Patrols are the building blocks to a strong, well-run troop. To build up your troop, add a patrol or two, and watch what can happen:
- More parental involvement
- More leadership opportunities
- More skills development
- More camaraderie among peers
- More friendly patrol competition
- More energy and enthusiasm
- More patrol spirit
- A stronger patrol leaders' council
- More resources for the troop
- More community service opportunities
Here are three ways to add a partol:
No. 1: Troop Open House/Recruitment Rally
Scouting offers what boys want: outdoor adventures, being with their friends, and going places. The target market for most Scout troops is boys who are completing the fifth grade and who are in the sixth grade. Hosting a troop open house or a recruitment rally is the best way to recruit directly.
The troop open house allows a troop to swing open its doors and roll out the red carpet to welcome potential new Scouts and their parents. It provides a forum for troops to show off their Scouting activities and accomplishments.
Consider conducting a recruitment rally at a school, a mall, or another place where youth gather. Plan a brief program, show displays of troop activities and equipment, and have Scouts available to answer questions about their troop. Help parents understand what is expected of them as well as their son.
Scout-age boys do not consider receiving a flier as a true invitation to join a troop. The best way to recruit boys is to engage their imagination with an interactive presentation. When a flier is long forgotten, a model campsite with a camp kitchen, peach cobbler in a Dutch oven, backpacks, and tents will get real results. If setting up a model campsite is not feasible, a Scout dressed for a backcountry outing and carrying a well-equipped backpack could be an effective presenter to youth.
Teaching a skill during the troop open house—such as starting a fire with flint and steel—will get boys actively involved.
Following up with potential new Scouts is vital. Making reminder phone calls to the recruits will help boost your results. Make sure they know when and where the troop meets and that their parents are invited to be a part of the joining experience. Let them know that a friendly face will greet them at the door.
Once the open house or recruitment rally has proven a success, a troop should plan an activity to welcome its new Scouts. Boys join for action and adventure, and they will be expecting to experience some of that soon after they join.
|For a limited time,
recruiter patches are available
at no cost to Scouts who recruit
a friend to join their troop
No. 2: Boy-to-Boy Recruiting
The most effective recruiter is an excited, enthusiastic Scout who has just completed the challenge of his lifetime (so far!) with his troop. Scouts should be encouraged to invite their friends to join the troop and become a member of their patrol.
A First Class rank requirement states that a Scout must invite a friend to a troop activity. To help the Scout meet this requirement, a fun, easy-to-use e-card tool is available at http://www.thescoutzone .org. Click on "Tell a Friend" and follow the instructions to select images and music, then send!
Consider having a recruitment campaign within the troop. Offer incentives to each Scout who brings in a friend, as well as an overall prize for the top recruiter.
No. 3: Webelos-to-Scout Transition
Boys joining troops from Webelos dens continue to be the best resource for growing the troop and expanding patrols. Many thriving troops have a close working relationship with a Cub Scout pack that provides them with a new group of enthusiastic boys every year. Here are a few things to consider.
- Invite second-year Webelos dens to meet at your troop location. Depending on the size of your facility, they may even meet at the same time as the troop.
- Provide a Webelos den chief for the Webelos den. The den chief can be a strong recruiter in bringing the entire den into the troop.
History has shown that more Webelos Scouts join Boy Scouting when an entire den joins the troop together.
- Make troop camping gear available to the Webelos den. Invite the den to participate at appropriate troop activities and a Webelos den/troop campout.
- Encourage second-year Webelos dens to select a patrol name, create a patrol yell, and design a patrol flag.
- Remind Webelos Scouts that they can join a troop any time after they turn 10 and have completed the Arrow of Light requirements.
- Make sure Webelos Scouts who have earned the Arrow of Light award know that they have already completed the majority of the Tenderfoot rank requirements.
Assign a Membership Chair
Assign a member of the troop committee the responsibility of troop membership growth, including all three recruiting areas described in this brochure. Encourage the development of a year-round growth plan to help maintain the troop's health.