Finding Leaders (and not just leaders of a current Troop)

This BP Pointer from “The BP 2019 List” (or: ways to Be Prepared for Scouts BSA on February 1, 2019) is about how your new troop of girls will find the adult leader support it needs – and don’t assume “the adults in the current troop of boys” will do it all!

A Troop needs both Scouts and Leaders — at a minimum, five youth and four or five adult leaders (Scoutmaster, Chartered Organization Representative, and at least leaders tooththree Committee Members, one of whom will be Committee Chair — but the COR may also fill a Committee slot).  And the more Scouts you have, and the more program you aspire to, the more adult support you need.

Some of those leaders may come from an existing troop of boys, because they can register as “multiple” for free (see BP Pointer No. 4, and the previous Pointer about “linked” Committees – a single Committee to serve both troops).  But these things are true:  your current troop could use more adult leader help, and adding a new troop will mean you will have a greater need for more help.

The keys to recruiting people to help or lead are: Did you ask?  And did you ask a question they will answer with a “Yes”?

  • In some cases, you’ll know a parent prospect for a leader role can be asked to take on a big role, like Assistant Scoutmaster or Treasurer or Popcorn Kernal – some have proved their ability through service to a Cub Scout pack.
  • In other cases, you might want to start with “Little Task Asks”:  so, you might women leadersnot ask that person to “take on a role” but instead to “help in a small way”.
    • So, rather than “would you be on the Advancement Committee?” or “Assistant Scoutmaster” …
    • … you might ask “if we give you the list of badges we need for the Court of Honor, could you buy them at the Scout Shop?” or “would you be able to camp with us next month” (for first-timers, pick a cushy campout, not a tough trek!)
    • It’s usually good to get to know parent prospects … ask around, chat them up, but not (directly) about how they can help – maybe ask what they do, what they do for fun (or did BC, “before children”), why they like their child in Scouting:
      • That will help you find their passion or interest.
      • It may give you information on a role (like a Merit Badge they could counsel) and if you hit the jackpot you may find a potential high adventure trek advisor.
      • Or Assistant Scoutmaster or other key role.
      • You may find they work near the Volunteer Service Center, so buying badges won’t be “out of the way”!
      • Here’s an offbeat (but delicious) way to prospect for a
      • oreoleader (the Oreo test):  https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2014/02/26/try-this-identify-potential-scout-leaders-with-the-oreo-test/.
      • There’s a plethora of leader organization and recruiting tools at this District Website about turning parents into helpers and helpers into leaders – OK, that page is focused on Cub Scout adult leader recruiting, but the techniques of recruiting tie into troops too, like in the “Fifty Ways to Lure a Leader” piece).
        • No method works all the time …
        • … but each method can work some of the time.

For a troop, break down what jobs you need to fill to be successful:

  • Scoutmaster.  If it’s hard to recruit, maybe recruit “the next Scoutmaster” too, so that the current one has an exit plan.
  • Assistant Scoutmasters.  Many might shy away, because they don’t know it all – but all adults know something that can make them successful.
  • Committee People.  Sure, you need some to fill out a Charter, but the most waitimportant task there is to find people’s passions so that the serve a function beyond showing up at “committee meetings” to say “harrumph” over an agenda … so, break down the roles based on your troop, your program, your needs, your goals, and your resources (like your prospects for filling functions):
    • You of course need a Chair – someone great with recruiting, organizing, coordinating support for your youth-facing leaders.
    • You’ll for sure want a Treasurer registered and vetted with background check since they’ll be handling your money.
    • Most Troops like people to support Membership (recruiting, paperwork, recharter), Recognition (Courts of Honor), Advancement (recordkeeping, events, Merit Badge counselors, Eagle Support, Boards of Review, etc.), Fundraising, Equipment, Service Projects, Outreach to related organization (Pack, Crew, etc.), Training, and more.
    • Here’s a Troop website “help wanted” list that is just one way to “slice and dice” up troop support jobs.  That Help Wanted list has in fact evolved over time based on the abilities of people in various roles.  They use a Pledge Card at Courts of Honors to help fill certain vacant roles.

