From our favorite Girl Scout song, Make New Friends, to the final line of the Girl Scout law, sisterhood and being welcoming are important tenets of Girl Scouting. Although we might only focus on new troop members at the beginning of the year, we can (and should!) welcome new Girl Scouts into our troops at any time. Let’s bust some myths about welcoming new Girl Scouts into your troop!
Myth 1: It will harm group dynamics.
We are all different and have unique personalities, so you might be worried that adding another personality to your troop would harm group dynamics. Group dynamics and relationships shift continuously as your Girl Scouts grow, gain new interests, and learn new things. Adding a new troop member may change group dynamics— that’s because they’ll bring their own big dreams and ideas! Not only is this a chance for your troop to make a new friend, but it’s also a chance for them to learn important interpersonal skills. With a new troop member, your Girl Scouts will learn more about teamwork, leadership styles, and problem-solving. Learning how to make someone new feel welcome and included is an important, lifelong skill that is sure to benefit them in the long run.
Myth 2: The new Girl Scouts will have to catch up.
When your troop has been hard at work learning and earning badges, you might be wondering how a new Girl Scout will ever be able to catch up. The great thing about Girl Scouts is that no one is required to earn a certain number of badges or complete them in any specific order. Girl Scouts is all about having fun and connecting, so we don’t want new troop members to feel like they have missed homework they need to catch up on. Focus on the new badges you can all earn as a troop. If there’s a badge your troop earned previously that a new Girl Scout is interested in earning, this is a great time for your troop to flex their leadership skills and teach the new Girl Scout what they learned when they earned that badge.
Myth 3: It’s too difficult to find new Girl Scouts to join.
Making sure your troop catalog listing is up to date is the easiest first step in finding new Girl Scouts because they can find your troop themselves! If you’d like to do more outreach and recruitment, we have resources available, like sample flyers and social media posts. In addition to those resources, your Girl Scouts can actually be your best resource. They can connect with potential new members (like a classmate or neighbor) and share why they love Girl Scouts. Word of mouth is especially powerful among pre-teens and teenagers. Girl Scouts can even earn a new patch when they bring a friend to a troop meeting. There’s no better way to share the joy of Girl Scouts than to have them join the fun of a troop meeting!
Myth 4: I won’t have enough adults to help run the troop.
As you welcome new members into your troop, you might find yourself in need of more troop volunteers. When new Girl Scouts join, make sure to take some time to get to know their parents and to share Girl Scout safety policies with them. Helping them understand that a certain number of adults are required for every meeting or activity is an important first step to a smooth transition into the troop. Set the expectation early that every family needs to pitch in so the troop can accomplish their goals! If there is hesitancy from parents, let them know that helping the troop can look different for everyone. One parent might be able to help chaperone every single meeting, while another parent may only have the free time to be the troop treasurer. A troop volunteer doesn’t always have to be a parent- older siblings, grandparents, or family friends can all volunteer if they are over the age of 18.
We want every interested child to have the opportunity to experience being part of a Girl Scout troop. Welcoming new members to your troop has many benefits, like more adults ready to help and new friends to connect with. We hope you’re feeling inspired and ready to welcome new Girl Scouts to your troop!
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!