It is undeniable that there is demand across the County for increased provision of Scouting, whether it is in existing communities and neighbourhoods or in the many new housing developments that are currently planned and being built. Whilst there is a long-term County strategy to increase the amount of Scouting delivered to young people in every District, there are a number of easy actions that individual Groups and Sections can take themselves to help grow and develop provision at a local level. There are two main areas where Groups can look to grow the provision of Scouting:
Increasing Youth Membership
There are two main ways to increase the youth membership of a Group; either by adding new members into the existing Sections, or alternatively opening a new Section. Whichever you decide will work best for your Group, the principle is the same; attract new members by showing them, and their parents, the fun and adventure that Scouting offers.
Where you have spare capacity within your current Sections you might want to consider running a “Bring a Friend Evening”, from which you should hope to engage with friends of current members who will have already heard about Scouting through word of mouth.
Alternatively, if you are at full capacity, are missing a Section, or there is sufficient demand, you might look to run a series of taster sessions and school assembly visits with a view to opening a new Section, where you will hopefully engage with members of the community who may not even be aware of the Scouting provision in the area. As well as these two targeted activities, you should always be looking to build a favourable relationship with your local schools, community groups and businesses, and look to promote the Group through these partnerships.
Recruiting Adult Volunteers
From a one-off parent helper on a camp to a Section Leader or Exec Chairman, it is the rare Group that can say it does not need any more adult volunteers. If you are thinking about recruiting adult volunteers, then you need to follow some simple steps to ensure that you not only find the fight person for the right role, but that you keep hold of them as well.
The largest percentage of our adult volunteers comes from the parents of youth members, either directly or indirectly. When looking to recruit new volunteers, this audience usually proves to be the most receptive, providing you make the right approach to the right person. Look at the parents and family members of the young people in your Group – do you know what careers they all have, or what hobbies they enjoy? Have they been involved in Scouting before, either themselves or through other family members? Why not send a note out to all parents asking them to try the “Four Week Challenge”?
Outside of the parent base, there are a number of avenues to explore, providing you are aware of what and who is out there. Depending on the role and commitment you are looking for, you can try several different recruitment channels, from a general advert on a volunteering website, to a targeted campaign using search groups or name generation meetings.
And once you’ve found someone willing to give up their time to help your Group, you need to ensure that the training and support is in place, from the appointment process right through to gaining a long-service award…