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Are you thinking creatively about recruitment?

I still have vivid memories of counting down the days to my eighth birthday so that I could join the local cub pack in Warsash. I cannot imagine how disappointed I would have been then to have been told that I could not join them because they had no places.

We can only offer Scouting to everyone who wants to join  if we are prepared to think a little differently and be more flexible. Why not consider meeting alternate weeks so twice as many young people join in, splitting your leadership team but continue to programme plan together? Alternatively, could you do your Scouting at the weekend? Could you add another four young people, remembering on average at least one of their parents will be willing to assist you? 

Success breeds success and the more young people that join, the more parents you will potentially have available to help you.  One or two may be willing to help regularly, but you will only know if you actually talk to them and invite them to assist you.

Many of you have successfully achieved this already, how about sharing your experiences with us by leaving a comment?




By Nigel Speakman
on 03/08/2009 17:45

Well we changed our Scout meetings from every Monday to 1 x Saturday and 1 x Monday night a month. In truth the results have been mixed. For starters I got more leaders to help and we have shot from 1 x warranted Scout Leader to 4 warranted leaders in the Scout Section.
Numbers of kids have been constant however the quality of Scouting that we deliver has vastly improved. You can do a lot more nights away running the troop like this. I have kids who have been in 12 months and have racked 27 nights away. They have also been to Kandersteg twice. Once in Summer and once in winter. We have presented 3 Chief Scouts Gold Awards in 12 months were previously we had none.

Average numbers have not increased though. The kids need to be convinced that Scouting and the great outdoors is for them to give up the other activities that also happen for them on a Saturday. So the leadership challenge is to make Scouting the best.

With our current set up of most groups meeting weekly we get a lot of hangers on. Kids who are not so keen on the great outdoors. So I would think carefully if anyone else goes down this road. It can exclude the less dedicated and it is a harder sell to parents as the kids need all the outdoor kit from day 1 in the Scout Section.

We do tend to use all the facilities at our local Scout Camp Sites on our Saturday/weekend meetings. Winter is usually just the Saturday 09:00hrs to 17:00hrs. Summer is a lot of weekends.

By Adrian Full (ESL, Mid Wilts)
on 05/08/2009 00:19

Please don't ignore the Explorer Section! There, as The Big Adventure recognises, the YP aren't as keen to have parents around. And why should they? If we're being successful at encouraging independence they'll want to do things without parents about.

Yes parent helpers are vital, even if it's just transporting YP to events and activities, but they're probably not much help to us in running the Explorer Section as they are in the younger Sections.

I don't know what costs would be involved, but could the Association advertise in specialist outdoor activity magazines to encourage those with outdoor skills to share them with the next generation?

I know I should be doing many more Press Releases, and pushing the fun that adults can have in Scouting, but Leadership is spread so thinly here it's often a choice between writing a Press Release or working on next week's meeting.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I just wish I had a bit of help so that I could do more with/for my Unit! They deserve it, and they reward me so wonderfully by making the Unit the great place it is.

PS Great idea to "split" the top job, and wonderful to see a Blog, I still miss Chris Foster's weekly thoughts of several years ago.

By Alan Wilding
on 29/08/2009 10:44

The current flyers & Posters the Association produce are great, but could do with a group based one for Beavers, Cubs and Scouts for leaflet drops and putting in local shops, take aways etc.

By Roger Wickham
on 29/08/2009 14:58

Recruiting youngsters is certainly no problem. Finding adults willing to help is usually quite easy, but getting them to commit to being a leader is far more challenging. We held an open meeting earlier this year which was attended by a lot of parents from children on the waiting list, and a handfull of parents already affiliated to the Group. We circulated copies of 'where did all that mud come from' to all families connected with the group, together with a covering letter. The result has been 7 parents signed up as 'occasional helpers', but no leaders. (we are down to 3 uniformed leaders for the Group at present).
I think the Young leader scheme is an excellent way of encouraging members to become leaders. Our group has benefited from young leaders (particularly the scout section). These are youngsters who are having such a good time in scouts, that they don't really want to move on. So far they have all drifted off to university or college, where some get involved locally as leaders. The university leavers this year are of the age group that formed the first Explorer units. I am staying in touch with a couple of them, but it seems they are seeking work in the areas that they studied in. It's not likely that any will return to our (rural) area.
One incentive that this group has had for a number of years, is to offer leaders children a discounted membership rate. The group will only charge the capitation fee set by District. This can be quite a saving for large families, who are often more finacially stretched. Unfortunately, once a child moves to Explorers the incentive is lost, as District charges the full membership.

By Claire Probert (AESL Central Yorkshire)
on 29/08/2009 18:19

Don't completely dismiss parental help for Explorers. In our district we have at least 3 parents who are explorer leaders - although we don't all help at the units our offspring regularly attend. But even then they have to accept we will be at some district events. Mine hated the idea of that when she was 14, but at 15 she is mellowing and not quite so adament that I should be excluded from everything.

By Angela Pender
on 29/08/2009 19:35

Its not always about quantity, I believe more in quality. I was seconded to a scout group that only had a strong beaver coloney with 19 beavers in its coloney that was a good enough reason for me to want o take on the challenge. I have been in scouting for 10years and may be something of a sprog, but I have learnt so much in this last year than I had ever learnt before. I started my first night with just two cubs and myself and another training leader. A year on I have 5 leaders and 17 cubs and this September we hope to have our Scout group up and running. Throught the year we have been able to take our scouting out and about into our own community and every cub who started at the beginning of last year have almost completed all their challenge badges. We have interacted with groups within the community who have been able to help us achieve our goal and aim to complete each challenge.We visited the homeless for our global challenge, A fitness club for our fitness challenge, bag packed at sainsbury's for Red nose day for our community challenge, creative challenge we joined with another group in our district and worked together on a play which we preformed in the community to parents and other members of the community.Our Faith Challenge was done through visiting a diversity of churches, the out door challenge camping at scout activity centre and the outdoor plus was completed aat a kingswood activity centre. We have had so much fun and by inviting the parents along we have been able to show them what scouting is about and how much enjoyment we can have. We have two more parents who are our parent helpers and who knows this time next year they may be in uniform. Good luck to everyone in our Scouting family. x

By David Ball
on 09/09/2009 19:40

Why not consider meeting alternate weeks so twice as many young people can join in, you ask? Surely the answer is obvious: they will each only get half as much Scouting!
Why do we, collectively, have such an obsession with numbers? Should the aim be "to offer Scouting to everyone who wants to join", or should it be to offer quality Scouting to as many people as we can?
It would be great to be able to provide Scouting to more young people, but that shouldn't be at the expense of those who are already members, or at the expense of the quality of Scouting we provide - and that means only growing the number of young people at the same rate as we can recruit adults to lead and support them. Recruiting adults - and in the process, opening new sections and groups - has to be the key!

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