Monday, July 17, 2017

10 Tips for Starting a Daisy Girl Scout Troop

*This post contains affiliate links.
Updated October 2019

Are you a brand new Daisy Girl Scout leader getting ready for her very first troop meeting? Are you feeling a bit nervous about how you are going to handle and prepare for it?
Take a breath! Every single leader has been there before. Even I get butterflies when it is time for my first meeting of the year, because as the girls mature, I have to make sure that our meetings are as girl led as possible (which is hard for me!), as well as ensure that they are all “considerate and caring” as well as “friendly and helpful” to each other. Group dynamics change as girls get older.
As a veteran Girl Scout leader since 2008, I have been there and done that. Here is some advice taken from my own experience, to help you as you establish your very own troop.

10 Tips for Starting a Daisy Girl Scout Troop-A Resource for New Leaders

And when you are done reading this, head over to my blog post, Daisy Meeting Ideas for September to December, which is a guide for your first eight meetings.

1. Relax

Your audience is only 5 or 6 years old. They are much easier to please than a room full of adults. These little girls are very excited to begin their Girl Scout experience, so just about anything you do is going to go over well.
Just be firm and consistent with the rules, and things should be fine.

2. Be Prepared

This motto is one that I live by as a teacher, a leader and as a mother. Even this week, as I prepared for my very first Senior Girl Scout meeting of the year, I made sure that I had extra activities planned in case things take a shorter amount of time than I anticipated.
Have a few Daisy Girl Scout coloring pages or games as back up. When they were younger, my troop loved to play Chinese jump rope, and it is always in my leader bag if we have a few extra minutes before our meeting ends. It also helps get their energy out if you have been sitting around too long, and it makes clean up go faster. The girls want to play!

Games for Girl Scouts should be in every Girl Scout leader's meeting bag
This book is filled with classic game for your troop and it is for all levels. There are games for small groups, large groups, indoor activities and outdoors. too. It is also a resource for international games as well.

3. Create a Kaper Chart

Little girls love to help, and a Girl Scout Kaper chart is a great way to have girls participate in their own meeting.  Give a girl a job or have two girls share one. It teaches them to be “responsible for what I day and do”.
While there are many wonderful Kaper Chart ideas on the internet, keep it simple for your first year. Think about where you want to invest your energy...making a chart that is used for a few minutes at each meeting or planning for each meeting. I love Pinterest...but it is not necessary to get carried away and spend hours and a lot of money on a Kaper Chart.
I have written several blog posts over the years about creating a simple Kaper Chart with inexpensive ready made items. You can find them here...just keep scrolling for each article.

4. Make Sure Each Meeting Has a Routine

School teachers know that routine is a way to give young children a sense of security and to help them stay on task. Young children need to know what to expect next. For example, each meeting should begin with the Pledge of Allegiance, the Girl Scout Promise and the Girl Scout Law.
Then you do your planned activities. Have a signal for the final five minutes before it is time to clean up. Close your meetings with the Make New Friends song and the Friendship Squeeze (you can find a video tutorial on each in this blog post).
There is no right or wrong way to have a meeting-do what works for your co-leader and you. Just be sure you keep to your schedule so you can complete the activities that you have planned.

5. Have Two Co-Leaders Instead of One

(and make sure your other parents are registered volunteers)
I have seen this time and again on the Girl Scout forums and Facebook groups that I read. There is occasional drama between leaders and co-leaders, and in the end, someone leaves. If you have at least two co-leaders, if someone decides this is not for her or you have some mama drama, your troop can still continue without disruption.
If you think getting parent permission forms on time is difficult, try finding another mom to step up and help you!
An extra co-leader right from the start also makes it easier to delegate tasks and leading meetings. One person can be in charge of field trips, another can be the treasurer, another in charge of buying the craft materials…why have it all of the planning responsibilities on your shoulders?
How to Launch Your Daisy Troop-Tips for new leaders

My book has chapters about how to get organized, launch your troop, and how to keep things going. There are also many useful resources for new leaders to use to help them get on their way to a fun filled year. 

