Boy Scouts alter recruitment, programming in pandemic year

Boy Scouts of America
Posted at 2:29 PM, Sep 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-14 21:26:41-04

NORTHEAST WISCONSIN (NBC 26) -- The start of the school year is a busy time of year for the Boy Scouts of America.

Most years, the local Bay-Lakes Council would be going into schools for a big recruitment push.

“They’d go into the schools, they’d talk to the boys and girls, they’d hand out flyers and show them hands on how much fun Scouting can be, and obviously this year there’s a lot of barriers and things we can’t do in the schools anymore,” Bay-Lakes Council Vice President for Membership Niki Petit said.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the organization has continued to find ways to recruit members and take part in programming.

“You’ll be seeing a series of ads on websites and different streaming services explaining why Scouting is a benefit," Petit said. “We’re talking to the parents in hopes that they will see the need and sign their child up. Once they’re signed up, I’m confident they’re going to love the program, be happy mom and dad signed them up, and stick with it.”

Programs went mostly virtual and in the home during the early pandemic. That's since started to shift.

“As things became more possible, our units now are really doing a nice mix of virtual for safety, and then things in person and outdoors in a safe manner as we learn more about COVID," Bay-Lakes Council Field Director Doug Ramsay said. “It’s really the nature of our program to adapt and overcome situations anyway.”

The Scouts hosted summer camp at it's four major camps this summer. Ramsay said they've also done at-home events and started a Scouting at home website.