What’s even more fun than a new year of Girl Scouts? Welcoming new girls to your troop! After all, new members bring fresh ideas, different ways of looking at things, and excitement that can spark creativity and energize everyone. Plus, introducing new friends to Girl Scouting allows existing members to flex their leadership skills and build confidence. Basically, everybody wins!
Though you may already be a few months into the new school year, it’s still the perfect time to get more girls involved in your troop’s adventures. Get ready to recruit some fresh faces with these tried-and-true tips from Marissa Vessels, who writes for Girl Scouts of Northern California’s blog The Trailhead:
1. Host a Bring-a-Friend meeting.
It’s common that your girls might want to invite their friends to troop meetings to see what Girl Scouts is all about! So lean into your girls’ natural desire to be social and host a special “Bring-a-Friend” meeting for your troop (or just designate certain meetings throughout the year as being open for friends).
When hosting a Bring-a-Friend meeting, it’s important that the meeting is authentic to your troop’s Girl Scout experience. If your troop is full of outdoor adventurers, a meeting filled with crafts and games may not be the best way to attract the girls that are right for your group. And if your girls are a little more on the low-key side, your troop trip to a theme park might not be the right event for potential new Girl Scouts to experience. Instead, plan a meeting that will allow for lots of interaction between the girls, down time for you to talk to the potential new parents, and a fun activity that is true to your troop’s interests.
2. Add your troop to the Opportunity Catalog.
Did you know that there are thousands of girls all over the country waiting to find the perfect troop, and likely hundreds right in your area? We need to do our part to help these girls find their homes in Girl Scouts! Many councils have a troop Opportunity Catalog—an online listing that provides detailed information about the troops in your area that have open spots available. The troop catalog is the perfect opportunity to tell new members about what your troop likes to do and what makes you, you. You’ll fill in all of the details about the age levels of your girls, when you meet, and what kinds of activities you enjoy, which will help new Girl Scouts and volunteers find their perfect match. Check with your council on how to make sure you’re there.
3. Have your girls rock their Girl Scout swag on meeting days (and share their Girl Scout story).
No matter how old your girls are, wearing their uniforms or other Girl Scout logo merchandise out and about is a powerful way to recruit new members for your troop. Not only are these items symbols of pride, they tell a story of girls’ unique experiences—the skills they’ve learned, the adventures they’ve gone on—and it’s hard for friends not to ask about it. Encourage your girls to don their Girl Scout duds at school, back-to-school night, and out in the community on days that they have Girl Scout events to attend, and you’re sure to pique interest.
4. Invite your friends and their girls to attend Service Unit or Council events with you.
There’s something magical about the Girl Scout sisterhood, isn’t there? So what better way to recruit new members than to invite your friends and their girls to join along for a Service Unit or Council event to get a taste of the wider Girl Scout community! From building robots to singing songs around the campfire, there are opportunities for every girl in Girl Scouts, no matter what her interests are.
Whether we’re environmental champions, budding entrepreneurs, or passionate about changing the world, the next opportunity to stand up, speak up, and take the lead is never far away. So round up your favorite friends and invite them to see why Girl Scouts is the best place for their girls to grow into the confident, courageous, and strong women of tomorrow, today. (Seriously, what parent can say no to that?)
5. Hand out physical invitations for girls to share with their friends.
Your girls are by far your best recruiters. Make it easy for their friends to join in on the fun by giving out a handful of physical invitations for your girls to pass out at school, in the community, clubs, church, sports practice, dance classes, back-to-school night, student government meetings, and, well, you get the idea!
Your invitation should include space for your girl to write her name, her friend’s name, meeting details (date, time, and location), and your troop leader’s contact information.