Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Getting Along With Your Co-Leader

Becoming a Daisy leader is a lot more fun when you sign up with a friend or two to help you along the way. You all have the same goal in mind-giving your daughters the best Girl Scout experience you can.

However, as time passes, your relationship can suffer.  Leadership relationship issues is one of the biggest topics in the Girl Scout forums that I frequent.  While some of the issues cannot be avoided, there are those that can be.

First of all, I strongly urge you to get more than one co-leader.  Do you know the expression “many hands make light work”?

As the leader, you are responsible for the day to day operations of each meeting, but you also need to delegate the things that need to get done. Communication is key, and how you begin your first few meetings will cement how everything goes in the future.  If you want to be in charge of everything, your co-leader will either let you or be resentful because she wants to lead, too.

tips for getting along with your Girl Scout co-leader
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Over time, as life your life gets busier (and the older your children get, the busier you will become), if you ask her for help, she may balk.  After all, she has not had to help before and now you are asking?  Or she likes her role of “just showing up” for meetings.  She has other things to do and cannot help you out.

By figuring out who plays what role in your leadership duties, you can potentially avoid conflict in the future.

After signing up, you need to figure out:

Who goes to leader meetings?  Will you go together or take turns every other month?

How you are going to run each meeting-taking turns or one person being the planner and the other person supporting her?

Who is in charge of coordinating field trips? (finding them, sending out and collecting permission slips and getting field trip approval)

Will you be selling cookies (I am not a fan of selling cookies during your first year-it is complicated enough figuring out the basics!)

How will you handle discipline problems?

How to get a back up person if one of you cannot attend a meeting (a great reason for additional adults to sign up and help). 

How will you handle snack time or if you will have one?

Who will be the treasurer?

Who will be the certified first aider?

Once these decisions have been made, I strongly urge you to send an email with the details you both agreed upon so you both have a time stamped, dated copy.

Why send an email?

Because I have learned that memory is fleeting.  What she agreed to do in year one may not be remembered in year three.  Having proof of your agreement insures that no is "mis-remembering" the goals you both put together.

There is a lot of business to take care of in addition to each meeting.  If one person has to carry the entire load, eventually, her back will break and there will be tension and animosity towards the leader who does nothing.

Of course, this needs to be an open and continuing dialog.  When you first become a Daisy Girl Scout leader, your life is one way.  Perhaps you are home with the kids or maybe you work part-time hours.  You have help from parents with your other children and your spouse is on board with this new volunteer venture.

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But as life progresses, it changes.  Your hours at work increase or maybe you have an aging parent who requires more of you time.  Maybe your spouse has lost his job and you need to return to full time work or at least increase your part time hours.  An older child’s schedule of activities increases and it cuts into the time with your younger child.

That is why before you begin the new scouting year, you need to assess where you are in life, meet with your co-leader, and discuss any necessary changes.  Maybe you need more help, maybe she does.  Does your meeting time need to change?  Do you need to recruit another co-leader or at least additional parent volunteers?

No one knows what the future holds, but one thing is for certain. Keeping the lines of communication open with your co-leader will ensure a much smoother scouting experience not only for your daughters, but for all the girls in your troop.

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