I signed up to be a troop leader when Juliette was in 1st grade, she was a Daisy and they needed more leaders, so I signed on. The first year I learned a lot of lessons that I took into account when staying on board to be a troop leader for a second year.
First, not all parents are created equal – just because a girl in your troop is sweet, kind and enjoyable, it doesn’t mean the parents are.
Second, parents are into scouts WAY MORE than the kids sometimes.
Third, parents want to be involved, but don’t want the responsibility, so instead, they look over your shoulder.
At the end of the year I learned the following:
1. If you don’t like how I do things as the leader, take your ball and go home (which many parents did)
2. If you want to help, then ask for SPECIFIC help, don’t just willy nilly ask.
3. Love what you are doing, it makes the meetings go by faster and the parents less likely to annoy you.
Now, we are a little more organized, in our second year of scouting, we are Brownies. Big time stuff folks! These girls want to sell cookies, earn bling, get badges, participate in activities and have FUN. What a change from year one to year two. The parents are AMAZING and as a troop of 8, the girls get along, even though they are all from different schools, they don’t form cliques and don’t pair off. It is great. I have an amazing co-leader, who even though she doesn’t have a girl in the group, she is right there holding my hand and helping me through my first year doing fall sales and now cookie sales. It is not as easy as one may think.
So, last year I learned about parents, how to treat them, what to expect (or not expect) and how to get the troop organized and set up. This year I am learning about girls, girl conflicts, girl personalities and how all second grade girls are not created equal. Not everyone wants to do everything, and I need to accept that as hard as it is. Not every girl is as loud, talkative or outspoken as I am, and that is okay. As a group, all girls get along, in pairs (or threes) that is not the case, pick your battles and divide and conquer.
I love my troop and I love what we have been doing this year, they have learned some amazing things so far and have really bonded over some fun experiences. They have been great at selling cookies and the parents have been equally amazing at being so supporting and understanding.
It is a continual learning process – I learn something new each week, sometimes each day. I can’t believe how much these girls teach me about myself and I am grateful for every second that I learn from them.
Thank you to the girls, their parents and all of those who support Girl Scouts. Thanks to you, I am learning more about myself and more about being a leader than I ever thought I would learn.