New Leader Information

What are the suggested first steps?

Review the information on our council's website.

Review the "Be A Volunteer":
 Review council's website page for new volunteers. While you are at the website, definitely take a moment to browse around and familiarize yourself with its contents and program offerings.

Fill out your volunteer application and registration forms: The volunteer application is filled out one time only but you register as an adult Girl Scout once a year. You also need to submit 3 references using the reference form.

Currently, the dues are $12 each year. You'll also fill out an adult health history form when you complete your troop paperwork.

Volunteer Essentials Book: Each troop receives one paper copy of this book. It contains extremely important information and forms that you'll need. Familiarize yourself with the book so that you know where to find information when you need it. Other volunteers in the troop who do not have a paper copy can view it online at council's website. 
Troop: Work with your service unit Membership Organizer to put together your troop, set up meetings, and pull together your troop registration paperwork. Create a communication system that works for you to keep parents informed and to recruit other troop volunteers.
Leader Meetings:  We meet the first Thursday of every month.  This is a great place to meet other leaders so you can share information and ask questions.

Get trained: Sign up for the training that you need. The required trainings are provided to you at no cost and much of it can be completed online. At this time program level training is only available in a classroom setting. See the training section below.
Read up: Read about the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and the 15 Girl Scout Leadership Outcomes.

What’s a service unit and who is council?

Service Unit: A service unit is a group of troops. We belong to service unit 718 which represents approximately 300 girls in 30 troops attending school district 157-C. We recruit new girls and volunteers; provide information to leaders; organize service unit events; and promote Girl Scouts in our community.

Council: Our service unit is part of the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana council. Girl Scouts GCNWI is one of the largest councils in the country, representing approximately 90,000 girl members and 23,000 adult volunteers in Illinois and northwest Indiana. Council provides training to adult volunteers and provides program opportunities for troops and individual girl members.

Who do I ask for what?

Service Unit Team

Leader Meetings: Leader meetings are held once a month to fill you in on new service unit and program information. They also serve as an opportunity to meet other leaders for swapping ideas. Morning meetings are held on a monthly basis and you are strongly encouraged to attend. The meeting calendar is on the calendar and in the leader section of our website

Service Unit Team/Committees: The service unit team has openings from time-to-time for volunteers wishing to help make Frankfort Girl Scouts a stronger organization. Committees are formed for all service unit events, which are held monthly throughout the school year. The committees are a great opportunity to meet other volunteers and the volunteer work looks great on a resume!

What training do I need?

See the training section for training information.

What should I buy; what should I charge for dues?

Uniforms/books: Uniforms are not required to be a Girl Scout. You can either collect money from parents and purchase everything for them or advise them what to purchase at the Shop themselves.

The Girl Scout Promise Center and Shop
1551 Spencer Rd., Joliet (815) 651-2726, Fax (815) 723-3479 (phone in orders accepted)


Online at

Dues, snacks, etc.: You will need to collect enough money for troop supplies or you can ask parents to donate specific troop supplies (paper, crayons, markers, glue, etc.). Most leaders purchase supplies on an as needed basis for specific activities. You also need to decide if you will purchase and bring snacks yourself or have a snack parent at each meeting. Daisy petals are usually purchased as part of the uniform, but all other program levels purchase badges as they are earned.

Keep in mind if you sell fall product in October, it is an easy way to quickly get money in your account. However, you’ll probably want to still collect about $35 a girl to get started and to hold you over until you get earnings from cookies in January. Badges are $1.25 each. An active troop will easily earn 10 badges a year. Cookie sales are in January and you will collect money for the second half of your year or to put towards special activities and/or parties.


How many parents should I recruit?

Volunteers who help out the troop on a regular basis or those who help carpool need to register as an adult Girl Scout each year. The first year, they also need to fill out the Volunteer and Adult Health History Form as well.

Product Sales/Cookie Parent: This can be one person or two separate people. Important: the cookie parent MUST register as an adult Girl Scout and fill out a volunteer application. They will also need to complete the cookie sales online training when it is made available.

Snack Parent(s): Optional position that works for some troops, not for others.

Troop Volunteer(s): It’s a good idea to find out about the talents and abilities of troop parents so you can tap them to help out on specific projects. The more the parents get involved, the more likely that the family will stay interested in Girl Scouts.


How do I arrange field trips?

Notify Service Unit: As soon as you book a field trip, please email to notify where you are taking a field trip. This will serve as notification to Girl Scouts so you are covered by insurance.

Notify the school: If you meet at school and you are taking a field trip on one of your scheduled meeting dates, send an email to the appropriate school secretary to let them know that your troop will not be meeting.

Grand Prairie: Michelle Barrera –
Chelsea: Deanna Moore – 

Send out the Parent Permission Slip: Download, fill out and save the interactive parent permission form to your computer. You can email it to your parents for them to sign and return back to you.


How do I learn best practices from other leaders?

Attend leader meetings if possible: Service unit leader meetings are a great place to network with other leaders.


Do you have any tips on working with the girls?

  • At all program levels, discuss expected behavior. Ask the girls to help create rules for troop meetings. Younger girls may need posted rules, tape on the floor for boundaries, a written schedule of activities, etc. 
  • Older girls may need to be moved around to keep "cliques" from developing. 
  • On harder activities, such as Daisies using fine motor skills to cut, try pairing up girls so that they can help each other. A girl who finishes an activity quicker might help out a girl who needs assistance. 
  • Girls with too much energy can be paired with lower energy girls to balance each other. 
  • A large troop can seek the assistance of a high school girl to help out at troop meetings in exchange for community service hours.
  • Keep older girls engaged in Girl Scouts by letting them take the lead in planning activities.
  • Girls who misbehave should be taken aside to discus her behavior. It is embarrassing for her to be called out in front of her friends. 
  • Don't hesitate to involve families if a girl is having difficulty in the troop. Parents probably have no idea there's an issue. They may offer suggestions or come an assist at troop meetings.
  • Definitely ask other leaders for suggestions and ideas. 

Where do I find information and ideas online?

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana

Council information; forms; council programs and registration; training information and registration; online council shop; day and resident camp information; alumnae information.

Girls Scouts of USA

Girl Scout program information; advocacy; research results; program outcomes; national online shop (please purchase from the council stores and website when possible because a percentage of sales stays in our local area for local programs and services).


Lauren Wander-Ziemba,
Nov 1, 2010, 1:54 PM