G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)™ have been and will continue accomplishing remarkable feats – whether they’re embracing a new Girl Scout sister into their troop, camping out under the stars for the first time or creating a marketing strategy for their booming Girl Scout Cookie business.
But behind every Girl Scout’s success, laughter or unforgettable memory is an adult volunteer generously giving their time, talent and treasure. Adult volunteers play a crucial role in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and are responsible for building a community of young women capable of taking action and generating positive, permanent changes in the region and beyond.
To foster this century’s network of G.I.R.L.s, there are numerous tools and resources available to adult volunteers including monthly enewsletters, social media channels and of course, Girl Scout Council staff. But perhaps the most important resource at an adult volunteers’ disposal are the neighborhood meetings.
For those new to leading a Girl Scout troop, neighborhood meetings are organized with the intention of providing support and are a means of delivering important Girl Scout Council-wide information. Typically, each neighborhood will have approximately four to six meetings a year, offering opportunities to ask questions and learn about the ins and outs of Girl Scout programming (like the Fall Product and Cookie Programs). It’s also a chance to hear about upcoming events, any Girl Scout Council initiatives and community service projects organized within the neighborhood. Some neighborhoods go so far as to invite guest speakers from different organizations to share how they support badgework and journeys.
An Adult Volunteer’s Story
In 2018, then 18-year-old adult volunteer Kim Clyne stepped up to lead as neighborhood manager when there was a vacancy in her district. For Clyne, organizing and leading these monthly meetings was an opportunity to ensure the leaders in her area had a forum to ask questions and network. Clyne said she typically had 20 to 30 individuals attend the meetings but heard people were missing dates because they didn’t get the emails, or they weren’t able to leave the house for one reason or another.
Wanting to ensure everyone could not only participate in the meetings but engage real-time, Clyne decided to stream her meetings through Facebook Live. Since she began these broadcasts, more troop leaders have been able to share what’s on their mind and ask their burning Girl Scout-related questions. To Clyne, neighborhood meetings are crucial to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience as it’s the place where information is continually being exchanged.
“Networking is a huge part of our neighborhood meetings,” said Clyne. “So many of our leaders communicate over email but when you see someone face-to-face it’s different. You can ask that person for ideas or talk over issues.”
Having now been in the neighborhood manager role for a full membership year, Clyne said she continues volunteering because she loves being part of the Girl Scout community.
“Everyone in Girl Scouts is nice and genuinely wants to help,” said Clyne. “I think it’s important for everyone to be a part of something like this organization.”
Each neighborhood differs in terms of how often they meet and how they disseminate mandatory trainings and information. But the goal for each remains the same and that’s to be a community of supportive, like-minded women and men, who are leading troops of G.I.R.L. s determined to change their corner of the world for the better.
For those new leaders or those who have never attended a neighborhood meeting, reach out to your district’s Community Engagement Manager for additional details. They’ll have the upcoming neighborhood meeting schedule and can also put in you contact with the appropriate manager. If you don’t know that person’s contact information, please call the Answer Center at 314.400.4600.