Running Your Girl Scout Troop - Brownies

If you took the council training, do you feel prepared for your first meeting?

  • Yes
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What are you going to do for 2011-2012?

  • Try-its
  • Girl Guide/Journey
  • All of the Above
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Brownies for Dummies

This Hub-page is basically going to be Brownies for Dummies. So if you have some experience with running a troop you might read some of this and say “no kidding”. Take what you can and try to remember what it was like when you knew nothing. If you have already taken the required training class at your council it should have given you an idea of what you are in for. Some of you have not taken this training for a variety of reasons. Maybe the date of the class just hasn't happened yet. Even if you have taken the class, I have found the best teachers are those who have been doing the meetings. So if you are a beginner read on. If you are a pro I hope there might be a new thing or two you can use.

When I started my brownie troop, brownies was for three years, first through third grades. I had a lot of time to complete Try-its with my girls. Recently Girl Scouts changed the format of their program. You will only have your Brownie troop for two years, second and third grades. I was able to complete over 30 Try-its with each of my troops, about 12 a year. The other reason I was able to do so much was how I ran my meetings. I did what I called “stations”. I was lucky enough to have 3 other adults at each meeting to help. Once I explain how to complete a Try-it this will all become clear. So let’s get started.

What Do Brownies do?

There are no “Awards” at the Brownie level. Bronze, Silver and Gold awards are earned at the higher levels of girl scouts. Girls Scouts have now added a new line of books for the girls. They are called "Journeys". As of the Winter 2010 they have 3 books to choose from. They have phased out the Try-its and are having the girls do a "Journey" each year. I did not cover these books in this Hub. I plan on doing so at a later time with a separate Hub. I did include a link to those books below. (As of the 2011-2012 year they added the Girl Guide books. These books have new badges for the girls to earn. Since I do not have a Brownie girl any more I have not seen the Brownie badges. I do plan on looking at them as soon as I can.) I have decided to leave this Hub up as it can give you ideas to use withing your troop. If you have a Try-it book, use it. You may not be able to get a Try-it patch anymore but that does not mean that the activities aren't worth while. If you do any of them you can get a Fun Patch for the back of your girls' instead.

Try-its

Try-its are triangular shaped patches that go on the front, bottom, left and right sides of the girls brownie vest/sash. They never go on the back of the vest/sash. The requirements for the Try-its are found in the Try-its for Brownie Girl Scouts book. You can buy this at your council or click on the site to the right. (There is also a Brownie Handbook that has the requirements for bridging and other activities. These two books can be purchased as a set) Try-its are broken down into five different categories. They are:

1. Brownies Girl Scouts, Let’s get started!

2. Taking Care of Yourself

3. Family and Friends

4. What’s Out There?

5. People Near and Far

Try to do a variety of Try-its from all the categories. This is also where your parent’s talents can be helpful. I had one parent who was a gym teacher. She did "GirlSports" with the troop. Another parent taught Zoomba and was able to do "My Body" with the troop.

Try-it Requirements

Each Try-it will give you five to seven choices to complete the try-it. You must complete four to earn the Try-it. Before you look at the choices, read the introduction to the Try-it. It will let you know what the try-it is about. This is important. There are times where I had to improvise or substitute an activity for my girls. It is import to only do this as a last resort and to keep the change within the spirit of the Try-it. For example, the Sports and Games Try-it, in the past our town had a Bicycle Rodeo every year. I used that for the Bicycle requirement of that Try-it. The Rodeo was more involved and covered a lot of safety rules. Lastly, I felt the police department was better equipped to teach the girls than I was. So use your head and give your girls as rich of an experience as you can.

On-line Try-its and Other Activities to Earn

There are also some on-line Try-its, pins, and patches your girls can earn. You need to go to the Nation Girl Scout web site to get the requirements for these. They are changing these awards throughout the year 2011-2012 so please look them up for yourself. Some that I have listed may no longer be available. The address for their site is http://www.girlscouts.org. You need to go to the Program tab than the Girl Scout Central tab and in the index at the right hand side click on Awards, Badges, Bridging and Other Insignia. Lastly, click under Brownies. The names of these patches are:

Computer Smarts, Cookies Count, Point, Click, and Go, Smart Cookie, Wave the Flag, Girl Scout Cookie Sale Activity Pin, Safety Award for Brownie Girl Scouts, Ms. President Patch (The White House Project), and Water Drop Patch.

Click on the name of the one you would like to see the requirements for. Wave the flag is a Try-it and both my troops had fun with our local Foreign Legion earning that one.

