An opportunity to drop in and see what scouts is like
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 lifelong Scouts.
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 and 10 different table top activities such as toasting marshmallows over a tea light or mini pioneering. The Activity Finder has hundreds of activities that would be great for an Open Event. Here are some suggestions:
The Open Event Passport is a great way for young people to track which activities they’ve completed, it’s also something that families can take away from the event with the Group contact details on.
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!
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.
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.
- Send invites out locally though various channels including social media, school communications and other local groups. Direct them to a pre-event registration form that you have already created.
- Contact anyone who has registered with details of how to join the online meeting. Emphasise an adult must attend with the young person.
- Follow the Taking Scouts online guidance
- Start off with an ice breaker to introduce the group to one another- it’s always nice knowing who is on the call.
- Following the event, catch up with families and check if the young person still wants to continue Scouting. Don’t forget this is an opportunity to get adults involved too.
- Use an Open Event Passport where young people are required to be on a certain base at a certain time. This stops people crowding around one activity at a time
- Use time slots to manage arrival and departures
- Clean thoroughly between each activity
- Complete the relevant risk assessment process
- Consider local COVID restrictions and the perception your activity will give to the public