By Kat Rourke
Being in membership, I have been hearing that troops are winding down for the summer and I find myself wondering why they aren’t taking advantage of this awesome opportunity that is available to them! I know sometimes summer can be a hard time to connect due to family vacations, but if a troop compares plans before school ends then they are able to easily schedule around those family trips.
Summer provides troops a plethora of time free of after school activities and never ending sports schedules as well as many opportunities to be more visible in your communities through fairs and festivals. Keeping up a strong Girl Scout presence in your community allows more girls to see what fun and interesting things Girl Scouts get to do and learn, while also helping draw in adult volunteers and community resources that can support programs in your area. While girls are out of school, many parents are not out of work and so often kids are left to their own devices or cared for with little educational value. Keeping your troop active during the summer allows the girls to receive skills and leadership education and participate in constructive activities that impact not only their lives but their communities and the world at large as well.
Often charities are overwhelmed around the holidays with volunteers, but then thirst for volunteers during the long hot summer. What an awesome pairing it would be to have the girls volunteer where they are needed most, when they are needed most.
While our council does provide summer programs and camping, nothing stops the creation of an event such as a family game night, going camping with your troop, or pursuing interests of the girls that cannot be pursued during the school year. Leaders can use events like these to bond with the girl’s families so the girls will want to return next year. Parents also become more involved with their daughter’s leadership experience and will want to assist as volunteers. If new volunteers need training, summer is the perfect time to complete them before the hectic back to school schedules start up again.
Leaders can also use the summer to get a jump start on awards, badges and community service projects; or if the troop has worked hard all year, then why not party during the summer?
Fundraisers like car washes and lemonade stands are perfect for summertime. Short and long distance trips, that the school year just does not allow, can be taken with the proceeds. Troop meetings can be less formal and girl driven since they have the free time to help plan out what they want to do.
If some girls are too busy to join in the fun during the summer, then why not partner up with another troop and share in the fun. A big part of the troop pathway is building relationships, but there is no rule that they have to be from the same troop. Getting to know new friends and sharing those fun experiences is half the fun and allows the girls to become more plugged in.
Girl Scouts is typically thought of as only a school year activity. Between the summer programs, camp, community service opportunities, travel, awards, badge work, Journeys, local events, and any other thing you can think of; girls won’t have time to just lay by the pool all summer, unless you plan an amazing pool party that is!