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For Troop Leaders

Troop leaders are at the heart of Girl Scouting. They pull together meeting ideas, camping gear, craft supplies, parent volunteers, and girls’ dreams, and magically turn all of those into the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. If you’re a troop leader, thanks for everything you do!

If you're brand new, check out the new leader page, too.

Working with Girls

Find Things to Do with Girls

You have lots of options when you and your troop are deciding on activities. Here are a few resources you may find helpful.

Volunteer Essentials: Start with Chapter 3: Things to Do with Girls for an overview of options from outdoor activities, skill and leadership building, ceremonies and traditions, highest awards, STEM, camps, and more.

Help girls choose and complete a Journey or build skills by earning badges. See the Award and Badge Explorer to learn about Journeys and badges for your troop's Girl Scout program level. 

Visit the Events page for upcoming activities and training options that empower you to do more with your troop.

Check out the happenings page for your program level, and read the monthly Volunteer Voice email newsletter for tips, highlights, and ideas.

Our community partners offer loads of fun activities that are Girl-Scout approved. 

Plan Meetings

Volunteer Toolkit: Plan troop meetings with ease and have more quality time with your troop by using the Volunteer Toolkit. It’s a web app for busy troop leaders. Access it on your phone, tablet, or computer. The Volunteer Toolkit includes:

  • meeting plans for each troop level
  • activity printables
  • digital Journeys
  • meeting scripts, and
  • built-in emails that are time-savers for communicating with families.

Get started: From any page on our website, select the My GS/VTK tab. Enter your username (Girl Scout email) and password. Choose the Volunteer Toolkit option. Once you’re in, choose the Explore tab to browse meeting options with your troop. Select one and you’re ready to go! Customize your year plan anytime by adding or removing activities. Want to learn more? See our cheat sheet or get to know the Volunteer Toolkit tabs.

You must be a registered Troop Leader or Assistant Leader with a current Girl Scout membership to view the Volunteer Toolkit. Need help? Contact customercare@sdgirlscouts.org.

Reserve Meeting, Outing, or Camping Space

Need a place to hold a special meeting? Want to do an outdoor activity like archery or the adventure zone? Is your troop ready to camp, or would they like to experience our art or nature center? We’ve got a property for you! Check out our Property Resource Guide to learn more. When you’re ready, reserve a property.

Check Out Games and Equipment

Need jump ropes, hula hoops, microscopes, GPS devices, coding kits, games, or camping equipment? We’ve got you covered. View our Equipment Catalog to learn what items we stock and how to check them out. Then check availability at our Resource Center locations. 

Head Outdoors

Weekend Campouts: Join other San Diego Girl Scout troops for a weekend of camping, teambuilding, and fun at one of our council properties. Campouts are arranged by grade level and run by camp staff. Campouts include Adventure Weekends, Brownie Sleepovers, He and Me, and She and Me options.

Independent Troop Camping: Venture up to our camps in Julian for your next outdoor adventure, or camp at one of our city properties. You’re in charge of your experience! Explore camp, pack your day with activities, or just kick back and enjoy quality time with your troop. 

Adventure Zone: Girls test their courage and build confidence in a safe, supportive environment. Girls in 2nd grade (Brownies) and older can participate in all ground and low-element activities. Fourth graders (Juniors) and older can participate in all activities, including the 40-foot climbing tower. Certified staff oversee Adventure Zone activities.

High Ropes Challenge Course: Located at camp Whispering Oaks in Julian, this course lets girls test their courage and build confidence in a safe, supportive environment. Girls tackle the course, cheer on their friends, and receive the support of their team. Current 4th graders (Girl Scout Juniors) and older are eligible to participate. Certified staff oversee High Ropes activities.

Art and Nature Centers: The Art and Nature Centers at our Balboa Campus provide a space for girls to explore the world as they put their knowledge and skills to the test. Girls work individually and collaboratively to learn more about art, culture, nature, the environment—not to mention themselves! 

Hiking/Backpacking: Designed for individuals, our three-step wilderness progression safely takes girls and adults out of the campground and into the woods. 

Outdoor Badges and Journeys: Whether you're looking to explore your backyard or the backcountry, Girl Scouts outdoor badges and journeys will strengthen girls’ outdoor skills and ignite their interest in environmental stewardship.

Summer Camps: All girls are welcome at our summer day camps and resident camps. Registration opens February 1.

See more outdoor resources.

Find More Girls for Your Troop

A standard troop has 12 girls. If you need more girls, open your troop using the Opportunity Catalog. This online tool allows girls and families to browse and join available troops in their area. Need help or have questions? Contact membership@sdgirlscouts.org.

Lead Girls Through Highest Awards

The Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards are Girl Scouting’s highest awards. Working through the highest awards challenges girls to grow in areas of leadership, teamwork, goal setting, and analyzing and solving issues in their community.

