I look back at my first year leading YL in college and feel sorry for my poor Area Director, God bless you Bart Scarborough. I’m sure he received many phone calls from concerned parents wondering why he allowed me to represent Durham/Chapel Hill Young Life.
Have You Ever…
- Got A Speeding Ticket With Kids In The Car?
- Been Asked To Remove Your Hat By A Vice Principal When Visiting The Lunchroom?
- Had A Loud Rap Song As Your VoiceMail Greeting When Parents Call?
- Led A Game Of Silent Football At Camp That Got ‘Out of Hand?’
- Made Kids Throw Up At Club?
I was 5 for 5.
Below are a few things I’ve learned through years. Hopefully they’ll help you earn the trust of the parents of your middle and high school friends.
How To Earn A Parent’s Trust As A YL Leader
Make It Easy For Parents To Find Information
- Is there an updated webpage for your club with the semester schedule and camp information?
- Can parents find your phone number/email easily?
- Do you update your YL Club’s facebook page? Kids don’t use fb much anymore, but parents still do.
- Is there a faculty advisor for YL at the school parents can talk to easily?
Act Like An Adult
- When you go to lunch at the school, dress somewhere in-between being a teacher and being a kid. Think through what your clothes communicate to other adults about you and YL. No hats inside the school.
- If a parent were to hear your voice-mail greeting would they trust you more or less?
- If a parent looks at your twitter feed, facebook profile, Instagram pics, would they trust you more or less. Be wise in what you post.
Meet The Parents
- Greet parents outside of club when they drop off their kids. Learn their names, shake their hands, thank them for bringing their sons and daughters!
- We used to call homes to reach kids, which meant we were able to talk to parents. Now with cell-phones it takes a more intentional effort. Ask kids for their parents numbers. Call them before you drive their kid somewhere. Over-communicate. Don’t just text them, although that feels safer, call and let them hear your voice. They’re trusting you with their precious kid.
- At games, don’t just sit in the student section. Sit in the parents section some as well. Get to know them. Allow them to know you.
Know Your Stuff
- If a parent asks you ‘What is Young Life?’ are you able to give a good answer?
- If a parent asks ‘What’s the fundraising plan for summer camp?’ will you be able to give them specifics.
- Communicate with your Area Staff folks to learn how to better communicate with parents.
- Offering transportation is a huge gift to parents. Drive safely, you have precious cargo on board.
- Help them fundraise for camp. It’s expensive and life is stressful. Come alongside them and let them know you’re here to help.
- Offer to help tutor, teach guitar lessons, babysit, anything you can do to spend more time with their children.
- When they bring snacks for club.
- When they host Campaigners.
- When they give other kids rides home to help you.
- Invite them to be adult guests at fall camp!
Pray For Them (& Their Child)
- Parenting is hard. Ask them how you can pray for them.
- Follow up: Write them notes, texts, emails.