The Training Program

Betsy Woodford

The Training Program

Students: Leaders, co-leaders, and assistant leaders
Trainer: Service Unit manager or designated trainer
Where: At Service Unit meetings
When: First 15-30 minutes of Service Unit meetings
How: Using the activities mapped out below for every Service Unit meeting, or combining the elements on your own.
Goal: To build leaders' commitment to Girl Scouting so that they will be leaders longer

It may seem that it's asking a lot to add more elements to a Service Unit meeting. But now, most SU meetings are predominantly "information dumps." Surely, it's valuable to devote 15 minutes per meeting to working on skills that will lead to team building among the leaders, networking between leaders and parents, defining the leaders' job more clearly, and acquiring advice from experienced leaders that will make the jobs of new leaders easier.

One way to set the stage for the discussions that are part of Lasting Leadership is to introduce everyone, either personally, or by name tags. It will also help if the SU manager says frequently that it is a basic message of the Girl Scouts that the strength of the Girl Scout program rests in the volunteers, and that the leaders are doing a good job. Lastly, there needs to be an avenue through which leaders can express their concerns or problems-either by bringing them up in the discussion, or by a suggestion box.


Inspiration: Read one from page 8

Activity: Get acquainted game (page 10)

Skill: practice talking with strangers, a preliminary step to networking

Activity: Plan/discuss Service Unit goals/activities for the year. What goals do the leaders have for the Service Unit? Recruit more girls? Have more activities? Participate in certain Council activities? Make a list and perhaps even take names of volunteers for chairmanships.

Skill: Leaders who participate in establishing Service Unit goals are more likely to help achieve those goals. Model for democratic processes for girls.



Inspiration: read one from page 8

Activity: Get acquainted game-Each person teams up with someone she doesn't know, and talks with them for two minutes in order to introduce each other to the group. Ask questions such as name, what school, what level of troop, how many girls, what's the best activity they did recently.

Skill: practice talking with strangers, a preliminary step to networking.

Activity: Pass out leader job description (page 11). Everyone should read it and then the trainer can lead a discussion about it for a few minutes.

Discussion: trainer says, "It's good to review the job description once a year because many of us don't see it on a regular basis, and it's easy to forget parts of it." Throw out questions such as "Are there any parts of the description that surprises anyone?" "What does `acquire fundamental knowledge' mean? How have you acquired fundamental knowledge? "What ways have proven effective for you in communicating with parents?"

Skill: defining the job description of leaders



Inspiration: read one from page 8

Activity: Pass out Girl Scout Mission Statement, Basic Messages, and Goals for Girls, all on page 12 and talk about it for a few minutes. Ask questions such as:

"In what ways can we `inspire girls with the highest ideals of character?'"
(from first Mission Statement) (One answer could be by doing activities based on the Promise and Law)

"How can Girl Scouting be an asset to our community"
(from ninth Basic Message)

"How can we implement the democratic process in our troops?"
(from fourth item in Mission Statement)

Skill: learning about the mission

Activity: Pass out the Leader Goals Contract, page 13. Based on the discussion held previously, ask each leader to fill out a Leader Goals Contract. The goals can be as simple or as elaborate as each leader is comfortable with, but hopefully they will all refer back, in some way, to the Mission Statement and Basic Messages of Girl Scouting. The trainer should collect them, photocopy them, and keep one set for herself and give one back to the leader at the November meeting. In May or June, the trainer will pass them out again and leaders can evaluate how well they met their goals.

Skill: learning about the mission



Inspiration: read one from page 8

Activity: Establishing a mentoring program. The Leader Mentoring Program, described on page 14, provides for the partnering of an experienced leader with a new one. The experienced leader can offer advice on activities, dealing with parents, and many other insider tips. The program will consist of the mentor calling the new leader once a month throughout the year to answer questions, and the new leader can call to ask questions anytime.

Pass out Leader Mentoring Program sheet, on page 14. Get people to sign up and exchange phone numbers.

Skills: leader role, and networking skills



Inspiration: read one from page 8

Activity: Pass out sheet on networking on page 15 and discuss it with the group. In the meeting, have someone walk up to a stranger and try to initiate a conversation. Or, play a game where everyone walks around the room trying the techniques, and the person who comes back with the most tidbits of information that they can use, wins!

Skills: networking



Inspiration: read one from page 9

Activity: Break into groups according to level: Daisys, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes and Seniors. For about 20 minutes, discuss program, badges, things that work, etc.

Skills: networking

Activity : Play the Game of Girl Scouting, page 16, or pass it out for the leaders to take home to their troops.

Skills: the mission



Inspiration: read one from page 9

Activity: How to ask parents for help. Based on the networking skills we've already learned, we're going to talk about how to get parents more involved. It involves doing a lot of ground work ahead of the actual asking. Find out what types of things they like to do: crafts, camping, singing, etc. Not only should you find out about each program skill, but also are they organized, are they comfortable working with the troop at a meeting, or would they prefer to keep records. Pass out a parent survey at the beginning of the year and have people sign up. If that doesn't produce enough results, then pass it around again! Then, if you come across a specific job that needs doing, think of a particular parent who has those skills. It is MUCH MUCH MUCH easier to ask someone whose skills you are familiar with than making cold phone calls. Remember, don't be afraid to ask. The worst thing that they can say is no, which is no reflection on you, it is a reflection on THEM. Discuss other ways to elicit parent support.

Skill: networking

Activity: Juliette Low song. See page 18

Skill: mission



Inspiration: read one from page 9

Activity: Discuss the 4 program goals of the GSUSA, listed on page 12:

The trainer should ask: "What program have we done or can we do that will support each goal?" Make a big chart and write down the suggestions

Skill: defining the mission, collective brainstorming



Inspiration: read one from page 9

Activity: Pass out the Leader Goals Contracts, completed at the beginning of the year, and let everyone see how well they've done.

Skill: leader job description

Activity: Do a Leader recognition activity--see page 19

Skill: leader job description

Activity: Have everyone write it, anonymously if desired, "Why I'm a Scout leader." Collect them and use them for inspirations next year.

Skill: leader job description