Make the Ask(s). The main reason people don’t take action is
because they were never asked to in the first place. That’s why
hearing one out of three Girl Scout parents say no one had
communicated expectations around involvement with their girl’s troop
is so troubling. Parents may have many talents, but they’re certainly
not mind readers. If you’re nervous about getting turned down, don’t
be. Sure, a few parents might be unable to lend a hand, but the
helpers you do get will be worth their weight in gold. And just
because someone wasn’t available a month or two ago doesn’t mean they
won’t be free to help now. Loop back, follow up, and ask again!
Make Sense of “Why.” Explain that not only does the whole troop
benefit with extra help from parents and other caregivers, but also
that girls feel a special sense of pride in seeing their own family
member step up and take a leadership role. Getting involved can
strengthen the caregiver/girl bond and is a meaningful way to show
daughters that they are a priority in their parents’ lives.
Make It Quick and Easy. Everybody’s got a full plate these
days, so instead of starting conversations with a list of tasks or
responsibilities that parents and other caregivers could take on
(which can be intimidating), ask how much time each week they might be
able to dedicate to the troop, then go from there. For instance, if a
troop mom or dad has 15 minutes each week to spare, they could
organize and manage the calendar for troop snacks and carpools. If a
grandparent has one to two hours, they could assist with leading the
troop through a specific badge on a topic they’re already comfortable with.
Make Family Part of the Formula. While Girl Scout programming
is always focused on the girls themselves, it’s important and helpful
to open up a few events to their families throughout the year.
Inviting the whole crew to celebrate her accomplishments in Girl
Scouting—whether at a holiday open house, a bridging ceremony, or a
fun “reverse meeting” where girls take the role of leaders and guide
the adults, including caregivers, through an activity—will help
parents better understand the value of Girl Scouts and they’ll be more
likely to invest their time and talents to the troop.
That said, there’s no need to wait for a special event to engage
families in their girls’ Girl Scout life. Keep communication lines
open throughout the year—whether it’s through your troop’s social
media page, personal emails, or in-person chats—to keep parents in the
loop on what the girls are doing and learning during each meeting and
encourage them to let their daughters “be the experts” at home,
explaining or teaching the new skills they’ve learned. You can get
everyone in on the fun and keep Girl Scouts strong at home by sharing
the family badge guides on the Volunteer Toolkit with parents and caregivers.