Your Thoughts on Girl Scouts

Updated on February 07, 2012
L.M. asks from Chicago, IL
11 answers

Hi Mamas - so my daughter is in Kindergarten and there are enough girls interested in her grade to start a troop. There is one mom who has committed to being a leader and I'm seriously considering it also (two leaders are required). The other kids' parents are not able to be leaders for a variety of reasons, so if I do not do it, the troop is not formed. I've talked to the woman who would be our "leader mentor" and she was very informative and committed. I'll also be calling the other mom who has committed to leading as well.

Before I commit, I was hoping to get your thoughts on this. I've never lead a group of kids like this before, nor been in a position to deal with all their moms (in a leadership roll like this) and their different personalities and expectations.

I know they do fund raisers and such to earn money for activities etc, but I'm wondering, honestly, how much money you have put of your own to make activities happen?

Thanks so much!

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answers from San Francisco on

I agree with everything makingmusicmama said. I'm not a troop leader but I am the "nut mom" and am pretty involved in my daughter's troop. She has been in her troop since kindergarten and she is now in 8th grade. She is in an exceptional troop and the troop leaders are all very organized and committed. We've had a fantastic experience with GS but not all troops are that way. The GS organization gets more and more political each year and IMO they lose focus of the girls and are becoming too "corporate". My daughter has gained invaluable skills and has made lifetime friends(as have I). There is much to be gained from GS you just have to have good leaders and be willing to deal with the BS. As for out of pocket expenses, it is likely there will be some. It all depends on how many girls you have (I'd keep it to about 6 max), what kind of activities they want to do and if you sell cookies or nuts.

I tried for years to get my younger daughter in a troop and I never could. The only way it was going to happen was if I started my own troop. In the end I though it would be too much for me. It's a very big commitment and I just didn't have it in me to do it. I work full time and it would take more time and energy than I was willing to give. After having been the team mom for one of my daughter's sports teams I've realized that dealing with parents in that capacity was not easy and somewhat stressful. If it were just the awesome kids, no problem but the parents...forget it!

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Tulsa on

How I regret not starting my own troop. Most leaders last two years and now I am a leader. We are finally doing some FUN things, but there is a lot of boring bookwork which I would not do. The Journeys are hideous if you spend the meetings reading the books together.

It totally depends on the leaders what your experience will be. It is not as stressful as some moms make it. For one thing, don't sell cookies or nuts. Get someone or a business to sponsor the troop at $250 per year. Or have dues of $20 per child. Cookies sell for 3.50 per box and your troop gets 35 cents. If you sell enough, you might get 5 more cents plus some prizes. So not worth it to me.

Accept only girls in ONE grade, your daughter's grade. Do not accept K and 1, both Daisies this year. Next year the 1st graders become Brownies and you will have to juggle two curriculums. A group of kids in multiple grades is impossible. I was in one of those troops. No one was happy.

Also, limit it to girls at your school. That ensures you KNOW them or can get to know them. We have a girl who comes from across town, we never see her except at meetings, and the girls don't know her either.
She simply does not participate like locals do.

Leaders decide day, time, and location of meeting. Then you invite the girls. Be clear and firm. Do not allow council, parents, or kids to pressure you into accepting other girls. Say no.

Another thing is many moms will want to bring other kids and hang out. This is disruptive and against the rules. Only moms who join and pass the background check may stay.

Some moms want it to be their social hour and used half the meeting room as their therapy session. Inappropriate and the leader had a hard time getting them to stop. It took three discussions. Meetings were interrupted, kids were running around, and the leader nearly quit. Boundaries from the beginning eliminate and prevent such nonsense.

Siblings/tagalongs are not allowed. I would have the meeting at school, right after school, if you could. Then make it clear that parents are to pick up the girls in the front lobby at 4:30 or whatever unless they arranged daycare with the provider at school. in some troops.

You can choose to meet over the summer or not. It was fun to have a pool party, to hike, and such. We had time to do some longer activities.

