New to being a troop leader or co leader? First and foremost, a GREAT BIG THANK YOU from all of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc. staff, the GSGCF board, donors, supporters, alumni Girl Scouts, volunteers and parents, and most importantly, GIRLS who are in the Girl Scout program or are soon going to start! Your commitment will show girls they’re capable of more than they ever imagined.
Please note, website links and third party sites are recommendations to make information available but does not constitute and endorsement of these sites. Please research information appropriately.
Here are some basics, tools, and technology to get you going!
√ FIRST FOUR steps: Leaders, co-leaders, cookie moms, and any other active helping parents volunteering with a troop need to complete these steps found here>>>
√ Make sure you have completed an orientation with your membership specialist and also a Troop Pathway Training… these will ensure you get off to the best start. Who is your membership specialist? Click on this map to show you>>
√ The Volunteer Resources page includes lots of tools. Best tools for new volunteers include :(1) volunteer essentials – anything and everything you need to know about Girl Scouts and getting started; (2) quick start for troop volunteers; (3) family guide – a great resource for your families; (4) troop weekly girl meeting plan – will help you plan your troop meetings accordingly
√ The most important thing to know is that this a GIRL program! Don’t underestimate girls… they can do it if you let them! Check out this video to learn about the 3 processes and how to incorporate them. Three Processes of Girl Scouts include learning by doing, cooperative learning, and girl led!
√ Stay Connected with Parents! Here are a few ways to keep connected (remember, first and foremost safety of the girls! Checkout the Girl Scout Internet Safety pledge). Assign a parent in your troop to manage the communication for your troop!
- Troop e-newsletters
- Facebook Groups (recommended to keep them private)
- Potential websites for your group: Shutterfly, Qlubb, Rallyhood
- Embrace Technology – it makes it easier on you to communicate!
√ Here are some websites that we heard are also useful:
- For Girls – GSUSA site with relevant activities to your troops age
- Making Friends – Great craft & activity ideas
- Scouting Web – Indexed resources from all sorts of volunteers and parents in Girl Scouts
- Scout Songs – MP3’s has many songs to make it easy to learn.
√ What about community service and field trips?
- Talk to the girls about community service. What do they want to do? Believe us, they have ideas and it CAN be put into action! Talk to your parents, service unit, and community members. There are SO many opportunities from traditional food and clothing drives, to girls actually building an electric car to educate the community (yep, two middle school girls did it last year in Fort Myers!)
- For trip ideas, take a look at triptionary of local program ideas, activity finder of council and service unit events, Pinterest Troop Travel board of local and distant opportunities, and GSUSA travel destinations. Talk to other leaders too! Don’t reinvent the wheel! Remember to refer to safety activity check points when traveling with girls.
√ Noticing Girl Scouts have a special lingo? Check out the GSUSA (that is Girl Scouts of United States of America) glossary!
√ What about Journey’s, badges, outdoors, awards, cookies and more? Don’t feel like you have to do everything out the gate! Map out your Girl Scout year with the GSUSA interactive map found here>>
√ Staying connected will give you ideas and help you engage with local Girl Scouts volunteers.
- The GSGCF website offers so much! Look around for what you need.
- Like us on Facebook (some service units have their own Facebook group – ask your Service Unit Manager or Membership Specialist if there is one to connect with other leaders and volunteers directly in your area)
- Follow us on Twitter
- Pinterest has lots useful pins for new leaders
- We also have Instagram, Google+, a YouTube Channel with great videos. Subscribe to this blog to keep you up to date on cool tools like this!
Remember, you have volunteers, Service Unit Members and Council Staff who want to help. We can’t help you if you don’t ask. Take a look at our staff contact lists for the appropriate staff member.
It might seem like a lot at first, but working with girls can be such a rewarding experience for both you and them.
Above all, remember to HAVE FUN! You are doing it RIGHT if girls CAN’T WAIT until the next meeting!