Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, the local office (“Council”), serves more than 41,000 girls in grades K-12, and engages 18,000 adult volunteers in 178 communities across the eastern part of the state. Girl Scouts allows girls to Discover their world, Connect with others, and Take Action to make the world a better place. Girl Scouts is the preeminent organization dedicated solely to girls. In an inclusive and nurturing all-girl environment, girls take the lead. They are involved in choosing their badges and award programs from a wide selection available in age-appropriate curriculum materials. Girls build skills for success in the real world so they can become leaders with positive values, social consciousness, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth. Girls can make a difference in the world.
Newton (www.newtongirlscouts.org) has 30+ Girl Scout troops. These troops are not run by paid professionals or outside volunteers; they exist because parents took the initiative to organize them. Most families prefer neighborhood or school-based troops, organized by grade, that meet on weekdays after school, but the meeting time can be set up based on the schedules of the participating families. Some weekend troops are available.
Start by contacting Newton Girl Scouts at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a voice mail at 617-671-1223. Be sure to mention your daughter’s school and grade. A placement volunteer will respond with options. If there is currently no troop for your daughter’s school and grade, a new group can be formed. As few as five girls, plus an adult leader to coordinate, are needed to get started with a new troop, which can then grow. Adult coordinators are encouraged to pair up with a friend to lighten the load.
For the adult volunteer, there are many personal rewards, especially the opportunity to interact with your daughter and her friends in a positive environment. Meet adults who share your values, invest time in your community, contribute to the lives of others, serve as a role model for girls and young women, increase your own confidence, enjoy the outdoors in new ways, and develop outlets for creative expression – these are just a few. Volunteering with a Girl Scout troop also allows you to gain additional marketable skills and valuable experiences to add to your resume. And above all, it’s fun!
The steps to startup are easy. Talk to your neighbors and the parents of your daughter’s friends and schoolmates, to find five interested girls – your daughter plus four more. Set up an appointment with the local Girl Scout office to take care of some quick paperwork and apply for a CORI background check. Your Newton placement volunteer will guide you through this process.
Proceed with free training, which includes a 40-minute online presentation watched at your convenience. Follow up with two free classes, offered at a variety of times and locations (weekdays, evenings, weekends), about two hours each. The Newton placement volunteer also connects you with a local Newton mentor – an experienced troop leader who is available to answer your questions as the plans for the new troop develop.
You choose the troop meeting time and frequency. Twice monthly, or monthly plus field trips, are common models, but your particular troop can choose your schedule. Help is available, if needed, for securing meeting space.
Note: Although most girls choose to join troops, there are other ways (“Pathways”) to become involved in Girl Scouting. Summer and vacation camps, one-time special interest events, travel programs (for preteens and teens), and “series”: a few sessions organized around a specific theme or focus.