Volunteer Experience, Volunteers

Progression, It’s Not Just For Girls!

Progression is something we promote at Girl Scouts, both for girls and for our volunteers. No one joins the organization already knowing the many resources we have at a national and council level, with the Girl Scout handbook and Volunteer Essentials committed to memory, and knowing a skilled facilitator for every badge and activity that your troop is going to want to try. And that’s okay!

To help you build your knowledge and skills as a volunteer, we’ve put together a handy dandy customizable training and learning path to guide our volunteers to the training and learning opportunities that best fits the current (and future) needs of their troop. It’s called the Volunteer Learning Progression Chart.

Volunteer Learning Progression Chart

What’s on it?

Our council offers training and learning opportunities in a variety of formats, from bite sized videos, live webinars, and online manuals to one-on-one or large group in-person events. For volunteers, sometimes the hardest thing to navigate about volunteer training and learning is figuring out what you need to do right now and what you can do later when your troop plans an activity that requires that training. That’s where the chart comes in! It can help you see which trainings are required for all troop leaders and which are only required for specific activities and/or positions.

For example, Troop Financial Management is required by at least one troop leader and any volunteer who will be handling/ managing troop money in any capacity (this could include Fall Product or Cookie Program managers, a troop treasurer, etc). And a training like Lodge Camp and Troop Camp Training are only required by at least 1 registered volunteer who will be planning/attending the camp outing.

So not every volunteer in your troop needs every training. Dividing responsibilities (and required trainings) is an excellent method to use with your group of dedicated volunteers! Use the Volunteer Learning Progression Chart to help prioritize and delegate training to appropriate members of your troop’s team of awesome volunteers (troop committee).

What types of resources and learning opportunities are available?

Our council has many resources and learning opportunities to help our volunteers grow their knowledge and skills. You can find many of our them, like the GSWO Blog, Safety Activity Checkpoints, Volunteer Essentials, and the Volunteer Toolkit, in the Online Support for Volunteers section of our website. We also have some more volunteer learning opportunities available in the below categories:

  • Training: generally refers to required or highly recommended skill-based information that directly supports the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, safety, and/or other key components of the Girl Scout experience. Offered in-person or online via webinar. You can find many of these resources on our website under Learning Opportunities or listed in the Program Events Guide under Volunteer Learning Opportunities.
  • Conferences: an in-person mix of fun and informative information provided in a variety of topics, usually an all-day or overnight event. Examples include Adult Conference at Camp Libbey or Beyond the Basics. You can find more information about these opportunities listed in the Program Events Guide under Volunteer Learning Opportunities.
  • Enrichment: typically an in-person learning opportunity to further your understanding on a topic, a shorter event (4 hours or less). You can find more information about these opportunities listed in the Program Events Guide under Volunteer Learning Opportunities.
  • Bite-Sized Learning: quick tips normally available at your convenience via online video, article, or blog that are typically under 30 minutes. You can find many of our videos, short webinars, and more on our website under Learning Opportunities.
  • Volunteer Learning Facilitators: some of our volunteers are trained facilitators and/or have specialized skills that they are willing to share with other volunteers or with a service unit. An example is a volunteer who is a certified archery instructor may be willing to facilitate an archery session for your troop, or an Outdoor Trainer may be able to facilitate a Lodge and/or Troop Camp Training course with your service unit. Contact Layla Ahlers (laylaahlers@gswo.org) for more information on our volunteer learning facilitators.

Just getting started as a troop leader?

Welcome to our organization! We’re so glad you joined. To start you out, sign up to complete your Troop Start-Up with our staff or a member of the service team (for a full list of troop start up sessions, head over to Activities), review the Troop Financial Management Packet online, and then we’ve got a New Leader Webinar series that’s just for you! In it we’ll cover Troop Meeting Tips and Tricks, Troop Financial Management, and the Volunteer Toolkit: Your Digital Assistant.

New Leader Webinar Series

Now that you know a little more about the many different resources and learning opportunities available to you, what are you waiting for? Download your own Volunteer Learning Progression Chart, start checking off some boxes as you grow your Girl Scout knowledge and skills, and make some plans for an awesome year with your troop!

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