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New Troop- New Leader #221403
11/15/05 08:06 PM
11/15/05 08:06 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 2
Portage, Indiana
J
JustUsGirls Offline OP
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JustUsGirls  Offline OP
Newbie
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Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 2
Portage, Indiana
Hi everyone, I have just signed up to be a Leader for Girl Scouts. I have been accepted and have been through my orientation, and am scheduled for basic training tomorrow. I wanted to start this post, ecpecially for myself (having NO clue about girl scouts) but for others also coming into this blindfolded. So here is what I need advice on- how to start off a new troop the right way. I don't want to be one of those leaders that doesn't seem to know what is going on. I am a very organized person, but I have never "ran" anything like this before. Any Advice? I will take any wisdom you have to offer me.

Thanks

Re: New Troop- New Leader #221404
11/26/05 09:17 PM
11/26/05 09:17 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 14
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Girl_Scouts_Editor Offline
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Girl_Scouts_Editor  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 14
Reading up on Girl Scouts is a good start. There are as many ways to be a leader as there are leaders. My way is to plan the whole year out in advance. That may not work for you though.

Another key element, often resisted by new leaders, is training. Yes, it takes your time, but it prevents that "being blindfolded" feeling.

So how do you start? Pick up a copy of the "First six meetings" for you level if you don't have any other ideas. How to start depends a lot on the age of your girls.

Good Luck.

Diana

Re: New Troop- New Leader #221405
02/17/06 09:54 PM
02/17/06 09:54 PM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 1
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Scouting_Mom Offline
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Scouting_Mom  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 1
I was in your place 9 months ago and understand the feelings of excitement, anticipation, and horror of what you just volunteered to do. As new Jr. Troop leaders, my co-leader and I feel that we are finally hitting our stride but that is after many false starts. But the girls are still with us and seem to be enjoying themselves so those first few months must not have been too bad. Here are my suggestions:

1)Use the Jr Scout Signs as the structure for the Fall/Spring meetings. This was suggested to us at a training meeting. This fall, we started with the Sign of the Star (which was a big hit with the girls). Now we are working on the Sign of the Rainbow (works perfectly for Thinking Day). You can do something similar for Brownies by selecting themes around the GS Promise and Law. This really helps focus you.

2)Remember the badge book is a suggested set of activities. As long as it meets the spirit of what the activity is trying to accomplish, it�s ok to modify the activities. For the �Looking Your Best� badge we made a video of health care tips. The badge book had us making a booklet or pamphlet. The girls had more fun making the video and it was actually easier for us to do and we were able to fulfill the purpose of the activity.

3)Girl planning is a lot of trial and effort. When I was a GS and my mother was troop leader, I didn�t remember all this girl planning they talked about in training. And now I know why� It was easier for her not to do it. Grin! This is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. On one hand, you really need to let the girls have a part in the planning or else they aren�t doing the things they enjoy and quit scouting. On the other hand, girls 9-11 don�t really understand why the majority always has to rule. So you have to set up the options in such a way that if the majority wins the first time, the minority will get to win the next time. For example, if the majority wants a skit for Thinking Day and the minority wants a folk dance, then the next time they have to prepare something, a skit isn�t an option (because its already been done) and the dancing group will most likely get what they want.

4)Plan your outside field trips with respect to money and time (your time). Jr Scouts love field trips. The council often offers really fun day events and your service unit will have overnight camping activities. It�s hard to resist all this good stuff, but don�t overload yourself. We try to keep our field trips down to 1 a month at most and none during Cookie Booth sales time. The other thing to remember is that they all cost money. My co-leader and I try to find at least one free field trip a season. Unfortunately, most places have at least an entrance fee or it�s free but the hayride costs extra. At the beginning of the fall (or spring) we try to determine what trips we are going to take, how much they cost. The troop will contribute some and the rest is supplied by the families as an activity fee. We try to keep it to no more than $20 per season. We don�t have a problem with this because the parents prefer a one-time fee to nickel-and-diming during the year.

5)Budget, budget, budget! When I became a leader, I had no idea how much it cost to do things, buy supplies, buy badges and patches, etc. One of the smartest things we did was put together a budget and then work to it. And be careful how much of your own money and stuff (crafts, food, etc.) that you "donate" to your troop.

6)Get parents involved early and often. My co-leader and I both work full-time. If our parents didn�t step up, we wouldn�t be able to run the troop. At the beginning of year, we had a sign-up sheet for all the yearly GS stuff that needs to be done (SHARE, calendars, QSP, cookies). We made sure every slot was filled before we allowed the parents to leave the first meeting. We also have a seasonal sign-up sheet for field trips, snacks and meeting helpers. I also make it a point to ask parents who didn�t sign up for a field trip in the fall, to sign up for one in spring. I explicitly tell them that they need to help share the load for all parents.

