Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Re: Parent Recruitment (was New Subscriber)
Re: Parent Recruitment (was New Subscriber)
Tue, 15 Jun 1999 09:12:09 -0400
Glenn jones asked:
I will be watching and listening for a couple of things in particular - (1)
> the different strategies and techniques used by Packs/Troops to get
> to vounteer their time, and (2) the different strategies and techinques
> by Packs/Troops to get parent to volunteer their time (can you guess what
> biggest problem is?). We have a pack of around 65 cubs, and have only a
> handful of parents wiling to step up and help.
I was Cubmaster for a 60 boy pack for four years and early on getting
parents involved was difficult. The biggest help was a Parent Talent Survey
(PTS) that I developed specific to the Pack. Not only did the survey ask for
occupations (for resources), special talents (one family could make that
funny noise using their armpits!) and the names and ages of siblings, it
listed all of the events for the year and any committee vacancies. Parents
were asked to choose at least two tasks on the list because "Scouting
doesn't happen without your help."
We used the PTS to choose our event committee chairs and form the event
committees. We push the Family program right from the start. On Rally Night
we let the parents know exactly what is expected: Parent attendance at all
pack meetings (we would have activities for siblings), working on at least
two events, and fundraising requirements. Sometimes there are circumstances
that make it so a parent truly can't do as much as we wanted and we made
limited exceptions however, we attempted to find jobs for everybody as they
fit the situation. For example, we had one cub with a severely disabled
older brother. Mom could rarely make it to anything but she could make phone
calls. Huge help!
We also are careful in our selection of volunteers for the committees.
We usually put the Parent of an older Scout in charge but have the parent of
a younger Scout be the assistant for the event. This way we have
'experienced' people for the following years. We also try not to over burden
anyone. We discourage the Den leaders from taking on other jobs, and we
attempt to have a parent chair only one event.
One of my favorite recruiting stories:
I had a Mom that was such a pain in the.... (she made me very
unscoutlike) This Mom complained ALL the time. Nothing was ever done to her
satisfaction yet she never really contributed to making it better.
Gradually, I began to see a pattern to her complaints, she never felt that
she had enough information about what was going on. (Both her and her child
do not like surprises nor are they comfortable with "going with the flow")
One day, during a real tirade, I said " You are absolutely right, we do need
better communications. I have great clip art, would you please edit a
newsletter for us?"
Low and behold, our Pack now had one of the best Cub newsletters I have
ever seen. She helped the boys write articles, she announced advancements,
special events, and birthdays. The Dens could tell about their field trips,
the parents knew when money is due and to whom, and we even had a
"classified section" for job vacancies and non-scout related good news
stories. I wrote a "Cubmaster's Corner" column where I would talk about the
benefits of Scouting or give a "Scoutmaster's Minute". We used the
newsletter as one of our recruiting tools.
Once you have established the atmoshere of "Family Program" / Parent
involvement, and expectations, recruitment becomes easy. Complaints open the
doors to solutions and recruitment. And remember, there is never a bad
volunteer but sometimes you can have a good volunteer in the wrong position.
Hope this helps!
Advancement Chair, Troop 1615 Royal Oak, Michigan
(Former Cubmaster, Pack 1631, former Exploring Executive - Detroit Area