Tales from a First-Time Volunteer: Finding My Way

Getting Started

From the Girl Scouts Research Institute report, Voices of Volunteers 18–29.

I really did intend on going through the normal channels to start a troop at my daughters’ school, where Girl Scouts used to have a strong presence. Really.

I mentioned it to one of the teachers I saw while waiting in the carpool line. I put it on my to-do list to go to the local council website and sign up. A week passed. And then another.

Then, the local volunteer coordinator emailed me. Someone from the school had contacted her. There had been a fabulous troop leader at the school a few years ago and they wanted to reinstate the tradition.  “Let’s get a great troop going again!”

“Uh, great,” I said. So, no pressure, or anything.

We met in May. We sat on a bench outside the school and chatted for 45 minutes. I got my folder, filled with information, a badge book, notes for parents, and sign-up forms for girls. I signed the background check permission, and learned about the next steps in getting started.  I heard about the new program materials and local council events.

See the Volunteer Essentials Training Book from Girl Scout Council Heart of the Hudson.

She explained I could arrange the troop meetings at a time that worked for me. The next step was to go to Volunteer Essentials training after my background check came through.

I wasn’t concerned about scheduling the training, as it was the beginning of June, and I wasn’t starting the troop until the fall, the start of the new school year. Plenty of time… right?

Suddenly, it was the end of August! I scrambled to sign up for a Volunteer Essentials training. I couldn’t seem to do it online – my name wasn’t in the system. I needed to call or email my volunteer coordinator but I couldn’t find my volunteer folder.

Mild panic was followed by going through stacks of papers, books, mail, children’s work from the end of the year, all accumulating in my office while my girls were home from school in the summer.  I called and emailed the local council.

Once I finally found the folder, I emailed the coordinator too, who got in touch with the council office. Turns out, I wasn’t in the system even though I had done all the paperwork.  But they put me in and I was able to sign up. I’ll be going to Volunteer Essentials in mid-September at Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson.  Stay tuned!

Tell me: How did you learn about being a volunteer for the Girl Scouts? If you were going to give a volunteer one tip, what would it be?

If you don’t have a contact through a school or location, you can go to http://www.girlscouts.org/for_adults/volunteering/

You can also find your local Girl Scout Council through the council finder tool: http://www.girlscouts.org/councilfinder/

One thought on “Tales from a First-Time Volunteer: Finding My Way

  1. Jennifer Nelson

    This is an interesting point of view and yes we do think we have plenty of time to get the training done. It would be nice to have a way to help volunteers join and get their training during the summer so troops can get started in the fall. Any suggestions on how to show it would be a great advantage to train during the summer?

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