Multi-Level Troops: Facing Challenges with New Outlooks

What is a Multi-level troop? A Multi-level troop is a troop with a combination of Girl Scouts of different grade-levels. Multilevel troops are fairly common within Girl Scouts of Louisiana-Pines to the Gulf. Reasons of formation for such troops vary depending on the place of the school’s information night to the availability of leaders within a specific community.  

When a parent/guardian is asked why she agreed to be a leader of any troop, often the answer is because of his/her daughter, not the arrangement of the group. Girl Scouting is, indeed, a place to create a Girl Scout Leadership Experience that exceeds a moment, but as leaders you are challenged to mentor, lead, manage and be great among other things. Not to worry! Here is are few things to remember for your troop.

1. Look at how the positives outweigh the challenges

Managing a multi-level troops has its challenges, however, the benefits are worth it. With a combination of older and younger girls, younger girls can learn from older girls and older girls gain self confidence when helping younger girls. If your troop consists of girl from multiple grade levels, as well as multiple schools each girl scout has the benefit of making new friends, stepping outside of the comfort zone and understanding different aspects of those situations. 

2. Divide and Conquer

Troops ranging from only 12 girls to 36 girls of multiple grade levels has its benefits. The key is multiple co-leaders willing to be trained for specific grade levels. Having certain adults take ownership of each grade level allows for more than two people to be completely  responsible of the troop. This type of arrangement does not mean that the troops will not have moments to share, it’s just a different set up of timing. All grade levels are together for an opening/closing ceremony, announcements and reminders, then divide up into age levels with one co-leader working with each group at meetings.

3. Girl Scout Law – “Use your resources wisely”

Say it with me, “Volunteer Toolkit” or commonly referred to as the VTK. By now, you have most likely heard this term as an existing or new troop. It’s an online app to help you plan and manage your Girl Scout year. It has lots of meeting plans for Daisy, Brownie, and Junior troops as well as admin tools and new content for all program levels. Make the resources work for you and your troop! 

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If your response is it is not user friendly, look below for the work around of multi-level troops.

  • If you are a multilevel troop, when you go to Year Plan Library you will have the option of “Create your Multi-Level Troop Year Plan”.
  • Click Create Your Year Plan and then choose what age levels you want (Daisy, Brownie and/or Junior).
  • Once age levels are selected, you can choose between Badge, Journey, Award Earning, Intro and Closing.
  • Choose your meeting plan type(s) and click View Meeting Plans.
  • Choose the meeting plans you want. Make sure if a badge has two meeting plans (part one and two) that you choose both meeting plans.
  • Click Add To Year Plan to add your meetings.
  • To combine meetings on one date (this way you can have your Daisy, Brownie and/or Junior meetings on the same date), you need to click on the colored meeting date box for the date you want to combine meetings. Find your meeting date and click on the calendar icon. This will open a box with the choice to Change Date/Time, Cancel Meeting or Combine Meetings. Choose Combine Meetings and click on the meetings you want to combine. Click Continue and use the calendar to choose the date for those meetings to occur. Click Save and when you view your Year Plan, you will see multiple meetings on that date.

The Volunteer Toolkit is an added resource for new and returning volunteers. There isn’t a right or wrong way to use it—so log in, take a look around, and see what you think!

GSLPG Fall Product Program is Here!

Why should you participate in the Fall Product Program?

We’re glad you asked! The Fall Product Program helps girls develop the five essential skills that are core to the Girl Scout Leadership Program: goal setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

Troops can choose how to participate in the program.

Troops can sell magazines, photo keepsakes, nuts and candy in person, or they can email friends and family offering them the option to purchase items online. If you want to make the biggest splash, do both!

Girls earn funds to support their troops.

Troops earn $1 for every nut or candy item purchased, 10% of total sales for every paper magazine and online order, and $2 for every completed address booklet.** This is a great way to get those “start-up” funds to purchase Girl Scout supplies for the troop!

**Note: Girls must sell a magazines & more item, or a nut or candy item before they receive credit for a completed booklet.

Fall Product Program has benefits for Cookie Season.

This year, every troop that **actively participates** in the Fall Product Program will be part of an exclusive cookie booth selection round when the cookies season rolls back around!

