Build a better Scout troop, and the world will beat a hiking path to your door–but only if they know you exist. There are lots of ways to do that, of course, but one that’s free and easy to use is the BeAScout website. Rolled out four years ago, this marketing site from the BSA includes a unit locator that should make it easier for prospective members to find your troop.
Here’s how it works: A potential Scout or Scout parent goes to www.beascout.org, chooses Boy Scouting, and enters his ZIP code or address. When he clicks the search button, up pops a list of nearby troops, sorted in order of proximity. When he clicks on one of those troops (yours, let’s hope!), up pops a box with a link to your troop website, a contact person, a thumbnail description of the troop, and even your troop logo. If he clicks one more link, he can send you an email requesting more information. (Searches for Cub Scout packs, Venturing crews, and Sea Scout ships work the same way.)
It’s a pretty slick tool, but there’s a catch: Your troop has to update its information through the MyScouting website. Otherwise, the only contact information that appears is for your local council. While you could rely on your local council to forward the referral, why not cut out the middleman?
To update your pin, log in to the MyScouting website and look for a BeAScout link on the left side. (Depending on your registered position, you may or may not have access.) Clicking the BeAScout link takes you to Unit Pin Management, where you can customize your BeAScout listing. You’ll also find Unit Lead Management, where you can keep track of leads you receive through the site, and Membership Application Management, where you can–you guessed it–manage applications received through the BeAScout site.
BeAScout offers lots more features, such as the ability to move your meeting location if you don’t meet at your chartered organization. For details, visit the BSA’s youth recruitment page, where you’ll find several related videos and PowerPoint presentations.