It’s the most bittersweet time of the Girl Scouting year, when regular troop meetings take a hiatus so that girls can dive into summer and all that it brings with it (family trips! Summer jobs! CAMP!!!). As the traditional school year winds down and the temperatures outside start to rise, I thought it might be helpful to provide you all with a quick and simple guide to wrapping up your Girl Scout year.
Wrapping up your Girl Scout year—in three simple steps!
Throw an end of the year party! Like my fellow In the Loop blogger Brianna, I love any excuse for a good party (and cake!). Many troops choose to wrap up their year with a bridging ceremony if they are moving to the next program grade level next year (see our awesome guide to bridging brilliantly) or just a fun celebration, where girls can be recognized for all of the great things they accomplished and fun they had over the past year. Have the girls plan what they want to do with their day – whether it’s a fun field trip, a pizza party, or a community service opportunity.
For bridging ceremonies, you can use a makeshift “bridge” for girls to walk across—or take note from Girl Scouts in Northern California and incorporate a real bridge into your ceremony! (Nostalgia moment: I remember walking across the Stillwater lift bridge when I became a Junior Girl Scout back in the day—it all felt very official!). But if your next couple months are already crazy and crafting a bridge off of Pinterest sounds like the LAST thing you want to be doing this weekend, remember that these ceremonies can also be super casual. Some Girl Scouts River Valleys staff who are troop leaders recommend low-key potlucks in the park or someone’s backyard as the way-to-go when it comes to wrapping up the year.
Host a spring family meeting! Much like your fall family meeting, an end of the year family meeting is a great opportunity to connect with parents, fill them in on all of the awesome things their girls did this year, and have a discussion about troop logistics.
Touch base on troop finances* (record cookie sales? Long-term money earning for an upcoming troop trip?) and go over summer plans and expectations (will it be possible to plan a couple of activities over the summer to stay connected? Troop camp is an AWESOME way to do this!).
Finally, this is a good time to go over any changes for next year (is the troop getting too big so you’ll need to split into two? Is your co-leader moving and you’ll need another parent to step up?) and remind families to do their Early Bird registration to receive the adorable Early Bird patch and Girl Scout Shop discount punch card and get that step out of the way!
Have an awesome summer! Your troop might be taking some time off from meeting this summer, but there’s still a lot of summer fun to be had for you troop leaders and volunteers. Check out our adult education offerings, like low ropes facilitator training, outdoor trainings, canoeing certifications, and more—or sign up for our ever popular Lakamaga Adult Education Conference.
*And don’t forget to turn your Girl Scout Finance Report for the year into council by June 30.
If you have any questions about wrapping up your year, your volunteer engagement coordinator would be more than happy to chat with you! Just call our main line and we’ll make sure you get to the right person: 800-845-0787.
Natasha Brownlee – Natasha is a Program Specialist at River Valleys, where she develops and leads awesome Girl Scout programming – and runs the In the Loop blog! Her background is in curriculum development, programming, and creative writing. She has BA’s in Peace Studies and French and a MSc in Gender, Development & Globalization and has worked with various girl-centered organizations in the US and abroad. Natasha loves traveling around the world, practicing yoga, and hanging out with her dog, Rooney!