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.
There are many ways of awakening interest in Scouting in the rural institution, neighborhood, or home:
1. USE OF SPEAKER at some public meeting at some suitable center or institution. Here invitations may be both public and individual. A very excellent way to get a key-man (or key-family) interested is for some friend of theirs to extend a personal invitation to such a gathering-or go and "get" the person invited, if that is necessary to guarantee attendance. A personal invitation from the Council President, or Commissioner, or some influential Scouter, often carries the prestige to get results.
2. USE OF CONFERENCE at some convenient place, perhaps at the individual's own office, or home- certainly it must be at his convenience and the place should be of his selection, so that it savors of an invitation. In rural towns or villages, luncheons or dinners (even breakfasts with some guest speaker) make excellent settings for such conferences. In the country, the working day, the seasons, the crop situation, the chores, and distance, present important problems. The owner of a business in town can go to a noonday luncheon, on certain days, without much difficulty. One of his employees faces a more complex problem.
A farmer, ten miles out, has a different set of problems again. He may be plowing or harvesting a perishable crop. To stop, clean up, drive to town, attend a noon meeting, drive home, change clothes, would mean the loss of much of the day. Hence the necessity of consulting people with experience in such matters so as to know what not to do.
HARVESTING RICE IN ARKANSAS.
3. USE OF LITERATURE. The Boy Scouts of America has a very wide selection of literature on which Councils receive regular quantity prices, and which may be used to awaken man-interest in boys. Among these, some especially adapted to Rural Scouting are:
This is a small, pithy pamphlet of the kind called a "Take-me-home." ($1.00 per hundred.) It fits easily into a letter or into the pocket.
This book of over 600 pages which sells for 50 cents at retail contains numerous and admirable pictures of live stock and vegetables and grains and other farm products and has proven highly useful in interesting rural people in Scouting.
Out of some 40 or more Merit Badge subjects representing all major farm interests and closely related to all of country life, some may be selected with an eye to the main interests of the prospect. For example, if he is a raiser of beef cattle, that Merit Badge might be used first in literature presented. These booklets, with a few exceptions, sell for 20 cents each.
Among the scores of pamphlets, booklets and books published by the Boy Scouts of America, there are types of literature aimed to interest the farm groups, miners, lumber interests, educator, the pastor, the parent, the special racial group and the special religious groups. Copies of these lists should be available in every council office, so that the committee can select the pieces of literature which best fit its plans and needs.
In addition to these, Boy Scouts of America through the Rural Scouting Service from time to time issues special helps and aids which may be secured through that service.
4. USE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS. The public demonstrations and rallies and special circuses, Merit Badge Expositions, Street Shows, Camporees, Camporals of Scouting in the council and in the district are excellent occasions to invite in men to begin cultivating them as friends of and later workers with boys.
5. THE USE OF BOYS. One of the most certain ways of cultivating a man as a friend of boys is to bring him in touch with boys, perhaps through his own life's work and hobby interests. In camp, or meeting, or public occasion-in personal counsel seeking his advice-in direct requests as with "Friend and Counselor" of Lone Scouts-in public service contacts-the appeal of an earnest boy is a strong one.
6. USE OF FRIENDS. Friends, generally speaking, have much more influence on us than strangers. To get a close friend of a man, to urge him to take an active interest in Scouting, is to start with a favorable approach. Once these contacts are made with a man, other forms of interest and scientific sales appeal should be used, as suggested.