After losing three co-leaders and getting numerous last-minute cancellations from parent volunteers, an exhausted troop leader posted for help on our Facebook page. “Exhausted Leader” has done Fall Product Sales, cookie booths and the holiday parade by herself as well as planned every troop meeting for 16 Brownies without any help. She says, “I am sad. I am exhausted! And I am also tired of BEGGING for parental help! Advice?”
Our Facebook scout leaders had plenty of great advice for getting help from parents.
Jessica writes: Getting parent help for your GS troop can be difficult. I would let your parents know that if you can’t get one of them to be an active co leader that you would not have a troop next year. Often parents do not realize the amount of work leaders do on their own time and do not get paid for it. We take time away from our families and ourselves to do this for these girls.
Holly posted her ideas for getting help from parents: I think that you need to scale back your troop activities. Skip fall product sales, and ask for a $10-$20 donation from all the parents to start your troop funds. If parents start asking why events have been scaled back, let them know that you need support. A GS troop your size should have more than 1 leader and 1 co-leader because you are not meeting the safety-wise adult to child ratio. Tell your parents that in order to have a troop, you MUST have registered co-leaders. Troops runs on volunteer time, and it isn’t baby sitting. The parents who want the best scout experience for their daughters will step up, and the others will probably not be in scouts next year.
Danielle’s advice to other GS leaders: To get more help from your parents, have a mandatory parent meeting explaining expectations. If parents don’t want to commit, suggest that their daughters become Juliettes. Or, skip the things that take the most time. In other words, if you don’t have a Fall product sales chair, then you don’t do Fall product sales. Parents can pay out of pocket for things. You can’t do it all – dont make yourself crazy trying to do it all for your troop.
Holly’s suggestions: If you don’t get parent help for a GS event, cancel it even if it is last minute. Even if it costs the troop money, cancel without guilt. Ask a parent to step up to run Fall product sales. If no one does, don’t do it. Same with cookie sales. If you don’t get a volunteer to run the sale, don’t do it. As for funding the troop… Dues!! Charge dues. We request $75 at the beginning of the year for the year. It can be paid in full or in 2-3 payments. But there is no discount if your daughter doesn’t come to some of the meetings.. Supplies needed to be bought if the girl shows or doesn’t. Trips and events can be paid for by the parents. Those that don’t pay, don’t participate.
Sandra’s ideas for getting parents involved: After you make out your events for each meeting assign two of the parents to be in charge that night. This way you have plenty of help, no one gets burnt out and you guys can grow as a troop and things will be fun again for you. I too am a second year Brownie Leader. Good luck but don’t give up the girls don’t expect perfection.
Cara wants to know: What does your Council contact suggest? Do they have someone they can send to help? We’ve had that happen for a troop or two in our service unit, and it helped them get on track.
Colleen’s ideas for getting help with her troop: Maybe one co-leader isn’t what you need. You may need a team. One mom who only organizes product sales, a dad who can be in charge of attendance, dues, and snacks, a grandma who helps with crafts and a local college sorority who comes up with activities around the journey and runs them. Scaling back isn’t necessary if you think big picture and secure the help you need. When you are doing cookies, have the local bank run three meetings about budgets, money etc.
Deanna’s input: Ask each parent sign up to co-lead a troop meeting (maybe it is easier for them to choose one meeting than all meetings!) Let them know if they cancel, the meeting is OFF! That might help.
Eileen gets the girls involved: I’ve found that my girls really enjoy their parent’s involvement. At the beginning of the year, we decide on something special for our parent volunteers. This year we made Green Angel pins. After an event or meeting, we make a big deal about the child presenting a pin to her Mom (or Dad!). Other years, we have made cards, given patches or performed a cheer. My girls know exactly what their parents have volunteered to do and look forward to making the presentation. Most parents will follow though so they don’t disappoint their daughters.