An open event is a night when new young people and their parents can drop in to see what Scouts is like. And if they have a good time, they might even end up being life-longer Scouters.
You could invite young people and parents through a school assembly. You could also create a flyer and post on social media and invite all of the young people on your waiting list. It’s really important that each young person brings an adult with them so make that clear on your flyers and social media posts.
Open events usually last about an hour. You’ll need to plan between 5-10 different table top activities such as toasting marshmallows over a tea light or mini pioneering. The Programme Planning Tool has hundreds of activities that would make great Open Event activities.
You’ll need a venue big enough for the number of people you’re expecting and a positive, hands-on team. What help will you need to run the activity bases? It’s also worth thinking about the personalities of the people on your team - you’ll need a few super-positive, friendly people around who’ll make friends with the parents. They’re all potential volunteers!
At the event
Welcome people at the door and invite them to move around the space and take part in all the activities. Collect their contact details as soon as you can. Once the young people have had a go, gather them together to take part in a game with some leaders while you talk to their parents about Scouting and how they can volunteer. This advice on how to talk to adults about volunteering will help.
A follow-up night
Plan a follow-up night and have an invite or flyer ready to give to the parents at the end of the session. A real winner is putting together goody bags to hand out at the end of the evening - fill them with a few sweeties for the children and a letter for the parents about how to sign up along with details of the follow-up night.
Lots of resources exist that will be helpful when planning and running your open event.