The Good, the Bad, and the Snack: My First Troop Meeting

Troop 40072′s First Meeting

My troop met for the first time yesterday. Troop 40072 consists of 13 girls, from Kindergarten through 5th grade, Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors.

The Good

  • They were so excited to be Girl Scouts!
  • We learned the Girl Scout Promise, handshake, sign, and quiet sign — they caught on so quickly.
  • They shared what they wanted out of their Girl Scout experience: arts and crafts, trips, exploring outdoors, camping, and helping children in Africa to name just a few.
  • We voted on sashes — instead of vests — for our troop.
  • As a short Discover activity, the girls wrote and shared about things that make them happy and things that make them sad.
  • They liked the Friendship Circle.
The Bad
  • We had a bigger group than I expected and the person who was going to assist couldn’t make it.
  • We needed a bigger room.
  • The Daisies needed more help. When I went to help them, the Juniors seemed to get bored, walking around the room.
  • I didn’t leave enough time for clean-up!
  • My younger daughter didn’t think she squeezed the hand of the person next to her, yet the Friendship Circle continued to go, resulting in tears in the car on the way home. Total meltdown.
The Snack
  • They kept eating snacks the whole time and I only scheduled five minutes for it. They were really hungry right after school!
  • Then, there were lots of Clementine peels to clean up and not enough time to do so (see clean up note above).
Notes to Self
  • Get someone to help! For certain!
  • Allow more time for snacks.
  • Allow more time for clean up.
  • Split up group into age groups with an adult for each.
  • Find a bigger room.

Tell Me: How was your first troop meeting? Do you have meeting tips to share?

 

15 thoughts on “The Good, the Bad, and the Snack: My First Troop Meeting

  1. mmclean Post author

    Hi Alix! That’s a great idea. I have three Daisies and three Juniors so I could pair them up. Thanks!

  2. Lisa M

    We catch up during snack — grins and growls, what we did over vacation, etc. That gives them time to eat and chit chat before we get down to business. Also, limit amount of food to reasonable serving sizes. They are hungry but they only need so much. They will snack all day if you let them (learned that the hard way).

    1. mmclean Post author

      Hi Lisa M!
      Great tip — I’ll try that next time. I was surprised by how much they ate, figured they were hungry. I’m going to ask parents to volunteer to provide a snack each week. Do you have a troop? Thanks for participating!!!

  3. Rhonda Robinson Post author

    I see your first Girl Scout meeting went okay. I too have a large(30 girls) mixed troop of Daisy/Brownie/Juniors. In Charlotte, NC. I have (5) assistant leaders though. We meet together as a group then break out by age level for Journey and badge work. This way we can keep girls interested and at age level with some activities but merge together as need be for them for the diversity and leadership skills to have older girls work with younger girls. I see you have chosen to do a global thing with Africa. I have been working with Girl Scouts in our area making pillowcase dresses. We have, as girl scouts made over 800 dresses in the last 2 years. I connected with a few local organizations that do missions work to ship & distribute them (at no cost to us) and we have even seen a few photos of the distrubutions of our dresses. See littledressesforafrica.org for dress patterns. Keep up the good work. Love the blog site it is great seeing others process.
    Rhonda

    1. mmclean Post author

      Hi Rhonda,
      I love this idea! So does my 9 year old. It fits her interest in helping girls in Africa and others interests in arts and crafts. I think it will fit into a journey and badges as well. I’m looking for assistants! Really need them! Thanks for participating!

  4. Lori

    Oh my! Help is needed; ask for help, specific help, not generalized broadcasts. A bunch of hands processing small tasks can do more than one set ever will. You can’t and shouldn’t be expected to do it all. Remember (and remind familes) that you are modeling leadership and that often means team efforts. You’ll have to plan further ahead but use sign-up sheets at meetings to get specific help at future meetings.

    Do split the girls up into age groups with an adult focused on each group. Attention spans, journeys, & badges are all different and it is sometimes tough to plan a meeting for one level of scouts let alone several. Start and end the meeting as one big group with age appropriate stations in the middle. Have the juniors help the younger girls on occassion (Junior Aide badge) but don’t make it standard in the meeting – the juniors need their own time and challenges without “babysitting” the younger scouts.

    Keep snacks neat and small if you really need them – a cheese stick or yougurt packet. Snacks are reservered for party occasions in my troops. They take too much time to coordinate, consume, and cleanup. We do meet after dinner so it is easier for us to skip them.

    Find another leader in the area to bounce ideas off of and to support you. Have her(or him) show you how they orgainze things for the troop. Not everyone works the same but it may help cut down your trial and error process.

    Above all, stay flexible and be willing to show that something didn’t go as planned. Also show that you can pick up and try another path to get to the desired result. The girls will respect you more for being real than trying to appear flawless in all you do. Soon enough the girls will be leading themselves and need to know that is ok when something doesn’t work on the first try.

    It will all come together and you will love all the girls as your own very soon. You’ll probably make some great adult age friends in the process too. Good Luck!

    1. mmclean Post author

      Hi Lori!
      Great ideas! And thanks for the support. I have lined up an assistant with Girl Scout experience (a high schooler) and have parents signing up for snack for the next month. I’m hoping to get one more adult too. I love your last comment: “It will all come together and you will love all the girls as your own very soon. You’ll probably make some great adult age friends in the process too. ” Really nice. Hoping that’s the case. Please keep coming back to the blog. If you like the facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/TalesOfAFirstTimeVolunteerTheTroopLeaderProject you’ll get a message when there’s a new post. Thanks! Mary

  5. Cristy K

    It was so reassuring hearing your tales from your first GS meeting! I am a first time Daisy leader, and we have 15 girls. Chaos! Thank goodness I have a Co-leader, and we’ve asked all the Moms to sign-up and volunteer at one of our meetings. They then bring the snack for that meeting. Having 3 people seems necessary!

