Tag Archives: Troop

Top 15 tips for troop leaders

From Girl Scouts of the USA

Starting a Girl Scout troop is a big deal! Some people jump in with both feet, and others might be a little nervous, perhaps not sure where to start or who to turn to for help. 

If you fall into the second group, no worries! We jumped on Facebook, where we turned to the experts—bona fide troop leaders—for insight only they can provide. Specifically, we asked them for the single best piece of advice they have for new troop leaders. The response was overwhelming! There were so many great comments, it was hard to narrow them down. But here are some of our favorites, many of them reflecting clear themes among comments received, and all serving as valuable guidance for new troop leaders (and even those who’ve been at it a while) on starting and running a Girl Scout troop.

And remember, when in doubt, contact your local Girl Scout council.

Troop 53406 Untangles Barr Lake, Earns Bronze Award

Troop 53406 Untangles Barr Lake, Earns Bronze Award

Congratulations to Troop 53406 from Harper’s Ferry service unit for earning their Bronze Award!

The project received attention from several local news sources, including the Commerce City Sentinel Express, who gave the girls this glowing review (click on the photo above for the direct link):

“Junior Girl Scouts in Troop 53406 spent most of Saturday morning installing the recycling bins with Park Manager Michelle Seubert and were able to earn their bronze award, the highest award a junior girl scout is able to achieve.

Troop Leader Sondra Bourgeois said the troop selected the project because it would make a really big difference in the community. She said the girls did all of the research for the project, contacted the Evergreen Audubon Society about their recycling program, contacted Seubert and made the calls to get the materials donated.

“You hope this is an idea that maybe other troops will catch onto — whether it be Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts — and maybe they’ll take them to other reservoirs here in this area that I know have the same issue with a lot of the fishing line that’s been discarded,” Bourgeois said.

Leader Reina Sterling said the girls were able to connect with the project because they’ve done a “water journey” at Barr Lake in the past where they learned a lot about the lake, the water and how it affects the community. She said the troop, which is based out of Turnberry Elementary School, was able to make a personal connection because the water that’s used in their homes comes from Barr Lake.

Junior Abby Taugner said on a previous visit to Barr Lake she saw a duck with fishing line tangled around its feet and hanging out of its mouth.

Junior Lydia Jimmerson said she’s happy to earn the bronze award and that she likes the project because wildlife won’t get tangled up anymore. Junior Jerray Sterling also liked the project for that reason.

“I liked that we were helping the community so no more animals and birds and ducks and stuff like that would die because of the fishing line,” Sterling said.

Seubert said now that people have a place to put their fishing line they’ll be less likely to leave it on the ground. She said often times they’ll find a goose or duck with fishing line wrapped around their legs or their wings which could injure them forever and sometimes even kill them.

“A lot of times we’ll go out and there’s fishing line everywhere and its a danger to wildlife as well as to people,” she said. “(This project is) going to help make the area look nice and then also protect the wildlife.”

Another article can be found at: http://www.c3gov.com/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/210

We at GSCO want to give an extra special THANK YOU to leaders Sandra Bourgeouis and Reina Sterling for the extended hard work and support that made this huge project a reality. And to the girls- YOU ROCK! Thank you for making such a big difference in your community. We are very proud of your accomplishments!

As always, please let us know if your troop has a special story to share!

Program Aide Re-Launch! (PA Training/Trainer Fact Sheet)

Has your Cadette started any Teen Mentorship Awards yet? We are excited to announce a re-launch of the Program Aide and VIT curriculum for Girl Scouts in Colorado.

Why did we change the PA program?

  • To increase flexibility for Cadettes as they gain leadership skills for the future.
  • To offer increased options for girls as they bridge from Juniors to Cadettes-keeping girls engaged and excited about Girl Scouts.
  • To increase options for Program Aides during the school year and throughout the state.
  • To cultivate more PA Trainers statewide to meet demand for PA Training.

