An anonymous reminder from a long time Leader.
In the middle of all the Cookie Madness that I like to call Cookie Crazies I am reminded of why we as Leaders do what we do.....
When I first started as a Troop Leader six years ago, I had a new group of kindergarten Daisies. In this group were a couple very shy girls, a couple overly-outgoing girls, a handful who just rolled with whatever we did, and one who was wild (you know the one...we ALL have at least one!). Fast forward six years to today: some of our girls have moved on, some new ones have joined, but as the Leader, I have watched them all as they grow, and seen who they have become.
One of the shy girls from the first year of kindergarten (the one who never said a word and often hid behind her mother's legs) is now out front and center. Head high at the booth, she asks EVERY person if they want to buy Girl Scout Cookies, counts back change, and interacts with customers so naturally. She is our top seller, selling well over a 1000 boxes of cookies every year.
One of the overly-outgoing ones (the one who talked over everyone, who threw fits and pouted when she didn't get her way) now is at the booth working with her sister Girl Scouts on a plan to switch jobs every 30 minutes. I can see her figuring out how to get to practice on time and still get in more hours at a cookie booth so that she can reach her goal.
One of the go-with-whatever girls (the one who never used to contribute any ideas, who never had an opinion about anything) — well, now she is the one who makes suggestions on where to go and how we can make things better in our community. She fights for her ideas with well-thought-out and persuasive words.
Last but not least, the wild one (the one never in her seat, talking out of turn, acting crazy and never on task)... She is still wild and crazy, but she talks to customers, helps set up and clean booths, makes up cheers and songs to pass the time during slow periods. She is learning when she is stepping on others' toes, and apologizes when she needs to.
Each one of these girls gets something different out of their time in Girl Scouts, learning life skills and developing themselves into young women who will move mountains and rock the world.
But it is not just the girls who get to benefit from this amazing organization. I am blessed to be able to see the transformation, see the growth, see their faces when they explore new ideas and activities -- see the courage, confidence and character that each girl builds everyday.
So when the world starts to get crazy and you think WHY am I doing this!? Take a second to sit back and watch your girls... They are learning, growing, and becoming amazing individuals, because YOU made a commitment to the them and chose to be a part of this experience with them.
Enjoy the CRAZIES and all that comes with it!!
This post was provided by a GSSoAZ Leader who asked to be anonymous.
Attention, Troop Leaders! Make this cookie season more manageable by following these tips:
Avoid the temptation to do it all yourself. We understand that you might be tempted to do it all—you’re a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™, after all! But by delegating some cookie sale responsibilities to troop parents, you’ll have more time to spend on activities with girls as you deliver our one-of-a-kind Girl Scout programming and prepare them for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure. This cookie season, recruit parents to pitch in so you can focus on leading all of your troop’s many other activities.
Split cookie volunteers’ responsibilities into smaller pieces--lessening the load for everyone! For example, consider assigning a parent to help manage your troop cookie inventory, and keep parents informed of upcoming events. It’s also super helpful to recruit a parent to help manage booth sales. Rather than expect one parent to pick up and drop off all girls during cookie booth sales, request that the other girls come individually, easing the burden of the parent who will work the booth. You might also designate someone to be in charge of coaching girls as they work to meet their cookie sale goals, earn their Financial Literacy badges, and maximize learning and skill-building opportunities.
And make sure to emphasize that these roles are a short-term commitment so parents don’t feel overwhelmed when they decide to lend a hand.
Be clear about your expectations. Let parents know exactly what’s expected of them and provide as many details as possible so they understand what they’re committing to. Make sure they know the troop’s goals, contact information for all involved, and deadlines for turning in cookie forms and money.
Send each volunteer a welcome email with all pertinent information, (e.g., forms or training they need to complete, important phone numbers or websites they will need to access, schedules, etc.). You might even want to draft some follow-up notes for parents that you can send to remind them of important deadlines.
Focus on the impact. When talking to parents about volunteering, help them understand the bigger picture. Do they realize that the cookie program funds the troop activities that girls participate in all year long? If you already know some of the plans your girls have for their cookie earnings, share as many examples as possible to show potential volunteers how their contribution means greater success and an overall better Girl Scout experience for their girls. And if you have any numbers from previous years’ sales, even better! Use these stats to demonstrate to volunteers exactly what a successful cookie season can do for their girls and how they can be an integral part of that. Send them to Powered by Cookies so they can see for themselves just some of the amazing things girls can do when powered by cookies.
Give special recognition to cookie volunteers. Be sure to thank parents in your troop who put in special effort during cookie season. Send them an email, a handwritten note, or a thank-you message on Facebook. Simply expressing your gratitude goes a long way!
Show parents who can't volunteer how they can still play a part. Not all parents will have the desire or time to volunteer with overall troop cookie management, and that’s OK! Let them know they can still be a huge part of the troop’s success by supporting their girl throughout cookie season—helping her set and work toward goals; connecting her with potential new customers, like friends and family; tracking her progress; and encouraging her to keep going when obstacles arise. And, of course, by always taking the time to celebrate her accomplishments!
*Post is adapted from GSUSA