Have fun and enjoy it. You and your daughter will have wonderful memories. Don't let things stress you out. and other sites are excellent resources. Experienced leaders will help you.

As for the money, I asked relatives to sponsor our troop. One wrote a check for $300 per year. It cost me nothing. If you don't know anyone you could ask, the badges are our biggest expense. Simply require parents to pay for their own badges.

I asked other leaders. The money spent was for crafts and food to make snacks. They spent from $50-300 per year. Most said they asked parents to chip in. No one should finance their own troop unless you are willing and able to do it.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

I led a troup of 35 brownies for four years and loved almost every minute of it. You will get out of it what you put into it. We earned badges, went camping (in lodges), did a lot of community service, marched in parades, sold cookies, had father/daughter dances, and made lasting memories and friendships.

We charged dues twice a year and never really had to put any of our own money, except my daughter's dues.

I would do it over again in a heartbeat!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I've been a troop leader for several years, and am also our area's Event Director, I love Girl Scouts (clearly!) but it can be a nightmare depending on the troop and the particular mix of girls and parents.
First and MOST importantly, make sure ALL the parents are involved on some level, otherwise the leaders end up doing everything, which is not fair and you will get burned out quickly. Working parents can help too. Some of our troop parent jobs were treasurer (manages troop finances) cookie mom (is in charge of cookie sales/booth) camping mom (organized one trip per year) etc. You can determine parent jobs based on the interests of your girls and families, but make it clear up front that everyone will be expected to help out. After your troop is formed hold a parent meeting and HAVE A SIGN UP SHEET so parents can choose which job they would like to take on.
Secondly, go to your local service unit meetings. This is where you connect with other leaders and learn about local events. Our service unit hosts play days, songfests, skating parties, camporees and lots of other fun, low cost activities for the girls in our area. You should be getting this information from the current leaders at your daughter's school.
As far as money goes you should not spend ANY of your own! When I was a girl we brought $2 dues to each meeting, but these days most parents prefer to write a check up front. Once you have a treasurer she can open a troop account and then each family can write a check to the troop. $50 per girl per year is usually sufficient to cover basic expenses (supplies for crafts, patches, etc.) If you do fall sales and/or cookies you will earn quite a bit of money there as well.
Start slow and have fun. Meet about once per month in the beginning and take it from there. Do the online training and reach out to other leaders for tips and advice. Good luck :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Canton on

Girl Scouts are such a precious memory for our children. I was a scout for 7 yrs-LOVED IT! Both my daughters are in Girl Scouts. We have so many fun events, daddy/daughter dances-priceless! Pottery, sewing, camping, swimming.. the list goes on and on. We have a large troop and an excellent leader. She's amazing, works full time, has 3 children of her own. Our meetings are only twice a month for an hour, which is good with families who have so many things going on. The moms usually all stay at our meetings, they can drop thier girls off if they want tho. We sell cookies/nuts and as far as I know the leader doesn't spend too much of her own money. Just think of the fun memories your daughter will have with YOU! Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I've been a troop leader for 7 years. I started with a Junior troop and have moved up with my daughter as she moved up. I have never spent my own money. I have also never had many of the problems that MusicMakingMama has had except one time a girl got dropped off with a friend. I gave her an application and told her she had to join the troop to come back and it's never been a problem since. I totally agree on setting boundaries with the parent. They need to know from day one that this is for the girls and they can't stay. The best way IMO to handle this is to give them an adult application and tell them that they have to be a member and background checked to stay, most of them don't want any part of it. But you have to do this on day one. I do this at a parent meeting before the first troop meeting at the beginning of each season. Another thing to know is that different councils have different rules. Our council does not force us into two age group troops. Once the girls age out the council helps us to find a different troop for the girls moving up. The only troops in our council with multiple age groups are the Cadette/senior/ambassador levels, and ONLY if the leaders are willing to take them on, but IMO older girls are easier. As far as selling cookies and nuts, I've never had daisies so I can't say if it's worth it, but it's imperative for the older girls and it's totally worth it. My girls made over $1500.00 one year. We use the money for supplies and things but mostly to go to Girls Scout activities. Camping is always at the top of the list of favorites. Right now we're looking at a trip to NYC to visit Headquarters. This will probably take a few extra fundraisers and at least 2 years, but without the cookie and nut sales it can't happen. Being a leader can be a rewarding experience and it's totally worth it. I say go for it and have fun!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I've adopted Aunt Me! Me! was my go to girl for Daisy Scouts. It's great to have mentor.

