Being a Girl Scout leader — not just any ol’ leader, but one that is committed to helping fill the girls’ experiences with meaningful, educational, sometimes magical growth opportunities — is challenging. It doesn’t matter if you are a leader of Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Ambassadors or Seniors, we always have our eyes and ears open for opportunities for the girls.
We’ve all been there…the late night hours when the rest of the house is asleep and we find ourselves sitting in front of that bright computer screen, scouring the Internet for craft ideas, songs, Journey jump-start ideas and a myriad of other things. One of the things that ultimately cut down my late night search sessions was when I started attending my local service area meetings on a regular basis.
During our 90-minute, once-a-month meetings, I have the opportunity to network with other leaders, get important product sales updates, learn about new opportunities our council is offering, connect with our area membership manager and of course and learn about fun, local activities that our service area is coordinating. With the help of many dedicated volunteers, my service area offers a wide variety of activities for the girls to attend throughout the year. Activities such as: a roller skating outing, pool party, movie day and a FANTASTIC service area campout where over 200 girls enjoy a fun-filled day at Camp Silverbrook. This past week, our service area had our first Leader-Daughter Recognition event. We are eager to see this special night grow into a meaningful, special event for leaders and their daughters for years to come.
Attending service area meetings changed the way I work with my troop, how I view myself as a leader and how I believe I now fit into the overall mission of Girl Scouts.
It reinforced the “bigger picture” that I am a part of. But most importantly, it put me in touch with real, live, face-to-face resources. “Resources” who are willing to share their troop’s best practices, to hear me out and give me a hug when I need it. They understand first-hand the tough, sometimes thankless, busy job of being a leader because they too are leaders. These women and men have grown to become my friends. I know some people think that only newer leaders should attend service area meetings. I completely disagree. I think leaders at all levels should make the commitment to attend these meetings. We learn from each other. We need to support each other. Supporting each other feels good.
Nowhere in the Girl’s Guide does it say that leaders need to reinvent the wheel for every meeting or excursion or journey or badge, yet I found that’s what it felt like for those early years when I was a Daisy leader. It’s amazing how my perspective on Girl Scouts changed once I tapped into the knowledge and experience of others.
Now as a leader of Juniors, I also truly enjoy the opportunity to share what I learn and offer advice to new leaders. Making their experiences easier by sharing my experience makes me feel like I am now doing everything I am supposed to be doing in this role.
As the saying goes, we need to work smarter and not harder. You can do that in Girl Scouts by attending your local service area meeting. If attending that one meeting a month can make things just a little easier or more efficient for me, it is absolutely worth my time to attend.
If you’re a Girl Scout leader, what are some of the ways your service area meetings help you in your role? Share in the comments below.
— Theresa Krajnak, Girl Scout Leader and parent