By: Georgia Gilbert, East Syracuse/Minoa Area Service Unit Manager
There are some pros and cons to having year-round troop meetings. The biggest con has to do with scheduling. Our summers are short in this area of New York and we tend to cram as much activity into it as we possibly can before the temperature drops all too soon. Trying to schedule meetings around family activities (yours and your girls’), summer camp, summer jobs…well, you’d be lucky to get a handful of girls at your meetings. And then there is the break that a lot of leaders need. It is a job to lead a troop and many look forward to that time during the summer when they don’t have to prepare for meetings.
The pros to meeting over the summer, though, have to do with continuity and consistency. Meeting year round gives the girls more time to work on goals without a break to slow their momentum. Their relationships with their troop mates don’t take a breather and that helps to create a tighter bond. They aren’t “starting new” come September because Girl Scouting has become a way of life.
Summertime can be the time to break away from the traditional meeting format. Meeting over the summer doesn’t have to be the same-old, same-old. The girls may want to take a break from the badge work and journeys to try something new or just enjoy something more relaxed. Again, because of the scheduling issue mentioned earlier it might work out better to meet once a month rather than weekly or every other week. Now is the time to take those troops that they have been saving their cookie profits for or to do some summer fun activities. Look for things that you can only do in the warmer weather. Plan a family picnic at a local beach which is especially nice for the younger girls; take a trip to an amusement park, hold an outdoor movie sleepover, take a hike, canoe, or camp in the Adirondacks; try letterboxing, visit the zoo, explore your neighborhood…summertime can be your “informal” meeting time.
When planning out the Girl Scout year with your troop discuss the possibility of meeting year round. Talk about the fun things you could do in the summer. Get the girls’ feedback and ideas. You may still only get a handful of girls who are able to attend an activity but it might be those girls that need it the most.