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What are the Cub Scout program selling points. with COVID making us go to virtural scouting this fall?

This year we have entered an unknown period with recruiting. All of our programs have gone to virtual or not at all. In our area (and probably much of the county) in person school nights will not occur. In fact Principals are busy with figuring out how to do their virtual learning or how to deal with in person learning. The really don’t want to talk to the Scouting representatives. I am looking for a concise explanation of what is the product that the Cub Scout program is promoting to the parents when we are not meeting other than online? When you meet with a Principal, if you don’t show any value, you will not get any help with promotion from through the school. Anyone have any ideas on how to make the pitch? As an aside, I think most of the classrooms in schools who have in person classes will be closed in 4-6 weeks from their opening.

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Have you looked at this thread?

It seems to be commissioner-focused in some regards, but might have some ideas. I’m at the troop level, and I think we’re all confronting similar challenges. Many of us are working to try to identify physical activities we can do “virtually”, similar to this idea published in Bryan on Scouting:

You might be able to adapt that idea to a more Cub-friendly activity that retains the essential scouting and safety aspects. I’d also reach out to local district and council volunteers and professionals to see what ideas they are hearing about from other units.

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Is there a BSA site which has Cub Scout level activities during COVID?
Is there a Facebook page that people might be submitting activities like this hike to share with everyone? As a recent ADC, I don’t think the commissioners have the information to help units either. It has been, find things that are useful or make it up for many units. Not all leaders are even looking for things to do. It needs a more orderly collection and means of getting the information out and sharing.

Honestly, I’m not aware of a “specific list of things to do”. The closest I’ve seen is here: https://www.scouting.org/scoutingathome/, which was pretty widely publicized, at least in my district via the district e-newsletter.

I couldn’t comment on what may or may not be available on FaceBorg, as I continue to resist assimilation. :wink:

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CHARLIE,
Thanks for the answer. It is helpful. Since you are a great source of information about scouting, I want to ask you a serious question. With most schools not open or partially open, almost no one allowing school nights and many of our cub scout units not meeting or meeting virtually; What are we selling? I have not gotten any answer from my council leaders since I asked this 6 weeks ago when we were told there were not going to be any school nights. The principals we have approached are nice to us but really don’t have time to deal with us due to their trying to get their teachers ready for the virtual teaching. Where I live the large county school system (100,000) is virtual to start with. the 5 small municipalities will be virtual and hybrid. Talking to my son who does school network IT nationally; he predicts that most schools around the country will be closed before the semester is over with.
So seriously; what do I tell a principal or parent what scouting can provide their child that would make it worthwhile to join? And then I have to deal with the fees. All help is appreciated. BE SAFE. WEAR A MASK STAND 6 FT APART and WASH YOUR HANDS.

We can offer what we always offer: “ To prepare youth to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.”

Now, you may have to do this in small groups (dens and patrols) instead of large groups (packs and troops). And other distancing precautions may be needed, but the mission hasn’t changed.

Further, families have nothing for kids to do. No social interaction. Nothing outside the house. Their mental health is in trouble. They need something to do. Scouts can be that outlet. Scouting is best done outdoors, anyway. So, get back to the basics of Scouting, and make it fun.

We’ve asked our principal to put a short video on their morning announcements. The cool thing about elearning is the students/families control the announcements. So, they can pause the video if they want. Our video will have a QR code that they can pause while they get a parent to scan with another device. For us, it’ll just go to the Google Form where they can sign up to get the Join Night Zoom info, but you could route them to more info if you want.

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Thanks Jacob,
But I need a format that will get the principals to want to work with us. Have the families want to check us out. What I have been given from the scout office locally is totally insufficient given the situation we find ourselves in. And I do not see anything except the concept of using virtual recruiting from the national office. Is there any video out there that addresses COVID and scouting together. If I send anything it gets filtered down by each layer that handles it. The Principal, the teacher, the parent. The Principals are so busy right now getting ready for school virtually or with students and COVID rules, in most places that they really don’t want to talk with us. We get one chance to talk with the principal and need to have everything we need right there to make the sale. If we don’t have the package of what we want them to send to families right then we cannot make the sale. I have been on several of the national webinars and have not seen anything close to what is needed.

All suggestions are useful. A video to send out would be even better. no one wants to read an email or an article.

