Article Submitted by Tim Hays, Senior District Executive, Longhorn Council
By the time October hits, there are a few things that we, as unit-serving executives, should be doing and aware of as we continue to recruit new youth for our districts.
During October, many of our first rounds of sign-up nights are done, so at this point we should be looking at where we are membership-wise and where we need to be to reach our goals by the end of December. After we have done this, we can look at which of our units could benefit from holding a follow-up joining event. Many parents are not aware that if they miss that first sign up night, that they are still able to join the BSA at any other date. If you haven’t already, I would suggest putting something along those lines into your flyers and other advertisements to parents.
There are so many tools at your disposal to find the numbers to track your goals through mybsa, DTR’s OPR’s etc., that you should be able to find what you need fairly easily.
You can also be working on starting or finishing up more of those new units around this time to grow Scouting and reach the under-served areas in your district. Working through the 12 steps to starting a new unit should help you to be on pace to have at 2-3 new units in your district by the time December hits. That will not only help your goals, but also put your newer units on the same recharter calendar as the rest of your packs, troops, and crews in the district.
Either you can start a unit fresh with the help of your commissioners, pursue the full family of Scouting with some of your troops who don’t have feeder packs, or focus on your packs who don’t have troops for their youth to cross over into. Also, keep an eye on the troops who are exceptionally good at helping their youth to reach Eagle, then have a conversation with that Scoutmaster and some of those parents and figure out what the right kind of Venturing Crew would be to start with that troop.
While, we’re on the topic of interests, you can also use this time to do some career interest surveys at your local junior high and high school to see what kind of Clubs and Explorer Posts could be in your district’s future. Exploring is an important part of membership, and it can make an impact on your membership numbers at year end.
October is also the month where I like to start on my unit inventories. We all have leaders who are busy and sometimes take a little longer to get information to us than others. That’s why you want to start a little earlier before December hits to make sure you have time to get rosters from units, compare to the roster in your Council’s database, identify any missing youth, then get the applications and money from the unit before those youth leave for their winter breaks and vacations.
Remember that this is going to be a very busy time, so be sure to manage your time wisely and keep up with your calendar and back dating. Friends of Scouting will be in the beginning phases, and popcorn sales will also be happening in many councils. You don’t want to neglect any volunteers, but don’t spread yourself too thin either.
Be on the lookout during your sign-up nights for potential new volunteers that are already established in the units or joining that night. Of course you don’t want to recruit new parents to your district committee while they’re signing up their child, but make those mental notes of where you think those individuals can help you in the future. October can arguably be one of the busiest times of the year, so be sure to utilize your volunteers and let them know how and where to help you succeed in growing the Scouting program in your district.
Scouting Wire would like to thank Tim for submitting this article.