Arranging Meetings with Parents/Guardians or a Friends-and-Family Network
A parent/guardian meeting, or a meeting of your friends-and-family network (as encouraged in many of the leadership Journeys), is a chance for you to get to know the families of the girls in your troop. You’re free to structure the meeting in whatever way works for you, but the following structure works for many new volunteers:
Before the meeting, be sure you and/or your co-volunteers have done the following:
- For younger girls, arranged for a parent, another volunteer, or a group of older girls to do activities with the girls in your troop while you talk with their parents/guardians (if girls will attend the meeting, too)
- Practiced a discussion on the following: Girl Scout Mission, Promise, and Law; benefits of Girl Scouting for their daughters, including how the GSLE is a world-class system for developing girl leaders; all the fun the girls are going to have; expectations for girls and their parents/guardians; and ideas of how parents and other guardians can participate in and enrich their daughters’ Girl Scout experiences
- Determined when product sales (including Girl Scout cookie activities) will happen in Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan; parents/guardians will absolutely want to know
- Determined what information parents should bring to the meeting
- Used the Friends and Family pages provided in the adults guides for many of the Journeys, or created your own one-page information sheet (contact information for you and co-volunteers and helpers, the day and time of each meeting, location of and directions to the meeting place, what to bring with them, and information on how to get Journey resources—books, awards, and keepsakes—and other merchandise like sashes, vests, T-shirts, and so on)
- Gathered or created supplies, including a sign-in sheet, an information sheet, permission forms for parents/guardians (also available from Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan), health history forms (as required by Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan), and GSUSA registration forms
- Prepared yourself to ask parents and guardians for help, being as specific as you can about the kind of help you will need (the Journey’s Friends and Family pages will come in handy here)
- As the girls and adults arrive, ask them to sign in. If the girls’ parents/guardians haven’t already registered them online, you’ll want to email or hand out information so they can do so. Pass out registration forms and health history forms. You may also want to email or hand out a brief information sheet before or at this meeting.
- Open the meeting by welcoming the girls and adults. Introduce yourself and other co-volunteers or helpers. Have adults and girls introduce themselves, discuss whether anyone in their families has been a Girl Scout, and talk about what Girl Scouting means to them. Welcome everyone, regardless of experience, and let them know they will be learning about Girl Scouts today. (If you’re new to Girl Scouting, don’t worry—just let everyone know you’ll be learning about Girl Scouting together!)
- Ask the girls to go with the adult or teen in charge of their activity and begin the discussion.
- All the fun girls are going to have!
- When and where the troop will meet and some examples of activities the girls might choose to do
- That a parent/guardian permission form is used for activities outside the troop’s normal meeting time and place and the importance of completing and returning it
- How you plan to keep in touch with parents/guardians (a Facebook page or troop, Twitter, email, text messaging, a phone tree, or fliers the girls take home are just some ideas)
- The Girl Scout Mission, Promise, and Law
- The Girl Scout program, especially what the GSLE is and what the program does for their daughters
- When Girl Scout cookies (and other products) will go on sale and how participation in product sales teaches life skills and helps fund troop activities
- The cost of membership, which includes annual GSUSA dues, any troop payments (ask Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan), optional uniforms, and any resources parents/guardians will need to buy (such as a girl’s book for a Journey)
- The availability of financial assistance and how the Girl Scout Cookie Program and other product sales generate funds for the troop treasury
- That families can also make donations to Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan—and why they might want to do that!
- That you may be looking for additional volunteers, and in which areas you are looking (be as specific as possible!)
- If you’ve distributed paper registration forms, collect them. You may also direct parents to Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan’s website and the option for online registration.
- Remind the group of the next meeting (if you’ll have one) and thank everyone for attending. Hold the next meeting when it makes sense for you and your co-volunteers—that may be in two months if face-to-face meetings are best, or not at all if you’re diligent about keeping in touch with parents/guardians via Facebook, Twitter, text messages, email, phone calls, or some other form of communication.
- After the meeting, follow up with any parents/guardians who did not attend, to connect them with the troop, inform them of decisions, and discuss how they can best help the girls.
Discuss the information you prepared for this meeting: