Scouts BSA Recruitment Guide

“Be Prepared” is the Scout Motto, and it should be the motto for your recruitment as well. All of the steps below ensure that your troop is ready for new scouts, and that new families can find you.

Step 1: Prepare
  1. Make sure your BeAScout Pin is up to is the first website that pops up when a family searches “scouting near me.” Your troop automatically has a “pin” on this website that lists your address, who to contact about joining, and even your troop website if you have one. Often, troops forget to update this information when leadership changes. To check on your troop’s pin, your Scoutmaster or Committee Chair should follow these instructions. If you have trouble accessing your unit’s pin, contact the National Help Desk at 972-580-2489.
  2. Turn on your online application. If you would like to be able to accept applications for new scouts online, click here for information on how to set up the online application systemPlease note: the NEIC uses the pay later option–this way, your new families pay the troop directly, and you can then turn in their annual BSA fees to the Scout Office, or authorize us to use the money in your unit account. For more information about unit accounts, click here. Remember that your Webelos crossovers likely have already paid their national dues to their pack, and they will require a paper transfer application with no additional fees.
  3. Decide how your troop will recruit. Many troops have the tendency to only recruit Webelos crossovers from packs in the early Spring, but you should consider recruiting outside those packs via your local community organizations in the Spring and Fall as well. Recruiting outside of your traditional crossover pack(s) can help bolster membership in years with few crossovers and offers the Scouting program to youth that haven’t had the chance to experience it yet.
  4. Contact your packs and make a plan. Webelos are supposed to visit Troops as part of their requirements, so make sure you are in contact with your local packs and offering them opportunities to visit your troop, attend a campout, or participate in another fun activity. If you are recruiting from outside your packs, plan a fun event or campout nearby that prospective members can easily attend.
  5. Make sure you have information ready for new families. Have at least a 90-day calendar ready to hand to prospective families (for help with creating your calendar, click here). Also include information on meeting nights, camp, and any other pertinent information. Parents want to join Troops that appear organized and well-plannedIn addition to this, you should hold a New Parent Orientation Night to introduce new families to your troop, recruit new adult volunteers, and outline how your troop functions.
Step 2: Identify

An invite list is a list of youth that may want to join your unit. There are several different ways to generate an invite list, and many Council resources available to help you get the word out about your Troop.

  • Contact your traditional crossover packs for their Webelos’ contact information. The Council cannot provide this information without the express permission of the pack leaders, so your best route is to reach out to the packs directly.
  • Use your school’s or church’s roster. Work with your school district or church directly to determine the availability of this list. For privacy reasons, this list is not always available.
  • Participate in a school or community event (festival, block party, fair, etc), and you can even bring a fun activity for the event. You can host a s’more making station, trail mix bar, obstacle course, or whatever your troop likes to do!  Come prepared with an interest form for parents to fill out to collect their information.
  • Send a flyer out through your school’s paper or online flyer system inviting new families to a fun event.
  • At a troop meeting, ask every family to write down two names of families that may be interested in Scouting and submit them to the troop.
  • Ask your Chartered Organization for a list of families that belong to the organization that you can invite to an upcoming event.

If you need help identifying new prospective families, let your District Staff know! We are happy to help.

Step 3: Promote

Promoting your event early and often is key to finding new scouts!

The Council has a variety of promotional materials available for free to all of our units, including customizable flyers, wristbands, postcards, yard signs, banners, mini Boy’s Life magazines, and more! We ask that you order your materials at least 3 weeks in advance of your event to ensure that we have what you need and that your prospective families see the information in time to attend your event. In addition, schools may have certain requirements for flyer distribution, including a deadline date. Check with your school’s administrators to find out their rules. Click here to order your recruitment materials!

Step 4: Recruit!

Tips for a Successful Recruitment:

  • Everyone has a job. Get a few volunteers and parents to help new families by answering questions, helping them fill out the application, and collecting payment.
  • Have a separate activity for potential Scouts. We’re sure you know that kids have trouble sitting still during presentations. Assign a few adults to do a hands-on craft or game with the new and existing Scouts (in another room if possible, especially if you’re in a noisy gym!) while the new parents are learning about Scouts BSA and signing up.
  • Collect applications at your recruitment event. For any school sport or activity, it’s commonly expected that dues and forms are collected at the sign-up event. Set the same expectation for your Troop. This also reduces the amount of follow up you have to do with new families.
  • Come prepared. Below is a checklist of everything you may need for your recruitment night.
        • Troop Display: Photos of camp outs , books, other items that show the excitement of Scouting
        • Troop Info Sheet
        • Troop Calendar
        • Money for change
        • Paper Applications or computers/tablets for the online application
      • Sign-in Sheet
      • Pens, paper clips, white-out, etc.
      • Any materials ordered from the Council
Step 5: Follow Up
    • Turn in any new applications with payment to the Scout Office or your District Staff Member as soon as possible, no matter if you receive them at your recruitment night or a month later. Do not hold onto applications until it’s time to recharter! This creates a major delay in our paperwork process, and it means your new scouts aren’t in the BSA system (this can create major problems with advancement, registering for events, and insurance liability). If you are using the online application, make sure you log in and accept the applications, and deliver payment to the Scout Office. We try to make this as easy as possible–you can even email your district staff scans of the applications along with permission to take the BSA fees out of your scout store account.
    • Follow up with any prospective families who did not fill out applications. 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 your next meeting or activity.

For additional resources from the BSA national office, please click here.