As a Girl Scout troop leader, it’s very rewarding to know that you’ve set girls on the path of community leadership and personal success by guiding them though the highest awards. You can take Bronze and Silver Award training in person or online at sdgirlscouts.litmos.com. Older girls sign up for Gold Award training after meeting pre-requisites. Questions? Contact training@sdgirlscouts.org

 

Working with Families

Partner with Parents

We know that support from troop families and clear communication between leaders and parents are key to a successful troop. Set a tone of partnership! After all, you and parents have the same goal—an amazing Girl Scout experience for girls. Remember that over time, you’ll become a troop family and that rewarding friendships may form not just for the girls, but for you, too.

Use these resources to connect with troop parents, get help with the troop, and keep parents in the know about Girl Scouts:

Volunteer Toolkit: Use the Volunteer Toolkit to connect to troop parents with ease.

  • When you select a year plan, parents can see meeting activities and resources, allowing them to help out with troop activities, shop using the materials list, or help a girl who is behind.
  • Email the whole troop or send out built-in meeting summaries and reminders with the click of a button.

Parent Meeting Packet: Find tips for running a smooth parent meeting, a sample meeting agenda, and a customizable letter to introduce yourself and provide important troop info.

4Her FlyerTroops excel when parents are part of the fun. Use the 4Her Flyer to ask parents for four hours of their time. Girls earn a patch when parents pitch in. Parents receive a certificate of appreciation. Read the 4Her Leader Sheet to learn more.

Girl Scouts San Diego Family Guide: Share this guide with parents and help them learn about the many ways Girl Scouts benefits girls. Copies may be picked up at Girl Scout San Diego council locations. (español)

Family Cookie Guide: When cookie season rolls around, this guide helps families understand the why’s of the Girl Scout Cookie Product Program and how the program benefits girls. (español)

Financial assistance: Let parents know that Girl Scouts is for every girl. Financial assistance is available to cover first-year membership fees, uniform pieces, and some activities.

Trained to Lead: Wear your Trained to Lead patch with pride and collect charms with each training you complete. Show parents that you’re “trained to lead.”

Help Parents with Financial Assistance

All girls can participate in Girl Scouts. Financial assistance is available to help pay for items like these:

  • First-year Girl Scout membership fees (subsequent year fees can be paid with troop funds)
  • Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting or girl Journey book
  • Basic uniform pieces
  • Local service unit events
  • Council-sponsored events (i.e., STEM events, Incredible Race, etc.)
  • Council-sponsored resident and day camps

Adult members may also apply for assistance to cover training fees, startup costs for books, and some uniform pieces. See Financial Assistance for applications and more info.

 

Training and Resources

Volunteer Essentials

Volunteer Essentials is your go-to handbook for all things Girl Scouts including things to do with your troop and chapters on safety and troop finances. Use the links in the table of contents to quickly find the topics you need. Or download it as a reference.

Volunteer Essentials is updated each year. Check back once a year for the current version.

Safety

The safety of Girl Scouts—both girls and volunteers—is very important. Visit our Safety page to find resources to keep girls safe during routine troop activities and more advanced outings.

Download Volunteer Essentials, Chapter 4: Safety-Wise as a resource. 

Training: Beyond the Basics

Volunteers in the Troop Leader role must take Getting Started with Your Troop and Intro to Girl Scouts. But learning doesn’t need to stop there. Enrich your troop’s experiences by learning and sharing outdoor skills. Or, become certified to teach your girls archery. Learn how to have a travel adventure with Troop Tripping. Or help your girls learn leadership by taking Bronze and Silver Award training. Find it all on the Training Schedule. Signing up is easy on our Events page.  Access online courses in the course library at sdgirlscouts.litmos.com with your username (Girl Scout email) and password.  Need help? Contact training@sdgirlscous.org

Extra Help

Connect with your service unit: This group of Girl Scout volunteers is working to support troops in your neighborhood. Service unit volunteers act as mentors, answer questions, and provide learning and troop activities. Monthly meetings are a great place to connect. Contact customercare@sdgirlscouts.org if you need your service unit contact info.

Find a mentor: Are you a leader who would like to meet with a mentor who can help? Contact training@sdgirlscouts.org for more information about our mentor program.

Enroll in a program-level course: Our program-level courses take a deep dive into meetings, badges, and Journeys. Courses for older girls discuss new adventures and responsibilities. Find your program-level course:

  • Diving into Daisies
  • Blasting into Brownies
  • Just for Juniors
  • Cruising into Cadettes
  • Senior/Ambassador Roundtable

Conflict Resolution: Working with parents and other volunteers is rewarding, but sometimes challenging. Need help? Take the Conflict Resolution and Prevention course in our online learning portal. Log in at sdgirlscouts.litmos.com. Enter your username (Girl Scout email) and password. You’ll find the course on the library tab.

If you’d like to discuss an issue in person reach out to your service unit team or your council troop support specialist. Need contact info? Email customercare@sdgirlscouts.org.

Get Recognized for Your Training
Trained_to_Lead_patch2

All adult volunteers can display their training accomplishments with pride with the Trained to Lead patch and charms. Charms are available for most courses.