Depending on the ages of your girls, you might take the lead in
guiding the structure and experiences of your troop—from how and when
meetings are held to how the troop communicates, from steering
girl-led activities to setting financial expectations. You’ll make
these decisions collaboratively with your troop leadership team, as
well as with input from the girls and their parents and caregivers.
Use these questions to guide your conversation with your troop
leadership team before discussing these topics with parents and caregivers.
- When will we meet and for how long? How frequently should we
schedule troop meetings?
- Where will we meet? Your meeting
space should be somewhere safe, clean, and secure that allows all
girls to participate. Some great meeting space ideas include
schools, places of worship, libraries, and community centers. If
working with teens, consider meeting at coffee shops, bookstores, or
other places they enjoy.
- Which components of the uniform
will families need to purchase? Which uniform components will the
troop provide for each girl?
- Will our troop be a single
grade level or facilitated as a multi-level troop with girls
of many grade levels combined into one troop? If multi-level, how
will we make sure they each get an age-appropriate experience?
- How will we keep troop activities and decisions girl-led? Use
the Volunteer Toolkit to help you through this process by exploring
options for activities and reviewing the meeting plans and resources
- How often are we going to communicate to troop
families? Which channels will we use to keep families in the loop?
Effective communication will help set expectations and clarify parent/
- Will our troop charge dues, use
product program proceeds, and/or charge per activity? How much money
will we need to cover supplies and activities? What should our
financial plan look like?
- What will your troop/group and
family agreements look like? Be sure to include the girls when
developing a troop agreement.
Choosing a Meeting Place
What makes a great meeting space? It depends on your troop, but
here are a few considerations as you visit potential spaces:
Cost: The space should be free to use.
Size: Make sure the space is large enough for the whole group
and all planned activities.
Availability: Be sure the space is available for the day and
the entire length of time you want to meet.
Resources: Ask if tables and chairs come with the room and
ensure that the lighting is adequate. A bonus would be a cubby of some
sort where you could store supplies or a safe outdoor space for activities.
Safety: Potential spaces must be safe, secure, clean, properly
ventilated, heated (or cooled, depending on your location), free from
hazards, and have at least two exits that are well-marked and fully
functional. Also be sure first-aid equipment is on hand.
Facilities: Make sure that toilets are sanitary and accessible.
Communication-friendly: Check for cell reception in the
potential space and whether Wi-Fi is available.
Allergen-free: Ensure that pet dander and other common
allergens won’t bother susceptible girls during meetings.
Accessibility: Your space should accommodate girls with
disabilities as well as parents with disabilities who may come to meetings.
Need a few talking points to get started? Try:
“I’m a Girl Scout volunteer with a group of [number of girls] girls.
We’re doing lots of great things for girls and for the community, like
[something your group is doing] and [something else your troop is
doing]. We’re all about leadership—the kind that girls use in their
daily lives and the kind that makes our community better. We’d love to
hold our meetings here because [reason why you’d like to meet there].”
Stuck and need additional support? Contact your volunteer support
specialist or your service unit support team for help with a troop
Note: Troop meetings may never be held at a private home/residence;
please reach out to your volunteer support specialist for more
details. An occasional chaperoned event (i.e. BBQ, party, etc.) may
take place at a private home/residence. A chaperoned event means
there is one adult guardian/caregiver for every girl in attendance.
If even one girl does not have a dedicated adult chaperone, then every
person living in the home over the age of 18 must have a membership,
pass a criminal background check and proof of homeowner's insurance
must be provided
If your group or troop can’t
meet in person or hold a traditional meeting, there are so many ways
to bring the power of Girl Scouting home! Meeting virtually can be a
fun, engaging option for your troop.
Before setting up a virtual meeting, you’ll want to:
- Partner with troop families to make sure the girls are safe
- Select a meeting platform that allows families who
may not have internet access to call in.
Think about logistics: work with the girls to
set up ground rules; consider how you’ll incorporate in-person
meeting traditions in your virtual space and how you’ll keep the
meeting on track.
- Talk with families on how to keep activities girl-led if your girls will be
completing them from home.
And don't worry if your girls want to use a web or social platform
you’re not as familiar with, because you’ll learn alongside them! For
more tips on successful virtual meetings, check out the For Troop Leaders section of Girl Scouts at
Home. Find more resources at GSCO
on the Go.
Girl Scout Troop Size
The troop size “sweet spot”
is large enough to provide an interactive and cooperative learning
environment and small enough to encourage individual development.
Though the ideal troop size is 12 girls, we recommend that groups be
no fewer and no more than:
- Girl Scout Daisies: 5–12 girls
- Girl Scout Brownies:
- Girl Scout Juniors 10–25 girls
Scout Cadettes: 5–25 girls
- Girl Scout Seniors: 5–30
- Girl Scout Ambassadors: 5–30 girls
A Girl Scout troop/group must have at minimum three girls and two
approved adult volunteers. (Double-check the volunteer-to-girl ratio
chart to make sure you’ve got the right amount of coverage for your
troop!) Adults and girls registering in groups of fewer than three
girls and/or two approved, unrelated adult volunteers, at least one of
whom is female, will be registered as individual Girl Scouts to more
accurately reflect their status and program experience. Troops that
have less than five girls must remain open in the online troop catalog
to accept up to at least five girls. Individual girls are always
welcome to participate in Girl Scout activities and events.
Registering Girls and Adults in Girl Scouting
Every participant (girl or
adult) in Girl Scouting must register and become a member of Girl
Scouts of the USA (GSUSA). GSUSA membership dues are valid for one
year October 1 - September 30. Membership dues cannot be transferred
to another member and are not refundable.
Early Bird registration for the upcoming membership year occurs in
the spring. Girls are encouraged to register early to avoid the fall
rush. Early registration allows for uninterrupted receipt of forms and
materials from the council, helps girls and councils plan ahead, and
gets girls excited about all the great stuff they want to do as Girl
Scouts next year. Girl Scout grade level is determined by the current
membership year beginning October 1.
Lifetime membership is available to anyone who
accepts the principles and beliefs of the Girl Scout Promise and Law,
pays the one-time lifetime membership fee, and is at least 18 years
old (or a high school graduate or equivalent). Volunteers with ten or
more years of service can become lifetime members at the discounted
young alum rate.
Adding New Girls to Your Troop
Growing your troop is a great
way to share the power of the Girl Scout experience and there are many ways to get the word out , like hanging posters at
your girls’ schools, using social media to reach families in your
community, or including your troop in your council’s Opportunity
Catalog or Troop Catalog.