Just like how there are a million ways to be a Girl Scout, there’s also so many ways to lead a troop—and no one “right” way to do it. Every troop leader does this leading thing differently and brings their own twist to it—that’s one of the joys of being a troop leader. We know there are some expectations out there that can make being a Girl Scout troop leader seem way more intimidating than it actually is. That’s why we’re covering four major myths about troop leading and the truths to keep in mind if you’re feeling a little in-over-your-head:
Myth #1: You need to be perfect.
Truth: You’re only human! And, that means that sometimes you’ll make mistakes. We always teach girls that it’s okay to make mistakes—and the same thing goes for our leaders. Nobody’s perfect. In fact, your little mishap could even lead to an awesome new discovery or way of doing things – just like some of the best inventions throughout history!
Myth #2: You need to know everything.
Truth: You might not have all the answers right away, and it’s okay to let girls and parents know that. That’s also why we have resources to help you feel more prepared, like online trainings for new and returning leaders, the New Leader Guide for the basics, and Volunteer Essentials for those pesky details you couldn’t possibly memorize. Another great resource is your service unit (AKA your local cohort of fellow volunteers). Attending a local leader meeting is a great way to network and chat with other leaders and learn some tricks of the trade. All the feelings you’re experiencing right now (good and bad!)? They’ve probably had them too.
Myth #3: You have to do everything by yourself.
Truth: Girl Scouts know that the best things happen when you work with others. If you haven’t already, ask your troop families for assistance. It’s never too late to reach out to other parents in your troop and outline what you need help with (Can mom or dad bring a snack to the meeting? Maybe grandma can pick up supplies for the badge the troop is working on). Family involvement is key to ensuring you and your co-leader don’t get burned out. Check out our blog post on what to cover in your family meeting, if you haven’t done this already. Not sure how to do the “asking” part? We even created a video just for this.
Myth #4: You have to do every badge and activity exactly as it’s written.
Truth: You know your troop best—use your judgment to tweak activity plans to suit your troop. As long as you and your troop are having fun, you’re doing things right! If you don’t know where to start, our Planning Guides are a great resource. They’re organized by program year and also include tips on how to adapt the plans to fit your troop’s needs and preferences.
Still have questions? Feel free to call us at 1-800-845-0787 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lily Yu – Lily is a Troop Support Specialist at River Valleys. She earned her BA in comparative literature and Japanese from Hamilton College and has a background in publishing and advertising. In her free time, Lily enjoys going for long runs, reading, and spending time with her family (including her four-year-old daughter who can’t wait to be a Daisy!).