Volunteer Orientation Handbook
Meeting with Girls for the First Time
When you first get together with girls (and this meeting may also include parents/guardians, or you may decide to hold a separate meeting for the adults), you will want to get to know the girls, and give them a chance to get to know one another.
Ice-breaker games that let girls share simple details about themselves are a great way to start off your first gathering. Journeys often start with such an icebreaker, so if you are digging in to a journey right away, you will be all set.
If you already know which journey the girls want to do, you will find it useful to accomplish some of the following during this meeting. (Note that all these points are detailed in the adult guide for each journey, too.) If your girls have not chosen a journey yet, you can spend time during the first meeting talking about the themes of the three journeys that are available for their grade level and find out which one the group would like to do. You can then discuss these points in the next meeting, if you run out of time.
- Introduce the journey, its theme, and its ties to leadership. Each journey’s adult guide gives you ideas for talking with girls and their parents/guardians about the journey’s theme and the three keys to leadership.
- Find out what interests the group, so that you and the girls can begin to customize the journey. Do the girls want to dig deeper into a particular aspect of the journey? Without promising anything (yet!), ask the girls to talk about what they are passionate about, what they have always wanted to do, and how they would spend their time if money or other barriers were no object. Build off the ideas shared, but be sure to include opinions from all the girls. Ask direct questions of those who seem be holding back or are unsure about answering, so that no one is left out.
- Get the girls talking about how they want to schedule their time together. Use the planning pages from their journey (referring to the draft calendar you started only as needed, so that girls are allowed to lead). Consider questions like these:
- Can girls organize and plan a field trip or longer travel opportunity that will allow them to learn more about a particular journey topic or theme?
- Is there an event that meshes with this topic or area of interest?
- Can the girls locate and communicate with an expert in the field via e-mail or social media?
- Can they invite a guest speaker to answer questions or demonstrate particular skills?
- Which badges can the group choose to work on that will deepen their skills in this particular area?
- If they are Juniors or older, are they interested in pursuing their Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, or Gold Awards? (Information about the highest awards may be found at www.gsmanitou.org)
- Do they have ideas for activities that will involve younger or older girls?
Snacks are a great option some troops decide to include in their meetings. If girls choose to include snacks, guide them to consider the health of a potential snack, as well as possible food allergies. Enlist the help of parents or guardians by asking them to sign up and bring a treat.
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