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How To Start A Troop

Parents and community members make a key difference in the lives of girls by guiding them through the Girl Scout leadership experience! At GSCSNJ, we want leading a troop to be a great time, which is why we'll support you every step of the way. We provide our leaders with:

  • Convenient, online training.
  • Individual guidance from Council staff and trained volunteers.
  • Activity Plans and online resources to help you quickly and easily prepare for meetings.
  • Flexibility - leaders set the troop meeting times and locations based on their needs.

 

What is the process?
1. Register as an Adult Member
  • Select Unsure for the troop option. When prompted, enter ‘new troop leader’ in the “Why are you unsure?” pop up box.
  • Complete the online registration form.
  • A recruitment specialist will start you on the New Leader Process.

 

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2. Complete a Criminal Background Check

You will receive an email from our vendor, Sterling Volunteers, with a link to complete the background check. The results typically come back within 48 hours.

3. Attend a New Leader Orientation Webinar

1. Register for one of our New Leader Orientation webinars. 

2. GSCSNJ has multiple Online Support Resources available for troop leaders and volunteers, such as:

  • The Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) is a digital resource that supports troop leaders and co-leaders, making the process of running a troop easier and more efficient.

  • The new digital edition of our Volunteer Essentials guide is designed to support busy troop leaders on-the-go. You can easily find what you need to get started on your Girl Scout journey and search for answers throughout the troop year. 

 

4. Meet Your Local Service Unit Team for an Introductory Training

This 1-hour training introduces you to your local community support network. You will meet with an administrative volunteer in your area who will help and support you as you begin your journey.

5. Schedule Your First Parent Meeting!

Think of this first meeting as a crash course for the families of your troop! Discuss any exciting things you’re planning for the troop and outline all the things they can do to help you succeed in your role as a troop leader.

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Common Questions About Leading a Girl Scout Troop

Everyone has them! Here are some questions we hear most often from interested leaders and volunteers:

Where are troop meetings held?
Vitual Troop Meetings >> At Girl Scouts, there is nothing we take more seriously than the safety and well-being of our members. As COVID-19 continues to be of growing concern in New Jersey, Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey (GSCSNJ) is taking all possible and appropriate measures to ensure girls continue to have a safe, fun, one-of-a-kind experience at Girl Scouts.
 

Your meeting space needs to be a safe, clean, and secure environment that allows all girls to participate. Good options include:

  • Virtual Troop Meetings
  • Schools
  • Libraries
  • Places of worship
  • Community centers and buildings
  • Local businesses
How much time will I need to spend as a leader?
  • We value your time! Being a Troop Leader can be made to fit your schedule. Most Leaders spend about 3 hours preparing for and leading meetings. We recommend meeting twice per month however, some troops choose to meet more or less frequently. Meetings can be planned ahead of time in the Volunteer Toolkit - our online planning tool full of extensive programs and activities that you can incorporate into your yearly plan.

  • Leaders also attend a monthly leader’s meeting with their Service Unit team. Here, you will come together with other leaders in your community to network, share ideas and learn what’s new with the council.

How do I know what activities to do with the girls?

Our Volunteer Toolkit gives you access to a whole year of Girl Scout fun by age level. Year plans come with pre-populated sets of meetings that give you plenty of ideas for activities and all the resources you need at your fingertips. Your year plan is fully customizable. You can even track girls' attendance and achievements!

What support is available for me as a leader?

Each troop has at least two leaders, so you will have a partner to help lead and to share the fun. We encourage you to invite another parent or friend to co-lead with you, or we can work with you and your community to help connect you with a co-leader.

We provide online, in person, and on-demand trainings for our leaders that you can take at your convenience, and we provide detailed activity plans that make it easy to get meetings going. You’ll also have access to our dedicated Volunteer Support team for guidance.

 

How do I get girls to join my troop?
  • It’s never too early to start spreading the word about your new Girl Scout troop! Even while you wait to complete your onboarding and get a troop number, you can talk to your girl’s friends, your neighbors, and other families in the community to make sure that your girl will have a lively troop. Before you host your first official meeting, you should aim to recruit at least 8 girls and 1 or more additional adult volunteers (who are not related to you) to create a thriving Girl Scout troop.

  • The girl and adult recruitment process should be about 3-4 weeks. 

  • In addition to your word of mouth efforts, our Recruitment team can help you with recruiting girls, at your girl’s school, and providing customized resources to help you spread the word.

  • Check out our Marketing in Motion page for the latest council and customizable flyers. 

Are parents required to volunteer?
  • While parents are not required to volunteer, council strongly recommends all adults be registered and background checked so they can support the leaders at meetings and events when necessary. 

  • Parents are also vital in the optimization of a troop!

  • Parents who wish to assist with the Girl Scout Cookie Program, troop finances, transportation, chaperone and other volunteer related activities, must complete a criminal background check. 

  • Studies show that the most successful troops have the full support and participation of the girls’ parents!

Additional Questions?

Check out our Leader Resources page or contact us here!