Monday, August 13, 2012

Back To School and Back To Scouts!!

I know that there are amazing leaders out there that continue having events and troop meetings throughout the Summer months. I am not one of those leaders. I need a break, too. If you are in the same boat as me don't feel guilty about it. You are entitled to a few months off.

But, It's BACK TO SCHOOL week in Columbia, MO this week. It's also Back To Scouts month in my world. Our first troop meeting is August 28th. I thought I would share what I try to do with our first meeting of the year.

Get the paperwork out of the way!
I email my parents the blank forms to fill out. I require they complete the following:

  1. Health History Form
  2. Girl/Parent Information Sheet (this has address, contact, family information)
  3. School Permission slip (this is for the school office. I deliver it with a copy of our schedule for the year)

They get from me:

  1. Meeting schedule for the year
  2. Sheet of level badges (Girl Scouts has this on their website. It's very helpful!)
  3. Sheet outlining basic goals for the year (journey book information, badges, service projects, etc.) 
  4. I try to do a little gift of some sort, too. Stay tuned... I hope to post this year's version soon.
First meeting stuff to do
There is some preparing you need to do before the first meeting of the year. Try to set aside a day or two to look over everything and get things together. 

  1. Take Inventory & Stock Up: If this isn't your first year, you most likely have a craft supply area from leftovers from the past year. Go through it and determine what you can use and when. If not, think about the basics you will need and take advantage of back to school sales! I picked up crayons, paints, rulers, glue, glue sticks, markers, colored pencils, pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. on back to school days and saved a ton. Plus, I had a lot of stuff to start with and could grab and pull from the stash.
  2. Review the materials you are starting with. I had my girls tell me last year what they wanted to start with and our first meeting will launch us into the Agent of Change journey. Wish me luck!
  3. Kaper chart (I have a basic chart done, but then discuss with the girls what they think should be the jobs to rotate)
  4. Song books (I print copies of each song, put them in page protectors and into cheap plastic folders for each meeting)
  5. Meeting plan (Don't EVER go to a meeting without some sort of a plan. You will forever regret it! I'm sure with older girls you could have a more relaxed schedule, but my experience with the younger girls is that no plan = chaos.)
  6. Filler Activities (Just in case your first meeting isn't full enough, you can always play Twister, do a drawing, play washcloth toss, jump rope, or something. Be sure you have some stuff with you to fill in the dead space)
  7. Have fun!!!!! The one piece of advice I will pass along that we tend to forget is this... when you run out of ideas, talk to the girls. Ask them what they want to do. Find out what they are interested in. Flip through the badges with them and see if one stands out as something they want to do. Don't schedule so strictly that you can't decide to just paint for the entire meeting if the girls are in to it. Remember to do the activities with them. If they see you are willing to do it, then they will too.

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