Girl Scout troop leaders, think back to your childhood. What do you remember the most? If you are a Girl Scout alum, what do you remember about Girl Scouts?
We bet it’s not the grades you got on tests, awards you received, badges you earned in Girl Scouts, or what your Girl Scout troop accomplished. Most of us remember places we traveled, the things we experienced, the friends we had, and the way we felt during those times – the moments we felt most engaged in whatever we were doing and having fun!
Your girls will remember how their Girl Scout sisters and leader made them feel safe and included during this time of isolation. While you may feel the pressure lately, please know that now is not the time to be a perfect leader. Give yourself some grace, you don’t have to have it all figured out! Empower yourself to let the girls lead this virtual experience with you.
Here are 7 tips for keeping girls engaged virtually:
Keep the Sisterhood Strong
Building in social time is important to keep your girls engaged virtually. Let the girls have conversations and be silly together. This strengthens the bonds among the girls when they can’t be together in person!
Tip: Designate the first 10 minutes of your meeting to allow girls time to share what they’ve been up to and how they are feeling. Build in time to give the spotlight to the girls, whether it’s a sketch, striking a pose, leading jumping jacks, yoga poses, or reciting the Girl Scout Promise.
Make it Girl-Led
Giving girls choices virtually can seem tricky at first but is made easy with virtual meeting tools like polls, virtual reactions, or raising your hand. What girl-led looks like at each Girl Scout level is a little different:
- Daisies – Provide girls with “this or that” choices like which activity they’d like to do first
- Brownies – Girls vote between a short list of badges or activities using the poll feature in Zoom
- Juniors – Ask a girl to facilitate a game or activity within the meeting or have a girl ask questions to lead a troop discussion
- Cadettes – Girls decide what they want to do during their meetings – whether that’s deciding which badge to earn, which guest speakers to invite, or the schedule of the meeting.
- Seniors and Ambassadors – Girls should work together to run the virtual meetings – planning, researching, and facilitating
Change Up Your Meeting
Taking advantage of learning tools online and different visual stimulation for your meetings will help keep the girls’ attention and interest. Switch things up between leader presentations, videos, quiz games, girl-led discussions, or even virtual field trips. Check out our Girl Scouts from Home page for ideas and inspiration!
Tip: Have you tried an unplugged activity during your meeting? Give the girls 15 minutes to complete an activity on their own away from the computer. Set a timer for them to come back and share what they did!
Play a Game
A game is a great way to keep virtual engagement high while letting the girls interact with each other! You can even tie your game to your badge or Journey work (such as themed charades)! Here are a few ideas:
- Try out these digital icebreaker games
- Create a game like Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune using an online tool
- Lead a scavenger hunt for items girls can find in their home
- Start or close a meeting with Show-and-Tell
Make Appropriate Meeting Adaptions
It’s no surprise that a Daisy’s attention span is much shorter than a Cadette’s. In order to keep girls engaged at every level, you should make age appropriate meeting adaptations. GSUSA has recommendations for the length of virtual meetings– make sure to read up.
Shared Ground Rules
Make girls part of the troop decision making right from the beginning. Have the girls help establish rules that everyone can agree to, like when to keep cameras and microphones on or off, raising hands when girls want to speak – or a fun rule like at the end of every meeting we do show-n-tell!
Tip: Share your screen with girls as you type out the list of virtual troop rules and store them in a folder with other troop documents online
Sometimes meetings will run short depending on the girl’s attention span that day or the girls may be really excited about the topic you’ll run 20 minutes over the planned meeting time! It’s perfectly okay and a result of having a truly girl-led troop! Following the girls’ lead on what they are interested in might mean taking a break from your planned activities to explore a new topic. Have fun and learn along with them!
More questions about setting up your virtual meeting?
Visit the Learning Portal for all the related resources and the Girl Scouts from Home webpage for new ideas.
Zoom licenses are now available for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana troops and volunteers who want to meet and participate in council programs virtually! Your girls can stay connected, continue building their skills, and have a blast no matter where they are.
All GCNWI programs for January through March are now LIVE!
Mark your calendars because registration for Camp and and Outdoor Programs opens on Feb. 1!