Restaurants and retailers go to great lengths to land on the first page of Google. They know a Google search is typically the first stop for customers wanting to order takeout, stream a movie or buy a new desk chair.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a master of search engine optimization to recruit new families to your pack, troop, crew or ship. You just need to update your BeAScout pin. And thanks to some volunteer-focused changes to this process, it’s now easier than ever to do so.

“BeAScout is the way that families who are looking to join a Scouting unit can easily find your unit and apply,” says Pat Wellen, the BSA’s director of research and strategy. “By setting up your pin, your unit information will show on BeAScout, and you’ll be ready to accept new families into your unit.”

We talked to Wellen to learn more.

What is BeAScout?

When someone Googles phrases like “join Scouting,” “pack near me” or “find Scout troop,” the result in the coveted top spot is the BSA’s BeAScout page:

From there, families can type in their ZIP code, select the program that interests them (Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing or Sea Scouts) and click “Find and Apply.”

What happens next? Well, that’s kind of up to you.

If your pin is updated, a prospective Scouting family will find your leader’s contact info, a link to your website and a brief description about your unit.

If you have also turned on the “Apply Now” button, parents can also fill out the application online directly from BeAScout — or they can send you an email for more information.

Recruiting during COVID-19

The BeAScout site has been around for a while, but its importance has only intensified during the COVID-19 outbreak when peer-to-peer recruiting is more difficult.

Families looking for meaningful at-home activities for their children are turning to Scouting in impressive numbers. Those who aren’t yet involved in our movement are seeing positive stories of service, Scouting achievement and friendship on social media and local news.

When they’re ready to join Scouting, families can use to find you — all while observing their state’s health guidelines.

“This tool give you a touchless way to recruit and onboard members to come to your virtual or live meetings,” Wellen says. “The parent just fills out the online application and pays online.”

After the parent applies, the committee chair, unit leader, chartered organization representative or another registered adult leader who has been granted access goes online and can review and accept the application. Within 24 hours, the member will show in the unit’s my.Scouting roster.

The parent will receive a welcome email from Scouting immediately after the unit accepts the new member. Unit leaders can write an optional second welcome email to go out 24 hours later, telling recipients the time and place of the next meeting (online or in-person) or another message the unit wishes to share.

How to update your BeAScout pin

Who can update the pin? The Key 3 of the unit — committee chair, chartered organization representative and unit leader (Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Advisor, Skipper) — has access to Organization Manager in my.Scouting tools, which will allow them to set up the unit pin.

What’s the process for doing so? A step-by-step guide is available online at this link. Look for the PDF link called “Setting Up Your Unit’s BeAScout Pin.”

What has changed? Pin management is no longer in “Legacy Tools.” It has been updated with a new fresh look and easier navigation. Everything you need to set up the pin is in one tool, meaning no more moving back and forth between tools or pages.

Even more to come

More changes are also coming over the next few months to make reviewing and accepting youth and adult applications in my.Scouting even easier.

Look for more information about those changes as they go live in the tool.

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