The 9th B&D use the introduction packs for new and prospective members of its sections. It is also useful as a general information piece for associated people (e.g. church members at our church, local charity workers)
A parent introduction pack is a short booklet given to all new (and prospective) parents of Cubs and Scouts. It is designed to give all the necessary background information on Scouting, both in general, and from the particular viewpoint of your own Group. Hopefully it will answer all the basic questions that they may have and reassure them about what Scouting can offer their child.
Why do you have them?
I decided to produce a short intro. pack after having read some of those produced by other Groups (available on the web). It seemed a good opportunity to answer the parents questions without having to have a ten hour discussion with the leader. Whenever new or prospective parents talk to a leader there will always be something that they forget to ask (or the leader forgets to tell them!).
The pack gives the chance to detail meeting times and details, expected standards of behaviour, uniform and commitment. It can give the parents a chance to find out more about the group and its leaders. It can explain exactly what Scouting is about, how your Group goes about it and what it can offer their child.
The sections we have in our pack include:
General Information, What is Scouting?, Promise & Law, Uniform, Sixes, Badges & Awards, Pack Night Programme, The Groups Leaders, Behaviour & Discipline, A Cub Scout’s Obligations, Parental Support – We Need You!, Financial Matters, Camps & Trips, Activities & Supervision, Group Newsletter – Akela’s Shout, Scouts, District & Special Events, Please Complete This Slip
Most of the questions that parents have can be answered in detail in such a pack. Of course there will always be other concerns that require talking with a leader. That is why in our pack I have made a point of asking them to see a leader if they any have any queries at all. I have also included an acknowledgement slip at the end that they must sign and return as soon as possible.
Do they really make a difference?
The responses that I have had have been favourable. Those questioned said it provided a good deal of information regarding their child's time in Cubs and found it very useful. It is perhaps more useful to a parent who has little experience of Scouting. Those Beavers that have come up to Cubs largely know and expect how to behave and what to do. If nothing else it provides an easy reference for the commonly asked questions and at least if every parent has one they have no excuse ("I didn't know we had to go to church parade each month").
Please note though that nothing compares to talking to the parents face to face. Dont think you can get away with a phonecall/email/letter, make sure you talk to the parents themselves and get to know them.
Ok. How do I go about making them?
I constructed my parent intro pack using Microsoft Publisher. It really is simplicity itself as you do not need to do anything fancy at all. It is essentially a text document so I suggest you use any word processor that you are familiar with.