Ten Checklist Items…

…for leaders upon starting a new program season.

  1. Remember to Trust God and seek His counsel in everything you do. (Bright and Keen for Christ!) 1 Chronicles 16:11; Psalm 37:5; IMGP7151Psalm 119:10; Matthew 6:33; Job 5:8-9
  2. Review the highs and lows from the last season.
    1. Try to duplicate the highs in this year’s program (i.e. favorite activities or camping spots, day hikes, etc.)
    2. Give the “lows” a second look to identify why these events crashed – was it simply bad timing or circumstances such as bad weather? If you could do it over again and have it turn out as a success, consider ways to assure a more predictable outcome or try it again during a different time on the calendar. If the “lows” were bad planning, improper preparation or other logistics, make a list of learning points to share with your adult and youth leadership teams. Learning from mistakes is OK, making the same ones repeatedly – not so much!
    3. Keep adding to your planning files on how you used “plan b” back ups to rescue your unit from “low point events” – you can never have enough options ready to go when things go sour unexpectedly. Teach your youth leaders to plan for the best, but be ready for the worst while encouraging their patrols to have a positive mental attitude during outings.
  3. Make time to reacquaint yourself with all the members of your leadership and committee teams. It’s invaluable to reestablish a close working relationship to assure good, consistent communications and to discover any changes in their lives which may signal a change in commitment to the program or simply other priorities that may become a drain on your key co-leaders.
    1. Place special emphasis on helping newcomers become fully acquainted with the leadership team so that they remember names, have appropriate contact information and build trust.
    2. Spend time with the most senior or tenured members of the team, as well. It’s always a surprise to find out that they’re moving on to new projects since their son has long since graduated from the program, etc. Knowing that they’re planning on leaving at the end of the program year gives you time to recruit replacements, and enables for a nice transition time for training and coaching.
  4. Update training records for every adult member of the team.
    1. Make sure youth protection is up to date and familiar with everyone. It’s a no-exception set of rules for safety and IMGP7182security.
    2. Encourage leaders to get more training in more areas – having people cross trained and equipped provides more options for successful outings – it’s never fun to cancel a trip because of conflicts with schedules of adults who have specific, needed certifications required to operate the outing.
    3. Search for unique or specialized training opportunities from within and without the sponsoring organization – there may be special training meetings on a regional basis, or you may want someone to become certified in wilderness first aid through an outside agency.
  5. Set the bar a little higher each season – try to identify one area as a group that everyone will commit to try harder to achieve. This might be full uniforming by adults to set the example, or it may be related to attendance on trips (getting more adults out on more trips helps them to have fun, and it builds practical experience for when things don’t go as planned.)
  6. Plan ahead for appropriate press and media relations opportunities – if you know you have several significant service projects in the works for your local community, or high-adventure trips planned, you’ll want to think about recruiting someone to take high-resolution pictures and someone to write up the adventure as a press release.
    1. There are sample press release guidelines on various internet sites.
    2. Always focus on the positive, but use down to earth wording – keep it simple (who, what, where, when, why and how).
    3. Check with your sponsoring organization before sending press releases – they may want to have an opportunity to review and make edits first. Try to work cooperatively with your sponsoring organization as your unit’s activities reflect on them, as well.
  7. Update any changes to your unit contact information – new phone number? New meeting location or meeting time? BestIMGP6811 to get that updated immediately so that interested families will find your unit.
  8. Reach out with a friendly, but light contact to families who tried your unit on for size last season but didn’t commit – their schedule may have changed and perhaps they’re ready to try again.
  9. Always be recruiting – think about groups and associations that are like minded – homeschool groups, other churches, schools (private, charter, or public), etc.
    1. Banners on the church’s front lawn with meeting times and location, printed flyers for handing out at homeschool coop meetings, and updating your unit facebook page, web site or blog page are three potential ways to attract new families.
    2. The best recruiting is direct referrals – the parents of the children who are already participating can bring neighbors and other friends of the family. Bonus for those already participating is that they know the families they’re recruiting and may be able to carpool to meetings, etc.
  10. Worth repeating! — Trust God and seek His counsel in everything you do. (Bright and Keen for Christ!) 1 Chronicles 16:11; Psalm 37:5; Psalm 119:10; Matthew 6:33; Job 5:8-9