Family Information Webinars
Running a quick webinar or video call for the young people and parents in your group is a great way to tell them all about your plans to come back together, and what they can expect from Scouts.
The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that people are interested in volunteering, just look at the number of people who signed up to the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme. Coronavirus has given people an opportunity to pause and reflect about how they live, work and play. A chance for them to give Scouts a go! A family information webinar is also a great way to let them know what help you need from parents, carers and adults and how they can get involved! It’s not about a parent moving from no involvement on day one, to being an assistant beaver leader on day two. It’s about being really clear on the specific tasks that need doing that new volunteers could help us with. You might get one-off support, you might get a group of parents to support on a parent rota, it’s important to start off asking them to do to one or two tasks, create a great atmosphere, keep in touch, and build up from there. At the bottom of this page you'll also find a powerpoint you can download which you can use to start planning your webinar.
Remember, face to face Scouting should not begin until you have been given consent to start, to keep up to date with our restart plans read the gudiance. When it comes to talking to parents and young people, make sure you’ve read the guidance. Now let’s look at how you can prepare for your webinar
Planning your webinar
Have you worked through the risk assessment for returning to face to face Scouting? If not, find out more information.
It’s a good idea to know what you will need in place before you have a chat with the young people’s families, then you’ll know what your ask is.
As we return to face to face Scouting, think about what you need to tell parents and carers, and how you tell them. You might want to tell them about new safety measures, for example how to access the Scout HQ, and remember you will need to get consent to return to face-to-face Scouting.
You might want to carry on with digital meetings and face to face at the same time, this blended approach can work really well, so tell parents, carers and young people about this too.
So you’ve read the guidance about the safe return to face to face Scouting, do you have enough adults to deliver safe activities? Do you need some adults to continue the online Scout meetings for those young people who will not be able to return to face-to-face Scouting?
Think about the specific tasks that you need doing rather than asking parents/carers to take on specific roles. What tasks are more attractive to new adults – don’t just try to offload the things you don’t like doing as they won’t want to do them either! You might want to get them involved in a specific, time limited task so they don’t feel as though they are committing forever!
Could a parent be your champion? If you have an adult who is interested in helping or knows other parents and carers, ask them to spread the word about the meeting to encourage others to come online and hear what you have to say.
Did any of the parents really get into the activities during your online meetings? This might be the parent who often ‘hung around’ in the background to see what is happening. When you ask them to help you with a task, it helps if you can remind them of a time online when they were laughing or working really well with their young person. If you have a photo of this evening/activity happening online this is a great one to use on slide 6 of the presentation.
If you haven’t tried the 4 week challenge before, this is a great opportunity to get the adults involved delivering our programme, find out more information.
If you’ve used a skills audit before (or not!) do one now, put together a list of skills you are looking for – remember these might be different for face-to-face and online Scouting. You may wish to build two different teams for the different types of delivery so you are able to offer your young people the blend we talked about earlier. These two teams could programme plan together so that digital and face to face work together.
If you haven’t used family rotas before they are a great way of getting more adult help quickly. If an adult can’t help deliver the programme then perhaps they could help in other ways such as managing the rota. Read further information.
Make sure you have given enough notice about the webinar – you may wish to have the meeting during a normal online section meeting time, that way you know the adults that attend are available at that time.
- Some young people in your Group might be in care or looked after by extended family so think about the language you use – talk about ‘adults’ rather than ‘parents’.
- Keep it positive, be ready to deal with negative concerns from adults and bring the focus back to the positive benefits of volunteering.
- Don’t worry about how many people log on – it’s about quality not quantity.
- Don’t forget, you’re looking for people to do tasks , not to take on specific roles.
- Always follow up, people forget things pretty quickly so it’s worth giving them a call afterwards.
Running your webinar
There is some great practical advice about running online meetings. The online meeting needs to be long enough to get the points across but short enough to make sure that the adults don’t lose interest before you get to the point! Remember, be clear what the start time is, and don’t forget to add an end time – and stick to it!
Just like when you do a face-to-face adult talk its important you get the right people doing the talking – not just one person. The GSL may be the most knowledgeable about Scouting but do they have the confidence and enthusiasm to sell the various volunteering roles you have? Maybe a young leader could bring a fresh perspective. Remember to practice – if you are using the slides which you can download at the bottom of the page, make sure everyone who is presenting knows how to move them forward and can see their notes.
Share your plans for the return of face-to-face Scouting as well as being clear from the outset that it is going to feel and look different and how important additional help will be. If you have examples of things that might not have gone so well or some funny stories to share with the adults online this is great, and links in with slide 8. Parents and carers often see leaders when they are delivering fantastic programmes to their young people, but they often miss the behind the scenes ‘hiccups’! It’s good to share some of these moments, it shows we are human! Parents and carers understand that they could make a big difference too and that none of us are perfect.
Slide 10 may be a good time to drop in some of those tasks that you need help with, as you talk about the preparations that we are making to keep everyone safe. Think about how you will gather the offers of help. Don’t do this during the meeting as it puts people under pressure. Consider using an online form, mentimeter, Facebook messenger or some other way to collect expressions of interest. Any way that makes it easy for adults to say yes! Make it as easy as possible to offer help, make sure you leave them with a list of the tasks you are looking for along with the skills that might go hand in hand with them. Send a reminder to the adults - a follow up text or email the next morning. Whatever method you use make it clear to the adults what happens next and how they can offer their help.
If someone can’t help because they are shielding they might feel bad and want to help, think about what tasks they could do that would still keep them safe that they could do from home. It works well if the leader who follows up with the adults is not the same person who asked for help, a different person is more likely to get honest feedback – think carefully who the right person is to make the follow up calls, it might even be another parent or carer, rather than an existing leader.