This was originally posted on the Scouting Life blog http://www.scoutinglife.ca/2017/03/growth-youth-experiencing-scouting/
75th Hamilton Scout Group
Behind every great Scouting Group is a number of dedicated Volunteers who understand the important role that Scouting plays in the lives of youth. These Volunteers make it possible for more youth to participate in great, safe Scouting adventures. This holds true for the Volunteers of the 75th Hamilton Scout Group. Over the last Scouting Year, the Volunteers were able to grow this Group from 32 youth to 49 – that’s a growth of almost 54%!
We didn’t intent to grow. It just happened. We believe it’s because of what we set our minds to do with the Group every single week.
Upon speaking with Co-Commissioner Gino Sferrazza, it became clear this is no ordinary Group. The Volunteers of the 75th Hamilton Scout Group work hard at engaging the youth through the full integration of the Canadian Path. “One of the biggest points of pride for us is that we have both feet on the Path,” said Gino. “We made a conscious decision that was what we were going to do to engage the youth. It wasn’t long after that the word spread around and people walked into our meetings interested in participating. We didn’t intend to grow. It just happened. We believe it’s because of what we set our minds to do with the Group every single week.”
What I may think as a 52 year old may not be cool for a 12 or 14 year old.
Gino made a point to highlight that the Scouting program is for the youth. The Volunteers put a conscious effort in making sure the youth are having fun. “For us,” said Gino, “the Canadian Path just makes sense. Everyone seems to be having fun. Are we perfect? No. But we’re headed in the right direction.” These Volunteers inspire the youth to take charge and fail in a safe environment. The youth have so much fun, they don’t want to go home at the end of the night! “We don’t look at the Canadian Path as a new program,” said Gino. “The Canadian Path is going back to what Lord Baden-Powell had originally intended for this program. It’s important that the kids take part in the planning, the execution and the review of each activity. What I may think as a 52-year-old may not be cool for a 12 or 14-year-old.”
With the youth having so much fun, it came as no surprise to ScoutScene that word of mouth has helped their Group grow. “For us, every week is Bring-A-Friend week. In fact, we encourage the youth to bring their friends. We’ve had a few youth sign up right away after attending one of our weekly meetings.”
The 75th Hamilton Scout Group also understands the value of parent engagement. This Group gets the parents together once a year to meet face-to-face. This is an opportunity for them to showcase all of the great activities their youth are experiencing and involved in. It’s opportunities like this that remind parents of the great things Scouting has to offer.
This Group has not done any extravagant advertising. They have used a flyer here, or a flyer there at the local school and around the neighbourhood. Yet, they have managed to grow their membership significantly. Through their efforts focusing solely on the youth – ensuring that they have a say and are having fun – Scouting truly is an easy sell.
To read other Group Growth articles, visit the Scout Scene Archives.