Ideas on Recruiting Leaders

A compilation from the Guiding/Scouting Mailing List, Spring 2000

Hey! I think I need to respond to this... why is it assumed that if you can only give one hour a month you can't already have "joined" and be fully committed to Guiding... In my personal opinion - Guiding is going to die if they can't get away from the idea that a unit has to meet every week on the same night with the same four leaders (or two, or three) from September to May. Units don't have to meet every week. Leaders can switch off - or come and go - or only come for certain types of meetings. I am a fully "joined" member who currently gives less than one hour per month. I would be extremely disappointed if people felt that I was not a "real leader" because of it. Just my opinion, Jocelyne Jocelyne_Pasman@EDU.YORKU.CA

Have you tried advertising in your little community newsletter?  Talking to your MP or MPP and having something put in their next mailing?  Promoting at the high school (they all need 40 hours of community service now  to graduate)? Don't forget the local church women's groups... and I know  you have an active Trefoil Guild out there - have you asked them if they  might step in as a "mentor" for a young or inexperienced leader? I know there are MANY potential leaders out there... because I talk  to them at least one a week...                                         Jocelyne_Pasman@EDU.YORKU.CA

Have parent meetings!!!

 This is a growing concern for all of us!! Lots of girls, but no leaders I think part of the solution is to start now to look for help for the fall. Find out who is staying in Guiding and what leaders are moving on with their daughters. Try to recruit the Sparks moms coming into Brownies. Do the same for the other levels as well. This is just the beginning.

It's okay to let everyone know the situation - put a notice in the local churches bulletins, school newsletters, grocery stores ANYWHERE they will let you put up a note

Have the girls ask someone special to them - grammas are great!! Aunts too!! Even some teachers like to work with different age groups then they teach - after all they do love children! Right???

The most important note - Let them know it is a TEAM EFFORT - no one person will be stuck doing the whole job - let's keep this in mind when recruiting new blood. This job is scary enough - its nice to know there are others around for SUPPORT.

Hope this helps, Pam

The subject of how much time, and when, a person could have to give to Guiding came up at National Forum. There was a little "show" with potential leaders being turned down because they weren't available the traditional evenings, September-May/June, each week times.

Points raised were - does Guiding really have to fit the school year? Can we not use someone's skills on a part-time basis, or outside of "guiding hours?". Guiding, like so much in our world, has been creating its own stereotypes - which may have worked when most women were not in the work place and had all sorts of "free" time.

It's time to break away from those stereotypes, or Guiding will die out, not only in Canada, but all around the world. Also, someone took the membership stats and projected the current trend on numbers. It's frightening in how few years membership reached 0!

Possible Solutions - team leadership - registering those who are only available 1 hour or month or so (they still can get the benefits of registration) - running a unit from January through August - having 2 teams of leaders - 1 for part of the year, the 2nd for the rest of the year - use those "paper pushing" and more skills of the born administrators - meet on weekends (there is a very successful unit in Ottawa that does just that)

Please remember - registration has a lot of benefits which can include - a sense of belonging (sooooo important), receiving the official publications, being able to do trainings, etc. Registration is not just a means to allow us to work with the girls - it is for us too! -- Alana Raymond Brownies and PR/Membership Central Division Ottawa, Ontario Canada 

One solution until you get leaders for your active units is to send the girls to Lones - then give them first chance at taking open spots as they become available in your units - this will help retain many girls who would have otherwise gone on to other activities, lost interest in Guiding, etc good luck - it sure is sad when we have the girls in one district but not enough leaders and leaders in another district but not enough girls - you'd think that some how we could put them together!! c.r.a.f.t@HOME.COM

Do you have a Membership Adviser for your district, division, or area? If so, they may have some great ideas for you I have completely changed my focus on getting leaders. Parents are very hard to "pull in" Instead what we are going to try this summer is: (still ask your parents though) Writing letters to places with a lot of female employees....offer to do a display or presentation to them. Some companies offer a bonus to a employee who commits to x number of volunteer hours. Put notices in company newsletters if they will allow it... Go to open house at the university and the college. There are bursaries out there that they can get once they complete x number of volunteer hours....great incentive for them to help out... Many education students are looking for something dealing with kids to put on their resume. We are going to invite some university students (just education to start) to our trainings this year. Not only will they take away great ideas, but bring a lot too! Once they get there if they have fun they may join.....get them involved in the sisterhood of Guiding.... We were selling cookies in Wal-mart and had a lady walk up and say "I've always wanted to be a leader"....just being out there and visible helped. If there is one out there with that opinion there has got to be more...we just have to find them Invite Guiders who have left back and encourage your Senior Branch members to continue Remember that everyone can be very valuable to Guiding, even if they can only give one hour a month...plan that one special event for you, come on your camping trips only...offers to prepare a craft for never know - they may decide to join someday! Develop a team to help one can do this alone. Have each Guider bring a friend to a fun activity...just like the girls bring a buddy night! We just had a meeting with all our district membership and we noticed, coincidence or not, that our two districts with no membership rep are the two that are suffering the most. That is all I can think of right now, hope it helps! If this is your contribution, please contact me so we can give credit where credit is due!!

