Monday, September 24, 2012

So Which One's Your Daughter?

Troop Leader PinThere was an interesting discussion on the Leader/Guider Cyber Council the other day about parental involvement - how much do you expect from parents? What do you do if they don't step up? Is it fair for parents to expect just a couple of adults to shoulder the load?

Our troop has always had minimal expectations for parental involvement - we ask for someone to serve as cookie manager and parents to help drive as needed for field trips - anything else above and beyond is just gravy. I've never really thought about requiring more, and it made me wonder whether our troop is the norm or the exception.

I get it. I really do. I know how much work is involved in running a Girl Scout troop, especially when you're juggling other obligations. I know how unfair it can seem at times when others don't pitch in or how frustrating it is when you feel unappreciated.

Everyone gets involved in Girl Scouts for different reasons, and I think these reasons can shape our expectations. I admit I'm a bit of an anomaly, as a single woman with no children. My niece's desire to be a Girl Scout was a good excuse for me to get involved, but the truth is I probably would have sought out a troop regardless.

I'm sure some of my friends (and likely even some of our girls' parents) find it odd that I would choose to spend my free time working with strangers' kids. Others act like I'm some sort of saint for doing so. I'm not a weirdo or a saint - I just happen to be someone who believes strongly in the mission of Girl Scouting and have chosen to volunteer my time to a cause I support.

For me, it would be no different to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Susan G. Komen or any of the other worthwhile organizations out there. I find my commitment with Girl Scouts to be personally rewarding, as I have the opportunity to watch our girls develop into confident and capable young women.

So with that perspective, I accept that my decision to lead is my choice and my choice only. As a result, I came in with very few expectations. If other parents (or adults) feel the call to serve then that's great. But their involvement, or lack thereof, does not change why I lead. At the end of the day, I think I take away just as much as the girls do.

What about you - why did you get involved? Have your motivations changed over time?


  1. I happened upon your blog last night as I was researching Girl Scouts and leading a troop. Why was I researching that? Last night, I volunteered to "co-lead" her newly-formed troop. Currently, we only have three girls including my daughter, so this should be a good opportunity to 'crawl/walk/run' and work my way into this. But I have heard that once the girls talk to their friends at school, the numbers could multiply.

    Why did I get involved? I am just excited to spend time with my daughter doing something outside of the norm. I was in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts when I was a child so I have that background which definitely contributed to my decision. I am certain there will be potential for "overload" at times so I will step back and just enjoy the moment every so often. They are just first graders and only young once, right!

    I look forward to nature walks, teaching about trees, photography...basically anything involving the outdoors. Most importantly, we will enjoy ourselves! I plan to visit your blog often.

    1. Brian - Thanks for stopping by and welcome aboard! I love to see dads get involved with their daughters' troops. It really brings a new perspective to the program. We've had some great male volunteers over the years, and I'm sure your background with Boy Scouts will be a big help. (One of my favorite camping trips when I was a Scout myself was when one of the dads came along - he took us on some great nature hikes!)

      Good luck and have fun!