Did your Daisy troop register earlier in the year, but you haven’t had time to meet yet? Do you have a brand-new Daisy troop that just signed up and is ready to dive in? Or, let’s be honest, are you a little nervous about how to begin and where your troop should start? That’s okay! At Girl Scouts River Valleys, we are here to help with lots of resources, ideas, and tips from the field.
There is no wrong time to start your Girl Scout troop. The second half of the school year can feel like it’s the downhill part of a roller coaster—you’re on a roll and before you know it, it’s summer! But wait! There are still plenty of days to work in Girl Scouting, even if you only manage to squeeze in a few meetings before everyone breaks for summer fun. After all, March is quite timely for your first meeting. The first Girl Scout meeting ever was held in Savannah, Georgia, in March 1912. Starting your new Daisy troop now is the perfect time to connect with the Girl Scout Birthday!
Hold a family meeting
We encourage everyone to begin by holding a family meeting. This meeting gives you the opportunity to meet parents, assign roles, set expectations, and get everyone on the same page. Let families know that the success of the Girl Scout troop depends on everyone—not just the troop leader. Engaging parent volunteers from the very beginning is important for sharing the work and fun! Remind them that time spent with the Girl Scout troop is time invested in their girl’s growth and development.
Choose your leader training
There are so many ways to learn all that you need to know about leading your troop! We have a step-by-step online training, tutorials, and articles to help you as you get started, and a New Leader Guide that tells you everything you need to know about leading a troop. We are here to support you! Choose the training that is right for you, and dive in. Check with your service unit too—many offer in-person new leader orientations and additional troop training with their troop mentors.
Let activity plans and Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) do the work
Okay, so you’ve contacted all the parents and had a family meeting, you’ve found a time and place to hold your first troop meeting, and you’ve had some training. Now what?! Worried about what to do with the girls as they take their first Girl Scout steps together as a troop? Check out our Daisy Planning Guide! We have activity plans for each Daisy petal and Journey that are packed with fun ideas in a lesson plan format (complete with time built in for snacks!).
VTK is a digital resource that helps you customize your year by planning which petals and badges you’ll work on, also with complete meeting plans. You can do any of these plans as-is, or you can pick and choose which elements work for your troop. Either way, don’t stress about reinventing the wheel for each meeting—between the Planning Guide and VTK, we’ve got you covered!
Build sisterhood from the start
Teach girls the Girl Scout Promise and Law, and learn to sing a few songs together (Make New Friends is a perennial Girl Scout favorite!). Establish a regular pattern of connecting as a troop at the beginning and end of each meeting, so the girls start to build that Girl Scout sisterhood from the start.
My Girl Scout troop has been singing Make New Friends at the end of every meeting since they were Kindergarten Daisies. Their uniforms have changed over the years, the girls have grown (so tall now!), and much has changed in their lives, but they continue to bond with one other now, just as they used to when they were Daisies.
Girl Scouts is all about building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. But girls can’t do it without you! Girl Scout troop leading is all about dedicated parents and adults who have stepped up to support the girls on their Girl Scout path. So, get your New Leader Guide out, keep us in your back pocket, and go out there to change the world, one Girl Scout meeting at a time. And don’t forget to tell us about your adventures!
Catherine Mandle – Catherine is a Volunteer Resource Specialist at Girl Scouts River Valleys. She was a Girl Scout as a child, has been a Girl Scout troop leader, and now mentors her daughter on her Girl Scout Juliette path. She has dual bachelor’s degrees from the University of Minnesota in anthropology and American Indian studies. Catherine has two children with special needs, including autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, and food allergies. She loves to knit, and camps and hikes with her family as often as possible.