Hello all! I want to share my experiences as a mom and Girl Scout Troop Leader through this post. I am a happily married mother of two. The eldest(Kayla) is going to be seven this year and the youngest(Lily) will be two in a few short months. She is, of course, already showing early signs of terrible two syndrome. We live in a wonderful stone home in the country with our own little pond in the yard. We have neighbors but you have to take a short hike through the woods and maybe over a stream to get to them. This environment sparked my eldest's interest in scouts as I would tell her things I learned from when I was a scout as we explored.
This spring she decided she wanted to join girl scouts. We found the website and filled out the forms for her to be placed in a local troop. She was so excited and to be honest so was I. I loved my time as a scout. It was fun learning, great experiences, and of course COOKIES!
At the time we joined there were only a few months left in the school year, there are summer events but the troop meetings tend to end when school does. She loved going to her meetings. She met so many new friends and being home-schooled, that means a lot to her. As it turned out, the leaders were a bit overwhelmed. This is a daisy troop of kindergartners so not only were the girls new to it but so were the leaders. Being that I did a lot of babysitting, made many crafts, and did Vacation Bible School volunteering etc. over the years, I offered to help out where they needed me. They gave me the jobs of crafts and helping to plan events. We finished off the last meeting of the school year eagerly anticipating the next one to come.
Over the summer we did a few events at the local scout camp, which luckily is about a 10-15 minute drive. One of these events was the summer day camp that lasted 5 days. I was unsure if she would be comfortable being there without me so I volunteered my days to help out there. I chose not to be placed with her so I was given the job of helping out in the camp office with the Director, which enabled me to bring Lily with us. Kayla knew I was on site so she felt safe in this new environment. We both had a wonderful time and plan on doing it again next year. She grew so much that week. She made even more friends and learned so many new things.
As summer began to taper off, I contacted the leaders to see about planning things for the next year. The assistant leader (Lynne) held a picnic at her house to get organised right about the time school started. This is the monumental day that I became leader. Neither of us had heard anything from the previous leader through the summer. Lynne called her that night to see if she was coming to the picnic and it was then that we were told she and her daughter were no longer going to be participating. This left us in a bit of a bind. Neither one of us had much experience at this, though Lynne was a little more informed then I, as she was the Assistant Leader the previous year. Lynne is a teacher for a online school and as we were discussing what to do, she informed me that her work load had gotten increased so she would not be able to devote the time needed to take over being leader but she would be happy to keep the assistant position. So we decided after all the support I provided last year, that I would take over as leader. This is no sacrifice on my part at all. I wanted to be involved and was thrilled that I would get to do more to help the girls. The other moms that had come for the picnic were in agreement so it became my job.
Now being a leader is not as simple as just saying, "OK, I'll do it." You have to become and adult registered girl scout (which I had to do to be a volunteer at the camp). You also have to have a background check done with three written references submitted. You have to do an online volunteer orientation thing and a leadership questionnaire has to be filled out and reviewed. (Thank God for the Internet) These were pretty easy and basically just took time and sincerity. I received a booklet of safety rules to follow and guidelines for the message the girl scouts stand for. There is a lot of paperwork involved in doing events and specific rules that must be followed since other children are in my care. I do not have to have CPR or first aid training but an adult in the troop must. ( I intend to get it anyway as a back up even though Lynne and another mom already have it)
So now the year is underway. After school started they held a Girl Scout sign-up night at the school and they had a table set up on parent-teacher night too. So our five girls became 15 with one more that I have yet to get a hold of. One girl was a transfer from another troop and her mom (K) used to be leader. She is now the assistant leader of her elder daughter's troop and the mom trained in first aid etc. K has been a tremendous help in the few short weeks her daughter has been in the troop. She has been through it all and she has offered to help us along where she can as far as the actual leadership duties. Amazingly enough, Kayla and her daughter became friends at some of the summer events. So she is already comfortable in the new troop.
We had to submit a calendar to the school for meeting in the cafeteria and s'more catalog events have to be pre-registered for. These are awesome events especially as you will generally earn a patch for participating. K gave me a site where you can order patches for events we do on our own. Tomorrow we are taking a night-hike through a local small zoo to see the animals at night and I found a night-hike patch to get the girls. I believe that giving the girls something to take home with them at every meeting is important. It gives them something to hold onto the memory for them. I hope by doing this the lessons learned will stay with them. I also ordered a hayride patch that we will be needing later in the month.
There is also a meeting for leaders that meets once a month. Ours happened to be last night. In the course of this meeting there were several area positions that needed to be filled. I volunteered to be a delegate. From what I can tell on the short explanation of last evening, I just need to go to 3 meetings per year and represent our service area. I'll get something to explain my duties a little better, but as for now that is all I am sure of. K is the second delegate for our area so we'll get to carpool. Now over the past few months Lynne and I have become great friends and so far K and I seem to be developing one as well. Being that we moved to the area a few years ago it is nice to have some friends for me in the area as well as for Kayla.
Now that you all are current I'll end this post. I hope to post after each meeting of the girls as this is primarily about my experience with them.