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shortridge

One week. Six hundred new girls’ troops.

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This update was shared on Facebook by the Great Salt Lake Council (as of Friday, 2/8). Many new units are still having their paperwork processed and are not showing up in this first week total:

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Today, councils received the first ever Scouts BSA membership report. Nationwide, since February 1:
56 new Scouts BSA boy troops
608 new Scouts BSA girl troops
4,353 new Scouts BSA youth members (boys and girls)
Many more new troops chartering every day!
#scoutmein

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2 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

That's about 30 new troops per state.  Not too shabby!

Must be the new math...

I figure it to be 12 girls troops and 1 boys troop per state. 

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1 minute ago, mrkstvns said:

Must be the new math...

I figure it to be 12 girls troops and 1 boys troop per state. 

Guess I need to go back and work on my math skills.  Oops!

Still - seems pretty impressive to me.

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Average of 6.55 Scouts per unit.  Trust they get to critical mass quickly.  A Scout troop with less than 10 Scouts is hard to keep the momentum going.

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2 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Average of 6.55 Scouts per unit.  Trust they get to critical mass quickly.  A Scout troop with less than 10 Scouts is hard to keep the momentum going.

Depends on how “linked” they are, but I agree.

From our recent experience there are not many girl Troops in our area and as girls (typically sisters or daughters of scouters) find out they are starting to apply to the few units.   I think “big”numbers are a few years out as it will take cub crossovers to really build numbers.  Will be interesting to see how this goes.

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We had a great turnout for our new Scouts BSA Troop for Girls in the District of Columbia.  We are a non-linked Troop and start with 24 girls and a 15-person Troop Committee.  I believe District Committees should consider forming at least one non-linked Troop in the District.  These will be larger and more robust by nature.

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If those 600 new girls scout troops are anything like the one new girls scout troop just started at our church (I currently mentor the new SM at this church's boys scout troop), they have two girls registered. How can this be, you ask? I don't know. The guy who supposedly is the new SM for this girls scout troop boasted that they are one of the three new girls scout troops in the district, and says the girls scout troop is chartered. I just stand there an "sigh." Hell in a hand basket anybody?

sst3rd

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New girl troops require the minimum of 5 girl members, just like new boy troops.  It takes time and effort just like anything else, but especially for Troops.  We had 2 public meetings and 2 open houses to recruit our 16 adults and 24 Scouts.  That was over 6 months.  There is plenty of demand out there, but it does not happen with our effort.

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54 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

New girl troops require the minimum of 5 girl members, just like new boy troops.  It takes time and effort just like anything else, but especially for Troops.  We had 2 public meetings and 2 open houses to recruit our 16 adults and 24 Scouts.  That was over 6 months.  There is plenty of demand out there, but it does not happen with our effort.

Can you describe your approach and what worked best (and what didn’t)? We have five and are working on SM recruitment, but are pulling out all the stops to get more.

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16 minutes ago, shortridge said:

Can you describe your approach and what worked best (and what didn’t)? We have five and are working on SM recruitment, but are pulling out all the stops to get more.

It helps to live in a populous school district.

A couple of girls were initially interested.   They recruited several more from their pool of friends.  

All the boy scout troops and cub scout packs in the school district communicated with all their families that a new girls troop was forming, and inquired about interested sisters and/or friends.   This found several more girls.

There were also info notices put into a local paper, and posters put up around town -- but this did not turn up much interest.

Going forward,  the cub scout packs are planning to help advertise for us at their cub scout recruiting night.  (This will also show prospective girl cubs that there will be a scout troop for them when they get older.)

Are any of the parents of the girls willing to be trained to be the SM? 

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We formed a Webelos den for Girls last year and used that to build a core group of 6 girls.  As the year went along, we picked up 4 additional girls who were actually over-age for cubs, yet participated with us.    They all came into our new Troop.  The rest came from a combination of getting them to bring in their friends and two open house welcome parties we had in January.  The parties attracted about 40 girls total (plus parents).  The totality of that got us to 24 girls, and we probably will have 5 more yet to join from that effort.

Adult recruitment was a bit different.  We have 16 adults.  We advertised two open community meetings in August and September to openly discuss the new program with adults.  We recruited 6 volunteers from those meetings, plus they registered their daughter’s.  We attracted 3 experienced Troop Scouters from other units in the area who were for different reasons wanting to move.  3 parents of the Webelos girls, including 2 Eagle ASMs joined.  The balance were people that ended up joining through our church CO or other means.  Almost all adults were recruited before the girls.  We got them through YPT and some additional training last fall.

A good additional tactic was writing a web site specifically directed to girls and parents of girls.  It allowed us to direct parents to easily-accessed and comprehensive information.  We also have our pay page on it: www.ScoutsBsaDcGirls.com.

This new program, while new at the moment, does not sell itself.  Successful Troops will do it the hard way by recruiting adults first, then going to the market with something specific to sell.  In our case this consisted of a 20-month calendar of meetings and events posted to our site.  Not being linked to an existing unit helped us avoid the mistake of opening a troop with insufficient volunteer resources.

a few additional thoughts.  This fall we are going to have another round of welcome parties.  We intend to double membership and get to 50-60.  We will have a welcome party at the start of race future semester.  We will not do product sales.  Our parents dispose it and our urban location makes door to door sales inadvisable.  Instead, we fully load dues and will have an annual October coffee reception where we will raise FOS and funds to subsidize under-resourced girls.  We meet twice a month for 2 hours on Saturday mornings.  These decisions were made partly in response the the adult community meetings we conducted, which doubled as focus groups.

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Things that did not work for us included posters, leafleting, talking to boy troop leaders, church bulletin notices and blogging.  We engaged in a lot of that kind of activity to see what would work.  I am sure relevant parts of the Washington, DC community now know about us, which will eventually benefit us — but these efforts did not generate our membership.

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