Camping with Cub Scouts

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The Camping with Cub Scouts program is a special campaign designed to make your recruitment efforts as exciting as a Cub Scout’s first night under a blanket of a million stars. With a focus on the fun, learning and adventure of the great outdoors that is at the core of Scouting, this program invites families in your community to experience the adventures that only Scouting can offer. Whether you are a rural council that can easily organize a community campout, or an urban council with access to a local park, this playbook should give you plenty of ideas to adapt this recruitment event in your area. Camping with Cub Scouts leverages an activity that kids and parents alike love—spending time in the great outdoors—while showing parents that Scouting will foster their child’s courage, spirit of adventure and sense of wonder.

The Concept:

Take_HikesYour council or district will host a community event for parents and youth to get a taste of what a Scout campout is like, by bringing elements of a Scout campout to your activity night. If your council has the resources and means, this could be turned into an overnight camping experience as well.  All of the details (food, activities, supplies, etc) will be taken care of by the council or district. If budget allows, when promoting this event at a school night or open house, new Cub Scout recruits could be given a free gift they can use on the upcoming campout or camp night. Go to ScoutStuff.org or visit your local Scout shop for gift ideas.

PLANNING THE ACTIVITY:

A successful campfire is built on careful planning and prepared with the right firewood. So too, is planning and preparation essential for a successful Camping with Cub Scouts night or campout. And remember, this is meant to be a fun community event, alive with the spirit of adventure. You’ve organized campouts and similar events before, but here are some suggestions to help you get started.

PROMOTING THE ACTIVITY:

It doesn’t matter how fun the event is if nobody shows up. Here are a few tried and true tactics you can use to get the word out. Remember to think outside the box and apply the to your community’s specific situation. We have created customizable assets to fit your individual needs that can be found by accessing the BSA Brand Center.

HOLDING THE ACTIVITY:

This particular event is really what you want to make of it. If you are doing an evening in a park, and can have a fire, you may want to include some fireside stories and games indicative of a family camping outing in Cub Scouts. If you are actually holding a campout then a campfire is a given, and you may want to include more advancement and nature education activities. With so many components of Scouting highlighted in the camping experience, from nature hikes to camp cooking, there really is no limit to the types of outdoor activities you can do with this event. We’ve compiled a few possible scenarios below of what a Camping with Cub Scouts recruiting event could look like.

Whether or not you hold an actual overnight event, and however you choose to incorporate the above scenarios—or even if you create your own entirely—the idea is that you can create an experience that effectively conveys the spirit of the outdoors and the Scouting experience with camping to new and prospective recruits in your council.

  • RECRUITING AT THE EVENT:

    Recruiting at the event itself should occur naturally and organically. When parents and youth have the opportunity to participate in Scouting and see what it’s all about, they tend to be much more responsive to recruiting messages. Be sure to have plenty of recruiting material on-hand and provide opportunities to sign up, but remember to keep it light and informal. Families came here to have a fun time, not to hear a sales pitch.
  • FOLLOW UP:

    After the event, it is appropriate to follow up with the parents and families that attended and include them in future council communications. Send an email to new families thanking them for their time and sharing photos or recaps from the event. Include an invitation to join a local pack if they haven’t already. The important thing is to follow up and ensure that those who have a desire to become part of Scouting are able to do so.