Thanks

Mark P. Clemons, MD
Committee Chairman, Troop 25
Membership Chairman
Eastern District, Chickasaw Council
Boy Scouts of America

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Mark,

I agree, the complexities of this upcoming is a challenge. I stressed a need for flexibility with the Cub Scout Parents due to the numerous unknowns in the community. I expressed my thoughts in the CM min (See Planned Perseverance…). In short, we are meeting by Dens in groups less then ten when the Den leader and Parents choose to meet in-person. All family members and Cub Scouts are required to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing as a family unit. Den leaders are the critical factor in maintaining the program as all Pack events are a no-go due to the BSA policy on 10 or less. Also, frequent hand washing is encouraged, if possible. We are not recruiting through the schools but instead are attempting a Troop wide “Drive Through Information Fair”. Also, any new members I revised the welcoming letter to reflect. Please see attachmentsWelcome Letter or Email AUG20v1 .docx (29.0 KB) for more information. Planned Perseverance with Mitigations_FINAL.docx (16.5 KB)

Hope this helps,
Matt

I’d say that your best resource for this sort of stuff is actually local. Talk to your unit families and see who’s a wizard with photo/video montages to see if they’re willing to pull something like that together for your unit that focuses on activities that your unit does. You’re not selling “Scouting in the Time of COVID” (apologies to Gabriel Garcia Marquez). You’re selling scouting. Full stop. Once the families are interested enough to reach out to you, you can talk through what the current restrictions are, and how your unit is adapting to them. That’s way too complicated a conversation to have in a flyer or attention-grabbing video.

Because of the local variability of the problems and restrictions caused by COVID, any advice/video/guidance from a national level may not apply. For example, my council and county are still a hard-stop on all in-person activities with anyone outside of your household. No large group gatherings. No small group gatherings. No gatherings at all. None of the “Restart Scouting Checklist” resources currently apply for us past “know your local restrictions” if we’re talking about in-person activities.

To me, the truth is that scouting — whether at the pack, troop, crew or ship level — is more than this year. It’s a journey. In that regard, I strongly agree with @jacobfetzer that we’re “selling” what we’ve always been selling, but the “packaging” may look a bit different this year because of the restrictions on in-person activities that are, and will continue to be, in flux. Scouting is fundamentally about helping young people turn into well-rounded, responsible not-so-young people. Don’t sell me how many of your scouts make Eagle, sell me what your scouts have gone on to do with their lives after “graduating” from the troop. Who are they as adults? What are the lessons they took away from their time in scouting and how are they applying them now?

Scouting at the pack level, again in my opinion, is about helping facilitate families showing their cub scouts how the lessons and ethics of scouting fit into the way that their family already works. I’m years out of my leadership role in the pack-level program, so my personal experience will be inherently dated. However, take a look at current Paws for Action adventure as an example. I’ve paraphrased the requirements somewhat, so the “quotes” are approximate.

  • “Learn about the nation’s flag, the pledge of allegiance, and its meaning. Display it at home.” These requirements allow the scout to have this conversation with his or her fellow Bears, their den leader, and their parents. It introduces (or helps reinforce) the ideas of citizenship and membership in something larger than yourself, and the role of symbols in identifying that group. It allows the family to have age-appropriate discussions about what meaning those symbols have in their family context. Scouts might learn about military and government service, political protest, who knows!

  • “Find out about two famous Americans and share what you learned. Go visit local places of historical interest and learn about them.” These reinforce the importance of learning about what’s come before, and how individuals and individual places can have important roles in creating that history. It promotes discussion of how and why you chose the people and/or locations that you chose, and allows a larger discussion of what’s important to the different people in your den. It allows the family and den to talk to their scout(s) about what sorts of things make a person “famous” and how “fame for being famous” isn’t the same as fame for achievements or contributions to society.

  • “Learn about the skills and jobs of first responders and how you can help protect yourself”. “Make a list of emergency numbers and prepare to respond in the event of an emergency with or without your adult family members present.” These requirements collectively help teach scouts about the roles that first responders play in helping keep our communities safe, what skills they need to do their jobs, and help arrange for the scouts to meet them in non-emergency circumstances. Most of us only ever interact with law enforcement, fire or emergency medical personnel in an emergency, and at that point they’re just a uniform and a job to most of the folks they interact with. Getting to meet and know your community first responders helps foster a sense of shared community with them, rather than a sense that they’re somehow “apart from” rather than “a part of” the community. It also teaches the scouts and families to be prepared to help themselves in the event of an emergency, to the greatest extent feasible. You’re not teaching the scouts to fight a structure fire. You’re teaching them to escape safely so that fire officers can spend their efforts on fire suppression, rather than rescue.

  • “Do a community service project or participate in a civic event honoring the country.” These activities actively foster a sense of community, and help young people see how they can have a role in caring for and actively participating in their community.

Try taking apart some of the activities/advancements and give concrete examples in your “spiel” of what scouting is bringing to the table. We are *not" “just another youth activity”!

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My favorite part that I have been sharing with people is that when my kids are bored I open their handbooks and find something to do together as a family. My son learned about the circuit breaker and water shut off along with other home maintenance this weekend and oiled all the sticking joints in the kitchen cupboards for me. And my daughter is outside with my dad now learning bike safety and how to put air in her bike tires. Two more activities checked off! And it gives us soooo many ideas we use on our camping trips. I think giving so many ways for families to spend time together learning fun things is a great benefit during Covid. And my Webelos is getting great practice leading by helping his Tiger sister on her activities.

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Thanks,
Everyone is giving great ideas on how to approach this problem.

