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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 training, available on your schedule will prepare you to start and lead your new troop with confidence!
  • Resources to help you quickly and easily prepare for meetings.
  • Individual guidance, support, and mentorship from our GSNorCal membership staff, as well as experienced Girl Scout volunteers in your local community.

Ready to get going? Here's how:


1. Request a Troop Number

Submitting the online Troop Number Request Form will kickstart the process of starting your new troop! 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 get this party started by requesting your troop number!

(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.)

Watch this short video to learn more about requesting your troop number:

2. Complete Your Membership

After you submit your Troop Number Request Form, keep an eye out for emails from us to help you finish your volunteer membership, complete your background check, and start your online training.

Once you receive your Welcome email from GSNorCal, click on the link in the email to complete your troop leader adult membership. Annual adult membership dues are $25. Once you've completed your membership, you'll have the option to add another membership for your girl. Annual girl membership is $40 and financial aid is available.

Membership Fees

  • Annual Membership
    (valid 10/1/2019–9/30/2020)
    Girl Membership: $40
    Adult Membership: $25

Watch this short video to learn more about completing your Girl Scout membership:

3. Complete Your Background Check

Once your membership is submitted and your payment is received, you will receive a second email with instructions to complete your electronic background check. Electronic background check fees run about $11.75 (varies by DMV), and financial aid is available.

Watch this short video to learn more about completing your background check:

4. Launch Your Troop

After you complete your membership and your electronic background check is approved, your troop will be set up and displayed in our online Troop Catalog and you will receive your new troop number. Girls and adults who are looking for a troop in your area will see your troop displayed in the troop catalog and will be able to join.

While your troop is forming, get familiar with our resources like the New Leader's Guide to Success and the Girl Scout Playbook, and start your online training to learn more about launching your new troop.

Girl Scout Playbook

Get started by checking out the Girl Scout Playbook which is your digital go-guide for planning a successful troop year filled with the best Girl Scout experiences. The Girl Scout Playbook pulls all the key resources and best advice into one place, organized by Girl Scout program area and grade level.

New Troop Leader Training Path

Learn everything you need to know to get your new troop started by taking our New Leader training course. New troop leaders are required to complete the New Troop Leader course and the steps in the training path below.

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5. Build Your Troop
Connect with Your Service Unit

Your Service Unit is made up of a team of local volunteers in your area who will help you as you get your new troop started and will connect you with other troop leaders in your area! Service Units hold monthly meetings to keep troop leaders up-to-date with local happenings and will help you stay connected with other troop leaders like you!

Recruit Girl Members & Adult 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 (who are not related to you) 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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Join My Troop Fillable Flyer - A customizable flyer to add a description of what makes your troop special!

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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.

Watch this short video to learn more about how girls and adults will register for your troop.

 
Connect and Communicate With Your Troop
6. Start Your Online Training

Everything you need to know to get your new troop started is covered in our convenient, learn at your own pace, online New Troop Leader training. Make sure to create a new account when you first login in and bookmark the page for easy return access! Download the New Troop Leader Training Path document for easy reference.

Part 1: Troop Basics (Avg. 1 hr)

Complete these 5 modules within 15 days of forming your new troop and receiving your new troop number or within 15 days of taking over leadership of an existing troop.

  • Course Introduction (Avg. 5 min)
  • Welcome to GSNorCal: Leading Your Troop (Avg. 12 min)
  • Girl Scout Program Overview (Avg. 18 min)
  • Getting Adults to Help (Avg. 10 min)
  • Opening Your Bank Account (Avg. 15 min)
Part 2: Troop Leadership (Avg. 1 hr, 50 min)

Required BEFORE meeting with parents and girls for your first parent meeting and first girl-only troop meeting.

  • Safety-Wise (2 modules - Avg. 30 min)
  • Creating An Inclusive, Safe Space, for Girls (Avg. 10 min)
  • Meeting With Parents (Avg. 5 min)
  • Meeting With Girls (2 modules - Avg. 30 min)
  • Managing Troop Finances (2 modules - Avg 30 min)
  • Course Completion (Avg. 5 min)
7. Open Your Troop Bank Account

All troops will need to open and maintain a troop bank account to manage troop income and expenses. You will need two adult signers on your troop bank account (troop leader and troop treasurer). All signers must be registered members with a completed and approved electronic background check on file. When you have your two signers in place, you'll want to complete the Bank Account Creation Packet to open your bank account.

8. Get Ready for Your First Meetings
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 Girl Only 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.

9. Explore Our Resources and Join Our Community

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

Join our Online Communities!


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.