Retention - Mercer Area District

Retention –
Holding on to
the Scouts You Have
David Mitchko
Mercer Area District Commissioner
Why is Retention Important?
• The BSA is always looking for a growth in membership.
• Growth in membership is the result of good recruitment and
retention numbers.
• A growth in membership means that more youth are benefiting
from the scouting program.
• Retention is a direct indication of how well you are running
your unit.
Good retention and recruitment will ensure that scouting will be
around for another 100 years.
A Fun Quality Program Retains Scouts
• Hands On Activities: picked, planned and run by the PLC
• Minimum classroom instruction
• Positive reinforcement
• Create a safe environment
• Games and competitions between patrols – skills based
• A mix of activities - not just for advancement
• A Quality Program retains more scouts – strive for
In 2011, a new program will be in place to recognize units
with superior performance called, “Scouting’s Journey to
Scouts with Friends Stay Longer
• The program should foster and encourage friendship among
• Promote the Patrol Method
• Patrol meetings during Troop meetings
• SPL should know to keep friends in the same patrol
• Encourage scouts to recruit their friends
• Avoid the “domino effect”
Peer Pressure works both ways
Involve and Work With the Families
• Gets Parents/Stepparents/Guardians involved in the
Committee, as MB Counselors and as Leaders
• Invite new parents camping, but make sure you
provide them with guidance and that they are trained
in Youth Protection
• Everyone should feel welcome
• Involve parents in ceremonies and Courts of Honor
• Continually promote the benefits of scouting to the
Keep parents informed – communicate!
Younger Scouts Need to Advance
• The goal is to get them to First Class in one year
• Make sure they know advancement is done both at
meetings and at campouts
• Prepare them for camping
– Skills instruction at meetings
– Planning during patrol meeting
– Scout and Parents should have list of what to pack
• Promote Summer Camp early and often
Assign an Assistant Scoutmaster to promote and keep
track of younger scout advancement
Older Scouts Need Something to Do
• Let them lead and value their opinions, whether or
not they have a position of responsibility
• Promote High Adventure and challenging activities
• Every Life Scout should know what they need to do
to advance to Eagle
• No “hanging out” during troop meetings
• Give JASM’s a specific leadership role
• Older scouts can mentor younger scout
Assign an Assistant Scoutmaster as an Advisor
Follow Up with “Missing” Scouts
• Keep and monitor attendance - if a scout keeps
missing meetings and activities, contact the parents
• Find out why a scout is not participating
Offer workarounds
Stress the benefits of the scouting program
Be discrete when dealing with the issues
Suggest scout move to a different troop, if need be
• If a Scout quits, try to get real and honest feedback
• Watch out for “Bubble” and “Helicopter” Parents
Use your emotional resources wisely – scouting is not
for every boy