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Welcome, New Troop Leaders!

Congratulations on joining Girl Scouts! Information on this page will help you walk through some of the major milestones for a Girl Scout Troop leader.  GSSEM staff are here to help you along the way, too. Contact your Recruitment Specialist with specific questions about your new role!

Here’s a quick list to help start your Girl Scout Troop year right:

  • Get a Troop Number
  • Set up Troop Bank Account
  • Recruit Volunteers
  • Register Girls and Adults
  • Set Troop Meeting information
  • Hold a Troop Organizational Meeting
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RESOURCES AND HELP
Publications

The annual publication, Volunteer Essentials, and your New Leader’s Guide to Success are must-have publications for every Girl Scout Troop Leader. 

Online Learning

The Learning Page is the portal to all online learning opportunities from GSSEM. In addition to taking Troop Leader/Co-Leader training, you can learn online about a wide range of topics through GSSEM's interactive and informative video tutorials called Short & Snappies. Be sure to check out the event calendar to view in-person and webinar training opportunities, too!

Volunteer Toolkit (VTK)

The Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) is a comprehensive online tool with everything you need to keep you plan your troop’s activities for the year! In VTK, you can choose a detailed year plan (or design your own), set up meetings and agendas, share the plan with parents, track troop finances, and much more.

Your Troop Support Specialists

Your Troop Support Specialist will contact you after you’ve completed your troop organization meeting. Troop Support Specialists provide a wealth of information and help throughout the troop year. They are assigned to each Troop Volunteer, based on the GSSEM Community your troop meets in. Find your community (and your Troop Support Specialist).


TROOP MANAGEMENT
Your My GS Member Profile

The Member Profile is where you’ll manage your and all of the Girl Scout members in your household, and all of the girl memberships in your troop. There are step-by-step learning modules for Managing Your Member Profile that you can view anytime, anywhere.

Assembling Your Troop

You're going to need family members, fellow volunteers, and of course, girls to organize your troop! Remember to always follow the Girl/Adult Ratio.

  • RECRUITING ADULTS:
    Consider the adult support and resources you will need throughout the year. There's even a short learning module if you need help talking to parents or adding adults to your troop.

  • RECRUITING GIRLS:
    GSSEM’s online Opportunity Catalog is where interested families can find available troops for their girls. Your Recruitment Specialist can help with adding your new troop to the Opportunity Catalog.

Remember that finances shouldn't stand in the way of a girl’s participation! Any girl needing financial assistance for membership can request it during online registration! 

Boosting Parent Involvement

The first step for increasing meaningful family involvement in your troop is figuring out where parents can get involved. It is important to take time to define your troop’s needs and identify opportunities for parents to support the troop. Get tips from a troop leader who’s winning at getting parents involved!

Safety Activity Checkpoints

Troop leaders must always refer to the provided Safety Activity Checkpoints in Volunteer Essentials for everything the troop does during year. These checkpoints cover everything from packing the right gear, to maintaining adequate adult-to-girl ratios, using the buddy system, and so much more! Be sure to refer to them when planning all of your troop’s activities.

Troop Meetings

Troop meetings should be fun, productive and GIRL-LED! Your meetings are where you and your girls can plan their activities, including the badges and journeys or service projects they want to do. To help get started, check out the First Meeting Checklist and 6 Elements of Great Troop Meeting. Also, the Volunteer Toolkit is a great place to help plan every troop meeting of your Girl Scout year!


TROOP FINANCES
Managing Troop Finances

Every GSSEM troop is required to open and maintain a troop bank account for troop dues (optional) and product sales revenues, and for purchasing supplies or activities. The troop cannot participate in any money-making activities until a troop bank account is established.

Here’s how you can get the troop bank account up and running and help your girls start earning money.  Also see this list of Recommended Banks for Troop Leaders to help make the process smoother!

Troop Annual Financial Report

Every troop must submit an annual Troop Finance Report by June 21 each year. Also, there's a Short & Snappy on using the Volunteer Toolkit Finance Tab, which is important to know when troops submit their finance report via the Volunteer Toolkit. If you have any questions with submitting a Troop Annual Financial Report, email GSSEM's Finance Department or call 800-482-6734 and select the option for Finance. 