6. Have Girls Bring Their Own Snack

Should Girl Scout meeting have snack time is an issue that comes up on leader forums at least once a month.
I have had different experiences with snack time. When my older daughter was a scout, her leaders requested that one girl bring it in for everybody, as they met directly after school. We had one parent who always forgot, and the leader had to bring it in for the girls. It really wasn’t fair to anybody involved.
That is why I decided that when my troop met after school, girls would bring their own snacks. That way, everyone gets to eat a treat that she likes and I do not have to worry about anybody’s food allergies. I did have a bag of pretzels or a granola bar in my bag because there is usually one child who forgets.
A note about food allergies…if you are meeting in a facility that is not your home, do not permit peanut products as snacks. Many schools and places of worship are peanut-free environments, and parents who have children with food allergies count on those places as being safe for their child.

7. Bring a Camera

My troop has been creating a perpetual Girl Scout scrapbook since their second year of Daisies. It is nice to have some photos of their time together as a troop. These can be shared on a private Shutterfly site or you can use them for your own scrapbooks.
If you decide to print the pictures, save your receipt so you can be reimbursed.

8. Network With Other Daisy Leaders

It is a good idea to attend your monthly Service Unit Meetings. Not only will you get the information you need about what is going on in your local council, you can talk to other leaders on your level. This is how I learned about a few free field trips in my area.
You can also ask Brownie leaders for assistance, as more than likely they were newbies just like you not that long ago. Ask your Service Unit to set time aside for networking at some of your meetings.

9. Don’t Do a Girl Scout Journey Your First Year

Many brand new Daisy leaders do not realize that they do not have to do a Girl Scout Journey until they are Juniors and want to earn the Bronze Award. Before 2008, Daisy Scouts was a one year program for kindergarteners. It was a year based on earning Daisy petals and getting familiar with the Girl Scout Law and Promise.
All that changed with the advent of the Journeys program. You can do it if you want, but my advice would be to wait until the second year and you have earned your Daisy petals. That way you are not trying to do both petals and Journeys at once. Focus on one aspect of the scouting program at a time.

10. You Do Not Have to Sell Cookies

Years ago, selling Girl Scout cookies was only for older girls-Daisies were not permitted to sell them. It gave new leaders a chance to breathe and to get to know how the other aspects of Girl Scout worked.
Now they can.
Selling cookies is an optional activity. I could not imagine selling them my very first year, on top of learning the ropes.
The tips for starting your Daisy Girl Scout troop are meant to help and guide you as you discover the joys of being a leader. Good luck!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Calendar of Meetings for 2nd Year Daisy Girl Scouts-September to December

*This post contains affiliate links.

Updated October 2019

You did it super leader! You managed to get through your first year of Daisy Scouts and do all of the petals and the blue Promise Center. Now that you are a veteran, what are you going to do with your Daisy troop for your second year?

For some leaders, they may try to do all three Journeys to have the troop earn their Summit Award. Others may want to try one Journey to test it out and add other things to the program as the year progresses.

Personally, I have never been a fan of the Journey program and I never will be. That is why my calendar of meeting ideas does not include doing one; however, feel free to include one if you wish.

Just as in my article Daisy Meeting Ideas for September to December, feel free to change or move around the meetings to fit your schedule. Nothing is set in stone! If you do have a mixed group of old and new girls, try integrating your activities so that they align with a Daisy petal. Repeating petals is not a bad thing, but the way you do it needs to be fresh and new for those who have learned them already. Reinforcement is a good thing.

Second year Daisy Scout meeting plans from September to December without doing a single Journey

Image by Hannah Gold

Your First Daisy Girl Scout Meeting of the Year

For some of your girls it is "Welcome back!", but for others, it may be their very first Daisy Girl Scout meeting. It is a good idea to start the meeting more non-traditionally so the new girls know what to expect. Ice breakers are also fun for those who know each other from the previous year, because they may not have seen each other over the summer. You might want to try an ice breaker activity as the girls sit in a circle. 

Here is a resource of four pages full of ice breaker games. You know your girls best, so see which one will work for you. After you have done your Ice Breaker game, it is time for the Pledge of Allegiance, Girl Scout Law, and Girl Scout Promise. 

Now it is time to break out your Kaper Chart and explain what the jobs are, how they are done, and how often you will rotate them. Then give each girl a job.

Your co-leader and you will want to talk about the things the girls did last year and what they want to do this year. What are their goals?

Next you can review the Girl Scout Promise with this craft activity.


