This section is from the book "Scouting For Rural Boys. A Manual For Leaders", by Boy scouts of America. See also: Outdoor Adventure Manual: Essential Scouting Skills for the Great Outdoors.
One very direct way to find men for Scouting in rural districts is to follow through on the Boy-Fact Survey. Here boys are "pointing out" the "best" men they know. The very fact that they have been so "recommended" is a strong invitation for them to accept.
Also rural communities, like all others, have their own leaders. These are not only the County Agents, County Supervisors and other County officers, County political groups, School Trustees, Church officers-but leaders are also found in the ranks among the farmers in the "Cooperatives," the members of the Drainage District, or the Irrigation District, or the blooded stock association, members of fraternal or insurance orders, and so on through the various business, political, social, educational and religious groups of the rural community.
Since the district is not a very large unit, acquaintance and friendship reach pretty well across and through it. Any outstanding man, who is fairly active in any phase of rural community life, will "know" people. In response to the request for some man to head an "Extension Committee," one will receive suggestions based on human contacts. The people in positions where they meet most everyone in a district can give very valuable hints. The County Agent, the Rural
Mailman, the Assessor, the County Superintendent of Schools, the Pastor of the Rural Church-all these men, with wide district contacts, are open to consultation in the search for men interested in boys.
The same sources can be used to identify further the "best men" to serve as Merit Badge Counselors. Who is outstanding as a small grain farmer, or in dairying, raising hogs or beef cattle? Whose grove is the one which is a regular demonstration? Who is a craft expert?
The answer to the quest for men is to take stock of the "man resources" of the district. No district is so poor but it has its "best" men. In a district, with two or more communities, this quest should center around each community, independent of the others. The district "man resources" are those of the trade center, plus those of each of the neighborhoods which compose the district, plus those of the open country. Start in the small unit and work out!
While teachers and pastors often make excellent Scout leaders, they are so often transferred or promoted out of the neighborhood needing Scout leadership, so it may be well for them to train more permanent residents to carry on.
Once a list of allegedly eligible men is in hand, the job is to have the "right" person go and "sell" them on doing the particular job.
This may be done by having some influential person call on the prospect-some one whom he likes, or some one to whom he looks up-and thus present to him the opportunity and "community duty" for service. Again, it may be wiser to invite the "prospect" to a meeting following some other community gathering, or to a special occasion for that purpose. Bringing a man into a group of selected men and asking him to join with them in a worthy social enterprise is impressive. In "selling" the man the idea that he should do something, we must not overlook the strength of the "boy-appeal." A small group of Scouts may prove a most effective persuader. Ask the man in and have some Scouts prepare some "eats" for him-that has an appeal!
CONNECTICUT FARM BOY AND HIS "BARRED ROCKS".
In the community where a rural Church sponsors Scouting, the Pastor or the head of the Church organization may prove a very influential factor in influencing men to become active in bringing Scouting to the boys of their rural district or neighborhood.