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How to Form a New Troop


Before You Get Started: 

  • Any adult age 18+ may volunteer (must be 21+ to become a troop leader). No experience necessary other than the drive to support tomorrow's Girl Scout leaders. 
  • No Girl Scout experience required! We provide the training, curriculum, and resources—you set the schedule! It's that easy.
  • Each troop needs at least two unrelated, background-checked adults (one of whom must identify as female) to get started.
  • We provide activity plans for you to freely use. You don't have to spend hours preparing for a meeting—it's all there for you and can be customized to meet your needs.
  • The frequency and day/time of your troop activities are up to YOU. Meetings, locations, activities, and programming are flexible and up to you and your Girl Scouts.

Have questions? Contact Customer Care at 1(800) 541-9852 or to get connected with a council staff member.              


Start Your Troop In 4 Easy Steps!

STEP 1: Register as a Girl Scout

Every member (youth and adult) pays a national membership fee of $25. Financial assistance is available for qualifying families. Become a Girl Scout member by visiting our Join Page to register online.

Once you have completed payment, please email our Customer Care team at to request a troop number. A staff member will be in touch to finish setting up your troop!

STEP 2: Complete a Background Check

While a staff member sets up your troop, we will email a link to you to complete your background check. Once submitted, the process typically takes a few days, so feel free to start reviewing the online resources available to you.

STEP 3: Invite Your Co-Lead and Friends to Join

It’s never too early to start talking about your new Girl Scout troop! Even while you finish the preliminary details, you can talk to your friends, neighbors, and other families in the community about your plans. The more youth you welcome to your troop, the more adults you will have available to help.

  • In addition to reaching out within your community, your troop will be listed in our Participation Catalog with an invitation for new Girl Scouts and volunteers to join!

Classic Troop vs Co-op Troop

  • You need at least two unrelated, background-checked adults (one of whom must be female) to form a classic troop. If you already have a friend, colleague, or neighbor to co-lead with you, this would be the time to invite them to join your troop!

  • In a co-op troop, all troop families work together to share the responsibilities of the troop leader. Two unrelated adults act as leader and co-leader, with the opportunity to hand off these responsibilities to others throughout the Girl Scout year. This is a great way to share leadership responsibilities between multiple adult volunteers. If you would like more information on how to start a co-op troop, please reach out to Customer Care at 1(800) 541-9852 or to get connected with a council staff member.
STEP 4: Get Ready for Your First Troop Meeting

Once you have three youth, two leaders, and complete your online training, you can start meeting with your troop! Together, you and your co-lead will decide on a meeting location, frequency, date and time, and troop start date. 

Now you are ready to share the fun and excitement as a Girl Scout troop leader! You have an incredible adventure ahead as you help Girl Scouts in your troop learn new skills, explore new adventures, make new friends, and create memories that will last a lifetime. 





What does Girl Scout participation look like during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Safety is paramount for our members. Girl Scouts of Western Washington is allowing youth to participate within our COVID-19 Member Safety Guidelines. Visit Girl Scouts at Home and Camp at Home for some creative virtual participation ideas!

What are the Girl Scout levels/grades I can volunteer with? 

Daisy – Grades K/1 
Brownie – Grades 2/3 
Junior – Grades 4/5 
Cadette – Grades 6/7/8 
Senior – Grades 9/10 
Ambassador – Grades 11/12

What support is available for troop leaders?

Council Staff Support 

An essential part of your long-term support system as a new leader will be your Volunteer Support Manager (VSM)! All troop leaders are connected with a designated staff member that can answer any questions you may have about required leader training, available resources, starting a bank account, and general troop inquiries. In addition, our Customer Care Team is available during business hours to answer general Girl Scout questions and support services.

Service Unit Support 

The service unit team is made up of local volunteers that support all the Girl Scouts in a designated area. They provide a local support system for troops and independent members by facilitating training, mentorship, programs, and product program support.

Online Support

Troop Leaders receive access to online resources through the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). The VTK is a digital resource that supports troop leaders in planning troop meetings and activities. It helps make the process of running a troop easier and more efficient! Visit Online Support for Volunteers for more information.

How many people should be in my troop? 

An optimal troop size is about 12 Girl Scouts with a minimum of two adults. Our recommended ratios by program level are listed in Volunteer Essentials: Safety!

When and where do troops meet?   

The choice is yours and very flexible! Most troops meet 1-2 times per month, but you should choose a schedule that works best for you. Your meeting space needs to be a safe, clean, and secure environment that allows all Girl Scouts to participate. Good options include:

  • Schools
  • Libraries
  • Places of worship
  • Community centers and buildings
  • Local businesses
What is the Participation Catalog?  

The Participation Catalog is a public search where families can see Girl Scout troops in their area that are open to more Girl Scouts! These open troops will be available for new families to join during the registration process. This is a great opportunity for your troop to make new friends!

What is the difference between an "open" and a "closed" troop?  

An "open" troop allows any youth to join their troop by searching in the Participation Catalog. As long as a youth is in the right grade and geographical area, they can place themselves in an open troop.

"Closed" troops are not listed in the Participation Catalog or available for new youth to join. Before a new youth member can be placed in a closed troop, council staff will need to get approval from the troop leader. A troop may choose to be closed because it is full or is school specific.

What is the time commitment to volunteer as a troop leader?   

Time commitments vary depending on your troop meeting schedule, age level of youth participants, and participation level of other troop volunteers. As a troop leader, you will work with your co-leader/assistant leader to come up with a meeting schedule and plan that works for you. Your troop could meet weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly—it’s up to you! 

Can men volunteer?  

Absolutely! Men are welcome and are encouraged to volunteer! Male troop leaders must have an unrelated female Co-Leader/Assistant Leader.

I was never a Girl Scout. Can I still volunteer?

Yes, there is no experience needed to be a Girl Scout volunteer. We offer you support and training as you start your Girl Scout journey!

How long is my background check valid for?

A background check is valid for two years from the date that you receive an eligible volunteer status. Three months before your background check expires, you will be notified that it is time to renew.

How does Girl Scouts create an inclusive and equitable environment for all members?

We invest in our community through Girl Scouts. Our community represents every race, ethnicity, income level, sexual orientation, ability, and religion; reflects a spectrum of gender identity; and connects across geographic locations. By focusing our attention on community members who are furthest from racial, economic, and social justice, Girl Scouts can be an instrument of change, promoting equitable outcomes for all. We wholly commit to taking anti-racist action to grow as an anti-racist and anti-oppressive organization so that, through Girl Scouts, our members are affirmed as they strive to make our community and world better.