Involving Alumni In Council And Unit Events
We know that most Scouting alumni want to receive an invitation to hear about Scouting today, meet and network with other people (alumni and currently involved Scouters), and learn about ways to get involved that work for them as individuals. This can mean simply remaining on a mailing list to lend future support; becoming a registered volunteer on a unit, district, or ad hoc basis; making a financial donation; or becoming an informal Scouting supporter.
They are open to a wide variety of informal, zero commitment, low-cost events for socializing, having fun, and learning about the parts of Scouting that are of interest. They also desire a variety of times and places to reconnect with Scouting with activities that fit busy schedules and feel comfortable to them. A great way to approach this is to offer a menu of events with varying levels of commitment.
Scouting should be viewed as a lifelong enrichment course and consider BSA AA activities to develop skills, networks, and knowledge. If local BSA AA committees foster this type of experience, alumni will be more likely to return for more events and to continue their engagement in Scouting.
From networking events to learning ways to build a mutually beneficial relationship with alumni, the BSA AA website at scoutingalumni.org/ provides a one-stop resource to discover, activate, and improve your alumni engagement program.
BSA AA – Specific Council Events
Councils can easily arrange a variety of events to reconnect with alumni and friends.
Urban campfires—informal gatherings at local “watering holes” in rotating neighborhoods. This costs the BSA AA nothing unless the council decides to host. An urban campfire could also be an after-work social hour with a cash bar and jar for nominal donations for appetizers. People can drop in after work to learn about Scouting and to network with other alumni and friends.
Industry networking events—gatherings of individuals in certain business sectors (the larger the council, the more specific the industry) or more general business-oriented meetings, potentially built around a talk from a local Eagle Scout luminary or corporate leader(s).
Service projects—gathering people for community service projects, followed by fellowship. This gets alumni back into a familiar environment: serving others through Scouting. It also enables networking and information sharing.
Winter break pizza party—perfect for the time around the end of the year when many college students are home for the holidays.
Summer ice cream social-held at a council summer camp with an invitation to bring family members. A variety of fun activities for Cub Scout– and Scouts BSA– aged youth could be offered as well as an opportunity to meet with current professional staff and currently involved volunteer Scouters to learn about getting involved.
Vigil breakfast or Order of the Arrow reconnection event—allows alumni who were in the OA to reconnect with Scouting.
Other ideas include an organized hike through a nature preserve, an opportunity to go boating on a local lake, a sporting event, a play, or another event such as a winemaker’s dinner or a barbecue cookout.
Council Events To Which BSA Alumni Could Be Invited
These types of events might include:
A recognition dinner in which Eagle Scouts are invited to attend and welcome the newest class of Eagle Scouts in the council. Some councils have sponsor mentors for new Eagle Scouts; these may be Scouting alumni who have careers of interest to new Eagles. Interaction at the event can help alumni who are Eagles re-engage and benefit the Scouts.
A Cub Scout Fun Day in which BSA AA members are directed to a special tent for refreshments and information. They also get a chance to see currently active Cub Scouts and their parents having fun.
A district or council camporee in which BSA AA members could attend during the day to see the excitement of Scouting. Perhaps include some competitions for alumni such as a first aid meet, a fishing derby, a paddleboard or kayak race, or a pioneering event.
A council pinewood derby in which BSA AA members could enjoy coffee and doughnuts while reconnecting by watching the excitement of the competition.
A University of Scouting event in which BSA AA members attend an information session and then mingle with other Scouters during a break or see “open house” displays.
Unit BSA AA Events
These types of events might include:
A troop court of honor to which alumni are invited to hear about the troop’s current events and rank advancements.
Celebrations of troop milestones (100th Eagle, 100th anniversary, etc.) that provide opportunities for events that draw BSA AA members from different geographies and eras. Current youth members can have a weekend camporee in conjunction so alumni can see contests and Scouts BSA in action.
A special reunion to celebrate a Scoutmaster who has served 25 years or more and his influence on a generation of youth.
A unit breakfast or urban cookout hosted specifically for BSA AA members in a particular geographic location.
Councils are already employing these activities to engage their alumni and friends, and you can find their efforts listed on the BSA AA website. Go to scoutingalumni.org/.