Increasing Your Numbers

by Karen Britton, Leader of Troop #144

(From our 2014 September newsletter)

 

troop 144

 

One of the many questions that I hear from new leaders is, “Where do we get new girls?”
While every area and troop is different, Miss Kerry asked me to explain some of the things that I have done with our troop. We began our Frontier Girls troop with 15 girls from our GS troop in 2011. Our initial registrations were all Dolphins. By year two, we had 18 girls (Otters & Dolphins and one Butterfly), year three our troop had grown to 24 girls (Otters, Dolphins and three Butterflies) and this year we have an even larger troop of 35 girls (12 Otters, 13 Dolphins & 10 Butterflies). Additionally, we have 10 adults helping each week.
There are many things that we do over the course of the year to help keep our numbers strong. One of the things we decided from the start was that if we were going to put the time into starting a troop, we wanted to do it right. We wanted to pay close attention to details. We plan ahead so things run smoothly and are organized.
We make sure whenever we go into the community, the girls are all in their uniforms. We designed our own red troop T-shirts to wear on some field trips. Appearance is important. It does put an impression in the eyes of potential parents, and when we go out in public, others notice that we look like a cohesive group.
troop 144To promote our troop, we do many things. We send flyers to the two local elementary schools. Our flyers don’t just say, “join our troop”, we ask girls who may be interested in our troop to join us for a recruitment night so they can experience what our troop is all about. We have both a fall recruitment and a spring recruitment event each year. In the fall, many parents are looking for an activity to put their girls in right away. In the spring, it gives them the time to learn about the troop so when meetings start again in the fall, they are registered and ready to go. Spring recruitment is ideal because if you only wait until fall to spread the word about the troop, many girls who might be interested are already registered for other activities.
We have hosted many different themed recruitment events over the past few years. We advertise for each of these through our local schools. We have held a Giant Twister Night, Teddy Bear Tea Party, Carnival, and Christmas Ornament Night to name a few.
Another way to get your name out to the community is by doing community service. Any time you can put your name, emblem, picture etc. in the public eye, it is free advertising. Sending pictures of your troop and activities to your local newspaper helps to spread the word about your troop as well. Here are a few community service projects that we have taken on over the past few years:
  • Animal Shelter Collection – we team up with our parent/teacher organization to flyer schools
  • Christmas Bingo with Seniors – We supply snacks, prizes and craft for Seniors
  • Thanksgiving Dinner shopping – We team up with a women’s’ group for donations, shop, and then deliver dinners to our local food shelter.
Lastly, don’t forget to participate in your community’s events – we have marched in parades, ran a “water station” at a half marathon, ran a carnival stand for our sponsor, baked Christmas cookies for Mrs. Claus to hand out during our Hometown Christmas, etc. If you have local community bazaars and fundraisers you can use these not only to raise funds but also as a tool to display your banner, posters and hand out troop info.
troop 144(1)Making your program the best it can be is still the number one way to grow your troop. The best recruitment tool is word of mouth. I don’t know how many times people that joined have said they have heard a lot of good things about us. If the girls in your troop are having fun, they will tell their friends, and it doesn’t take long for their friends’ parents to see the benefits of having their daughter involved in your Frontier Girls Troop as well.
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