Making history: Golin assists Boy Scouts as it recruits girls for first time

The agency will also work with Dallas-based agency Johnson & Sekin on the historic campaign.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

IRVING, TX: The Boy Scouts of America has brought on Golin to promote Cub Scouting as an option for both boys and girls in the U.S.

The agency will work with Dallas, Texas-based agency Johnson & Sekin, which was also selected to help the 108-year-old organization with creative on Boy Scouts of America’s Family Scouting launch, which welcomes both sexes to the Cub Scouts. The Family Scouting decision, which was made in October 2017, allowed girls to join the organization.

"We were looking for integrated solutions to help Boy Scouts with a campaign that would welcome families to Cub Scouting that reflects both boys and girls and reintroduces Cub Scouting to those who [already] know it in a vibrant and exciting way," said Effie Delimarkos, director of national communications for Boy Scouts of America.

Golin is serving as the integrated comms team managing all aspects of the rollout, including working with Johnson & Sekin on creative direction and execution and broader elements of the campaign including paid and earned efforts set for this year, said Delimarkos.

The agencies are helping the organization with is the recruitment effort, called Scout Me In.

"We want Scout Me In to be welcoming and a call to action and be crystal clear about the fact that boys and girls are both invited to join for the fun adventures that are ahead of them," said Delimarkos.

The organization will focus this year on Cub Scouts welcoming girls, and in February 2019, it will include girls in its Boy Scout program, which includes older youth. The name of the program will be rebranded as Scouts BSA. The umbrella organization name, Boy Scouts of America, will remain the same.

"It is the same program: merit badges and activities," said Delimarkos. "Troops will be single gender but all will do the same activity. Boys and girls can earn highest rank of Eagle."

Delimarkos said the most challenging communications aspect of welcoming girls to the Boy Scouts is tracking such a momentous decision and sharing it in a way that "brings everybody along."

She noted that people feel "passionately and distinctly" about what the Boy Scouts of America is as an organization and what it offers.

Although the announcement drew praise from scouting leaders, not everyone has been happy with Boy Scouts' decision to welcome girls. The move has garnered mixed reactions from women's groups and indirect criticism from Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.

"The balance we strike is to continue the conversation about how we are moving forward as an organization to welcome more families and make scouting available to more boys and girls in all parts of country, while making sure we honor and celebrate legacy of what has made our volunteers proud to be part of this organization," said Delimarkos. "That balance is important to maintain."

She added that the organization wants to make sure there is no confusion about who is welcome.

Golin and Johnson & Sekin were selected in February following an RFP process that started the month before. Eleven agencies, ranging from traditional firms to creative shops were sent the RFP. Golin, FleishmanHillard, and Johnson & Sekin were invited to pitch, though Delimarkos noted that the organization received other responses to the RFP.

Laura Slagle, an executive director based in Dallas, is leading the account team at Golin. The core team is eight people who are based in Dallas and Chicago and bring areas of specialization for a fully integrated launch across planning, creative, earned media, digital strategy, paid media, and integration.

"There is no reason why girls shouldn’t be included in [Boy Scouts]," said Caroline Dettman, Golin’s chief creative officer. "At same time, it is just as important for boys to have this happen and the message of that. It was a win-win-win for us to be part of this historic moment at such an iconic organization."

Budget information was not disclosed.

Boy Scouts of America has worked with FleishmanHillard since 2008. Delimarkos said Fleishman’s remit – focusing on corporate reputation work and marquee programs such Exploring and STEM Scouts – is not changing.

"FleishmanHillard remains a strong partner with us," she said. "There is a prioritization in terms of Family Scouting this year, but Fleishman remains a marquee partner for us."

A representative from Fleishman was not immediately available for comment.

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