Summer is over and its time to get back to school, but if you’re a Girl Scout leader, like I am your thinking more about your first Girl Scout meeting. If you’re a new leader you’re trying to figure out what to do first. After going to the GS training and they spill hours worth of content at you, they hand you the guides and GS material and tell you that you will do fine, but when you get home, start looking through the material, no matter what level of scouts you have everyone panics in some way, whether it is saying, “I have no idea what I’m doing” or “I am not cut out for this” possibly even, “what if I let the girls down” or something else similar. That’s where I hope this blog will help every one of you, whether you’re new to scouts or a seasoned Leader there is always new ideas to be found.
I am a leader just like all of you, my name is Jodi Carlson, I have been in Girl Scouts for 24 years, first as a Girl Scout for 12 years with my mom as my leader and then after graduation I came back and continued as a leader, with my mom and 10 others, we have a multi-level troop of 40 girls ranging in age from 6 years to 18 years, I have many stories, ideas, games, and songs that I have used over the years and want to now pay it forward to leaders everywhere.
So where do you start?
If you’re new or even a seasoned Leader like myself the first meeting can be the scariest, it is great to create a agenda of what you plan to do at your meetings.
It is a great idea to have an activity for the girls to participate in for early arrivals. Print coloring pages or a simple swap that everyone makes when they first get there. It is a time to spark leadership in the girls no matter what age. You teach the first girls how to do the activity and as girls arrive they teach the next girls that arrive.
As parents arrive I have each parent sign in their daughter and collect any dues, paperwork, if we did a service project, collect at the beginning. This year for Juliette Low’s birthday my troop will be collecting baby items and creating baskets to take to the hospital for the First born baby girl born on Juliette Low’s birthday on October 31st.
COMMANDS FOR CALLER:
Girl Scouts Attention
Color Guard Attention
Color Guard Advance
Color Guard Present Colors
Girl Scouts please join me in the Pledge of Allegiance
Girl Scouts please join me in the Girl Scout Promise
Color Guard Dismissed
Girl Scouts Dismissed
Once everyone arrives, start each meeting with a Flag Ceremony, there is many different variations to a Flag Ceremony, but for you’re first meeting, teach your girls a simple flag ceremony.
The flag bearer will carry the American flag. (If you have a Girl Scout flag or Brownie flag they walk a little behind the American flag) Color guards walk behind flag bearers. Caller is the one who calls the Girl Scouts to attention and commands the flag bearer and color guard.
Remember that the Flag bearer and color guards are to stand at attention the whole time. They do not say the Pledge of Allegiance, Promise, or put their hands on their hearts or use the Girl Scout sign.
Choose a badge, journey or main activity for your meetings, this is the main portion of the meeting, in future blogs I will share with you ideas, crafts, and activities I have done with my girls or plan to do this year with my troop.
During the first meeting it is a good time to remind your returning girls and introduce your new girls a number of Girl Scout Traditions; such as a Flag Ceremony, the Girl Scout Handshake, Quiet sign, Friendship circle, GS promise, and law. I feel like the key to any meeting is to teach girls new things, but do it while having fun. It is important to teach your girls the Girl Scout Promise and Law. An activity that I have done with all my girls, no matter what age level you have, the Girl Scout Law hand motion game.
Everyone stands in a circle.
I will do my best to be:
Honest and fair…palms out
Friendly and helpful…..like you are shaking hands
Considerate and caring……hug self
Courageous and strong……show your muscles
Responsible for what I say and do……Girl Scout Sign
Respect myself and others……thumb to self and then hand out, palm up,
as though presenting something
Use resources wisely……rub fingers back and forth like $$$$ while moving arms back and forth in front of you
Make the world a better place……sweep straight arms from sides to meet above the head making a world
And be a sister to every Girl Scout……arms around shoulders of girls in circle.
At every meeting, have some type of snack for the girls. There is no special time for snack, depends whatever works best for your meeting. In my troop we have each girl bring a box of cookies at beginning of year and we store in a tote and the beverages come out of troop fund.
Clean Up Time!
At the end of the meeting when its time to clean up, it’s a good idea to create a kaper chart. A kaper is a job or chore that must be done. On the chart it will indicates all the jobs available and who will be responsible for each one. There are a variety of different kinds you can make, this year I designed a Kaper Tree, with owls for each girls names, attached to tree with Velcro, so each meeting the girls can be rotated around to different tasks.
At the end of each meeting end with a Friendship Circle, and then sing “Make New Friends”