Whether it feels like it or not, if you’re a Girl Scout troop leader, you’re a role model for young girls. This puts you in a unique position to impact their lives and futures! One of the best ways you can help your girls have a great experience is to build your leadership skills.
If you’d like to grow as a leader but don’t know how, I’ve compiled a short guide to help you create the best experience possible for your scouts.
Increase Your Volunteers’ Leadership Skills
If you have other Girl Scout volunteers that you’re training, it’s important to lead them well. Getting all your Girl Scout troop leaders on the same page is so important when it comes to collective leadership.
No matter what grade level you work with, your scouts will benefit from all their leaders having coordinated efforts. This might look different depending on the number of adults you have in your leadership team.
If you just have one or two volunteers to train, you can informally sit down and talk to them about your expectations and plans. If you have a larger group of leaders, you can come up with creative solutions like creating a volunteer toolkit or doing prep sessions before each of your Girl Scout activities.
Set Intentions and Goals
No matter what your leadership style is, it will really benefit your scouts for you to have a positive attitude. If you love your troop, your enthusiasm will shine through. One of the best ways to help yourself feel excited is to set goals for each upcoming membership year, and take concrete steps toward them.
It’s never a bad time to set aside time to get crystal clear on why you’re doing what you’re doing. Take some time to set intentions and goals for your group, and then present them to your girls and adult volunteers. You can also practice this with them and encourage everyone to set goals and intentions for themselves and the group as a whole.
Try Girl-Led Activities
One of the best parts of being a troop leader is, not all of the experiences of your troop have to be led by you! Part of being a great leader is empowering your troop to lead as well.
The power of Girl Scouting as a child is getting to learn that you are competent and independent from a young age, and develop your own unique strengths. You can help your girls take a more active role in the troop by letting them plan and lead activities, whether small or large, with the occasional helping hand from yourself and other leaders.
When you’re a scout, getting to plan activities like field trips, craft times, and fundraisers is a very empowering experience that can build your confidence. Though you might start out with “training wheels,” soon enough you’ll realize that you had it in you! Giving that experience to your girls is one of the best things you can do.
Use Your Resources to Build Your Leadership Skills
There are so many ways you can learn new skills and strengthen your leadership muscles. Depending on your level of Girl Scout leadership experience and personal strengths, this can look different from other leaders.
You can find local learning opportunities, take an online course about leadership development, read books, or utilize relationships in your Girl Scout network to learn and grow.
An unusual but effective learning strategy is to study child development in the ages of your girls to understand how they learn best and what’s most developmentally helpful for them.
If you’re already reading this, you’re somebody who strives to learn and grow. You’re on the right track, and your desire to lead to the best of your ability will shine through!
Customize the Experience
If every year looks the same for you and your troop, you likely have some room to grow. Each of your individual girl scouts has their own personal needs, interests, and strengths, and part of giving them the best experience possible is taking them into account. If you are open to customizing their experience, you can make their program experience better than they imagined!
Keep your eye out for the special needs of any members. For example, if one of your scouts struggles to pay membership dues, is interested in different topics than you usually focus on, or has specific personal needs like dietary restrictions, you can help her have a unique experience, and this will set you apart as an amazing leader.
As great as it is to focus on the individual development of each scout, it’s best to find a sweet spot where everyone is enjoying their Girl Scout experience as much as possible. Finding that balance will be a lifelong practice that you can improve over time.
Each of these strategies is an amazing way to show your girls that they are your priority and their well-being is the reason why you’re there. What have you done to develop better leadership skills? Comment below to help other leaders grow as well!
Enjoy every minute being a leader and continue to inspire your girls!