In the next month or two, this year’s class of second-year Webelos Scouts will graduate from Cub Scouting. If you’ve done a good job with Webelos-to-Scout transition–if you made a good first impression when they visited a troop meeting this winter–some of them will end up in your troop, providing a fresh infusion of youthful enthusiasm and adult leadership.
Don’t think, however, that the Webelos-to-Scout transition process is over. What you do in the next couple of months will determine whether those new families are still involved in Scouting a year from now.
There are many things you can do to effectively welcome new Scouts and parents, but two things stand out for me. First, current Scouts and leaders need to welcome the newcomers warmly. Post greeters at the doors, put name tags on everyone, and make sure the newcomers are involved in troop activities from the moment they arrive.
Second, make sure your intake process flows smoothly. Have on hand a stack of youth and adult applications, medical forms, parent guides, or whatever other materials you need. Clearly communicate what forms need to be turned in, how they need to be turned in to, and where newcomers can go with questions. Make it clear that you’re ready and eager to integrate the new Scouts into your troop.
Remember: You never get a second chance to make a good first–or second–impression!