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Troop Leader

New Leaders

Thank you for joining the millions of Girl Scout volunteers nationwide who are building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. We couldn’t do it without you!

Becoming a new leader doesn’t have to be an intimidating process, here we’ve broken down how to start your troop in eight easy steps! 

We've made a new Troop Startup Guide! Check it out!

1.) Sign Up!

  • Register as a new member. 
  • Complete your background check online.
  • Keep a lookout for a welcome email once your background check is approved. (Background check clearance can take as long as two weeks in some counties, however it is typically 24 – 48 hours.)

2.) Start Your Troop Leader Training

  • In order to become a Girl Scout Leader/Volunteer, Girl Scouts require the New Troop Leader Training (Foundation 1) on gsLearn to be completed online to ensure that girls receive the best possible program. 
  • Complete California's Mandated Reporter Training. California's Child Abuse Neglect and Reporting Act (AB 506) designates that volunteers that work with children be trained. Please log into your gsLearn account to complete the 635: Child Abuse Mandated Reporter Training.
  • Review your Volunteer Toolkit (VTK)
    The Volunteer Toolkit provides a troop roster, yearly plans, meeting plans, and resources for troop leaders.
  • If you’re interested in additional training , check out our Face to Face Courses, Beyond Meeting Courses, or Stepping Out. 

3.) Meet Your GSCCC Staff Membership Team

We are here to help! 

  • Recruitment Specialists recruit new members and help with troop formation.
  • Placement Specialists assist with registration, background checks, and updating troop information.
  • Volunteer Support Managers provide new leader training and support volunteers with questions or concerns relating to their volunteer role.
  • Customer Care Specialists are our volunteers’ best friend. They can answer most questions and know who the experts are for more complicated questions or issues. 

4.) Meet Your Service Unit

  • Your Service Unit is a local group that supports leaders, made up of other Girl Scout volunteers in your community with support from council staff. They are an amazing source of information for you as a new leader! 
  • Service Unit meetings are a great opportunity to meet experienced Girl Scout volunteers and new volunteers such as yourself! Troops should be represented by at least one volunteer at Service Unit meetings. Your Volunteer Support Manager will let you know who is on the Service Unit team for your troop and when and where the Service Unit meetings are held.

5.) Add Girls!

  • Healthy troops have at least 10-12 girls. You may have girls in your community ready to join the troop, or we have girls waiting to join one! If you need help recruiting girls to join your troop, contact your Recruitment Specialist.

6.) Schedule a Family Meeting

  • Prep beforehand! This is an opportunity for you to work with the families to decide when and where you will hold troop meetings (public buildings highly encouraged), decide about collecting troop dues (how often and how much), and to make a list of simple troop rules. 
  • Invite a member of your Service Unit team or local staff to attend to answer parent questions you may be unsure of. 
  • Girl Scouts is a partnership with families, volunteers, and staff working together to provide an amazing Girl Scout Leadership Experience for the girls. Recruit adults to help with the leadership and support of the troop! Encourage each family to register at least one adult as a volunteer. This will help ensure that families are engaged in the success of the troop and will provide leaders with the support they need. The Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) has information about how adults can help under the “Meeting Overview.” 
  • After the meeting, send information that was discussed and decided on to each parent, and add your meeting day, time, and location into the MyGS portal.

7.) Hold Your First Troop Meeting

  • Once you have met with your Service Unit for an introduction meeting, you’re ready to meet with your troop! The Volunteer Toolkit has excellent resources for Troop Leaders, including meeting plans.
  • Looking for more information? Check out this video

8.) Set Up Your Troop Bank Account

  • All Girl Scout Troops need to set up a Troop Account with one of the three approved banks: Wells Fargo, RaboBank or Union Bank (formerly known as Santa Barbara Bank and Trust). Troop leaders must have Service Unit approval before setting up the account and use the Bank Account Certificate of Authorization. 

And just like that you are ready to get started as a new troop! Stay in touch by liking us on Facebook and following us on Instagram and Twitter to stay up-to-date on upcoming council events and find other amazing volunteers. Looking for more fun content? Check out our Pinterest, YouTube, or blog

Here's more information presented as a progression chart.

New Leader FAQ

Do I have to be a parent to be a troop leader?

No! We welcome all interested adults, ages 18 and older, to apply as Girl Scout volunteers. Girl Scouts is volunteer-driven, and we need all hands on deck. We currently have Girl Scout leaders who are community leaders, senior citizens, college students and others who don't currently have daughters who are Girl Scouts.

How much time does it take to be a leader?

A typical troop leader devotes an average of 5-10 hours per month to Girl Scouts. Enlisting the help of families from the beginning allows the troop to be more active while sharing work among many volunteers. The troop, with the leader’s guidance, decides how often and when meetings will take place. Troops can meet weekly, bi-monthly or monthly; after school, in the evenings, or on weekends.  

How long am I committed to being a Girl Scout leader?

A leader is appointed for one year. We encourage leaders to extend that year if they desire.

I wasn’t a Girl Scout, what do I need to know?

Training is provided to help all new leaders understand the Girl Scout philosophy, policies and procedures. Training covers materials and information needed to begin troop meeting and activities. 

Is volunteer training provided?

Yes! Web-based, self-study and face-to-face trainings are available throughout the calendar year and council geography.

Will someone be helping me start a Girl Scout troop?

As a volunteer, you can count on help from a variety of people. Staff from your area will be available to answer questions, help recruit girls, and assist with finding a meeting place if needed. Local volunteers from your community, organized into a service unit, are also key to getting your troop off the ground. Regular service unit meetings are held throughout the school year, so there are many opportunities to meet other Girl Scout volunteers in your area as well as interface with your membership specialist.

The annual membership fee for Girl Scouts is $25/person. The membership fee goes directly to Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) at our national headquarters, where it is used for program development, activity insurance and management to support councils. The annual fall product program and Girl Scout Cookie program support troop finances, and all troops are strongly encouraged to participate in these programs to generate troop funds.

Who decides how many girls are in a troop?

A healthy troop size is typically at least 10-12 girls. These troops tend to continue from year to year and have enough families to support a fulfilling Girl Scout Leadership Experience for the girls. However, troop size is often determined by the size of the meeting space and the number of adults working with a troop.

Does Girl Scouts run background checks on volunteers?

Yes. Protecting our girl members is a top priority, and screenings and background checks are integral parts of our due diligence process and procedure.

Do I have to become a registered Girl Scout to volunteer?

Yes, all adults who work directly with girls on a regular basis must register as Girl Scout members. Registration is easy with our online system. Limited financial assistance is available for adults who serve in key volunteer roles. 

Where can I find information and materials on what to do with girls?

The Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) is a great place for girls to plan their Girl Scout experience. “Girl led” is one of our core values that makes Girl Scouts unique. Using the VTK, girls are empowered to choose their own activities and programs with the guidance of their adult leaders. GSUSA publishes nationally consistent materials for troops to use. These materials help troop leaders direct troop activities, while also ensuring that girls get the full benefit of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.

There are many roles that adult family members can play in assisting troop leaders. Adult volunteers can help with regular meetings, organize the fall product or cookie sales, drive girls to and from field trips, serve as First Aid/CPR trained adults on trips, manage the troop treasury, etc. If you can ask, families will help! We recommend that at least one adult from each family register as a Girl Scout member and volunteer.

Why do I have to take Mandated Reporter Training?

Under the California's Child Abuse Neglect and Reporting Act (AB 506) any volunteer that works "more than 16 hours in a month or 32 hours in a year" is required to be a certified mandatory reporter.