Top tips for working with ESYLs in your section
Before an ESYL’s first session, make sure they know where they are going and who they can expect to meet there. Ideally, you should meet with the ESYL before the first session. Much like any new leader, ESYLs may feel nervous, or may not know what to expect. At the start of the session, take time to introduce them to the other leaders and young people. At the end of the session, introduce them to the parents. This familiarity will help put them at ease.
Get to know them
Spend a bit of time getting to know your ESYL. Just like adult leaders, they will have a range of experiences and skills to share. Some questions you may wish to ask an ESYL include:
- How long have you been in Scouting?
- Have you been through the section you are helping with?
- Why did you apply for the Scheme? Why do you want to be an Explorer Scout Young Leader?
- Do you have any previous experience working with young people?
- Do you have any previous experience leading activities?
- Are you at school or college?
- Do you have siblings?
- What are your ambitions and interests?
Encourage them to get stuck in
ESYLs can help with an array of tasks. They are not there to make the juice or the tea, any more than any other leader. They are an integral part of your leadership team. By investing some time with your ESYL at the beginning, you are much more likely to see them develop and take an active role in planning and running the section.
- help to plan the programme
- plan and run youth forums and games to get feedback from the section
- plan and run games and activities
- open or close the meeting
- help with websites or social media pages (with support, as they are still under 18)
- run sessions on topics they feel confident about
- talk to young people about their experiences
- help to organise events
- inspire the section, acting as a role model
- attend residential trips and camps
In order for ESYLs to complete these activities, they will need some support from you. It is advisable to talk through any tasks or activities before they do them for the first time. Consider whether you are the best person in the section’s leadership team to support the ESYL. Is there someone else in the leadership team who would thrive buddying a new member of the team?