And for new parents, with no Cub Scout leadership on their resume, who are green to the program but interested in it for their child, they’ll like the idea that troops are “youth run”, and think they are off the hook … but you can still hook them!  Some units use witnessing a Board of Review as an “entry level” role to get the parent “hooked” on Scouting.

  • Many times they will be impressed with how their child’s peers perform, and can be told “you know, your child was just like that in her last Board” – often to the shock of the parent, who may normally only get one word responses or glances in response to parental questions: “fine”, “yeah”, “whatever”.  Teens!post board
    • But when they see Scouts shine in a Board of Review, they think: wow, this program works!
    • Now, for those who cite that only Committee Members may serve on a board of review, note that the suggestion here is to witness the Board … so have 3 Committee Members be the Board, and get that new parent signed up to join them next time.  Or, do your best for your Scouts.

Though a bit dated, the recruiting plan at https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/18-981.pdf has some valuable ideas, and is replicated in the training module found at https://www.scouting.org/training/adult/supplemental/selecting-quality-leaders/.

For more on starting a Troop, see this District resource page: https://www.southfultonscouting.com/node/3956.

 

Now is the Time to have New Member Coordinators (a new-ish role in BSA units) to Welcome New Scouts and Families

This BP Pointer from “The BP 2019 List” (or: ways to Be Prepared for Scouts BSA on February 1, 2019) is about a newish recruiting tool for BSA Units … the New Member Coordinator.

Announced in detail at this ScoutingWire announcement, the idea of New Member Coordinators are simply to ensure that units have people whose sole focus is to make people feel welcomed.new-member-coordinator-feature

Sure, sure, sure … all Scoutmasters, Assistants and Committee people know that they need to be super welcoming, and not just a couple of times a year at “joining events” or “after Webelos crossover”, but, they’re usually focused on their job that night … so New Member Coordinators can have their job too.  The New Member Coordinators can just have the job of greeting any new Scout and family, welcoming back all others, and being focused on making sure all are enjoying and engaged.

There is a wealth of information at that New Member Coordinator webpage and in what links that launch from it, but that won’t tell your newish (new to the troop) volunteer everything about how to be successful – the National information is a lot new member coordinatorof “generic” information about how a troop operates, and since we all know that All Scouting is Local, your troop will be different in many ways, and so it’s critical for New Member Coordinators to know your troop, for there to be feedback among Scoutmaster, Assistants, Committee and New Member Coordinators.

  • That way, New Member Coordinators will know how the troop operates …
  • … and perhaps what the current pressing needs are, and opportunities, for the new families, including parents who want someone to bring out their “inner volunteer”.
  • The New Member Coordinators can circle back with feedback that may help busy Scoutmasters and Chairs more fully engage new families and prospective volunteers.

But remember … New Member Coordinators are not just “volunteer recruiters” – welcoming-new-membersthey should not be tasked with turning everyone into a registered leader – but use discretion about how and when to ask people to do what.  Some parents may never get “the ask” to take a role, but may still be integral to the troop because they are loyal supporters of what Scouting is doing for our children.  Having New Member Coordinators to keep all cheerfully welcomed is a great benefit.

Council and National “Off the Shelf” Materials and Media and DIY Recruiting/Social Media (Be Brand Aware)

This BP Pointer from “The BP 2019 List” (or: ways to Be Prepared for Scouts BSA on February 1, 2019) is about materials available from the National BSA websites, from the Atlanta Area Council, and from your own unit resources – because there are many ways to recruit.

The mother lode of BSA marketing materials is at Scoutingwire.org, in the Marketing and Membership (https://scoutingwire.org/marketing-membership/).scoutingwire

That includes not only resources for planning and producing an effective recruiting campaign, but also, in the BSA Brand Center (https://scouting.webdamdb.com/bp/#/), plenty of materials like fliers, logos, pictures, posters, social media images, videos, that you can use and share, including more items at https://scouting.webdamdb.com/bp/#/folder/4599099/.  Items like the fliers allow you to insert information about your troop that you want to promote as a “hook”.sign-up-now wire

The Atlanta Area Council has bulk ordered some of those resources (like some fliers), and to save you the printing, contact your District Professional, provide any content to fill the flier, and they can arrange the printing for you.

