Starting a Girl Scout troop is a big deal! Some people jump in with both feet, and others might be a little nervous, perhaps not sure where to start or who to turn to for help.
We search our experts—bona fide troop leaders—for insight only they can provide. Specifically, we asked found the single best piece of advice they have for new troop leaders. We hope these serve you well as valuable guidance for new troop leaders (and even those who’ve been at it a while) on starting and running a Girl Scout troop.
- Get parents involved from day 1. Then later when you need them they will be used to lending a helping hand and it will be much easier.
- Don’t try and do it all, especially the first year. Focus on one or two things at a time. Recruit parents to take on some of the roles such as finances, camping, cookies, first aid, badge work, etc.
- Use the Volunteer Toolkit – it will save you a lot of time and help plan your year. It is a remarkable time-saver and planner!
- Go to service unit leader/volunteer meetings. They are a wealth of information from the council staff to the other leaders in attendance.
- Starting with Daisies, give each girl a composition book. Every time the girl does some kind of community service, have her write it in the book – date, time, place and what she did. By the time she has made her way to an Ambassador, she should have more than 500 hours of community service and a great deal of experience.
- Do what the girl want to do. This is an organization for girls, by girls. Provide them with lots of choices and facilitate what they are interested in.
- For older girls, have the girls in your troop vote on badges and Journeys. Each girl ranks her top three. Then assign 2 girls to work as a team on one badge and a meeting. They are responsible for presenting and engaging the troop in earning it.
- Take advantage of the council trainings. This is where you will learn and get all kinds of ideas. Make contacts with other leaders/volunteers to ask questions, and bounce ideas off of each other. New people = New ideas!
- Trust the program~ Don’t panic! The council has lots of information, troop meeting information and resources to help you! ASK!!
- Camp every year! Start taking the girls camping. If you don’t really like to camp or are unfamiliar with camping, ask the council to help out. There are always lots of volunteers who love camping and can help you and even join you and our troop.
- Ask questions! Don’t flounder on your own. ASK! the council and staff our here to help you!
- The best tip is HAVE FUN! A lot of focus is placed on procedures, roles, recruiting, and all that other good stuff. Those things along with safety come first. But we want you to have fun – as a leader, mentor as well as your girls! If you don’t enjoy what you are doing . . . you will burn out quickly. So make slime with your girls, take in the sights on a hike, make yourself a great big s’more! Not only will you have fun, it will allow you to develop a good connection with your girls!