Lodge Ledger: First-year pin program retains Arrowmen in Kansa Lodge

By Eric Zavinski

Kansa Lodge has recently implemented a first-year Arrowman program, and it has been yielding results. A simple palm-like pin award has brought about quite the impact in terms of recruitment.

Although it cannot be said exactly how much the physical reward has enticed Arrowmen, the track to obtain the pin has definitely done some good for the lodge. Kansa Lodge Chief Brandon Pryce is glad to continue its implementation since the program’s debut in 2011. “[The leadership felt like the lodge] kind of fell in a black hole; membership was going down,” explained Pryce on the state of the lodge’s membership before the program began. The pin became an incentive to enact retention. New members who followed the requirements earned a pin to decorate their uniforms and symbolize their accomplishments.

In recognition of attending several different types of meetings, performing community service, remaining active in their home troops, sealing their bonds in Brotherhood and possibly becoming an elangomat or committee member, Arrowmen were awarded their pin when all of the requirements were completed. Lodge leadership would recognize these Arrowmen at the meeting or event at which they completed all of the requirements by presenting them their award during the event. Recipients are also recognized again at the annual lodge banquet.

Kansa Lodge is famous for the extensive inventory of their trading post. Associate lodge adviser Jim Pogue, who is responsible for the trading post, wanted to create a product that helped the lodge’s membership retention problem. Back in 2011, he and a group of other leaders thought: “what can we do to get new Arrowmen in the lodge?” Pogue asked. “It worked right off the bat.”

The palm-shaped pin, suitable for any Arrowman’s lodge flap or BSA field uniform collar, means more than the other Kansa-labeled merchandise of the trading post. Some items include water bottles, blankets, patches and even cell phone chargers. The pin with the nickel finish represents a return on investment for the lodge and the key to membership retention. Arrowmen can put their new awards on their uniforms.

Overall, the initiative has helped Kansa Lodge increase its Brotherhood membership and has helped the lodge avoid the “sash and dash” issue of newly induced Arrowmen never attending a second event after their Ordeal. Now, Arrowmen are more likely to stick around and enjoy what the lodge has to offer. Pryce said, “Certain individuals come in, and it’s fun to see where these guys are going.”

Both Pryce and Pogue along with the rest of Kansa’s leadership hope to see the enthusiasm of Arrowmen keep going through every year. As long as they keep the focus on the youth and make them feel like they belong, they see no need to worry about Kansa’s success.

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