Recruiting committee members and getting them active

In the final part of this series, we’ll look at ways to recruit new committee members, and keep them, as well as your current members, active.

Recruiting Committee Members

In Cub Scouts, every scout has a responsible parent, guardian or other relative that works with the scout to help him do his best and make the pack go. Each den has a den leader and hopefully an assistant den leader, chosen by various means. Sometimes a den leader will step forward and volunteer, and sometimes you have to lock everyone in a room and not open the door until there’s a verdict as to who will lead the den. Here’s a thought: In addition to the den leader and assistant, insist that one parent in each den volunteer to be on the pack committee. If you’re a typical pack, you’ll have from five to ten committee members as a result.

Things are a bit different at the troop level. Most parents understand the importance of adult volunteers in Scouting, since they’ve seen the need and result through four or five years of Cub Scouts. Some will volunteer or agree to be assistant Scoutmasters, often the former den leaders, as their sons cross over into the troop. You should also have a few committee members from the pack as well. Don’t lose touch with these parents. Find out who they are and invite them to join the troop committee. One of the selling points of Boy Scouts to the parents is that the adult role changes to where the boys are running things under the adults’ distant but watchful eyes. Though they are no longer directly responsible for arranging this week’s meetings or next week’s outings, there are still many jobs to do, mostly on an adult level, to interest almost any scout parent.

Whether in a troop or pack, ask your parents to complete an adult application when they turn in their son’s application. Some units budget for adult registrations, but even if yours doesn’t, it’s only $16 a year including a subscription to Scouting Magazine.

Getting Committee Members Active

At the pack level, there are the usual positions – treasurer, secretary, advancement, popcorn. Unless you have a very small pack, there should be plenty of committee members available for all the miscellaneous jobs that the Cubmaster or Committee Chair seem to pick up. True, it may seem like more trouble to enlist someone and teach them to do a particular job than to just do it yourself, but as you’ll learn down the road, that’s no way to run a troop, where the adults’ job is to train the boys to do these things. It’s been said that you should create a job for each available adult, if there isn’t a “usual” job for them. How about asking a first-year parent to organize an ice cream social in the spring, or help with arrangements for Blue & Gold Banquet? In fact, try to have someone from each den on the Blue & Gold committee. That way, you should have built-in succession, as the more experienced parents teach the newer ones. Here are some other ideas: Photographer – Publicity – Historian – Camping and Outdoor – Webmaster – Derby chairs – Single event coordinators: hayrides, museum overnighters, or trips to sports events.

In a troop, there’s the same array of jobs for adults with one important addition. Registered committee members are the only ones who can sit on a board of review. Get your newer parents involved in the board of review process immediately. It’s a great way for them to learn about the advancement process and get to know some of the troop’s scouts right away. Be sure that your advancement chair shows them the ropes on boards of review before their first session. Ask them to attend Board of Review training or set one up in your troop. Ask your district advancement team if they will conduct a Board of Review training session for your troop or in your town or neighborhood and invite adults from other troops to attend – it’s a good way for your adults to meet those from other troops.

After a year or so in the troop, find a job for each of your committee members. Try to match up interests and abilities with committee needs. You should have a Webelos resource person and a liaison between your troop and each pack that you typically recruit from. You should also have a transportation coordinator, whose job is to arrange rides to and from campouts and events, and could also encompass maintaining driver lists and data and applying for tour permits. Other jobs include training coordinator, webmaster, photographer and publicity, fundraising – plus a helper for each fundraiser, equipment, service projects, camping resource, summer camp.

You probably also have adults whose sons have long since left the troop but who remain on board as a committee member. They’ve done their service if they held an active position, but be sure to invite them to participate in boards of review and courts of honor. They will very likely be honored to be asked, particularly if you are holding an Eagle board of review at the troop level. Too many times we don’t keep the lines of communication open to those who can connect us to the troop’s past. They can be valuable resources of how things were done “back in the day”.

Summary and Conclusion

Here are some key take-away points from this series of articles:

  • Be organized.
  • Start on time and work towards an on-time finish.
  • Set goals for the meeting and work toward achieving them.
  • Prepare a thought-out agenda in advance, and involve others in creating it.
  • Communicate with the committee.
  • Know your personal style and learn what you must do to be an effective team leader.
  • Foster a sense of cooperation.
  • Deal with troublemakers appropriately but firmly.
  • Don’t do it all yourself – enlist the other adults.
  • Obey the Scout Law.
  • Remember that everything we do is for the boys!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on the unit committee. If you’re just joining us, please check out the earlier articles in the series (links below), as well as the other posts on various topics (just click on Archives, above, to see previous posts by month).  And, of course, I welcome your comments, questions, and experiences.

Previous articles in this series:

 


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