What are the best ways to recruit girls to the Cub Scout program? Some packs are waiting for a den-sized group of same-age girls to approach their pack expressing interest. This probably isn’t going to happen. So how do we find new members in sufficient numbers to make dens of girls work? How do we recruit leaders? And how will the program be different? The tips below will help your pack answer these questions and overcome obstacles.
1. Start with siblings
The easiest new members to recruit will be those girls who are already probably attending den meetings as siblings. Ask those girls if they would like to earn badges and wear a uniform just like the boys. Invite the parents to bring their daughter’s friends and their parents to the next den meeting where they can participate.
2. Run den meetings in parallel
Instead of meeting at a separate time and place, have the new “den” of girls—or just the few who come—combine their meeting with a similar age boys den for the first few meetings. The girls can do some parts of the meeting, like working on their Bobcat badge, in a separate corner of the same room. This will give “training wheels” to the new leaders of the girls’ den and direction for their first meetings.
3. You’ve already got the leaders
Recruiting leaders for dens of girls is the easiest recruiting in Cub Scouts. Busy moms are fantastic cooperators. They get things done by sharing responsibility. Some prefer not to take charge, but almost all are willing to do their share. Start by asking maybe a pair of moms to work as co-den leaders. Or ask a volunteer from a different den or even a teacher or member of the community. There are so many women that are eager to see Cub Scouting for girls succeed that they need not be a parent to take part. As always, follow strictly the BSA’s Youth Protection Guidelines with any leaders.
4. You’ve already got the program too!
The great news is that the girl’s version of the Cub Scout program, including requirements, activities, ranks, etc are the very same program that’s been working for boys since 1930 (though updated along the way). All kids love the “fun with a purpose” that is the essence of BSA programs, so get your leaders trained and follow the programs as written, and you’re sure to succeed.
5. Be creative
If you’re starting with one den of girls, can you include girls of different grades? Yes, but you’ll want each age group to do advancement activities for their level (Tiger, Wolf, etc.) Combining different age girls into the same den is a bit of a mind-bender for some seasoned Cub Scouters, but we need to flex to let this new program grow. Again, cooperative moms will help you get each girl through her advancement requirements while enjoying the camaraderie of a girls-only den.
6. Get the girls out front
At your pack meetings, regularly have the girls in front of the rest of the pack, showcasing their presence. Talk to the parents and siblings at pack meetings about the new program, and let the existing parents talk about how much fun it is. As with anything new, peer influence will have the greatest influence in overcoming obstacles.
Take it from Cub packs that have already succeeded in integrating girls. This program is here to stay! The added benefits of having moms even more involved brings a new pool of talent to run our packs, and soon our troops. The help is most welcome, and the fun is just getting greater and greater!
Author: John A. Hovanesian, M.D. | Former Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America, Dr. John Hovanesian, is a seasoned Scouter and blogger who shares tips and tricks to help your family get the most out of your Scouting experience. Follow him @DrHovanesian.