The latest in a series designed to help Scout families, Scouts and those new to Scouting better understand what Scouting is, how it works,
and how to get the most out of the experience. For past articles, see back issues of The Guide.


Spring is also an important time for growth in Scouting. What better time than now to share the fun of the Scouting experience with the friends and classmates of our youth members and fill out the ranks of our Dens and Patrols? Most of our Packs still have room in our Dens due to the lingering effects of the global pandemic and many fell short of fall recruiting goals. Reaching out to the parents of those children with whom your son or daughter share a class, sports team, after school program or youth group is an excellent way to find other potential members. Let’s face it, our youth can have more fun and share more great experiences in Scouting if their friends join with them! Scouting is not merely a sequential program where everyone needs to begin in the fall with the start of the school year. The achievements and adventures can be undertaken at any time with the help of adult leaders and parents. To be successful, a Pack needs to develop a fun and robust program that continues through the summer months so that new youth and families can remain engaged and build toward the fall. Planning Pack pot-luck picnics, gathering for outdoor games, taking hikes or bicycle rides, visiting outdoor festivals and attractions and doing the kinds of things that the limits of time during the school year make more difficult will certainly be fun for our Scouts. Of course, there are many outdoor programs organized by the Council and our Districts. Summer camp, spring events at Camp Rokilio and other events are all available. The point is that it can be easy to take advantage of Scouting in the spring and summer, and new members can get so much out of the experience along with our continuing Scouts.

It can also be more affordable to join as of April 1st. This is no April Fools joke; the new member fee for joining Scouting is being dropped so the cost of joining going forward will be the same as membership renewal. Youth members need only pay $85 to join, and with much of the program year already complete, a Pack could even consider pro-rating their annual dues or fees to reduce the cost further. We still have funds available in the Council to support families for whom the cost of membership is beyond reach, just as we have camperships available to help youth attend summer camp. It remains our mission to make Scouting accessible to anyone who wants to participate.

Our Scouts BSA troops are not exempt from recruiting new members into their units either! Each troop should be actively reaching out to surrounding Packs to invite their Arrow of Light Scouts to cross over into Scouts BSA. Scouting has so much to offer and our younger members can most certainly benefit from the leadership and character development, self-awareness and skill building that are the hallmark of Scouting. Families need to understand that Scouting teaches basic skills like cooking, first aid, pathfinding, handling tools, personal financial management, physical fitness and team building coupled with active citizenship, the value of community service and appreciation of and stewardship for the outdoors. There is a reason why the BSA is chartered by Congress as an organization; Scouting helps to foster good citizenship and loyalty to our nation. Like our Packs, Troops can reach out to the friends and neighbors of their members and invite their participation. Sharing the Scouting experience with prospective members is the easiest way to recruit new Scouts and fill out the ranks of our Scouts BSA troops. And let’s not forget to continue to spread the word that Scouting includes women! We have room for many more females in Scouting, just as we can and must reach out to other underserved populations.

As we tend our gardens and plant the seeds that fill out our lawns this spring, let us also plant some seeds among our friends and neighbors and invite them to grow with us in Scouting. Let us share the news that Scouting brings families together to build and strengthen community as we develop the next generation of leaders and engaged citizens. Sharing the Scouting adventure with others will not only benefit them, but will make the experience more robust and rewarding for our youth. Thank you once again for entrusting your youth to Scouting and sharing your time, talent and treasure.

Paul Shrode