Does anyone have any info. or tips on becoming a leader? Our elementary school is going to be without a brownie leader next year so another friend and I are thinking of co-leading it. Can we do that together? What's involved in the training etc..? One of my biggest concerns is that I would like my younger daughter to be able to tag along to the meetings or it would be about impossible for me to help out. Is that okay to do? Thanks for any tips!
Originally posted by rebann Helo,
Does anyone have any info. or tips on becoming a leader
First of all, congratulations on your decision I was a Brownie assistant leader this year, but ended up having to back out for personal reasons. But I can answer a couple of your questions!
Our elementary school is going to be without a brownie leader next year so another friend and I are thinking of co-leading it. Can we do that together?
Yes you can do that. Normally what you do is have one leader, and then one or more assistant leaders, depending on how many girls you have in your troop. Take into consideration that there are meetings once per month for all of the leaders, there is paperwork and planning that goes along with being a leader, including coordination of cookie sales, ordering badges, planning filed trips, handling dues and keeping track of troop expenitures, organizing your weekly or biweekly meetings/activities, etc, etc. So taking this into consideration, discuss with your friend how much of the workload each of you will take. The meetings from the council are usually at night, because, like you, it's made of all moms trying to help their daughters. Many work, so they usually conduct the meetings in the evenings.
What's involved in the training etc..?
There are some training classes that you are required to take. The council office runs them and they are kind of lengthy (at least here they are LOL). Ours had a three hour training class, then there was a 3 hour age appropriatness class. They are run out of your local Girl Scout Council office.
One of my biggest concerns is that I would like my younger daughter to be able to tag along to the meetings or it would be about impossible for me to help out. Is that okay to do? Thanks for any tips!
Because this is a totally voluntary position, and you have control over what happens at the meetings and where they are held, what you say goes. I know of many leaders that have their younger or older children with them, simply because they have no other option. It just depends on your younger daughter. If she's very little, bring a portable playpen and some toys. If she's older, be sure to bring along something to keep her busy (coloring books, crayons, books, etc)
It also depends on where you have the meetings. You can arrange to use your church and conduct it in their preschool area, just ask permission for your youngest to use a few toys. Or if you decide, you can have the meetings in your home and she'll feel at home and will have things to play with there. On the other hand, you may want to get her involved with what the girls are doing. Just BE CAREFUL with this. I don't know how your older daughter is, but it could make her upset or jealous that her little sister is being allowed to do something that is supposed to be just for her.
Whatever you do, be sure to keep in contact with your council office whenever you need help. Make sure you collect dues from the girls for the year ($20 is a standard amount) for crafts, activities, and snacks, and make sure that you get all the girls registered in the very beginning. If they are not registered, they can not participate in any of the girl scout events (cookie sales, field trips, etc)
Good luck! If you have ANY other questions, I'll do my best to answer them!
Thanks for all the tips and ideas. My youngest daughter is almost 4 so she shouldn't be a problem entertaining at meetings and my older ones doesn't mind when her sister tries to participate. At least so far anyway! There is a Girl Scout office/center in town here so I will call them too and see about training this summer while the girls are at gramma's for the day. I'm really excited about it -- thanks so much!
Even though younger bothers and sisters love to attend their big sister's Brownie meetings, a great alternative is to have troop parents provide child care on a rotating basis during the meetings. Please keep in mind, your Brownie already has to "share" you with all the other girls in the troop, and younger children will also want your attention. This is my third year as a Brownie leader, and this has work well for our troop.
If rotating child care is not an option, your council will require "tag along" insurance for the non-Brownies; this applies to older children that, for whatever reason, need to be at you meeting.
Thanks for the tips - I'm hoping for most of the meeting my husband will be home to keep the little one. So, I will have to look into the insurance for when he isn't here and she attends with us. Hopefully it's not too complicated.
Good for you!
Not only have I also "been there, done that" to a Brownie toop of 13 girls and a Junior troop of 21 girls, but I was also on the Excutive Staff of our Girl Scout council. Trust me, most are so desperate for leaders that they will NOT object to haivng you bring a younger child. They may insist on registering for insurance purposes and this is to protect you and your child as well as themselves.
Be sure to include the girls in decision making on what activities to be involved in. Brownie troop ages are very happy with crafting activities. If you plan to make any trips outside the meeting, be sure you have permission slips signed by the parents as well as permission from your council.
As for getting parents to rotate child care, good luck! It was my experience (with my junior troop anyway) that I was more of a glorified babysitter myself. Many parents picked up late and MANY were teachers so had no desire to spend time in child care even for an hour at the end of a day.
Your Service Area Manager (SAM) will be an invaluable source of nformation and assistance. Mine even encouraged us to call her at work since she was in a job that didn't mind. Her husband was stationed away overseas with the Army so when she got home at night, she was involved with her kids. Your council will also have people who can answer questions and offer assistance.
Take advantage of any and all training and conferences. You will learn a lot that can be used outside of the troop and most all of it will cost is a few hours of your time and transportation to get there if outside your immediate area. Carpooling is fun for those trips! It's also a great way to spend time with other adult women who have the same interest as you; spending quality time with your child and helping to build strong moral character in our young ladies!
Editor of FREE Penny Pincher freebie newsletter:
Yes, I have been there and done that. I never was a Brownie leader but took an assistant Jr. Leader position in order to get my oldest daughter into a troop. Next year, leader quit, and I was it.
First summer we went to camp,(never had slept in a sleeping bag or a tent) I was informed "all you have to do is be responsible for the 24 girls everything for 4 days" brought on shock but I survived.
I served as leader for two different Jr. troops,(two daughters, four years apart) and had the first troop to do the Challenges. I ended up being an organizer, a trainer and served in Girl Scouting for over 10 years plus the two years I had been a Girl Scout in the 40's.
I believe it was great training in learning to be "frugal" and helped me land a job as a librarian after I was divorced. The employment agency said I had all the necessary skills but I just hadn't been paid for them.LOL
My mother-in-law once said, "You get paid for doing all of that,right?".
Years later I had young mothers come up to me in the library and say, "How in the world did you put up with us? We were so rotten." (They made great Moms)
I just want to add something on the subject of bringing siblings to your meetings. Although you can bring them to your meetings, be sure to ask if they can be brought to your monthly Service Unit Meetings/Neighborhood Association Meetings(Leader Meeting). It may be a big "NO" from them, or they may have older girls "working" for service hours by watching the little ones.
Good Luck with everything.
Hi! Way to go! You and your friend will have a GREAT time as Brownie co-leaders. I just started as a leader in September - my daughter is a Daisy (kindergarten) Girl Scout - and I'm loving it!
However, there IS a LOT to learn and get used to. I'd like to make a few suggestions for you that have helped me get off on the right foot...
First - If you have the opportunity to get to know the current troop leader(s) and get a preview of what the troop has done so far -- maybe even attend some troop meetings in the remaining school year -- that would help you get a better understanding of the troop dynamics and current situation.
Second - Make contact with your local Girl Scout Council office right away! I see one of your replies says you have one in your city/town. Just give them a call, tell them you're considering becoming a leader, and they'll direct you from there. Your troop is part of a larger group called a Service Unit (used to be called a Neighborhood), and there is a Service Unit Manager who can help get you in touch with the people and resources you'll need to get prepared. Your Service Unit, in turn, is part of a larger group called a Council. Between the Service Unit and the Council you will have access to everything you could ever need - you just have to ask!
Third - Get a copy of your Service Unit and/or Council training requirements and schedules. You have a great plan, getting your training over the summer while your daughters are at Grandma's! I won't kid you - it's a LOT to learn - but with a little persistence and some good people available to answer your questions you'll be in pretty good shape by the beginning of the 2002-2003 school year.
Fourth - Take all the training you can possiby fit into your schedule, and make sure your co-leader does the same! There are a couple reasons for this. First, it helps to get you familiar with the ins and outs of the Girl Scout program, which makes it easier for you to find and understand the information you need to be an effective leader. Second, it ensures you'll have whatever training is required BEFORE an event or activity requires it. Some training is required for the troop to even meet - Basic Leadership Training, Age Level Training (specific for your troop's level - Brownies, in your case), and First Aid/CPR training. At least one registered adult trained in the above must be present for each troop meeting or activity. Again, your Service Unit or Council contact will have details for your area.
Fifth - READ...LOTS! There are WONDERFUL resources available for leaders and girls alike. As you're getting started, your best friends (aside from your co-leader and other supporting adults) will be the Leader's Handbook, the Safety Wise book, and the Brownie Handbook / Try-It Book set. You'll find almost everything in these books that you'll need to plan troop activities as well as lots of information about dealing with the girls, the parents, the paperwork, etc., etc.
Sixth - Plan to ask for help. You and your co-leader need to start right away thinking of yourselves as "managers" or "directors" for the troop, and NOT as the only grown-ups who ever do anything with or for the troop! You will want to plan for at least one "Parents' Meeting" at the beginning of each school semester. This allows you to get to know the other parents, and, more importantly, tell them what it takes to keep a troop running and exactly how they can be of help. For instance, your year will start off with the Troop Opportunity Sale (TOS) almost immediately. You'll want a parent in charge of this activity - which will require only about a month-long commitment from them, as well as a short training session. Then in January you'll want a parent in charge of the Cookie Sale, with about the same requirements. This is why it's important for YOU to get your training and reading done early -- so you can speak knowledgably to the other parents and have a specific plan for their involvement in the troop's activities!
Those are the things I've learned from my brief time as a leader so far. Like I said, it's been lots of fun, but I really "hit the ground running" when I started. It's taken me about five months to really feel like I have a good handle on what's going on - or at least who to turn to when I need to find out what's going on - but I'm learning more (and easier) every day.
Good luck to you and your co-leader! Remember, this is a FUN time for your daughter, her friends, AND YOU. You'll probably make just as many friends as your girls do, and you'll all learn a lot. Have a great time! Welcome to GS!!!