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Thread: Recruitment problem becomes a crisis

  1. #1
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    Recruitment problem becomes a crisis

    Yesterday I got a new (paid) job, with that and my new role as ADC Beavers I was hoping to share the load of weekly leadership responsibilities with my ABSL, (she is a full time working parent with a husband who works away so never does any admin and I haven't really asked her, she turns up to meetings and is great with the Beavers so ) but tonight she has resigned.

    We instituted a parent rota this term but it still leaves me with all the planning, finances etc. And I just can't do it. No parents have come forward when I have asked for more regular volunteers. I will get a couple of young leaders next term which helps manage the Beavers of an evening but it's not enough.

    i need to write a letter to parents stating the situation and asking for volunteers but as the only uniformed person I would need to be there every week, and once I start my job that's not going to be possible. Not sure where to try to recruit non parent helpers..

    We have no GSL to turn to, I am actually not sure where to get help.
    'Simba'

    BSL/ADC Beavers.

    All opinions stated are my own.

  2. #2
    Senior Member lakes_stu's Avatar
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    I know that it is important to be positive when trying to recruit. However, in this case I think I would be tempted to level with parents and tell it like it is.
    All posts represent my own opinions only. In no way do they speak for anyone else, including (but not limited to) my group, district, county or HQ.

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  4. #3
    Man in a daft hat Hatman's Avatar
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    This is certainly a difficult situation. Normally you would turn to your GSL and then ADC for help, but you have neither of these. Can Leaders of other sections in your Group help? This is something we often do here.

    Failing that, here is what I would do:

    You need to think about what is important here. First and foremost, you need to look after yourself. You have got too much going on and this is not going to be sustainable. After this, surely the most important people affected are the Beavers in your Colony. You need to find a way of keeping it going.

    I would resign as ADC. What was the Appointments Committee even thinking of when they said you had time to do this? Focus only on what you can do and District stuff comes right down at the bottom of the priority list.

    Now focus on reducing your workload in the Colony. What can you cut out? Can you find anyone, friends, neighbours, parents, who might be able to take on any of the tasks you do now? Prioritise everything you do. Make a list and cross off anything that is not important.

    Recruitment of new Leaders and Helpers must now be the priority. I would make this my main focus. Approach everyone you think might be suitable and ask them directly and face to face for help. Split the tasks up into small chunks and try to spread it around.

    If you can't be there every week (and nobody can do this) then make it clear that the Colony will be closed on those days.

    Above all, look after yourself first.

    Best wishes

    Nigel
    ABSL 1st Hoveton and Wroxham Sea Scouts
    www.hovetonandwroxhamscouts.org.uk

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    AESL & AGSL shiftypete's Avatar
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    I would ask your DC for some support in helping to recruit additional Leaders, they are your acting GSL presumable plus they must have appointed you as ADC so if they want to keep you in that role then they need to help your Colony solve their Leadership crisis.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Assistant Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

    Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

  6. #5
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    The ADC role has only just started and its a job share so actually not too bad, as I say I took it on looking to drop some of my weekly commitments!!

    No DC at present so our RC (who is not exactly local - region is big) is acting up - have dropped him an email
    'Simba'

    BSL/ADC Beavers.

    All opinions stated are my own.

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    There's no rule that says you have to provide Beavers weekly. If you can't run weekly, run two weekly until somebody steps up to carry the alternate weeks.
    John Russell
    ex-CSL now ACSL 1st Pinhoe Exeter Devon
    Cubs don't care how much you know, but they need to know how much you care.

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    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    Or simply institute a mandatory parent rota - and you will need to be prepared to say that if they do not want to do that, their kids cannot be Beavers. You may need to be brutal; you cannot run the section without at LEAST support on the evening.
    Chris Hawes, District Media Manager, Watford North Scout District and Watford Scouts; Group Secretary and Webmaster, 9th North Watford Scout Group.
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    Recruitment problem becomes a crisis

    Nigel is right, your first priority is yourself.

    We got close to this situation in our group. The Chair and I prepared a letter to all parents that made it clear that there’s nothing set in stone that says our group must continue to exist. It’s there because kids wanted to do scouting and their parents supported that desire. If the group ceased to exist, the Leaders would simply move elsewhere. Those kids who really wanted to be in scouting might find places elsewhere, but might not. Therefore the continued existence of the group was solely dependent on parents being prepared to support their children’s desires to be scouts.
    Step up and become leaders or exec members, or we will call a Group Scout Council meeting to close the group at the end of term.
    Luckily, just the threat of sending the letter prompted a couple of parents to step forward.


    Rant mode on
    Some would see this as heavy handed. Maybe it was, but I really believe the points we made. Scouting should/must be driven by the local community. It should be bottom up, not top down. If the local community doesn’t want scouting, there are plenty that do. We’ve allowed ourselves to get too corporate and believe that our group must continue to exist because it has done for the past 50-100 years or whatever. That approach is getting us to the position where parents treat us as a social service that they are “entitled” to have.
    Rant mode off

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    Senior Member Ihatecamping's Avatar
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    Hatman got it right.

