Ships generally consist of two groups of people, adults and youth. The adults such as Skippers and Mates help guide youth as they grow not only is their skills and knowledge, but also develop their character and leadership skills that can give Sea Scouts an advantage over their peers no matter what path they choose. As symbiotic as this bond can be within a ship, we often do not see youth rushing to register with Sea Scouts Ships. One of the issues is that many teens and parents do not know about Sea Scouts and how great of a program it really is!
Many of my fellow Scouts including myself stumbled upon Sea Scouts having no idea that it existed. Since the start of 2017, Ship 711 Del Mar has gained six members within the last 6 months and I would like to share the various ways we worked to recruit these members and leave you with some ideas that you can twist to make your own.
1) Becoming a Camp/Aquatics Instructor:This one is can be a little harder as you will need to apply and find a job where you can interact with your target audience. Some of our ship members work in the harbor as various aquatics instructors and our first scout that joined this year was previously in one of those sailing classes taught by our scouts. Our scouts were able to network and advertise the ship to those to desire more than just a two week sailing merit badge. This was the exact same way I found out about Sea Scouts! You don’t have to be an instructor or a merit badge counselor, the goal is to put yourself in a setting to work and communicate with your target audience.
2) Day Sails/ Paddle Craft Days: We had developed a list of youth who were eligible to join the ship and sent out an open invite to join us for a day sail around the harbor and just outside the jette. Within the first couple hours, our boat was full with over 15 individuals who were interested in get a taste of Sea Scouts. A couple of our newest members joined after coming out to our day sails.
3) Inviting Friends: It doesn’t matter whether they are from work, school, band, or family friends! Inviting those around you that you know is a great way to not only add to your ships numbers, but it can even make Sea Scout more fun since your friends are spending your regular meetings and weekend activities with you!
4) Representing at BSA and Council Events: In our ship, we have 6 Eagle Scouts, all who have searched for another calling after acquiring the highest rank in Boy Scouts. A couple of them saw us at Scout O Rama and Camporee and decided to look further into those Sea Scouts looking sharp in their dress whites or practicing scuttlebutt. The goal it to bring awareness, if you have them thinking or learning that sea scouts exist, that could make the difference on whether an individual joins your ship or not.
5) Visiting Boy Scouts/Girl Scout Troops: We set aside a weekday and planned with my Boy Scout Troop to introduce them to Sea Scouts and introduce them to activities and events you would see at competition like team knots and code flags. These are interchangeable with other events depending on what you think will interest scouts the most. Once again, the trick is just to make them knowledgeable and aware that Sea Scouts exists and is an opportunity for them to continue concurrently or after they age out of Boy Scouts.
All these methods have worked to bring awareness and new recruits to Sea Scouts.I have listed different methods that work for us.I am aware that there are other ways as well such as an open house or maybe even a short weekend cruise and I recommend to do whatever works best for your ship.You can also reach out to individuals younger than 14 as they can later feed into your ship once they become old enough . Keep in mind that although many of the methods listed are focused on Boy Scouts, they could be used to reach out to Girl Scouts as well. Remember that you can work with other sea scout ships whether you’re coordinating an event or just asking for suggestions, you are not alone! I hope you find this helpful whether this is new or just a reminder. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, do not hesitate to contact me!
If you would like to see what I am up to, you can follow me on instagram at @wr_boatswainsmate_membership