By: Kim Dunne, Media Manager
It can be an intimidating time – becoming a volunteer for any organization. Sometimes you’re not quite sure what you’re doing or what you’re getting yourself into. That’s why we put together this monthly blog series. We are going to follow a relatively new volunteer throughout her Girl Scout volunteer experience. That way you can see first hand what it is like to volunteer with the Girl Scouts. So grab your friends, sit back, and experience first hand the experience of a Girl Scout volunteer.
Andrea Decker from Endicott applied to be a Girl Scout volunteer last fall. She has a daughter that started Girl Scouts in 2012 as as a second-year Daisy.
“My daughter’s first leader helped me to remember all of the fun times that I had in Girl Scouts. All of the songs came back to me, traditions and memories that filled my childhood made me think how lucky I was to have a great leader myself. I was in Girl Scouts for 10 years throughout my childhood and have so many awesome memories and friendships that I gained in Girl Scouts and still connect with today. I wanted to share all of those with my daughter and help create some unique memories for her. I love what Girl Scouts represent and the way we as volunteers can help mold and inspire girls to be strong and confident leaders. I didn’t think I would have the time to be a leader, but I learned Girl Scouts doesn’t have to be perfect and every troop is different, we all have different needs and expectations, but what it comes down to is the basic of Girl Scouts – the Girl Scout Promise and Law.”
Andrea completed CPR/first aid training at the Johnson City Service Center.
“We had many tutorial videos to watch and quizzes to to take. We probably received them via email about two months before we had to meet for the skills/hands on portion. The skills class was for one night for a couple of hours to practice our CPR and complete some basic first aid.”
She also took SSC (Simply Successful Camping) and SSO (Simply Successful Overnight) training at Amahami.
“It was helpful to learn how to make certain fires and know some basic activities to do with the girls. I would have liked a copy of the cook book that one of the teachers had, it was really useful with easy to make meals. I learned that planning to take the troop camping is a big deal. It takes lots of planning from everyone. There are a lot of safety rules and skills that the girls should practice before they go.”
An intimidating part for some volunteers is establishing a troop bank account. Andrea says it really isn’t too bad.
“Jen went to the bank to set up our bank account for the troop. She brought with her the Girl Scout letter and her photo ID. She said it took about an hour. We decided to do e-statements because then we could have free checking.
We each decided to have a debit card for the account. I didn’t need to be present. Jen brought a paper for me to complete with basic information. We decided to have the checking account be the troop number instead of our personal names in case a troop leader decides to no longer be involved, the girls still have their money and can be easily transferred into another troop if necessary.”
Last year, she helped with a large troop of first and second year Daisies and first-year Brownies – a total of 30 or 40 girls. Another mother, Jennifer Merlino, and her decided to stay under the guidance of the larger troop (meet the same times and go on similar troop events) but have a separate meeting from the Daisies.
“This worked well as we were getting our feet wet with the structure of the meetings, ceremonies and other logistics of Girl Scouts. This year we decided to branch off and start our own Brownie troop.”
Andrea says she hasn’t run into any issues or problems that she wasn’t prepared for. They are outlining their schedule for meetings this fall, filling out paperwork to use the school and tying up loose ends.
“I’m looking forward to taking our first ever troop camping this spring to an encampment and maybe venturing into the world of Journey Badges for the girls!”
Check back in October for an update on what Andrea is doing with her troop and her Girl Scout volunteer experience!