It’s that time of year again! The time when kids don new backpacks and wait for the bus to take them to the first day of school. Parents are checking off school supplies on a long list. But if you’re a troop leader you are also getting excited for a new Girl Scout year! Amazing volunteers in all 47 counties of our council are gearing up to welcome Girl Scouts back.
Troop Leader Dayna Carney of Olathe, Kansas knows all about what it takes to lead a troop. Dayna has been a troop leader for many years and loves the way Girl Scouts allows her three daughters and their friends to give back to their communities. She believes Girl Scouts empowers girls to take a place in the world in which they live. She started when there was no training but is excited to go through the streamlined New Leader Express Training to get updated and learn more. Dayna was happy to share eight useful tips that help her get ready for a new Girl Scout year.
1. Plan a Kick-Off Party – Dayna hosts her first meeting shortly after school begins. Both caregivers and girls come to the party and while the girls are doing a fun activity the parents can get paperwork and other necessary business out of the way. After that everyone can enjoy the party! Here are some helpful tips for a kick-off parent / caregiver meeting.
2. Involve the Girls in Planning – No matter how young, let Girl Scouts help plan their year! Dayna always surveys girls on what they love about Girl Scouts. What was their favorite event from last year? What was their favorite badge they earned? This is a great way to give the girls ownership in their troop and get excited for what is to come.
3. Use Online Girl Scout Resources – There is so much information available to new and returning troop leaders. Feeling out of the loop? Visit our council website where you will find information on just about every program available. The website is updated often and includes details about the fun programs available to girls at each stage of Girl Scouting.
4. Check the Community Programs Page – Did you know we have more than 100 community programs in which girls can participate? Dayna checks the Community Programs page for information on specific events and registration information. Looking at some of the amazing upcoming events is sure to give you plenty of fun events to take part in this year. There is something for everyone!
5. Read Local Publications – The Kansas City area and beyond have many wonderful publications that can help you think of fun things to do with your troop. Sometimes you can even pick up local parent or city magazines for free at stores! Dayna also checks her city’s website for information on upcoming events that are close to home and might complement a Journey.
6. (Try to) Be Organized – We all have full schedules. Jobs, school, sports, music, dance – the lists are endless! Sometimes planning just one more thing can be a daunting task. But Dayna says with a little forethought and organization you can maximize your valuable time. Dayna creates packets of information for herself and caregivers so that everyone has what they need at their fingertips. She also utilizes spreadsheets to keep names, addresses and phone numbers organized. One insider tip she recommended was to use a free scheduling tool such as SignUpGenius. She says it really takes the guesswork out of it when you’re trying to get volunteers for an activity (p.s. we’ve checked it out and it is indeed genius!).
7. Plan Ahead for Cookie Program – Girl Scout Cookie Program is a big deal. We all know this because at least one person asks if they can order a box (or three) yet! This is a big part of the Girl Scout year so Dayna gets the dates on the calendar and prepares for the selling season beforehand!
8. Be Flexible – Go with the flow! This is Dayna’s biggest advice especially for troop leaders of Daisy or Brownie Girl Scouts. She learned to be flexible and believes that you should too. Sometimes plans will have to change and that’s okay. Above all else Dayna wants to remind you this is a Girl-Led Experience and that’s the brilliance of it!
Welcome back to Girl Scouts, everyone. Let’s have a sweet year!