I’ve signed up to be a Troop Leader. Now what???

Congratulations!  You did it!  You volunteered to be a super important part of not just your own daughter’s life, but also the lives of a dozen or so other little girls.

You volunteered to be a Troop Leader.

DON’T PANIC!

First thing I want you to do is get a binder.  A big one, with good rings that click together nicely.  This is going to be the start of your Girl Scout Leader Binder, one of the most important tools you will have, so choose wisely – or know that you will be getting a new one every year.  And if that works for you, great!

Then, print this out.  Using the worksheet, write down a few things you really want to do with your new Troop:

  • share Girl Scout traditions from your childhood
  • go camping
  • sell cookies
  • go on field trips
  • learn something cool
  • make new friends
  • keep the old
  • have an adventure
  • see things through another girl’s eyes
  • the list goes on and on and on!

Then, think hard about why you signed up.  The positives.

  • I had so much fun in Girl Scouts when I was a Brownie.
  • I’m a teacher and love working with kids.
  • I already know all of these girls, and they’re wonderful.
  • I want to be a mentor.
  • I want to help guide someone from Daisy to Ambassador.
  • I want to teach girls how to lead.
  • I want to learn how to lead, myself.
  • I want more self confidence.
  • I’m great at arts and crafts.
  • I think more girls (and kids) need to spend time outdoors.
  • I want a way to meet other adults with interests similar to mine, and maybe create a network for myself.
  • I really really really like s’mores.

These are all great reasons to become a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and I’m sure your reason is just as great!  Write it down.  Because you are going to forget.  This enthusiasm you feel right now.  In about four weeks, when you are actually looking at a dozen smiling cherubic, demonic little girl-faces, you are going to forget why on earth you ever volunteered to do this.  All you are going to remember is the negatives.  Maybe you felt strongarmed into volunteering at Rally Night (it shouldn’t be done, but I know it is).  Maybe you feel unready, incapable.

Put this sheet with all of your reasons and goals into a sheet protector and stick it in your binder to remind yourself why you volunteered.  Take a picture of your Troop, print it out, and put in the same same sheet protector.  This is your WHY.

Next, let’s get to work on the HOW. 🙂

Oh, and some other goodies for your binder?  Here you go!

Rally Night!

Tomorrow is my Community’s first Rally Night, so I can’t tell you what the Leadership Team has planned today.  Thankfully, I no longer am in charge of planning those events.  But I have been in the past, and I have been to every Rally my Service Unit/Community has held for the past 9 years, starting from the one where I signed my daughter and I up for Girl Scouts.

For Parents New to Girl Scouts

Rally night is recruitment night.  This is your BEST opportunity to join Girl Scouts, because this is when the local group administrators (all volunteers, by the way) are trying to add girls all at once.  We try to do it right at the beginning of the school year, because the Girl Scout Membership year starts on October 1, and ideally new Troops should be able to get started as close to that date as possible.

So when I say BEST, what do I mean?  Are there prizes for signing up during Rally Night?  Mmmm, not usually in my neighborhood.  Unless, by prizes you mean pencils and stickers for the girls and flyers, booklets, and paperwork for the parents. *grins*  Your area might be different, though.  However, this is when new Troops are formed.  So if you want your daughter to be starting at the same time as everyone else in the group, earning the same badges, doing the same service, having the same fun – join at the same time as everyone else.

The more girls we have signing up at a Rally, the larger the pool of potential volunteers, i.e. parents, grandparents, and guardians.  A Troop can’t exist without the volunteers to lead it.  Depending on your Council, and depending on the activities your girls want to do, each Troop needs at least 2 leaders, a first aider, a camper, a Cookie Manager, and a Treasurer.  That is either 6 parents who each do their part, or 2 parents who will be burnt out by the end of their Daisy years.

If you are a parent* who is reading this and would like to have your daughter join Girl Scouts at a Rally, to misquote an African proverb, “It takes a village to run a successful Girl Scout Troop”.  You need to be involved in your daughter’s Girl Scout career beyond just shuttling her back and forth.  I’m not saying you have to be the leader, though I can vouch for how rewarding it is.  Identify your own strengths: what can you help teach group of girl your daughter’s age?  The more parents who embrace Girl Scouts as a time to spend WITH their daughters, the better off their daughters’ experience will be. (and the smoother Rally Night will go!!

* I say “parent” because although I mean “parents/grandparents/guardians”, that just doesn’t flow as nicely. *grins* The typical Girl Scout volunteer is the girl’s mother, but just within my own Troops, I have had volunteer assistance from dads, grandmothers, grandfathers, and aunts.  If you care about the girls, we will welcome your help!

girl-kaleidoscope-blue_horizontalFor Girls New to Girl Scouting

This is it!  This is your BEST chance to get started in Girl Scouts.  You won’t get any swanky prizes that you can hold in your hands, maybe a pencil that says “Girl Scouts” on it (last year, we had cool color changing ones!).  Instead, you will get something even better: a Girl Scout Troop!  Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you look like, whatever you believe – there is a Troop out there for you, and we would love to have you.

For Those Brave Souls Who Volunteer

I would hug each and every one of you, if I could.  I’ve hugged plenty of my local new leaders.  Because you are about to take on a hard, rewarding, amazing journey with your daughter/granddaughter/beloved girl.  I promise that you will get as much out of this as you put in, and so will your girls.  If you are starting as a Kindergarten Daisy Troop, you will get to watch your girls grow and blossom and evolve into powerful, capable young women. You will watch as they take over the leadership, as they take ownership, bit by bit.

And because no leader should ever be left behind (again, misquoting), I’m going to give you as much help as I can, from troop management ideas, craft ideas, activity ideas, and just the real life workings of running a Girl Scout Troop.  Next week, look for a post on what happens/should happen After the Rally.

And If You Are In Charge of Running Rally Night

First of all, I feel you.  Been there, done that.

Second, I am starting a monthly newsletter starting tomorrow, and the first one is FOR YOU.  In addition to some free printable goodies, there’s a list of the top 7 ways to form Troops that FAIL after Rally Night. *grins*  Sign up tomorrow, and you can tell me if you have seen any of these particular techniques used at your local Rally nights on my Facebook Page.

Oh, and if you need a quick activity for the girls at your Rally Night, here’s a neat Fortune Teller/Cootie Catcher printable from the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida (click on the thumbnail to embiggen):

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