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This post is part of the “Ask a Leader Advice” series. I get many leaders writing me asking me questions and help every month. This post will answer your question with tips and suggestions from my perspective. When possible I may even get some ideas from other leaders which are added into the post. I also encourage you to add your advice in the comments below if you have experience with the question.
Leader’s Question: “How do we have fun and stay organized with a multi-level troop?”
Advice from one leader to another….
This is one question I get asked often is “How do you manage to run a multi-level troop?” If you know my back story you know I was a leader for 14 years and a Girl Scout myself for 12 and for all those years I was involved with a multi-level troop. I honestly don’t know Girl Scout life any other way. I have found over the years that the only way to run a troop with girls from 5 – 18 years old is to function like your own community, don’t treat your 5 year olds differently than your 18 year olds. Of course the level of things they will be doing will increase, but every girl can take their part, every girl can be a leader.
- A great fundraiser to do as a multi-level troop is a Hoagie Sale. Click here to read more about how to stay organized and let everyone take part no matter what age they are.
- We all know how stressful Girl Scout Cookie season is, but sometimes it seems even more stressful with a troop of different levels. I am here to say if you get organized and work together as a troop it will run like a well oiled machine. Click here for ideas on how to run a cookie marathon booth with different age girls.
Amy says “I have two troops that we’ve combined into something of a “Super Troop” that currently has Brownies (3rd grade) and Juniors (4/5 grade). We are in Centerville, Ohio and are lucky to have a very active Service Unit that plans two camp outs each year.
This fall, we went on a Friday-Sunday camp out with girls from each age group represented. With the organized activities planned, each troop earned their new outdoor art-themed badges (Brownie Outdoor Art Creator and Junior Outdoor Art Explorer). We then planned activities that would also earn both troops their camping badges (Brownie Cabin Camper and Junior Camper). The girls even got to lead the camp flag ceremony for all the other troops! The Juniors were natural leaders and helped the Brownies when necessary during the weekend, and the Brownies had a great time hanging out with the older girls and spending time with their other troop members.
“Some of the activities we did – we had the Juniors help with the actual cooking, which earned them one of their Camping badge requirements, and at the same time, the Brownies helped prepare some of the cold food (cut fruit, etc.), which was one of their Cabin Camper requirements. The Juniors also did a skit for the younger girls, which also was one of their requirements. Both troops went orienteering, which fulfilled both of their requirements of “learn a new camping skill.” Many of the requirements overlapped, which made things much easier, but then the girls could do what they wanted with the activities as their skill set allowed. We had a great time!”
It only took one weekend, but we earned four badges over two different troop levels! Many people may think it’s hard to run a multilevel troop, but with a little planning and flexibility it works wonderfully and is a great experience for everyone.”
Another Leader offered her knowledge and tips in this guest post 6 tips to run a multi-level troop. If you’re considering opening your troop to multi-level or just getting started with a multi-level troop and looking for ideas to assist in planning and prepping for meetings, or planning an upcoming event for multiple age levels, this post has 6 great tips to get you started.