I find that there's often a job for everyone... :) Every fall I put up a list of jobs that were available in the unit that needed doing, but that none of the leaders wanted to do... often the parents were thrilled to find something they could help with!

- drive to or from a special event
- photocopy materials or letters at work
- share a special skill or experience with the group
- fill in at the last minute if a leader is away
- send out birthday cards to Brownies
- cut out craft materials for a meeting
- store cookies in your garage or on your porch
- come along on a trip
- count the dues and put them in the bank each week
- run errands that need a car (ie: buy food for camp)
- my workplace might donate materials (ie: markers, outdated letterhead paper)
- clean out and organize the Brownie cupboard
- take pictures at meetings or special events
- receive faxes at work
- make phone calls during the business day to get information

and so on... all things that add to the experience if they're done... but that I personally couldn't or didn't want to do... If this is your contribution, please contact me so we can give credit where credit is due!!

1. Target the large offices in your community. Offer to come in and do a Lunch talk about the benefits of being a leader for Guides. Bring pictures, and if you can, a couple of your most enthusiastic girls. Talk about what they can hope to learn, what they will receive as a member of Guiding (sisterhood, training...) and the adventures they can have. Leave some PR materials and your name and phone number so they can think about it and get back to you.

2. Target any University/College in your community. Anyone in the education field needs volunteer hours with youth.

3. Target Recreation Centres or Community Schools. Usually the people who work at those locations can assist you with leads, or may be interested themselves.

4. Ask each girl to ask at least 2 or 3 female adults if they would be interested in becoming a leader. Prepare the girls for "no" answers, but if only 10% of your girls receive one "yes" answer - your problems are solved.

5. Host a "learn about Guides" night where the interested female adults could come and actually be the girls in a unit setting, so they have some idea of what to expect. Ask your Area or Division Advisers to run the "unit" for you that night, and have a registrar whose only job it is to talk to prospective new Guiders. You may want to do the same thing with the Sparks Unit. Do you have a Seniors Activity Centre - how about an ad that states that these women can work with children who are 5 and 6 each week (for those grandma's who don't live close to the kids); or Day cares, or Kindergartens, or Craft Stores, or second hand clothing stores.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE - don't use guilt to recruit. You won't like the result. The women don't want to be there, they won't attend trainings, they resent the girls, and everyone loses. Roni Carson Kelowna, BC

Okay...thought of some more...aimed at the parents this time

~ Mother's Day is coming up...go for a mother/daughter  hike.  If mom can't come bring a grandma, and aunt or even a Dad.  I had  a dad come to our Mother's day tea last year.  Careful in some situations  that girls don't feel left out if they don't happen to have a mother

~ Family picnic...I was thinking about trying that this summer....purpose was to keep the girls interested over  summer...but it would work for parents too.  I am thinking of going to our  National Park and have different activities running all day.  The  families could have some time for themselves as well....parents might enjoy it  and offer to help out!

Carla Paddock Brown Owl Assiniboine Area PR Adviser Brandon, Manitoba

I'm having an Open House in June for next year. We meet at my temple and I am responsible for the overall program as well as my own troop. I'm inviting girls and their families who are going to be in grades K - 9 next year. We'll see what happens  YIGGGS, Judy Kessler

I was just talking to a co-worker ... about Cookies yesterday. He mention that he has never seen Girl Guides in his area. He has seen scouts a couple of times but never the girls. Maybe your area can have more outside community type stuff, clean ups etc. to have them be seen more. Having them out there doing community work and having fun doing it will stick in peoples mind. .... I know we have the same problem in our area and we're trying to be seen more as well. Hope this helps. YIGGGS, Dana "Golden Owl "

I think we may be able to build a temporary solution if we involve a Lones type program perhaps and have all the leaders in the district, trying to have at least one guide leader at each meeting, make themselves available just for one, perhaps two, nights a year. If we then have Trefoil and perhaps even LINK members would help out together with the parents this could work out to be a very interesting program.

Even if they could only meet formally twice a month, or even once month, the girls could be working together at each other's home, etc. etc. The possibilities are endless.

I'm thinking if we could find a good Guide Unit which would have programming details on year 1, 2, & 3, (documented - someone's program calendar for a three year period) we would be able to "assign" everyone (the leaders) something (to their interest) to teach and discuss. The girls could then go and work together or individually on this area and then meet back again to discuss what they have found. - Not quite the ideal solution but if that's how we have to evolve then who are we to say? If this is your contribution, please contact me so we can give credit where credit is due!!

Do you have any other ideas for activities? Contact The GuideZone Team with your comments or suggestions!
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