “school access” means something different in almost every school district.
It may be:
           The ability to send home a message with prospective Cub Scouts.
           The opportunity for a BSA representative to talk to a group of prospective Cub Scouts at school.
           The use of a school facility.
The BSA has developed a 50-minute training module to help volunteers with what they should know about schools to optimize access, what the law says about school access, three examples of responding to school access challenges, and proven practices for building relationships with school personnel.  The module can be done as a stand-alone session or as a part of a “day of training” course.  Local districts and councils should strongly consider making this part of their membership repertoire.  The link to the course can be found at: http://scoutingwire.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/522-060_17SchoolIssuesFPO.pdf

If our goal is to provide outstanding youth programs, then we have to meaningfully engage the institutions that teacher the vast majority of these same youth – our local schools.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

How You Can Use Social Media to Recruit New Families!

Did you know most young families find their information from an online source, especially social media?  If everyone is scrolling through Facebook or checking out the latest Tweet, we need to spend some time sharing what we do in Scouting across social media.

Social media is easy to use and a great way to welcome new families into your pack or troop. 

·       Used by most parents
·       Allows for a “business” page or closed unit group
·       Can share events, videos, pictures, and more
·       An easy way to let the community know what the local Scouting unit is doing by “tagging” their school, PTO, community group, etc.
·       Be sure to make an event for your open house and invite everyone you know. 
·       Always use the #BeAScout

·       Limited to 40 characters per tweet (post).
·       May have a picture and words, again limited
·       Not as many families on Twitter
·       Good for short, easy messaging

·       Platform is based on images
·       Post can include words with their images
·       Great for sharing pictures and flyers
·       Easy to navigate

On all these social media sites, it is important to use #BeAScout.  This will help drive protentional families to www.beascout.org. It is also consistent with all the media ads our national organization has purchased.

Finally, you can “boost” your post, page, or event on all accounts for a small fee.  By boosting something, you can target an audience.  For example, an Open House night should be boosted to the local community and targeted for parents with young children.  It is easy to do and can cost as little as $10.

There are so many resources out there to help make social media a key tool to your recruitment plan.  As always, be sure to use #BeAScout. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Choose Your Adventure By Getting Hooked On Scouting!

There are so many interests young boys have these days.  So how to decide what might spark their excitement? That's why the council membership committee is promoting "Choose Your Adventure" this Fall.

One option new families have this Fall is to get Hooked on Scouting through fishing.  Each new Scout will receive a free fishing pole when their pack requests to participate in the Choose Your Adventure program.

New families will also be able to participate in a variety of free activities like Adventure Day and rocket launches!

In addition to free events, we are hosting a Certified Angler Course the weekend of October 7th at Camp Somers in Stanhope!  More information about this program can be found at: https://ppcbsa.org/programs/fishing/

The Hooked on Scouting program has been developed to leverage the fun activity of fishing in order to reel in new Scouts during the recruiting season. This program will teach young boys all the techniques they need to know to get started along with providing actual hands-on fishing experience! By participating in the program, parents will discover the adventure Scouting can provide their families with the anticipation of experiencing the first time their Scout catches the big one!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Introducing the New Member Coordinator Position

Sustaining strong membership in a unit depends not only on having new members join the unit, but also on engaging youth and their families in the unit experiences 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.
This is an official BSA position, reporting to the Unit Committee Chair.  He/she serves as a welcoming ambassador for the Unit and works with the Unit Committee to develop and implement the Unit Membership Plan.  The NMC is supported by the District Vice Chair of Membership, who shall provide assistance in executing the Unit Membership Plan by providing:  mentoring, training, marketing support, and recruiting materials as needed.
The New Member Coordinator (NMC) position has been designed to:
·       Be a FUN and engaging position.
·       Form relationships with new members and their families.
·       Use a team approach by encouraging more than one NMC in a unit, allowing them to tailor their work to individual interests/expertise, as well as to recognize the particular needs of the unit.
·       Fit every type of unit, every age level and every program.
·       Be recruited and supported by key unit leadership.
·       Be provided with training both online and face-to-face.
·       Be mentored by the District Membership Chair and become part of the District Membership team.
·       Be visible and easily identifiable at unit gatherings by their Welcoming smiles and their BSA “Welcome” logo that they display and wear on an activity shirt, on a hat or vest or in some cases, a pin on a field uniform.
Although not a requirement for chartering, every Unit is encouraged to have at least one New Member Coordinator.

Please visit www.scouting.org/nmc for additional information on the NMC position.