PROGRAMMING AND ACTIVITIES
Journeys & Badges

National Leadership Journeys are at the core of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). These fun and challenging experiences allow girls to climb the Ladder of Leadership and are grouped around a theme and spread over a series of sessions.

Badges help girls work on things will deepen their skills in a particular area. Girls can learn do great things like design a work of art, plant a garden, or build a robot and earn some great badges as they go!

Check out the newest STEM and OUTDOOR Journeys and Badges >>
Check out how to decorate Girl Scout uniforms with Badges and Patches >>

Engaging Girls in STEM

As a troop leader, you have many great opportunities to engage your Girl Scouts in the fascinating field of Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM), including joining a Robotics team! Let your girl see that STEM can help her make the world a better place!

Girl Scouts Awards

Every Leadership Journey concludes with a Take Action project. These Take Action steps help Girl Scouts learn the skills they will need when going for their High Awards as older Girl Scouts: Bronze, Silver and Gold, and will give them a chance to make a lasting impact on their community.

Girl Scouts of all ages have a chance to get ready to earn their High Awards with the Precious Medals P.I. Patch Program.

Girl Scouts Ceremonies, Songs

The songs, ceremonies and traditions that commemorate the milestones and sisterhood of Girl Scouts are important to the Movement! Also, investiture ceremonies welcome new members—girls and adults—into the Girl Scout family for the first time. Investitures are typically coupled with Rededication ceremonies in which girls and adults who are returning to Girl Scouts renew their commitment to the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

Download the Investiture Ceremony PDF >>

World Thinking Day

Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from around the world celebrate World Thinking Day on February 22 each year.

Check out these activities to Celebrate World Thinking Day >>

Beyond the Troop

There are so many ways for Girl Scouts to get involved with the organization and their community—with or without the participation of their troop! GSSEM offers many Council and Community events throughout the year for girls (and troops).  Consider bringing your troop to GSSEM events like Mall Frenzy, International  River Crossing, and Meet Me at the Zoo. Let girls know about amazing travel opoporutnities available to them like Destinations and the Mackinac Island Honor Guard, too.


THE OUTDOORS
Tips for Getting Girls Outside

We live in a world driven by technology, but at Girl Scouts, the Great Outdoors is where it’s at! It’s not easy to break your girls of technology habits. The newest Outdoor Badges will help. Learn more in the Badge Explorer, and check out GSUSA’s tips for Raising Girl Adventurers.

Traveling with Girls

Girl Scout travel is a great way to offer girls leadership opportunities. Encourage Girl Scouts of all ages to choose one of the seven National Leadership Journeys before they go. The Journey’s theme will give girls a way to explore leadership through their travels. For Travel Volunteers, Volunteer Essentials covers safety while traveling.

Destinations

Girl Scouting is all about adventures, and the Destinations program offers the ultimate in Girl Scouts adventures for girls. All the Destinations for 2019-20 will be posted in August. Be prepared for the amazing: a Celtic Adventure in Ireland, Exploring the Culture of India, and Journey Down Under in Australia and New Zealand—to name a few!

More Online Resources

Bookmark these important pages and documents:

Also you can stay up to date with GSSEM by following our Facebook Page!


PRODUCT PROGRAMS
Fall Product Program

The Fall Product Program runs from early October through November each year. Girl sell magazines, nuts and candy to help troops with the needed start-up money to fund troop activities.

Information about how to participate and training becomes available in early fall. Stay tuned!

Cookie Program

The Girl Scout Cookie Program helps girls learn goal-setting, people-skills, business ethics, money management and decision-making. GSSEM's sale generally runs December through April each year.


A wealth of information is available for troop leaders supporting their girls through sale including in-person and online training and cookie packets mailed directly to the leader/co-leader. Look for cookie information starting in late fall each year.


TIMELINE
Planning for the Next Troop Year

Summer is the best time to start planning for the next Girl Scout year! You need to assess who’s in for another year of fun and what that year will look like.