“Station” Meeting

Earlier I said I would run my meetings in stations. Since there are four requirements for each Try-it I would have four stations at a meeting, one for each requirement. The girls are broken down into smaller groups of 3-5 depending on how many are at the meeting. You should also take the time to make different groups of girls for each meeting. Don't put all the "active" or "talkative" girls in one group. Mix them up so they all get to be together at one point or another. The girls move from station to station about every 15 to 20 minutes. Three stations would have a parent running them. One station would have a leader running it and the other leader would keep all the stations running smoothly. This included switching the stations on time, getting anything a station may need and pulling out any of the girls that may be having a problem, etc. These problems could range from needing the bathroom to breaking down in tears because they felt someone had hurt their feelings. Sometimes there are only three stations. It depends on the Try-it. You can do three requirements at the meeting in stations and one on a field trip. I loved taking my girls on field trips. I'm lucky to have two nature centers close by. When we went there they were able to complete a Try-it in one trip. If your parents just can't or won't help out, you can still do stations. Each troop is supposed to have two leaders. So complete the Try-it in two meetings. Just have two stations at each meeting with one leader at each station. The groups will be larger and you won't have anyone "overseeing" the meeting so you will need a little more time at each station. You also might be able to find a Girl Scout or two from an older troop that can help out at your meetings and run a station. Older Girl Scouts have many requirements for badges and awards where they need to help younger girls do things. They can be a great resource.

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Comments 22 comments

Stephanie 7 years ago

Great idea on the stations. I think we can even have that work in our Daisy level. We are a large group of 20.


Michele 7 years ago

I have been a girl scout leader 2 times ( before kids and now after kids) also have been a cub scout leader.

I have a few tips for each of you reading this. Stations are great if you can make them work. You also can count anything a child has done at school. So if you have a sports junior badge that says to do the sport 6 times and they did it at school for a week you can do it only 2 more times at a meeting and have that part done.

Also - starts of meetings are crazy because you are collecting dues and field trip permission slips and answering parent and girl questions. Often the first 15 mins. can pass within a flash. Girls can get wild too since this is a time the leader is busy answering all the questions.

I have nipped this in the bud with a " welcome sheet".

The welcome sheet is for everyone to read, girls and parents.

It is broken into 3 parts:

Part 1 - Parent Information and reminders... this part tells parents things so you the leader don't have to repeat and remind everyone to turn something in that day.

Part2- For the girls- It tells the girls to sign in , turn in anything needed, and also tells them what to start working on. They might be making a list for a badge you are working on, creating a thank you card so you can have a set of them to send, doing a puzzle, or anything that they can start on their own while you the leader answer questions. Often I try to make what ever they are doing independently at the start of a meeting count towards a badge or service project. When your reading through the badge books just mark with a star things the girls can do on their own that can be completed in about 10-15 mins. Then you will have a list of welcome activities ready. I don't have an assistant leader so this sheet also helps my parent helper for the day know what is happening.

Part 3- What are we doing today. The girls and the parent helper will always ask you and you will continue to repeat. With this on the welcome sheet it is a plan for you and the girls to refer to. We don't always get everything done.. it is just a rough draft of the meeting so I remember what I'm doing. I often make a few meetings welcome pages up at a time so that bag work can be completed within a 2 month time. At times I try to combine more than one badge per meeting and stretch the work out. SOme girls are not interested in the specific subject of a badge so if they only have to deal with it for 1/2 a meeting.. it makes it more tolerable... so I might do something for a sports and a science badge all in one meeting to offer a diverse program.

You must keep track of what is and is not done... make a chart for attendance for each meeting. On the chart leave a large space at the top and write what was completed in phrases at top with the date... then add each girls name on a table and fill in by checking off who was at meeting. Then you know exactly who has completed what and who has really earned the badge. I do send a e-mil stating what was missed to girls who were absent at meeting. If work counted toward a badge I ask them to make up work or they will not earn the badge. You miss a meeting it is your job to find a way to make up work... if not you don't get the badge.

I hand out badges about 2-3 times a year at ceremonies.... this gives girls time to make up work if they missed a meeting and also keeps patches together so parents can do all of sewing or ironing at same time. You will find many more patches are not lost this way. If a patch is given out at a different time such as a workshop I bring along safety pins and pin the patch right to the girls vest or sash until the parent has a chance to sew it on... then it isn't left in the car for us to all wonder who lost their patch in the car pool.

