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Time to plan your spring roundup!

Now is the time to plan your SPRING ROUNDUP! The ideal time to recruit for spring is mid to end of May prior to the end of year testing periods done in most school districts. Last year I succeeded in getting our local school district to allow flyers, posters, videos during morning announcements and invites to have a table at family spring events in spite of Covid. At our signup night we has over 2 dozen families show up.

My opinion and experience is that Packs do better when they run summer programs. That even includes Den Meetings along with one or two monthly activities. Yes, sports are happening too but sports are year round these days. Sports are an excuse, not a reason. And yes, at any given time 10 or 15% of your families may be on vacation but you are doing things for the 85-90% that are still here.

Take advantage of council/district events such as family camps, resident camps and day camps which are often priced lower than local daycare facilities. Contact other packs to schedule fun inter-unit competitions. Field trips, pack/den picnics, movie nights, and tons of advancement opportunities are available. Don’t waste the best weather months of the year. Kids that are active over the summer are still there in the fall and just as valuable, so are the parents/volunteers.

Let’s hear from leaders on your spring roundup plans and successes! What sort of events did you use and how is the support from the schools?

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What advice can you provide on dealing with a new/difficult school administration?

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The best advice I ever got was to try to get them to explain their concerns to you. That makes them formalize the topics at issue, and gives you a shot at responding to them. Sometimes, you get lucky and they realize as you’re discussing things that the concerns are unfounded. Other times, you discover that a previous administrator had been skirting a rule that more-or-less prohibits cooperation with BSA entities. Every time I’ve done it, though, I learned something I didn’t know before, and it gave the administrator a chance to interact with an adult scouter, which many had never actually done before.

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Build relationships. We have had good luck getting into a particular school by working with the parent of a scout who goes to that school. They may already know the principal, and if not, at least they have clear “standing” to talk with the principal about the request. One school went from a clear no to a yes using this approach.

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In the past, we would do some type of service project for the school such as mulching, picking up trash, sweeping out the buses, so that way we got in their “good graces” and they were more apt to work with us on a variety of things, including recruitment nights.

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Hi John, Two years ago I was briefly serving as Membership Chair for the district. I scheduled meetings with the School Superintendents (2 districts) and I prepared for those meetings by learning as much as I could about the schools, their ‘statement of purpose’ and such. Their values aligned well with BSA’s. For years we had only been able to pay for a posting in their monthly ‘digital Peachjar’ that was sent to parents. $25 per school per month. The council paid for September and that was it. Signups had dropped way down. I carefully crafted an outline to address the issues. One of the principals I had spoken to told me that there were complaints that the peachjar was not effective. I got the same response from the folks at the district roundtable. During my meetings I also casually mentioned the Boy Scout Equal Access Law passed in 2002. It mandates that a number of groups be given the same access to students that any other outside group has been granted. Every school district brings in outside groups for book fairs, fun and educational programs, police and fire programs and such. They often send materials home to promote those things and even put them in their morning announcements and put up postings on the walls. (DO NOT USE THIS AS A CLUB, just for informational purposes). By the end, we agreed that the BSA could participate in parent/family events, post flyers, send flyers home, have a video (available on the National Marketing Website) and more. Also, check out the BSA adopt a school program or partner with the PTA to run some events like movie nights or ice cream socials and dances. That gets the unit a service project and helps out the PTA that is in desperate need of volunteers. Here is the link to the BSA Access Law: Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act

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We’ve been working with the PTA; they’re in a worse situation than our Pack. The new school Principal is using Covid as an excuse to bar them from meeting. We’ve had 2 school dances planned and volunteered to run the concessions for the PTA and at the last minute the PTA has had their legs chopped out from under them which also chopped us.

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Ouch. Event whiplash.

We’ve confronted similar issues, and I think that most administrators are juggling the same uncertainty that the rest of us are with regard to the current pandemic. Like most of us, they are subject to the limitations they get from further up the food chain. Sometimes those limitations are rather abruptly changed, and everything else has to adjust suddenly.

Our regular meeting location at the local elementary school hasn’t permitted use of their facilities by outside groups for any purpose since March of 2019 (based on district direction), so we’ve been meeting either virtually (until our chartering org permitted us to meet in person at all) or in local parks. Our chartering org was finally able to accommodate us at their facility starting this month, with a variety of COVID-safety precautions. We just went virtual with our OA Lodge Exec Comm meeting and Lodge Awards Banquet at the last minute because of the current conditions. Not that it makes the situation great, but it’s kinda where the rubber meets the road all over the world right now.

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I see parents across the nation are taking school boards to task. They want a say in how and what their kids are taught. Sounds like time for some visits to school board meetings.

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Eventually, this too will pass. Until then we have to ‘Do Our Best’ (where have I heard that before?) and be creative to meet the needs of our membership.

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The only thing saving us from getting outright kicked out like the PTO is the school district rec department, which is letting everyone continue athletics indoors and out on school property. The district has a giant fitness center in the high school that is open to the public and basically the staff said they have no intentions of shutting down. It’s just a stupid game where the principal is shutting down anything he has absolute say in.

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Principal works for the Supt. and School Board. Of course you don’t want to make an enemy of the principal. I have talked with principals of 4 schools and they all agreed with me to support Scouting in their schools. You might ask your DE to arrange a meeting with the principal and find out what the real issues are.

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My wife, a Scoutmaster and public school teacher, served on a state government committee that standardized part of the public school curriculum for the whole state. Parents who want to change what is taught may be aiming to low.

One of the reasons we have private schools and home schooling is that some parents cannot agree with what the publc schools are teaching.

Getting back to recruiting in public schools:

  • Some school districts require that anything posted in schools be approved by the district office first.
  • Having a good relationship with the parents, teachers association (PTA) is a plus for recruiting both Scouts and Scouters. My underststanding is that the school and school district does not run the PTA.

2022-01-16-B

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Leverage any relationships you have. It’s very helpful if your CC is also the PTA VP or something like that and can talk to the administration. Ask to have the pack/troop come and participate in a morning or evening flag ceremony to mark certain holidays. A lot of the schools are into recognizing veterans. Ask to do the flag ceremony during morning drop off on Veteran’s and Memorial Day weeks. Mem Day is good for spring, as is Flag Day. Ask if you can hand flyers to parents waiting on line in cars during drop off and pick up. Ask if you can lead an afterschool hike of a/various local parks for teachers and point out things that are tied to curriculum. A lot of them do a Monarch chrysalis project. Show them where to find milkweed. Habitats come up several times through elementary and middle school; give them a tour of local habitats. I’m sure this is not exactly what you are asking but these are all ways to get around a brick wall if that is what you are facing. Making teachers your allies can help.

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This is something that can be used annually in every school, elementary, middle and high. Check it out. It can help make a difference in your units relationship. The Fretwell Award Helps Recognize Members of the Educator Community - Scouting Wire : Scouting Wire

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Hi
this is a repeat of my response to Bill: Check out: The Fretwell Award Helps Recognize Members of the Educator Community - Scouting Wire : Scouting Wire

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Here is another great link for school relationships: Education Relationships - Scouting Wire : Scouting Wire Be sure to check out all the links in the articles…

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