100 things your Girl Scout leader wants you to know

Being a Girl Scout leader is hard. Here are a few things that troop leaders want parents, grandparents, and guardians to know. You knowing these can make our lives as troop leaders so much easier.

It’s a month into another Girl Scout year, and this may be the hardest time of the year for troop leaders. This is when we get the band back together (so to speak) and remind parents time and again about this and that. This year, I thought I’d let everyone know a hundred things your Girl Scout troop leader really wants you to know.

you've got this

On volunteering

  1. RSVP. Just let us know if you are coming or not. No explanation needed.
  2. We can’t do this alone. Volunteer to help when the request goes out.
  3. Each troop should have a leader, co-leader, treasurer, and product manager.
  4. Make sure you are using the communication tools set up for your troop. Facebook, Shutterfly, Band, etc.
  5. Girl Scout leaders need to take a lot of classes. They are usually about 3 hours each.
  6. Go camping when the opportunity comes up.
  7. If you RSVP and something comes up that prevents your girl (or you) from attending, reimburse the troop funds.
  8. Want to help? Let us know. We have many things you can do.
  9. Dads are welcome too. We love it when dads are involved as well.
  10. Your daughter wants you there. She lights up when you are in the room. (Well, usually.)
  11. Read and respond to emails.
  12. We operate as a troop, not individuals, please remember this.
  13. If you volunteer for something, please show up and stay for the duration.
  14. We need you to sign up to sell cookies at booths.
  15. At the end of a meeting, help us clean up. The more hands, the better.
  16. We plan a lot of events and meetings in advance to give plenty of notice, so you can attend if you can.
  17. Volunteer to take the place of the Leader for required trainings.
  18. If we are trying to raise money for an event, please help out. Everyone needs to be involved.
  19. If you come to a meeting, be prepared to get your hands dirty.
  20. We do our best.
  21. Come to the required parent meetings. They usually only happen twice a year.

From your leader

  1. We treat all girls the same. Actually, we are sometimes harder on our own daughters.
  2. We are dealing with a lot of girls each year… And a lot of personailties.
  3. We like to be on time to events, so please make sure your daughter does too.
  4. If we ask for help, we really need help.
  5. Troop leaders spend an average of $100 of their own funds each year.
  6. Some troop leaders spend a lot more.
  7. Troop leaders spend an average of 40 hours per month planning.
  8. Some spend even more.
  9. Girls should be in uniforms for events. This shouldn’t be an issue.
  10. It’s a lot of fun watching your girls grow up.
  11. When they are in the element, your girls are having a lot of fun.
  12. We question everything we do. You don’t need to.
  13. Put the patches on their vest or sash. Don’t lose them, they are not cheap.
  14. Leave electronics at home. Girls do not need them at meetings and events. We all survived sans phones.
  15. The funds are troop funds, not troop leader funds.
  16. We want to do all the things with the girls. But all the things cost money and take time.
  17. When the girls are together, they are kind and inclusive.
  18. These girls will be lifelong friends
  19. Girl Scouts usually go on to do amazing things.
  20. Ask your leader if there’s anything you can do.
  21. Camping does not have to be in a tent. We’re ok with cabins.
  22. We teach your girls the songs, pledge, promise… by year two they should know all of them.
  23. Bring a healthy snack. We consider basically anything healthy, except cupcakes.
  24. Pick up on time. We usually want to leave quickly after events and meetings.
  25. Let us know if you’re going to be late. Even five minutes.
  26. We will be as involved as your girls want us to be. If they want to skydive, we’ll skydive.
  27. The older the girls get, the busier they are. Meeting dates and time usually don’t change for this reason.
  28. Selling cookies door to door builds character.
  29. We really hope Girl Scouts will inspire your girls to make the world a better place.
  30. All we want is for you to respond, that’s it.
  31. Come to the end of the year celebration.

What Scouts want adults to know

  1. Girls know which girls put in the work.
  2. They want to attend the weekend events, they are fun.
  3. When we are on outings, your girls are laughing and having a great time.
  4. Let your girls participate. Figure out how to make it happen.
  5. Be happy to be there. Show her you’re excited too.
  6. Try something new. This can be hard for all of us. Give encouragement to do it.
  7. Ask about meetings. What did they do, what’s coming up?
  8. Your girls want to go to events and meetings.
  9. If you see something the girls would like to do, tell us!
  10. Cookie season is fun, they wished you were more involved with cookie sales.
  11. They can earn patches without the rest of their troop present.
  12. If your daughter is getting a special award, make sure you are there for it.
  13. Let your girls do things on their own. Give them space to grow but be present.

