When people think of “Bring-a-Friend” events for scouting, they picture a hall full of Beaver and Cub scouts, running around and playing games with the hopes of introducing more youth to the marvelous world of Scouting. But, what most people don’t realize is that Bring-a-Friend events can be for all sections! While it’s great to get youth involved when they’re still Cub or Beaver age, that can’t always be the case, and there’s many reasons to host Bring-a-Friend nights for Scout, Venturer, and Rover sections.
I was first brought into scouting as a Rover during a Bring-a-Friend activity night at a local school, and after that one event, I became involved in an organization that has opened up countless opportunities for me. Getting Rover aged youth involved can be a daunting task, which is why Bring-a-Friend events are so necessary. Being a part of Rovers can teach valuable life skills, and help to build up a resume, two very important things for young adults, and presents it in a fun and adventurous way. Without such events, a lot of people wouldn’t know about the great opportunities Rovers presents.
For Venturer and Scout aged youth, Bring-a-Friend events can help bring existing members out of their shells, and to get more youth involved in a great cause. Many high schools across the country have a required amount of volunteer hours that must be achieved before graduation, and scouting is a great way to achieve those. Simply helping out at an all sections camp for a weekend can meet the minimum hours!
While regular meetings are always a good idea for Bring-a-Friend nights, it can never hurt to host a special event for such an occasion! Some ideas for events that can appeal to Scout, Venturer, and Rover age youth are sports nights, board game nights, and day hikes. These can give a taste of what scouting is all about, and leave guests hungry for more adventure! Be sure to talk to the visitors and let them know what scouting is all about, and try and answer any questions they may have. Encourage the youth to answer the questions themselves, and to give their own opinions of scouting to the guests. After planning your Bring-a-Friend night, the next step is letting people know it’s happening! Word of mouth from members is one way to spread the word about your event, Scouts Canada has an online tool to make the process quick and easy! On scouts.ca, you can send e-vites with section appropriate wording and graphics! You can access this tool at Scouts.ca/bring-a-friend.
Bring-a-Friend events can benefit all sections, and are a great tool to help increase numbers in your groups!