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Girls & Adults

As a Girl Scout volunteer, you’ll have the opportunity to guide girls of all backgrounds, behaviors, skills, and abilities. You’ll help her develop leadership skills she can use now and as she grows—all in a safe and accepting environment. This Girls & Adults chapter gives you tips for doing just that.

You’ll read about how to effectively mentor girls to reach their highest potential, and how to effectively engage parents and other volunteers.

Engaging Girls at All Grade Levels

One of the key elements of participation in a Girl Scout troop is the group experience. Girl Scout troops are large enough to provide a cooperative learning environment and small enough to allow development of individual girls with a recommended troop size of twelve girls. Data shows that troops have the most positive experience and stay together when they have at least twelve girls. Larger groups tend to have fewer problems with girls not getting along—girls can take a break from each other when there are other girls around. Getting along with people in a group and being tolerant of others are important life skills. Sometimes new volunteers are hesitant to have a larger group of girls. But, with twelve girls (or more), you have more adults to help and spread out the responsibilities.

The following group sizes are recommended ranges for each program level:

  • Girl Scout Daisies: 5–12 girls
  • Girl Scout Brownies: 10–20 girls
  • Girl Scout Juniors: 10–25 girls
  • Girl Scout Cadettes: 5–25 girls
  • Girl Scout Seniors: 5–30 girls
  • Girl Scout Ambassadors: 5–30 girls

Although troop size may vary greatly, all troops need to stay open to a minimum of twelve girls. If the troop is listed in the Troop Catalog, the troop will automatically stay open until twelve girls are registered with the troop. Troops that have fewer girls may meet and carry out their activities, but should always be open to taking more girls. Larger troops can be super fun, and offer lots of opportunities for different groups of girls to interact with each other.

Understanding Healthy Development in Girls

Just being attentive to what girls are experiencing as they mature is a big help to girls. Take some time to understand the likes, needs, and abilities of girls at different ages.

Learn more about Understanding Healthy Development in Girls (pdf)

Creating a Safe Space for Girls

A safe space is one in which girls feel as though they can be themselves, without explanation, judgment, or ridicule. Girl Scout research shows that girls are looking for an emotionally safe environment, where confidentiality is respected and they can express themselves without fear.

For more information on creating a safe environment, go to: Creating a Safe Space for Girls(pdf)

Sensitive Topics

In Girl Scouts, "sensitive issues" are subjects that may be deeply rooted in beliefs and values, or are controversial topics. Examples are topics such as these: relationships, dating, violence, human sexuality, eating disorders, pregnancy, suicide, death, drug/alcohol use, or current events of a controversial nature. It’s not uncommon for girls of any age to spontaneously talk about these topics.

For a better understanding of how to have these conversations with girls, go to: When Sensitive Topics Come Up (pdf)

Creating an Atmosphere of Acceptance & Inclusion

Girl Scouts embraces girls of all abilities, backgrounds, and heritage, with a specific and positive philosophy of inclusion that benefits everyone. Each girl—without regard to socioeconomic status, race, physical or cognitive ability, ethnicity, primary language, or religion—is an equal and valued member of the group, and groups reflect the diversity of the community.

For more on acceptance and inclusion, go to: Creating an Atmosphere of Acceptance & Inclusion (pdf)

Girl Scout Meetings

When and how often to meet is up to you, your co-volunteers, parents, and girls. It may be one-time a month or once a week for this particular group of girls.

For more information on planning your meetings in a girl-led environment and letting girls lead, go to Girl Scout Meetings (pdf)

Preventing & Managing Conflict

Conflicts and disagreements are an inevitable part of life, and when handled constructively can actually enhance communication and relationships. For more on working with girls to prevent and manage conflicts, go to: Preventing & Managing Conflict (pdf)

Sample Troop Year & Reengaging Girls

Here is just one example of how you and the girls could set up your troop year.

  • Hold a parent/guardian meeting.
  • Open a checking account.
  • Register all the girls in the troop.
  • Meet together for the first time, allowing the girls to decide how they can learn each others’ names and find out more about each other.
  • Kick off a leadership Journey with the opening ceremony recommended in the first sample session, or a trip or special event that fits the theme. Have the girls brainstorm and plan any trip or event.
  • Enjoy the full Journey, including its take-action project.
  • Along the way, add in related badge activities that girls will enjoy and that will give them a well-rounded year.
  • Have the girls plan, budget for, and "earn and learn" in the Girl Scout Entrepreneurial Product Program.
  • Help girls plan a field trip or other travel opportunity.
  • Encourage girls to plan a culminating ceremony for the Journey, including awards presentations, using ideas in the Journey girls’ book and/or adult guide.
  • Pre-register girls for next year.
  • Camp out!
  • Participate in a council-wide event with girls from around your region.
  • Have the girls plan and hold a bridging ceremony for girls continuing on to the next Girl Scout grade level.


Reengaging Girls

The end of the troop year doesn’t have to be the end of a girl’s time with Girl Scouting, or the end of your time with girls. Some girls may no longer have time for a full-year commitment and will be unsure what’s next for them. Others won’t be able to imagine their lives without this same group of girls. Here’s how you can best reengage your troop:

  • Some girls may want other options besides troops. That’s okay—Girl Scouts offers many ways to participate. Talk to girls about day and residence camp, travel opportunities, STEM and robotics offerings, and events GSNorCal may offer. Older girls, especially, enjoy these shorter-term, flexible ways to be Girl Scouts.
  • Some girls will be excited to bridge to the next grade level in Girl Scouting, and will look to you for guidance on how to hold a bridging ceremony. Even if you’re not sure of your continued participation with Girl Scouts (and we hope you will find lots of exciting ways to be involved, even if leading a troop no longer fits your life), be sure to capture their excitement and work with them to plan a meaningful bridging ceremony.
  • If you plan to stay with this troop, but some girls are bridging to the next grade level, talk to your VDM or MM about helping them decide how they’d like to continue in Girl Scouting—perhaps in programs like STEM, events, or travel!
  • Talk to girls about earning their Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, or Gold Awards, which are opportunities for them to make a dramatic difference in their communities—and to have plenty to brag about with college admissions officers, too.

And what about you? If you want to stay with this troop, start working with them to plan their group activities next year. And if you’re a little worn out but are interested in staying with Girl Scouts in other, flexible ways, be sure to let your VDM or MM know how you’d like to be a part of girls’ lives in the future. Are you ready to volunteer at camp? Help organize a program series or event? Take a trip? The possibilities are endless.

Friends & Family Network (Adults)

Most parents and guardians are helpful and supportive and sincerely appreciate your time and effort on behalf of their daughters. And you almost always have the same goal, which is to make Girl Scouting an enriching experience for their girls. Learn more about developing your network by going to: Friends & Family Network (Adults) (pdf)

Additional Resources

Raising Awesome Girls. From the time she came into your life, you've only wanted the best for your daughter. You want to see her feel happy and loved, be confident, make new friends, stay healthy, excel in school, and eventually rise up the ranks in a career or life she finds fulfilling. But you also want your girl to be independent, grow into her own person with her own unique strengths and beliefs, and to learn to use her voice. And all of that? Well, it can be overwhelming at times to say the least. That's why we're happy to share straightforward, realistic, and proven parenting advice on everything and anything you might deal with when raising girls. From when to get a family pet and how to help her make new friends to more serious issues like bullying, discussions about current events, and school struggles, we've got you covered. Hand-in-hand, we can take the guesswork out of parenting and bring the fun back in. For the full list of articles, visit: