In April and May, after cookies, many leaders tend to feel the pinch. We’re tired after wearing your mom hats inner work Hats and any other hints we wear. We are tired after Kurama cookie drama comma parent drama mama preteen drama. And we just need time to recharge. The problem with leaders is it we don’t. And this is why so many question whether to return as a scout leader in the fall.
Unless you’re passing the reigns as a troop leader due to circumstances in your life, maybe this isn’t the right time to decide whether to quit as a volunteer.
Do you make other decisions when you’re tired and emotional? Why would you make that same choice with your volunteering?
Here’s why you might not want to quit after all as a Girl Scout leader:
- Because you’re in it for your daughter. As frustrating as being a Girl Scout leader and volunteer can be sometimes, I still love the extra time it gives me with my girl. We run errands and talk; we try out project; we have Mom and me time. That in itself is worth it. Perhaps that wouldn’t change if I was no longer her Girl Scout leader, but the structure of routine meetings ensures that time is in our schedule.
- Because you never know when you’re making a difference. There is one girl in my troop who seems to be most resistant to participate in anything; she always wants “sleeping time” and rarely offers ideas. Yet when I asked if the girls were interested in continuing next year, she was the first to say yes.
- Because it helps you, too. As tired as I am in April and May, sometimes even in March, I’m grateful for the time and relationships I’ve developed as a leader.
Don’t make that decision whether you’ll return next year lightly; perhaps all you need is time to recharge.
I borrowed this from someone else’s post but it is me to a T. I am not the only one who feels this way……I can’t recharge….there’s no recharger.
“I’m a Girl scout leader (who’s about to quit!)
This is really more of an open letter to Girl Scout’s, trying to explain why so many leaders quit after just a year or two. I just….need to get it off my chest, and I don’t know WHERE to post it to get it out there.
I have been a Girl Scout leader for 2+ years, and let me preface this by saying I still love Girl Scouts, and hope to continue as a Juliette (solo leader, just my kid and me). But I really struggled as a leader, and I want people to understand I’m not just quitting on a whim. I’m at my whits end.
Any leader, old or new, will need to: Reserve the Girl Scout Center well in advance for any non-meeting activity, which includes filling out a long form to even use the building in the first place. You will only be allowed in the building at meeting times, no time for meeting prep! You must request permission each time you want in, by calling between 8am and 4 pm, m-f, the main office 2 hours away, even to drop off paperwork or check your troop folder. If you are unable to use the center (because it is so heavily booked), you will need to find another meeting place that is safe and legal.
You must be the responsible party for the troop banking account, even though you are not the only person on the bank account. Your coleader will buy something and forget to tell you. Your cookie mom will struggle with the THOUSANDS of dollars she is suddenly trying to count out and handle. But your bank book had better balance in the end. You will get NO support or training in this area from council.
You must keep track of which girls have earned which badges, order them, and hand them out properly. This sounds easy, but when girl A missed meeting 1 and girls b missed meeting 3, and so forth, it’s not that easy. And yet, every mistake you make will cost the troop money. But no matter how careful you are, you will end up with unused badges every.single.time, for a variety of reasons.
You will need to find a cookie mom and help them with loading, unloading, storing, transporting and selling thousands of boxes of cookies, the booth, and more money than you are probably comfortable with. It’s a HUGE job, and even the best cookie mom will need some help from you.
You will make weekly, or bi-monthly at best, bank trips during cookie season to try and figure out WTF your cookie mom is doing to the bank account, and to make your own deposits (because one person simply cannot handle 14 girls cookie orders), on top of all the other cookie crap. That lasts almost 3 months long, and does not include Fall nut Sales. And you must be available and able to answer questions from your girls families ASAP.
Want to opt out of those corpratized cookies sales? Sure, you can do that! But that means you are not allowed to do any other fundraisers. That’s right, if your troop does not participate in selling cookies, you are disallowed from coming up with your own fund raising ideas. If cookie and nut sales are suppose to teach girls how to create, and manage their own business, then why are we not allowed to let the girls, you know, create and manage their OWN business?? No, every year we have to push Thin Mints and Samoas to fund our troop activities. It feels like blackmail.
You must hand out, collect, and carry with you at ALL times (when doing GS things) all of the girls permission slips and health histories, a first aid kit, and plan for girls who will be hungry, thirsty, etc.
If the troop is taking an outing, you must have the required CPR training (or another adult with you must have it), grade level training for all girls in your troop (we have 2 levels), volunteer training which includes but is not limited to a general volunteer class called Volunteer Essentials, Girls on the Move parts one and two (3 hours each), camping basics, and more. I’ve done 28 hours of classes and training for Girl Scouts over two years, including training to be a day camp leader, and CPR.
You will need to attend most of the monthly volunteer meetings, alone, because no one from your troop can or will go with you, not even your “co-leader” or “cookie mom”. People have lives, so you can’t even be upset, you just go and do it.
You will watch people in your service unit that you have come to admire and rely on retire or quit. You will watch the organization make terrible decisions, like retiring many, many old beloved badges, pushing this new “Journery” work, and “consolidating” (see: dismantling) half the US councils, then selling off camps and properties all over the country, and this will cause even more of the people you rely on to quit.
You must fill out and turn in end of year paperwork (this is pretty daunting), where-in you must account for almost all activities your troop has done, and every penny spent or donated, make sure all of your cookie money is accounted for and council is paid.
You will need to make flyers and/or emails and/or FB pages for all the upcoming events, sign people up, collect money or buy and hand out supplies for said event. You must plan ceremonies and outings while still following Girl Scout traditions, such as World Thinking Day and Juliette Lowes Birthday, and coordinate at least some of these with the service uni, your own troop, and/or other troops. You will spend time ALMOST EVERY DAY doing behind the scenes leadership things. And this is just off the top of my head, and if things go well. Gawd help you if things don’t go well, suddenly you’ll be up at 2am wondering where those other 2 cases of Thin Mints got to, and if they are now just a loss for your troop.
You will work hard to plan an event for 10 girls, and only 5 will show up. You will order badges for girls who then quit. It’s so much more than you realized when you signed up.
And with any luck, hopefully you will have more help than I did.”
I read this yesterday and have been pondering the best way to respond.
I was you several months ago. I was tired of chasing parents, of preteen push back, of all the paperwork that happens with Scouting with what seems like little reward.
I took a step back. I held off on meetings during volleyball season. I went to once a month after. I spent a good chunk of my summer pondering what next.
In the end I decided it was about the few girls who were committed first.
I redirected my energy toward them. We had a campout with other girls in the country like them. I planned some activities i knew they would appreciate. And when meeting time came, I shut down any “this is boring” talk with “Girl Scouting is what you make of it. You are old enough to plan things. And if all you do is conf to meetings where we work, you’re missing out on a lot.”
The complainer came back and her attitude shifted.
I established dues for the troop. If parents have no issue spending hundreds on sports,then $50 for the year, which covers only half of our costs,is acceptable and takes pressures and resentment off of me.
In the end setting my personal boundaries helped. We will see how it helps long term for me. Every leader and every group is different. It’s why we do need more built in support.