How to recruit and keep Volunteers and BPSA Leaders

An essential part of having a great scout program, is having adults who help make it happen. In today’s busy world, it isn’t always easy to convince parents to help, and it can be hard to figure out how to distribute the work of running a BPSA group.

  1. At your interest meeting, look for the parents who’s eyes light up when they hear about what your program does, plans on, or even hopes to be. Those are the people who are going to make good youth program leaders. Tell them how they are going to earn their own badges, get to do an awesome training weekend, and be fully supported in your group to have a great time with their kid and the rest of the group. 
  2. Most new leaders or volunteers fear having too much responsibility too fast. Tell them you have a plan for the year that out lines community service projects, camping trips, and possibly a few meetings- such as a safety night and a crafting night. Help new leaders feel they have less to plan, and feel less intimidated to jump in. Reassure them you will ease them into the program and teach them what they need to know. Be sure to offer them the training they need, and help them find a BTC3 (or host one) so they can be successful.
  3. Honor what is important to your leaders and parents, and let them set up those things for the group.  YOU don’t need to take on another thing, but be sure your leaders know their desires for the group are important, and you are willing to do things they set up.  For example, have an annual meeting to plan your scout year with your leaders, and invested parents who want to help.  Let everyone volunteer what they want the group to do and also volunteer to set it up.  Running through the year month by month, can help. 
  4. Be sure to say Thank You to your leaders and volunteers. Say this both in private and in public. Send an email thanking them at the time they set up the event.  Then, again, in front on your group so that everyone knows you appreciate their work. Tell the kids: “Ms. Sandy set up this great visit to the Animal Shelter. Please tell her thank you.” This lets your entire group know that you aren’t the only one who works to set up events, too.  
  5. Consider also taking time to recognize your leaders and volunteers with a small gift of a candy bar or such, at the end of each scouting year.  You really can only give your appreciation, so be sure to do that!  My own group has also given small gifts with our group logo on it, ones with the BPSA logo on it, and funny certificates.  One Akela got the “Bringing them All Back Alive” award after an exhausting camping trip. Another leader got an award for “Letting Otters Use Knives” award, for cooking at camp.  Here is a simple certificate you can fill in any way you like: Certificate of Appreciation

Having a healthy group of volunteers that help you run your group will make your group more vibrant and happier. Do you have any tips for finding and keeping volunteers?  Be sure to add a comment!

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