A Girl Scout troop, or a group of Girl Scouts and volunteers that meet regularly, is one of many ways to participate in Girl Scouting. Troops set their own schedule for meetings, decide what activities they want to enjoy, and find ways to improve their community.
Let’s set the record straight with some basic facts about being a Girl Scout troop leader.
Our staff are here when you need us because we are grateful for your involvement. Call, email, or visit us when you have questions. We have lots of great ideas and tips for working with girls at every grade level!
Now that you have agreed to be a troop leader, you likely have questions. Here are a few of the most frequent questions we hear:
1. How much time will I need?
Being a troop leader can fit with anyone’s schedule. We recommend that troops meet twice per month, and you can choose the meeting day, time, place, and frequency.
Current leaders report spending about four hours preparing for and leading each meeting, though a growing library of online resources make it easier now for busy adults to plan troop activities.
2. What if I don’t know anything about Girl Scouting?
Honestly, there is no prerequisite. You do not have to be a Girl Scout alumna to volunteer as a troop leader. All you need is the desire to affect change in girls lives – and maybe you'll change your own in the process! You will learn everything you need to know along the way. And, don’t forget that you’ll also have a co-leader who will bring complementary skills and experiences to share.
We do not measure the success of a Girl Scout experience in terms of how many badges are earned. If the girls are smiling, making friends, learning new skills, and trying four to five different types of experiences throughout the year (providing service to others, earning badges, taking trips, exploring the outdoors, etc.), then you are doing a great job!
3. What support or help is available?
4. How much will it cost me?
Let’s start with the basics. Every member (girl and adult) pays a national membership fee of $25. Financial assistance is available for those who may consider that amount a hardship.
Beyond that, every troop has the flexibility to decide how to build and spend their troop treasury to support the range of activities the girls would like to do.
Here’s what we recommend:
1. Register yourself as a Girl Scout
You'll need to become a member of Girl Scouts by registering online then successfully completing a background check.
During the registration process, first check for open troop leader positions near you. If you don’t see what you are looking for or would like to start your own troop, click “UNSURE” and indicate that you are interested in starting your own troop in the comments section and see Step 4 below!
The background check process typically takes a few days. While you wait, you can start reviewing the online resources available to you.
Once you’ve registered as a member and are linked to a troop with a leadership position, you’ll gain access to our online Volunteer Toolkit (VTK), event and program resource listings, and much more!
2. Ask your friends to help
When you ask a friend or neighbor to join you, you already have great chemistry. That makes leading a troop more fun. Together, you'll need to decide on a meeting location, meeting frequency (day and start time), start date, and what grade level (or levels!) your troop will include.
A troop needs at least two unrelated, background-checked adults (one of whom must be female) to get started, and most leaders also look for additional volunteers to help throughout the year.
Troops can have more than two leaders, and they typically have additional volunteers to help with the Girl Scout Cookie Program, fall product program, and to assist with snacks, field trips, and other activities.
Parents/guardians of other girls in your troop are great people to ask to help right from the beginning, although adults from the community might love this opportunity, too. We can help you recruit volunteers for your troop, but people tend to have the most fun with adults they already know in real life.
3. Pick a day, time, and location for troop meetings
Start thinking right away about where and when your troop will meet. Contact potential venues now as you complete your Girl Scout registration, background check, and onboarding process.
Keep in mind:
Most troops meet twice per month, but you should choose a schedule that works best for you.
Your meeting space needs to be a safe, clean, and secure environment that allows all girls to participate. Good options include:
Places of worship
Community centers and buildings
4. Set up your new troop
Fill out the New Troop Request form to notify us about your interest in starting a new troop.
5. Spread the word
It’s never too early to start talking about your new Girl Scout troop. Even while you finish the preliminary details, you can talk to your friends, neighbors, and other families in the community about your plans. The more girls you welcome to your troop, the more adults you will have available to help. An optimal size troop is about 12 girls on average. Use our Recruitment Resources to help you find girls to fill your troop.
In addition to your word-of-mouth efforts, any open girl or volunteer spots will be listed in our online Opportunity Catalog so other parents seeking troops for their daughters can sign them up for your openings.
Our staff will work closely with you to help support the formation of your new troop!
6. Get ready for your first troop meeting
Once you receive confirmation of your approval to lead a troop, you'll have the opportunity to attend a welcome session with a staff member or local volunteer who will help you get started on the right foot!
7. Stay in touch
Girl Scouts also need volunteers at events, programs, and camps.
Share your time, talents and skills with girls and adults one-time, for a short term, or by joining a committee.