Story contributed by David Rico “Rico,” Southern Region – Membership Growth Coach

In 1907, Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouting movement, devised the Scout motto: Be Prepared. He wanted young people to have the tools to face challenges. With that in mind, our goal is to be able to help our fellow executives to be prepared for a successful membership campaign this fall.

Councils refer to Join Scouting Night by different names. Some use the term Sign-up Night, Open House, etc. For purposes of this article, we’ll use the term Join Scouting Night. If your council uses a different term, simply insert that term wherever you see Join Scouting Night (JSN).

Having a great Join Scouting Night (JSN) training is another key to success! During recent conversations with Scout Executives who experienced growth in 2018, many of them attribute their success to the execution of their membership plan. Below are some areas to consider when preparing for this fall.

Join Scouting Night Prep

  • Council/districts/units – Calendar planning should include JSN training dates.
  • Council/district market analysis – District Executives’ utilizes it to prepare the District growth plan.  
  • Units’ membership points of contact – District Membership Chair collects points of contact for all units.
  • Unit inventories – District Membership Chair, Unit Commissioner, and unit leaders should participate in completing the unit leadership and membership inventory, which should help determine the unit’s needs.
  • Unit mapping – This process will help you determine the number of people needed. You can map your units in google maps or


  • VP of membership/council communicates with all Districts’ Membership Chairs on JSN training dates.
  • District membership chair communicates and educates all units the importance of attending the JSN training and sets expectations that “each unit needs to send at least one delegate to the training,” according to Trey Smith, district director of the South Plains Council.
  • Who should be involved in the development of the JSN Training? Professionals and volunteers – Membership VP, District membership chairs, and anyone else involved in membership.
  • Who should attend the unit JSN Training? Unit Membership Chair or Point of contact, New Membership Coordinators, and any other leaders involved in recruiting new members.
  • When should the JSN training be offered? Every council is different; therefore, timing will be slightly different. However, many councils offer the JSN Training/Kick-off for their Membership Chairs between May-July. JSN training for units should be scheduled before school starts, May-August. Many districts utilize August roundtable to deliver the JSN unit training. 

Key Components of JSN Training

  • Purpose of the Join Scouting Night
  • Agenda for the JSN
  • Tasks before and after the JSN
  • Materials needed for a successful JSN
  • Script and/or presentation for the JSN

JSN Pitfalls

  • Having the meeting when other meetings/events are scheduled.
  • Using too much Scouting lingo.
  • Having a disorganized meeting with no clear direction.

Best Practices

  • Make the training simple, interactive, and informative where the volunteers can walk out with confidence and positive outlook.
  • According to Trey Smith, District Director of the South Plains Council, one of the keys to having a successful JSN is to ensure that unit volunteers provide their new families with key information such as: a brief intro, contact info, meeting times, place, cost – without overwhelming them. His advice is to keep it “clear and concise.”
  • During the training, reinforce that the volunteers executing the JSN to close the deal (make sure families fill out applications/complete online registration and submit registration fees).
  • Be prepared to answer questions regarding Family Scouting

Other resources

Scouting Wire would like to thank David Rico for contributing this story

The post Tips and Tools for Preparing for Fall Recruitment appeared first on Scouting Wire.

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