During the 1960s within Immaculate Conception high school in Elmhurst, the Sodality of Our Blessed Virgin Mary was having an image problem among girl students, which was the only gender allowed to join. Girls didn’t sign up voluntarily. The Sisters of Saint Agnes, our teachers, helped us along by doing that part for us.
Gender specificity was problem number 1.
In our coed high school, student engagement depended upon a single criteria: coed-ness. Sports of any ilk, Debate Team, Spanish Club, Book Club all had that edge. Even typing, shop, and art retained the potential. There was even a delusional belief both genders could sign up for home economics, though I never did witness such a thing.
Sodality Members were required to do good works. This was problem number 2.
If you’ve done one car wash or bake sale or clothing drive or old folks’ home visit, you done them all, in the sense that the glow of doing good dissipates after the first time and just the work part remains next time, and the time after that.
Sodality Members were required to serve as models of exemplary behavior among the student body. BIG problem number 3.
Despite its image problems, former Sodality members informally polled years later reported they enjoyed it alot and were very grateful that the Sisters of Saint Agnes who signed us up didn’t care one whit about our image problem.