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New Troop Leader Support

Welcome, New Troop Leaders!

Congratulations on joining Girl Scouts! We are so glad to have you.

Information on this page will help you walk through some of the major milestones for a Girl Scout troop leader. Through a series of phone calls, e-mails, and meeting opportunities, Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore (GSMISTS) is here to help you every step of the way.

The New Leader Pathway to Success Checklist and the New Leader’s Guide to Success are must-have resources for every new troop leader.

The drop down menus below provide information that will help you get your troop up and going. All of this information will be reviewed during your volunteer onboarding process.

Resources & Support

Troop Management Learning Path

Our Troop Management Learning Path is dedicated to new leaders and helping prepare you to lead your troop. The training path should be completed within 30 days of receiving your troop number. The Troop Management Learning Path is found in gsLearn.

Click for PDF

First-Year-Troop-Leader-Pathway


Troop Management Learning Path:

  • GSUSA Successful Leader Learning Foundation 1
  • GSUSA Successful Leader Learning Foundation 2
  • VTK Tutorials
              Meeting Plan Overview
              Setting Up Your Year
              Setting Meeting Times and Dates
              Customize Your Year Plan
  • GSMISTS Troop Management Training Session 1: Troop Finances
  • GSUSA Successful Leader Learning Foundation 3
  • GSMISTS Troop Management Training Session 2: New Leader’s Guide to Success
  • GSMISTS Troop Management Training Session 3: Troop Organization
Publications

Don’t worry, you don’t need to read these publications cover to cover right now. Make sure to take a look at them though to become familiar with the general information they contain. You will refer to these documents many times throughout the year.

Volunteer Essentials
Provides general information on All About Girl Scouts, Engaging Girls & Engaging Families, Troop Mangement, Product Program. Troop Fianances, Safety, and COVID-19.

Safety Activity Checkpoints
Troop leaders must always refer to the provided Safety Activity Checkpoints in Volunteer Essentials for everything the troop does during the year. This document covers everything from packing the right gear, to maintaining adequate adult-to-girl ratios, using the buddy system, and so much more! Be sure to refer to it when planning all of your troop’s activities.

GSMISTS Volunteer Policies & Procedures
Provides information on GSMISTS Volunteer Policies & Procedures.

gsLearn

gsLearn is Girl Scouts’ official online and on-demand training tool. It empowers volunteers to complete trainings as it works best for them. New volunteers will be able to access their required online training through gsLearn and have access to Girl Scout-specific training that supports consistency across the Girl Scout Movement. Be sure to check out our event calendar to view in-person and webinar training opportunities, too! For more information on gsLearn click here.

Monthly New Leader Meetings

Every month you have the opportunty to join GSMISTS staff and other new leaders to talk about specific topics and to get your questions answered.

  • October: Getting Started
  • November: Girl Scout Leadership Experience: What is the GSLE 
  • December: World Thinking Day
  • January: Girl Scout Cookie Program
  • February: Activity and Trip Planning
  • March: Bridging
  • April: Finance Reports
  • May: Summer Activities

Check out our event calendar to register. Can’t make the meeting? No worries, we will be recording the meeting and will e-mail you the link so you can listen to it on your schedule.

Volunteer Toolkit (VTK)

The Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) is a comprehensive online tool with everything you need to keep you plan your troop’s activities for the year! In the VTK, you can choose a detailed year plan (or design your own), set up meetings and agendas, share the plan with parents, track troop finances, and much more.

Service Unit

Your Service Unit is a great way to connect with other troop leaders and volunteers in your area. The Service Unit is responsible for holding monthly meetings to keep you updated. It also provides activities for troops, assists you with Product Program and much more. Your Service Unit’s leadership team is a wealth of knowledge, so please reach out to them if you have any questions. Information about your Service Unit is provided in your Let’s Get Started e-mail. You can also reach out to us at customercare@gsmists.org and we will get you the information.

GSMISTS Volunteer & Girl Experience Coordinator

GSMISTS Volunteer & Girl Experience Coordinator will be supporting you throughout your first year through a series of phone calls, e-mails, and meeting opportunities.

GSMISTS Community Membership Manager

You will meet your GSMISTS Community Membership Manager at your Service Unit meetings. She supports all of the troops in the Service Unit and provides a link between GSMISTS and the Service Unit.

Troop Management

Your MY GS Account

MY GS is your entry point to the on-line tools available to you, including the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK), Member Profile, and gsLearn. To access:

Step 1: Go to www.gsmists.org

Step 2: Click on the MY GS tab (can be found on upper right-hand side of page)

Step 3: Log In (Using the same Username and Password that you would for when you registered and created an account or VTK or Member Profile)

If you have issues accessing you MY GS account contact customercare@gsmists.org.

 

Assembling Your Troop and Boosting Parent Involvement

GSMISTS online Opportunity Catalog is where interested families can find available troops for their girls. Your troop will be listed on our Opportunity Catalog until you have at least 12 girl members.

Consider the adult support and resource you will need throughout the year. A parent/caregiver meeting is a great time to ask for help. There is a sample agenda for this meeting in the Appendix of the New Leader’s Guide to Success and in the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). You can use the Parent/Caregiver Involvement Form also in the Appendix of the New Leader’s Guide to Success to help you document the resources.

You will also receive paper copies of Family Connections in the mail. Please pass these out to your troop families during your parent/caregiver meeting.

Remember that finances should not stand in the way of a girl’s participation. Girls needing financial assistance for membership can request it during online registration.

Troop Meetings

Troop meetings should be fun, productive, and GIRL-LED! Your meetings are where you and your girls can plan activities, including badges and journeys. To help get started, check out the First Meeting Checklist and the 6 Elements of a Great Troop Meeting in the New Leader’s Guide to Success. In addition, the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) is a great resource for planning every troop meeting of your Girl Scout year!

Blueprint For An Amazing Troop Year

The Blueprint for An Amazing Troop Year provides a  comprehensive troop annual experience plan for all grade levels. It will empower troop leaders to feel confident and excited about facilitating their Girl Scout troop this year. On the Blueprint you will find:

  • Information on how to be a great virtual troop leader
  • Curated set of troop badges/journeys/patches for every grade level
  • Coordinated meeting enhancements

Troop Finances

Managing Troop Finances

Every GSMISTS troop is required to open and maintain a troop bank account for troop dues (optional) and product program revenues, and for purchasing supplies or activities.

Here are the steps to opening your troop’s checking account:

1.    Complete Troop Management Training: Troop Finances

2.    Request the Troop Bank Letter Packet from your GSMISTS Volunteer & Girl Experience Coordinator

3.    Secure 2 unrelated adults that are registered and approved volunteers to co-sign the account

4.    Complete account information, Bank Account Information and ACH Authorization form and submit to customercare@gsmists.org

Troop Finance Report

Every GSMISTS troop is required to complete and submit a Finance Report through the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) Finance Tab by June 1st of each year. A total of the Incomes and Expenses to the troop bank account are entered into the VTK Finance Tab and bank statements for October, January, and April must be submitted with this report. You will receive additional training on how to use the Finance Tab prior to the report being due.

Questions?

Reach out to customercare@gsmists.org with any questions you have.