Some units use their own photos for fliers, because if people recognize the Scouts in action, they might be more attracted to the recruiting piece (compared to a generic photo) … of course, don’t use last names of youth on any pieces, and make sure that you have a release (which you do if you have a BSA health form signed).  A resource page on creating your own media for recruiting and other practical social media use for recruiting is at this District Website page.  That page is mostly Cub Scout recruiting, but the same concepts apply to troops.

social-media-playbookPlus, for social media, know that your Scouts can (and do) use their own social media, and can (and will) use it to reflect on Scouting – that can be a good thing, if what they share is consistent with the Scout Laws and is exciting and appealing to others who might want to join your troop.  And follow guidelines that apply at https://scoutingwire.org/marketing-and-membership-hub/social-media/social-media-guidelines/

The BSA also wants us to be aware of issues in using images, so see the Brand Identity page at https://scoutingwire.org/bsa-brand-center/brand-identity/ for more on that.

bsa-gsusa-infographic-sw-versionNow, for full disclosure, a recent addition to the BSA National Family Scouting site at https://www.scouting.org/familyscouting/ as of December, 2018 is a PowerPoint called “Scouts BSA Brand Guidance Training”.  It is in part building on earlier advice about clarity in discussing our program, like a “Branding Dos and Don’ts” piece from November 2018 which confirmed ideas like:

  • never use the word “girl” before “Scouts.”  This includes fliers, in conversation, social media, etc.
  • Do say:
    • Join Troop 123 for girls.
    • Our church has a boy troop and is forming a girl troop.
    • Join the BSA.  Find a troop for girls near you at BeAScout.org.”
    • “… Don’t … use names, programs, marks, logos, or images of the GSUSA or combine them with those of the BSA.”

This is super good advice – and essential.  Those pieces are also in reaction to litigation with the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA).  The December PowerPoint slides show where some had messed up and used the word “girl” before “Scouts” in certain contexts.  So the December PowerPoint slides amplify and echo the advice about how we should never use the word “girl” before “Scouts” (did we mention that?  Don’t do that!).

flierAlso, the December PowerPoint slides on “Scouts BSA Brand Guidance Training” also says “Only use marketing materials located on the BSA Brand Center”, which appears to be intended as one way to solve that problem of using words in the wrong order.  Taken literally, the advice appears to prohibit using your own photos in recruiting materials, so … keep that in mind (even though there is no prior approval of photos for social media use) and toss your own attractive photos, or else (and this is the better advice for most) use thoughtful photos and videos per BSA social media guidelines.  After all, you will probably have photos and videos out there on social media too that effectively communicate who you are and what you do – and prospects will see people they know, and be more interested in your flier as a result – and those will be excellent recruiting tools, whether or on a flier or web banner format or on social media, often better than stock BSA pix or film clips from Follow Me Boys (which is not in the BSA Brand Center, by the way).  If you’re concerned about using your own pictures, run your flier or communication by your District Professional for review or approval.

flyerNote that the December PowerPoint slides on “Scouts BSA Brand Guidance Training” shows examples of materials with problems, and the problems were always with the words that would get added to those sorts of marketing materials.  That problem can happen on a flier or a yard sign or a text or an email or conversation, and you’ll certainly be using text, email and conversation, even if you don’t use BSA or DIY fliers or yard signs.  So, since a lot of BSA Brand Center invites you to add your own local information, using a BSA Brand Center flier doesn’t keep you from adding words in the wrong order – so using a BSA flier doesn’t solve that problem.  What does solve the problem?  Never use the word “girl” before “Scouts”.  Say “Scouts BSA troop for girls” or “troop of girls” or “hey girls” or “Scouts!”  Whether on a marketing flier, or an announcement at church, or in passing with a potential new family, or a text or an email or conversation.  Never use the word “girl” before “Scouts”.

