Running Your Girl Scout Troop - Parent Meeting
Setting Up Your Parent Meeting
Having a parent meeting before you meet with the girls can make your year run smoother. Making sure the parents know what is expected of them and their daughters helps everyone. Knowing who can help you and how helps you run stronger meetings. Below is a "framework" for this type of meeting. Use it exactly as it is or adapt it to fit your needs. A word about parents. I have learned over the years that parents can be very different. This comes from not just Girls Scouts but Cub Scouts as well. They range from the very helpful to the "your a babysitting service". Always offer them the opportunity to help in any way they can, whether it is at a meeting or behind the scenes. Don't expect the help and never judge them. We all have our own issues and burdens in life. If you're a leader, you're there for the girls. Make the meetings the best you can for the girls. I have found involving their parents, even just once a year, makes them very happy. Most of the time it will make things easier for you also. Always play to their talents and ignore your differences.
Do You Have A Parent Meeting Every Year?
Girl Scout Materials
- A Girl Scout Journey: Agent of Change - The Power of One
The first section of this Journey is all about the individual girl. The lesson here is the power each person has to make things happen.
Before The Meeting
Before you have your parent meeting make an agenda. This should include any sign-up sheets and form the parents need to fill out during the meeting. You can leave out sign-up sheets that do not need a big explanation, such as snack, helping on a scheduled field trip, or parent information. If you want the parents to pay attention to you while you talk, do not give them any paperwork to fill out until you want them to. Most will do it while you are talking and not really listen to what you are saying. Make sure you can read all the information that is written on your sheets before the parents leave. If you have a laptop and can have the information entered directly on that, do it.
Parent Information Sheet
Parent's Name, Child's Name, Address, Phone #, E-mail
Possible Handouts for Parents to Bring Home
1. Your contact information
2. Troop Calendar: Including Meeting Time, Place, and Date
3. List of things the girls will need to bring to the meetings. (Crayons, glue, binder, etc. This list will be unique to your troop. The level of your troop will help determine what they will need.)
4. Rules for the troop. Do you want them in full uniform for every meeting or just their vest/sash? How should they dress for field trips? Do they need their books for every meeting? How are you going to communicate with the parents/girls about upcoming meetings? etc. You really need to put some thought into this section. Be flexible as the year goes on and the girls grow. Rules may need to be added and removed.
5. List of what you need the parents to do. Make sure girls are at the meetings on time. Make sure the girls are picked up on time. Do you want parents to stay for meetings? How many? Do you want siblings to stay at meetings (I've had parents leave all their children at meetings and then the parent would leave. Be very clear.) How many parents do you need to help on field trips? Seems simple but you would be surprised.
Things To Bring
4. Pens, pencils, paper
5. Refreshments (plates, cups, napkins) optional
6. A Smile
The Meeting Agenda
A. Introductions: Introduce yourself. Explain who you, are why you are the leader, a little about your daughter, etc. Go around the room asking the parents to introduce themselves, and their daughter's, etc.
B. Troop Calendar: Go over the day and time of your meeting. If you are not having the parent meeting in the same place you will be having the troop meetings make sure everyone knows where the troop meetings will be held. Talk about some of what you have planned for the year.
C. Materials List: Go over the materials list if you have one.
D. Troop Rules: Go over what you expect from the girls.
E. Parent Rules: Explain to the parents what you expect from them. How will you be communicating with them. Find out what they expect from you throughout the year. This is also where you can find out how the parents can support you.
F. Questions: Answer any questions the parents may have that were not covered during the meeting.
G. Fill out Forms and answer questions in private: DO NOT let any parent leave until they fill out all of the forms you need. Whether they are for you or your council. If you were able to secure a cookie mom have them fill out a registration form now. If there is a parent that would like to talk to you on the side this could be a good opportunity.
H. Refreshments: You can serve refreshments if you would like.
After The Meeting
1. File all your paperwork needed in your girl binder separated by girl.
2. File all your paperwork needed in your troop binder.
3. Create a "Troop" group in your e-mail address book with the e-mails of your parents.
4. Organize and prepare any paperwork that needs to go to your council.
5. Write "minutes" of the parents meeting and e-mail them to the parents. Include a reminder for the next meeting and what will be needed for that meeting. This will also test your "Troop" group you created in your address book.