When and how often to meet is up to you, your co-volunteers, parents, and girls: it may just be one time for this particular group of girls. Or, if you meet regularly, what day and time work best for the girls, for you, for your co-volunteers, and for other adults who will be presenting or mentoring? Once per week, twice a month, once a month? Is after school best? Can your co-volunteers meet at that time, or will meetings work better in the evenings or on the weekends?
Where to meet can be a bit trickier: a meeting place needs to provide a safe, clean, and secure environment that allows for the participation of all girls. You might consider using meeting rooms at schools, libraries, houses of worship, community buildings, childcare facilities, and local businesses. For teens, you can also rotate meetings at coffee shops, bookstores, and other places girls enjoy spending time.
Here are a few points to keep in mind as you consider meeting locations:
- Troops are discouraged from meeting in homes due to risk and safety issues. Any volunteer hosting troop meetings in a residence/home is required to complete and submit a Residence Troop Meeting Place form along with the homeowner’s insurance declaration page to the GSTF Troop Support. Additionally ALL adult household residents must clear a background screening BEFORE any troop meetings are held at the residence/home.
- Cost: The space should be free to use.
- Size: Make sure the space is large enough accommodate the whole group and all planned activities.
- Availability: Be sure the space is available for the day and the entire length of time you want to meet.
- Resources: Determine what types of furnishings (table? chairs?) come with the room and ensure that the lighting is adequate. A bonus would be a cubby of some sort, where you can store supplies or a safe outdoor space for activities.
- Safety: Ensure that the space is safe, secure, clean, properly ventilated, heated (or cooled, depending on your location), free from hazards, and has at least two exits that are well-marked and fully functional. Also be sure a first-aid equipment is on hand.
- Facilities: Sanitary and accessible toilets are critical.
- Communication-friendly: Be sure your cell phone works in the meeting space.
- Allergen-free: Ensure that pet dander and other common allergens won’t bother susceptible girls during meetings.
- Accessibility: Be sure the space can accommodate girls with disabilities, as well as parents with disabilities who may come to meetings.
If this is your first time asking for a Girl Scout meeting place, here are a few speaking points to get you started:
“I’m a Girl Scout volunteer, with a group of ______ girls. We’re doing lots of great things for girls and for the community, like _____ and ______. We’re all about leadership—the kind that girls use in their daily lives and the kind that makes our community better. We’d love to hold our meetings here because ______.”
If you encounter difficulty finding a meeting place, contact troop support for assistance.