    One way to reduce the stress is to prepare your programme for the rest of the year, based on your new availability, and offer out sessions to other leaders and parents. If no-one takes you up on it, that night is cancelled.

    Every time I am away with work I tend to arrange an external activity or speaker, like roller skating or a local celebrity. Then anyone can ‘run’ the session, simply by turning up, opening the hall and making tea. It can cost money, but you have to either charge the parents or take it from group funds.

    If the Group Leadership Team is actually you and one or two hangers on, maybe your community doesn’t actually need a Scout group, and you need to acknowledge the reality of the situation.
    The long march through the institutions is nearly complete.

  13. #10
    ASL Kev's Avatar
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    I would suggest calling a group scouters' meeting (a meeting of all the leaders and assistants in your group) and see what ideas they have. There may be a parent who likes doing admin but wouldn't want to help at meetings. Find a way you can cope. Would it work if you had meetings alternate weeks or the 1st and 3rd weeks in the month or something like that. Tell parents face to face (say call an early pickup) about the proposed new arrangements and why they are needed. My theory is that people don't come forward until they see a vacancy.
    Last edited by Kev; 09-02-2018 at 09:35 AM.

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    We had as similar situation. Our Beaver Leader was the only uniformed adult but was supported by a fairly loose parent rota.

    We tried and tried to get people to commit - its all fair and well having a parent rota, but it also needs to be managed, what you really need is another (or more than one) uniformed adult - someone prepared not just to come down and help, but to be a 'responsible' person.

    Our BSL eventually left, and that essentially forced others to step up. Its not a way to run any youth provision, and I really do wish they'd do something about it and stop this focus on parents-as-volunteers.

    I'd agree with what others have said about looking after yourself first. Loyalty to the kids is admirable, but in order to fix something, sometimes you have to break it completely so it can be built back up again - and better the weekly beaver meetings break than you yourself...

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    To be fair in some senses you have a more positive message than might be the case elsewhere.

    In terms of a crisis point you are saying that you can't keep doing this alone, you need a partner who you are able to help learnt the ropes etc. That is massively better than saying that you are leaving, and you need someone to take over totally, with no experienced help etc. I suspect far more would be willing to come and work with you than take it on entirely themselves.

    I'm afraid personally I would be dumping the ADC role if nothing else as a point of principle and protest at the failure of the structure to provide you with proper support. Its when we have section leaders trying to function with no active GSL, no proper DC and at best distant management from County/Region that things start to go wrong - at which point the reaction from TSA doesn't necessarily back the person who has been there, doing their best without the support they should have had. So in your shoes the RC would be getting a letter of resignation explaining that in the continued lack of a GSL and DC, your focus has to be on your own section and recruiting more help, not on an ADC role that may or may not continue when they pull their finger out and appoint a DC!
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    Senior Member oneiros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    ... stop this focus on parents-as-volunteers.
    Yes. I appreciate it may be the only way to keep a Section running, but IMO, 'casual' help should only be considered an interim solution. In most cases, it literally is, as a parent is very likely to move on with their offspring. I find TSA's insistence that we get enthused about 'flexible volunteering' less than helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oneiros View Post
    Yes. I appreciate it may be the only way to keep a Section running, but IMO, 'casual' help should only be considered an interim solution. In most cases, it literally is, as a parent is very likely to move on with their offspring. I find TSA's insistence that we get enthused about 'flexible volunteering' less than helpful.
    I think the main drawback is, as you say, parent rotas (especially) in a way should be something you have which augments an existing adequate leader team, you can still have one and cultivate potential uniformed adults, but if you're relying on one... I think you already have problems.

    A more holistic (what a horrible word to use), leader recruitment campaign, will also appeal to interested parents anyway.

    But that doesn't help Tomsmum...

    I'm all for being positive, but when the situation with a section and its leadership numbers is dire, sometimes you have to press the button. So to speak...

  21. #15
    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oneiros View Post
    Yes. I appreciate it may be the only way to keep a Section running, but IMO, 'casual' help should only be considered an interim solution. In most cases, it literally is, as a parent is very likely to move on with their offspring. I find TSA's insistence that we get enthused about 'flexible volunteering' less than helpful.
    I disagree - of course it shouldn't be used as a long-term replacement for proper leaders, but it's a good way to ensure you can always meet the ratios without needing excessive numbers of leaders, especially with the younger sections. And might encourage some parents to volunteer more formally/regularly.
    Chris Hawes, District Media Manager, Watford North Scout District and Watford Scouts; Group Secretary and Webmaster, 9th North Watford Scout Group.
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