Did you know? 2012 marks “The Year of the Girl,” or 100 years of girl scouting worldwide – and the Beijing branch of Girl Scouts of the USA doesn’t intend to rest on its laurels. The organization is currently pre-registered girls for the 2012-2013 program and recruiting adults to be troop leaders.
Don’t worry, says mom and troop leader Ellen Zimmerman – you don’t even have to like camping! (She doesn’t.) “We don’t want moms and dads to feel that they have to love the outdoors or speak perfect English to be a scout leader; if I can do it, anyone can do it,” she says.
Currently, Girl Scouts has more girls wishing to join than there are available troops. The youth organization – which is widely known in North America for organizing wilderness trips and community service initiatives – relies heavily on parent volunteers to run the program and help with their daughter’s troop.
The organization is “girl-led,” which means scouts get to decide what they want to do when it comes to camping, badge earning, and participation in various activities. Troop leaders are there to offer guidance and make their ideas happen.
Rest assured, you won’t be alone. Girl Scouts offers training and ongoing support; this year, a new mentor program will be put in place to ease the transition. “We hope to pair up new leaders with existing leaders to help one another with questions that crop up during the scout year, from how to plan a camping trip to what to do when a girl feels left out of the group or is unruly and disruptive during a troop meeting,” says Zimmerman.
The recruitment call is open to non-native English speakers, people who were never scouts, and those who come from countries where scouting wasn’t common. Some troop leaders even work full-time.
If Your Daughter Is Interested in Girl Scouts
Designed for ages 5-18, Girl Scouts is open to international students with foreign (non-Chinese) passports, as well as all American girls who are homeschooled. To pre-register for the 2012-2013 program, send the following information to email@example.com. (Note that pre-registering doesn’t guarantee placement in a troop.)
- Girl’s name and birthdate
- Grade (US equivalent for school year 2012-2013) and school
- Home phone number
- Parent/guardian’s name and mobile number
- Parent/guardian’s email address
- Preferred meeting place (Shunyi or downtown)
- The role you want to play in your daughter’s troop (leader, co-leader, or helper)
Here’s a breakdown of the different levels within Girl Scouts (if you’re unsure of your daughter’s US grade equivalent, contact the organization):
- Daisies: Kindergarten and Grade 1
- Brownies: Grade 1 and 2
- Juniors: Grade 4 and 5
- Cadettes: Grade 6, 7, and 8
- Seniors: Grade 9 and 10
- Ambassadors: Grade 11 and 12
All applicants’ information goes into a database of girls looking for a troop. Girl Scout volunteers then try to match the applicant with leaders who still have space in the troop. It’s generally first come, first serve, but girls who are already Girl Scouts get priority. Leaders will contact a girl’s parent directly to offer a space in her troop; if a parent doesn’t receive an email from a leader, this means that there currently isn’t a troop available. This is why Girl Scouts needs new troop leaders!
If You’re Interested in Becoming a Troop Leader
On the fence? Girl Scouts has two sessions for adults: one on Tuesday, August 28 at 7pm in ISB’s elementary school cafeteria and another on Tuesday, September 4 at 7pm at Embassy House. The goal is to form troops for girls without a troop, as well as encourage parent volunteers to lead. If you’re interested but need a bit of coaxing, drop by and chat with current troop leaders.
For more information about pre-registration or becoming a troop leader, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Girl Scouts program, visit To Get Her There.
Photo courtesy of Ellen Zimmerman