Re: Recruiting Leaders
Mary E. Anderson (marya@SMARTNET.NET)
Wed, 24 Jul 1996 22:21:01 -0500
I would like to share a success story on recruiting leaders. In our pack
last year we were in desperate need of new leaders (and boys) for the
coming year. The first thing we did was revamp our tiger program to one
that turned out be very much like the new tiger mania program that is
launching this fall. We were very concerned with this 'first look' that
the tiger program offers. One of the changes we made was to put the
tiger coach (me) in a position that more resembled a den leader then
what BSA was recommending. We did this because:
1. Almost all adult in our pack were new to scouting. We often assume
in scouts that everyone has participated in scouts. We also often assume
that everyone can lead a game, flag ceremony, or craft. Neither of these
is true. It is extremely hard to do something that you've never seen or
done, no matter how simple it is to you.
2. We also discovered that most parents were not even experienced in
handling a group of kids. The majority of our adults were lower
middle-class, where both parents worked while the kids were in day care.
We found that parent were far from experiencing leadership growth in
their monthly activities with our tigers. Instead they were experiencing
a chaotic INVASION of there homes. Because they had INVITED these kids,
they didn't lay down the typical foundation rules that you would take
for granted. (i.e. no running indoors, stay only in these rooms, etc.).
They agonized over what to do when it was their turn, and then had no
ideal how to implement it. At best these activities had a kind of
birthday party atmosphere, with no scouting elements (i.e. songs,
fellowship, learning). How, I know your thinking, what a bunch of
dummies, but remember you grew up in scouts. Scout taught you
leadership. Try to imagine what you would be like if scouting hadn't
ever been a part of your life.
Any leaders that we got were from the minority that didn't fit this
mold, and had scouts or other background that prepared them somewhat. No
So I, as tiger coach attended and lead every tiger activity. The parent
host, was given specific duties like arranging for tour permits, buying
supplies, refreshments, transportation, etc.. Our goal in doing this was
to teach the adults as much as the boys what a den leader does, and it
worked better than we even imagined. Out of 18 tigers, we got 16 adult
leaders (could have had more, but didn't need...yet).
One more note, every adult that we recruited was specifically selected
(by pack committee) and asked PERSONALLY. We outlined what they would do
(and since they had seen it, they could understand it...you will be
doing what Mary did with the tigers), what training and support we would
supply, and why we wanted and needed them in particular.
Now maybe your thinking we were just lucky, but I think it was more then
that. Parents want to good by their kids, and they won't want to do
stuff that they feel unprepared for. Telling them they will get training
is too vague, when their worried about "What if I can't". Also, training
is very remote. Most people learn my example, not from a book.
My advise is to really get behind a strong tiger program. This fall I am
our district tiger mania coordinator and will be training the packs in
our district how to implement this new program. Find out when your
district is offering this training and get your committee there! This
dynamite program could well be your packs life blood, for both boys and
CM Pack 3051
Heart of America Council-Pelathe District: Lawrence, KS
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City