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Tips for Boosting Parent Involvement!


parentinvolvement

Follow these tips and keep a positive attitude and you’ll quickly learn that there are many parents that want to help!

1. Set an expectation that everyone volunteers and we are in this together.

We always welcome each new member and their family at the girls’ first troop meeting. I introduce key members of our troop leadership and I let parents know that they will be asked to volunteer for at least one thing. Usually I list in writing which things I know I’ll need help with and a brief description of what duties are involved.  Some of these jobs might be helping pack for the camping trip, cookie mom, bringing snacks, or cutting out pieces for SWAPS. Your troop will have different positions depending on how you expect your year to unfold, so customize your own list according to your needs.

A few jobs you might need filled in your troop are:

  • Troop Treasurer
  • Product Sales Manager
  • Snack Planning
  • Carpool Drivers
  • Camping Lead
  • Recruitment Supporter
  • Community Outreach
  • Event Planner (bridging ceremonies, holiday parties, etc.) 

2. Use Ways to Help the Troop Form and require every family to fill one out.

This is a form where parents are asked about their own Girl Scout background as well as what talents and tasks they may be able to help with. From this you can learn a lot about who’s on your team!

3. Plan a family event and then fit the job to the personality.

When you host a fun family event, you’ll quickly learn a lot about the parents in your troop. It’s true that some folks love to be in front of kids, some have great teaching skills, while others are terrified, and don’t know what to do. At our family events we make sure to have a mix of activities, games and teambuilding-type activities that everyone participates in with their girls.  This gives everyone an opportunity to have fun together and you’ll quickly know everyone’s personalities from how they participate.

4. Ask parents personally for their help.


In the age of social media and email, avoid the mistake of asking for volunteers by a broadcast email. That approach almost never works and will only cause you frustration. Instead, address parents in a small group or in a one-on-one conversation. Make sure you speak with a positive tone and avoid being confrontational. Campouts, BBQs, and events that are geared to be “mixers” are a perfect time to ask, because parents tend to be relaxed and not stressed about their other obligations.

5. Once someone says yes, follow up and set them up for success.


As soon as you can, you’ll also want to contact the volunteer to give them all the information they need to be successful. You’ll also need to let them know if there is any training specific to their position that they will need to attend or complete such as a council background check.

6. Recognize the volunteer right away.


Once someone says they will help, make sure you thank them. Perhaps write a personal note and hand it to them at the next meeting. Also at the next troop meeting, in front of all the parents and girls, announce the new volunteer’s role. Then ask everyone to thank him or her for stepping up and helping support the troop. This makes the newcomer feel great about volunteering and makes it a bit tougher to back out! It also lets the girls know they have a team supporting their Girl Scout experience throughout the year!

Follow these tips and keep a positive attitude and you’ll quickly learn that there are many parents that want to help!