Looking for some input with regard to Volunteer Leadership in Scouts BSA Troops (one Boys, one Girls) actively trying to recruit Scouts from existing vialbe units in nearby towns to transfer. I know that all of us have experienced dropping membership numbers due to the pandemic, but I would appreciate if anyone who has had a situation like this had a strategy for dealing with this at the Unit level before it escalates.
Specifically targeting other units seems problematic. General marketing of your unit and capturing the interest of those in other units I think would be okay. I haven’t dealt with a poaching issue yet.
Does your unit have a unit commissioner? How about the other units involved? If so, I recommend a discussion with them about the specific issues. If not, contact your district commissioner for help. How strong is the program in the unit(s) Scouts are being poached from and does this need attention? I agree with brantgurga’s comment that good marketing by any unit is an acceptable strategy, and if this results in capturing the interest of Scouts from other units it could be a sign of a stronger program, can this be replicated in your unit? However, any campaign that aims directly to entice Scouts to transfer may be problematic and should, in my opinion, be addressed by a discussion with all involved units at the district level. Recruiting goals should always be aimed at serving more youth, not at growing one unit at the expense of others. An exception could be a case where a decline in the number of Scout aged youth in an area makes supporting multiple units difficult, but even in this case, evaluation and intervention at the district level is warranted.
I agree with this Dennis. As a unit leader in the past I have never turned away a scout wanting to transfer, but I wouldn’t go looking for them. I would rather them transfer to a different unit than quit scouting all together.
That being said there is a reason they are transferring and maybe it’s time to make sure the program being offered is what the scouts in that area are looking for.
Let me clarify a bit - I am the Council Commissioner and being contacted by an active Scouts BSA Girls Troop in one District that their Scouts are being recruited by another Girls Scouts BSA Troop a couple of towns over. The same adults are involved with a Boys Scouts BSA Troop - and doing the same thing. I have a number of adult leaders from “targeted” Troops getting upset, and looking to see if anyone here has some advise on how to snuff this out quickly.
Time to talk with the involved adult leaders (individually) to get THEIR take on the situation, then decide the course of action. If allowed to continue too long, assuming both units are healthy now, one may be starved out of existence. Clearly recruiting from another unit (poaching) is not a Scout-like behavior.