Does your troop have members in multiple age levels? Maybe you’ve got a gaggle of Juniors and a few younger siblings at the Daisy level. Or you started your troop with all Brownies in second and third grade and then half the troop moved up to Juniors and half are still Brownies. Whatever your situation, being a Girl Scout leader to a multi-level troop can be a challenge. But with some Girl Scout grit, organizational skills, and a team of awesome volunteers this is one challenge that can be met!
Here are a few tips for leading a multi-level troop like a boss!
- It’s a Team Effort
It’s really hard for one troop leader to be all things to all grade levels. Get help! Build a team of volunteers who are willing to consistently pitch in and help out.
How do you recruit more volunteers? And what do you ask them to do? Start with a parent meeting. Share that to help this troop thrive you need people who are willing to become the go to person, or “expert,” in the materials for a particular grade level. Assure them that being the expert doesn’t mean they must memorize the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting for Cadettes or be able to quote Safety Activity Checkpoints for any activity the girls want to do. It just means they’re willing to be a point person for that age level. They can keep track of things like what awards and badges the girls are working on, make supply lists for future meetings, and help guide the girls in planning activities appropriate for their age level.
- Find a good space
There will be times where girls should split into smaller groups to focus on their age level’s Journey or badge but also times where the entire troop wants to come together for songs, games, snacks, ceremonies, and more. Finding a troop meeting place that is large enough to hold your entire troop but also has space to break into smaller groups is key. A cafeteria or gym at a school or large meeting room at a church or community center are excellent choices. They’re big enough that you can all be in the same space (which helps with adult-to-girl ratios) and still have enough room for girls to do different activities.
- Use Girl Scout Resources
There are some great resources for multi-level troops. You can choose the Multi-Level Year Plan options in the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for content tailored to multi-level troops (grades K-5 or 6-12). Or use the badge chart in the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting to identify a particular topic or badge category the girls want to explore. Tailor the troop activity or discussion to follow that badge category then break into groups by Girl Scout level to work on the badge for their age.
Multi-level troops are also great ways for girls to earn the mentoring awards such as the Junior Aide, Cadette Leader-in-Action (LiA) and Cadette Program Aide (PA). These awards require girls to work with younger girls in guiding them through a specific number of sessions in Journey or badge work. Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors take their leadership skills to the next level by leading younger girls in a troop experience for an extended period of time through their Volunteer-in-Training (VIT) or Girl Scout Service bar. All of these awards are perfect for the multi-level troop and their requirements can be found in the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting for their age level.
Don’t forget to check our Event Calendar for events open to all Girl Scout levels and for age level specific events. Remember that the girls don’t have to go to all program events together, they can attend the ones they are most interested in or are appropriate for their level.
- Find additional guidance
Chances are there are other leaders and troops in our council that are also multi-level. Connect with your Community Administrator or Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida Customer Care to find other leaders with a multi-level troop to ask for ideas and guidance.