Girl Scout Law Printed on cardstock (Small sized. Check out these images)

Safety Pins


2nd year Daisy Girl Scout craft for your first meeting of the year

Pony Beads

Daisy Girl Scout craft materials for meetings

Before the meeting, you will need to print the Girl Scout Law cards out. You can use contact paper to laminate them if you wish. If you do not laminate them, use a small hole puncher to make a hole for the safety pin.

You will also need to cut the gimp into 5-6 inch lengths and put a knot at the bottom.

To make life easier for the girls, create your own craft kit and separate the pony beads into the colors you nee. Place these in a snack sized baggie with the gimp and card. After the girls are done beading, knot the end for them on the safety pin and attach to the card. The girls now have something they can pin to their Responsibility bags.

Your Second Daisy Girl Scout Meeting of the Year

This is the perfect opportunity to practice a short Rededication and/or Investiture ceremony. For investitures, please see this blog post on the different things you can do. Resources for Rededication can be found here and here. Remember to keep it short and simple and to inform the parents ahead of time when the ceremony will be. 

Since you want to keep the girls interested and motivated, break the meeting up into five segments:
  • Your usual opening
  • Rehearsal
  • Craft
  • Rehearsal
  • Closing for meeting
Your craft is an easy one. 


Invitation you created

Find an image of a Daisy petal to color in and cut and paste it to a blank page on your computer. Type in "You're Invited to Troop 12345's Rededication and Investiture Ceremony".  Add the details and print several extra copies just in case (this is always best practice). You can resend this document in emails to parents and/or place it on your troop Facebook page or Shutterfly account.

The girls can color the page and hand it to their parents at pick up time.

Your Third Daisy Girl Scout Meeting of the Year

Today is the day for your Rededication/Investiture ceremony. You will have to decide whether or not you want this to take place first thing or as your final activity. If you do it at the end, you have a chance to practice one more time!

Either way, you will need something to do with your girls. Here is an easy craft.


Foam Daisy shapes

Glitter foam stickers (or other stickers of your choice)
Peel and stick rhinestones
Thin markers
Masking tape or duct tape

easy Daisy Girl Scout flower craft

Have the girls write their name on the front of the flower and then decorate it with stickers and rhinestones. When they are done, your co-leader or you can tape the dowel to the back.

Your Fourth Daisy Girl Scout Meeting

Celebrate Founder's Day

Girl Scout Founder's Day meeting ideas for Daisy Scouts

Now that you are in the month of October, at some point toward the end you will can have a meeting that is a service project for Juliette Gordon Low's birthday (which is October 31st). Doing a service project covers several of the petals:

Friendly and Helpful
Considerate and Caring
Responsible for what I say and do
Make the world a better place

At the start of the meeting you can talk about these parts of the Girl Scout Law and how it ties into today's project.

If you need some ideas, here are some Girl Scout Founder's Day ideas from my main Girl Scout blog.

Share with the girls the story of who Juliette Gordon Low was and why she was courageous and strong for starting the Girl Scout movement. Because she wanted to help girls develop all kinds of skills, this was a service. She was inclusive.

Because the girls are young and the Halloween spirit is in the air, you can do this simple project. Be sure to find an organization that will be wanting to accept your donations.


Large plastic orange drinking cups
Face stickers
Orange tissue paper
Curling ribbon
Printable Halloween gift tags

Have the girls make faces on the orange cup. Have them add candy and help them put the candy and treats into the cellophane bag. Tie with ribbon and add the gift tag. The girls can write on it "Happy Halloween" or "Enjoy these treats". You can find free printable Halloween gift tags here at Print This Today's website.

When you are done, sing "Happy Birthday" and serve cupcakes to your girls.

Your Fifth Daisy Girl Scout Meeting

Plan a Field Trip

If you live in a climate where winter is harsh, this is the perfect opportunity to take a field trip. You can go over the "Respect Authority" petal by visiting the police station or fire station. If you visited one last year, then go to the other this year. These are free and it is important for children to learn about their helpful community helpers.

If you do not want to go on a field trip, then you can teach your girls about Veteran's Day, which ties into being Courageous and Strong.


Hero Mom book

Veteran's Day activities for Daisy Girl Scouts-earn the red Courageous and Strong Daisy petal


Ask the girls if they know anyone serving or who has served in the military. Talk about Veteran's Day and why we honor our military men and women. Then read the book Hero Mom and make cards to send to Veterans either overseas or to send to a local VA hospital. The printable cards are free to download at Project Nursery. More Veteran's Day ideas that are free to download can be found at A Cupcake for the Teacher.

