Do you bother with creating a Troop Parent Handbook? Some people might think it's too much but, in my opinion, it lays a foundation for how you plan to lead the troop, your expectations of parents/guardians and how you can work as a team to have a successful year. It's a hard copy of when and where you have your meetings, your objectives, contact information and policies and procedures you have for events and outings.
Mission and Purpose
Give your parents an idea of the program. What is the Girl Scout mission? What are the traditions and values? What are your troop's mission and objectives for the year?
Names and contact of troop leaders and other volunteers
Meeting location, time and day of the week.
Troop dues or up front costs
How to register
Forms and paperwork
Fundraising and Finances
I always like to outline finances and fundraising efforts in the handbook. It lets them know what an important piece it plays in the program and who we afford to provide such a kick-ass program. Give rough dates so they know when to expect the cookie madness.
This section is key! Here you can outline exactly how you plan to best communicate with your troop. Do you have a troop website or Facebook group? Do you mostly email information or are you a text person? Let them know so they know where to look for you. Another importation thing to mention is how they can best contact you! I never pick up my phone during the day. Usually, I never hear it or my child is in midst of a tantrum and I'm not picking it up. I'm also not one to check my voicemail. However, if you text or email me you will most likely get a response within the hour.
When I first became a troop leader I didn't think that I would need to school parents on appropriate adult behavior in and around troop meetings and events. I thought it was assumed that you should use sound judgment, live by the GS Law, and act as a role model for the girls regardless of your role within the troop.
I was proven wrong! But, that is a story for another post!;)
There is always one, sometimes more than one, who will blow your mind with their behavior.
Now don't get me wrong, a Parent Handbook is not necessarily going to prevent this obnoxious behavior. What it will do is lay the outline for the conversation when it does happen and how you've forewarned them of the expectations. Basically, you are covering your behind when you need to have that uncomfortable conversation about appropriate adult behavior.
If you're not sure what to include or how to outline your Parent Handbook I've come to the rescue! I've taken a lot of time editing this document over the years and it's still a work in progress but feel free to use this template and edit it to fit your troop needs!! Join our Facebook community to download today!!
Let us know what you think! Email or comment on your experiences with a Parent Handbook!