I"ll pm you when i have more time to share my experience limited though it is.



answers from New York on

First of all, Thank you to all the moms who are leaders.

I've been a GS mom for 11 years. One daughter is a senior, the other an ambassador. Both hubby and I are registered GS and registered volunteers.

There's only truly one way to know if it's going to work for you. That's to give it a try and do your best. As with everything in life, it's a learning and growing process. If you and your co-leader are on the same page and have similar goals for your troop you'll do fine. Focus on your strengths and weeknesses, maybe your coleader has experience working with other moms. Ask questions, seek the help of others when needed, learn from your mistakes.

As far as money goes, to the best of my knowledge the expenses that a leader incurs are for training and traveling, and uniform. (adults do not need a uniform, but most will buy a shirt to wear for special occassions and outings) As a parent, I've driven hundreds of miles over the years and only twice have I been given any gas money, which wasn't even enough to cover the total cost of gas, much less wear and tear on my vehicle. I consider my milage to be a charitable contribution.

As far as money for activities, as a leader the troop should cover your expenses. (you'll need to pay for your daughters activities) I heard of troops charing as little as $10 a year for dues, and some charging $75. Some only do one activity a year, others do something every month. It all depends on what you want for your troop.

My girls have been in many troops over the years, some great leaders and wonderful experiences, others not so good. One of the troops I was in, all parents were encouraged to regsiter and volunteer, and were invited to stay at the meeting. In another troop, the leader and co-leader wanted no parents at their meeting. All of the troops we were in, except one, met weekly, tried the bi-weekly with one troop, but it didn't work for that group. It's your troop, do what works for you and your coleader.

I'm sure you'll make a great leader. Best of luck to you.



answers from Colorado Springs on

I think there are a lot of fabulous, L., caring women involved with girl scouts. However, we will never be involved with them or their organization (or buy their cookies!) because of their very close relationship with Planned Parenthood, their feminist agenda, and their covert way of teaching inappropriate things about sex to little girls. If any of those things might be a sticking point for you, I know they are not for everyone, then you might want to look into the organization a little bit closer. A friend of mine used to be a troop leader. She finally quit when she was told she must teach sex education (and lesbianism) to her little troop of girls *without their parents' permission.* She now leads a Heritage Girls troop so her daughter can have similar "girl scouts" activities, but with a better focus.


answers from Rockford on

I didn't read others answers, so sorry if you already read what I will say! :) My daughter was in scouts from 2nd grade to 6th, and her main leader was one of the most committed and creative women ever! I was asst. leader for part of that time, but all I did was show up and do what the other leader needed me to do!!

That being said, the cookie sales makes a LOT of your money, then there are the dues, that also help offset cost for activities and projects. There are a lot of free and cheap things to do and also, a lot of places will offer discounts for scouts for a field trip. What we would do then is maybe cover half the fee w/ GS money and the girls paid for half. Also, Amy (the other leader) used Michael coupons a LOT to buy stuf for our projects, and she would use the GS money to cover that. She had to set up a business account, and we both had access to it. She was also able to get a tax exempt id number to use to purchase our supplies. (talk to your council about this.)

There is SO much for the girls to do and learn! It's a lot of fun and I really hope you give it a try! It also supports sisterhood and has so many teachable moments (when you have girls who maybe aren't getting along or have different personalities!)

Best of luck!



answers from Chicago on

My mother was the leader for my troop and it was a wonderful experience for me! My daughter wanted to join this year, but there were no openings for her. If there would of been enough other girls, I would of volunteered to be her leader! Good luck!

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