Whether your daughter is in pre-K or heading to prom this year, it’s never too early (or too late) to give her the tools she’ll need to live her best life. And among the countless skills and bits of wisdom that will serve her over the years, having these six tricks up her sleeve will give her the confidence to truly take on the world.
1. Where to Draw Boundaries
You want your daughter to be courteous, respectful, and kind, but there’s a difference between that and being a doormat for others to take advantage of. Do her “friends” only want to hang out so they can copy her math homework? Is someone in her life—and adult or another kid—pressuring her to do things that feel uncomfortable? Talk to her now about these types of scenarios even if they haven’t come up yet. You want to make sure she has the skills to stand up for herself with confidence. Saying a simple “no,” without feeling the need to give excuses or apologies takes confidence—which you can help her with.
2. The Art of Managing Money
Understanding how to manage money isn’t just a nice-to-know, it’s a necessity for this generation. Help younger girls separate their allowance into amounts they’ll save, spend, or donate will set the groundwork for success. Then when your girl gets a little older, giving her a budget and having her plan her own birthday party will take that decision-making to the next level. Financial literacy will not only help your girl understand the value of a dollar, but also help ensure that she’ll be on secure financial footing for life.
3. When (and Who) to Call for Help
As early as possible, all children should know to call 911 in the case of an emergency—but what about when your girl is older? Will she feel comfortable calling you or another trusted adult for help in an emergency situation where you might disapprove of her actions or who she’s spending time with? It’s imperative to make sure your kids know that even if they use poor judgment, the adults in their lives love them and prioritize their safety above all else.
4. How to Avoid Burnout
We all know at least a couple people who are notorious for over-booking themselves or even sometimes have to bow out of commitments at the last minute out of sheer exhaustion. Don’t let your daughter become one of them! Get her a kid-friendly calendar to keep in her room and let her update it with birthday party invites, soccer matches, school project due dates, and anything else going on in her world. Then have her figure out where and when she has time in her calendar for rest and relaxation. Time management and balance are obviously super important in the working world, but as we all know, they go a long way in keeping yourself healthy and happy, too.
5. The Ability to Keep Moving
Whether she’s on a bike, navigating transit, or in a car, your girl should know how to get out of a fix. Help her learn how to repair her own bike, read a map, and change a flat on the family car when she’s old enough. Even if she’s not that excited to learn this stuff now, she’ll thank you later when she’s not stuck waiting around for a tow-truck.
6. How to Be Heard
You can have 1,000 great ideas, but if you don’t communicate them in a way that will make people listen, they’re not going to help you much. Roleplay with your girl so she learns how to introduce herself with confidence when she meets new people face-to-face, help her understand basic strategies of making a compelling argument (she’ll need facts to back up her points!), and work on direct communication of facts, ideas, and feelings. Finally, talk her through the admittedly sometimes confusing world of social media, texts, emails, phone calls, and—yes!—even the hand-written letter, versus when an in-person chat is best. People skills like these will help her ace that college interview, launch herself into her dream career, and have healthy relationships with friends and partners as she grows up.
*Adapted from GSUSA's series, Raising Awesome Girls
Area Team is a great way to network, stay in the loop and learn about resources. Read on in this great article from GSNorCal.
Between Girl Scout meetings and all of your kids’ other activities (plus, oh yea, family time), attending a monthly Girl Scout area team meeting may seem out of the question. But remember, being a troop leader isn’t a solo activity, and as you continue to grow with Girl Scouts, these area team meetings will become even more valuable! Led by local volunteers and a Council liaison, area team meetings create a tight-knit sense of community within specific geographical regions, providing personal assistance and helpful resources that every Girl Scout volunteer should take advantage of.
With that in mind, here are five reasons why you should attend your area team meetings:
1. You’ll have the opportunity to network with other volunteers!
Take an hour or two to leave the house, meet your fellow Girl Scout volunteers, and most importantly, make new friends. Once you find another troop that can go on a field trip with you, help you with a badge activity or bridging ceremony, or discover a sister troop at your school, you’ll be glad you left your house. We all need to meet other strong individuals who share a common bond and there’s no better place to do that than at your area team meetings!
2. You can lend a hand and put your skills to good use.
The area team is always looking to add new members – passionate volunteers with great ideas who want to contribute to the success of the area team for the benefit of the girls. Attending these meetings will give you an idea of how you can offer your expertise to the team. Maybe you’re a tech wizard who can help keep your area team connected via Facebook, social media apps, or email newsletters. Or perhaps you’re a savvy businesswoman with a huge net of local connections who can offer a space for meetings or an opportunity for girls to meet influential community members. Think about your skills and what you can bring to the team, then get involved!
3. You can learn (or teach) something new.
Area team meetings are interactive, giving veteran troop leaders the opportunity to pass along ideas and teach Girl Scout traditions, like songs, craft ideas, ceremonies, and skills. Was your latest camping trip a huge success? Tell your story and share your best practices! Did you work on a badge that was super fun and the girls got a lot out of it? Share it – or have your girls come and talk about it. Leaders of all experience levels are always looking for new ideas to bring back to their troops to keep things fun and fresh!
4. You can get your troop involved in volunteer or money-earning activities.
Area team meetings are a great place for your troop (especially an older girl troop) to practice ceremonies they’ve been learning. You can open the meeting with the Girl Scout Promise and Law and a flag ceremony and close the meeting with a fun game and the friendship squeeze. Area team meetings also sometimes need child care and, if you have older girls who are First Aid certified, this would be a great opportunity for them to give back to the area team. They could even charge a nominal fee and raise money for a trip or outing!
5. You’ll stay updated with what's happening at the Team Meeting, Council and National level.
From announcements involving upcoming events and workshops to tips for fall product sales or Girl Scout Cookie sales, a lot of information is shared at area team meetings. These meetings will ensure you know everything that’s going on – that way you’ll be able to help your troop stay active in the community, participate in local events, and discover new opportunities to grow!
We have members spread across Southern Arizona but with the help of our area teams, our volunteers and leaders can receive the special attention they deserve. So the next time you’re debating on whether or not to go to your next area team meeting, just do it, because these dedicated staff and volunteers are here for you – to help you and your girls have the best experience possible.
*This post was adapted from GS NorCal's blog The Trailhead.
Angela Borchert is finishing her sixth year as a Girl Scout leader in Vacaville/TAFB Service Unit and loves every minute of it. Her Girl Scouts have helped her embrace glue guns and dirt while taking her on her first kayaking outing. She’s been camping more times in the last four years than she has her entire life thanks to Girl Scouts!