I try very hard to involve girls in the decision making process of picking field trips, patches, badges and service projects... you will keep girls in girl scouting if you do this. Girls also love to camp... even if you only do it in a cabin... being in the outdoors and hiking and doing things with the troop outside of meeting is an important part to the girls loving scouting... think about the word... scouting! ... You scout ... outside...

If you don't know how to do something just find somone else willing to teach it to your girls.. ask for free help first.. if that doesn't work then pay for help. For example.. we paid a certified instructor $35 to teach out girls archery at our last camping trip.

It was well worth the $3.00 per girl and I didn't have to to anything except call the instructor and give her a list of the 6 requirements I wanted covered with girls so they could earn their junior girl scout badge. The girls thought it was totally cool.

Buddy up with another troop form you school to do things with them and share the cost so you can get a group rate discount... theater tickets, roller skating, bowling, a school dance party, camping in a cabin, etc.

It will save you money and the other person can help you plan.

Girl scouting is great... make it a great experience not only for the girls but also for you and the other parents involved. Have a few events that allow siblings and whole families to come along.... more families will come and have fun.


Sarah @ Mum In Bloom 7 years ago

What a great resource this is! Thank you so much for sharing.. you too Stephanie. I'm looking forward to incorporting these tips.. found your site by searching "Parent Meetings". Thanks again!


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LPogue 6 years ago from Missouri

I worked with my daughter's Girl Scout troop as leader from the time she was in 4th grade to 12th grade. During that time, I also worked as the Neighborhood Director for our town, meaning that I was in charge of much of the training and organization for the troop leaders in our area. As Neighborhood Director, I often visited and helped with Brownie troops. On occasion, troops at all levels complete activities that are not specifically addressed in the Try-Its and Badges the girls can earn, for instance Mother Daughter Camp Outs, or Father Daughter Banquets. To commemorate these activites, we would purchase patches the girls could add to the back of their vests/sashes. The leaders and moms who participated also received the patches, and often displayed them on windbreakers or light jackets. A Google search for "stock patches" will give you a good list of places where these can be ordered. The girls and their moms and dads loved these additional patches. Again, since they are not official Girl Scout patches, they had to be worn on the back of the sashes or vests.


Georgia 6 years ago

I just read this today and wanted to comment that I tried the station idea because two or three parents were staying for the meeting and chatting just enough for it to be a distraction, so I decided to put them to work. It is working nicely.


Rebecca 6 years ago

Thank you so much for this! Our troop is Daisies getting ready to bridge to Brownies, and we have been worried about how to do this with our ever growing group of girls (15, with a possible 16 coming in!). This page is going to be such a help for us! Thank you again!


kay 6 years ago

Thank you so much for the GREAT ideas! Can't wait to use them!!


Jodi 6 years ago

Thank you for simplifying! I am new and very overwhelmed.


mommyloves2write 6 years ago

I am a Brownie Leader-great article!


Patsy 5 years ago

This is a great help to me. Wish I had seen it a little sooner. I will be sure to pass the helpful tips along. Thanks


ShirleyMom 5 years ago

I've been a leader for 10 years and always work with new leaders in getting started. Your stations is something I always recommend! It does work. New leaders don't get overwhelmed, like I always say, just make it fun and keep it safe and the girls will enjoy it! You both learn as you go along so don't be hard on yourself!


Liz Mason 5 years ago

I did "stations" with my daughter's troop back in the 80's. I had been asked by Council to take in as many low income girls from a nearby school as I could handle. My home was not large enough to accommodate that huge troop so we got permission to use the community building in the housing project. It had stoves and full kitchen. I knew from the previous year there was no way I could have all of them cooking at the same time and maintain a safe zone. I also knew that my asst leader and I could not count on always having moms to help out. So we devised a method where each girl would rotate try-it groups so that the baking group was not more than 4 girls at any given meeting. It also rains a lot here so we couldn't always count on them being outdoors to work on sports and games try-its. Our objective came to be working on a variety of try-its each month so that we would have a minimum of 4 meetings to finish up at least a couple try-its. It always depended on being flexible with the mom availability situation. My mom was my junior leader in the '50s so I knew it was all about organization and being flexible. Now, I am helping with my granddaughter's brownie troop. Things have changed a lot but it's always fun.


Laura 5 years ago

1st time leader starting this fall. I can't thank all of you enough for the tips! You have helped to relieve a great deal of anxiety!


Laura 5 years ago

1st time leader starting this fall. I can't thank all of you enough for the tips! You have helped to relieve a great deal of anxiety!


