Article contributed by Eric Wagstaff, district executive from Portland, OR
Empowering community members to promote their positive Scouting experiences is one of the most poignant and rewarding aspects of being a Scouting professional. We have each encountered individuals who may be unaware of the amazing opportunities available to them through Scouting. Our leaders, that is, the people who are passionate about bringing Scouting to their communities (not necessarily the people who wear uniforms or provide great program), have the energy and connections to create these relationships. When their enthusiasm is harnessed and deployed correctly, their connections lead to amazing and sustainable growth.
Scouting units are full of widely unique individuals – each with their own thoughts, patterns, hobbies, and skillsets. These leaders exist in our current units and might be among those who have little to no knowledge of Scouting as an organization. Many may be interested in starting a unit of their own. Through our direct contact with these people, we have a great opportunity to harness their skills, communication channels, network circles, and time to grow Scouting in our respective service areas. We must be brave enough to ask and avoid the habit of going to the same one or two people within a unit when asking for help.
Sparking a casual conversation and encouraging these individuals to envision what they believe the ideal Scouting experience can be is the first step toward empowering them to become more invested in the growth of our programs. Once they present their vision and ideas, the diligent professional can guide the volunteer closer to full commitment and program buy-in. Through the process of identifying their ideal Scouting experience, some of their passions, skillsets, and community connections will be apparent, and you can begin to provide them with information about how you can help them make their ideal Scouting experience come to life in their community.
At the conclusion of this conversation, you will know whether an individual is excited about spreading the word of Scouting to their local spheres of influence and to families who may be interested in joining the adventure; they are excited to participate in their ideal program and see it come to life!
The Scouting program has a structure that allows for these champion parents, grandparents, and others to bring Scouting to their communities in unique ways. Using our knowledge and expertise to connect with and empower these individuals to become excited about Scouting is extremely powerful. When someone is invested in radiating a distinctive delivery of the Scouting program that reflects their community’s needs, we should be there to identify these people and help facilitate.
Scouting Wire would like to thank Eric for contributing this article.