7) Take advantage of your service unit. My service unit is a mix of veteran and new leaders. When I go to the meetings, I often make sure that I talk with some of the verteran leaders to help me with problems I am having whether its with the girls, the GS forms, cookie sales, whatever. That is the best resource you have. I have several leaders who I email when I have problems/questions and they always take the time to help.

8)Remember to have fun. As you can probably tell by now, I am a type-A personality. The parents love my co-leader and I because we are incredibly organized, plan our meetings and trips well in advance, and send out reminders. But the girls like us because we've learned that it doesn�t matter if the SWAPs don�t look that great or the skits are ragged or the girls thought the walk through the museum was boring. What matters is whether they have had a good time making the journey.

Good luck,
Scouting Mom

Re: New Troop- New Leader #221406
04/06/06 04:54 PM
04/06/06 04:54 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 2
Kingsburg, CA
A
Audsmom Offline
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Audsmom  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 2
Kingsburg, CA
I found an amazing (but since 2003, not maintained) website that has lots of stuff to help in all kinds of ways. It is [uBellaOnline ALERT: Raw URLs are not allowed in these forums for security reasons. Please use UBB code. If you don't know how to do UBB code just post here for help - we will help out!

Re: New Troop- New Leader [Re: Audsmom] #315878
05/22/07 12:37 AM
05/22/07 12:37 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 9
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Elly Offline
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Elly  Offline
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Joined: May 2007
Posts: 9
Welcome to GS! This is my 15th yr as a leader. You guys are great to take on this wonderful all-volunteer, loads-of-work job. And you will love it!

Don't be scared---there is lots of help & many resources for you! Esp in your own SU---go to the other leaders; they have done it all before. Girlscouts.org has good advice too, although the site isn't always the easiest to get around.

Go to Scoutingweb.com. Bazillions of links to terrific ideas, songs, all kinds of stuff. My faves--the lists of councils own badge/patch programs. Also all the GSUSA newsletters on the reorganization are on there.

Re--parents. At beginning of year, have a parents meeting. It is the meeting at which they will fill in the registration form, or else it is the meeting at which you will hand out the calendar---so they need to be there. Buy the hand/badgebooks in advance & distribute them at this meeting. Anything to make the parents come. You will welcome them all but at some point fairly early on, you will let them know you have been taking all these hours of training, been fingerprinted etc all for their daughters, and there is a lot of time involved in running a GS troop, and if their girls are to get the full benefit of the GS program, you need their help. Tell them what you need them to help with---be the cookie parent--provide sitting for preschoolers/babies while the leaders & their helpers of the week are running the meeting---take turns being a helper---snacks---driving to special places---etc etc. Then say you'll leave the sign up sheet for them to work on while you turn on the coffee maker in the kitchen, or get the dessert from the kitchen, or whatever. And disappear.

They will all sit there for a minute trying to "make" each other sign up for something first. Then someone will say, well, I suppose I can be the cookie mom--or the treasurer--or whatever. And the rest will, with any luck, follow.

We have many overworked leaders in our SU who have never held this meeting, and they are killing themselves doing the whole thing. The parents in their troop n-e-v-e-r help with a thing, and treat them like the ten dollar a year day care they have allowed themselves to become. They complain to others about the situation, and I say, hey, you've got to have a parents meeting & lay it all out to them! The swim team does. The soccer team does. The softball team does, and the gymnastics classes have the parents at meets selling snacks---why are you shy about telling parents you need their help, when *you* have the program better than any of the above, combined?

Audsmom, GSUSA is also a printing house.They sell those badge books & handbooks & badges/charms/vests---that is why they are not online, except for some online-only badges. That's how they pay for that building in NY!

Go to Scoutingweb, click on Traditions, click on CadSr, find the page of links to forms & booklets & such. Lots of help there with IP logs, Leadership Award time logs, etc. You will be especially interested in one about halfway down the page, I believe it is called "another Silver Award booklet" or something like that. It is a pdf. There is another similar one for the Gold, which you may want to print & save.

On Girlscouts.org, there is a page with color photos of the new online only IPs. They are all on the same page, but you can print that page & give it to the girls so they can see what they look like. Or send them the link & tell them to look at it themselves. Maybe better to encourage them to mess around on the site on their own.

Good luck! YSIS, Elly


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