Leaders are not alone! Parent Volunteer Support is Important!
National studies show that the more you clearly define the ways that parents can help …the more likely they are to step in. If done correctly, you will build a solid support base, strengthen the girl’s chances of longevity with your troop, and potentially even increase participation from your dads. A good way to do this is to schedule the first troop meeting as parent/daughter meeting. One of the leaders can conduct a meeting for the girls while the other talks with parents/guardians about the support needed to make their daughters’ troop all it can be.
The Leader’s Guide to Building Family Support takes you through the easy to follow CPR Model - Communicate, Participate, Recognize. Suggestions and tools to communicate your needs for assistance are provided which help you organize your volunteer pool and call upon new people to do specific tasks while matching assignments with parents’ availability and interests.
Successfully building a family wide troop support network has three key ingredients:
- Offer parents a variety of options with clearly defined responsibilities and time commitment factors
- Ask parents to promise a minimum of 4 hours per family – for her. (Use the Promise Card)
- Publicly recognize a parent/family when they hit 4 hours of given time. (Establish a regular communication channel.)
What can a 4-hour promise really do?
When parents sign a promise card to volunteer four hours, you just gave them a reason to ask to do things to support the troop.
- You open the door to participation for the first time for many parents and family members.
- Parents become more in tune to the needs of the troop.
- Male involvement increases. Four hours per family lends a new perception of “getting involved,” therefore more dads, step dads, grandfathers, and big brothers can join in.
- Parents keep coming back to help beyond the 4 hours because they witness the positive effect their participation has on the troop and their daughter.
- Your volunteer pool becomes more organized; you’ll know how to better communicate your needs for assistance, calling upon new people to do specific tasks and matching assignments with parents’ availability.
- The leader’s load is lightened when more parents help. (Example: cutting out shapes, shopping for badges or supplies, teaching a skill, or attending a service unit meeting, etc).
- Communication between leader and family significantly increases when leaders use the 4 Her Promise and follow the CPR model.
- You build future volunteers as children witness firsthand, parent volunteerism. They will surely imitate the good example.
What can a parent volunteer do?
Below are example activities that can be completed by Adult/Parent Volunteers. Leaders can decide what is useful to their troop and Adult Volunteers (Parents) may come up with their own suggestions to offer to a troop.
- Host a meeting - Provide the activities and crafts for one or two meetings a year.
- Your house - Can we use it for parties, cookouts, baking, storage, etc.?
- Badge & patch coordinator - Share your special skills to sponsor an activity. Keep a record of girls’ badge work.
- Give a service - Provide duplicating service for the troop. Write a troop newsletter. Help with phone calling, etc.
- Cookie program coordinator Every troop needs someone to attend training and coordinate the annual cookie program.
- Help with outdoor activities - Hikes, Overnights, Day Outings, Field Trips
- Share skills or hobbies - Teach the girls about your hobby.
- Community service projects - Help girls plan and conduct a service project.
- An adult aide - I can attend troop meetings regularly to help.
- Provide child care - for the children of the leader/co-leader during meeting time.
- Provide transportation - If my car has insurance and you have a valid Drivers License
- Supporter - Recruit other people you know who would like to help the troop or the Service Unit.
Either use the resources below (from the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Council) or create your own process to solicit parental support for your troop.
- 4 HER Leader Guide
- 4 HER Promise Cards
- 4 HER Volunteer Menu
- 4 HER Ways Adults Can Help
- 4 HER Volunteer Tracking Spreadsheet
Are you an Adult that would like to volunteer?
Girl Scouts cannot happen without people like you. Girl Scout volunteers are people who care about girls and want to help them grow strong. They are moms, dads, college students, retirees, single adults, parents who work outside the home, grandparents, and more. Girl Scout volunteers make a difference in girls' lives, develop leadership skills, and have fun!
Take your first step to becoming a Girl Scout volunteer today! Contact your Troop Leader, your Girl Scout school's representative or visit the Girl Scouts Western Washington web site to learn more.