How to Run an Effective Bring-a-Friend Event

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1 How to Run an Effective Bring-a-Friend Event It starts with Scouts.

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3 How to Run an Effective Bring-a-Friend Event Introduction A good way to have more youth and adults explore the benefits of Scouting is to host a Bring-a-Friend Event. The objective of an event is to grow membership by using existing Scouting members as ambassadors. A Bring-a-Friend Event is exactly what the name eludes to a special event to which Scouting youth invite one or more friends. The event is designed to highlight activities and experiences unique to Scouting. For Scouting youth, it s an opportunity to show off how cool Scouting can be. For their friends, it is an opportunity to try Scouting. For the group, it provides an opportunity to increase the number of youth in their sections and to connect with more parents and potential leaders. Jumpstart Tip: You will find all of the referenced sample templates and resources in the appendix of this booklet. Downloadable and customizable versions are available online at: Growth Scouting makes a difference in the lives of children, youth and young adults. It encourages healthy active living through hiking, camping and outdoor adventures; development of leadership skills; and environmental stewardship. Through Bring-a-Friend Events, Scouts Canada will introduce more youth to a healthier way of life, providing them opportunities to develop leadership potential. Organizing a Bring-a-Friend Event It s not difficult, but does require a plan. This guide will help groups to organize and conduct an effective Bring-a-Friend Event. 1. Set a date. 2. Communicate with section leaders. 3. Mobilize youth and adults with simple tasks. 4. Support the sections. 5. Prepare for Growth! A successful Bring-a-Friend Event will involve motivational elements or an incentive plan. Adding an incentive element provides immediate and formal recognition to your registered youth members for their part in helping to grow their section. Including existing leaders in the challenge may also help to recruit new volunteers. A Bring-a -Friend Incentive Plan might look like this: Each registered youth and adult member who brings a friend can earn a crest to wear on their campfire blankets. Scouts Canada provides an attractive Bring-a-Friend crest available for purchase through the Scout Shop. (Councils may provide these free of charge.) It is a good idea for each section to set a goal. There should be a reward for the section if they meet that goal. A reward might be: Section pizza party (at a later date) if a certain number of friends visit. Hold a Make Your Own Ice Cream Sundae celebration if a specified number of friends attend the event. Providing incentive prizes for individual effort is a good way to increase participation. This may include: A ballot awarded to youth/adults for every friend they bring. The ballot could be for one larger item (i.e. Scout Shop gift certificate). Ju m p s t a r t to Gr o w t h Br i n G-a-Fr i e n d 1

4 Planning a Bring-a-Friend Event The Countdown Four Meetings Before the Event Section leaders announce the Bring-a-Friend Event and ask youth members to think about which of their friends they would like to invite. Leadership announces the incentive program. Youth to bring their friends names and mailing addresses for the next week s meeting. Estimate how many adults you will need to provide supervision and begin to recruit extra parent helpers for the Event. Three Meetings Before the Event Have enough invitations ready to accommodate three per youth. (See Bring-a-Friend invitation template in the appendix or at JS2G.) Check to see if all youth brought the names and addresses of three friends they d like to invite. Allow youth to fill out the invitations ensuring that date, time and address of the event are correct. Collect completed invitations and addressed envelopes. Insert Parent/Guardian letter, (see template of letter) and drop them in the mail. (Kids LOVE to get mail!) Inform your area team and Council Field Executive that you are hosting a Bring-a-Friend Event they may be available to help. Section leaders and youth will need to plan a Bring-a-Friend Event program. (See Planning the Program template.) Youth input will help to ensure it s fun and exciting. Confirm volunteer and parent helpers for the event to ensure you have the right support in place. If you are still short-handed, have your Group Commissioner connect with the Area for extra support. Two Meetings Before the Event Firm up the Bring-a-Friend program with section leaders determining who will do what. Create a list of supplies (i.e. crafts, games, snacks, refreshments) needed for the event. Double check to ensure you have adequate supervision in place. The Group Commissioner must be aware of your supervision needs. One Week Before the Event Encourage youth to remind their friends of the upcoming event. Prepare take home packages. This is a great activity for the youth! (See Visitor Package ideas.) Be sure to include the Next Step to Membership take home sheet, which contains a coupon to attend another meeting. The package will help ensure interest continues well beyond the event. Ensure adequate adult supervision for your Bring-a-Friend Event. You may wish to ask for more parents of existing youth or leaders with another section to help out. Bring-a- Friend Event Have leaders arrive early to set-up for the event. Prepare a display table with group/section photos, camp blankets, crafts, flags, etc. Prepare refreshments/snacks. Set up greeters at the door to welcome visiting youth and families. Have nametags available for everyone. Have a List of Attending Friends (see template) for recording contact information of those attending. Follow your Bring-a-Friend program agenda. Follow-up Following up with those who attended the event is a good way to show that Scouts Canada is interested in having their child join. It is also an effective way to deal with any barriers or objections to joining. Followup should be done within three days of the event. If the leadership is excited about the Bring-a-Friend Event it will spill over to the youth. Having revved-up youth ambassadors is the best form of advertising! Ju m p s t a r t to Gr o w t h Br i n g-a-fr i e n d 2

5 Bring-a-Friend Appendix Sample Templates and Resources Bring-a-Friend Invitation Parent/Guardian Letter Planning the Program Visitor Package List of Attending Friends The Next Step to Membership Downloadable and customizable versions available at It starts with Scouts.

