Guest Author - Megan Nowak
Girl Scouting is a great organization, not just for kids but for families as well. One of the hardest thing to do though is to get parents to help out more with the troop. Here are some good ways to get parents to participate in their daughters Girl Scout troop.
One thing that is always suggested is don't hesitate to ask a parent to help do something. Simply going up to them and asking them to volunteer usually gets a yes, at the moment, but then it stops there. Breakdown the roles for the troop committee and approach parents with an idea in mind. Need a driver to help transport girls to events and activities? Then ask them to be part of the transportation committee. Need someone who is good with math and money management? Then ask a parent to be the troop treasurer. One of the best ways to get a parent to volunteer with the troop is give them a role.
Another good idea to get parents involved is to provide parents with a questionnaire, at the parent meeting, asking ways they can and are willing to help out the troop. Do they have community connections with professionals (doctors, nurses, librarians) that can come to troop meetings to discuss their profession? Do they have special talent or skill that they can teach the girls? Use those resources to get the parents involved in the troop. Let the parents know that no task is too small and you would appreciate any help they can give you.
Some parents are limited to how they can help, possibly because of health reasons or because they have other kids at home. A parent doesn't actually have to be at the events, activities or meetings to help. If a parent says that they are limited you can give them some ideas like collecting supplies for the troop to use, printing out papers and preparing basic crafts like cutting things out and gluing pieces together.
Now that you have some volunteers you also need to take time out to let them know you appreciate their time. Have the kids make something special to give to the parents who do dedicate their time to the troop. Maybe throw an end of the year brunch and award each parent will a volunteer appreciation certificate. Always thank them for the hard work and contributions so that the next year you know you can rely on them again to help out.
In the end it is very important to have parent volunteers in order to have a successful troop. There are plenty of ways for parents to help out in their daughters troop. Remember that it never hurts to ask and a little gratitude goes a long way to ensuring they come back year after year.