Blog | How to convert a volunteer into a signed-up leader

How To Convert A Volunteer To A Leader

Want to get more helpers involved with your Pack? Matt Swaine explains what convinced him to convert from volunteer to signed up leader

Baloo or Bagheera? I had no intention of signing up to be a Cub Leader and I never imagined buying the uniform, but after 10 weeks of being involved, I’m about to select my own Jungle Book name.

Cubs was an important part of my childhood, so when Charlie, my youngest, came home from school and announced he wanted to join the Bristol 44th, I was delighted. I just didn’t expect it to be the catalyst for me getting involved too.

‘It’s got to be about having fun, for us and for the Cubs,’ said Mark Goree, leader of 44th Bristol, when he came to meet me and a group of other new- Cub parents one autumn night.

It was a good philosophy and that night a number of us enthusiastically signed up to help. It took just 10 weeks to convert us from helpers to signed up leaders. Here’s how he did it…

Make it fun

Week two and the Sixes are building fires, something I always loved when I was a Cub.

‘Make it look more like a pyramid,’ says one of my team after their first attempt fails dismally. Before we know it, the fire is roaring and I’m getting an undeserved nod of approval from the other leaders.

Learn something surprising

How many Cubs can you balance on the top of an egg? No, it’s not a philosophical question. With a tray of fresh eggs on the floor in front of us, we are about to conduct a scientific(ish) test.

Three excitable Cubs volunteer to stand barefoot on the tray and only one shows any sign of structural damage. I take off my shoes and even my 13-stone frame fails to flatten the eggs. Wow! I’m possibly more impressed than the Cubs were.

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Discover new talents

By week five I’m tasked with getting White Six to bake Anzac biscuits. I may be a kitchen novice but my aspirations are more Master Chef tonight. Sadly, the Cubs don’t share my ambitions and are more interested in shoving their fingers into the Golden Syrup.

It’s like herding cats, but eventually we assemble the required ingredients and each Cub mixes, stirs, pours, bakes and times. The end result is impressively edible, or at least has a sufficiently high sugar content that no one really cares about taste or texture.

Let them take the lead

‘Right, we’re going to have a LEGO night after half-term, any ideas?’ asks Mark, who is moving on this month after 20 years.

I’ve got a few: who can build the tallest tower; engineer a bridge that will support a house brick; charades using LEGO?

Running my own Cub night is strangely exhilarating and while it doesn’t all go to plan, I enjoy every minute. In fact, I’m sold… Call me Bagheera and pass me a woggle, I’m ready to sign up!

The Four Week Challenge

Encourage parents to experience the fun and adventure of Scouting for themselves.

Read the Four Week Challenge blog on how to make volunteering easy. 

Resources to support the Four Week Challenge are available on the Scout Print Centre

This story was originally printed in March edition of Scouting Magazine. Read the full magazine here 

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