**Note: An actively participating troop has five or more girls participating in the program OR makes $250 or more in total sales as a troop.

It’s not too late to participate!

The program began October 2, but troops can decide to participate anytime before the end of the program on November 5. Interested? Check out the Fall Product Program Online Training, complete the Knowledge Check, grab your materials from your Service Unit Manager, and you’re all set to jump in!

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Be a part of the Fall Product Program and help your girl earn funds to support her troop and her council, while also earning rewards just for her!

Back to Troop!

Are you gearing up for the new Girl Scout year? Check out what some of our volunteers had to say about getting back to troop!

Here are 3 steps to preparing for another exciting year of Girl Scouts:

  1. Make sure you and your troop are renewed for the 2017-2018 year. The first step to enjoying another year of Girl Scout fun is to get registered for the new year! When you renew by September 30, you will receive a $10 voucher. This voucher can be used for upcoming events, Girl Scout merchandise in our shops, etc. If you’d like to use Cookie Dough to pay for your renewal, please contact us.
  2. Plan your year out on the Volunteer Toolkit.  Did you know you can plan our your entire year on the Volunteer Toolkit? These full year plans include step-by-step activity guides and activities for multi-level or level specific troops. In addition to planning your troop you can manage troop finances, access your troop roster and stay connected with troop members or parents. Utilizing the Volunteer Toolkit means you spend less time planning and more time being active with your girls.
  3. Check out our calendar and register for a variety of events. You’ll want to be sure and sign up for our On Time Parties! We are holding a Girl Scout year kick off party in each of our 5 regions, each party with a different decade theme. Besides our On Time Parties we have our regional meetings, product sale trainings, STEM workshops, camp outs, our first annual Thin Mint Sprint and more. With a combination of our council events mixed with your troop and service unit events, your troop calendar will be full of new adventures!

Have any questions or concerns about renewing for the new year? Be sure to contact us at info@gslpg.org or give us a call at 800-960-2093.

Discovering the Magic of Camp

Written by Troop Support Specialist – Kelli Lafont

As a new member to the Girl Scouts and the Girl Scouts of Louisiana- Pines to the Gulf council, I’ve experienced many firsts over the last month. Perhaps the most exciting of these experiences was my visit to Camp Wawbansee for the Camp Hakuna Matata.

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A warm welcome to camp!

Camp Hakuna Matata was a wonderful introduction into the camps offered over the summer. As demonstrated through its name, the theme of the camp revolved around the magical world of Disney. From the decorations adorning every activity area to the themed activities, the imaginative world of princesses and other characters were brought to life. Girls studied archery with Merida, swam with Mermaids, played checkers and cricket in Wonderland, and crafts were created at Cinderella’s castle. The theme was even incorporated into meal time as Crush from Finding Nemo cruised the current highway above the girls while they ate! No matter what the activity, the girls were surrounded by Disney.

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Girls express their inner risk-taker in learning how to canoe.

This magical backdrop really helped me to see the magic that is Girl Scout camp. The magic of camp wasn’t just found in the decorations, but the spirit of camp. No matter what type of girl you were, there was an activity for you. If you were adventurous, you could try archery, hiking, or canoeing. If you wanted to have fun but play it a little safer, you could play games, go swimming, and make crafts. There was truly something for everyone! While all of these activities were fun, the girls were also challenged to learn new things, like how to paddle a canoe, how to play Cricket or explore the outdoors for the first time.

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Friendships & bonds are created while camp activities take place.

Similar to most Disney stories, the most magical thing that I witnessed at camp was the friendships being built. Camp is open to members across the council, so girls got to meet others outside their own troop and build new relationships. Older Girl Scouts led younger girls through their activities, which led to some beautiful moments of leadership and camaraderie. I suspect these relationships will stick with the girls, helping them to grow and develop into strong young leaders.

As a newcomer to Girl Scouts I never attended Girl Scout camp growing up, so Camp Hakuna Matata was one of my first looks into what the camp experience is truly like. After spending a day with the girls at camp, experiencing the activities and seeing the friendships being made, I could see the true beauty of camp. It was great experience for me and from what I saw, a great experience for the girls.

Had a great camp experience? Share your story with us!