The Girl Scout leadership (or Girl Scout-led) model encourages Girl Scouts to take increasing responsibility for planning and implementing activities. No matter where your troop is in this progression, remember to not do anything for your Girl Scouts that they can do for themselves—even if it takes a little longer. Troop leaders can use the following tips to incorporate the Girl Scout-led model at every grade level.
Girl Scout-Led for Daisies (Grades K-1)
As the troop leader of a Daisy troop, you will be making the majority of troop decisions; however, it’s important to let your Girl Scouts know that by sharing their opinions and ideas they will be guiding the activity of their troop. You’ll want to repeat activities that they really enjoyed, listen to their ideas on how to make activities even more fun, and give them the opportunity to ask questions or predict what is going to happen next.
Girl Scouts at the Daisy Age
Girl Scouts at this age love to be helpers. You can allow them to help collect forms, take attendance, pass out up supplies, lead a game, choose a song to sing, and other small tasks. Daisies may need to practice taking turns when talking and sharing—the Daisy circle (troop government for Daisies) is a great way to help to your troop learn to be open to others’ ideas and to cooperation.
Here some ways to ensure girls are taking the lead in your Daisy troop:
Allow them to make simple choices, such as which petal to work on at the next meeting, or to decide between two field trip options. Try to limit choices to two, so they are not overwhelmed.
Allow them to take on responsibilities that are short and easy enough to accomplish.
Help them identify new experiences with ones they already know.
Girl Scout-Led for Brownies (Grade 2-3)
As the troop leader of a Brownie troop, you will take a moderator role and help your Girl Scouts make informed choices. You’ll want to let them plan as much as possible, giving them the freedom to solve problems on their own. If they’re not making mistakes, they’re not doing the planning. When your Girl Scouts ask to do something that you don’t know how to do, find another adult who can help make it happen. With these suggestions, always keep in mind health and safety guidelines and step in when you feel it is necessary.
Girl Scouts at the Brownie Age
Girl Scouts that are Brownie age can generate ideas for activities that they want to do. Sometimes their brainstorming can get silly, but that’s part of the fun! Someone may say, “let’s go to the moon” which might inspire a memorable stargazing trip. The Brownie ring (troop government for Brownies) is an excellent way for your troop to have discussions and make decisions.
Here are some ways to ensure your Girl Scouts are taking the lead in your Brownie troop:
Encourage them to be creative and add their own flair to projects and activities.
Let them try new things and make mistakes trying them.
Let them do the talking with meeting guests, their troop mates, other troops, or the Service Unit.
Ask thoughtful questions instead of just providing answers.
Let them decide between multiple options.
Girl Scout-Led for Juniors (Grades 4-5)
As the troop leader of a Junior troop, you will step back even more and will start to advise and facilitate. You’ll want to let your Girl Scouts take turns moderating discussions, decide how they want to plan sessions and activities, begin and end meetings, and even try leading meetings.
Girl Scouts at the Junior Age
Girl Scouts at this age can participate in all steps of planning activities and carrying out tasks. Even if planning activities for your troop would be easier, they’ll learn much more from participating in the planning process than from just doing the activity. Girl Scouts that are not helping with the planning tend to lose interest fast. Juniors should also be able to set goals with some guidance.
Let them choose their own Take Action Project (one they really care about) and call, interview, and email prospective community members to be their project guides. Let them act alongside other adults in the community who have come forward to assist them in their action plans and develop additional ways to research community needs.
Let them select field trips to enrich their leadership Journey or Girl Scouts River Valleys planning guides.
Girl Scout-Led for Cadettes (Grades 6-8)
As the troop leader of a Cadette troop, you will coach your Girl Scouts so that they can lead the planning, decision-making, learning, and fun for their troop. This ensures that they are engaged in their learning and experience leadership opportunities as they prepare to become active participants in their local and global communities.
When your Girl Scouts are planning a project or activity, you may need to think through tasks that will need to happen, consider their readiness level for those tasks, and if the tasks could be broken down into smaller steps to help them be successful. You should also consider which tasks are essential to group safety.
Girl Scouts at the Cadette Age
As Girl Scouts become teens, their personalities continue to develop. Girl Scouts at this age are beginning to form peer groups based on their similar interests. When engaging in discussion and debate, they may need guidelines for depersonalizing arguments. The Patrol, Executive Board, and Town Meeting System (forms of troop government) are great ways for Girl Scouts at this age to have discussion and make decisions.
Girl Scout-led Examples
Here are some ways to ensure your Girl Scouts are taking the lead in your Cadette troop:
Expose them to opportunities to teach or guide others as well as support their community in providing service to others.
Encourage them to plan challenging activities and serve as a resource for them.
Think about coaches in sports—the coaches don’t generally play in the game; they provide encouragement and direction from the sidelines.
Girl Scout-Led for Seniors (Grades 9-10)
As the troop leader of a Senior troop, you will mentor and cheer on your Girl Scouts while being careful to not take over. You’ll want to act as a guide and resource for them as they plan their own complex projects.
Your Girl Scouts should be doing most of the goal setting and planning. You may need to think through tasks that will need to happen, consider their readiness level for those tasks, and if the tasks could be broken down into smaller steps to help them be successful. You should also consider which tasks are essential to group safety.
Girl Scouts at the Senior Age
Girl Scouts at this age are used to responsibility and have been gradually stepping into leadership roles. They need time to talk between actions in order to fully learn from their experiences and to keep growing.
Seniors not only benefit from working in teams but from speaking openly and often about how teamwork is working out. The patrol system, executive board, and town meeting system (forms of troop government) are great ways for Girl Scouts at this age to have discussion and make decisions.
Girl Scout-led Examples
Here are some ways to ensure your Girl Scouts are taking the lead in your Senior troop:
Focus on what they want to do and the natural direction they seem to be taking.
Encourage them to question or investigate things they normally take for granted.
Encourage them to take what excites them and share it with younger Girl Scouts, peers, and family.
Engage them in scheduling how often, when, and where to meet.
Have them drive most of the planning, organization, and implementation of projects.
Encourage them to take trips and engage in other activities that spark their imaginations.
Help them identify topics that matter to them.
Girl Scout-Led for Ambassadors (Grades 11-12)
As the troop leader of an Ambassador troop, your success is measured by how much you let go. You’ll want to be less active as your Girl Scouts become more confident in their abilities.
Your Girl Scouts should be doing the goal setting and planning. You may need to think through tasks that will need to happen, consider their readiness level for those tasks, and if the tasks could be broken down into smaller steps to help them be successful. You should also consider which tasks are essential to group safety.
Girl Scouts at the Ambassador Age
Girl Scouts at this age are maturing into active, conscientious adults. They will want varying degrees of direction and advice, but they’ll mostly be counting on you to be their biggest advocate.