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Starting the Girl Scout Year off Right

With fall approaching, a new Girl Scout year is beginning. All summer you've been looking forward to meeting with the girls and exploring new projects, activities, and possibilities. So why do you have "new school year" jitters? Whether you are a seasoned volunteer, or new to Girl Scouting, here are five steps to follow to starting the year off right:

Five Steps for Success

1. Set the Tone
You set the tone for the girls—whether they are new to Girl Scouting or returning Girl Scouts—you want everyone to feel comfortable.

2. Have Some Fun
Need an icebreaker to get things started? Try some games or energy burners. Get them up and moving and before you know it, everyone's having fun! Check out some games and icebreakers.

3. Mix it Up
It's only natural for girls to want to stay with what's familiar—but cliques aren't cool! Encourage the girls to make new friends within the troop or group. Remind them of that Girl Scout classic: "Make new friends, but keep the old..."

4. Ask the Girls
Girl involvement is vital for success. Whether it's deciding which petals to earn, where to take a trip, or what type of community service project they do, girls need to have a say in what they do. Encourage the girls to find activity ideas and to get them thinking about what they'd like to discuss and do.

5. Chill Out
Everyone has hectic schedules—both you and the girls! They need to put their feet up, chat with friends, and have some down time. And so do you!

Remember—you have a lot of support. In addition to the wonderful staff at your Girl Scout council, GSUSA has a lot of other resources. From leader and advisor guides, to the latest research, there's a world of strategies available to you.

Welcome Everyone

How do you create a comfortable and fun environment? These tips can help all the girls feel welcome—regardless of their age.

  • Call each girl by name. Girls will sense that you view them as individuals.
  • Acknowledge their questions. They will know that you are listening and involved.
  • Share your experiences. Girls want to connect with you, this is one way they can do so.
  • Get 'em moving. Movement releases tension—get the girls up for a game and watch their shyness or reluctance to participate disappear.
  • Mix and match. Assign rotating "buddies," have the girls draw names from a hat or draw colored straws.
  • Ask the girls what they want to do. The latest research shows that if the girls don't have a say—if they are not doing activities they enjoy—they will either act out or drop out.