Coed conundrum: Ideas from the field for finding female Venturing leaders.
Editor’s Note: Can dads take their daughters on overnight Venturing trips without female leaders? Not according to the Guide to Safe Scouting: “Coed overnight activities — even those including parent and child — require male and female adult leaders, both of whom must be 21 years of age or older, and one of whom must be a registered member of the BSA.”
LOOK FOR LIKES
Try to recruit young women who are doing what you want to do. If you want to hike, contact local hiking clubs. If you want to rock climb, reach out to the local rock gym. Post fliers in the local REI or Eastern Mountain Sports store. There are women who would like to share their knowledge and serve as role models for crew members who have similar interests.
Venturing Parent M.B.
Try other female family members such as aunts or grandmothers (like me). Friends or neighbors might be interested, if approached. Lots of people don’t know what Venturing is and might like to get involved if only they knew more about the program.
Crew Committee Member S.G.
MORE THAN MOMS
If you have a partner troop, ask the moms of some of the Boy Scouts. Most boys are reluctant to have their moms along on a trip, but many of those moms have the camping skills and a love for Scouting. (Remember that a lot of moms camped their way through Cub Scouts!) If your chartered organization is a church, talk to the college or young adult pastor to see if there are any willing 20-somethings. You’d be surprised at the number of folks who would be excited to spend a weekend here or there out in the woods.
SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP
If you live in an urban setting, check with some groups for young professionals, like lawyers, in your area. Most likely they have up-and-coming young women who would really enjoy an opportunity to go camping.
District Commissioner H.J.
SKIP THE SURPRISES
Often it is the unknown that holds people back. For each outing, include details on how physically strenuous the outing will be, what bathroom facilities are available, what the sleeping arrangements will be, etc. These things are important to inexperienced campers, and knowing before the outing will help them feel more comfortable and prepared. Have a beginners’ campout so they can learn the basics.
Committee Member E.R.
THINK BLUE AND GOLD
When I was a Venturing leader, we recruited from the local female Cub Scout leaders. Most of them were very glad to serve as event helpers, chaperones and committee members.
Troop Committee Member C.H.
COMBINE AND CONQUER
A solution my crew found was planning a joint trip with another local troop or crew that had adequate adults.
Venturing Committee Member K.S.
GET HELP GETTING HELP
Think outside your crew families. Ask friends to help ask around for volunteers. Find a former Girl Scout leader who went camping often or a former Girl Scout who earned her Gold Award. If the person you ask is not interested, ask for suggestions. You will be amazed at whom you find.
Crew Advisor A.F.
Recruit mothers of upcoming youth (boys in Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting and girls in Girl Scouting). Many mothers feel that as their child gets older, they need to be less involved in leadership. Look around, and I’m sure that you will see more females willing to provide leadership. They might just need to be asked to step up and participate, as many of us tend to feel that we are not necessarily welcomed in a mostly male organization.
GO BACK TO SCHOOL
Talk to outdoor groups or Alpha Phi Omega [a coed service fraternity] chapters at local universities about volunteer opportunities.
Troop Committee Member S.C.
NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY
Some mothers may feel that they are not experienced. You have to convince them that they can do the job. Call a parents’ meeting and tell them that without female leadership there can be no outings.
Crew Advisor D.O.
If you cannot find any moms who are willing to volunteer, explain the rules of Youth Protection. If that does not work, use the “volun-told” method and “volun-tell” the parents to go.
Crew President C.G.
SHARE YOUR ADVICE BELOW.
Answer the next question and your advice could appear in an upcoming issue.
Plus, you can share your own questions for consideration, here. If your question is selected for our print edition, you will receive $50.