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I want to introduce you all to Hannah Gold, another amazing leader and blogger who is sharing her 10+ years of knowledge as a Leader on her blogs and her Daisy Leader book. I have asked her to share some tips for running a successful Daisy Troop with all you. In this post Hannah shares tips that she has learned through her experiences as a Girl Scout Leader.
It was an October night in 2008 when our local Service Unit had a Girl Scout Roundup event in our school cafeteria. I sat at a table with a few other women whose daughters were in my twins’ kindergarten class. We all listened to the Service Unit give her presentation, and then we sat around waiting for someone to say, “I’ll be the leader”.
I was that someone.
So my adventure as a Girl Scout Daisy leader started that night. Other than the basic training I was required to take, I was on my own. While at that time I had over 20 years of teaching experience, and that would help with planning meetings, there was so much more I needed to know.
This fall, my troop enters its 10th year together. I would like to share with other leaders how they can successfully launch their Girl Scout Daisy troop. You can learn even more in my book, Daisy Leader-Tips for Running a Successful Troop
You cannot meet without your required training, and now so much of it is online so it is easy to do. Also get your background check done as well.
Markers, crayons, and scissors are cheapest during the Back to School sales. Except for scissors, every girl does not need her own box of crayons-you can buy one box per group of 3 or 4 girls. After school begins, you can scout out clearance sales for anything extra you might need. Save your receipts so you can be reimbursed when dues are collected.
Getting along with your co-leader is essential for leading a successful troop. You both should have the same idea of how things should be run and what goals you want to achieve. There should also be a division of labor that works for both of you. Once you have a plan, you need to write it down in an email to her and confirm what you both discussed. Of course things can change and life is fluid, but having a time-stamped email is proof of what both of you agreed to do.
In addition, take turns going to the leader meetings of go together. After all, you are working as a team. You need to act like one.
As for leading meetings, see what each of your strong suits are and have that person be in charge of that area. Or you can take turns with one person leading the first meeting of the month and the other leader can be in charge of the second meeting of the month. That way there is only one prep a month per person. If one leader is always doing everything, she is going to get burned out and resentful. Kids can sense these things, so it is best that you both get along.
At the Daisy level, you are the one in charge of the troop and how it is run. You pick the time, place and day of the week you meet. If your parents want to stay, then they have to be registered with the GSUSA and be quiet during the meeting or help with the girls. Siblings should not be permitted unless there are extenuating circumstances. Start your meeting on time and end it promptly. If a girl misses an event because a parent did not RSVP by your deadline, then that is how it has to be. You will never please everyone and you will go crazy trying to do that.
Imagine a sports coach changing practice times because it does not work for one child or waiting for a latecomer to start a game. Would younger siblings be permitted to wander on the ball field during a practice or game? Of course not. Would a dance teacher permit siblings to run around the studio during a lesson or permit chatting among parents while a lesson is being taught? Again, the answer is no. Girl Scouts is not any different from these other activities.
Your first meeting should include the parents, and you will lay out the rules of the troop so you are all starting on the same page. You may want to have a welcome letter and/or handout with these guidelines, and resend it in an email as an attachment in case someone loses their copy . During this meeting. discuss your primary way of communicating with parents. Whether it is texting, email, a private Facebook or Shutterfly group, parents need to have one central place for you to share information.
Remember that you are a volunteer. The word “no” is very powerful and you need to use it. This does not make you the bad guy, it makes you the smart one.
Together with your co-leader, plan out the first several meetings. Gather the materials, do the prep work, and have everything packed in your leader bag ready to go the night before.
Good troop management means having some coloring pages and a few games and activities in your back pocket in case you have extra time or something you planned does not work out. A key to successful leadership is to be flexible.
I like to keep things easy. That is why dues are collected in the fall. If you ask at each meeting you are inviting extra work for yourself, taking time out of meetings to collect them, and giving the opportunity for parents to forget. While dues are not mandatory, they are essential for starting a troop.
Snack time is optional. Having one depends on the time of your meetings. My first year Daisy troop did not have a snack time since we met mid-afternoon after the girls had been home from school. For the next five years we had a snack because we met immediately after school. The girls brought their own-it was one less thing for me to have on my plate. Plus, they like what their parents packed them. Now that we meet after dinner, we do not have a snack.
These two pages are such great resources for new leaders. Request to join them, read the posts and ask questions.
My knowledge base about Girl Scouts has grown since that October night many years ago. I have shared what I have learned in the following blogs and websites:
Daisy Activities A blog just for Daisy Leaders
Scout Leader– A blog for all levels of Scouts
Earn Brownie Badges-A website with plans for every Brownie Badge
Earn Junior Badges-A website with plans for every Junior Badge
Cadette Journeys-A website with lesson plans for each Journey
You are an incredible person for stepping up and leading a Girl Scout Daisy troop. Remember to have fun and enjoy your leadership role.
About the Author
Hannah Gold has been an educator for the past three decades. She presently teaches preschool and Hebrew School at her synagogue. She is an avid volunteer and has been leading her troop since 2008. She has been married to her college sweetheart since 1987 and they are the parents of three terrific children.
If you want to add a SWAP craft to your meeting while earning this petal. This kit is from one of my favorite websites for Girl Scout resources Makingfriends.com. It comes with everything you need to make 30 Daisy swaps. Click here to get your Daisy Flower Friend SWAPs
You are going to love these cute adorable fun patches to put on the back of your girl’s vest. There is a different fairy for each of the Girl Scout Laws. I partnered with a amazing company Advantage Emblems and they are producing and shipping the patches. You can buy them individually or as a complete set. Here are the links: