Saturday, August 8, 2015

Girl Scout Troop Leading: Parent Meeting Planning

It's that time of year again!!! Time to start preparing your troop year, if you haven't started already. Last year I wrote a post on what I included in the parent packet. This year I want to revisit this topic and also provide some additional posts throughout this month on how to plan, organize, and make it through another year of troop leading!

Last fall was my very first year as a troop leader. Boy.... did I not know what I was getting myself into! When I first set out to conquer the world of girl scouting and provide this grandiose idea of the best troop experience ever for these girls, there were a few things I underrated and failed to realize.

I didn't realize how important parent communication was.

I will say this again, I didn't realize how important parent communication is.

Communication is key to a successful year in leading a girl scout troop. Communication with your co-leader, cookie mom, and the non involved parent. I happened to have a very uninvolved and sometimes non-existent co-leader. I had parents, no matter how many emails sent, a clear cut communicative website, and phone calls, still misunderstood guidelines and date and times. There are some parents that you simply can't be clear enough with. For the others, it's important to make the communication easy. This is sooooooooo helpful for them and yourself!

Have that Parent Meeting! Set those expectations and guidelines from the very start before their girl even signs up. Keep in mind that you are the leader, the mother who is volunteering their time and energy for free, you set these expectations of how you will contribute your time. These expectations and guidelines can all be provided to each parent in a documented letter. Hand this letter out at the parent meeting, share it on your troop website, send it in a follow up email after the meeting. Make sure that each parent has a copy of this letter. No cuts, no buts, no coconuts! Comment below if you can name the movie.

What did I include in our troop parent letter?
    • Troop Leader contact information (phone numbers, email, address)
    • Troop Meeting information
      • Day and time of the week
      • Location
      • What they do at the meetings (overall layout of troop meetings)
    • Uniforms and Handbook
      • What badges to purchase before hand
        • Council ID
        • American flag 
        • Troop Numerals
        • Insignia tab
    • Troop Dues
      • What does troop dues cover
      • How much?
      • Due date
    • Importance of volunteers
      • Positions open
    • Share site
      • Shutterfly offers an amazing share site to keep the parents up to date on meetings. I would strongly recommend checking it out!
You can download a copy of the parent letter I used here --->>>> Download Parent Letter

In addition to a parent letter, you will want to make sure that your parents have all the information they need to get their girl started. A Parent Packet can assist in this department!

What do you want to include in the parent packet?

Each girl/parent gets a blue folder with their name on it. Last year I used this as a parent communicator folder that was brought to every meeting and I would send home a letter of updates and information of the next meeting. This year I will not have the parent communicator folder. As a Girl Scout we teach to use resources wisely and with the age of technology communication can be done via the web, reducing our use and expense of paper.

Below is what I included in the folder for the parent packet...
  • Parent letter (including troop expectations, rules, meeting schedule)
  • Parent Helper sign up form
    • Uniform handout (explains the items needed for uniform for the parents to purchase, unless you will purchase the entire troops)
    • Forms
      • Girl Membership Registration Form
      • Adult Membership Registration Form
      • Medical History form (both girl and adult volunteers)
      • Permission slips

    At the parent meeting take time to go through your parent letter and your expectations for the troop. Go through the different forms included in the packet and make sure parents know the next steps and what they need to do for the first troop meeting. Make sure they understand where and how to register and that this is done before their girl attends an official meeting or outing. If you can collect the registration and health forms at the parent meeting it will make things a lot easier for you!

    Keep following along... I will be posting some more helpful planning tips over the next month and other ways to get you started on your troop leader journey! Please follow along on Facebook!

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