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New Troop Leader FAQ
There are many girls who express an interest in participating in Girl Scouts. If you find that you want more girls in your troop, you are welcome to hold an "Invite a Friend" night for your troop. Each girl asks a friend or two to come to a troop meeting for fun, games, and some Girl Scout Basics. You will find that some of these girls will want to register afterwards, so be prepared to send forms home for their parents.
While most troops have one Leader, and one or two Co-leaders, there are troops who use a round-robin system for the second adult required for meetings. Your troop parents and committee members could take turns assisting you at your meetings.
A good place to start in any age level is with the badges that teach Girl Scout basics like the Promise and the Law. A good next step would be a badge dealing with relationships and teamwork. Have the girls discuss their interests and use those to plan what comes next.
Depending on your girls' age level, they should be learning the decision making and planning process. With younger girls, i.e. Daisies or Brownies, you will be doing the majority of the planning. With older girls, you can encourage them to share ideas, vote on them, and guide them through the planning process. Remember to let them learn from small mistakes and oversights, but it is appropriate for you to point out larger oversights and safety issues before they generate problems. Your leader guide book has a section discussing Progression, and contains tips to implement it.
Investiture is simply a ceremony to welcome a girl into a troop for the first time. For girls who have been in Girl Scouts, it is called Rededication. The ceremony can be as elaborate or simple as you and the girls desire, but generally includes reciting the Promise, receiving their membership pin if they are new, and may include a portion that is age level specific, i.e. Brownies have âTwist Me, Turn Meâ. Your level handbook and leader book should provide some ideas to help you plan.
Bridging is the ceremony usually held at the end of the year to welcome girls into the next level of Scouts. There are specific activities listed in the back of your level handbook that are required to earn the Bridging patch. This is not necessary to Bridge, but is a special award to help girls learn about and prepare for the change.
The Girl Scout holidays are listed in your age level handbook, along with some activity suggestions for celebrating. Use your imagination, ask other leaders, or look on the internet for other ideas. It is not required to celebrate every Girl Scout holiday, but it does help the girls understand the history of Girl Scouts.
Troops participate in activities based on their interest, budget, schedule, and other factors. It is not necessary for a troop to attend every activity, but attending some gives the girls a chance to meet others from outside their troop or area, and can be a wonderful addition to your troop program. You can always plan a similar activity for later, or wait until next year.
First Aid and CPR aren't required for your regular meetings, but some level is required for all field trips and out of meeting place activities. You may be able to find a certified First Aider from your troop parents or committee members to accompany you. If not, contact other leaders in your area. Most leaders are willing to help other troops if their schedules allow.
Yes. Troops in our council can get a tax exempt number from the Leesburg Girl Scout Office. Contact them to receive a copy of the number, and the guidelines for using it.
The money for your troop budget can come from various sources. You may want to charge a small fee weekly or monthly for dues. You can ask your parents for a small donation to get the troop started. You will also be able to earn money by participating in the Fall Product Sale and the Annual Cookie Sale. These are the main sources of revenue for most troop budgets. There are also other options for earning money for special projects and events. Contact your Service Unit Manager for more information on this. You should not be subsidizing the troop's activities from your personal money.
You can reimburse yourself from the troop funds as long as you have saved the receipts. Make sure to note in the financial record what the reimbursement was for.
You can reimburse drivers for gas used on troop trips and events. Discuss with your troop committee how the troop should handle this, or ask another leader how they handle this issue. If gas/mileage is not reimbursed by the troop, it can be written off as a donation to a non-profit organization. Consult your tax advisor for more details.
This question is answered in Safety-Wise under Adult/Girl Ratios. The ratio will vary depending on your activity, and the safety concerns related to it. It is perfectly acceptable to have more adults, but you cannot use fewer than this ratio.
For more information on these or other questions contact Service Unit Manager, or a member of the Service Unit Team. They are there to help you become the best leader you can be. Do not feel badly for not knowing. The only stupid question is the one that is never asked.
Congratulations on your decision to become a Girl Scout Leader! Remember, if your girls are learning and having fun, you are doing a GREAT JOB!