Mark P. Clemons, MD
Committee Chairman, Troop 25
Membership Chairman
Eastern District, Chickasaw Council
Boy Scouts of America

Yesterday I had a discussion about recruitment at a local community event where it was mentioned that families are not likely to join Cub Scouts right now. My response was that is why I am recruiting now, and showcasing all the Pack’s safe activities online and in person. I want the community to see and understand what families could have been doing, if they had joined before the pandemic. I want families and youth to join our Pack when they are ready. And perhaps in spring, summer, or fall of 2021 those families will remember how active and safe we where during the pandemic. When they’re ready to get their kids back into some social actives; hopefully they will remember how we kept the campfire going.

I have had this pinned to our Pack’s community facing Facebook Page (we don’t us Facebook for general internal Pack communication, just stuff we want public such as community outreach.) for a few months now. I am dropping this here to show that we are not always focusing on what BSA’s programs can do for youth and families during these times, but often on what our Cub Scout Pack has always done for decades using the BSA’s Cub Scout program. If you can in your community and area of the country, I would encourage you to tap into your own unit’s strengths and customs and find new agile ways to continue what you have always done. I know its not easy or even seems possible for some units, but we can do our best.

Now is the time to consider joining our Scouting Community. We will keep the campfire going:

Hello,

I have served as a parent, den leader, committee chair, and cubmaster for Pack 23 for the last eight years. My oldest son is starting to look to Eagle now that he has earned the Scouts BSA Life Rank this past spring. My youngest son with his den is working toward earning the Cub Scouts Bear Rank in the coming year.

For more than a decade every summer Cub Scout Pack 23 of Pleasant Gap, PA has remained active. The youth have planted flowers, participated in parades, run ping pong booths, launched rockets, raced regatta boats, had picnics, journeyed on hikes, and attended summer camps. Our youth, their families, and community understand the three parts of the Scout Oath, duty to god and country, duty to other people, and duty to self.

In the past few months, a lot has changed for our youth, their families, and communities. For younger youth Scouting is about doing your best. As they grow and learn, Scouting is about being prepared. Among many other opportunities Scouting is a safe place where our youth can move forward, adapted to change, and do their best to prepare for the future.

Scouting is about hiking and campfires. It is also about leadership. It is about leading our communities, families, and selves. It is about preparing our youth for lifelong journeys leading and adapting to change.

Cub Scout Pack 23 extends its appreciation and gratitude to the community of Pleasant Gap, and the many organizations that have joined us in helping our youth grow and learn to be leaders ready to adapt to a changing future.

Thanks to these organizations and others I may have failed to mention, Scouting is able to help the families of our community’s youth:

• Pleasant Gap Rotary Club (The Sponsoring Charter Organization for Cub Scout Pack 23)
• St Mark Lutheran Church
• United Methodist Church
• The Oaks at Pleasant Gap
• Pleasant Gap Elementary PTO
• Pleasant Gap Elementary
• American Legion Post #867
• Logan Grange #109
• Pleasant Gap Fire Company
• Spring Township Police Department
• Spring Township
• US Army Reserve Center

Enjoy…
David Stucky
Cubmaster Pack 23

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Our pitch on our welcome page includes: " Cub Scouting in 2020 will be different – and the same for Pack 631 . Different because we’ll do it in family groups, but the adventures and activities that Scouts can do are the same. To be safe, the activities will be led by families with parents guided by Den and Pack Leaders – we’re not scheduling any group in-person activities by Dens or by the Pack through the end of the year. While we wish we could have the great group in-person activities, we want to be safe – and we still need to raise our children. Scouting can help, so Cub Scout adventures will be led by families with parents guided by Den and Pack Leaders. As we get to the end of the year, we’ll revisit whether and how in-person group activities can be done in 2021.

Families of Pack 631 can still go camping and hiking and biking and fishing and trailblazing and more – you can do Scouting on Demand, on your own schedule ! We will have community connection through common activities done separately by families – and the community will share their stories and pictures and videos with each other."

We’re following the Family-Led Program outlined at https://www.atlantabsa.org/FamilyLedFun, which can switch to “hybrid” (small in person events but with remote participation on a family’s own schedule), and builds on the Adventure by Adventure Resource pages found at https://www.atlantabsa.org/CubScoutAdvance.

David,
thanks for the great response.
Keep up the good work. Be Safe.
Here is something we recently did. A Public Service Announcement in person.
We had 7 scouts hold signs that said PLEASE WEAR A MASK STAND 6FT. APART. All scouts were in uniform, wearing a mask and standing 6 ft apart. We were about 10 ft back from the street. It was a 6 lane US Highway. The mayor was coming and we got on the evening news.

When I spoke with new families, my elevator pitch highlighted scouting as a leadership and character development program for youth.

Ralph,
Thanks

Mark P. Clemons, MD
Committee Chairman, Troop 25
Membership Chairman
Eastern District, Chickasaw Council
Boy Scouts of America

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