Article contributed by Steve Yackel, Scouting U Team Lead
One of the most effective methods to market your youth recruitment meetings (“School Night for Scouting,” “Join Scouting Night,” etc.) is the school-based youth talk. Professional Scouters have been conducting youth talks in schools for almost 100 years. If done well, they are a great way to promote your recruitment meetings.
Youth talks should be scheduled well in advance through the school principal or administrative staff. There are two basic methods for the talk—the classroom-to-classroom visit and the larger group talk. The classroom-to-classroom visit is often the most effective, as the youth are in small groups in a closely controlled environment. It also takes the most time of the executive and/or volunteer as they visit each classroom.
To maximize the success of your talks, keep the checklist below in mind:
- On the day of the school visit, make sure to check-in at the office to get a map and information on any school activities that might affect your classroom talks.
- The most appropriate dress is field uniform.
- As you begin your visit, make sure to ask each teacher if you can have two-three minutes (the talk should last no more than three minutes) of classroom time to talk to the students.
- Begin your talk by asking the youth if they like activities that Scouts do. These should include camping, fishing, archery, etc. The youth will become excited as they raise their hands for each activity. After a minute or so, tell the students that these are things that Scouts do, and if they like doing/would like to do these things, they are encouraged to join Scouting.
- Tell them the date, time, and location of the recruitment meeting (say those details twice and have them repeat) and hand out a flyer announcing the meeting. Find flyer options in the BSA Brand Center. Many schools will want to send out the flyer digitally; that works also. (Find tips on how to work with one of those digital platforms, Peachjar, here.)
- Throughout your talk, make sure to demonstrate enthusiasm and present your talk with lots of energy!
- At the end of the talk, thank the teacher and proceed to the next classroom.
- Don’t forget to let the girls know that Scouting is for both girls and boys and that they are welcome to join!
If the classroom-to-classroom visit is not allowed, ask your school contact if he or she will allow you to speak to each grade in a large-group setting. Your contact may be willing to have the students assemble just for that purpose. If that is not possible, ask to speak during lunch time or during each class’s gym time. Although the classroom-to-classroom visit is more effective, many schools that will not allow individual classroom visits will allow large-group talks. At the end of your large-group talk, tell the youth about the recruitment meeting and hand out the flyer announcing the meeting.
Other popular presentation methods include using council giveaways, patches and tent set-up.
For more ideas on school youth talks go to https://www.youtube.com/user/CPDvideos to view sample youth talk presentations.
Scouting Wire would like to thank Steve for contributing this article.