Supporting Struggling Units

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Supporting Struggling Units

This document is mean to start a discussion of a process of how new groups can be started and how struggling groups can be effectively supported. Suggestions and edits are welcome.

Finding in person support for struggling groups and to start new groups is difficult. Scouts Canada is largely a volunteer run organization. Finding time and resources to encourage growth is difficult. However, reusing volunteers who are already in place and performing roles could help to encourage growth and retention.

This plan is meant for Groups and Sections in areas where other groups and sections already exist close by. The term “unit” will be used instead of section / group.

Step 1a – Self-Identify Struggling Units

Some units struggle. Sometimes, sections within strong groups struggle. The first step in supporting struggling units is to admit that assistance is required. Group Commissioners in consultation with Section Leaders should self-identify.

Step 1b – Self-Identify Strong Units

Some groups and sections are blessed with strong and experienced leaders. Group Commissioners in consultation with Section Leaders should self-identify as being able to and interested in helping struggling units.

Step 2 – Link Strong and Struggling Units

Once struggling units have been identified, leaders should be linked at the section level. For instance:

  • Struggling Group GC should be linked with the Strong Group GC
  • Struggling Group Colony Leaders should be linked with the Strong Group Colony Leaders
  • Etc.

To assist the struggling units, the strong and struggling units should share activities. For instance, through reciprocal visits on meeting nights, invitations to go camping, etc. should take place. Further, leaders can consider sharing planning meetings.

During the initial stages of linking, leaders should discuss what type of support is required. Is mentoring desired? Program ideas? What support can be offered, how will feedback be delivered, etc.? Agreement should be reached on how support will be given. Keep in mind that struggling unit leaders have done something rare, they have admitted that they need help. Then they sought it out. This alone shows a desire to learn, collaborate, and improve.

Finally, during the initial stages of linking, set dates to evaluate progress and plan to delink. Progress should be measured by both strong and struggling unit leaders. As with any plan, it can be adjusted as required.

Step 3 – Plan to Delink

Eventually, the struggling unit leaders will gain the required knowledge and experience. Plans should be made on how long the linking will last and how the linking will end. Just as it is important to plan the link and plan the learning, planning to delink will ensure that this is a “limited time engagement”.