As Webelos go into Boy Scouts, it is important to set the expectations, both time and money, with parents from the start. Here are a list of items you should share with incoming families into Boy Scouts.
1. Unit Calendar
Boys want to know what activities they are going to do throughout the year. Additionally adults want to know what their boys are doing so they can merge their Boy Scout activities with all the other items the family is doing during the year. This should include the dates of summer camp and all camp outs. I know for myself with my job, I need to know at least three months in advance if I want to join my son on a particular campout.
In addition, research shows new Boy Scouts that have an activity outside their normal troop meeting, like a campout, are three times more likely to remain in Boy Scouts through the end of the year. Make sure you have one of these activities and invite the adults along. Remember, these parents just came from a program where parents had to be at everything. They need to see that their sons are taken care of and do not need to be at all of the Troop events.
2. Unit Budget
Parents want to know the expenses they will incur by joining your Unit. They also want to know what the money is going towards. Remember to include camp when stating the amount needed when their Scout joins. Not including camps give a false representation of the actual cost of Boy Scouts. Do not be scared to show the whole amount. Nationwide, the average cost of a youth in Boy Scouts is $525 per year. This would include registration, camp, uniforms, patches, campouts and other camping equipment. Understand that parents are used to learning the whole amount up front when they sign their son up for little league football, baseball or soccer. Our Unit also includes a mention about Friends of Scouting so this is not a surprise in the future.
At the same time you give adults the Unit Budget, you should provide parents with all the methods your Unit uses to raise money. This should include the time commitment and monetary goals for each fundraiser. In addition, the expectations for parent involvement in these fundraisers need to be communicated. Show how the fundraisers help the Scout and the family with personal growth and how these can help toward earning merit badges like Personal Management and Salesmanship.
4. Gear List
Depending on the outdoor emphasis and current equipment of the Boy Scout Unit, different personal gear may be needed to participate in certain activities. This should include the Ten Essentials for every outing. There may be additional items based on your location. As an example I live near Seattle, home of the Super Bowl XLVIII Champion Seattle Seahawks, so rain gear is required for every campout.
Remember, in order to retain Webelos joining Boy Scout Units, it is necessary to share all information about the Troop and set the expectations for both the youth and adults regarding fundraisers and participation. Do not be shy about the money. Not only are there ways to pay for Scouting inside the Unit, many Councils have designated funds to help assist families so their Scout can have the full Scouting experience.