Normal Friend Activities for Cub Scouts

Upfront Tip: Don’t feel the need to overtly “sell” the program. Instead, just let the new families hang out in a stress-free environment and enjoy this time with their kids.

Imagine you’re a parent in a family with no Scouting experience.

You see a flier for the local pack, inviting anyone who’s interested to visit their next pack meeting on Monday night. Fun — and snacks! — are on the agenda.

When you show up, everyone is in uniform. You see lots of adults in tan shirts, assuming most are paid professionals. You think, “wow, there’s a lot of staff here tonight.”

Everyone knows exactly what to say and the right way to raise two fingers aloft in what you later learn is called “the Cub Scout sign.”

The meeting looks fun, but you can’t help but feel a little mystified by it all. That’s when someone hands you a registration form. Overwhelmed yet?

This is why Normal Friend Activities (NFAs) might just the ticket – especially in the spring! (And also any time of year!)

Normal Friend Activities are low-pressure pack or troop events where units invite non-Scouting families to join them for an afternoon or evening of fun.

An NFA might be a hike, a picnic, an ice cream party, a service project, a trip to a local sporting event or anything else you can dream up.

At NFAs, Scouts and adult volunteers should dress in normal “street” clothes instead of uniforms — a tactic that will help visitors feel more included.

Speaking of feeling included, the focus of an NFA should be on Scouts (and their families) getting to know one another — not on high-pressure recruiting pitches. And be patient. It might take some families a few NFAs before they feel comfortable and ready to join.

Also, while there are plenty of Cub Scout elective adventures that can work for an event like this, advancement should not be the main goal. The average family doesn’t know that ranks exist, and they’re just looking for fun activities to do with their kids!


1) Sure, you know what Cub Scouts are all about. But find out what the BSA is telling people so you’ll be on the same page when you meet them!

2) Let’s all be there! The point of an NFA is to show that this is the kind of things that Cub Scout families do, so the pack really needs to show up. And it shouldn’t be hard, because it’s going to be FUN!

Current parents and their Cub Scouts need to be there so they can talk to prospective parents and cubs. And current Cubs who recruit a friend who joins can be awarded the Recruiter strip, available from the Council Service Center.

3) Make a checklist of who is responsible for various components of the NFA. Just because it’s casual, it’s shouldn’t be disorganized!

4) Do NOT plan on talking about the difference between the Pack and Dens, activities, popcorn, Day Camp, Overnight Camp, the cost, youth protection and two-deep leadership, when and where Dens meet, ranks, girls and boys, and anything else parents might think of.

If they ask, fine – but there’s no need to bombard them.

5) If you’re asked about being an adult leader, emphasize the enjoyment you get, the value of time spent supporting kids’ programs, availability of fun adult training, etc.

6) No potential Scout should miss out on the experience due to financial hardship. If the Pack can help financially, that’s great – and the council can help as well. Contact your DE for more information.

7) Get familiar with the online registration process at and determine who will be responsible for accepting online applications – usually the Cubmaster or Committee Chair. This is the fastest and best way to register new Scouts. No cash to handle, no forms to send to the council office!


The approach in spring can be similar to fall, or take its own path. The council can provide flyers if schools are willing to distribute them once again. (Or to hand to church families, etc.)

For promotion at schools, find out about:

1. Procedures for submitting announcement and flyers to be sent home. How many copies of flyers are needed in each grade level? Can they be sent home in backpacks?

Your DE can provide as many flyers as you need with information about Cub Scouts and your pack’s joining event.

2. Putting a few posters by drinking fountains and a yard sign by the school pick-up/drop-off location. Your DE can provide posters and yard signs, too!

3. Providing information electronically for school emails or newsletters. How about providing a video to be shown during lunch or other times, or a message for the school marquee? Think digitally!

Life Can Be This Good:

4. Although more of a “fall thing” for School Night for Scouting, a DE coming to school to hold “Scout Talks” – 2-3 minute talks to pump up kids for Scouting – is always a possibility.

As in the fall, If the school will allow it, we will try to help make it happen!

Ask each of your pack or troop families to invite three other families to your NFA.

Don’t forget to use a multichannel approach to promoting your NFA. So go beyond flyers and include such things as email, Facebook, text messages and word of mouth.


Remember, this is supposed to be FUN! So keep the following in mind:

At NFAs, Scouts and adult volunteers should dress in normal “street” clothes instead of uniforms — a tactic that can help visitors feel more included. At an NFA, where uniforms aren’t worn, that non-Scouting parent will see themselves as equal to everyone else.

Refreshments? You bet!

Have some flyers or cards with the QR code and instructions for online registration on-hand.

But keep in mind that the focus of an NFA should be on Scouts (and their families) getting to know the pack — not on high-pressure recruiting pitches.

Be patient. It might take some families a few NFAs (yes, you might want to do a few of these!) before they feel comfortable and ready to join.

Be happy to see people you don’t even know! Encourage parents and their Cubs to welcome people as they arrive.

If there are two program elements you should promote, it’s Cub Day Camp and Cub Scout Resident Camp.

Remember: No need to recite too much history or details that everyone will forget on the way home anyway!


Say thank you to everyone in the pack who helped make it a great night, especially the Cubs!

Follow up with every family who came, mainly to thank them for coming, but also ask if they have any other questions.

If they registered, let them know what’s next – first den meeting, first pack meeting, etc. If they didn’t register, that’s fine. Encourage them to come back again – and if you have another event scheduled, let them know.

Hey – That was FUN!

Sure was! Consider remaining active over the summer and holding at least one NFA in June, July and August.

Families who miss one event can come to another, and your entire pack will enjoy the chance to get together and have fun in a casual manner. Plus, you can earn the Summertime Pack Award for Packs, Dens and Cub Scouts along the way!