If you are feeling a little nervous about leading troop meetings and experiences with your girls – that’s ok! Working directly with girls can be challenging at times but it is always rewarding and can be a lot of fun. As a Girl Scout Troop Leader, you are encouraged to listen to the girls with an open-mind and lead them with your heart.
Many adults feel that, when working with kids, they must be the expert and have everything perfect. But this is not the case in Girl Scouts. Planning the meeting ahead of time will help – but remember to be flexible and creative if things don’t go as planned or you run out of time. Remember that Girl Scouts is girl-led! Organizing your meeting is easy with the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). The simple guide below will give you the framework for how typical meetings run. The VTK will help you fill your meeting with specific activities and timelines.
- Start Up: Plan an activity for girls to work on before the meeting begins. It can be simple – coloring pages, journaling, or talking with others. This part is so important, because it breaks the ice and helps girls get excited about the meeting! (5 minutes)
- Opening: As a girl-led organization, we encourage the girls to decide what they want to open with. Example openers include the Girl Scout Promise and Law, song, or game. Get creative and don’t be afraid to switch things up occasionally. (5-10 minutes)
- Business: This is the time to let girls plan their upcoming meetings, collect dues, make announcements, and decide which council or Service Unit events they’d like to attend, and which badges they’d like to earn. Consider using this as practice for girls in doing research and coming prepared to present! Not only will this help the meeting run more smoothly, but it also builds transferable skills, which the girls can take far past their Girl Scout years. (5-10 minutes)
- Activities: Work towards earning badges and completing Journeys. Again, this portion of the meeting should be heavily girl-led, with the troop leader offering support on the side. It may feel like you’re not doing as much as you should, but trust us, you will be amazed at how capable the girls can be. (30-45 minutes)
- Clean up: Girl Scouts should always leave a place cleaner than they found it! They might even enjoy the tradition of a kaper chart, so that everyone takes turns at each responsibility. (5 minutes)
- Closing: Just like the opening, each troop can decide how to close – with a song, a game, or a story. As caregivers arrive, provide any important updates or reminders about upcoming meetings and activities. (5-10 minutes)
Remember you also have other registered Troop volunteers (i.e. your “Troop Committee”). Don’t be shy about asking them for help. They play a big role in making your troop run smoothly and in supporting the girls’ plans. They’re an extra set of eyes, ears, and hands whose skill sets are leveraged to help the troop safely explore the world around them.
Don’t stress! We have all the resources for you to learn the ins-and-outs of getting your troop started, ways to engage parents, and everything else you’ll need to know to be a superstar leader. Check out our New Leader Guide and the GSCTX Tip Sheets found at the bottom of the Troop Leader Resources page for additional meeting ideas. Join our Green Leader Facebook page where you can meet other troop leaders and ask their advice and get more ideas for you troop activities and meetings.
Please Note: The New Leader Guide is not a replacement for Volunteer Essentials; this is a “quick start” handbook for troop leaders. Please read Volunteer Essentials for more detailed and complete information.