It’s mid-October and the Girl Scout rush is still going strong. You’re probably receiving communications from a few different Girl Scout entities (GSUSA? GSRV? WAGGGS? OMG! Check out the fall/winter magazine for a handy breakdown of the Girl Scout structure). But today, I want to talk about one that can be your biggest and best support as a troop leader: the service unit.
Service units are a way for Girl Scouts to use our resources wisely by depending on experienced and dedicated volunteers to serve the 30,000 girls and more than 9,000 volunteers all over River Valleys (it would be impossible for our staff to do this alone!). These are volunteers from your own community who know the ins and outs of the Girl Scout experience and have a wealth of Girl Scout knowledge to share. Service unit volunteers are super helpful and are pro’s at making it as easy as possible on our troop leaders.
Service units are often your first line of communication about what’s going on at council and in your community. There are a million ways they can serve you and your troop, but I’ve picked three big ones to outline here:
- Build your troop: If you’ve already added your troop to the troop catalog but are looking for a more active way to recruit girls in your area, your service unit can be a great resource. Whether you’re a brand new troop or an existing troop looking to expand, your service unit team can help find girls just waiting to join a troop like yours. They have the local know-how and connections to get girls excited about Girl Scouts and into your troop.
- Stay in the know: Mark your calendars! Service units hold monthly leader meetings to share both local and council information. These meetings are also a great place to network with other troop leaders and hear about the latest Girl Scout news. Some service units even offer enrichments and trainings – check and see what your service unit has to offer.
- Get in on the fun: While troop meetings are great for bonding, it’s also important that girls feel part of a larger sisterhood. This is why many service units host events throughout the year, such as court of awards where girls can be recognized for their achievements, pinewood derbies where they can test their woodworking skills, cookie rallies to get girls pumped for cookie season, and more! These are a great way for your girls to connect with other Girl Scouts in their area (like the song goes, make new friends – and keep the old).
Want to know more about what service units do? Ready to get more involved in Girl Scouts in your community? Check out the service unit page on our website to read about the different hats our volunteers can wear, then reach out to your volunteer support coordinator to see how you can get in touch with or become part of your local team!
Natasha Brownlee – Natasha is a Program Specialist at River Valleys, where she develops and leads awesome Girl Scout events – and runs the In the Loop blog! Her background is in curriculum development, programming, and creative writing. She has BA’s in Peace Studies and French and a MSc in Gender, Development & Globalization and has worked with various girl-centered organizations in the US and abroad. Natasha loves traveling around the world, practicing yoga, and hanging out with her dog, Rooney!