The convenience of online training has made a Girl Scout leader’s life so much easier. We can sit down in front of the computer with a cup of coffee and learn all we need to know about Fall Product Sales, the Girl Scout Cookie Programs, higher awards, and more. But despite the unparalleled convenience, sometimes it’s nice to get in a little human interaction, leader bonding, and the opportunity to share ideas with one another face-to-face.

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Our strong, supportive community is the most valuable training and resource Girl Scout leaders have. Why do you think thousands of us attend the National Convention every year? Yes, we want to be inspired, but we also want to learn from one another.

I recently completed the in-person Troop Camping Certification for the second time. Why? First of all, it’s a fun course. Second, I took it with one of my troop parents and several leaders from my Service Unit this time around. We had a blast. And now we can go back to our fellow leaders, share ideas for years to come, and maybe even plan a trip together with our troops!

With that in mind, here are five reasons to pack a bag and take advantage of the various in-person training opportunities (aka any of the “Adult Learning” events on Activity Finder) offered by Girl Scouts of Northern California:

1. Expand your Girl Scout network

To put it briefly, you don’t know what you don’t know… and you don’t know who can help you and your troop on their next badge or adventure if you don’t go out and meet them. Attending large adult learning events, like Discoveree or Fall Festival surround you with leaders (new, veterans, and everyone in between) who share your passion for Girl Scouts. And through the miracle of social media, you can maintain these connections long after the weekend workshop retreats end.

2. Learn a new skill

Did you become a leader with very little camping experience? Maybe you’re not the most crafty person… but don’t worry, that’s OK. It’s not a requirement to be an expert outdoorsperson or Martha Stewart copycat to be a Girl Scout leader. In-person trainings like Troop Camping Certification, Extended Troop Travel, and Backpacking (to name a few) are hands-on courses led by experienced trainers and learning facilitators who understand their audience. They want to help and they want to give you the knowledge as well as the confidence to do amazing things with your Girl Scouts. The courses are also designed to allow for free flow of conversations, so participants have the opportunity to share their suggestions too. While there is a “textbook” that the trainers teach from, everyone in the class provides input and offers best practices, tips, and tricks, making the course extra useful and relevant.

3. Improve yourself and be the best leader you can be

We all want to improve and be the best leaders we can be. Girl Scouts wants us to be better leaders too. Completing a mix of online and in-person trainings will make you a more well-rounded leader, equipping you with the know-how to handle any scenario that comes your way. And who wouldn’t want to find out what goes on in an in-person training called “Girl Scouts Made Easy”?! On top of that, some adult learning workshops like CPR and first aid provide skills that you’ll be able to use outside of Girl Scouts as well. So whether you work with Daisies or Ambassadors, these courses will definitely benefit any volunteer!

4. Treat yourself to some fun

Our girls shouldn’t be the only ones having all the Girl Scout fun and adventures. Treat yourself to a weekend in Whiskeytown for Fall Festival or maybe a day at Discoveree. Sit back, relax, do some crafts that you can bring back to your troop, and learn something new. Dutch oven cooking, solar cooking, conflict resolution tips, games, and songs – the list is endless (and these are just the courses available at Discoveree and Fall Festival). GSNorCal offers tons of in-person trainings, like CPR/First Aid, Troop Camping Certification, and Girl Scouting Made Easy that are available year-round at various locations throughout Northern California.

5. Bond with other leaders

In the packed agenda of our Service Unit meetings and our own troop meetings, we don’t often have time to get to know the other leaders or squeeze in the usual ice breaker questions like, “How did you become a Girl Scout leader?” or “Were you a Girl Scout?”. And there’s really not a lot of time for the more thought-provoking questions like “What’s your favorite part about being a leader?” or “What are some of the challenges you face as a leader?” When you invite other leaders or even some of your troop parents to attend a workshop or training with you, you open up new doors where you can bond and get to know each other as well as share knowledge and experiences.

Though not every training or certification is offered in-person (some are online only through the Volunteer Learning Portal), there are a lot of in-person trainings offered through Girl Scouts Northern California. As a volunteer, I am so grateful to be a part of an organization that values training and its volunteers are prepared and confident to lead a Girl Scout troop. Face-to-face learning is so valuable, so get started today!

What to do next:

Angela BorchertAngela Borchert—Angela just completed her seventh year as a Girl Scout leader in Vacaville/Travis Air Force Base service unit. She leads Juniors and Cadettes and loves the wide range of activities and interests that both groups have and the challenges they provide her along the way. Girl Scouts have helped her embrace glue guns and dirt while taking her on her first kayaking adventure. She’s been camping more times in the past five years than she has in her entire life thanks to Girl Scouts!

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