One of the most proven successful ways to have new youth and adults explore the benefits of Scouting is to bring a friend to a meeting or event. The objective of a bringing a non-member friend is to grow membership by having existing Scouting members act as ambassadors of the Scouting Movement.
For non-member guests, it is an opportunity to try Scouting. They will receive a taste of our activities and experiences that are unique to Scouting.
For Scouting youth, it’s an opportunity to show off how super cool Scouting can be!
For the Group, it provides an opportunity to increase the number of youth in their Sections and to connect with parents who may choose to become Scouters.
Note: The Two Scouter Rule and Section Ratios must be maintained to include non-members in attendance. For reference see “The Two Scouter Rule and Section Ratios: Supervision for Scouting Programs.”
Non-member friends are welcome to participate in two weekly program meetings before being required to register and pay fees. At the conclusion of the two meetings, the non-member friend may either register or discontinue their involvement with the Section.
The Section is responsible for making certain they are prepared for the non-member’s visit by ensuring The Two Scouter Rule and Section Ratios are maintained to include the non-member friend in attendance.
Non-member friends are also welcome to attend overnight camp before being required to register and paying fees.
Bring-a-friend to Camp is acceptable when:
- ALL camp information has been approved by the Group
- ALL parents have complete information about the camp
- The camp is held at a Scouts Canada property
- A Hold Harmless form has been completed and submitted by the non-member
- At the conclusion of the camp, the non-member youth either registers or discontinues their involvement with the Section.
Note: The same rule with meetings also applies at camp. The Two Scouter Rule and Section Ratios must be maintained to include non-members in attendance.
Non-members are welcome to attend by invitation of the Section.
Sections may choose to give themselves the opportunity to invite non-member friends openly to any meeting whereas other Sections may choose to designate an evening to host specific ‘Bring a Friend Nights’.
As long as the Section ensures Section Ratio and The Two Scouter Rule are maintained to include non-member(s) in attendance, Sections are encouraged to open their doors to non-members as often as they choose.
Non-member friends should bring any information requested by the Section Scouters prior to the meeting or event. For example: Section Scouters may request non-member youth provide parent’s contact information, emergency contact information, allergies, etc...
The information requested may vary depending on the event and Section. For example: If Scouters know during a meeting where a non-member is in attendance that food will be served the Scouter may feel it necessary to ask the non-member to make them aware of any food sensitivities or allergies.
Communication is key! Non-member friends must ensure they communicate with the Group Scouter prior to attending any meeting or event.
Parents are not required to attend meetings or events with their child. Parents are welcome to attend however it is not mandatory.
Yes! The parent of a non-member youth can act as a Parent Helper during the meeting their non-member youth is attending if they fulfil the required Volunteer Screening Criteria.
Non-member friends are welcome to participate if they are the same age as the other youth in the Section they are a guest of. Non-member friends must also agree to abide by the Code of Conduct and be respectful of the Section’s participants and Scouters.
A simple way to begin to encourage members to bring a friend is by reminding members that Scouting provides more youth with an opportunity to learn and to experience things that they cannot experience elsewhere. This is why Membership Growth is one of Scouts Canada’s Five Priorities for Success.
Specifically, Scouters can designate ‘Bring-a-Friend’ nights or events. The Group could play a game or design an activity to welcome their non-member guest.
Scouters should prepare by ensuring they communicate with the non-member youth’s parents prior to the meeting or event. Scouters should be aware if the non-member youth has any special needs and/or concerns prior to attending an event as a guest.
Also, Scouters should be prepared to explain to non-member’s parents how to move forward with youth registration if they choose to join the section and to answer questions about registration fees, program information and how to register as a Volunteer.
Still need help? Please feel free to contact the Scouts Canada Help Centre