The Volunteer–Professional Relationship
Click here to print a copy of this article.
We have often mentioned the need to foster a great
relationship with the unit Key 3 when providing unit
service. There is another relationship that needs to be
cultivated as well in order to provide great unit service.
That relationship is the one you have with the professional
staff member assigned to work with commissioners. This
professional may have a title like district executive, district
director, director of field service, or some variation.
It is important to create a working relationship so that
the professional knows he or she can count on you for
certain aspects of service. Whatever you agree to do
to provide unit service and subsequent feedback to the
commissioner corps and the professional, you should
keep your promise. Show through word and deed that
you can be counted on to guide the unit or units assigned
Providing feedback to professionals will let them know
that all is well with the unit, and they can focus on other
units that may need help.
Be courteous of professionals’ time. They work
flexible hours so they can meet their commitments in the
evenings while still trying to have a family life. Discuss
their schedule and what means of communication will
work for you both. Be sure to find out when they are on
vacation so you can respect that time unless there’s an
emergency. In this age of instant communication with
text, phone, and email, it is easy to accidentally barge in
on a well-earned vacation.
Take your professional out for coffee, breakfast,
or lunch, and buy the meal once in a while. Show that
you consider your relationship one of mutual respect
Take the time to find out what your professional enjoys
doing when not busy with Scouting. Does he or she have
hobbies or favorite activities? Learn about his or her
family and what it was like growing up. Remember that
the professional may not be from your area.
It is more fun to work alongside someone when
you are friends. And that friendship can last long after
he or she serves in your district or council. I speak