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Welcome, New Troop Leaders!

Thank you for volunteering with GSSEM!

Information on this page will help you navigate through major milestones as a Girl Scout troop leader.

Please contact your Recruitment Specialist with specific questions about your role. GSSEM staff are here to help you along the way, too!

Here’s a quick list to help get you started:

  • Get a Troop Number
  • Set Up Troop Bank Account
  • Recruit Volunteers
  • Register Girls and Adults
  • Set Troop Meeting information
  • Hold a Troop Organizational Meeting
Path to Success

RESOURCES AND HELP
Publications

Volunteer Essentials and the New Leader’s Guide to Success are must-have publications for every Girl Scout troop leader!

Online Learning

gsLearn is the portal to all online learning opportunities from GSSEM.

In addition to taking troop leader/co-leader training sessions, 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 list 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 plan your troop's activities for the year!

In the 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.

Member Support Specialists

Your Member Support Specialist will contact you after you’ve completed your troop organization meeting.

Member Support Specialists (MSS) provide a wealth of information and help throughout the troop year. They're assigned to each troop volunteer, based on the GSSEM community in which your troop meets.

Find your community and MSS »


TROOP MANAGEMENT
Your Member Profile on MyGS

The Member Profile is where you’ll manage the Girl Scout members in your household and troop.

There are step-by-step learning modules for Managing Your Member Profile on gsLearn that you can view anytime, anywhere.

Assembling Your Troop

You're going to need family members, sister volunteers, and girls to organize your troop!

Remember to always follow the girl-to-adult ratio.

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

  • Recruitment 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.

Finances shouldn't stand in the way of a girl’s participation!
Girls in need of financial assistancefor membership may 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.

For tips on how to do this, check out our Meaningful Family Involvement Short & Snappy on gsLearn. It's important to take time to define your troop’s needs and identify opportunities for parents to support the troop.

Tips to getting parents involved »

Safety Activity Checkpoints

Troop leaders must always refer to Safety Activity Checkpoints in Volunteer Essentials for everything their troop does during the year.

These resources 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!

At your meetings, you and your girls can plan which activities they may want to do, like badges/Journeys or service projects. 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.

Learn how you can get your troop bank account up and running by viewing the Managing Troop Finances Short & Snappy on gsLearn.

See the Recommended Banks for Troop Leaders to help make the process smoother!

Annual Troop Finance Report

Every troop must submit an Annual Troop Finance Report by June 21 each year.

You can find a Finance Tab Short & Snappy for the Volunteer Toolkit on gsLearn, which is important to view so you know how to submit your finance report via the Volunteer Toolkit.

If you have questions about submitting your Annual Troop Financial Report, please email the Finance Department at gssem-finance@gssem.org or call 800-482-6734 and then 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 that will deepen their skills in a particular area. Girls can learn to do great things like design a work of art, plant a garden, or build a robot and earn some great badges as they go!

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 Scout Highest Awards

Every Leadership Journey concludes with a Take Action project. The projects help Girl Scouts learn the skills they need to earn the Highest Award for their level. Older Girl Scouts can earn the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards, which 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 the Highest Award for their level with the Precious Medals P.I. Patch Program.

Girl Scout 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 returning to Girl Scouts renew their commitment to the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

Investiture Ceremony PDF »

World Thinking Day

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

World Thinking Day Celebration Activities »

Beyond the Troop

There are 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 troops and individual girls.

You can also tell older Girl Scouts about amazing travel opportunities like Destinations and the Mackinac Island Honor Guard.


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 separate girls from technology; 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.

Volunteer Essentials covers safety while traveling.

National & International Destinations

Girl Scouting is all about adventures, and GSUSA's Destinations program offers the ultimate in Girl Scouts adventures for girls.

Be prepared for the amazing: Having a Celtic adventure in Ireland, exploring India and its culture, or journeying down under in Australia and New Zealand—to name a few!

More Online Resources

Please bookmark these important pages and documents:

Also, you can stay up-to-date by following GSSEM's Facebook page!


PRODUCT PROGRAMS
Fall Product Program (FPP)

The Fall Product Program runs from early October through November each year.

Girls sell magazines, nuts, and candy to help troops earn start-up money to fund troop activities.

Fall Product Program (FPP) information is available in early fall each year.

Cookie Program (CP)

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

Every year, a wealth of resources are available for troop leaders to help support their girls, including information on selling cookies, in-person and online training sessions, and cookie kits—which are mailed directly to you or your co-leader.

Cookie Program (CP) information is available 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!

It's important to assess who’s returning to your troop for the coming year and what to expect.