Visit the PA webpage to get started: http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/program-aides. The first step is completing your Leader-In-Action Award (LiA)…

Notes about changes to the PA program:

  • PA Internship = INDIVIDUAL girl experience. Troops can do PA training in a group, but Internship activities are intended for each girl complete on her own. Register for the PA Internship here: https://gsusa.ebiz.uapps.net/vp/FamilyManagement/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductId=176091531
  • PA requirements can be completed ANY time in the Cadette years.
  • PA trainings will take place on a regional or service unit level.
        • In this transition, Outdoor Programs will provide a Fall and Spring Training
        • Contact your nearest GSCO staff member for more information on trainings in your area-each region will offer at least one PA training per year, or more as needed.
  • The PA overnight camp option continues at Tomahawk and Magic Sky overnight camps for PA’s after they have finished 9th grade
  • The CIT program offers a way to attend camp in a leadership role without having completed the PA program (CIT programs fall under Summer Camp registration, opening online on January 22, 2014)
  • The VIT program mirrors CIT options for older girls who want to participate in volunteer leadership roles year-round. Register for the VIT here: https://gsusa.ebiz.uapps.net/vp/FamilyManagement/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductId=176103381

PA Trainers & Training Logistics
If working with Cadette-aged girls is your passion, this info is for you! Troops can do PA Training together, but must do their internships individually.

  • Troop leaders should lead one training with a troop that is not their own before leading a training for their troop
  • PA Trainings can be offered for girls within the same troop or service unit, or opened up to the council. Submit your PA Training here: http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/activity-posting-form
  • PA Trainings should be priced to cover costs only (no more than $25/girl). Once girls are PA’s, you can engage them to lead Girl-Led programming for Money Earning goals of your Troop or Service Unit. Use the Program Budget Form if you need help creating your budget for PA Training. http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/assets/upload/files/Program%20Budget%20Form.docx
  • We need volunteers to lead PA Trainings-GSCO Staff are “train the trainers,” and can help connect you with a PA Trainer in your region or help you become a trainer
  • PA trainings can be taught over a single day or weekend, or over a span of troop meetings or meetings over a few weeks with the girls.

How to become a PA Trainer

  • PA Trainers must be ready to teach 2 PA Trainings per year (minimum 8 hrs/training). To Become a trainer-
  1. Register for a PA Curriculum Review on Nov. 7, 6-8pm http://gsusa.ebiz.uapps.net/vp/tabid/497/default.aspx?pid=23&ProductId=162895101
  2. Shadow a PA Training (Dec. 6-8 sat TR, will be in activity finder) https://gsusa.ebiz.uapps.net/vp/tabid/497/default.aspx?pid=23&ProductId=176081087

Suggested Supplies Needed to Lead a PA Training

  • Copy of Transforming Leadership:  Focusing on Outcomes of the GSLE (this will be given to participants in the Curriculum Review meetings)
  • Group sharing tools:  string, beach “thumb” ball with questions written on it, stuffed animals to toss, etc.
      • For more ideas, read A Teachable Moment by Jen Stanchfield, Jim Cain, & Michelle Cummings.
      • Pens/markers – 1/girl
      • Dry-erase board or giant Post-It board or piece of poster board
      • Balloons – one pack, various sizes/colors
      • Masking Tape – 5 rolls
      • Training packet (folders or stapled) – 1/girl to keep
        • A handout with the 15 GSLE outcomes
        • A Program Aide Award Tracking Sheet
        • A PA training manual (if available
        • A Camp Specialty manual OR other Specialty Manual (if applicable/available)
        • Pocket Craft Supplies (trainers choice) e.g. embroidery floss, lanyards, etc. OR supplies relating to other Specialties
        • Name tags if desired
        • Roster

Budget/Pricing/Roster Logistics

Each Girl Should Bring These Items to Training:

  1. Pen
  2. Lunch & Water Bottle
  3. Clipboard
  4. Bag for her stuff
  5. Sleeping bag & overnight supplies if the training includes an overnight component (not mandatory!)

PA Training Boxes: Trainers may end up with a “PA Training Box”. Council cannot support stocking these resources at this time. Each region or trainer can decide how they’d like to manage this aspect of the training. The supply list above is a minimal list to keep costs down.

Questions? Contact your nearest GSCO staff member for more information, or email outdoorprograms@gscolorado.org.