Many hands make light work, so get lots of people involved and trying Scouts with an adult rota.
What’s an adult rota all about?
An adult rota is a great way to engage potential volunteers. Adults sign up to help with the occasional session, taking it in turns to give something back to your group.
It could be local volunteers or people connected to those already in your Scout Group, such as parents and carers, aunts, uncles, grandparents and siblings.
Adult rotas work because they’re a manageable way to try Scouts. Lots of people are happy to help occasionally if they don’t have to make a big commitment.
As an existing volunteer, you get an extra pair of hands to help each week, and you’ll have the chance to show people just how great volunteering is.
Before you start an adult rota
- Make a list of things you need help with. What needs to be done regularly? Are there occasional tasks that people could help with too?
- Think about how you’ll ask people to take part. You could send an email, post on social media, ask face to face in a meeting, use WhatsApp or a text, send a letter, or give people a call.
- Think about the programme carefully to make sure new adults can get involved. Small group activities can work well, as they make it easier for all the adults to play their part.
- Remember that most adults won’t have a disclosure check. It’s important to always have enough volunteers on hand to support and supervise the new adult. You could invite existing volunteers from your group or the wider District.
- Remember that the new adults probably won’t be member of Scouts. It’s important that you give them a copy of the Yellow Card before they begin.
- Decide how you’ll make new adults feel welcome. People on an adult rota don't usually wear a uniform, but it may be nice to give them a group necker and a Scouts name (if you use them in your section).
Running an adult rota
- When a young person joins, ask the people they live with whether they’d be happy to help out from time to time. You could say that it'll help them get involved in the Scouts community or it's a chance to spend time with their young person.
- When an adult volunteer joins, they could ask the people they live or their friends or work colleagues with whether they’d be happy to help out from time to time. You could say that it'll help them give back or be involved in their local community, develop their skills, get them involved in adventures, have fun or make new friends.
- Talk to the adults about what they enjoy doing. Do they have specific skills your team would benefit from? Once you know what people are interested in, you can match them up with activities that suit them.
- Don’t forget, you might have already found out some of this information from a skills survey – remember to use these!
- It's OK if someone can’t help at weekly sessions. There're plenty of other ways for them to get involved behind the scenes – could they manage the rota, accounts, run a one off skills session, help on camp, do admin or help with social media?
- Before each session, share your plan with your new volunteer. Remind them about safety and safeguarding. Make sure they know who to ask if they’re not sure about something.
- Remember, the rota doesn’t just have to be for parents and carers of your young people. If you or your volunteers know anyone who could get involved, or want a way to introduce new volunteers gradually, they can sign up too!
- Look out for anyone who’s particularly enjoying their time on the rota. They might make a great person to volunteer a little more regularly. Could you invite them to take the four week challenge?
- Remember that a big, genuine thank you goes a long way.
Adult rota myths
Even if you've enough Scout leaders or unit helpers, an adult rota is great way of helping family members feel part of the group. It’s nice for them to see what a great time their young people are having. When you need volunteers in the future, you’ll have a good idea of who you could ask to get more involved or take the four week challenge.
An adult helping occasionally through the adult rota doesn’t need an appointment or a disclosure check. Just don’t leave them unsupervised or allow them to stay overnight at a residential event without a disclosure check.
See 126.96.36.199 of POR for the up-to-date definition of Helpers and what type and frequency of helping out would mean a volunteer will need a criminal record check.
Adult rotas work brilliantly for all sections, including Explorers. Encourage young people to come up with new ways for family and friends to get involved. They could take the lead and asking the people they live with to help.