Kim 5 years ago

I have been a leader for two years, I agree. Stations work. I am starting with brownies this fall. I love your Welcome idea. Also, When my girl were Daisies i would have coloring pages or small activities for those who came early to prevent running around and yelling. Good job with you article.


Clarissa 5 years ago

I have being a Brownie leader for the past 22 years (yes years) and I think that all your organization indicates that you forgot that GS should be girl led!! I never did more that 7 Try-its in one year. The girls were able to explore more on a try-it that they liked. Some try-its took 2 months to complete as the girls wanted to learn more. Usually, most try-its would require the whole meetoing for one requirement. 15-20 min is really short for most try-its and you do not let girls try again or allow for slower girls... etc.


Caerleon profile image

Caerleon 5 years ago from USA Author

Clarissa - My articles about Girl Scouts are to show others one of many ways to run their Girl Scout Troops. A little bit of brainstorming if you will, written in the form of a short article, not a book with many details of every meeting. There are no two troops that are the same. What my troops do each year is outlined by them at their first meeting. As I have always stated, these are my experiences. You have to know your girls and yourself. Find what works for you and your girls. Take what you can and leave the rest. I personally need organization, so I plan before the meetings but the girls dictate what we are going to do and how. My plans are nothing more than an outline to follow to give the girls a plan to follow so they are not off topic. A list of instructions of the craft, experiment, or game they wanted to do for a requirement. I enlist the help of older Girl Scouts to help me with the younger ones. Have you forgotten what it was like the first year you were a leader? When you wanted to do everything right and make your daughter so proud that you were her leader? When you wanted the girls to have such a great time in scouts? But when you got to the meeting there was 20 little 5 year olds running around and you didn’t even know all their names but somehow it was your job to not only to have them listen to you but also for them to have fun? For many of these first time leaders that is what it is like. It does not come easy for everyone to be a leader. Until they get the hang of it, a little organization can go a long way. Being a leader is not about you but the scouting experience those girls have is still your responsibility. Until a new leader finds herself that responsibility can way heavy on her shoulders. I suggest you write some articles of your own to help other leaders with ideas that they might be able to use with their troops. But remember that what works for you may not work for them. I’m sorry you could not find anything here for you. I wish you didn’t feel the need to be so judgmental about it. Lastly, you don't even know the make-up of my troops over the years. I have had all different types of children. As a teacher, I do know how to set the pace if you will for all their different needs and create an environment of acceptance. Labels are not the place for GS.


Aisha 4 years ago

I am really sad because brownies is most popular and I am going to be 10 next month but I am still not aloud to go until then!!!!!! :( :(


Caerleon profile image

Caerleon 4 years ago from USA Author

Hi Aisha,

First, thank you so much for your comment. I am sorry I did not read it until now. I haven't been on Hub Pages for a while. Anyway, don't let anyone tell you what is "popular". Enjoy every level of the Girl Scouts. There is so much to do no matter how old you are. Explore everything you can do at each level so you can learn and enjoy being 10, 11, 12, and so on. So many of the women we go to visit on trips tell the girls that they were Girls Scouts too when they were girls. They all have stories to tell us from all levels of Girls Scouts. Lessons they have learned that have helped them become the women they are now. Some still have their vests or sashes and they share them with us. Each patch is a special memory of a new skill learned, a friendship made, or a special time with their troop or mom. So be proud to be a Brownie but don't forget being a Daisy and look forward to all the other great years you will have in Girl Scouts. I wish you a wonderful life.

Caer :) :)


Amy 4 years ago

Thank you for all your advice! I am a first time troop leader and need all the advice I can get :)


Johnc559 2 years ago

Very nice post. I certainly appreciate this website. kgafkbceadfc


Nicole 5 months ago

I stumbled on this page from the pinterest rabbit hole and am so happy I did. Thank you to all who took time to post suggestions and advice. I just finished 2 years of leading Daises and am excited to work with my Brownies this fall. I love the idea of stations. We are expecting more girls this year and I think that will be a big help.

Also, for those concerned about keeping things Girl-led, it really isn't hard, and this approach isn't taking away from their ability to make choices and express interest in a variety of topics. It's about taking the activities they have voted on or expressed interest in (my girls completed a survey at the last meeting to give me an idea what they liked and wanted to try again or learn this year) and creating a means to implement the steps needed to achieve those goals. It also is about exposing them to activities they may not have considered before. I have one girl who was negative about trying several things and when she did it, she loved it. I thought the ideas mentioned were great and I'm going to try many of them this year!

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