    Your list of “Good” and “Bad” from your first meeting was almost identical to mine! Our normal meeting place told me the week before that they were not available for our first meeting. What? So, we had the meeting in my backyard. It worked out except towards the end when they all lost interest and wanted to swing on the swingset instead of listen. Our girls were also FAMISHED! Like they had never seen food before. The snack mom was shocked! And, it took twice as long as we anticipated to get their tummies full. We had 2 small crafts planned, and the first one did not go down as planned. We made beaded necklaces, which they loved, but they needed more help than anticipated and we ran out of time for the second craft. They did learn the GS Promise and sign, we talked about what it means to make a promise, and then they got their uniforms (I had ordered in advance). I also gave them little baggies tied with ribbon that included their uniform badges that go on right away. We talked about what sort of meeting rules we should have as a group. It was so fun to listen to what each girl had to say. My favorite was “No picking the grass.” Hee hee! I translated that to “Leave the meeting space the way we found it” and they seemed to agree with that translation. We ended with a Friendship Circle, song and squeeze. They seem to not understand the concept of the squeeze yet, but they will learn. Another leader told me to have them put their foot towards the center of the circle once they have done the squeeze so everyone knows where the squeeze is. That may help. Our next meeting will include talking a little bit about the GS Law, and how we are going to earn our petals throughout the year. We will talk about what we each hope to do as Daisies, but I assume my co-leader and I will need to prompt them along quite a bit. Then we’ll do the craft we didn’t get to at the first meeting!

    Good luck and I look forward to reading more about your troop throughout the year!
    Cristy

    1. mmclean Post author

      Hi Cristy!
      So nice to read your message and to know someone else is having similar experiences. I love the friendship circle idea — I will try that next time. I have an assistant for my next meeting (Tomorrow) so one of us will work with the Daisies exclusively. I hope you’ll keep coming to the blog. I’m letting people know about new posts at: https://www.facebook.com/TalesOfAFirstTimeVolunteerTheTroopLeaderProject If you like the page, you’ll get a message about new posts. Thanks so much!

  6. Wendy Pope

    I’ve found that the girls are quiet when they snack – so that’s when we talk “business” – which for them is the boring part of the meeting. It works out well. We have a “mysignup” page for parents to bring snack every week – works great and it’s free. We have the girls bring mess kits so we don’t have waste and ask parents to bring healthy snacks that don’t make a mess to clean up. (Popcorn is a no-no – gets all over the floor.) We either have snack sizes – or one of the leaders puts the food on their mess kits. We debated getting rid of snack as the girls have aged up – but it’s really something they enjoy and frankly is a bonding/comfort thing of our meeting. It works, so why change it. We’ve always had a large troop – we’re Juniors at 20 girls – so I think we’re doing something right… BTW – leave clean up to the girls! They do an amazing job and they love having a job!

    1. mmclean Post author

      Hi Wendy, Thanks! I’ve got parents bring snacks to the next three meetings. I don’t know “mysignup” — I’ll check it out. Do you use a job chart for the girls? I’m going to try to limit snack to catch up time. Thanks! I hope you’ll keep coming to the blog. I’m letting people know about new posts at: https://www.facebook.com/TalesOfAFirstTimeVolunteerTheTroopLeaderProject If you like the page, you’ll get a message about new posts. Thanks so much!

  7. Marah

    I have a multi-tiered troop too. It has grown to be more than 35 girls. So we separate into two different rooms when they are all there.
    Monday #1 – all girls – two separate rooms (2 Cadettes help Volunteers with younger girls)
    Monday #2 – off
    Monday #3 – Brownies thru cadettes (traditional meeting)
    Monday #4 – Juniors and cadettes working on awards (work on journeys so we can achieve awards. This works for us cuz we have girls who are not interested in journeys. So they don’t come to these meetings)
    Monday #5 – bonus week for daisies (smaller group of 11. Great for little ones)

    We use a traditional meeting set up. I have a jar of Kapers including photographer, law leader, song starter, blessing giver, special helper, friendship squeeze starter, clean up club, lucky charm and more… Manners and principles of law are BIG with my meetings. Everything we do is reinforced by the words of the law. Respect, responsible, etc …

    A multi-tier troop is difficult when planning meetings, more work for you. But very rewarding to see how the girls work together, help each other, and value the relationships across age levels.

    I’d be happy to share activities that cross over the groups well, and even some that all girls earn badges with. If you’d like just email me.

    marahwalsh@verizon.net

    1. mmclean Post author

      Hi Marah,
      I like the way you separate it out. I can see how that would help. It looks like I’ll have another volunteer helping so I may start that. I also like your list for Kapers.

      Please keep posting!

      Thanks!
      Mary

  8. Amy Post author

    Oh wow, my girls are Ambassadors now but when I think back to my first meetings (ah, how I miss those days!) here are a few things I learned:
    1. Always come prepared. The times when I “winged it” did not turn out well.
    2. Always have a “plan B”. Sometimes activities take more or less time than you expected.
    3. Don’t be afraid of field trips! That was one of my girls’ favorite things! We went to the local historical society where they had vintage GS uniforms, the local coffee house to hear a young girl musician, went to a local county park to talk to a female park ranger.
    4. Bring in guest speakers. I asked the girls what they wanted to be when the grew up then had speakers come so they could as them questions about their jobs.
    5. Have fun! This is an opportunity to share time with your daughter and know who her friends are. Make the most of it and enjoy the ride

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