Depending on the ages of your girls, you might take the lead in guiding the structure and experiences of your troop—from how and when meetings are held to how the troop communicates, from steering girl-led activities to setting financial expectations. You’ll make these decisions collaboratively with your volunteer team or leadership, as well as with input from the girls and their parents and caregivers.
Use these questions to guide your conversation with your troop committee volunteers or leadership before discussing these topics with parents and caregivers.
- When will we meet and for how long? How frequently should we schedule troop meetings?
- Where will we meet? Your meeting space should be somewhere safe, clean, and secure that allows all girls to participate. Some great meeting space ideas include schools, places of worship, libraries, and community centers. If working with teens, consider meeting at coffee shops, bookstores, or other places they enjoy.
- Which components of the uniform will families need to purchase? Which uniform components will the troop provide for each girl?
- Will our troop be a single grade level or facilitated as a multi-level troop with girls of many grade levels combined into one troop? If multi-level, how will we make sure they each get an age-appropriate experience?
- How will we keep troop activities and decisions girl-led? Use the Volunteer Toolkit to help you through this process by exploring options for activities and reviewing the meeting plans and resources lists.
- How often are we going to communicate to troop families? Which channels will we use to keep families in the loop? Effective communication will help set expectations and clarify parent/ caregiver responsibilities.
- Will our troop charge dues, use product program proceeds, and/or charge per activity? How much money will we need to cover supplies and activities? What should our financial plan look like?
Choosing a Meeting Place
What makes a great meeting space? It depends on your troop, but here are a few considerations as you visit potential spaces:
Cost: The space should be free to use.
Size: Make sure the space is large enough for the whole group and all planned activities.
Availability: Be sure the space is available for the day and the entire length of time you want to meet.
Resources: Ask if tables and chairs come with the room and ensure that the lighting is adequate. A bonus would be a cubby of some sort where you could store supplies or a safe outdoor space for activities.
Safety: Potential spaces must be safe, secure, clean, properly ventilated, heated (or cooled, depending on your location), free from hazards, and have at least two exits that are well marked and fully functional. Also be sure first-aid equipment is on hand.
Facilities: It goes without saying, but make sure that toilets are sanitary and accessible.
Communication-friendly: Check for cell reception in the potential space and whether Wi-Fi is available.
Allergen-free: Ensure that pet dander and other common allergens won’t bother susceptible girls during meetings.
Accessibility: Your space should accommodate girls with disabilities as well as parents with disabilities who may come to meetings.
Need a few talking points to get started? Try:
“I’m a Girl Scout volunteer with a group of [number of girls] girls. We’re doing lots of great things for girls and for the community, like [something your group is doing] and [something else your troop is doing]. We’re all about leadership—the kind that girls use in their daily lives and the kind that makes our community better. We’d love to hold our meetings here because [reason why you’d like to meet there].”
Please review and stay updated with our COVID-19 guidelines, which require all volunteers to take all reasonable precautions to limit potential exposure for girls, volunteers, and families.
Stuck and need additional support? Email us at customercare@girlscoutsGSGCNWI.org, call 1-855-ILOVEGS (855-456-8347) ext. 6313 or chat with us online from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Just click on the Chat Now button!
If your group or troop can’t meet in person or hold a traditional meeting, there are so many ways to bring the power of Girl Scouting home! Meeting virtually can be a fun, engaging option for your troop.
Before setting up a virtual meeting, you’ll want to:
- Partner with troop families to make sure the girls are safe online.
- Select a meeting platform that allows families who may not have internet access to call in.
- Think about logistics: work with the girls to set up ground rules; consider how you’ll incorporate in-person meeting traditions in your virtual space and how you’ll keep the meeting on track.
- Talk with families on how to keep activities girl-led if your girls will be completing them from home.
And don't worry if your girls want to use a web or social platform you’re not as familiar with, because you’ll learn alongside them!
You’ll also find lots of inspiring badge activities, tips, and a calendar with upcoming virtual programs on our Girl Scouts at Home page.
Troop Leaders, be sure to visit the Learning Portal to find an entire section of Virtual Troop Resources.
Girl Scout Troop Size
The troop size “sweet spot” is large enough to provide an interactive and cooperative learning environment and small enough to encourage individual development. Though the ideal troop size is 12 girls, we recommend that groups be no fewer and no more than:
- • Girl Scout Daisies: 5–12 girls
- • Girl Scout Brownies: 10–20 girls
- • Girl Scout Juniors 10–25 girls
- • Girl Scout Cadettes: 5–25 girls
- • Girl Scout Seniors: 5–30 girls
- • Girl Scout Ambassadors: 5–30 girls
A Girl Scout troop/group must have at minimum five girls and two approved adult leaders. (Double-check the volunteer-to-girl ratio chart to make sure you’ve got the right amount of coverage for your troop!) Adults and girls registering in groups of fewer than five girls and/or two approved, unrelated adult volunteers, at least one of whom is female, will be registered as individual Girl Scouts to more accurately reflect their status and program experience. Individual girls are always welcome to participate in Girl Scout activities and events.
Registering Girls and Adults in Girl Scouting
Every participant (girl or adult) in Girl Scouting must register and become a member of Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA). GSUSA membership dues are valid for one year. Membership dues cannot be transferred to another member and are not refundable.
Preregistration for the upcoming membership year occurs in the spring. Girls are encouraged to register early to avoid the fall rush. Early registration allows for uninterrupted receipt of forms and materials from the council, helps girls and councils plan ahead, and gets girls excited about all the great stuff they want to do as Girl Scouts next year. Girl Scout grade level is determined by the current membership year beginning October 1.
Lifetime membership is available to anyone who accepts the principles and beliefs of the Girl Scout Promise and Law, pays the one-time lifetime membership fee, and is at least 18 years old (or a high school graduate or equivalent).
Welcoming New Girls to Your Troop
Growing your troop is a great way to share the power of the Girl Scout experience and there are many ways to get the word out, like hanging posters at your girls’ schools, using social media to reach families in your community, or including your troop in your council’s Opportunity Catalog or Troop Catalog, which is an online directory of open Girl Scout troops with room for girls and/or volunteers. You can also find recruitment materials on our Recruitment Resource Page.
Girl Scout Champions play a vital role in helping to spread the word about how awesome it is to be a Girl Scout! GS Champions introduce Girl Scouts to new girls and adults within their own communities whether it be hosting local events, sending information to schools, or just bringing flyers and brochures to libraries. GS Champions have the power to educate their community about how both girls and adults can join Girl Scouts in the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana areas!
We need inspiring volunteers (like you!) to spread the word about joining Girl Scouts to girls and families, and to help place new members in troops.
Contact Martha Sternickle at 224-207-9227 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.