By Janey Kurtz
A multi-level troop is a diverse group of Girl Scouts ranging in ages and grade levels, like a troop of Brownies and Juniors. In these troops, girls learn how to collaborate and build meaningful friendships with one another while modeling the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Multi-level troops may also encourage older girls to mentor the younger ones, which could earn them badges and Journey elements that represent their ability to guide younger Girl Scouts. Even though leading a diverse group of girls can be challenging, creating an inclusive learning environment for all is rewarding.
Here's how you can prepare for your multi-level troop:
- Review our Girl Scout guidelines for leadership and programs to make sure you are using the adult-to-girl ratio chart to supervise the girls in your troop.
- Organize girl-led activities that include all grade levels in your troop. Please note that some activities for older girls might not be possible for younger girls to participate in, so activities might need to be adapted or facilitated separately.
Tip: Allow the older girls to teach or assist the younger ones. If the activity is a craft, consider pairing an older girl with a younger one and have them work together. If safety is a concern or there is no way to adapt the activity in an appropriate manner, ask the volunteers to separate the troop into smaller groups for that portion of the meeting.
- Use GSUSA’s Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) as an online resource to plan activities, and learn all about badges, awards, Journeys, patch programs, and service projects.
Tip: Ask troop volunteers to become program experts for a specific grade level to make sure everyone is following their corresponding program. Having two volunteers for each grade level can be of great help!
- Host separate meetings with volunteers to discuss the troop’s goals. Volunteers can use this as an opportunity to plan activities for their grade level and complete trainings to ensure the safety and well-being of the girls.
- Incorporate activities that bring everyone together, such as opening and closing ceremonies, songs, games, and age-appropriate field trips.
Being part of a multi-level troop is an exciting and challenging experience for the volunteers and the girls. Since the National Program Portfolio changes for every group, keeping track of the materials and activities for each grade level can be difficult. Sometimes, meeting spaces might not accommodate everyone in the troop, or there might not be enough volunteers to assist with activities; however, the keys to leading a multi-level troop lies in building community and adapting to changes. As you prepare to lead your troop, remind the girls that although they may be in different grade levels, they are all part of the unique sisterhood of Girl Scouts.
For more helpful hints and information, please read these two articles from GSUSA: