Parents, friends, family, and other community members can provide time, experience, and ideas to a troop, so get them involved from the very beginning as part of your volunteer troop team.
In addition to leaders, other volunteer roles greatly benefit troops.
All adult volunteers must be screened and approved before taking on a volunteer role.
If you keep a positive attitude and follow these tips, you'll quickly discover that many parents want to help with your troop.
We always welcome each new member and their family at the girls' first troop meeting. I introduce key members of our troop leadership and let parents know that they'll 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 include: helping pack for a camping trip, being a cookie parent, 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 list according to your needs.
A few jobs you might need to be filled in your troop are:
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.
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.
In the age of social media and email, avoid asking for volunteers via 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.
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.
Once someone says they'll 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 tougher to back out. It also lets the girls know they have a team supporting their Girl Scout experience throughout the year.
This article was written by Richel Newborg, a troop leader at Girl Scouts of Northern California. Original post »
It's a defining moment when a Girl Scout becomes aware of her achievements and is ready for new adventures and responsibilities.
Celebrating this change should be fun, personalized, and memorable for everyone involved. And, most of all, it should be planned by girls in true partnership with adults.
When planning a bridging ceremony, please:
The information in this section will help you navigate through major milestones as a Girl Scout troop leader.
Quick Startup Checklist
gsLearn is the portal to GSSEM's online, on-demand learning opportunities.
New troop leaders and co-leaders are required to complete:
In addition to these mandatory courses, you can learn a wide range of topics online through GSSEM's interactive and informative video tutorials called Short & Snappies.
Check out our event list for upcoming training opportunities.
You must complete at least one Grade-Level Essentials training.
The VTK is a comprehensive online tool with everything you need to plan your troop's activities for the year.
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 MSS will contact you after you’ve completed your troop organization meeting. They'll 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.
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.
You're going to need family members, sister volunteers, and girls to organize your troop. Please remember to always follow the girl-to-adult ratio.
Finances shouldn't stand in the way of a girl’s participation. Girls in need of financial assistance for membership may request it during online registration.
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.
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 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.
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.
Every troop must submit an Annual Troop Finance Report by June 21 each year.
You can find the 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 Finance Report, please email the Finance Department at email@example.com or call 800-482-6734 and then select the option for Finance.
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.
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 prepare to earn the Highest Award for their level with the Precious Medals P.I. patch program.
The songs, ceremonies, and traditions that commemorate the milestones and sisterhood of Girl Scouts are essential 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.
Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from around the world celebrate World Thinking Day on February 22 each year.
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:
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.
Girl Scout travel is a great way to offer girls leadership opportunities.
Volunteer Essentials covers safety while traveling.
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.
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. FPP information is available in early fall.
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.