Take the Lead


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Goal Setting and Money-Earning with Girls

A few years ago, the girls of Girl Scout Junior Troop 46707 decided that they did not want to rely on their families to financially support their Girl Scout activities.  They came up with a plan to fund everything (uniforms, accessories, registration fees, camp fees and snacks) through money-earning activities. 


The girls decided that one of the best ways to earn money is by participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program.  Each year they work with their leaders to schedule cookie booths every day for three weeks.  This hard work has made them realize how hard their parents and all grown-ups have to work to earn a living for their families.  When they see how quickly the money is spent on snacks, uniform components and other activities, they gain an even greater appreciation for the value of money. 


The girls have learned to appreciate that while food and other basic needs are taken for granted by many people in their community, these things are a privilege for many kids and families.  Each year they talk about the living conditions of people in their community and around the world, and how each Girl Scout Junior can do something to help the less fortunate.  The troop leaders always tell the girls that they should never think that they are too helpless or too little to do something for someone else.  This encouragement has inspired them to work towards a good cause each year. 


In the beginning of the year, the girls do research on different issues both locally and globally and they pick one local and one global organization to support.  The girls decided that their project for 2012 would be to help street kids and orphans in Baghdad, Iraq.  In December, they started discussing options and organizations that would help provide this support.  By early January, they had a plan in place to earn money for their troop activities and projects, as well, as how much they'd like to donate to their selected organization.  To educate the public, the girls made posters to place at their cookie booths advertising the newest Girl Scout cookies, the values associated with Girl Scouting and the cookie sale program opportunity and information on their service plan to help kids in Afghanistan.


Once the posters were made, the troop practiced how to address the public and approach individuals to both buy cookies and support their Girl Scout activities.  The girls also wanted to inform customers about their cause: to provide orphans in Baghdad with food, clothing and aid during traumatic events.  Because the girls became so skilled at speaking about these topics, many customers were inspired to buy even more cookies than originally anticipated. 


The girls in Troop 46707 choose a project that inspires them every year.  They value that earning money allows them to independently meet their own needs and understand that it is equally important to care for others in the world as well. 
Their Troop Leader, Bakhtavar (Becca) Desai reports, “Thus we keep marching forward hoping to make our girls stronger in character and humanity so that doing good for their world becomes a way of life for them.”


Helping girls earn and manage money is an integral part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.  Girl Scout troops are responsible for planning and financing their own activities, with a troop leaders guidance.  This puts girls in charge, giving them the opportunity to cooperatively set goals, manage a budget, spend responsibly , maintain records, and develop good marketing, entrepreneurial, math and financial skills.  Page 53—Volunteer Essentials.

Girl Scout Grade Level Involvement in Troop Finances

Girl Scout Daisies should not be handling money or the budget directly.  However, they should be making decisions about the activities they are doing as a troop, and learning about the cost of these activities.  As a result, they should also help make decisions about how they will earn money to do the activities they have chosen.  A good approach is for leaders to narrow down a few money-earning options for the girls to vote on.

Girl Scout Brownies will want to make decisions about the activities they are doing as a troop and how they will earn the money to do those activities.  They want to be able to finish everything they start, but will be slow to do so.  Leaders should offer up money-earning ideas that they know the girls are capable of doing, so they will be able to complete the task and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Girl Scout Juniors should be able to come up with some of their own money-earning project ideas.  Help them brainstorm some ideas and have them vote as a group.  Girl Scout Juniors should also begin to learn the basics of a budget.  Teach them the basics of setting up a budget for the activities that they want to do for the year and how to earn money to accomplish those activities.

Girl Scout Cadettes should be able to put together a general budget for activities and money-earning projects with guidance from leaders.  They should also be able to plan and carry out the money-earning projects that they decide on as a group.  Girls at this age will need support and guidance from leaders to stay focused on the task at hand. They are capable of setting bigger goals and work towards longer term projects.

Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors should be able to organize a budget, put together the troop itinerary and assist in record keeping.  They should also be able to plan and carry out the money-earning projects that they decide on as group.  Girls at this grade level will need minimal guidance.  Leaders will act more like advisors during this time

Did You Know?

  • All troop funds must be handled by registered members of Girl Scouts.
  • All funds for the troop must be deposited in the troop bank account.
  • As a troop leader, you must submit a financial report for your troop annually (by June 30).
  • Troops are required to keep documentation on all troop deposits and spending throughout the year. 
  • Troop funds are the property of a troop and not an individual person.
  • Proper accounting of troop finances sets an example for girls and will help them properly manage their personal finances.
  • Troops cannot raise money for another organization, however they can choose to devote a portion of their funds to an organization of their choice.
  • Girls who belong to the Next Generation Cookie Club, an online e-cookie business through Little Brownie Bakers and girls who participate in the QSP online magazine sales portion of the Fall Product Sale are able to sell online.  For more information market their sale online, review page 60 of Volunteer Essentials for more information. 
  • Girls should not solicit money from local clubs or organizations.  It is the job of an adult to make the official ask.
  • Girl Scout sponsored product sales is the easiest, most efficient way to earn troop money, and provides troops with great program support to help girls develop five key skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.



