Story contributed by Laura Clay, district director, Catuenga, of the Western Los Angeles County Council
In the fall of 2018, as our council’s family Scouting staff advisor, I was working with an organizer for what would become an all-girl troop, Troop 642 in Calabasas, CA. They, along with others who were looking forward to joining Scouts BSA during the launch in 2019, took part in our “Scouts BSA Boot Camp” that October. The success of that event led us to move forward in 2019 with a “Trail to First Class” event with the goal of offering an opportunity for girls to easily get a taste of what Scouting is like, as well as connecting all of the new troops that were forming.
The “Trail to First Class” Event
Once word got out, the Scouting community came together to create an amazing event. We recruited young female staffers from our camps to lead stations and many adults from the new troops stepped up, as well. We also spread the word to surrounding councils, as there are several in the Los Angeles area, and we could clearly see the desire was there for an event encompassing all the new troops of young women.
At the event, we offered eight stations: swimming, fire-building, knife, ax & saw, first aid, rifles, knots, and nature. Almost all of the staffing was female, as one of our goals was for the girls to see other female role models already in Scouting.
During campfire, our council commissioner, Jessica Pazdernik, spoke about what Scouting meant to her, how she was proud of her daughter now being invited to join, and how the girls can step up to be leaders in their community by supporting each other. We also had guest speaker, Sherri Zhu, from a company that sends youth from China to our Scout camps. She talked about the international Scouting movement.
With 100+ new Scouts from 20 troops across 7 councils – Orange County, GLAAC, WLACC, Venture County, Verdugo Hills, Los Padres, and California Inland Empire – and lots of excitement from the girls, their leaders, staff, and everyone who came out to visit, the mood was electric!
“This event and the invitation of girls into Scouting has re-energized me completely,” shared Scouting volunteer Howard Schwartz of Troop 642.
The girls left not only with several requirements toward the first few ranks, but they also gained lasting friendships! I’ve seen many girls tagging each other on social media about the event and in news coverage for girls’ troops since then!
To see more photos from the event, check out their Flickr album.
Did your council host a similar event to encouraged to continue building the momentum of welcoming girls into the Scouts BSA program? We’d love to hear about it!
Scouting Wire would like to thank Laura Clay for contributing this story.