wire

Don’t Forget Your Local Venturing Crews and Sea Scout Ships

This BP Pointer from “The BP 2019 List” (or: ways to Be Prepared for Scouts BSA on February 1, 2019) is about making sure you’ve thought about youth in local Venturing crews and Sea Scout ships joining your Scouts BSA troop.

venturing 1Just like adult leaders can have “multiple” membership (registration in “multiple” units, like two troops or a pack, troop and crew), age-eligible youth can be registered for free (no BSA registration fee) in your Scouts BSA troop if they have a paid registration in a Venturing Crew or a Sea Scout Ship.  Now, if they are 18 or older, they can’t be Scouts in your Scouts BSA troop, but … they might be adult leaders.

Why might they join your Scouts BSA troop of girls?

  • For some, maybe they are glad that there is finally a program that will allow them to earn the Eagle Scout rank, and they want to get on that trail to become Eagle Scouts.
  • For some, maybe they welcome the chance to work with younger Scouts, and venturing 2serve in key roles like Senior Patrol Leader or other troop roles to mentor brand new and younger Scouts.
  • For some, maybe they will want to be “multiple” to recruit Scouts from the Scouts BSA troop(s) into the crew or ship.  And maybe do some joint activities with older Scouts in your troop(s).

And it’s not just girls – it is possible that some boys in a crew or ship might join your venturing 3troop of boys to help guide your Scouts BSA troop of boys if they are going to be doing joint activities with your troop of girls.

  • After all, a young man who is in a crew may have more insight into planning activities with female Scouts than your current male Scouts.

venturing leadersAnd it’s not just youth – it is possible that some adult advisors in crews or ships would be willing to help out your new troop of girls, and they will be a valuable resource since they have worked with both young men and young women in their Scouting programs.

BeAScout Page Tips, both “Coming Soon” and existing Unit Pins

This BP Pointer from “The BP 2019 List” (or: ways to Be Prepared for Scouts BSA on February 1, 2019) is about using the BeAScout page as a way to recruit.

The Membership Growth Group Director of the BSA (Wendy Shaw) announced in beascout2018 that to facilitate the joining process of families into new Scouts BSA troops, the BSA has added new functionality that allows councils to display “Coming Soon” units in www.BeAScout.org.  She noted that “This new ‘Coming Soon’ feature is available for Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, and Scouts BSA troops.  Families will be able to refine or expand their search for a unit near them by selecting ‘current’ units and/or ‘Coming Soon’ units.”

The initial rollout should allow a unit to display a point of contact to take questions (as of early January, we await confirmation of that), but it should show that, and we are told that sometime in the future, the “Coming Soon” functionality will be enhanced to include the ability for adults and parents of youth to submit an application and pay registration fees online, and to allow forming units to send joining invitations to families through My.Scouting.

But while we await that, for current troops of boys in Boy Scouting, now is good time to update your BeAScout unit pin to describe what you do to help get new members, whether or not you’ll have a Scouts BSA troop of girls at your Chartered Organization.

A BeAScout.org pin can be updated by a “Key 3” leader of your troop (or a “Key 3 Delegate”), by logging in to your My.Scouting.Org account and updating the “BeAScout” setting.  The Key 3 leaders are Scoutmaster, Chair, and Chartered beascout pinOrganization Representative.

You can view a step-by-step guide detailing how to update your pin at this BSA resource page. In the BeAScout setting for your Troop on My.Scouting.Org, you can include your leader contact information and a brief description of your Troop and/or meeting times.  You can also see this YouTube Video for a visual demonstration.

And when your Scouts BSA unit pin goes live for your troop of girls, be sure to update your pin to reflect how you operate, and attract new Scouts and families.  And update as your plans evolve.

If you have any questions regarding “Be A Scout”, please contact the Atlanta Area Council at 770-989-8820 and you will be connected to someone who can help.