An open ended volunteering commitment can be a scary thing. For parents and other potential volunteers who might not know much about scouting, agreeing to volunteer in itself can be a huge leap. They’re unsure whether they will enjoy it; they may well feel out of their comfort zone and might be equally worried about letting the leader down.
That’s why the Four Week Challenge is such a great way to give adults a taste for the adventure of scouting. It is a time specific volunteering commitment for those interested in supporting young people, staggered, as the name suggests, over four weeks.
The purpose of the 4 Week challenge is for adults interested in voluteering with your scout group or explorer scout unit to see and experience scouting first hand.
The challenge consists of:
Come along, meet the section leadership team and see what we get up to.
Start to help out.
Get a little more involved - maybe run a game or activity.
Decide if volunteering with scouting is for you.
The four week should be used as a vechile to showcase how easy it can be to help, show adults its fun and gradually build a relationship between the leadership team and the new adults gradually increasing their involvement in the programme across four weeks.
- Your weekely programme during the four weeks should be carefully considered so that the new adults are involved in the programme. For example small group activities are good where adults are needed to help facilitate.
- It is important existing adults are positive, welcoming and friendly and open to new members joining the team. This is not hard a ‘sell’ in the early weeks- you don’t want to scare new adults off!
- Adults taking part in the four week challenge would not normally wear uniform but it might be nice to give them a group scarf, and a scouting name if used in your section.
- Communication between meetings is important this could be done by email or text. Just a quick thanks and reminder of what to expect with next week’s programme can make a huge difference to making a new adult feel welcome.
- Most adults taking part in the four week challenge will not be current members of the Scout Association nor hold a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), check through scouting. Therefore like all “none DBS” adults it is important you have enough current volunteers present to make sure you have ‘Sight and Sound’ of the new adult at all times.
- If your programme or venue is not appropriate for your team to have ‘sight and sound’ of the new volunteer at all times you should register them as an occasional helper and obtain a DBS check through scouting prior to the start of the challenge.
- On the first evening the new volunteer should be given a 'Young People First' code of practice (yellow card) and be familiarised with the venue. It would be a good idea to meet them before the start of the section meeting. If the new volunteer continues to volunteer beyond week 4 it is important that they are registered on our national adult membership database - Compass and their DBS is in progress.
Your role over the Four Weeks
Week 1 - Come along meet our team and see what we get up to
Make sure you are prepared and ready to meet the new volunteer, invite them along before the section start time so they have chance to familiarise themselves with the venue and the programme as well as meet the team. You should be prepared to involve the new volunteer in the activities but don’t expect them to run anything yet.
Week 2 - Start to help out
Building on week one, hopefully the new volunteer is starting to feel part of the team. Make an effort to involve them in the activities and let them lead on small tasks (Maybe running an activity base or game). At the end of this week ask them to come prepared to run something next week.
Week 3 - Get a little more involved - maybe run a game or activity
Hopefully your new volunteer is now becoming part of the team. Involve them in everything happening in the evening and encourage them to take the lead on an activity which hopefully they have planned and organised (Possibly with your help).
Week 4 - Decide if volunteering with scouting is for you
During week 4- set time aside during meeting with adults to find out how they have found it, if they enjoyed it, feedback for if it’s repeated in future, if they would be interested in helping again and how? On this evening the new volunteer should be registered on Compass and their disclosure (DBS) check application completed if this has not already been completed.
Some kind of thank you should be given to the new volunteer on week four regardless of whether or not the wish to continue volunteering with the group.
So the four week challenge is complete and if everything has gone to plan, your new volunteer has agreed to continue volunteer - what’s next?
This is just the beginning of an adult’s journey into scouting it is really important that we put just as much effort into the welcome and induction of new adults as we did into the 4 week challenge.
Depending on the role the new volunteer has applied for the correct appointment process should be followed (more infomraiton on this can befound here).
It is also good practice to find a mentor for the new adult who can guide and support them through the first few months. Getting started training is a priority and can be provided through the local training manager.
Leaflet: SCOUTING FOR PARENTS… Take the four week volunteering challenge