Introducing Troop 40072!

Volunteer Essentials: Required Training

I went to my home council for the required training, Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson. “If you take two things away from this training,” our trainer Leigh said, “it should be 1) You can do this! and 2) there is lots of help available.”

She went on, “The biggest goal for your program is to be girl-led. It’s leadership; it’s girl-led.” We are teaching them how to lead.

While this is all very interesting — and why I wanted to start a troop, to nurture leadership in girls — what I really wanted to know was: What do I do when they show up that first day?

I do want to build girls of confidence, courage and character but I also want to make sure they don’t all get up and walk out of the room! Leigh was ready for that, and shared a typical troop session schedule:

  1. Girl Scout Pledge
  2. Girl Scout Promise
  3. Snack: Ask parents to sign up to bring snacks for each meeting
  4. Meeting Starter: Ask girls to share something about their week, sing a song, play a name game
  5. Activity: Working on a badge? Planning a trip? Going on a trip? Community service?
  6. Clean Up: “A Girl Scout always leaves a place cleaner that she found it” (If I can get my girls to do this at home, I will consider the whole experience a success!)
  7. Closing: Reflection, Song, Friendship Squeeze

“Create a community in your troop,” explained Leigh. “This is what we do.”

Other interesting tips:

  • I’ll need a First-Aid kit at every meeting
  • CPR and First-Aid training is strongly recommended
  • Write up a calendar for the year with meeting dates, place, and time
  • I’ll need a troop account at TD bank
  • I’ll need a registration form from each girl before they are covered by insurance so registration is REQUIRED before starting
  • The official volunteer uniform is a plain white shirt, khakis (pants, skirt, shorts), vest or sash
At the end, Leigh gave us the name of the contact person we email to get a troop number. I sent in my email however, they didn’t have proof of my completing the training. After clearing that up, I got the information: We are Troop 40072!
Tell me:  What do you think is essential in training for a new volunteer?



8 thoughts on “Introducing Troop 40072!

  1. Amanda Bordelon Aguilera Post author

    It’s long overdue for a universal source for volunteers so please do post whatever content I contribute if you find it helpful.
    Re: Training – I would get the first aid first because even if you do have a co-leader or parent that is first aid certified, they may not be there at every event and at every event – even a service unit or association event such as a Sing-A-Long each troop has to have it’s first aider there WITH a first aid kit. The SU leadership where I am wouldn’t be happy to find a troop leader asking for a band aid. 🙂
    But get your camping form B220 in so that whenever you do decide to use a Council site you have your paperwork filed. I also have created handouts for parents about (1) what they need to know (minimum stuff) (2) how parents participate and (3) calendars to give so parents can plan ahead. I personally hate one weeks’ notice and appreciate knowing all I can about upcoming events.

    Amanda Bordelon Aguilera
    re-post from LinkedIn

  2. Amanda Bordelon Aguilera Post author

    Very early on ask the girls what badges they are interested in pursuing – then create a calendar for the entire year with at least a brief concept of what you will be doing at each meeting. Then get your S711 form in (if you haven’t already) and then your B220 which must be filed first before you can reserve a campsite at a GSCNC property. No matter the age of the girls in your Troop, get Camp Certified as soon as you can – if the girls want to hike or do a day/overnight camping event. You can’t take them if you’re not certified. Then ensure you have a First Aider – you, co-leader or parent/guardian and that they commit to going on all outings. If not, sign up for training through your local Council. And next – keep posting to this link AND make contact with any other leader of your Troop level. We should be helping each other all the time. And finally HAVE FUN!

    Amanda Bordelon Aguilera
    re-post from LinkedIn

  3. Lisa Ide Post author

    From Lisa Ide •
    First Aid & CPR is going to be your first priority for additional training, followed by Camp Certification. But if you can’t do both right away, you have options. My council (GSCNC) offers several council-wide “Core Camps” and other outdoor events that your troop can attend that are specifically designed for troops without a camp qualified adult. All you need is a first aider, and they provide the CQA’s. This gives you and your girls a chance to try outdoor activiites and even overnights (when they are ready) to see if that is even something they will want to do.

