So, you’ve started a troop, added girls, planned your first few meetings, and even recruited a couple new parents. Now what? From upcoming events and service project opportunities to registration deadlines and booth sale sign-ups, there’s a lot of information a leader has to report out to their troop on. Whether you choose to put together a monthly email newsletter or a weekly check-in via Facebook, every troop’s communication works a little differently. So to better understand the various communication strategies out there, we surveyed over 60 fabulous troop leaders and volunteers, and put together this list of 5 resources to help you effectively communicate with your troop:

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1. Meeting with Parents/Caregivers

An online training from Girl Scouts of Northern California’s Volunteer Learning Portal

For a lot of younger girl troops, many troop leaders communicate the information through the girls’ parents. So even though it’s all about the girls during your regularly scheduled meeting, your first meeting with parents and caregivers will set the tone for the rest of the Girl Scout year, especially regarding your expectations around their involvement and communication flow. Make sure you hit all the important points with this 20 minute training that provides an agenda and FAQ for new volunteers. While you’re in the Volunteer Learning Portal, take a look at some of the other trainings available. There are abundant resources on many key aspects of the Girl Scout experience.

2. Four Tips on Effectively Communicating with Girls

A blog post from In The Loop by Girl Scouts River Valleys

It’s well and good to have the tools for communicating, but as we all know, communication takes practice and we don’t always say the right thing even with the best intentions. These four communication strategies from Girl Scouts River Valleys will help you create a safe space to connect with your girls and talk to them about the issues that really matter.

3. Girl Scout GAB Facebook Group

A Facebook group for adult Girl Scouts

Sometimes the best way to find a solution to a problem is to hive mind the answer, and when it comes to successfully leading troops and communicating with your Girl Scouts effectively, your sister troop leaders and volunteers have a wealth of experience and knowledge. This cross-council Facebook group is a must-join resource: its members are engaged, helpful, and have a wide range of experiences; they trade ideas, swap stories, and vent; and for the most part do a great job of holding each other accountable when comments stray from “respectful and kind” territory. You’ll find experiential advice on everything from how to set healthy boundaries with helicopter parents to how to deal with the formation of cliques among your girls.

Pro Tip: We all get a little busy, so even if you can’t meet up with other GSNorCal parents and volunteers in-person, take the time to network other Girl Scout adults in the area with our council’s Facebook group: GSNorCal Parents + Volunteers!

4. Group Management: It Doesn’t Have to Be Like Herding Cats

A blog post from Girl Scouts of Western Ohio

When girls are put together in a room with all of their friends, it’s sometimes hard to grab their attention. They obviously have no problem communicating with each other, but what’s the best way for a troop leader to keep the meeting moving without coming off as a party-pooper? In this blog post from Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, Megan talks about the importance of setting rules and expectations early-on to better manage an energetic group. Sometimes just a few words, like a “Hey, hey Girl Scouts” call-and-response is all it takes.

5. A Girl Scout’s Guide to the Internet: Volunteer Edition

A blog post from Girl Scouts of Northern California’s The Trailhead

Social media a vastly useful communication tool, and many troop leaders find it to be one of the most effective ways to communicate with their parents and girls. Navigating the World Wide Web may be old territory for some, but if interacting in a Facebook group feels like sailing into uncharted waters, let the Girl Scout Law be your guide. Just as it guides you and your girls’ actions in person, the Law can chart a path for how we adults interact with each other in virtual spaces, especially social media.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to my Troop Communication Questionnaire! Your thoughtful insight and feedback helped inform this and future posts. If you’d like to continue to contribute, The Trailhead is always looking for guest writers. Share your troop leader tips and tricks with us and your sister volunteers.

Ash Redfield—Ash is the Digital Marketing and Social Media Coordinator for Girl Scouts of Northern California, where they’re constantly planning, creating, and managing awesome content for social media. After graduating from Mills College (a women’s college in Oakland), Ash joined the Girl Scout movement where they love being part of a team that helps girls unlock their potential and continuing that legacy of women’s leadership. They have spent much of their life exploring Northern California, especially the Bay Area, so when not behind a blue-lit screen, you’ll probably find them hiking through a local park or at a café planning their next road trip.

The Trailhead