We are just a few short months away from the start of the new Girl Scout year, and with a new year comes new leaders! For those of us who have been Girl Scouts for life, or are seasoned leaders, the cycle of the Girl Scout year comes naturally to you, and the only new things you may need to adjust to occasional changes and updates. You’ve had the opportunity to learn how to best lead a troop, how to network with other leaders, use the Volunteer Toolkit and give the best Girl Scout experience to the girls as possible. New leaders not only have the challenge of learning about all the resources available, but also learning the ins and outs of Girl Scouts and Girl Scout lingo. They also often do not know other leaders, and that is often one of the hardest parts of being a new leader.
As Girl Scouts we encourage our girls to “make new friends”, “to help people at all times”, be “friendly and helpful”, and “be a sister to every Girl Scout”. What better way to set an example for our girls than to practice these values ourselves and be a sister and friend to our new leaders? We have such awesome networks within our Service Units, and working together to welcome new leaders, and provide them with the knowledge that they have a network of volunteers just like them to look to for support and help is a great gift we can give to our new leaders! Check out my list below for ways we can be a friend to our new leaders, and best support them as they start their Girl Scout journey:
1. Invite new leaders to the next Service Unit meeting. If you don’t know the new leaders, go introduce yourself. Share your details, the level you lead, meeting places, and your contact information for when they have questions. This will give them a friendly face at future meetings and events, and also someone to go to with questions.
2. Service Unit Contact Info: New leaders start their time as a leader by meeting with their Volunteer Support Coordinator, as well as participating in trainings. While having experienced leaders reaching out is helpful for new leaders to build up their contacts, another way to do that could be through a Service Unit wide directory. This directory can be given to all leaders, new and old, within your Unit.
3. Planning Committees: Inviting new leaders to join your Service Unit planning committees get them involved immediately and helps the Service Unit as a whole. Many Service Units often see the same people volunteer to help plan and organize, so involving new leaders will help to build up the volunteers and infuse new ideas to help the Service Unit.
4. Make New Friends: Invite new leaders and their troops to join your troop to a meeting, field trip, or event. This gives the new leader a break from planning, and allows them to see how your troop operates! It also gives the girls a chance to connect. A lot of new leaders are leading new troops, so everyone involved can benefit from making new friends.
5. Offer to help the new leader with a ceremony or tradition. These are the backbone of Girl Scouts, and can be hard to learn just through reading about them. Demonstrating the traditions for a new leader is much more personal and helps them learn how to carry on the traditions while building relationships!
6. Similarly, invite a new leader to join you and your troop on a camping trip. As a leader they have all clearances and can help toward your troop ratio, and they can learn tips and tricks. Working together gives the leaders new and old to learn on the go during the trip that the internet and online training can miss. For an added bonus, you could invite their entire troop on a camping trip, have the girls teach the girls, and provide a unique hands-on experience for the entire troop.
Working together to help new leaders feel connected and part of our Girl Scout sisterhood is something that we can all do. Have you ever connected with a new leader in a way not included on my list? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!