As a troop leader, it may be difficult sometimes to step aside and let your girls take the reins…especially when it’s a group of Daisies are Brownies who struggle to sit through an entire troop meeting! However, keeping activities girl-led is what makes Girl Scouts great and a major feature of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. When girls step up and take ownership of their decisions, they grow into confident leaders who can make informed and empowered decisions—a valuable skill they’ll carry throughout their lives.
So how can you create a space where girls feel empowered to speak their minds and pursue their interests while still keeping them on-task? Here are some tips on how to get girls involved in the decision-making process, guide them in their discussions and compromising, and help them achieve their goals!
Girl Scouts that are newer to the ins and outs of scouting may need a little extra assistance. Understanding what your younger girls want to accomplish will make this process easier.
Daisies might have an idea of things that they would like to do (and might even get a little silly with their suggestions!), but may need some additional prompting to help get the ball rolling. You can also try providing girls with a set of options to choose from, from choosing the year’s activities or selecting the location of a field trip, to deciding on menu items for a camping trip! Daisies also love to be helpers! Enlist girls to assist with collecting forms, taking attendance, passing out supplies, leading a game, etc.
- Give girls a select number of options to choose from, such as which petal to work on or decide between two field trip locations.
- Have them identify new experiences with ones they are already familiar with.
- Allow girls to take on tasks that are short and easy enough to accomplish independently.
Brownie troop leaders will take on the moderator role to help girls make informed choices. Give them the freedom to make mistakes and let them plan as much as possible! Brownies can use program materials to help brainstorm ideas, but encourage them to think outside the box. Help girls figure out what’s realistic by talking through budget and time constraints and let them decide between multiple options.
- Encourage girls to get creative by adding their own flair to projects.
- Ask them thoughtful questions instead of just providing answers.
- Use a Kaper Chart to assign roles at meetings and have them assist!
Junior Girl Scouts are a bit more willing to step up and take on responsibilities. They’re capable of brainstorming lots of ideas and narrowing them down as a group with the right resources. As a troop leader, you will become more of an advisor and facilitator. With some guidance, let the girls take turns moderating discussions, have them begin and end meetings, and set troop goals.
- Brainstorm how they want to plan activities to fit their tastes.
- Let girls choose their own Take Action project and contact community members to be their project guides.
- Let girls select where they’d like to go for troop field trips to supplement their Journeys.
Girl Scout Cadettes are ready to take the lead on a lot of activities, but your role as troop leader will be keeping them engaged. Understanding your girls’ interests is essential to keeping them excited and involved, so encourage them to tailor activities to their liking! Troop leaders will begin to take on more of a coaching role as they step back but provide encouragement and support from the sidelines.
- Girls may plan and budget a trip all on their own (while you remind them which tasks are essential to group safety).
- Expose girls to opportunities to teach or guide others, such as younger Girl Scout troops.
- Let girls take the lead on a service project and coordinate with the organization.
At the senior level, girls should be doing most of the goal setting and planning. Girls at this age are used to taking on responsibility but need time for discussion in between activities to understand the learning process and growth. As a troop leader, you will mentor and cheer on the girls while letting them stay in control.
- Girls will be able to help with in-depth budget planning, such as for a trip or service project.
- Let girls take on leading their meetings from start to finish!
- Encourage girls to question or investigate things they normally take for granted.
- Help them identify topics important to them.
Ambassador Girl Scouts are confident in their abilities and need very little guidance! A successful Ambassador troop will be primarily girl-run, with troop leaders providing direction or advice when necessary. Act as their go-to source of information! Your biggest role will be one of support, giving suggestions to help girls go in their ideal direction while allowing them to make the final decisions.
- Have girls identify challenges in their communities and the world.
- Assist them in developing connections with individuals and organizations on national and international levels.
- Help girls in finding the resources they need for career planning and projects.
Although it might be tempting to take over sometimes, girls have so much to learn once you let go! Be patient and enjoy the process as girls become empowered to make their own decisions. As they grow and mature, they’ll thank you for the independence!
Ready to join us as a Girl Scout volunteer? Help introduce girls to new experiences and go as far as their imaginations will take them…sign up today!