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Top 10 Tips for Girl Scout Troop Leaders

October 7, 2014

By Christy Philemon, Recruitment Director

Girl Scouts - NC Coastal Pines Troop Leader

The start of a new year is often a time when many set new goals and resolutions for the year ahead. As we kick of the new program year here at Girl Scouts – NC Coastal Pines, we thought we’d share the top 10 tips for troop leaders to help you get a fresh start for the year ahead. Drumroll please…

10. Rain or Shine, always have a back-up plan. Regardless of whether it’s an activity for a troop meeting or a volunteer on standby to be a chaperone, having a back-up plan is important to keep the fun going!

9. Get your troop parents involved. You don’t have to do everything on your own. Seriously. Encourage others to get involved and ask to parents to help with activities, lead a special meeting, and join their girls on events or trips.

8. Track your money wisely. The Annual Financial Report is a simple spreadsheet that works wonders. It will help you track your troop’s finances throughout the year. And the best part – at the end of the year, your report is already completed. J

7. Be prepared. A Girl Scout is always prepared – and organized! And did you know Trapper Keepers are back in? No matter your folder, be sure to keep all appropriate forms on hand at all times necessary in whatever fashion fits best for you.

6. Attend Service Unit Meetings. Get social with other volunteers and troop leaders while you learn what’s happening in your local area. These meetings are usually held monthly and are intended to provide support for all leaders in your area, so take advantage.

5. Schedule early. Scheduling your meetings in advance will help both you and your families plan their calendars accordingly. And be sure to involve your girls in planning!

4. Have fun! Regardless of whether you and your troop waiting for a meeting to start, working on a badge, or completing a service project, always keep the energy alive and exciting. Girl Scout songs are a fun way to pass a car ride and engage girls in a time-honored Girl Scouting tradition.

3. Never hesitate to ask for help! Girl Scouts promise to help people at all times – and this includes our adult Girl Scouts as well. Your membership director and service unit manager are always available for help, and other volunteers as well.

2. Set a goal to achieve with the girls. The goal can be something like selling a certain amount of cookies to earn enough money for a trip or everyone completing activities during a meeting in order to earn a badge.

And our #1 Top Top is:

1. Be Flexible. Realize that no matter how well organized or well planned, unexpected things will happen that take you off course. And that’s ok. No matter the path, know you are helping to guide and support girls as they develop new skills and grow into strong, confident leaders.

Building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place may not always be a simple task, however, sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. We hope you these little tips help you and your girls follow the fun and have a great Girl Scout year!

Want to get in on all the fun? Become a Girl Scout volunteer and use event code 367F22 when registering to be entered to win an iPad!

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A Quick Guide to Girl Scout Badges and Patches

September 29, 2014

By Meridith Orr, Program Executive

Girl Scouts can earn Badges (front of the uniform) or Patches (back of the uniform).

Girl Scouts can earn Badges (front of the uniform) or Patches (back of the uniform).

“The symbols which you wear on your sleeve mean that you have an intelligent interest in the subjects you have chosen, understand the principles of them, and can give reasonable, practical proof of this.” – Scouting for Girls, Official Handbook of the Girl Scouts, published by The Girl Scouts, Inc., 1920

The great news is many new members join our movement each year. And any experienced Girl Scout knows there’s a lot to explore – and learn – in Girl Scouts, especially the many types of badges and emblems that decorate Girl Scout sashes and vests.

So what’s it all about?

The most important thing to know is that all badges or patches earned in Girl Scouts are meant to show a girl’s achievement and are most meaningful when a girl can clearly articulate what she has achieved. For those of you who don’t know a patch from a petal, here’s a quick guide.

BADGES

Badges” refers to Girl Scout’s National Proficiency Badges, which are worn on the front of the uniform. They have a distinct shape and color that corresponds to each grade level. For example, Girl Scout Brownie badges are triangles, Junior badges are circles, and Cadette badges are diamond-shaped.

Badges have five steps with three different options for each step, and once completed, a girl should be able to demonstrate skill or knowledge of that topic. There’s a handy pull-out chart for all available badges, including the Skill-Building badges for in The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting.

And coming soon is our very own “Council’s Own Badge” program that provides girls with a unique, local opportunity that they cannot experience anywhere else. It is an award developed according to our national Girl Scout Leadership Experience guidelines, and can be worn on the front of the uniform. Only girls from Girl Scouts – NC Coastal Pines can earn one of our 10 Council’s Own badges. Stay tuned for more information our our council’s badge program, which is getting refreshed and updated as we speak!

Girl Scouts can also choose a “Make Your Own” badge! Girl Scout Brownies through Ambassadors can develop their own badge once a year, following particular guidelines of course.

What about our youngest Girl Scouts? Our Daises Girl Scouts (grade K-1) earn “Petals” that represent the 10 parts of the Girl Scout Law. Those petals are placed around a daisy center on the front of a smock or vest. In addition, Daisies can earn Financial Literacy “leaves” and Journey award patches.

PATCHES

“Patches” are fun ways to document a council or local area event. They are always worn on the back of the uniform. All patch programs include content from the National Leadership Journeys to provide girls with meaningful experiences on their path to leadership. Some patches unique to our council include the Hurricane Awareness patch which was introduced as a Patch of the Month this summer. Going forward, our council will be featuring one Council Patch each month, where girls across our 41 counties can explore and learn together.

My final words to live by, at least when it comes to badges and patches are “Educate, don’t decorate.” It’s not a competition for which troop has the most. It’s about exploring new things, discovering new skills, building skills for leadership, and having fun!

What badges or patches are your favorite or most meaningful, Girl Scouts? Tell us in the comments below! 

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