New leader orientations are training events hosted by service units and troop mentors to welcome and prepare new troop leaders for their Girl Scout year. The training typically lasts about two hours and covers several topics new leaders may want to know more about. This article for troop mentors explains the core concepts that they should cover in any new leader orientation.
Start off your meeting by introducing yourself and sharing your Girl Scout history with the group. You can also let the new leaders know which service unit volunteers to contact for specific types of help. Then, you can use the Quick Questions handout as a prompt for new leaders to get know one another.
You can also hand out our orientation agenda so new leaders know what to expect from the training.
Explain the Role of the Troop Leader
Make sure all leaders understand their role and responsibilities. You can point leaders to their year-at-a-glance and encourage leaders to take our optional online troop orientation, which briefly outlines our mission, promise, law, role responsibilities, grade-specific information, and more!
During the meeting, consider covering all the topics on the Knowing Your Responsibilities handout. However, make sure leaders know where to find and how to use the complete versions of the Volunteer Essentials and Safety-Wise.
Teach New Leaders How to Work with Families and Girls
Shortly after your new leader orientation, troop leaders will be holding their own orientation for their troop’s families—the first family meeting. Explain to leaders that most conflict within a troop stems from miscommunication and unclear expectations. Encourage leaders to set expectations with girls and families by utilizing the Girl Code of Conduct form and the Parent/Guardian Agreement form.
Show Leaders How to Plan Their Year
Point leaders to the Troops section of this website—it has role descriptions, planning guides for each program level, and explains important resources for planning a troop’s year.
Explain Troop Finances
Managing troop finances is one responsibility that tends to intimidate new troop leaders. Put their mind to ease by pointing to our articles on Earning and Managing Troop Money and Opening a Troop Bank Account. Let them know that your service unit’s treasurer is there to help them manage finances. Some troops even appoint one of their troop volunteers as a troop treasurer.
Our Money and Program Level Matching Game helps leaders understand which troop finance responsibilities girls should be leading at each program level.
Summary of Resources
- Orientation Speaking Guide and Slideshow – Present this slideshow at your training and use the accompanying speaking guide for each slide.
- Quick Questions – Hand out this prompt so leaders to get know one another.
- Orientation Agenda – Hand out this agenda to leaders.
- Money and Program Level Matching Game – Helps leaders understand which troop finance responsibilities girls should be leading at each program level.
- Online Troop Orientation – Encourage leaders to take this online orientation to better understand Girl Scouts and their role.
- Troops Section – This section of the website outlines troop roles, planning guides, and important resources.
- Knowing Your Responsibilities – Use this handout to cover the basics of Volunteer Essentials and Safety-Wise.
- Family Meeting One: Kick-Off the Year – This article outlines an agenda for leaders to host their first family meeting.
- Girl Code of Conduct – Leaders can use this to set expectations with girls.
- Parent/Guardian Agreement – Leaders can use this to set expectations with families.
- Earning and Managing Troop Money – This article outlines everything troop need to know about troop finances.
- Opening a Troop Bank Account – This article outlines the process for troops to set up their troop bank account.