Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana: Perspectives on Being a Troop Leader in Louisville, KY
Growing up I always wanted to be a Girl Scout Leader. I grew up in Girl Scouting and learned many wonderful life lessons from my leaders and I wanted to be able to do that as an adult, to give girls a positive role model and some good ol’ life lessons. About 5 years ago I got my chance. A good friend of mine was forming a Daisy Girl Scout troop at her then kindergartener’s school. She sent out a message to friends asking who wanted to help and I raised my hand. Not sure she really took me all that seriously, as I was in my early thirties with no kids of my own, but I was and have never looked back.
I am not going to sugar coat it; being a leader is hard work. Hard, unpaid work. But it is also one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life. Over the past 5 years I have learned some good lessons (you can find them below). If you have ever thought about becoming a Girl Scout leader I would encourage you to look into it. They need good leaders. They are one of the most open, friendly, all inclusive organizations out there for our girls. You can check out how to get more involved here. Not ready to be a leader yet? That is okay, there are lots of really cool ways to get involved.
Lessons I have learned:
1) Have fun.
2) Don’t do it if you don’t love it. The girls will suffer and so will you.
3) Have a plan- plans are always good.
4) Don’t freak out if you go off plan. They are a great starting point but not the end all be all (refer to lesson 1).
5) Be ready for some paperwork (and by some I mean lots).
6) Be a leader with friends- or make some new ones (there is a song about that) in the process. I went into with one great friend and now have 6 more out of the deal. The ladies that run the troop with me are the best and I can really rely on them.
7) Find out each of your co-leaders strengths. Who is good at paperwork and organization? Who is crafty? Who likes to camp? Who is a the disciplinarian? You can have more then one role but don’t take them all on. You have co-leaders for more than just the right adult to child ratio.
8) Don’t give the girls options that you cannot live with.
9) Involve the dads. The girls will thank you for this one day.
10) Use the resources that are given to you. The Girl Scouts has been around a long time- they do get a few things right.
11) Ask yourself why are you doing this? If the answer is for the girls, you made the right choice.
12) The Girls are awesome. They can do things way beyond what you might have thought capable.
13) Be an active troop. It is not enough just to have meetings. Take advantage of what is offered outside of troop meetings.
14) Always remember lesson #1. (Christine)
My perspective on Girl Scouts comes from being a Troop parent. My daughter started Girl Scouts at her JCPS school when she was in first grade. (Here she is way back when!) She has moved up from a Daisy, to Brownie, to Junior, and is now a Cadette in a wonderful troop with a wonderful troop leader and assistant leader. She has made lifelong friends, and the wonderful thing for me also is that I have befriended the moms and we have become closer over the years. Our troop is pretty active; we are in the Fern Creek area and are always looking for field trips to attend together and camps to look forward to in the summer months. Girl Scouts has become a staple in my daughter’s busy schedule. It’s become a constant thing and a routine that she really enjoys. For the past couple of years, our troop participated in a group service project where the girls helped craft art projects together for children who came to a weekly free family meal at a local church. We’re gearing up this year to continue working on the Silver Award and thinking about the service project she will embark upon that will be all her own. As a troop mom, I am very involved in the troop, helping lead meetings or chaperone all the various events the girls want to go to or sit and supervise cookie booths in the unpredictable Louisville weather! It’s a lot of fun. My daughter loves participating and getting involved in different projects or badge work, but what I think she really loves the most is the friendships she has made. Those are what really counts, and what ultimately makes Girl Scouts stick for us. (Erin)
Read more about how you can get involved with Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana here!
By guest contributors: Christine and Erin