Leader would like to hear from you: My troop will be starting middle school next year, and I’ve already been told that some girls will be dropping out because being in Scouts makes you unpopular. How have other leaders dealt with this issue?
Our Facebook page was helpful for this issue!
Cadettes is where it gets super fun! Share with them the Destinations program. Pitch the idea of a EFT scout tour trip. Also point out that students need volunteer hours for honor societies, scholarships, job applications, etc. and Scouts is an awesome way to get those hours and possibly connect with a life-changing cause and influence the lives of younger scouts. Last, tell them they can participate in as much or as little as their interest and schedule allows – the flexibility is huge as they become more involved in other activities.
I’ve lost one to other interests, but haven’t really come across the “it makes you unpopular” Just so many other activities competing with limited time. It definitely must be GIRL LED at this point, if they just want to meet every other week at a coffee house and plan events, or help a younger troop, or just service projects. Listen to their wants. Mine did badges and journeys at first, but then wanted to focus on experiences and events rather than traditional troop meeting.
It is a turning point because the girls also tend to get more involved with activities such as sports, band, cheer, dance, clubs, etc. Maybe reduce meetings to once a month and encourage them to use school activities toward patches. As other say below, it is a great volunteer activity, leadership experience, way to learn new skills (working on patches, Journeys, trips, guest speakers, etc) They don’t have to wear the uniform to school. Find the famous women who are/have been Scouts and have them pick a favorite – if the woman is still living, write to her.
We found a private place to meet – not school. That seemed to make a difference. The first few months were all the badges they wanted to earn, no journey stuff. Just the badges they wanted – and then they were hooked. Since they all had phones by 6th grade, I started texting them directly so information no longer had to trickle through parents, and the group chats created some peer pressure to be at events. Due to their crazy schedules, they are rarely all there at the same time, But now in 7th grade, I see them making more of an effort to prioritize the troop activities. We did lose a few, but then we gained a few. So now we have a core group that seems to really want to be there. In my opinion, that’s better than a large group with girls who are just going through the motions.
I have second year Cadettes (going into seventh grade). We made it fun – camping trips, fun badges, girl led meetings and trips. It didn’t matter, we still lost 3 out of 7 girls this coming year. The biggest challenge was definitely the parent commitment. The ones who stayed had parents who are “in it to win it” and no matter what will encourage their girls to stay. If you make it past the 8th grade most likely you will have the girls until Gold. Make a pact with the parents that they won’t let them quit. They will get the through the “tough middle school years” and be proud to be scouts. Fun activities w friends just isn’t enough.
Tell them to give it one more year and then decide. If you make it fun and let them tell you what they want to do they might change their mind. I tell my girls who cares what other people think. They are just missing out. We are going on our third year of Cadettes. We get new girls by word of mouth. Sometimes better things come along and they quit or just take a break. Ask them to invite a friend to join.