Induction

When new volunteers have been selected or recruited it is time to set the stage for them. An induction to the upcoming task gives the volunteer a clear vision on what the organization is trying to achieve and how. A good induction makes a real difference in ensuring that volunteers are able to contribute quickly and feel like part of the Movement. Notice that the induction of a completely new volunteer differs from those who have previous experience in the Movement.

Welcoming new volunteers

When welcoming new volunteers it is important to make them feel included in the organization right from the beginning. Inclusion is reached by giving the volunteers a sense that they belong to the organization. This can be achieved by welcoming them both mentally and physically. Some scout groups or teams have a ceremony for the new adults that are joining or give out a scarf or a badge as a symbol of belonging to the group. It is also important to prepare the team to have a proper attitude to be open and inclusive for the new member. Team-building activities are also a great way of making the new volunteer feel like part of the group.

The first stage in welcoming new volunteers who have not been part of the Movement before is to find out the movement principles and how the volunteer can be involved. One of the first steps can be to meet the other volunteers from the group or team that the adult is joining. It is wise to help the volunteer to settle into a new situation by providing entry-level tasks or roles that are easy to accomplish without extensive training. De-coding the organisational culture and symbols is also an important part of making the volunteer familiar with their surroundings. It is also important to connect the new adult in the communication loops they need to get information from.

Induction of existing volunteers to new roles

When people who are already part of the Movement take on new roles, it is advisable to have a short re-induction period, during which the individual is supported in taking on new responsibilities. Typically in these situations the induction can be more compact, and the focus is more on the technical details of a particular role rather than the purpose of volunteering in Scouting as a whole. Even so, it is good practice to have a proper discussion with the volunteer and the representatives of the volunteering organisation to establish mutual agreement on what is expected on both sides.

Motivation and goals

During and even before the induction period it is important to listen and understand what is the personal motivation of the volunteer. Motivation is one of the indicators that will be taken into consideration when agreeing on goals and assigning their first tasks.

When someone starts in a new role, they’ll want to know what is expected of them in the short, medium and long term. Agreeing goals with them will help the new volunteer to focus on the most important tasks and will help to ensure that their time spent volunteering for Scouting has the most positive impact possible. When establishing the goals three aspects should be taken into consideration:

  1. The motivation of the volunteer
  2. The specific needs of the beneficiaries or scouts that will benefit from the volunteer’s involvement (directly and indirectly)
  3. The needs of the organization and the plans for development

Welcome kits

A good practice is to prepare welcome kits or courses that include all the necessary information and materials a new volunteer needs. A welcome kit or a course can contain:

  • Welcome and personalized letter from the organization
  • General information about all levels of the Scout Movement: international, national and local
  • Constitution and rules of the organisation
  • Beneficiaries of the youth programme
  • What are the advantages of volunteering in Scouting
  • Description of the local group or of the team that the volunteer joined
  • Adult support methods including the training scheme presentation
  • A concise history of Scouting’s traditions and ethos
  • Membership costs
  • Legal obligations
  • Child protection, safety and health guidelines
  • Contact lists

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Radu Stinghe
About The Author

Radu Stinghe

Radu comes from Romania and is the Director of Youth Programme in the European Scout Office. He is following the Region's work on Educational Methods and Youth Empowerment.

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