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9 Bring-a-Friend Sample Parent/Guardian Letter Dear Parent/Guardian There is a world of simple pleasures, fun and stories shared around a campfire under the stars. A world of wonder and learning from all the outdoors can teach us. A world where young people can discover the best in themselves, and the best in each other. A world where kids can be kids, there is time to play, and life is never, ever boring. It s a world of fun, adventure, and pure joy and It starts with Scouts. You remember, don t you. Remember camping, canoeing, games and fun when you were in Scouts? Remember the friends you made; the frog in your sleeping bag when there was time to splash in a lake climb a hill toast a marshmallow until it s black and time to just be. Right now, over one hundred thousand young people from five to twenty-six, and adult volunteers are experiencing this same magic in communities across Canada. And the exciting news is: Scouting is growing again! It s a perfect time to be part of the new Scouting and to share the simple, pure fun of just being a child. We warmly welcome the young person in your life to experience the Scouting program firsthand at our annual Bring-a-Friend Event (details here). Better still, come and take part yourself. After all, why should kids have all the fun (but please leave your frog at home, at least for the first meeting). A world of adventure is waiting to start again. We re so happy to have you join us! Contact: Group/Section Name Contact Name Title Scouts Canada (xxx) xxx-xxxx address Ju m p s t a r t to Gr o w t h Br i n g-a-fr i e n d

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11 Bring-a-Friend Planning the Program The success of the Bring-a-Friend Event is in the ability of the section to provide a great first experience to a potential member. Scouts Canada has many JUMPSTART Programs that can easily be used or adapted by the youth and leaders as they plan their programs. JUMPSTART packages are two week to one month programs based on a variety of themes. Each week s program contains a mix of songs, crafts, skills, games and activities; ready to use and recently added to Scouts Canada s website for free download. Most are also available in your Scout Shop for purchase. Pick a theme, pick a week, and your Bring-a-Friend program is complete. Here are just a few of the titles we suggest: For Beavers ( Beaver Themes: Beach Party Canada Dinosaurs Fall Family Day Farms Halloween Outer Space Pirates Spring Trees and Nature Winter For Cubs ( Cub Themes: Around the World Bicycle Climate Change Code of Conduct ECO Systems Jungle Book Knights of Olde Nature Pirates Rock Hound Safety First Transportation For Scouts ( Scout Themes: Cooking Emergency Preparedness Hiking Map and Compass Pioneering Snow fun Team building Water Fun Ju m p s t a r t to Gr o w t h Br i n g-a-fr i e n d

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13 Bring-a-Friend Visitor Package P roviding a take home package is a good way to reinforce the first visit experience. It isn t expensive to put each of the packages together. Having the youth help populate these packages a week prior to the Bring-a-Friend Event is a good way to build some excitement while also including everyone in the planning of it. Use a cellophane decorative bag available at most dollar stores. Here are some suggestions: Scouts Canada Sticker, Pencil, Magnet and/or Tattoo Available through your Council Office or Administrative Centre. Scouts Canada Ruler Available through your Council Office or Administrative Centre. If you have any extra crests from previous events, add one to the package as well. Check with your Council Office or Administrative Centre to see if there are any available. Jumpstart to Growth Bring-a-Friend

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15 Scouts Canada Bring-a-Friend Event List of Attending Friends It starts with Scouts.

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17 The Next Step to Membership Date: (Customize) We hope you enjoyed Scouts Canada s Bring-a-Friend Event and that you are considering joining. We strongly believe in the program and hope we have answered all your questions. Enclosed you will find a registration form to fill out to become a member. If you would like to visit another of the section meetings, please bring it with you and your child the coupon below. If you have any questions or would like to know more about membership, please feel free to call me at (Customize) or send an to (Customize). You may also visit for further information. Thank you for coming to our Bring-a-Friend Event! Sincerely, (Customize) An Invitation to Come and Visit Again Our next section meeting is (Customize) at (Customize) pm. We re located at: (Customize) We would be glad to have you visit and experience the FUN and friendship of Scouting. (Customize) It starts with Scouts.

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