As we move full-steam ahead into the Girl Scout year, have you had a chance to check-out the new Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) and see all it has to offer? Check out my last post if you if you still need a little help understanding this whole VTK business. If you’re a leader of a Girl Scout Cadette, Senior, or Ambassador troop and have logged in to explore this new resource, you may be thinking, “What’s in it for me?” Yes, there may be less content in VTK for your girls right now…but that doesn’t mean you have to scrap this digital tool altogether! Here are a few ways that the VTK can work for you:
1. Calendar & Meeting Planner
With my own troop, I’ve tried different methods to keep track of our meetings each year—spreadsheets, Google docs, handwritten schedules jotted down in a Hello Kitty notebook (don’t judge!). This year, I’m excited to use VTK to track meeting dates and what we’re working on. How can you do this? Super easy! When you log in to VTK (via MyGS), select the “Create Your Own Year Plan” from the year plan library. Then, select “Add Activity” at the top of the page to add the name, location, date, and important details of your meeting or event. You can add, delete, and edit activities too. Hello, new meeting planner!
2. Communicate with Families
If you add your activities and meetings in VTK, you can send meeting reminders directly from each listing. Select the meeting date you wish to view and click “Send Invitation/Reminder”—then customize your message and email list as needed. Another neat feature? Parents can log in and see upcoming meetings too—they will see the activity title, event location, date, time, and details. Encourage parents to log in to VTK through MyGS to see your troop schedule to stay up-to-date on all your exciting plans!
3. Check Out the New Outdoor Journey
There’s a new Outdoor Journey for older girls and it’s only available in VTK! Download the Outdoor Journey Year Plan Overview PDF from the year plan page—you’ll see the full list of activity plans for the three badges and Take Action project you need to complete to earn your Outdoor Journey. Stay tuned to VTK for more older girl program content in the summer of 2018—including new Engineering Journeys and Robotics badges! Remember, you can still utilize Girl Scouts River Valleys’ activity plans from our website. We’ll also be rolling out more Girl Scouts River Valleys’ activity plans for Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador badges and Journeys throughout the year on our website—watch out for those!
If you already have a favorite calendar system in place for your troop or have your meetings set for the year, that’s A-OK! Use the troop management tools that work best for you. The Volunteer Toolkit is an added resource for new and returning volunteers. There isn’t a right or wrong way to use it—so log in, take a look around, and see what you think!
Emily Schmall – Emily is the Senior Manager of Volunteer Services at Girl Scouts River Valleys. She was a Girl Scout growing up and now leads her daughter’s troop of spirited teenagers, 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.