Why do we enjoy being Scouters?

whenyouvolunteer_250Chances are, if you’re a Scouter, you enjoy what you’re doing. You’re helping your son and his friends have fun while they learn things like survival skills, leadership, citizenship and being helpful to others. You’re enjoying some of that yourself – as your son learns how to tie knots, you’re getting a refresher too. You meet other like-minded people in your community with similar aims. It’s certainly not because of the money.

The satisfaction we enjoy being Scouting volunteers parallels the experience that employees enjoy working for some of the companies rated highly for job satisfaction. A study by the job-search website Indeed discovered that companies that their employees rank highest have a corporate culture that nurtures employees, treats them with respect and encourages their input into the direction of the company. And while compensation is important in the hiring process, it’s not the most important factor when it comes to employee retention.

For Scouters who do a great job, the running joke is that they’ll double your salary. Of course, there’s plenty of room to do that when you start at zero. It’s not the money that keeps us involved, but the other factors that retain employees at successful companies are present in Scouting as well. Leadership consultant S. Chris Edmonds lists a few:

  • Trusted colleagues. A Scout is trustworthy, first and foremost, and we can trust our fellow Scouters to help our units succeed as well as to support each other.
  • Respect from, and for, other leaders. Just as we trust and are trusted, the other adults we volunteer with are respectful toward us and we toward them.
  • The work is meaningful. We are serving the purpose of helping our kids experience personal growth through the Scouting program. We can see the benefits and advantages in real time. We enjoy this aspect of our work.
  • A fun and engaging culture. Scouting is meant to be fun – for the boys as well as the adults. Without the culture of fun, we don’t have a program that attracts and retains youth.

The Indeed study revealed that companies keep these factors by communicating with employees, asking them what they think of their workplace and the companies’ policies, and use that information to tweak the way they do things. They test new approaches, see what works and what doesn’t, and keep the successful ideas, building on those successes to move farther forward. You may recognize this as the start-stop-continue method of decision making. The Boy Scouts of America has greatly improved their use of this technique in recent years by employing frequent surveys of employees, volunteers and youth in the Voice of the Scout feedback program. The suggestions received actually lead to improvements in the Scout, as well as the volunteer, experience. It seems that we can’t help but talk about being a Scouter to others we meet, and when we meet another Scouter, we can talk for hours about our common passion.

We Scouters may have one of the most fun and enjoyable jobs among volunteers anywhere. We’re helping our kids grow and we’re growing ourselves, too, in friendship, leadership and personal satisfaction and doing meaningful work in our communities as well.

This post first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.
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