Around the age of 5, most girls are getting ready to start school— they’re excited, nervous, thrilled, and full of expectations. You’ve looked over the options for afterschool activities that align with your work and child care schedule, but you’re feeling like something is missing… and you’re right! Girl Scouts is the social, emotional, and leadership building group that provides your girl with something that she isn’t getting from school or sports: outdoor experiences in a girl-only environment, opportunities for growth through a girl-led program, and engaging leadership experiences that encourage them to take action.
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If you’re looking to go an extra step or just want to start a troop of your own, read on and follow these steps on how to start a Daisy troop:
1. Look around you at your friends and peers
Are there other parents of girls you know from preschool, faith-based groups, your neighborhood, or places like gymnastics or sports teams who might be interested in Girl Scouts? Ask them! It’s a great way to meet other people, or even gain some extra bonding time with a friend who wants to co-lead with you. Consider inviting parents of girls from the elementary school your girl plans on attending who are new to you and your daughter. Even though you haven’t talked to these folks much yet, oftentimes you’ll discover a common interest or desire or maybe even a specific skill you all want your girls to achieve that will help you build your troop.
2. Fill out the troop number request form
Filling out this form will create a troop number for you to share with interested families to make it easier for them to join your troop. Then, within 24 hours, you will receive an email with a custom link for you to register and complete a background screen. Register yourself as a volunteer troop leader, and your girl as a Daisy Girl Scout. For more information on how to register and become a Girl Scout, check out our website www.gsnorcal.org/join, or visit our meet us in person page to find a parent information night near you.
3. Meet with your group of parents to decide on a day and time for your troop meeting
Many troops meet weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly, and in all kinds of locations. For parameters around where to meet, read up on the “Meeting Place Considerations” section of Volunteer Essentials. If you find you need more girls and parents to make this work, contact Member Services at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be connected to your Membership Development Manager or Membership Manager who will help you connect with other Girl Scouts in your area.
One aspect of Girl Scouts that is often overlooked is the ability for volunteers to tailor the troop experience to their fit their talents and interests. In our Opportunity Catalog, troops who are looking to add more girls to their troop can provide a description of their troop on the site. Here, you tell interested families about the kind of troop you are leading. Descriptions like, “We are a high-energy outdoorsy troop, teaching girls how camp, from backyard overnights to troop camping” or “We are a classic Daisy Troop, doing a little of everything” or “We are focused on maker technology and crafts, meeting once a month at a maker space”, set expectations and drive the troops to form based on common interests or desire to learn new skills.
Ready to go? We have excellent online trainings available to show you the ropes of being a new troop leader. Don’t forget to visit our Volunteer Training & Resources page for more nifty tools, like our Volunteer Toolkit (or VTK), which includes a troop roster, a year of troop meeting plans, and much more. We even have a PDF user manual that outlines the most-used aspects of VTK to help you get the most out of the resource. The VTK is also home to a list of the nine different year plan options for Daisy troops, so you can find what works best for you and your Daisy troop.
Pro Tip: Your fellow troop leaders and volunteers are here to help too! One of the best ways to connect with other volunteers include our Facebook page: GSNorCal Parents + Volunteers. Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for more tips and fun ideas!
Daisy Girl Scouts are our youngest members, and as such, represent pure potential. When we create a safe space for them to meet friends, unleash their creativity, get outdoors, and experience lots of hands-on activities with the support of caring adults like you, we give them more than just a few hours of our time. We show them how to be resilient, innovative, powerful, and courageous. We give them the gift of learning by doing, leading by example, and finding their way in the world, one step at a time. Whether your girl becomes a passionate advocate for the outdoors, an award-winning author, a thrill-seeking sailboat captain, a community-builder, a teacher, a congresswoman, or something else entirely, she will follow her dreams and become the person she wants to be because you have made it possible for her to find her spark through Girl Scouts. Now you know what to do to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place—let’s get started!
What to do next:
- Learn more about how to start a troop and check out our New Troop Leader Checklist.
- From required trainings to helpful documents, visit our Volunteer Training & Resources page for more awesome resources!
- Have a troop already, but looking to add some new girls to the mix? Here are 6 resources to help grow your troop.
Heather Burlew-Hayden—Heather is the Chief Marketing and Recruitment Officer for Girl Scouts of Northern California. A former Girl Scout, she comes from a long line of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides, including her sisters, mother, grandmother, and great aunt Margaret who earned her Golden Eaglet in the 1930s! Originally from Upstate New York, she has lived in SoCal, Washington DC, and Brooklyn (Holla!) before landing in Northern California. She loves to travel, eat, and read read read.