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Five top tips for welcoming new trustees.

Date: 2nd Nov 2021 Author: Jon Nutten

Joining an executive committee is an exciting way to be part of Scouts, playing a valuable role in making sure we deliver the best experiences to our young people. For some, it might feel like a big step, so here are five top tips for welcoming and engaging a new member to the trustees team.

  1. Say thank you – Joining an executive committee is a big step. So, right from the start, thank new members for it. Our trustees are a key part of making sure that our Scout meetings are properly supported, safe and well resourced, so it’s important they feel valued for it. You could send a thank you email or card, make a post on social media, or simply start a round of applause in the next meeting – it makes all the difference.
  2. Chat before the first meeting – New team members might not be familiar with the way an executive committee works and it could be their very first time volunteering as a trustee. To help them get up to date with how things are going, you might want to prepare a simple document with some highlights on the state of your finances, some basic info on what needs doing on the building used for Scout meetings, and a follow up on any other important decisions the executive committee has taken in the past months.It’s a good idea to talk through these topics ahead of their first meeting and let them know what the usual items on a meeting agenda are. This should help them feel up to speed from the start.
  3. Introduce a friendly face- – We’ve all had that awkward feeling of not knowing what’s going on. Joining an existing team – where people have already built working relationships and ways of talking about things – can leave a new member feeling like an outsider. Introducing someone who can play the role of a mentor for the first few months is a great way to help the new member feel supported. The mentor can be the go-to person when they want to ask questions and to check in with them more generally.
  4. Encourage a positive and open discussion – Good discussions are a really important part of making sure that we’ve all understood and captured the things that we need to make decisions on. Make it clear that any question is a good question to ask, no matter how silly it might feel. It may be that their question reveals a deeper underlying issue that no-one else has picked up on. By encouraging everyone to join in a positive, open and respectful discussion, we get everything out on the table. When everyone feels they’ve had the opportunity to say what they want, it also makes it much easier to come to a decision together that everyone feels good about.A new trustee being brought into this environment will feel valued in the team, knowing that their questions and views can be heard right from the start.
  5. Make it clear that we’re all on the same team – At Scouts, we’re working together towards the same goal: helping young people to develop skills for life. There might be moments when there are different views on how to best achieve a specific goal but we must remind each other that we’re on the same team, and that having a diverse group of people can only be a good thing. Having a great mix of trustees, both old and new, will help us make the biggest impact in our work. And making sure everyone feels welcomed and valued is a key part of that.

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Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls