Never in my wildest dreams (or nightmares) did I think our world would change this much in an instant. Well, not like this. Many of us lived through the aftermath of 9/11, but that was so different than what we’re living through right now. During this time of uncertainty, families are at a loss. Many are struggling with job losses, tossed into being a home school parent, and this whole new level of stress and burden is unimaginable.
Many parents forget that activities such as scouting, sports, or after-school clubs are what some of our kids look forward to most. As these things have been stripped away, it’s important that we find ways to help families during this time. A lot of girls in our Girl Scout community are suffering. Here are five ways we can help a Girl Scout family.
How to help a Girl Scout
Adopt a Troop
There are Girl Scout troops that will not be able to pay their annual membership fee this year, let alone have extra money to participate in activities. There’s only so much financial aid available, and even basic fees are going to be really hard to meet for some of these troops. I also find that many troop members are too embarrassed to apply for aid, or don’t know about it. Many troops were unable to complete, or even start, cookie season. This is where most of these girls raise the funds they need to pay dues and participate in so many amazing activities. These troops really need our assistance.
Adopt a Girl Scout
If adopting an entire troop seems like a task too big at the moment, think about adopting one Girl Scout at a time. And this doesn’t have to be a financial obligation. Is there a girl who needs help with her Bronze, Silver or Gold Award project? Adopting a Girl Scout can be done in many different ways. These girls trying to earn their higher level awards might just be able to use your assistance on the ground. Reach out to your local council and find out which girls are working on these awards, and see how you can help.
Host a virtual meeting
Now that we’re all scrambling to figure out how to make Girl Scouts work in an online world, maybe you, or someone you know, can offer to host a virtual meeting. Many of us have skills that we can turn into a lesson which could apply to many of the Girl Scout badge requirements. Reach out to your troop leader and ask what they are working on, or offer suggestions. This is a great time to ask neighbors and community members who might have extra time right now. Many of you have been unable to attend meetings. This is a great time to offer your time, now that many of us are working from home.
Be supportive of your girls
I don’t know about you, but we are on ZOOM overload. As the troop leader, I am OVER being online. When “class” is finished, so am I. However, I’m still working virtually and being online all day is daunting. I understand that we’re now in situations where we can easily forget about Girl Scouts, and not show up to troop meetings. I have seen girls really come together during these times. And I have also seen the opposite. This pandemic will not last forever. I know it feels like it will. But there will come a day when we’ll meet in person again. Until then, be supportive of the efforts of both the leaders and the girls. Make sure you’re set up and ready to go.
Be supportive of your leader
Ooph. Here it is. Your troop leader is barely hanging on. Or has given up. And I certainly don’t blame them. If this is you, hang in there. These girls really need you! If you’re on Facebook, there are so many supportive groups for virtual learning, chatting, and you might even find a new troop co-leader. Now that we’re virtual, anything is possible. But what I really want to communicate here is simple. Show up. Just, show up. If you don’t want to, I completely understand. I don’t want to either, but I do it. Just as we asked pre-pandemic, please go one extra step and reply to emails, show up to meetings, and give us the respect we deserve. We take time out of our schedules, which, like yours, have certainly changed. So please be respectful and make the effort.
What you don’t know about your troop leader
This is not part of the list, and a whole separate topic. But I want you to know something. Just like your girls are disappointed in trips and activities being canceled, that cookie season is a bust, and all their hard work to go to summer camp feels like it’s wasted… Your troop leaders are just as sad. I think I am actually more sad than most of my girls. I’ve been with some of these girls for years. And I knew this might be our last year together. This was not the ending we had in mind. So please, be gentile. We’re struggling too.