As the launch of the Scouts BSA program approaches, councils are preparing to welcome young women to the iconic program of the Boy Scouts of America for the first time.
To help ensure a successful launch, Justin K. Williams, the Director of Field Service for the Great Lakes Field Service Council in Detroit, Michigan, shared these five steps the council is taking.
- Build a team of volunteer Champions: Early in the year we recruited a Council Family Champion who then helped us recruit a Family Champion in each district. This group of motivated volunteers have taken the lead on communicating with our units and planning out our Cub Scout and now Scouts BSA launch. Traditionally, we have really struggled with our membership manpower, so the enthusiasm of this group and the ease of recruiting them was surprising. Even more surprising is that most of the group has already told me they plan to join their district’s membership team full time once the Scouts BSA launch winds down.
- Ensure you have enough Troops to meet demand: Our committee wants to launch with enough girl troops on February 1 to ensure that any girl in our Council has a troop to join within 5 miles of them. We started out by listing the major communities in each district and then writing in any leads we already knew about. We then sent an electronic survey to all existing boy troops to find out if any of them planned to help start a girl troop. To date we have identified over 30 troops that will be ready to go by February 1 and are working toward launching with 45+.
- Communicate: As we identify leads for new girl troops we ensure that our District Champions start to communicate with them regularly. We have also held multiple Scouts BSA information sessions at Roundtables to help these new troops with completing their paperwork. To further incentivize these units to get their paperwork in with plenty of time to spare we’re providing a commemorative council shoulder strip.
- Train Adult and Youth Leaders: Anticipating more adult leaders needing training before February we added an additional session of IOLS in December. We are also offering a council-hosted Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops in January to help girls planning to join a Scouts BSA unit develop the leadership skills needed to hold troop leadership positions.
- Have a Launch Party: Our committee was really excited when they realized that February 1, 2019, falls on a Friday. They are planning to host a Scouts BSA launch party/lock-in that night and invite all the newly chartered girl troops to attend. Introductory Scout skills will be taught throughout the night to help these new Scouts get a jump start toward their First Class rank. We will also be inviting all 5th grade girls to help them connect with a troop in their area. In addition to being an exciting first event for these new Scouts, this will provide an opportune media event to further promote Scouts BSA to the community.
Content contributed by Justin K. Williams, Director of Field Service at the Great Lakes Field Service Council in Detroit, Michigan.