Monday, August 27, 2018

Training for Girl Scout Leaders

As an adult volunteer, it is important that you keep up to date with your Girl Scout training for leaders. No matter what level of scouts you guide, there are required classes that leaders must to take.
Why Take Girl Scout Leader Training?
Even though the majority of leaders are already parents, there are different developmental milestones at each level. If you are the leader for your oldest child, you have not yet gone through the social, developmental and emotional growth of that child. There are enormous differences between a kindergarten Daisy and a sixth grade Cadette.
For example, there is a 7.5 year age difference between my two daughters. I have already experienced all the joys and thrills of young adolescence, middle school, and high school with my older daughter.

Training for Girl Scout Leaders

Image created on Canva

Because I already have parenting experience with girls, I know what to expect. Armed with this knowledge, I will be doing my best to circumvent any of the pitfalls that I know come with girls who are in the fourth grade, the age of my Junior Girl Scout troop.
Another reason to get training is to follow the safety guidelines established by the GSUSA. You cannot simply take your troop on a camping trip. You need to take the required outdoor courses and abide by the Girl Scouts of the USA guidelines. This is not only for the safety of your girls, which is of the utmost importance, it also insures that you are not personally liable if anything happens to any of the girls while under your care.
What are the Required Leader Training Courses?
There are training classes for leaders at each level. Councils across the country call them by different names, so you will need to check your council’s website for the exact title of your required coursework.
You can check out YouTube for various Councils and their training videos. Yours might have a new one uploaded and ready for you to view.
Girl Scout Leader Training Online
The GSUSA recognizes that leaders have busy lives. One way they help new volunteers is with online scout leader training. There are different online leader training courses available at their website. You will need to register each course and get a password in order to take the online training classes.
When Should I Take Girl Scout Leader Training?
Every level of Girl Scouts has it’s own unique leadership coursework. Typically, if you are a new Daisy Girl Scout leader, you will take your training class as soon as you sign up to lead a troop. 

Photo from Pixabay

For Brownie, Junior and older girls, there are separate leadership training classes to take at each level. While it is optimal to take them at the beginning of the scouting year, it is not always possible. In my area, local training for my level is spotty. I was a Brownie leader for an entire year before the required coursework was given locally. I am happy to volunteer my time, but I refuse to drive an hour each way for a one hour training class.
If you are unsure of what courses you are required to complete, ask your contact person on your Service Unit team. She can guide you and let you know exactly classes are necessary for you to continue meeting safely with your troop.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Where Can Girl Scout Daisy Leaders Find Fun Patches?

*This post contains affiliate links.

Updated October 2019

When I started leading my Girl Scout Daisy troop back in 2008, I had no idea what the difference was between a Girl Scout badge and a fun patch. A badge is something the girls earn by doing various activities towards a specific goal and is worn on the front of the uniform.

A fun patch can be given for participating in an event or an activity. For example, if your troop does a food drive for a community service project, then you can buy each girl who participated a fun patch for that activity. These are sewn onto the back of a tunic, vest, or sash.

Where Can Girl Scout Daisy Leaders Find Fun Patches?

Photos by Hannah Gold and image created on Canva

To tell the truth, I never bought a single fun patch for the girls in my troop during their two years as Daisy Scouts. One reason is that we had no funds other than the $25 dues that I collected from each girl. The other reason is that the Girl Scout store was a trip for me and it was difficult to get there when my children were younger.

Personally, while I see merit in wanting to have some Girl Scout fun patches, I don't understand why every single thing a troop does requires a fun patch. When I see photos of girls who need extra material to put these patches, I think of "mompetition". To me, it screams the following:

"My troop has more patches than your troop." 

"See how active we are." 
"I'm a very involved leader."

Maybe it is because I am an older, wiser mom and troop leader, but I think it is silly to waste all that money on patches. Badges, yes, patches, no. Even when my troop became older, I only bought special fun patches. For example, we scrapbooked for years, so every girl received that patch. For our canned food drive for our Girl Scout 100th anniversary community service project back in 2012, I bought a patch for both of those occasions. When we went on a Build a Bear field trip, each girl received a fun patch as part of the trip.

Photo by Hannah Gold

If you are interested in learning more about fun patches, you can read this blog post that explains it all.

There are many places online where you can buy fun patches for your troop. Here are some of them.

Making Friends

The Making Friends website is one place I used many times over the years when my troop was younger. Not only do they have free printables and craft ideas, they sell tons of reasonably priced fun patches. Sign up for the emails and find out when the sales are happening.

Snappy Logos

Snappy Logos is a site leaders love. Not only can you find reasonably priced patches, there are sale and clearance patches as well. In addition, you have flat rate shipping. You can stock up on your badges and buy them all at once. Don't worry about ordering extras, you can save them for girls who may lose one or you can resell them in Girl Scout Facebook groups.

BCG Patches

This site was launched by Lora Brinkman, a Girl Scout leader who saw her girls bored by traditional programs. In addition to patch programs and patches, she also some downloadable freebies.

Advantage Emblem

This site make all kinds of custom designs and patches. You can find Girl Scout fun patches here.


You can buy buy one patch or a lot of patches on eBay. Just search what you are looking for and see what pops up in your search.

Fun patches are nice to have, but don't go spending all of your cookie money on dues on them.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Free Girl Scout Leader Start Up Guides from GSUSA and Other Resources for New Leaders

Updated August 2019

CONGRATULATIONS! You just signed up to become a Girl Scout Daisy leader! 

You are probably a bit nervous and wondering what to do next. You may even get the jitters before the first meeting and wonder why in the world you are doing this to yourself (you know is for your daughter. That is how almost all leaders sign up).

Where does a leader start to learn how to lead? What does she have to do in order to start having meetings?

Every Council has their own website, and if you look at yours, you should find a new leader guide like the following that I found on other Council websites. The following are pretty much the same thing, just formatted a bit differently. 

Girl Scouts of West Central Florida Start Up Guide

Girl Scouts of Connecticut Orientation Troop Start Up Guide

Free Girl Scout Leader Start Up Guides for New Leaders

Image from Ivorymix and used on Canva

Other Resources for Girl Scout Daisy Leaders

Of course, this blog is a terrific resource for leaders! It is based on my years of experience leading a troop (I am entering year 11 as I write this) and my three plus decades as a teacher. 

This blog post, The Most Asked Questions from New Leaders (Answers Provided), will be of some assistance. There is a list of resources at the end of the post to help you along further.

My blog post on my other Girl Scout blog, Top 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Sanity as a Girl Scout Leader, offers suggestions for you to keep yourself happy while leading.

Advice to Girl Scout Leaders Both Veteran and New is an article I wrote after leading my troop for six years and being totally burnt out. I stepped down as head leader and became the co-leader I always wanted (and needed) to have. Presently, I am not a leader in name, but I am the one who runs all the meetings for my troop since the head leader is too busy as she now owns her own business. With only three girls in my troop, it is not hard for me to run meetings and it is fun, not stressful. The other two moms are super supportive and help whenever it is needed. This is how scouting is meant to be.

5 Ways You Are Making Your Life as a Girl Scout Leader More Difficult Than it Needs to Be was written because of what I have read in the Girl Scout Facebook groups that I belong to. Leaders stress over the same things no matter where they live. I shared my thoughts on how to make leading less stressful.

I also have a list of 14 Facebook Groups Girl Scout Leaders Should Join. I strongly suggest that you DO NOT join all 14! Start with the Girl Scout Daisy page and Girl Scout Gab. One is focused on where you are and one is great for general questions. Both have files that you can use for your troop.

Do you have any other resources to share?