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For New Leaders

Welcome and thank you! We’re excited you have joined the Girl Scout community to make a difference in the lives of girls. Start with this checklist and the resources on this page.

Take Required Training

Whether you’re a brand new troop leader or an experienced volunteer new to the troop leader role, leadership training will ensure that you know how to find resources, keep girls safe, provide girls with the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, understand troop finances, and more.

These two courses are required for new leaders (and strongly advised for co-leaders):

Start with Getting Started with Your Troop (online). New leaders and co-leaders automatically receive an email invitation from our online learning portal, Litmos. Don’t see an email? Check your spam folder or contact training@sdgirlscouts.org for assistance. Once you’ve logged in and created a password, you can return to Litmos anytime by visiting sdgirlscouts.litmos.com.

Then take Intro to Girl Scouts. You’ll receive an email with a coupon for a free class after you complete Getting Started with Your Troop. Visit sdgirlscouts.org/events and pick a date, time, and class location. Select Register Now to sign up using your coupon code, if you wish. See our course cancellation policy.

Check Off First Aid/CPR/AED

All troops need a person trained in first aid (“first aider”) to attend meetings and outings. This may be the leader, co-leader, or another troop volunteer.

Hint: Check with troop parents to see if one or more are already certified.

Find a First Aid/CPR/AED Course. Girl Scouts San Diego offers courses at sdgirlscouts.org/events. Courses taught by American Red Cross, National Safety Council, EMP America, or the American Heart Association work, too. In-person courses are preferred for beginners.

Blended courses that are part online and part in-person are allowed if they include hands-on practice and feedback from a certified trainer. Blended courses are a good option for recertification. Contact training@sdgirlscouts.org before enrolling in a blended course that’s not provided by Girl Scouts San Diego.

Courses that are entirely online don’t meet Girl Scout safety standards.

Jump Start Your Troop

Use these resources to get your troop up and running in no time:

Volunteer Toolkit (VTK): All leaders and co-leaders have access to the Volunteer Toolkit. It’s a must-have web app for new leaders—it makes meeting planning a snap! Login by selecting the MyGS/VTK tab at the top right, and enter your username (Girl Scout email) and password. Browse the Explore tab to find a year plan and get started.

Provide required forms to parents. Provide troop parents with copies of the Girl Health History and Annual Permission Form (español) and the Family Information Sheet (español). Keep completed forms with the troop at all times. Update them annually. (Formularios en español disponibles.)

Find more girls. Troops need at least five girls to start. A full troop is 12 girls. Need more girls for your troop? Open your troop in the Opportunity Catalog to reach more girls.

Give the Smart Start Patch Program a try. Show off your troop’s bright beginning! Girls and troop volunteers work together to earn the Smart Start patch, which helps build a strong troop. The Smart Start patch is designed specifically for a troop’s first year. 

Partner with Parents

We know that support from troop families and clear communication between leaders and parents are key to a successful troop. Establish both of these from the start, beginning with your first parent meeting. 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 and get help from troop parents:

First Parent Meeting Packet: In this packet, you’ll find tips for running a smooth parent meeting, a sample meeting agenda, and a customizable letter to introduce yourself and provide important troop info.

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

Family Guide: Share the Family Guide with parents and help them learn about the many ways Girl Scouts benefits girls. A Spanish version is available. Copies may be picked up at Girl Scout San Diego council locations.

Volunteer Toolkit. When you use the Volunteer Toolkit, you can connect to troop parents with ease. Here’s how:

  • 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.

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: You’ll receive a Trained to Lead patch and charm when you complete required training. Wear these with pride and collect more charms to show parents that you’re “trained to lead.”

Extra Help

When you join Girl Scouts, you’ve got lots of resources to help you succeed. Making connections that you can count on is what it’s all about. Give these a try:

Connect with your service unit. Your service unit is a group of Girl Scout volunteers 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.

Attend a Goin’ Green event. Check out sdgirlscouts.or/events for Goin’ Green events or ask your service unit about Goin’ Green. It’s a welcome and pinning celebration for new leaders and co-leaders.

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:

Get Recognized for Your Training
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Display your training accomplishments with pride and gain the confidence of Girl Scout troop parents with the Trained to Lead patch and charms. Charms are available for most courses. You'll automatically receive the patch and first charm when you complete Getting Started with Your Troop online and attend Intro to Girl Scouts.