Girl-led and Girl Scouting go together like peanut butter and jelly. But what does girl-led look like in practice? I recently wrote about making meetings girl-led in this post about keeping older girls engaged in Girl Scouting. But, the concept of girl-led isn’t just for tweens and teens–Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors can take the lead at meetings too! Read on for four easy ways to make your next meeting girl-led.
Choosing Journeys or Badges
There are so many different badges and awards to choose from and most troops won’t complete them all… so, how do you pick which ones to do? Let girls take the lead by having them select which badges or awards they want to work on each year. Ask them to look through the Girls Guide to Girl Scouting to explore the various badges. Read aloud a description of each Journey book. You can also find a listing of badges and awards by grade level on our troop leader page. Make a list of the ones that most interest the troop and plan from there. Check out this “Build a House” brainstorming tool to help narrow down your choices.
Assigning Jobs and Kaper Charts
Assigning roles and kapers are a great way to teach girls to take the lead. Leaders of younger troops can select a “meeting assistant” to help demonstrate activities or help give instructions. You can also ask girls to lead various meeting tasks such as leading the Promise and Law, organizing a friendship circle, and passing out snacks or supplies. Any task you need to complete at a meeting, step back and ask yourself, “is this something the girls can do?” A quick Google or Pinterest search brings up a lot of creative kaper chart ideas like this one with popsicle sticks, or these simple kaper badges.
Researching and Planning
When planning for an upcoming meeting, field trip, or overnight–get the girls involved! Gather input for the order of the next meeting–“Should we have snack before or after our badge activity?” Have them help create the packing list. Ask them to research possible field trip ideas and bring them to the next meeting. Get them interested in troop finances by helping with the budget. Older girls can do more in-depth budget planning, while younger girls can help with simple math–what better way to practice skip counting than figuring out how much an event will cost for your troop. “We have ten girls in the troop and the event costs five dollars per person–let’s practice counting by 5’s to see how much it will cost!”
Leading the Meeting
One of the biggest ways you can encourage girls to take the lead is by letting them organize and run the entire meeting! Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors may especially find this enjoyable, but even Brownies and Juniors can plan and lead a meeting with the help of their family. Ask each family to pick a badge and find the corresponding activity plan online, and work with their girl to lead the meeting. This is also a great way to boost family involvement!
If you are a type-A person like me, sometimes it may be hard to hand over the reins to your girls. But by letting go, you are teaching your girls important leadership skills and giving them the full Girl Scout experience. Plus, they think it’s a lot of fun to be in charge 😉 . So, go ahead and let go–and let your girls take the lead!
I’d love to hear from you! How have you made your meetings girl-led? Leave a comment below!
Emily Schmall – Emily is the Volunteer Services Manager at Girl Scouts River Valleys. She was a Girl Scout growing up and now leads her daughter’s troop of spirited Cadettes, where they share many adventures. Her background is in programming, education, and curriculum development. She has a BA in visual art and attended the M.Ed. initial licensure program in art education, both through the University of Minnesota. She lives in the Twin Cities with her family, where they are busy training their rescue puppy and teaching their old cat new tricks. In her (non-Girl Scout related) free time, Emily enjoys photography, playing the ukulele, and attending the Minnesota State Fair.