I have led my daughter's Girl Scout troop for the last three years. We held our last pre-Katrina meeting (and our first meeting of this year) the day we evacuated. Of the six girls at that meeting, three aren't returning to this area. I couldn't see running a troop for only three girls and my daughter didn't want us to shut it down, so I went recruiting at school. My daughter is in fifth grade and is a Junior Girl Scout. I doubted I'd get many girls her age wanted to join, since many of them had been in the troop and dropped out over the years because of other activities, lack of interest or lack of ability to meet when convenient for me. I decided to recruit in all grades and put together a mixed troop, with the idea of training someone to succeed me as leader of the younger girls next year. I had one new girl sign up for Juniors, twelve for Brownies and four for Daisys.
We held our first meeting Saturday and I ended up with two new Juniors, five Brownies and one Daisy. I had planned to put moms to work and run different activities for each age group, but given the small crowd, I revised the plans, combined them and pretty much ran one group. I meet with the Juniors for thirty minutes before the younger girls get there, and have them helping with the younger girls so as to earn a leadership award. This week we all worked on learning about Girl Scouts; the Girl Scout Promise, Law, Motto, Slogan, Handshake etc. I had the Juniors teach the younger girls and they all seemed to enjoy it. I think my basic structure is going to be to meet with the Juniors for thirty minutes before the other girls come and then put them to work leading some activity for the younger girls. Then I may break them into separate groups, but I'm going to try to keep the activities similar.
If you are looking for a way to have fun with your daughter and to have a positive influence on her friends, I highly recommend being a Girl Scout leader. While many of us remember our GS leader as being a SAHM who met with us weekly after school, today's GS leader are a diverse lot and weekly after school meetings are probably the exception rather than the rule. My troop is going to meet once a month, and will have one other activity most months. I tried more last year and while the girls enjoyed it, I was burned out by year end by devoting so many of my Saturdays to GS when there were other things to do.