I’ve often heard about the difficulty of recruiting adult help from other Scouters and I wonder, sometimes, if it has to do with the way we ask?
When the coffee is flowing and the discussions range wide we volunteers commiserate with each other. How many times have you heard things like:
“Why are we the only ones who will do this?”
“How come I can’t get anyone else to help?”
“All those other parents are so irresponsible – they think we’re just here to babysit!”
We love the work but are bothered by the fact that we do it all; a perfectly natural, perfectly understandable reaction to the apparent or actual lack of volunteers.
I wonder if we haven’t perpetuated this lack by allowing this resentment to color the way we ask people to volunteer?
When we are totally dedicated to something like Scouting it’s hard to understand why others don’t seem to be. Their lack of commitment and dedication can feel like an affront to our commitment and dedication. That affront causes resentment and resentment is unattractive.
If we stand up in front of a group of parents and plead for help does our resentment show? I’d rather not have someone try to shame or beg me into anything – in fact I am going to be rather resistant to them.
We’ve never really had a lack of volunteers in our troop – sometimes we seem to have too many! We tell every incoming family that we’d welcome their help and we do understand that schedules and commitments can be very tight.
When folks do volunteer we make it clear that we understand they will do what they can do when they can do it.
Are some more dedicated than others? Do some shoulder a bit more of a burden than others? Sure, that’s to be expected.
We do have fun as we work together – it’s really a great time. I think this attracts other folks to join in.
If your appeals for help aren’t having positive results it may be that you’ve convinced yourself that no one cares, that no one will help. People can sense that and it may be your attitude that keeps them away.