Even as you just start your term as officer, begin thinking about finding and training a successor. If you want your council to have sustained success beyond your term as officer, have Knights ready to step up and take charge.
Mentor and develop underclassmen in your council through these programs.
Several councils have adopted “Big Knight, Little Knight” programs, through which each incoming Knight is assigned an upperclassman mentor. If a Knight directly recruits a new member, he should take on the role of mentor for that recruit. On the other hand, if a new member has no sponsor, a Big Knight should be assigned to him based on common interest or similarities.
The Big Knight has several responsibilities, such as making sure the Little Knight is aware of meetings and events, and personally inviting him to attend each. The Big Knight should also meet regularly with the Little Knight to explain the Orders' history and workings. Big Knights should be examples of how to be invested and involved in the council and preparing them to serve as officers.
Invite a new Knight to participate in a project, program or event and to serve on the committee that plans it. The new Knight is fully engrossed in every detail of the project, with the intent that in the future he will lead the project.
This allows a member to not be overwhelmed with responsibility and give him a chance a chance to see how things work and to ask questions before taking on a project of his own. Sometimes, a brother Knight may need to assist with several projects before being comfortable with leading one.
Invite underclassmen to officers' meetings so they can see what goes into operating the council. All elected and appointed officers are expected to attend these meetings and general council members wishing to become more involved should be invited to these meetings as well.
Appointed officer positions help your council to function while also developing future leaders for the council. Consider underclassmen who show great enthusiasm after joining in the fall semester. Although they for appointed officer positions and vacant committee positions.
The council can appoint an assistant warden or additional inside and outside guards from among interested underclassmen; they will then assist the leaders of projects and be given an official title.
This list is not exhaustive, and there are certainly other ways to develop and groom your council's future officers. The important thing to remember is to find ways to begin this process now, so that at your council's next election, there will be a full slate of prepared young men. Having an abundance of leadership-ready men is a good thing, even if leads to contested elections. Your council shouldn't only be seeking the next grand knight, it should also be seeking the best grand knight.
Finally, by developing underclassmen now, you not only prepare them to lead the council in the coming years, but you equip them with the ability to be leaders in their careers, their parishes and their communities.