If you are involved in recruiting for your service unit, then you know how frustrating it is to have a list of girls looking for a troop and no leaders available to start a new troop.  It breaks my heart.  So this year I finally decided to do something about it.  When we have new girls interested in joining, we will first try to find a traditional troop for them to join, but if none exists, or they are too full, then we’ll invite them to join the “Rally Troop”.  We’ll have gatherings once per month so the girls will at least have the experience of attending a meeting monthly, plus they will be invited to all of our SU events (and be connected to the council with their events as well.)

Now don’t forget that I still have my troop of 12 Seniors (all freshman in high school), and you’ll hear more about them later, but this is specifically for K-8th grade girls.  What I am hoping is that troops will form out of the groups that meet for the Rally Troop once the families see how much fun we are having (and hopefully we’ll have a chance to do some adult coaching too.)  If each age group has an adult that can coordinate an outing or field trip each month, then the girls will be getting a full GS experience.

I needed a location , leaders to help with each level, and a cookie mom and treasurer to help run the Rally Troop.  I will coordinate all of the administrative stuff for the Rally troop girls (registration, email communications, etc.)

A local school donated their multi-purpose room space for us to meet on Sunday Afternoons for two hours.  Luckily 3 generous women stepped up to help me create a plan for the badge workshops.  Cookie Mom and Treasurer – still looking for those lucky volunteers. 🙂

Read below to see how this is going to work.  (In my mind this will be successful, but I will be sure to share the actual outcome in another month!)

badge_juniorgswayBadge Workshops for 4 of the months
We are going to host 4 of the meetings as “Badge Workshops” and we’ll invite all current GS members (in our town) to attend as well if they want to earn the badge too.  This will make sure that we have a good number of girls in each level.  We’ll break the girls out into GS levels, and work on the badge appropriate to their level.  Girls will do an opening and closing together, and break up to work on their badge requirements.   Girls who are currently in a troop will pay $5 to cover the cost of the badge and the materials to attend the Badge Workshop.  The girls in the Rally Troop will be invited for free (they will be doing cookie sales together later this year to fund their workshops)

badge_dancerBadge Workshop Topics
The 4 leaders met together and decided to coordinate the badge topics so we could somewhat share resources and have a theme.  The Daisy level will be working on 2-3 petals at each meeting, but joining in when we do a group activity.  Many of the Brownie and Junior activities will tie in perfectly with their petal requirements too.  (Trust me, there will be a little flexibility on the petal requirements, you sometimes have to be a bit creative)

  • First Aid Badges – all levels (Daisies can incorporate Friendly & Helpful, Responsible for What I Say and Do, Courageous and Strong Petals, etc.).  We’ll be inviting First Responders to come and do a show & tell; inviting an EMT, Nurse, or other experienced first aider to help each level, girls will put together first aid kits, etc.
  • Performance Arts Badges (Brownie: Dancer; Junior: Music; Cadette: Public Speaking). Goal is to also do an investiture/rededication ceremony at this meeting too (a great opportunity for the Cadettes to practice with their public speaking!)
  • Artist Badges (Brownie: Painter; Junior: Drawing; Cadette: Comic Artist).  Should be a fun and messy meeting!badge_juniordrawing
  • Girl Scout Way Badges – all levels.  Here is where we’ll teach some traditional songs, prepare some skits for our upcoming campfire, and prepare for our bridging ceremony the next month.

Other Meetings throughout the year
We have a few all-scouts meetings that we do every year.  The Rally Scouts will be included in these events as well, helping to round out the full year of activities:

  • Cookie Rally (right before cookie season)
  • World Thinking Day Celebration – all the other troops will be hosting booths.  Our brand new Rally girls will be invited to attend as participants.
  • All Scout Campfire – where they will perform those songs and skits prepared during the Girl Scout Way Badge workshop.
  • Court of Honor and Bridging Ceremony.  Finish out the year with a bridging celebration and a Court of Honor to celebrate the girls achievements and the wonderful contributions of our volunteers.

What about the Senior and Ambassador Girls?
We have a very “top heavy” service unit, meaning we have more older girls than younger girls currently.  That’s a great problem to have when you need helpers at Badge Workshops, right?  Our Senior and Ambassador girls are invited to attend and we’ll put them to work as teachers, mentors, song leaders, flag ceremony teachers, etc.  Having a troop of Senior girls myself, I know the minimal availability of their time, and how many other activities pull them from scouting.  I wanted these Sunday afternoon workshops to be optional for them.  Show up and we’ll put your leadership to work, but if you have too much homework, that should come first.  While it would be great to have this as a “girl led” program, sometimes necessity has to take over and we need the adults to do the behind-the-scenes prep work for the workshops, then invite the older girls to attend if they have the time.  Most of them have earned these badges and will be able to easily jump in as helpers.

So that’s the plan!  We are blessed to have some very courageous leaders that have volunteered to help with this program.  One of the leaders even said that she grew up in a multi-age troop and loved it!  So we’ll see, this may be a means to an end (getting new troops started) or it may be the beginning of brand new multi-age troop.  I promise to report back after the first meeting and share all the details in case you want to try the same thing in your service unit.