By Girl Scout Troop Leader Angela L.
Are you curious about leading a Girl Scout troop? Not sure it’s for you? Worried you don’t know enough to be an impactful troop leader?
Let me give you the inside scoop from someone who’s been there.
My name is Angela, and I have a troop of eighth graders. I’ve been a troop leader for six years. Did I set out to be one? Nope. But here was my sweet, vivacious, curious kid asking to join Girl Scouts with her friend. So, I signed her up! There were no troops open to new members in our area, so her friend’s mom and I decided to explore starting our own troop.
I didn’t have much experience as a Girl Scout. I was a Brownie for a year and am an avid supporter of Cookie Sales, but not much else. I’ll be honest. I was nervous about taking the job. Could I be a troop leader? How much of a time commitment is it really? Is it hard? The other mom I knew was a willing partner, so we said OK, let’s do it!
We received a warm welcome from the Girl Scouts of Western Washington staff member who helped set up our troop. We shared with them the size we could handle, the age and grade of our kiddos, and how often we wanted to meet. She helped us get connected to an amazing group of other local volunteers called a “service unit,” and we began to learn more about Girl Scouts and how the program works through the robust training resources available within the council.
I completed the training on my own time and at my own pace. It consisted of various online modules that raised my comfort with leading and program culture. The staff and Service Unit volunteers were incredibly patient with my questions during a welcome chat, and they were full of great advice.
We had two kids—mine and my friend’s. But two is not enough for a troop, so we began sharing our plans to start a troop with friends and other parents. We had the staff “open” our troop as a self-serve choice for new families, and we began to grow! Some families we knew from soccer or school, while others found us through the Girl Scouts website or staff. Soon, our troop had 10 kids from different schools in our area. Each one was unique. Family situations, cultural backgrounds, personalities, and interests collided into this mix of kids that may not have met without Girl Scouts.
Using the online meeting planner (the Volunteer Toolkit) and the materials available from official Girl Scout publications and badge worksheets, these kids explored STEM, friendship, art, the outdoors, animals, and community care. Along the way, they learned to collaborate, find value in one another’s differences, and overcome conflicts. Those same second graders we met on a cold rainy day in the park are now in eighth grade—and they’re still friends. They’re still growing and learning, but they possess unshakable confidence in themselves and those around them.
I volunteer for Girl Scouts as a troop leader for these kids, the next group of go-getters who will shape our world for the better for all generations to come. I volunteer for Girl Scouts because every child deserves a space to thrive. I volunteer for Girl Scouts to give back what I’ve received. I volunteer for Girl Scouts because it’s an ever-changing experience. I volunteer for Girl Scouts because it’s a fun adventure that keeps growing with each passing year, and I don’t want to miss a minute of it. In the beginning, I didn’t think it was for me. But now, I’m so grateful to have learned it is.