Your Sixth Daisy Girl Scout Meeting

The Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching. You can do this meeting three different ways.

1. Focus on a service project
2. Focus on doing fun Thanksgiving activities
3. Do a mix of 1 and 2

I am a huge believer in the community service aspect of Girl Scouts. Growing courageous, compassionate and caring children is a role that we leaders play. It is a huge part of who Juliette Gordon Low was. She did not start Girl Scouts so troops could sell cookies and do crafts...she started it so girls could could grow intellectually and learn things that they ordinarily would not given the mores of her time.

According the Girls Scouts of the USA website:

 "...just like Girl Scouts across the country and around the globe today, they offered a helping hand to those in need and worked together to improve their corner of the world."
With Thanksgiving around the corner, now is the time to do a service project to help others in need. 

Find a need in your community and see how your girls can fulfill it. Collaborate with a house of worship or your school to organize:

A gently used coat drive
A new hat, glove, and scarf drive
A canned food drive
A slipper drive

Or you can have each girl bring in one of the following items and make a big bag of Thanksgiving foods to donate to a family in need. The girls can make pictures or cards that go inside. 

Some items to put in the bag or basket are:

Canned corn
Canned string beans
Canned peas
Pumpkin bread mix
Corn bread mix
Canned apples 
Canned cranberry sauce
Canned turkey gravy
Jar of applesauce
Box of Bisquick for making biscuits
Box of brownie or cookie mix
Supermarket gift card so the family can buy a turkey

*You can add additional optional items for the basket or use doubles of some like the canned corn.

For the cards, you can use fall stickers like these:

Girl Scout crafts Thanksgiving stickers

You can also have the girls do an easy Thanksgiving craft by using one of these Thanksgiving craft kits.

Your Seventh Daisy Girl Scout Meeting 

How to earn the Daisy Girl Scout Safety Award

Photo from Pixabay

For this meeting, your troop can earn the Daisy Girl Scout Safety Award. This can tie in with the orange Daisy petal, Responsible for What I Say and Do. There are three components to earning this award:

1. Understand what to do if you get lost. Know your phone number, address, and who it's safe to ask for help (police officer, teacher, person in charge).

2. Find out what you should do if you or a friend is choking.

3. Learn how to do "Stop, Drop, and Roll" if your clothing catches on fire.

Activities for Part 1

Ask the girls if they had ever gotten lost. Tell them if it happens to them, they should try to find a grown up in a uniform. If they are in a store, they should find someone with a store name tag on them or go to a customer service/check out desk.

Then hand out one of these free printable worksheets about knowing their personal information. If a girl does not know her phone number, please let the parents know at the end of the meeting. This is an important thing for them to know.

If you have a play cell phone, the girls can practice dialing the phone number on it. They can also practice dialing 911.

Activities for Part 2

At Girl Scout Leader 101, Lora Brinkman shares her idea for this activity. Be sure to find a huge stuffed animal for this.

Activities for Part 3

Children learn in school about fire safety and the term, "Stop, Drop and Roll". You can start this part of the meeting by reading this book to the girls.

Activities to earn the Daisy Girl Scout Safety Award

After listening to the book, have the girls demonstrate the procedure. If you have time, here are some free Fire Safety crafts that you can do with your girls to close out the meeting.

Another thing you can do is learn this easy Stop, Drop and Roll song. Scroll to the middle of the blog post. It is sung to the tune of "Three Blind Mice".

If you have time, print out this coloring page for the girls to do to calm them down after rolling on the floor.

Your Eighth Daisy Girl Scout Meeting

It is that time of year that the girls are giddy with the holiday spirit...and maybe you are feeling a bit of that Mom stress that happens to so many this time of year. There are expectations, obligations, and the time crunch seems to come faster and faster.

As I have discussed in previous blog posts about celebrating the December holidays, this is an area that you need to tread lightly. If you have a diverse group of girls, best practice is to do non-denominational winter crafts like the ones below. They ready for you to do with no prep work at all. The girls get to take something home from your celebration.

Another fun thing to do is play Minute to Win it Games like the ones here.

After the meeting is over, sit back, relax and enjoy your well deserved time off.