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How to Start a Troop

How to Start a Troop

Welcome to Girl Scouts, soon-to-be troop leader! You’re well on your way to transforming the lives of girls by guiding them through the Girl Scout experience, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about it. Our team wants to make the troop formation process as easy as possible, so you can get to exploring, learning, and bonding with your girls in no time!

You’ll have all the support you need from us, including:

  • Convenient, online trainings on a range of topics, available on your schedule.
  • Resources to help you quickly and easily prepare for meetings.
  • Individual guidance from our council Membership Development and Volunteer Development teams, as well as experienced Girl Scout volunteers in your local community.

Check out our new Starting Your Troop video to learn all about how to build your troop!

Ready to get going? Here's how:

1. Request a Troop Number

It’s a great idea to start thinking about how your troop will get together right away. Think: meeting location, frequency, time, start date, grade level(s), and what your troop might do together. Once you have these key points, it’s time to fill out the Troop Number Request Form and get this party started.

(And don’t worry if you don’t have all the details when you request your troop number. The more information you provide about your troop, the easier it will be for girls to find and join you, but you can always make updates later.)

2. Register as a Volunteer and Complete Your Onboarding

After you submit your Troop Number Request Form, keep an eye out for emails from us to help you finish your volunteer registration, complete your background check, and start your online training. annual adult membership dues are $25, background checks usually run about $11.50 (varies by DMV), and financial assistance is available for background check expenses.

Once you’ve completed your registration, you’ll have the option to add another membership for your girl, too. Annual girl membership is $40 and financial assistance is available.

Before your first troop meeting, you’ll need to complete these quick online trainings to get you ready for to work with girls and adults:

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Welcome to GSNorCal (15-20 min)

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Program Level Training - "Characteristics" (5-8 min/ea)

Daisies | Brownies | Juniors | Cadettes | Seniors | Ambassadors

3. Spread the Word and Recruit Girls and Volunteers

It’s never too early to start spreading the word about your new Girl Scout troop. Even while you wait to complete your onboarding and get a troop number, you can talk to your girl’s friends, your neighbors, and other families in the community to make sure that your girl will have a lively troop. As a bonus, more girls usually means more adults who will be happy to help you lead! Before you host your first official meeting, you should aim to recruit at least 8 girls and 1 or more additional adult volunteers to create a thriving Girl Scout troop.

The girl and adult recruitment process should take about 4-6 weeks and, in addition to your word of mouth efforts, our Membership Development team will support you with recruiting girls, hosting parent information nights at your girl’s school, and providing customized resources to help you spread the word.

We’ve created a few downloadable tools to get you started:

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Girl Invite Slip - A customizable slip to invite prospective girls and share troop information.

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Join My Troop Facebook Cover Image - Update your Facebook Cover Photo to let your friends know your troop has open spots available.

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Join My Troop Facebook Post Image - Use this image on Facebook as your profile picture or to post about your troop.

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Instructions: Girl & Adult Registration Steps - A customizable instruction sheet to let interested parents and girls know how to register and join your troop.

4. Get Ready for Your First Troop Meeting

Hosting Your Parent Meeting

After you've completed your training, but before your first troop meeting, invite your troop families to their first parent meeting, where you'll set the tone for the year, recruit troop volunteers, collect safety forms (everyone needs an Annual Permission and Girl Health History to get started), and talk details about troop dues, Girl Scouts, and the awesome activities you'll do this year.

Psst—If you're not comfortable hosting your own parent meeting, our Membership Development staff can help!

Planning Your FIrst Troop Meeting

As you start to plan the year together, remember: Girl Scout troops can do anything, from camping and high adventure to arts and crafts, to science and engineering activities! It’s important to put your girls and their needs and interests first, but having a well-rounded Girl Scout experience will not only introduce your girls to a wide variety of skills and experiences, it will encourage healthy risk-taking, open minds, and strengthen sisterhood.

To get the full Girl Scout experience, we encourage all troops to:

  • Meet at least once per month during the school year to form a tight-knit troop
  • Choose badges or activities from a variety of skill-building areas
  • Hone their entrepreneurial skills by starting a troop cookie biz through the Girl Scout Cookie Program
  • Explore the great outdoors through an age-appropriate outdoor experience
  • Attend or hold an end-of-year celebration or event to celebrate what they’ve accomplished
  • Learn resilience, risk-taking, confidence, and other crucial life skills at summer camp

Not sure where to start? Check out our sample meeting ideas for each month.

5. Explore Our Resources and Join Our Community

Whatever you want to learn, we’ve got a resource for that.


Congratulations, you are ready to hold your first meeting!
Happy trails to you and your lucky new Girl Scouts—and we're with you every step of the way!

Got questions? Our team is here to support you whenever you need it. Just email info@gsnorcal.org or call 800-447-4475, ext. 2093 and they’ll spring into action.