Are you in the market for a co-leader? Maybe you’re just getting your troop started, or your existing troop has had some membership changes-either way, we’re here to help!
Having a troop co-leader is important for a few reasons. You’ll always need at least two unrelated adults at each troop meeting, so having a second adult helping you lead the meeting will help you meet safety ratios. Second, being a troop leader can be a lot of work! Having a co-leader on your team helps you divide and conquer. Plus, co-leaders also bring different skills and expertise to the table. These differences will help you decide who should do what. Perhaps one leader can take charge of leading field trips while another leader could handle logistics and communication for troop meetings! Planning troop meetings, communicating with families, and being amazing mentors for your troop get easier when you get a co-leader on board!
Where can you find a co-leader? There are a few ways! If Girl Scouts have joined your troop, you can hold a family meeting and ask for family volunteers. Be clear in your expectations of what a co-leader will be doing in your troop. Being transparent and specific helps you find the right fit! However, your co-leader doesn’t have to be a parent or guardian of one of the Girl Scouts in your troop. You can ask a friend, neighbor, or family member to be your co-leader if you think they would make a great leader for your troop! Troop leaders (and other troop volunteers) do not have to identify as female to help out with troop activities. You can also post on social media using sample posts created by GSRV! Best of all, when your co-leader signs up to lead a new troop, their membership is free and so is a membership for one new Girl Scout.
Once you’ve found a co-leader, it’s time to figure out how you work together, manage conflict, and foster a healthy relationship. Whether you’ve known your co-leader for years, or you two just met to get your troop off the ground, working with someone in a new capacity, like troop leading, can shift the dynamics of even the steadiest relationship. First, you may want to take some time to get to know each other! What are their hobbies? Do they have experience with Girl Scouts? Do they have pets? Next, you’ll want to cover some important topics that will help you build a great working relationship. We recommend discussing things like communication styles, division of labor, and what you want your troop’s experience to look like. You can use our co-leader conversation guide as a starting point!
You should revisit these topics often as your troop, personal lives, and availabilities change. Communication is key! Scheduling regular check-ins can help you remember to check in about how things are going. Use this opportunity not just to hash out troop meeting details, but also to find out how you’re both doing. Share recent challenges, questions, and anything else that’s happening in your life that might have an impact on your role as co-leader. Having these regular check-ins builds in set times throughout the year for you and your co-leader to take a breather to listen and offer support and guidance to each other. This also prevents issues from being pushed to the back burner and potentially snowballing into bigger problems. During these check-ins, don’t forget to celebrate your wins!
The relationship between co-leaders is not only important to the experience of the troop, but also to your experience as a volunteer! Your relationship is an investment—as co-leaders, you’ll build from one another’s strengths, share in the fun, and learn from each other’s perspectives, so take some time to put these tips into place because they’ll pay off in the long run!
Sydney Tuttle – Sydney is a Leader Engagement Coordinator at Girl Scout River Valleys, focusing on training and supporting troop leaders. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Minnesota— Twin Cities. In her free time, Sydney enjoys reading, baking, and spending time with her friends. She can talk your ear off about her two cats, Korra and Mabel!