What is a Joining Night?
A Joining Night is your welcoming meeting for new Cub Scouts and their families. New Cubs are registered by their parents, appropriate fees are collected, and families are given an overview of the Scouting program.
It's important that each new family meets with the Cubmaster and their Den Leader. New Cub Scouts should have a fun experience as their parents get an overview of Scouting.
Applications and fees are collected. Someone from the Pack will need to deliver them to the District Executive as soon as possible following the recruitment.
This is not a full-meeting of your entire current Pack and their parents.
Some parents with Scouts already enrolled in your Unit will think they need to show up to the Joining Night to fill out another application and pay for registration again. They do not and will only get in the way of you registering new boys. It would be good to have your Den Leaders and a few Cubs on hand. Think four or five - not FIFTY.
The Two-Room System
When talking to new parents, it's going to be much more difficult if they've got an antsy seven-year-old chomping at the bit to run and play and have all the fun he should be having at his first-ever Cub Scout meeting. Plan to have another room, or outdoor area, where two or more Leaders can take the boys for a game or other activity. A Boy Scout or two would be very helpful here as well. Teaching them the Cub Scout Sign and how it's used to get the boys attention would be a great activity. (Below is a sample room set-up and a link to some fun Cub Scout games.)
Click here for some great Cub Scout games.
Orienting the Parents
Now that you've gotten the boys occupied, you can begin to address the parents. Here's where you tell them all the things they need to know about Cub Scouting. You can go over uniforms, Pack and Den meeting schedules, Pack activities, fees, leadership opportunities and more. Feel free to talk about fundraising, as this goes along with the question, "How much does Scouting cost?"
- Get all the parents to sign in on a roster. (Available here.)
- Start parents filling out the paperwork as soon as possible. Avoid having parents "go home" with the application.
- Have the Cubmaster there to sign all applications, and the Charter Rep and Committee Chair there to sign adult applications.
- Make sure that the parents have signed the applications and that birthdays (for both child and parent), phone numbers and e-mail addresses are filled out.
- Make sure any adult applications are filled out completely and include social security numbers, as we need this for the background check. Make sure they've signed the application and have completed the Criminal Background Check disclosure page.
- Keep your Unit copy of the application. You should only turn in the Council copy of each application (with the Criminal Background Check disclosure page for adults).
Fees and Boy's Life Magazine
BSA registration is pro-rated to $2 per month per participant. Boy's Life is $1 per month per registrant.
Make sure to say a few words about Boy's Life Magazine. For $1 a month (compared to Highlights for Children, which by comparison costs $29.64 for a year's subscription), it will be delivered right to your new Scout's home - with his name on it. He will actually read it, and it will reinforce what you are doing in your meetings. Scouts who receive Boy's Life are more likely to stay in the program, more likely to go to camp, and their parents are more likely to volunteer.
Everyone in the Pack can do something to help the boys. Whether it's serving as a Den Leader, Cubmaster, or Committee Member, helping to set-up the Pinewood Derby, or hosting a Den meeting, the more involved your parents are, the stronger your unit will be.
However, you do want to find the right person for the right job.
- Use the Family Talent Resource Sheet to find out what they are interested in and what hobbies or skills they have.
- You can also distribute the 100-Point Form. It reinforces the idea that everyone should help in some way.
- Check the application for occupation and Scouting experience. This can be extremely useful information in selecting quality leaders.
Remember that pressuring the whole room to "volunteer or else" may be tempting, but not effective in getting the right leaders for the right jobs. You want to do a little homework to figure out who fits best where. Then make an individual ask.
For more information, click here for "Selecting Quality Leaders."