Involving parents, carers and families in your section meetings
It’s a fact that forty-five per cent of our new section leaders come from parents of the children in scouting. Involving parents in running your section or group is a great way to show them what Scouting is about and how they can help.
Whilst many parents drop off and pick up their child from section meetings, few realise that scouting is not just a section meeting – there is a whole host of other roles that are on offer. They also have a vested interest in keeping local scouting strong.
Parents and other family members are the best and most likely source of support available to you. Whether it is behind the scenes, helping occasionally or on a more regular basis at your weekly meetings or coming along to help on a day trip or at camp.
You may have already taken on the challenge of recruiting parents to help with the task of running and organising and there are many highly successful ways to get the parents of your members involved.
This guide is designed to share some of these ideas and provide you with help and advice on how to run a section rota and get parents involved in your section meetings and events.
It’s not all plain sailing, encouraging parents to get involved means being more flexible in your approach and realising that not all people are able or prepared to offer their services on a regular basis.
The dad who is willing to take your members round the fire station he works in during the year or the mum who can help out at your meetings every third week are still a valuable resource. Who knows, once they see for themselves how rewarding working with young people is you may be able to encourage them to give more of their time!
Why are they not getting involved?
Whilst a lot of parents and carers have a realistic picture of the challenges we face, many are still picking up on some of the myths that circulate. These include:
Scout groups are closing due to lack of interested young people not adults
Leaders are paid
Leaders are 'superheroes' who know everything
It is an all or nothing approach (i.e. no flexibility and you have to be prepared to commit to once a week)
You have to work directly with young people
Scouting is very 'cliquey' and you cannot help out if you have not grown up throug the movement
You have to wear a uniform to help out
You spend all your time doing paperwork
There is lots of training involved
People are more likely to join a successful operation rather than a failing one.
So, to successfully recruit more regular or flexible adult volunteers your scout group and sections must be seen as:
- open and welcoming: it should be a ‘place of doors, not a place of walls’
- an energetic place, full of enthusiastic people and full of activity
- making a major contribution to the community
- well organised where people’s time is productive
- safe (especially for children) and well managed
- part of a huge, vibrant and successful organisation