The number one challenge faced by leaders of youth-serving organizations is having too little help from other parents. But why do some organizations seem to have no shortage of volunteers, and meetings and campouts always run smoothly? Here are some tried and true pearls from seasoned scouters:
1. Set an expectation that everyone volunteers. At the first opportunity when new members join the group, let parents know that they will be asked to volunteer for at least some position. List in writing on a handout which positions have known vacancies with a brief description of what duties are involved. Not sure what the job descriptions are? Here is a list of volunteer positions with job descriptions for a typical pack and troop. Your unit might have different positions, so customize your own list according to your unit’s need. Let everyone know that by pitching in with some volunteer role, no one gets all the work dumped upon him or her.
2. Use a family talent survey and require every family to fill one out. In the Orange County Council, an electronic version of a very useful family talent survey can be found online. In this survey, parents are asked about their own Scouting background and what sorts of positions might suit them. Once it is filled out, our council staff will email your unit leader all responses that come in every couple of weeks. Go through your roster and make sure every parent has responded, and remind non-responders, so no one misses out. You can copy and paste the link below into an email to your unit’s parents:
Select the option that best describes your family to take the survey:
Cub Scout Family Boy Scout Family Venturing Family