Story contributed by Zachary Ross, Assistant Scout Executive of the Pine Burr Council
As unit-serving executives, we have all experienced it: It’s the high-pressure school night season, and we are halfway through our gauntlet of schools. The excitement of new families joining Scouting is still alive, but the fatigue of back-to-back-to-back school nights and joining events is starting to set in. You’ve got more units to connect with in the week ahead, but a unit you met with last week is still “clinging on” to the applications from their sign-up night, and your manager wants to know when those “apps” will be in and on the books.
Many of us have incredible, dedicated volunteers that are really involved in the school night process. Their help can be crucial to being successful, but, just like us, they lead very busy lives, and sometimes they hold onto applications and funds for extended periods of time. So how do we address this “CLINGON” situation? Below are five best practices.
- Consistency in support – If your assistance to units is reliable and timely, it will go a long way to alleviate this situation.
- Membership goals – These should be set from top down, council to district to unit. If everyone is educated on the goals and deadlines and their role in helping to meet them, it should help people know what is expected of them – including when they need to turn in applications and funds.
- Expectations – It is our job to set the sign-up night process expectations and communicate them clearly on the front end to our volunteers. A district roundup training can be a good tool to explain why the school night for Scouting process is set up this way. Remember: volunteer driven, professionally guided!
- Recognition – Most people like positive reinforcement, so use it to your advantage. Use some form of acknowledgement for units that get applications into the office timely and hit their unit growth goal!
- Unit roster – Some units may have had experiences in the past that cause them to worry today about the applications getting to where they are supposed to go. Offer to email them a new unit roster once the youth are all registered.
Scouting Wire would like to thank Zachary Ross for contributing this story.