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Monday, July 23, 2012

How to Run a Girl Scout Troop

How to Run a Girl Scout Troop
Subtitle: Don’t even laugh. I do this and I do a damn good job too.  Well, I think so anyway...
Step 1:  Make a plan.  Like just about anything else in life you need a plan of attack.  See why Athena is my patron??? You need to lay out from day one a calendar of the entire year (which runs on the school year) from September to June and include every food sale (probably cookies and peanuts) and every time and day you would like to meet and every single Girl Scout holiday or event (They are a lot of them, they are important and patch worthy). Don’t worry about everyone else is doing, if you only want to see the little buggers twice a month, see them twice a month.  Some other leaders are going to use this as their entire life.  Don’t be one of them. The children will hate you. They have other things to do even if you don’t. 
Step 2: Find some girls.  Now, the council can assign you girls, but unless you are me and are the luckiest person on planet Earth and get the BEST LITTLE GIRLS EVER OMA I LOVE THEM SO FREAKIN MUCH NO JOKE HERE AT ALL, you might get stuck with some crazies.  Take your list TO your council representative and say, here are some girls that want a troop and I will do it. Then, when they pull out the waiting list of girls that need a troop either you don’t have any room or once they meet you and your friend’s kids, they will either embrace the crazy or go running for the hills.  
Step 3: Get that book. For each level of Girl Scouting, there is a book that lays out EVERYTHING.  Sure, it is annoying to have to shell out more bucks for a supposedly free all inclusive activity, but this book is worth it.  For starters if you are not super creative it tells you exactly what to do down to buy this number of supplies and/or exactly what to say with a script, but it also has nice little charts to guide you (and we know how much I like charts). 
Step 4: Learn your badges.  The number one thing that girl scouts love are those little patches that decorate those ADORABLE little vests.  SOO CUTE!!! (Having a moment here, sorry).  You need to learn these badges from top to bottom so you can plan activities and figure out when things can count for more than one item or when something you were going to do with the girls already has a patch (Wee for accidental re-readings of the book). Because these little boogers want their vest/sash/tunic to be so heavy that can barely walk from the car to your meeting.  And so do you. Makes you look all cool and stuff.  
Step 5: Trash the dried pasta! Seriously, it is 2012, you think these kids still want to play with dried pasta!?! I tried the craft thing for about 5 minutes and the girls looked at me like “Uh, we do this crap in school; I thought this was supposed to be fun.” So, I went for what I know and love, travel.  Which brings us to step 6...
Step 6: Field Trips.  Girl Scouts love a field trip. Probably because politicians have taken the fun out of school and don’t let teachers do this anymore and need to stay the heck out of education and let us do our jobs!!!! But I digress.... These little chickadees will go anywhere and do anything.  Even make worm bins (for free!!). Even practice yoga (not free but super cheap!). Even go off-roading in the belly of a rock quarry (free again!!! I am good at finding free and willing to share). Yeah, they’ll do that.  They’ll do all of that. And ask for more. 
Step 7: The more.  Now, the downside to getting the travel bug into your girls is that now they want to go everywhere.  They even want to go to Busch Gardens. And these little boogers will move cookies like nobodies business in order to do this (see step 8 about cookies), even if that means each girl has to sell over a hundred boxes each (They will do it, they are relentless little demons, it is quite amazing.  Remember that army we needed some posts back to take Canada so I could have Michael Shanks all to myself.  Dude, I’ve got them, I just need to arm them). Just beware at Busch Gardens of the Clydesdales.... Innocent horses you say???? Oh no, oh no no no.  

Try explaining THIS to a group of seven year olds. I couldn’t.  The one dad on the field trip took them outside.  We moms took pictures.  
Step 8: The cookies. Now, no Girl Scouting experience is complete without the sale of the cookies.  And this racket is so well organized and thought out that not only is somebody making BANK off of child labor, but these cookies are SOO anticipated that they are also saving millions on advertising.  And the kids will sell the hell out of the damn things no matter how much they cost.  So, take my advice.  Get your girls orders in and then triple it.  Order THAT much from council. Otherwise you will be going to the cooke cupboard every freaking weekend. And still need more.  In fact, while you are at it, dedicate an ENTIRE room of your house to the sale of said cookies.  Because they will overtake your life and STEAL YOUR SOUL..... (In fact, I am considering an entire post on this topic alone). 
Step 9: The peanuts.  Think of them a “Cookie Light”  Now, these are a bit difficult since no one seems to know what they are even though the scouts have sold them for years.
The girls will still hustle them, but since they do not have drugs inserted into them like Thin Mints do (just kidding everyone, kidding) and you can buy peanuts everywhere, it’s a tougher sell. A sample conversation may look like this:
Scout: Hi my name is SUPER CUTE BROWNIE and I am selling Peanuts.  
Customer: Peanuts? When do cookies go on sale? 
Scout: The peanuts are our fall sale and cookies are in the spring. But we have a lot of great choices if you would like to see.
Customer: Do you have any cookies left? Can I place my order now? 
Scout: Sir, it is peanut season and we are selling peanuts for our camping trip.  
Customer: (Looking at peanuts and their crazy high prices) Do they come in Samoa flavor!?!?
But, since people love them some Girl Scouts and this sale usually raises money for camping which makes everyones heart sink again, you will sell them.  For this, buy 1.5 of what the girls sold and clear about 1/3 of a room.  Oh and avoid those chocolate covered almonds with the candy coating. They are like crack. Expensive, fattening crack.  For a good cause of course :-)
Step 10:  Ok, so for this step I googled “Wine Pairing for Girl Scout Cookies” with Hot Roommate just to be silly.  And I got hits. LOTS of them.  Thanks especially to the HuffPo for the best article: Cookie and Wine Pairings   Fantastic! So make sure you saved some cookies.... apparently you will need them.  If not, next year I recommend ordering a case (or two), storing them in the freezer, and popping out a box (or two) each month.  And don’t forget me! I will be taking orders as soon as the cookie police tell me I can! 

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