As a Team Manager, do you feel like you’re in over your head? Do you have a long list of tasks that you can’t quite seem to get to the bottom of? Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Most parents want to help with Destination ImagiNation when their children are involved. Time, money and fear are a few things that hold people back. Time is a precious commodity and folks are always concerned about running out of time. Many households are very tight for money and doing expensive things is just not possible. Fear is one of the biggest shackles to success; not knowing what to expect will keep many people from doing anything. Assume that parents want to help and give them a clear description on what the various opportunities to contribute are.
Potential volunteers need to have a clear understanding of what they can do. It is also important to understand what it might cost and how much time they will be investing in their child’s DI team. This information can be provided in many ways: in person (drop offs and pick ups are a good time), on the phone, through email, by sending them to the NH-DI web site, etc. You may find the list at the bottom of this article, “How Can Parents Help with DI?” useful to send home with team members. Feel free to edit the form by adding whatever is most useful to you.
When future volunteers know they are wanted and needed and have a clear understanding of what opportunities exist, they still must be asked. They must be asked one on one, in person, in an assumptive fashion. The question may sound like, “Did you decide how you can help (child’s name) DI team?”
The Appraiser role may be the biggest volunteer opportunity, because of the time commitment. As such, this opportunity may be challenging to fill. The question for the Appraiser role might be, “Could you be our Most Important Parent?…(wait for some response)… we still need someone to step up and be our team appraiser.” During the pause a positive response is great, immediately congratulate the “new appraiser” in front of any one around. A public positive reinforcement should help strengthen the commitment.
A positive response is great. It is possible that the future volunteer may offer to do some other role, which is also good. However, the future volunteer may give an objection as to why they can’t help. That objection is your opportunity to help them find the right role to help the team. A couple of communication tools that may be effective in turning the objection into a positive response would be to isolate the objection, restate the objection, and explain that the objection may not be a road block to helping the DI team.
When we ask for help it is very important to listen very clearly to the response. If we get a negative response, it will usually be because of time, money, or a fear of the unknown.
To isolate and restate the objection we might say, “So what you are saying is at this point you have no time for anything else in your schedule?” I think we all have this objection sometimes. You may respond with what is called a “feel, felt, found” response. It may look something like this: “I understand how you feel, and have often felt the same way, but by managing a DI team I have found ways to fit a little more in my schedule. Instead of Appraiser do you think you could host a meeting or provide transportation?”
The last thing to be concerned with is our fear of recruiting volunteers. You may try to do everything possible to avoid asking for help. There may be a fear of failure when it comes to asking for help. When talking to a future volunteer about how they will fit into the team, we are helping them to be more involved with their child. Our role is to provide them with enough information so they have a clear understanding of what the commitments are and what is expected of them. When we ask direct, assumptive questions, we give them the opportunity to be the Most Important Parent to our team and to their child. Assume any objection is the future volunteer trying to find where they fit best. Practice “feel, felt, found” for any standard objections that may come up when you ask for help. Remember, most people want to help, so don’t be afraid to ask!
How Can Parents Help with DI?
Parents, please be sure to check with Team Managers before helping, and please remember: This is a “kids hands-on; parents hands-off” program!
1) Be an Instant Challenge coach for your child’s team.
2) Be a volunteer Appraiser to represent your child’s team at another tournament.
3) Help find an Appraiser for your child’s team.
4) Help the team by not scheduling appointments or activities for your child when team meetings are scheduled.
5) Assist the Team Manager at meetings by helping keep the team on task.
6) Help find resource people to teach the team new skills ~ i.e. painting, sewing, mechanical design, carpentry, make up application, stage techniques, etc.
7) Come a 1/2 hour early to pick up your child from meetings and help with clean up.
8) Be an audience for practice sessions and cheer the team on. (No suggestions though!)
9) Help find places for the team to practice.
10) Provide times and places for the team to work and practice.
11) Read and check the rules to be sure the team is following all of them…even the small ones.
12) Help the team send for clarifications or download new ones from the DI website (www.idodi.org).
13) Provide transportation for team members to and from meetings, practices, and shopping trips.
14) Provide treats and nutritious snacks for the meetings.
15) Pick up team requested materials.
16) Play Instant Challenge games with your child at home.
17) Help transport props and costumes to the tournament.
18) Encourage and support the team and team managers.
19) Help the team with PR to the newspaper, school administrators, or local community.
20) Provide cakes for the cake walk at a tournament.