The three most successful recruiting strategies for units are hosting open house sign-up nights, school sign-up nights, and ask-a-friend events. We have been doing the first two in Mountain Valley District as much as possible. Our Ask-a-Friend events are the next step to help with membership.
If your unit has not done such an event this fall, now is the time! As part of our Mountain Valley membership plan, every unit is asked to “do their best” and have such an event.
Besides being effective, two great points in favor of Ask-a-Friend events are:
- First, you can invite a friend to District Activities. That doesn’t take extra preparation beyond the invitation and follow-up.
- Second, you can use normal unit activities (which are particularly fun anyway) and make these effective Ask-a-friend events. These are sometimes called “normal friend activities” (NFA) – which is something youth would like to do anyway, they happen to come and do it with Scouts. These events have the advantage of lessening the formality of engaging with a Scout unit that can come with more formal meetings and making it simply a fun way to hang out. Planning NFA meetings has another benefit. These meetings are fun rather than advancement-focused. Fun meetings are important for relationship building with your Scouts, and sometimes those things get pushed aside for advancement. Building in a NFA meeting on a regular basis, and at least quarterly, will help your unit not just in membership, but also in camaraderie and Scout spirit.
Troop 619 recently held an Ask-A-Friend recruitment event this past week. While their event was advancement-focused, remember that it doesn’t have to be! The troop had four friends show up for the meeting, and together everyone completed a one-mile map and compass course with advancement stations at specific locations.
Scouts and friends learned knot tying, how to find their way in the dark, and how to use a map and compass, and the friends were impressed and intrigued by learning such fun skills. As we know, Scouts is a unique program in that way!
We encourage you to work with your Scouts to schedule a Bring-A-Friend event today – anything fun will do! Take a hike, play a game, be active and have fun.
Read more about NFA as a recruiting tool in this great article on how Normal Friend Activities can boost your unit membership.