This BP Pointer from “The BP 2019 List” (or: ways to Be Prepared for Scouts BSA on February 1, 2019) is about how your new troop of girls will find the adult leader support it needs – and don’t assume “the adults in the current troop of boys” will do it all!
A Troop needs both Scouts and Leaders — at a minimum, five youth and four or five adult leaders (Scoutmaster, Chartered Organization Representative, and at least three Committee Members, one of whom will be Committee Chair — but the COR may also fill a Committee slot). And the more Scouts you have, and the more program you aspire to, the more adult support you need.
Some of those leaders may come from an existing troop of boys, because they can register as “multiple” for free (see BP Pointer No. 4, and the previous Pointer about “linked” Committees – a single Committee to serve both troops). But these things are true: your current troop could use more adult leader help, and adding a new troop will mean you will have a greater need for more help.
The keys to recruiting people to help or lead are: Did you ask? And did you ask a question they will answer with a “Yes”?
- In some cases, you’ll know a parent prospect for a leader role can be asked to take on a big role, like Assistant Scoutmaster or Treasurer or Popcorn Kernal – some have proved their ability through service to a Cub Scout pack.
- In other cases, you might want to start with “Little Task Asks”: so, you might not ask that person to “take on a role” but instead to “help in a small way”.
- So, rather than “would you be on the Advancement Committee?” or “Assistant Scoutmaster” …
- … you might ask “if we give you the list of badges we need for the Court of Honor, could you buy them at the Scout Shop?” or “would you be able to camp with us next month” (for first-timers, pick a cushy campout, not a tough trek!)
- It’s usually good to get to know parent prospects … ask around, chat them up, but not (directly) about how they can help – maybe ask what they do, what they do for fun (or did BC, “before children”), why they like their child in Scouting:
- That will help you find their passion or interest.
- It may give you information on a role (like a Merit Badge they could counsel) and if you hit the jackpot you may find a potential high adventure trek advisor.
- Or Assistant Scoutmaster or other key role.
- You may find they work near the Volunteer Service Center, so buying badges won’t be “out of the way”!
- Here’s an offbeat (but delicious) way to prospect for a
- leader (the Oreo test): https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2014/02/26/try-this-identify-potential-scout-leaders-with-the-oreo-test/.
- There’s a plethora of leader organization and recruiting tools at this District Website about turning parents into helpers and helpers into leaders – OK, that page is focused on Cub Scout adult leader recruiting, but the techniques of recruiting tie into troops too, like in the “Fifty Ways to Lure a Leader” piece).
- No method works all the time …
- … but each method can work some of the time.
For a troop, break down what jobs you need to fill to be successful:
- Scoutmaster. If it’s hard to recruit, maybe recruit “the next Scoutmaster” too, so that the current one has an exit plan.
- Assistant Scoutmasters. Many might shy away, because they don’t know it all – but all adults know something that can make them successful.
- Committee People. Sure, you need some to fill out a Charter, but the most important task there is to find people’s passions so that the serve a function beyond showing up at “committee meetings” to say “harrumph” over an agenda … so, break down the roles based on your troop, your program, your needs, your goals, and your resources (like your prospects for filling functions):
- You of course need a Chair – someone great with recruiting, organizing, coordinating support for your youth-facing leaders.
- You’ll for sure want a Treasurer registered and vetted with background check since they’ll be handling your money.
- Most Troops like people to support Membership (recruiting, paperwork, recharter), Recognition (Courts of Honor), Advancement (recordkeeping, events, Merit Badge counselors, Eagle Support, Boards of Review, etc.), Fundraising, Equipment, Service Projects, Outreach to related organization (Pack, Crew, etc.), Training, and more.
- Here’s a Troop website “help wanted” list that is just one way to “slice and dice” up troop support jobs. That Help Wanted list has in fact evolved over time based on the abilities of people in various roles. They use a Pledge Card at Courts of Honors to help fill certain vacant roles.
And for new parents, with no Cub Scout leadership on their resume, who are green to the program but interested in it for their child, they’ll like the idea that troops are “youth run”, and think they are off the hook … but you can still hook them! Some units use witnessing a Board of Review as an “entry level” role to get the parent “hooked” on Scouting.
- Many times they will be impressed with how their child’s peers perform, and can be told “you know, your child was just like that in her last Board” – often to the shock of the parent, who may normally only get one word responses or glances in response to parental questions: “fine”, “yeah”, “whatever”. Teens!
- But when they see Scouts shine in a Board of Review, they think: wow, this program works!
- Now, for those who cite that only Committee Members may serve on a board of review, note that the suggestion here is to witness the Board … so have 3 Committee Members be the Board, and get that new parent signed up to join them next time. Or, do your best for your Scouts.
Though a bit dated, the recruiting plan at https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/18-981.pdf has some valuable ideas, and is replicated in the training module found at https://www.scouting.org/training/adult/supplemental/selecting-quality-leaders/.
For more on starting a Troop, see this District resource page: https://www.southfultonscouting.com/node/3956.