Gathering of Eagles Event
The Greater Los Angeles Area Council NESA Group wanted to hold an event to attach young professional Eagle Scouts who were not currently affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America. We also wanted to develop a model social event that could be replicated at other venues throughout the council area.
Ross Arnold had attended the alumni presentation, which took place at the National Meeting in Atlanta in 2015. During the presentation Ross learned the benefits of using LinkedIn as a social media tool to attracting young professionals to social Scouting events. Previous to this Gathering of Eagle event, the NESA Committee had relied on a database provided by the National Office of over 2,000 Eagle Scouts as their means of notifying individuals of NESA and other Scouting events.
Ross worked with David Nordel, a young professional Eagle Scout who was interested in getting reengaged in Scouting. He placed a notice on LinkedIn under the heading of “Eagle Scouts-Gathering of Eagles.” The intent was to have David be the face of this event so young professionals could identify with someone their own age.
The notice went out six weeks before the event. Ross and David were hoping for between 15 and 20 men attending. After the initial invitation was sent, the number of people registering increased steadily. When registration closed, which was two weeks before the event, over 80 people signed up. (A concern was that the number of participants would become unmanageable if we exceeded 80. We wanted the event to be free for the guest and we did not want the council to incur any costs.) Various members of the NESA Committee donated the drinks, food and paper goods. The event was held at the council office, so the venue was free.
Given that it is spring and the council office it located on a hill with an overview of downtown Los Angeles, it was decided to hold the event on the patio adjacent to the council office. Tables were set so people could serve themselves and a registration table was set up and manned so that we could collect people’s contact information and they could pick up NESA applications. It was also decided that the program would be short with only four speakers who were directed to keep their remarks less than three minutes each. The speakers included David who gave the welcome, the NESA Chair who spoke about getting involved in NESA, the council president who encourages the men to reengage and then the deputy council executive who gave an overview of the state of Scouting in Los Angeles and then offered to take anyone who wanted it a tour of the council office.
Then entire event was two and half-hours long.
It was advertised as an open house, so people could come and go, but this was not the case. No matter when individuals arrived, almost everyone stayed until the end. We received many comments such as, “this event was great, we should do this more often.” “This was the first Scouting activity I have attended since I received my Eagle Scout Award in high school.” As a follow up to this event, we are going to contact each of the participants and engage them in a conversation about how they wish to get reengaged and these will be one on one conversation.
Challenges & Solutions
We believed that it was important to hold this event, but we did not want to ensure any costs to the council. We used LinkedIn as our mode of communications to invitees so we would not have to pay for the costs of mailing invitations. Members of the NESA donated the refreshments and paper goods. Of the 80 people who registered for the event, less then half actually attended and this caused us to request too much food. Beverages in cans and bottles and paper goods could be used at the next event, but food had to be given away. When we hold the next event we will have to plan that only half of people registered will participate. The other challenge was we purposely did not invite the current members of the NESA Committee. Most of the members of committee are older then the young professionals we were seeking. We were concerned that these young people would not feel comfortable among this group. The committee was informed about the event as to who was being invited and who was our target group. We will have to revisit this, as we are sure there were still some members who would have like to meet these gentlemen.
The Greater Los Angeles Area Council NESA wanted a simple social event where we would invite young professional Eagle Scouts who were no longer engaged in Scouting and encourage them to become reengaged. We wanted to create a model that could be replicated at various locations through the council territory. We used Linked-in as our mode of communications because we believed that many young professionals use this social media to grow their personal and professional network.
CONTACT PERSONRoss Arnold, firstname.lastname@example.org