Sign-Up Night Unit Playbook


“Sign-up” nights have been a keystone for recruiting for years, and for good reason: They work! Sign-up nights give parents and youth an opportunity to get to know Scouting at a personal level, face-to-face. Questions are answered, interest is built, and parents see how Scouting is for families like theirs, no matter what that family may look like. What’s more, families often enroll their children right there on the spot. It’s a win-win situation.

The Concept

sign-up-night-unit-playbook-the-concept-Header-Image1Your unit will hold a “sign-up” night at a prominent location in the community, such as a school, church, or community center. At this sign-up night, you will provide basic information about what Scouting offers youth and families in the area. This could be done through a formal presentation, an information table, a film about Scouting, or even through games and contests. The important thing is to get the family’s attention and let them see what Scouting is all about.

This playbook will act as your guide for planning, promoting, and carrying out a sign-up event in your area



The key to a successful sign-up event is thorough planning. You will need to work closely with the school or community center you are using, organize volunteers, and be prepared with any necessary materials such as information fliers, sign-up forms, and even treats. Planning should begin at least eight weeks in advance of the event. Below is a suggested outline for planning your event.


There are key individuals who play an important role in the success of your sign-up events, and they are:

  • Pack sign-up coordinator – responsible for the pack sign-up event
  • Station chiefs responsible for the five stations of the event.

Responsibilities: The pack sign-up night coordinator makes sure the pack is focused on registering new Cub Scouts and helps orchestrate the event. Here is an overview. Note: The dates may change depending on your schedule. It’s important to start planning early.


Families today are overwhelmed with advertising and marketing messages. To ensure families get the message that it’s time to sign up, use various methods of communication throughout this playbook and be sure to have a plan. You should start to build the buzz at least six weeks out from your sign-up event(s). Your council or district will help get the word out, but the majority of your success will come from unit marketing.


How much access you have to promote Scouting in your schools will help you decide the best ways to market your sign-up event. Here are some suggestions – but these are just thought-starters. Don’t limit yourself. The more ways you reach parents, the more success you’ll have.


In-School Promotion

If you have full access to promoting your event at the schools, you can employ any of the following best practices.


  • Distribute sign-up event fliers the week before the sign-up event
  • Posters and yard signs around school
  • School rallies or Scout talks at the school
  • Back-to-school open house events, school carnivals, and conferences
  • Electronic backpacks
  • Invite current youth and parents to attend lunch at school in uniform
  • ƒVideos on in-school video networks
  • School newsletter or website
  • School marquee signs


Scout Talks

Scout talks can make a huge difference when signing up new Cub Scouts! Schools that provide access to Scout talks are the way to go. A Scout Talk is simply visiting each classroom and getting the children excited about Scouting.


The Scout talk is where youth excitement is created. The district’s Cub Scout sign-up training will help give you the skills to put on an effective Scout talk. Scout talks work best by going class-to-class and giving a five-minute promotion on the fun that Scouting has to offer. If this scenario is not feasible then a school assembly will work; however, classroom talks are best. When speaking with the school, thank them for working with us in the development of youth and their community.


Helpful hint: Consult with your district executive if you should need assistance with your Scout talks. These energetic in-school presentations will dramatically increase the success of your recruitment!


Out-of-School Promotion

Here are several ideas for promoting the event outside of the schools. These tactics can be done either in tandem with your in-school promotions or on their own if you are not able to get full access to the schools.


  • Ask current members to use social media to let their friends and family know about sign-up event nights
  • Personalized invitations, emails, and personal phone calls to prospective parents
  • Door hangers and door-to-door invitations
  • Recruit-a-friend and other peer-to-peer recruiting initiatives
  • Fliers and Scout talks at after-school programs or churches in the community
  • Church and community websites, calendars, and bulletins
  • Press releases
  • Billboards, posters, and yard signs in the community (businesses, churches, etc.)
  • Community fairs, parades, and other events


Many units and districts are now holding come-and-go events, which are strictly sign-up events. These are faster for today’s busy parents. The key to making them successful is preplanning. The following is an outline of how to execute this type of event.

This model features five stations that give parents information about Cub Scouting, get them signed up, and provide everything they need to know, including when the first meeting is, who the leaders are, and more.

Sign-Up Night Stations

  • Station 1: Welcome/Sign In
  • Station 2: What We Do
  • Station 3: Registration Form
  • Station 4: Check Out (complete applications)
  • Station 5: Den Leader Q&A

Below is an outline of what happens at each station. Note: Make sure that each station sign is clearly visible to help make sure things go smoothly!

After the Sign-Up Event Is Over

Turn in the applications and money. Unit leaders and the Join Scouting coordinators should review and complete applications after the Join Scouting event. Applications, registration fees, and one copy of the attendance roster are to be turned in to the district executive within 24 hours of the event.


Welcome your new families and members. Don’t wait! Be sure to invite all families to first-night den and pack events the very next week. These meetings are a chance to make a great first impression, have fun, and involve new parents in the life of the pack. Den leaders should make welcome phone calls to the parents of the new Cub Scouts and/or send welcome email messages with meeting dates, location, pack calendars, and any other important information.


Follow up with those families who did not sign up. This is where the sign-in sheet comes in handy. Check your applications against the sign-in sheet and call those families that did not join. Address any concerns the person may have and offer to drop an application by their home, or invite them to the first meeting or your council’s recruiting event so they can see Cub Scouting for themselves.