How you work and interact with Girl Scouts and the atmosphere you create at meetings can affect a Girl Scout’s behavior and self-esteem. The following tips will help troop leaders develop a positive atmosphere at troop meetings and in activities.
Be prepared—it is the Girl Scout motto and a way of life. Have a plan (and a back-up plan) for meetings. Get to meetings early to prepare for both plans. When preparing for a meeting or planning activities, consider the physical differences and the different talents of your Girl Scouts to create an inclusive environment. If a Girl Scout can complete any part of an activity by themselves, let them do so.
Establish Ground Rules
In the beginning of your troop year, you will need to work with your Girl Scouts to establish troop rules and guidelines for behavior. The more say they have in the rules, the more likely they are to follow them. Always remember rules must be fair and reinforced consistently.
Establish a Meeting Agenda
By doing this, you’re creating a routine for your Girl Scouts. After several weeks, they will begin to understand expectations and know what comes next. This is important groundwork for them to begin to take leadership roles within a troop meeting.
Also, be reasonable about time with your troop. Give plenty of warning to when activities on the meeting agenda begin and end.
Reinforce Positive Behavior
Reinforce what you want repeated and acknowledge positive efforts. Showing appreciation and acknowledgement can go a long way with your Girl Scouts. Because everyone has different preferences, you could ask “How do you like to be acknowledged after a job well done?” Perhaps they would like a shout-out in front of the group or a chance to lead the next activity, or maybe they prefer a high five or sticker!
Be a Role Model
You want your Girl Scouts to be kind, respectful, and able to celebrate successes as well as learn from failures. You are a role model for all these traits. If you want respect, give it and if you want enthusiasm, show it.
Be Supportive and Interested
Spend time with your Girl Scouts during troop meetings. Learn all of their names and be sure to get down to their level when speaking to them. When they speak about an issue they care about, show your interest and support.
When your Girl Scouts achieve something important to them—no matter how small—be happy for them. Celebrate success and don’t criticize failure. For example, you can encourage your Girl Scouts by saying, “I’m really impressed at how you’re sticking with this, even though it is very hard for you—that’s a sign of real strength.”
Let Girl Scouts Learn by Experience
Encourage Girl Scouts to find out for themselves and try new things, but offer help and encouragement along the way. Be patient when they are learning. Growth takes time and your patience will aid in this growth.