    Also, take advantage of your girl scout network and reach out to older troops through your Service Unit and/or Association. There are often other troops who have a camp qualified adult who would love to host your girls for a campfire, outdoor skills day, or even a campout. Often times older girls can use this opportunity to fulfill badge and leadership requirements, and it gives the younger girls great exposure to seeing older girls take the lead. Put the word out early that you would like to partner up and build a relationship!

    Finally, overall as a leader but especially for outdoor activities, try to recruit parents and other volunteers to support you as early as possible. You absolutely need a second first aider and camp qualified adult – not only because you cannot serve in both roles at the same time, and because you will burn out quickly if all of the burdens of leading a troop fall on just you, but also because you will need a back up in case of an emergency so that an activity can go on in case you are unable to attend at the last minute.

    Recruiting help can be hard to do – in my older daughter’s troop I had limited help and no second first aider/CQA, so we relied a lot on council-sponsored activities and encampments for our outings and adventures. But in my younger daughter’s troop we have a team of 4 co-leaders plus additional activity-specific parent helpers. We have 3 trained first aiders and 3 camp qualified adults, as well as a “cookie team” and parents who help make reservations and organize at least 2 activities each year. Most of the girls in this troop are youngest children of working parents, so we work hard to make sure that what we ask of our volunteers is targeted specifically to their interests, schedules, and talents.

    Part of the success of my younger daughter’s troop in terms of volunteer help is that the parents happen to have similar interests and goals for their daughters in terms of what they want the girls to get out of scouting. The key is to be open to trying new ideas and coming up with new ways to bring others in that doesn’t make them feel overburdened and lets them know how valuable their help is.

    One final note on training – take as much in-person training as you can, and sometimes try travelling to an area on the other side of your council’s boundaries for the class. We working parents/leaders are lucky that our council is making training more accessible by holding it via conference call or online. But I have learned so much more when I am in a room with other leaders, all sharing specific examples and hints about what works and doesn’t work for them. You can’t get that from a conference call or online slideshow training. Travelling farther for training will help you find out about parks, programs, and other resources available in that area that you would otherwise not have known about. I live in the suburbs, and I learned the most about “using resources wisely” when I attended training in an area where families did not have funds to contribute to troop dues or supplies fees, and learned about how to keep large groups of girls safe and together on the subway or in crowds when I attended training in the city. Online training options and conference calls are very helpful and valuable resources, but there is no substitute for in-person training!!

  4. Janet Kendall Post author

    From Janet Kendall •
    Lisa Ide said everything I was thinking! Definitely use your parents as “extra” First Aiders and Outdoor trained adults. If nothing else, it will give you peace of mind that the outing will go on even if something comes up for you. Plus you can then use these extra adults for badges…. First Aid and the various outdoor and camping badges.

    I am also a fan of venturing out of your home council, both for you for training and for your troop for events and as a place to camp when visiting nearby cities. My NCCP troop has camped at Girl Scout camps in Savannah (Camp Low) and outside of Atlanta (Camp Misty Mountain), Peaks to Piedmont (Pisgah, Keyauwee, and Douglas Long), and GSCNC at Aquasco. GS camps are the first place we check when planning a trip.

    You are starting on an exciting journey that will be as much fun as you can let it be. My girls are Cadettes and Seniors now and we have a ball together!

  5. Janine Mack Post author

    From Janine Mack •
    Have a good support team such as an Assistant Leader, Co-Leader AND parent helpers so if one falls through, you have back up help.

    Plan ahead and be flexible. You might plan a badge that takes three meetings, but should take one. Don’t take it personally and provide ways to end early or stretch out the activity.

  6. Dinine Signorello Post author

    From Dinine Signorello •
    I applaud you for jumping in! I had very little help my first year as a Daisy leader. My second year, I started out alone- no co. My third year (this one) my co and I resolved that we would be more organized. We have a loose plan for all of this semester and some ideas for next. It has made registration and other GS requirements easier to accomplish b/c I feel ready for the meetings with the girls.

    1. mmclean Post author

      Hi Dinine! Thank you! I’m currently working on a plan for the semester. Have you chosen a Journey? Or will you have the girls do that? Or are you doing another type of activity?

      1. Dinine Signorello Post author

        From Dinine Signorello •


        We are working on individual badges to start. The “My Best Self” in the Supplement and the “Girl Scout Way” in the Legacy Badges section of the Brownie Binder. I’ve also asked the girls to consider what they might like to work on over the course of the year.

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