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Handling Behavior Issues like a Girl Scout

Behaving like a Girl Scout

Anyone can have a bad day. Leaders play an important role in helping girls feel safe to be themselves and to bounce back from conflict or other behavioral misalignment in a troop setting. Here are some ways you can help a girl overcome a not-so-great attitude.

Step 1 - Correct the behavior

  • Praise in public, correct in private (never in a room by yourself). This prevents the girl from being embarrassed when you point out her mistakes in front of all the girls.
  • Talk with her not at her. Share what troop agreement or expectation was not being followed.
  • Document the date, behavior issue, and correction for your own records.

Step 2 - Take a break

  • Ask the girl to step aside and take a break away from the group -  make sure she is still in a safe space with sight of both troop volunteers.
  • Share what troop agreement or expectation was not being followed. This may be done before or after the break, but make sure she understands the reason for the discipline.
  • Briefly inform the parent/guardian what happened.
  • Document the date, behavior issue, correction, and length of the break for your own records.
  • You may repeat this step as needed - as long as it continues to be effective and the girl is learning/growing.

Step 3 - Have a meeting with the girl's parent/guardian

  • If the behavior does not improve, set up a time to meet privately with the parent/guardian(s).
  • Remind the family of the Girl Code of Conduct and the troop agreement. Explain that all girls in the troop worked together to create the troop agreement.
  • Describe all incidents that have occurred in sequence.
  • Keep the conversation open, calm, honest, and respectful.
  • Discuss how you will work together to ensure their girl has a positive experience in Girl Scouts:
    • Ask for help from the family -  is a parent/guardian or other trusted adult able to attend meetings with their girl until the behavior improves?
    • Ask how the family may help their girl recognize the expectations in the Girl Code of Conduct and the troop agreement.
    • Assure the family you look forward to working with their girl.
    • Assure the family you will keep in touch with them about their girl's behavior.
  • Document the meeting date, talking points, the family's response to the discussion, and next steps for your records.

Step 4 – Contact your network for support. This includes your Service Unit’s Volunteer Support Coach, MSE, or the GSACPC Customer Care Team at (602-452-7030 /