1st North Berwick Recruitment Event
To find new leaders we arranged a Scout Information evening; advertised it widely; showcased our Group and emphasised the need for more help; explained waiting lists; took details from those attending; followed up with information and offers of support. We now have six new leaders, whose enthusiasm has invigorated our existing team and greatly strengthened our Group.
Like many Groups across the Region, we are always in need of new leaders, with increasing waiting lists and changes in circumstances of existing leaders, so we decided to launch a recruitment event in June 2017. We did this to help us continue to provide the exciting, adventurous Scouting that we already do deliver with our young people on a weekly basis, and also to support our leaders in their roles and help them sustain their commitment by sharing with others the load and privilege of being a leader.
So what did we do?
- First, we called our event a Scout Information Evening, instead of a recruitment event, to encourage people to attend.
- We contacted all our existing membership and waiting-list parents.
- We used every social media outlet locally e.g. Facebook groups for primary and secondary schools, residential community groups, newsletters, church announcements, personal contacts.
- We placed posters advertising the Information Event throughout the High Street and all high-traffic areas in our town.
We arranged the meeting in our Scout hall where we had fantastic displays from every section with amazing pictures of varied activities and experiences. These were hugely appreciated and a great source of discussion to help illustrate what it is we do in Scouting and how we deliver it in our Group.
Many of our Group Executive and leaders from every section attended in uniform and hosted tea and coffee on arrival so people could chat with leaders and Exec members in an informal way.
We had a slideshow ongoing through the start of the evening to demonstrate the huge range of experiences on offer.
Nearly 40 people attended, which surprised me, but equally I was thrilled, as we had no idea if anyone might turn up.
I did a short presentation about 1st North Berwick Group, what our young people thought about our Scouting, what we needed, what was the reality of a child on our waiting list ever getting into their section due to huge demand and the capacity of leaders to meet that demand. I was very open and honest about the reality and the needs we had, and stated that by becoming a leader or an exec member their child would be offered a place in recognition of the time and commitment they were willing to offer by agreeing to an appointment for a minimum of two years.
I was clear about how many leaders we hoped for and about our desire to open a new Beaver colony as that was where we had the largest waiting list and said that we wanted to increase our Scouting provision locally with parental or other adult support, by recruiting new leaders to support existing section leaders. Some of our leaders and Exec members spoke about their role and why they got involved, and gave an honest insight into what being this meant to them.
I reassured everyone that they didn’t need a Scouting background or to be Bear Grylls but stated that they did need to have a willingness to work in partnership with young people in our community and to learn and try new things.
All who attended completed an information form with details about their child/children, and what they as adults could offer to help our group, with options of weekly to termly commitments, by running activities, helping with trips, admin support for sections, getting involved in our Exec. This meant that afterwards we had a register of who was there and it also gave people a chance to consider what they could offer after the Information Evening.
The evening closed with a question-and-answer session.
Then the hard work began as everyone who attended was e-mailed and thanked for their interest. Those who couldn’t attend but had been in touch by phone or e-mail were also sent an information sheet to complete. The offers of help were varied and it took some time to analyse who could do what and when, and match what they could offer with what we needed as a Group.
Then those who specifically offered some assistance were invited to meet up again for a short meeting to explore their offers to see if we could turn them into a reality. A more detailed explanation was given about the Appointment process along with reassurance that training and support would be available regardless of the role undertaken.
The event with subsequent follow-up resulted in 8 new potential leaders being identified but two subsequently withdrew as their circumstances had changed, so we successfully recruited 6 new leaders who now help deliver our Scouting on a weekly basis plus one person on a fortnightly basis. Their enthusiasm and fresh perspectives have invigorated and supported the existing teams and 1st North Berwick Group has grown in strength, size and profile within our town.
Hilary Cartwright GSL 1st North Berwick