The Chase of the Trapped Keener

As for specifically leader recruitment, here's a sneaky method which I have seen work like a charm, particularly in the Beaver and Cub sections.

I call it the Chase of the Trapped Keener.

First, the leader makes it repeatedly clear to the parents that they are free to stay during the meeting, and watch what's going on. It is important to INVITE each parent personally when they drop their kid off at the Scout Hut.

Some of the "keeners" will occassionally stay (Big Mistake). One of the leaders acts as a spotter and marks parents who frequently stay and show some interest in the goings on. Occassionally he will engage them in conversation about the meeting and kids in general, as parents usually do. The purpose is to get a better feel of how good a candidate for entrapment this particular parent is.

Next time Akela is short a leader (by accident or design), he'll ask the keener parent "Mr. Jones, would you mind staying for the meeting today to help out a bit? I'm kinda short on leaders and don't want to cancel the meeting. You don't need to do anything except watch the kids to make sure they're doing what I tell them to." If the parent agrees, and 90% will, that will be his/her Fatal Mistake. The Keener is Trapped.

During the activites, you always make sure that the Trapped Keener has as many kids "to watch over" as other leaders. "Mr. Jones, could you take these 4 Cubs and do with them as we do in this group here?" In reality it often ends up with the Cubs showing the Trapped Keener what to do ... Throughout the meeting, you keep checking with the Trapped Keener to make sure (s)he's enjoying himself.

If necessary, depart from previously planned program to give the Trapped Keener a break or a chance to be a kid and have some fun. It is important to make sure the Trapped Keener is in a happy frame of mind before you set in your hook. A happy Keener is a hooked Keener.

You repeat the process 2 or 3 times, always making sure you thank the Trapped Keener profusely during the Closing Ceremony and praise his/her "natural leadership qualities". After 2 or 3 games of Trapped Keener, you must move in for the kill, otherwise you lose your opportunity. You've made the sale, now close the deal and get the order.

"You are so good at this, the kids respond to you so well, you should put on the uniform. It would be a great help, and I could tell you were enjoying it, too."

..... now is the time for The Only Lie a Scouter is Allowed to Tell:

"It will only take a couple of hours of your time a week".

After a brief obligatory resistance, the Trapped Keener surrenders his body, soul and sanity, and the game ends.

Happy Hunting ...

Karl Pollak, 10th Sea Scouts, Richmond, British Columbia