What we wish we could say to you

  1. We are just as busy as you are.
  2. Pay your dues when asked. Asking for money is the worst part of the gig.
  3. Sign up for Product Sales, it’s part of Girl Scouts.
  4. If you think we like Product Sales, you’re wrong. We don’t like it either.
  5. Don’t talk badly about your leader in front of your child. What you say will get back to the leader.
  6. Being a troop leader can be very lonely.
  7. We wish the girls were more involved.
  8. Cookie season is hard. Really hard both physically and mentally.
  9. We want to quit. Several times a year. But it’s not about us.
  10. Troop leaders are rule followers. We don’t want to be sued.
  11. The Bronze, Silver, Gold awards are a huge honor. Thank your leader for making these happen.
  12. We are always worried about your child. When we have them, you don’t need to.
  13. Respect your leaders’ time.
  14. We are not the bad guys. If they don’t get patches, it’s not our fault.
  15. Typically, my car does not hold all the girls from the troop. We need drivers if we want to go do things.
  16. We are human and make mistakes. A lot of mistakes.
  17. Leaders get burned out quickly.
  18. When your girl is running for President, remind them to thank their leader.
  19. Leaders often love coffee, wine, chocolate… We’re not picky.
  20. Leaders don’t do this for recognition. They do it because they love their girls.
  21. Yes, we know Boy Scouts now accept girls. We still think Girl Scouts as a troop and as an organization is better for girls.
  22. We need a Pinewood Derby of our own.
  23. If you sign up to bring snacks, bring the snacks. Hungry kids are not fun.
  24. If you’re angry with us, let us know. We usually find out the hard way.
  25. If your child is going to miss something, let us know.
  26. We do this for the girls. No other reason.
  27. Girl Scouts is not for everyone.
  28. They must complete their requirements to get the awards.
  29. If you’re happy with your troop leader, let them know.
  30. We are volunteers.
  31. We love your girls. But if they are disrespectful, you will hear about it.
  32. This is a hard job. It’s not for everyone, not even us at times.
  33. Not every meeting is going to be fun.
  34. We only send out as many messages as needed. Sometimes this means you haven’t yet responded.
  35. These girls are amazing. They deserve all the time and energy we can give them.

I’ve always said that I love being a troop leader, and I mean it. I have a great time with these girls and love seeing them grow into the young women they are becoming. But every once in a while, we need reminders of how it could be better and why we do it. The good far out weights the bad. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do it.

16 comments

  1. Selena Price

    You have no idea how much I needed to see this today. You just tapped into my soul. I am on the verge of quitting and I am NOT A QUITTER. Thank you! I’m proud to be a in your tribe.

    1. Cam Bowman bigcrazylife.com

      Don’t quit. We can’t quit. I always go back to if I don’t do it, who will. And the girls love it so much. Thank you for being an awesome leader!

  2. Nicole

    All of this is 100% true!!! Well said! All 100 items!

    1. Cam Bowman bigcrazylife.com

      Thank you Nicole. I wish it wasn’t. You of all people get a Gold Star for sticking to it. You’ve had a really hard time. But I know your daughter is thrilled to be part of this and I know she’s a Gold Award girl for sure.

  3. Dianne E Seriva

    I can relate to just about everything on this list! More often than not, it’s the parents that are the cause of any frustration. I’m going to post this on my troop’s page. Now if only the offending parents would read it.

  4. Sabrina

    Our troop has the best leader. She really cares about her girls. Courtney LaFuentes is AWESOME BEST TROOP EVER.

  5. Elizabeth Courtney

    Where was this during the many years I was a Troop Leader? I stand behind the whole list!

  6. Karen Wharry

    Forty years ago I helped to start a brownie troop for my daughter and her friends. A few of the parents understood: I was a busy mom, a full time RN, and a wife! I made it work with the help of my family: don’t go it alone! It took a lot of time, planning and energy to keep the girls interested and coming back. But they came back for eleven years and eight of them got their Gold Award! Today we are planning a reunion! I still love these girls! Being part of the journey to adulthood with strong, caring, professional women is priceless! They are, everyone of them, successful young women who know how to succeed and make good decisions. I am so proud of “my” Girls and their accomplishment. Now, in my later years I call them my Best Friends! They were worth it!

    1. Cam Bowman bigcrazylife.com

      This is the hope I have for my girls. I love hearing where you are now, how lucky there are to have you!

  7. Amy Herrinton

    Love my Daughter’s troop leader as well! Sara Rhiley is an awesome troop leader!

  8. JoAnn Kulis-Kearns Valeriano

    I didn’t want to read 100 items. But you are so right. I’m already in my later years and VOLUNTEERING in Girl Scouts with my granddaughter. We started as Daisy, this year she’s bridging to Juniors. Another mom wanted to be a leader so she went up. Her daughter and my granddaughter are BFF’s. I believe in my heart the original 5 will be their entire lives. I stayed a DAISY the last 4 years. I WANT TO ADVANCE!!! My youngest granddaughter will start next year, I’m so EXCITED. THANKS for putting all the good, bad and ugly into words. It’s so true we get hooked into this position and it’s not about us, it’s for the cute little cherubs that will become a loving, smart, great decision maker, friend to many, changing our world and definitely making it a BETTER PLACE WITH THEIR SISTERS. your words made my day

    1. Cam Bowman bigcrazylife.com

      Thank you so much JoAnn. And trust me, I didn’t really want to write 100 things. But sometimes if we share these, the list might get shorter!

  9. Sandra Dent

    And the #1 thing is …

    We are VOLUNTEERS, we DO NOT GET PAID TO DO THIS.

    So many people, including parents really believe that we are paid employees, like school teachers. Nope, I pay (national dues, costs to attend trainings) for the privilege to lead a troop.

Comments are now closed.