Cave Creek Service Unit
Troop 4497 (Brownies)
Years as a Troop Leader: 3
What inspired you to become a troop leader?
I became a troop leader to a newly forming Daisy troop because I wanted to fully experience the joys of Girl Scouts with my [then] kindergarten-aged daughter. I was a Girl Scout from the age of seven to 17 and had an absolutely amazing troop leader and overall, Girl Scouting experience! I knew that if I could replicate the wonderful experiences she provided to my troop, I could positively impact so many girls through this program. I knew that my participation as a leader could encourage confidence, leadership, friendship, and provide experiences to girls that they often won't have elsewhere!
What kind of activities do you do with your troop? What is their favorite thing to do?
Our troop just wants to be outside and help animals! They want to build, make, and play in nature any time they can, so our entire troop family works diligently to plan meetings and outings that give the girls outdoor experiences as often as possible. We have gone on numerous hikes and have learned how to navigate maps, how to read compasses, and how to use clues to find letterboxes in the desert. Each year we have safety meetings where our girls learn how to pack needs versus wants for outdoor excursions, and how to help a friend in need with their first aid skills. Last year we spent several meetings and field trips learning about desert animals and bugs, and each girl created an entire presentation on outdoor safety with desert plants and animals that they presented to the troop. Shortly after this was when our girls were able to get up close and personal with snakes and tarantulas with the Arizona Bug Guy! I believe that experience has been a troop favorite thus far!
What kind of service projects have you done with your troop?
Our troop dedicated an entire afternoon to volunteering at a local bunny rescue. The girls prepared for the service project by learning about how non-profits work and what it costs to provide supplies for an animal rescue. Then, they put all of this into action by getting their hands dirty at the bunny rescue! They spent hours cleaning bunny cages, food bowls, water bowls, and litter pans (and petting bunnies too, of course).
After the bunny rescue, our troop created a plan for how we could raise money to purchase needed supplies and donate them to the rescue. We figured out that each girl needed to sell a certain amount of cookie packages to raise money for these products and our girls put these numbers on their Cookie Sales Goals sheets so they could show their customers what reaching their goal would mean to them, and the rescue. It was an all-encompassing service project that required our girls to think outside of personal sales goals for cookie season and to see how their efforts could help those in our community!
Tell us about a volunteer moment that stands out to you.
One of the greatest moments as a volunteer was hosting a Journey in A Day for our troop! Our entire troop came together - volunteers, parents, siblings, and friends united to help make this day a success for our troop. For me, it was amazing to have so many hands make the work light that could have been stressful. Instead, it was an incredible experience for everyone!
What advice would you give other troop leaders?
It doesn't have to be Pinterest-perfect! Girls just want to make new friends and have fun. If you can teach them while they're making new friends and having fun, even better. Use the resources available to you, and network, network, network! Experienced leaders can be a world of knowledge and can help you so much. So, attend your neighborhood meetings and introduce yourself to others. You're not in this alone, ever!
What do you wish someone had told you as a new troop leader?
Ask your parents to become volunteers and to help right from the jump! Parents want to help; they just don't know how to. Have parents fill out the troop forms and then use those forms to figure out parents’ strengths and where they can be of assistance to the troop. Parents have so many hidden talents and they can teach girls so many things that you might not have the skill or know how to do. Oh, and delegate when you need to! You don't have to do it all.
What would you like others to know about volunteer opportunities with Girl Scouts?
There are so many ways that you can volunteer with Girl Scouts, not just being a troop leader! Each neighborhood has a Service Team of volunteers that is always looking for a helping hand with finances, event planning, budgeting, communications, and so much more. Many hands make light work!
Does your troop sell cookies? If yes, please tell us in your own words, why it is important to participate in the cookie program?
Believe that the cookie program is the basis of entrepreneurship for Girl Scouts. It's the simplest way to show our girls how to manage inventory and money, and how to talk about their goals and products to customers. Each year of selling cookies builds on another entrepreneurial skill and girls become more confident in themselves as they repeat the process year over year. It is important for [my] girls to participate in this program to gain confidence in making sales, ownership, and responsibility for the goals they set, as well as acquire leadership skills within their community.
What are your troop’s cookie-selling tips and tricks?
My top selling tip for cookie season is to have your girls start selling the very same-day cookie sales open. They will be the first to approach customers and they're more likely to have the most sales right at the beginning. Don't wait until the end when customers have already purchased from booths in the neighborhood! Also, always order more specialty cookies than you think you'll need.
What is the most inspiring moment you have experienced as a troop leader?
The most inspiring moment for me as a troop leader was when our girls gained the confidence to climb to the top of the rock walls! Many of our girls had never been up so high and were experiencing a lot of nerves that were keeping them from attempting a new adventure. A few of our girls who were ready to jump in and climb grabbed ahold of the hands of girls who were nervous and helped them get harnessed and feel secure. By the end of the meeting, all the girls were racing to the top of the climbing walls!