Are You Stepping Down as the Leader?

Here are the steps you need to take

For many Girl Scout leaders, disbanding their troop comes with a lot of mixed emotions. If your troop has been together for years, there is a feeling of sadness because your time as a unit is coming to an end. You have watched these girls grow up and mature before your eyes since their Daisy Girl Scout days.

How to Disband Your Girl Scout TroopCredit:

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Or maybe you feel relief mixed in with your sadness. Volunteering to lead a troop takes a lot of your free time and energy. If you had help from parents or an attentive co-leader, your job was made easier. But many times, the burnt out leader has had a co-leader who does nothing and is simply lucky to have her show up at each meeting. This leads to resentment on the part of the hard working leader, whose pleas for help have fallen on deaf ears. Having these hours back to yourself to do whatever you want is a welcome change.

Some groups disband over mama drama. Sad, but true, there comes a time when a leader has just had enough of a particular parent or group of parents. Very few understand and appreciate all that goes into planning a Girl Scout meeting, and when parents criticize and complain, this gives volunteers no other choice than to say good-bye. Leading a troop is not glorified babysitting-it requires hours of planning if a meeting or event is to be successful. Sometimes when a leader decides to leave, parents wake up to what the girls are losing-but for the stressed out leader, it comes too little, too late. The time to appreciate the woman in charge is not when she is walking out the door, but when she walks in to run the troop.

A Girl Scout leader who wishes to disband her troop just cannot just up and say “We’re done!”. There are courtesies and procedures that have to be followed. Here is what they are.

How to Disband Your Girl Scout Troop

Giving Notice to the Troop

The first thing a leader needs to do is give the girls and parents some kind of notice.

Telling them all that you are no longer going to be a troop at the final meeting will be a shock and a disappointment. While you have every right to leave your role as a Girl Scout leader, leaving a troop high and dry is wrong. Leaving in the manner is not in the spirit of being a Girl Scout, and you are being a poor role model for the children in your charge. Instead of making this look like a long, thought out decision, you look like a quitter. That is what the girls will remember from their time with you.

You know that you did not come to this decision to leave the organization overnight…it has been in the back of your mind for some time. Send a note or email to the parents at least a month or two in advance, and let them know that you will be telling the girls in person at your next meeting.

By giving advance notice, you give this group of parents time to make an important decision-will their daughters be able to continue being a Girl Scout? Maybe they will join another troop or maybe they will become a Juliette-a scout who works on her own but can participate in her local Council events and activities. Who knows…maybe another parent will step up to the plate and create a new troop with these girls and some others in the same position.

In my own case, I was starting to feel burnt out during the first year of Juniors, which is when the girls are in fourth grade. For a long time, I had to do everything, and it became draining. We did large community service projects, like having a canned food drive that collected over 2,200 food items, and baking cookies to send to the troops overseas. All of these things I planned on my own. I am no martyr-I asked for help but was told "no".

But my daughter loved being a Girl Scout. so I stayed for her. She became my behind the scenes helper and loved it (and so did I).

At the beginning of fifth grade, I told the parents that I was on the fence about continuing after the year was over, and I would let them know my final decision in the spring.

I decided to leave, and after talking with another mom in the troop, she took over and I became a co-leader. I still wanted to be involved, I just did not want to run the ship anymore.

Troop Bank Accounts

Don't leave money in there!

Girl Scout FundraisingCredit:

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Another reason to give advance notice has to do with money. Over the years, if your troop has been actively fundraising by doing the fall QSP Nut sale and by selling Girl Scout cookies, then you should have money in your troop bank account. Whatever you do not use will have to be given back to the Council .Why would you want to do that? If the girls are old enough, they can help plan and budget a big blow out to end their time together as Girl Scouts.

For my troop, we decided on a field trip to a local indoor amusement center filled with inflatables and games. The girls had a blast, and I left only a few dollars in the troop account so it would stay open for the next scouting year.

Once the decision has been made, you will need to go to your local Council website and follow the guidelines and procedures. Each one has it’s own forms and step-by-step guidelines. If you have any questions, then ask your Service Unit contact person.

Disbanding your Girl Scout troop may be a necessary decision, but it does not have to be difficult if the procedures and guidelines for doing so are in place.