Family Experience, Parents, Volunteers

Three ways to help girls unlock their full potential

When Girls take the lead, work cooperatively, and learn by doing, the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) comes to life. When troop leaders incorporate these three program processes of Girl Scouts into activities, girls remain at the center of their adventures while unlocking their most capable selves. Seeing these processes in action shows us that girls can ask questions, offer ideas, use their imaginations, learn to work together, problem solve, and reflect on their own experiences.

Keep reading for tips on how to integrate each of the three program processes into your troop experiences and see examples from girls across our council!


Girl-Led Experiences

When troops have girl-led experiences, they play an active role in making group decisions—like choosing troop activities, setting goals, and planning the use of troop finances. Understanding girls’ interests is integral to keeping them engaged, so encourage them to think big and tailor their activities as you see fit. It might be tempting to step in when working with girls of any age but remember that giving them space to make their own decisions (and mistakes) is how they’ll tap into their most confident selves. When girls step up and take ownership of their decisions, they grow into confident leaders who can make informed and empowered decisions—a valuable skill they’ll carry throughout their lives.

Troop 10460 took ownership of their Girl Scout experience at Troop Adventure Camp (TAC) by choosing their own activities, like creek stomping!

Troop 32309 used girl-led processes by setting a goal to use their cookie proceeds to fund a trip to Hocking Hills.


Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning helps girls build skills that can be used throughout their lifetimes, such as learning how to handle and solve conflict when different ideas are presented, figuring out how to work together through collaboration and teamwork, and deciding how to delegate tasks and trust one another.

As a leader, there are many ways you can incorporate cooperative learning into your troop activities. When the girls are working toward a common goal, big or small, they’re already taking the first steps to becoming experienced cooperative learners. Give the girls the opportunity to establish their plans and act on them.

Troops 49697 and 44351 worked together as a multi-troop honor guard to present the colors during the national anthem at a Cincinnati Reds game.

The girls from Service Unit 209 came together to conquer their fears and explore Kentucky’s underground during a trip to Great Saltpetre Cave Preserve.


Learning by Doing

Learning by doing is a way to engage girls in an ongoing cycle of action and reflection through hands-on learning experiences. When girls actively participate in meaningful activities and later reflect on them, they come away with a deeper understanding of concepts and are more likely to master the skills they are taught.

Troop 35091 learned about pollinators, the water cycle, and more while they took action to create a rain barrel for their local park.

In honor of the 110th Anniversary of Girl Scouts, Troop 46404 gave back to their community with hands-on volunteer work as they collected personal care items for a women’s shelter.


The Girl Scout program processes set girls on a path to success at any age as they discover their capabilities and unlock the leader within. Encourage girls to approach everything they do with these processes in mind to take their yearly adventures to new heights!

Has your troop had a girl-led, cooperative, or hands-on experience that’s made a difference? Tell us about it!

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