Calling All Volunteers! Getting Parents and Other Troops to Help


Photo credit: kconnors from morguefile.com

For me, being a Girl Scout leader is a job that keeps my creative juices flowing, as well as keep my teaching skills well honed. Unlike teaching, where I was alone in a room with up to 28 children, I have a terrific co-leader and many parent volunteers.

A friend of mine, who is also a leader, asked how I get parents to volunteer.
First of all, when I signed up for this job, it was under the condition that my troop moms would be available to help. Fortunately for me, I had many helpers.

This year, my troop grew from seven to twelve girls. With so many first graders, I feel it necessary to have another mom or two besides my co-leader.

For each meeting, I simply ASK for volunteers! In my first email to everyone, I gave a list of dates and asked for volunteers. This is helpful for parents who work full-time, but who also want to help. They clear a date a month or two in advance, and have reserved their spot.

I also ask for help in each and every email I send to parents. If I do not get any response, I ask again!

Older troops wanting to earn badges for helping younger scouts are also a tremendous help. Contact your local council and see if they can give you the phone number of a Junior troop leader who is willing to have her girls volunteer. The younger scouts love the attention from the older girls, and the older girls get a real confidence boost by helping the younger scouts. It’s a win-win situation!

How to Earn the Respect Authority Daisy Petal (Magenta)

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Respecting authority is important for all children. There are many members of our local community who can help the girls earn this petal.

My troop asked our principal to come speak to us. Since we meet after-school, this was easy for her to do. She read the girls the book “The Principal From the Black Lagoon” and they did an activity with her based on it. She then took the girls on a tour of her office! Being in kindergarten at the time, they were very impressed. It looked big, spacious, and it was a place that they knew they did not want to go to when they were older!

At the end of the tour we took a photo that they put into their Girl Scout scrapbook.

The Principal from the Black Lagoon
The Principal from the Black Lagoon

When my older daughter was a Girl Scout, she went on afield trip to the police station. This is a good idea to do instead of a regular meeting. Just be sure to get all of your paperwork done for your field trip well in advance and to get your troop permission number.

Celebrate Girl Scout Founder’s Day and Juliette Gordon Lowe-A Craft for All Levels

My sample project

Juliette Gordon Lowe founded of the Girl Scouts of America in 1912. Her birthday is on October 31st, and many troops do crafts and activities during the month of October to celebrate her life.

Our troop did not get to celebrate in October, but we did in January.

I took out a children’s biography of Ms. Lowe from the library and read it at home. I put sticky notes on the relevant parts that would be of interest to the girls, like her nickname being “Daisy” and how she became deaf in one ear (a freak accident involving a grain of rice on her wedding day). I also emailed all of the girls’ mothers to have them bring one empty toilet paper tube for the craft. (as leader, be sure to bring a few extra, just in case!)

I started the meeting by asking them if they knew anything about Ms. Lowe. No one did, so I read the portions of the book and showed them all of the pictures. After I was done, I passed out the American Sign Language chartand taught the girls how to sign the name “Daisy”. We did each letter and my volunteers helped the girls form the letters if any girl needed it.

Then I had the girls sign their own name.

For the craft, I was inspired by this idea. I purchased candy and red ribbon at 75% off during the after-Christmas sales. I used tissue paper instead of wrapping paper because it worked better on the paper roll and the girls could decorate it. All tissue paper and ribbon were cut before the meeting.

After each girl got her roll, the moms helped pass out equal amounts of candy to each girl and they placed them in the tube. Then they rolled the tissue paper on and the moms taped the sides down. The girls twisted the ends and tied the ribbon using two knots (bows were too hard).

The girls used Sharpies to decorate the outside.

You may want to tie this craft in with earning the red Daisy petal, Courageous and Strong.

Juniors and Senior scouts can use this idea for charity. They can do this craft in bulk to make party favors for a younger sister troop or to give as gifts for senior citizens.

How to Earn the Green Daisy Petal With This Fun Craft

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My daughter’s finished project

Typically, each meeting that I have with my troop is planned around earning a Daisy petal. Since our schedule this year has us only meeting once at the end of February, I did not want my Daisies to miss any Valentine’s Day fun! I decided to incorporated the two.

This activity helps the girls earn the green Daisy petal “Use Resources Wisely”.  If you give the craft to others, for example, a senior citizen home, then it can also be used to earn the rose petal (Make the World a Better Place) and earn the spring green Daisy petal (Considerate and Caring).

I adapted Class Act Apple for Valentine’s Day. Brownie troops can do more of the work themselves. Juniors can adapt this craft using fabric to earn a sewing patch. Or, just for fun, this can be made no sew with the use of a hot glue gun (adult supervision needed).

Just a note-I always make a sample craft. By doing this, you can avoid mistakes and mishaps. For example, I was planning on using Elmer’s wet glue, but it just did not stick to the paper bag well enough. It kept sliding the hearts around.

I did the prep work at home. I cut enough paper bags into heart shapes, and labeled the hearts on the inside so they would match up properly. I had my seven year old twins use a foam paint brush and some tempera paint to paint one of the hearts red. Two coats was enough. When they were dry, I matched up the two ends and paperclipped them together.

I bought floral wire and cut strands about 16 inches long. I also purchased heart stickers at Staples for this craft.

At the meeting, we talked about the meaning of Valentine’s Day. I then read them the story, Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse.

Mama, Do You Love Me?
Mama, Do You Love Me?

Inside, I had my co-leader and three other moms (yes, lucky me, I have plenty of volunteers most meetings!) heating up the hot glue guns. (Ask in advance for the girls to bring them in with glue sticks) Once the story was done, we brainstormed ideas to write on the heart. The we passed out the hearts, the stickers, and black Sharpie markers.

The girls put their names on the back and starting writing and decorating. When they were done, they went up to one of the moms who hot glued the sides about 2/3 of the way. Then the girls went back to the table, stuffed the hearts with fiberfill, and then returned to have them hot glued shut.

Once they were glued shut, I punched holes on each side and showed the girls how to twist the wire to make it not stick out.

With the extra time, we made Valentine’s Day cards.

Note-this can also be done for a Mother’s Day craft as well.