As Girl Scouts get older, their sense of adventure also grows. They want to explore new places, experience different cultures and get out of their hometown. Unfortunately, big dreams don’t come cheap.

When our troops think about what kind of Girl Scout adventures they want go on, I find that my girls’ sense of imagination leads them to far-off places, such as Ireland, Paris, and even Switzerland. And as troop leaders, our eyes might grow wide at the thought of financing a trip like this, even though our hearts fill with joy. We would love to make their travel dreams come true, if only the troop bank account could support it!

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This year, my troop is pondering a cross-country trip for Summer 2019 and I’m so excited for my girls to experience the travel planning process. It will take a lot of planning and hard work to, not only arrange the details of the trip, but to raise the funds as well. As Cadettes, I know that my girls have more than enough skill and savvy to run a money-earning venture above and beyond fall product and cookie sales to earn money to make their trip a reality. Just like with their schoolwork and other commitments, achieving their goal is all about finding the time and dedicating themselves to the process. When they reach the goal, it will have all been worth it. 

If your troop is gearing up for a big adventure this year, here are some of my best tips for getting started with money-earning activities: 

Before you get started, refer to the money-earning activity guidelines on the GSNorCal website. 

Make sure to review the GSNorCal guidelines, fill out the appropriate forms, and contact your local volunteer development manager for support and assistance. There are plenty of great folks at GSNorCal to provide assistance and answer your questions if they come up along the way! 

Tap into your girls’ strengths. 

What are your girls good at? What do they enjoy? There is a lot of hard work and dedication involved with additional money-earning activities and you want to make sure your girls are doing something they truly enjoy. Whether it’s making lip balm, sewing blankets, or designing road trip games, let them decide how they want to invest their time in earning money for their grand adventure. 

Research local craft fairs in and around your community.  

Most communities have several craft fairs, farmers markets, and holiday boutiques where you can set up shop. Before you commit to a craft concept, make sure to reach out to the event organizer and ask what types of products will be sold. You’ll want to make sure that your troop is offering something unique to shoppers. Also, it never hurts to ask if they’re willing to waive the booth fee for you, since Girl Scouts is a non-profit organization. If you can avoid it, you don’t want to spend $100 on a booth fee when that money could go towards their trip! 

Pro Tip: Selling products at local craft fairs is also a great way to get your girls ready for GSNorCal’s annual craft fair, Craftapalooza. If you have older girls, consider participating in GSNorCal’s annual Craftapalooza where your girls can set up a booth and sell their handmade items.

Take advantage of your friends and family network. 

Just like in fall product and cookie season, have the girls develop an order form that they can distribute to friends and family to take orders for their product or service. By the time the girls are older and have gone through several years of cookie badges and sales, they are expert saleswomen. Encourage them to use the skills they’ve used during fall product and cookie season—goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills, and business ethics—to sell their own products! 

Reach out to local entrepreneurs and work on financial literacy badges. 

If your girls choose to start a sustainable business, there are applications to fill out and business plans to develop as the girls venture into this new additional money-earning opportunity. Give them the skills, experience, and know-how by having them work together to fill out the paperwork, send it in by the deadline, and learn about the various licenses involved with renting a space at a craft fair. In each level of Girl Scouts, there are also plenty of entrepreneurial-focused badges to work on if you didn’t get a chance to work on them during fall product or cookie season! And if your girls want to get extra inspired, you can always reach out to local female business owners about coming to one of your upcoming troop meetings to provide tips on getting their business started and talk to the girls about goal-setting. 

No matter how you choose to tackle your money-earning goals, you will see a whole new side of your girls during this experience! They will tap into their entrepreneurial spirit, take a lot of pride in their work, and perhaps learn a new skill (or 5!). Best of all, they will learn to work together and continue to develop great relationships with one another as they achieve their wildest dreams, together. 

So get goal-ing and watch your troop adventures become reality! 

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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