When my daughter was in Kindergarten, we decided not to register her for Girl Scouts. We had a lot on our plates at the time, and school was a big, new experience for her already (I'm a former teacher and SAHM, so she didn't attend preschool).
But by the time First Grade rolled around, we were ready to start Daisy Girl Scouts. I know a lot of people start their girls in Kindergarten, and really, it's whatever is the best fit for you and your child. I don't regret waiting, but I now know she missed out on a year's worth of fun.
Anyway, by the time we went to register, I quickly realized my expectations were nothing like reality. I thought we'd fill out a form, write a check, and buy a uniform. And that would be that!
HAHAHAHAHA. Silly me. ;)
Nope. New to Scouting? There is so, so, SO much more. And while it can be a tad overwhelming at first, and not everyone is able to devote a lot of time or money to it initially or as you go, this experience can be absolutely awesome and lots of fun, both for the girls and for parents too! Seriously. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!
Anyway, at registration, we unsuspecting moms sat around a table (after watching a video on Girl Scouts and getting to know the Council folks a bit) to fill out several forms and decide amongst ourselves who the leaders and volunteers would be. We quickly realized we wouldn't be able to have a troop for our kids if we didn't step up ourselves. (Maybe that's not how it is elsewhere, but we live in a small town, where parental involvement is a must!) Our troop's leader from last year wasn't able to continue on this year, so we needed a new one.
I said I would be Troop Leader, if only I had a clue. But I had no clue. I'd been a Brownie 35 years ago. That was it. But the Council members assured me that once they were done with me, I'd have more than a clue, I'd be able to lead and lead well . . . and they were right. :)
What exactly is needed? Aside from some money for uniforms, etc.? TIME. Yep, your time. It's okay. You can do it. It's for the kids. If you've got any time at all to devote, you volunteer. If you have only the tiniest bit of time, your leader will find something for you that involves only a tiny bit of time. :)
Here's what our list looked like (EDIT: for next year Brownies, I'm revamping this a bit. Here's the new list!):
and various other Official Volunteer Moms for specific occasions our Troop/Council/Service Unit participates in.
We were given a list of uniform and books, filled out our forms, wrote our membership checks, and off we went. The parents went home knowing there was a troop for our girls, and that they would be contacted shortly with details on when the first meeting would take place. I attended a Troop Leader meeting afterwards, and was inundated with information about Girl Scouts, our Council, and upcoming events. I signed us up for Troop meeting times (twice a month, right after school, at the school), etc.
Then I started scouring the Internet. Yes, there's a Daisy book, and Journey books, and other official Girl Scout resources. Yes, there is comprehensive Troop Leader Training (and manual) as well, but I wanted concrete ideas on specific things I needed in addition to what I was given, if that makes sense. I wanted to know what order each meeting should go in, for instance. I wanted to know what my Kaper Chart should have on it. I wanted to know specifics.
I'm a list person, and very detail-oriented, and the Internet was a great companion resource to the wealth of Council information. So here is my big THANK YOU, FELLOW ONLINE TROOP LEADERS! Hopefully I can add to your resources somehow (and I will be diligent to always cite my sources, promise!).
First step: I borrowed a Journey book from our GS library. Then I Googled all sorts of Daisy activities, etc. And then I attended Leader Training (which is different than the Leader Meeting; the Training was long, but informative, and gave me more great ideas, too).
I had our meeting times, dates, and info all set up. I contacted all the parents. I started making lists. I made sure I had phones numbers, email addresses, and the right forms for everyone.
And then I prepared for our first meeting. . . .
EDIT: Most of the girls in our troop were new to GS in first grade, so we had to accomplish two years' worth of petals, etc., in one year. This blog focuses primarily on the petals for Daisies, and not the Journeys. There are lots of great ideas around the Web on Journey badges, but for us, the focus was on learning the Law, and the best way to do that was through earning Petals.
So if you're looking for Journey help, go to Google; try Pinterest. But hopefully you will find enough to get you started on Petals (and later on, Brownie Legacy patches) here. :) Thanks!
EDIT AGAIN: Please read some of my later posts. I've learned so much over the last few years, and there's a lot of information in them that might help you out. Don't be put off if the subject line is for Brownies, and you're a Daisy leader. If you have time, skim through the other posts. You might find some helpful stuff in there. Like this one, for example, on uniforms and patches.
And please don't hesitate to leave me a comment if you have any questions, or if the information I've posted is inaccurate. Keep in mind that a lot of my information is based upon my council's guidelines. Not all councils have the same rules, though. I didn't realize that when I first started.
Thanks for visiting!