By Kat Rourke
One struggle that many troop leaders face is getting enough support from the parents in their troop. Not having enough support directly affects the quality of the experience that the girls have, and can cause leader burnout. When leaders step down due to burnout no one wins, especially not the girls. That is why I am excited to announce a new program we are rolling out for leaders for use in increasing family involvement.
The 4HER Promise Program is used with permission from the Girl Scouts of North Texas with a few tweaks. 4Her promise is designed to help leaders build needed support and help families become more engaged in their girls Girl Scout experience. All of the program materials can be found on our website. http://www.girlscoutsmoheartland.org/content/forms-and-resources-library#management.
The guide explains how to better communicate and connect with families in your troop so parents know exactly how they can help. Each family is asked to pledge four hours of service to the troop for the year. Most people would agree that out a whole year, four hours isn’t asking a lot. This request is made of the entire family: moms, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents can all participate. Families are given volunteer menus on which they can list activities they are interested in helping with. This enables the leader to ask for help on specific tasks within a specific time-frame so that families know exactly what is expected of them. When the needs for those tasks arise, the troop has someone who is capable of completing it and takes that task off of the leaders’ shoulders.
Tracking hours that the families give is important so families can be recognized for their contributions. When a family has completed the 4Her four hour pledge, the leader can recognize the family in a variety of ways. For example, the troop can present the family with a Certificate of Appreciation, thank them in the troop newsletter, on the troop Facebook page, etc.
Families can also use any and all volunteer hours they complete to count towards the President’s Volunteer Service Award. All types of service that strengthens the community qualify for this award, including assisting Girl Scouts, PTA, coaching sports, etc. This award recognizes individuals, families and groups that have achieved a certain standard, measured by the number of hours served over a 12-month period or cumulative hours earned over the course of the lifetime. Take Action projects also count toward this award and so the families can combine service to the troop as well as service with the troop to measure your whole family’s impact. You can register and track your volunteer hours online.
Hopefully troops and families will find this program useful and work together to provide an amazing Girl Scout experience for all our girls!