Troop leaders and their co-leader(s) are cheerleaders, guides, and mentors; helping amazing young leaders develop the skills and confidence that will last a lifetime. Imagine the smiles, the excitement, and the memories made—those are the moments you'll share as a Girl Scout troop leader!
The first step for every troop leader is to become a registered member of USA Girl Scouts Overseas. You can register yourself for adult membership through the usagso.org main page, if you run into any challenges, we have put together tips and tricks to navigating your way to active membership. Check out the “Registration Help" tab. You can also reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with specific questions and assistance. IMPORTANT NOTICE: All Girl Scout troop leaders must complete a background check.
Parents, guardians and girls trust that Girl Scouts is a safe place for them, and USAGSO does not take that trust lightly. We are committed to maintaining policies and procedures that create a safe environment for girls to discover, connect and take action.
Criminal background checks are one of the strategies used to ensure that girls are safe with us. USAGSO's policy is to conduct criminal background checks on new volunteers, and to repeat them every three years. Volunteers with the role of troop leader, OCMT member, cookie coordinator, or episodic volunteer at an overnight event are requird to have a background check.
To find more information about the USAGSO Criminal Background Check policy please click here.
USA Girl Scouts Overseas provides training for both new and returning troop leaders. Once you have registered, you can access required troop leader training, as well as helpful supplemental training through your MYGS account, by navigating to the gsLearn tab. The link to gsLearn is located on the left tab bar of your MYGS account homepage. This tab is your portal to the official Girl Scout training and peer support you will need. While exploring the gsLearn platform, you will find training modules assigned to you when you log on, helpful supplemental training can be found in the gs Learn Content Library. Be sure to complete the required troop leader training: USAGSO 101, Successful Leader Learning Series, Volunteer Toolkit (VTK)
Be sure to opt into emails through your MYGS account. In addition to the new leader email series, USAGSO sends a regular email newsletter called The Globe. The Globe is USAGSO’s e-newsletter, it provides both volunteers and parents with updates and events from overseas, other Stateside councils, and GSUSA. If you are not getting The Globe check your spam/junk mailbox or message email@example.com.
Stepping up to lead a troop is an amazing opportunity to invest in the lives of youth in your community. It is also a major responsibility that our troop leaders take seriously. It is important that troop leaders are familiar with the following documents, also found on the Forms page of usagso.org: Volunteer Policies, Safety Activity Checkpoint, Volunteer Essentials. These documents hold the answers to many important questions like the girl to adult safety ratios, registration requirements, the background check policy, and much, much more. Reviewing these documents will help to keep you and your girls safe.
VOLUNTEER TOOLKIT (VTK)
In addition to required and supplemental training, Girl Scouts provides plans, activities, and girl choice suggestions for completing each badge and journey in the Girl Scout portfolio. You don’t have to recreate the wheel. The VTK is not just an amazing programming tool, but it is also a great way to keep your troop organized, from rosters to troop accomplishments the VTK is your troop management hub. Note: For troops in the EU, the information saved on this password-protected platform is also GDPR approved.
Once you’re registered, you’ll need to find some friends to make the magic happen. Every troop regardless of size or program level needs at least two, non-related adult members to lead the troop. Our very own Girl Scout research institute has found that having at least eight girls and two adults creates a thriving and fun troop atmosphere. Once you are registered you will have access to training, resources, and volunteer vlogs to help you build your troop. If you are stepping up to work with an existing troop, these resources can make the transition smooth, as well as, help you understand how to tap into your current and potential parent/adult resources to maintain a healthy troop size.
As a troop leader, your parents and volunteers will look to you first for support and guidance when it comes to registration and navigating the MYGS system. Once you get them interested, they will need your help getting registered. The registration tips page that helped you register will be a helpful tool for them as well.
OVERSEAS UPDATES: ALL THE NEED-TO-KNOW INFO FOR USAGSO VOLUNTEERS
Throughout the year, USAGSO offers live Overseas Updates webinars as well as Networking and Office Hours. These are wonderful opportunities to hear directly from USAGSO staff and meet other volunteers from communities around the world. You will hear important Girl Scout news and learn about new opportunities available to the members of your community. All of these opportunities are available via gsLearn.
The USA Girl Scouts Overseas Volunteers page is a private group with hundreds of volunteer members all over the world. You are not alone and accessing our large network of experienced guides and enthusiastic novices is key to smoothly navigating the unfamiliar. Answering a few questions helps us keep the group private and gives you access to a world of knowledge. The volunteer Facebook page is a great place to connect with your peers, get advice, and share your successes. If you don’t have Facebook, don’t worry. The information shared on the Volunteer Facebook page can also be found in, our e-newsletter, The Globe.
The Volunteer Facebook page is a private group for USAGSO volunteers, you can direct parents to our public Facebook page, USA Girl Scouts Overseas. In addition to our volunteer group and our public page, there are other great Facebook groups to connect you with leaders across the movement. Check these out:
The Girl Scouts official page
Girl Scouts Leader Chat (unofficial) – by Troop Leader Central
Virtual Girl Scout Activities
Your community or troop may also have a Facebook page, be sure to get connected!
Parent meetings are an opportunity for you to get to know and organize your support system but don’t forget there may be other community members that are willing, excited, and able to support your troop. Speaking with other local troop leaders or Girl Scout community volunteers can help you prepare for this meeting GSUSA also has some helpful resources for planning. The parent meeting is a great way to start your Girl Scouting year, but it shouldn’t be the last time you call your parents together. A mid-year meeting can be useful when planning camping trips or cookie season and an end-of-year meeting is a great opportunity to let your network know the troop needs and recruit support for the upcoming year.
FIRST TROOP MEETING
The Girl Scout Leadership Experience is at the center of our work. The first troop meeting will look different from troop to troop or at different program levels. Don’t worry about starting a badge at the first meeting you are just getting to know your troop and what they hope to accomplish this year. Keep the following in mind to keep the focus on girls.
Many troop leaders are working collaboratively in an Overseas Community. Service on the Overseas Community Management Team gives you the opportunity to develop your leadership skills and support the entire community.
GIRL SCOUT SYSTEMS
As you become more confident navigating the Girl Scouts’ online platforms you will be able to assist and guide your families as they register/renew, make purchases, help their Girl Scouts take advantage of leadership opportunities offered or anything else that comes your way. Remember if you ever get stumped you can always reach out to your OCMT or Overseascustomercare@girlscouts.org.
HONOR ROLL RECOGNITION
Each year USAGSO recognizes communities, troops, and now Juliettes, who go the extra mile to engage the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Honor Troop recognition requires troop leaders to motivate and guide their troops to complete badges and journeys and participate in a variety of activities. Honor Troop recognition also requires both troop leaders to complete their requirements engage their troop families and connect with peers in the USAGSO community.
Are you getting good enough to spot something great? Adult Awards are your opportunity to celebrate the support system that is helping you bring the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to your troop each week. Is there a stand-out parent or another adult member that is always ready to lend a hand or teach your troop a new skill? Is there someone on the OCMT who you would like to give a special thank you? Check out the Adult Awards section of the website and the supplemental training to learn how you can sure your amazing adult members get recognized for all they do!