When relationships within a community organisation are productive, staff are more likely to be happy, to understand and to be effective in their role. In youth-focused organisations delivering volunteer-led youth programs, a productive organisational relationship is essential to ensure effective recruitment, development and retention of staff, and the delivery of quality programs. This article provides a unique examination of the organisational relationships within Girl Guides Australia, between the volunteers who govern the organisation and those who deliver the youth program. The results of an extensive Australia-wide review of the adult volunteer training program are discussed, and changes to the ways in which relationships are fostered and understood in the organisation are outlined. The review has led to new understandings that modern volunteering requires changes to the ways in which organisational relationships are managed and supported, with a move away from compulsory ongoing training to a focus on volunteers as lifelong learners. Above all, this article shows how productive organisational relationships are when underpinned by founding relationships on openness and honesty, supporting relationships using learning and development, and building relationships using a quality people-management framework.
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