Membership

Girl Scouts, in Membership Push: Meet Our Famous Alumni

The Girl Scouts can point to dozens of celebrities—including movie stars, famous athletes, and well-known executives—as former members, and it’s using those ties to attract new ones. Since a certain high-profile wedding, the alumni list now includes a British royal.

The Girl Scouts of the USA has some fresh competition for members—the Boy Scouts of America last year announced a plan to extend many of its offerings to girls and recently changed the name of its namesake program.

But GSUSA has something the boys don’t: a long list of celebrity women alumni.

As the Associated Press noted this week, the organization, looking to turn around a slide in membership, recently called on famed alum Queen Latifah to record a PSA that highlights former members who are now celebrities. The list includes (among others) TV hosts Barbara Walters and Katie Couric, supermodels Tyra Banks and Karlie Kloss, tennis star Venus Williams, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, and current U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Susan Collins.

A celebrity Girl Scout not included in the video is Meghan Markle, the newest member of the British royal family, who was the subject of a post on the GSUSA website in May.

“So while Meghan adds a tiara to her wardrobe,” the blog post stated, “we’d like to think it was her Girl Scout sash that helped her become the strong, smart woman Prince Harry—and all of her fans—love today.”

The celebrity campaign is one of several new recruitment strategies that the organization is using to help turn around declining membership rates, according to the AP report.  Others include a focus on technology (including the launch of a year-round camp dedicated to STEM education) and financial assistance from chapters in some low-income communities to help families cover the cost of joining local troops.

But the Girl Scouts won’t be adopting the Boy Scouts’ strategy of reaching across gender lines. The organization will remain focused on “girl power.”

“I believe with full conviction that Girl Scouts is the best leadership organization in the world for girls, and that is because we are girl-led and girl-centric,”  Violet Apple, CEO of Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, put told the AP.

(via Queen Latifah's Facebook page)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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