How Do I Start The Year As A New Troop Leader, Starting With No Funds?

This is the very first post from a new series called “Ask a Leader Advice”. Leaders write in and I answer their questions. If I have ideas, or have wrote other helpful tips about the topic they are below as well. If you have a question that needs answered, email me at jodicarlson@leaderconnectingleaders.com.

I also encourage other leaders to add their advice in the comments below. I am only one leader offering my advice from my perspective.  I look forward to answering your questions each week and helping other leaders get their voices heard here as well.

Leader’s Question

“I’m a new leader and need help with where to start from scratch! Is it better to ask for a start up fee, to get supplies Or what do you suggest? We are literally starting from scratch. I need ideas on having are very first 1st meeting.”

Advice from one leader to another….

There are a number of things that come to mind to get you started with some funds for your very first meeting:

  • Your Troop Dues: First thing your going to want to figure out is how much you want to set your monthly dues for your troop. That is going to depend on your location, I have seen troops require $25 or $50 a month dues, while in other areas including where I ran my troop we only expected $11 dollars a year, because many of our families were low income and could not afford large dues, so instead we did a lot more fundraisers to raise money for troop expenses. If you then ask everyone to pay their first months dues before your first meeting you will have some money to buy supplies for first meeting.
  • Bake Sale: Another option you can do is start with a bake sale to raise some start up funds to fill your wish list of supplies. You will need to check with your council on what type of permissions you have to have to hold a bake sale, but in our council we could run a parent run bake sale where girls helped run it but parents were ones donating the bake goods so we could run a bake sale during the same time as fall product sales were going on. (Again please check with your council on all your rules in your area)
  • Girls Bring Supplies: This would be similar to getting ready for school supplies, put together a list of what you need each girl to have, and have boxes with girls names on them. They bring their own supplies to be stored in their box, or split up the items you need and ask each girl bring one of the items to fill your wish list of supplies.
  • Troop Birthday Party: If your just starting out that means this is your troops birthday. What could be fun is make your first meeting a birthday party for your troop. Girls can get to know each other, play games, work on the Girl Scout Ways Badge to get girls introduced to scouting traditions. Each year you can hold a small troop birthday party to celebrate how your troop began.  Be sure to take a group picture each year, if you are like some troops mine included girls are together for 12 years and its great to see how much they grow each year.
    • As for funding the party you could have everyone bring something to share, ask parents to make cupcakes. Along with using any of the above ideas to collect funds to start troop.

First Meeting Activity Ideas

Its your very first meeting you may want to start out your meeting with a opening with a Flag Ceremony. Then play a group game which will help girls get to know each other. Then work on a badge, have a snack, and close the meeting.  Below are a few ideas to get you started

  1. Flag Ceremony – Click here
  2.  Games to Play With Troop
  3. Badge Work (If you are a multi level troop having every level work on similar badges is always a great)

 

How Do I Write a Leader For Advice?

You can write me and ask for troop ideas, help dealing with issues with girls and parents, suggestions for fundraisers, service projects etc. I will answer the question sharing my experiences and give you my advice, and then comments are also open for other leaders to add their thoughts and advice. If you have a question that needs answered, email me at jodicarlson@leaderconnectingleaders.com. If I answer your question here on the blog I will email you and let you know the answer is live.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Jodi, this is great advice for a new leader, but I had a couple of other ideas I thought might be helpful.
    1) Get involved with your service unit. Many of them will offer startup kits or funds for new leaders in their area.
    2) Don’t be afraid to ask. If your holding your meetings at a school, church, library, etc. they may have extra pencil, crayons, paper, and such that your Troop can use. The worst they can do is say no.
    3) Look online. There are many resources that will allow you to download and then make copies of what you need. This is way cheaper then buying a Handbook or Journey for each girl.
    4) If your council allows it, get a sponsor. Your sponsor may be willing to help with anything from art supplies, to patches, or even membership fees.

  2. When we started our Troop, I bought what we needed and once the Troop started and dues started coming in, I got reimbursed. Other years we had a list of what we needed and what we wanted and gave the list to the parents and they picked what they wanted and brought it in….

  3. I started my account with my daughters dues money and I purchased supplies such as crayons and scissors out of pocket during back to school sales. You can also ask parents to bring supplies to the first meeting.
    Best of luck and have fun

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