I've been a Girl Scout Leader, on and off, since 2000, for a total of six years altogether. I currently have two troops, one for each of my girls. One thing that I think sets my troops apart from others is that we like to go on lots of field trips! Generally, we go on at least one or two outings per month during the school year, and sometimes one in the summer.
When I first started as a Girl Scout Leader, I was assigned to a wealthy private school in Austin. Money was not an issue for my scouts' parents, so we requested, and received, generous troop dues to fund our Brownie activities. So when planning field trips, the cost of the outing was not a huge consideration for us.
In time, I became a Mom of girls and therefore a Leader once again. This time I had a troop of kindergarten Daisies at our public school who were not allowed to sell cookies yet and therefore earned no troop funds. This time around, I was very conservative and realistic in setting the amount for our troop dues; I only charged enough to cover patches, insignia and first aid supplies. Field trips would have to be funded separately by the families as the year progressed OR we could creatively plan free outings for the girls!
We live in a very large city, so thankfully there are lots of options available when planning a free field trip for a group of giggling little girls. Very often, especially for the older girls, our outings coincide with badges we are earning. For example, just last week I took my Brownies to our local branch of IBC Bank, where we keep our troop bank account for a free tour and Q&A with the branch manager. The girls, I have to say, were not thrilled initially with the idea of visiting a bank around the corner from our neighborhood. But the bank tour fit in perfectly with our work on the 'Penny Power' Try-It. Well lo and behold, the girls were fascinated by the tour! We actually stayed an extra half hour longer than we'd planned because they were so busy asking question after question, really thoughtful ones too. We learned quite a bit about counterfeit checks and bills, which is pertinent to their roles as entrepreneurial salesgirls. The girls and I were thrilled that the bank manager gave us two counterfeit detector pens to use at our upcoming Cookie Booth! It was a memorable field trip, and best of all, absolutely free.
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