The Financial Literacy badges give girls an opportunity to gain skills in running a business and practice leadership skills.  These badges help you learn about money—how to make it, how to spend it, how to save it and how to share it with others.  Girls will engage in planning and goal setting, teamwork, marketing, money management and customer service.  Girls can earn these badges through the Girl Scout Financial Literacy curriculum, and of course, through the Girl Scout Cookie Program.
Troop Finance Q and A
Q:  How are troop funds managed?
A:  There are a variety of ways to set up troop funds.  The most common way is for the money to go into a common pot and all decisions are made by the troop.  The girls agree to subtract equal amounts for all troop activities.  Remember, no money earned or received by a Girl Scout troop/group or individual can ever become property of individual girl or adult members.
Q: What should parent involvement be in troop finances?
A:  Parents should be aware of the troop finances; best communicated in writing.  Troops can chose to use a monthly newsletter, account summary, or other communications to ensure parents are aware of the troop account balance.  Parents should be engaged to ensure their daughter is following safety precautions and gaining skill from money-earning activities.

Q:  When should troops open their checking account?
A: Once a troop has two approved adults and has collected or earned money, they can open their troop checking account.  All troop monies should be deposited into the troop account and payment for troop supplies and activities should come out of that account.  For more information, see page 55 in Volunteer Essentials (or Volunteer Resources on council website).  Troop funds can be made up of annual troop dues paid by parents, funds from money-earning activities or a combination.  An account should be opened as soon as a troop has funds.

Q: How often do I need to report the troop finances to the Girl Scout Center?
A:  Troops are required to turn in a Financial Report once a year and it is due June 1.  It is important to keep receipts and/or records of each troop purchase.  New troop must file a Finance Report within 30 days of first meeting, listing bank account information, the two account signers and the opening balance.

Q: How do I manage the troop bank account?
A:  Managing a troop bank account and finances is not unlike your own personal checking account.  Your troop will have income and expenses, which you can keep track through your checking account.  Documentation of all financial transactions is important.  Make sure to keep all receipts and track the purpose of that expense.

Q:  How can troops earn money to help with costs that occur in Girl Scouting?
A:  The best way for troops to earn funds is through Girl Scout product sales.  In the fall, girls can participate in the Fall Product Sale.  In the winter is the famous and fun Girl Scout cookie program opportunity.  Talk to your service unit product sales consultant for more information of the Girl Scout sponsored sales.

Q: Are Girl Scouts allowed to do other money-earning projects?
A:  Yes.  Additional troop money-earning should be planned around the girls’ interest and should be based on the girls’ ability.  Allow the girls to choose topics they are interested in and have potential for additional learning.  Some ideas include: providing childcare, making crafts and selling them at a craft fair, holding a car wash, making and selling a recipe book and more.

Q: Are there any money-earning activities Girl Scouts cannot do?
A: Troops cannot do games of chance (i.e. raffles, gambling), direct solicitation of cash (including walk-a-thons or rock-a-thons) and endorsement of other commercial products such as Avon, Pampered Chef, Applebee's, M&M’s and other commercial products.
Q:  Is financial assistance available?
A:  Financial assistance is provided to an individual applicant, based on specific financial need and the applicant’s compliance with the financial assistance philosophy and guidelines.  Requests should be submitted to your regional Girl Scout Center.  Additional information and a Financial Assistance Form found on the council website or in the Program Opportunities for Girls and Adults.
Q: What can financial assistance be used for?
A:  Girl Scout membership (membership subsidy), council-sponsored or council-approved program opportunities, summer camp and troop trips. 
Q:  What other resources can be helpful?
A: Leadership Essentials pages 53–64, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s website (www.girlscoutsofwesternohio.org), the Troop Start-Up Guide, Volunteer Essentials, Safety Activities Checkpoints, other training materials and The Girl’s Guides to Girl Scouting can be helpful with troop finances. 
TAKE ACTION: Let's Get Started


This fall, each of the four regional Girl Scout Centers held a Service Learning = Take Action workshop.  This workshop was designed to help troops identify community issues and brainstorm ways to help get them started on a take action project.  If you were unable to attend your regional workshop, that’s OK!  You can use the below activities from the workshop to jump start your troop’s take action project right now!
Journeys Make it Easy!

Journeys are service learning—you certainly can use your creativity to do other things, but there are pre-designed service learning projects already outlined in the Journeys. Each of the Journey series have a theme. 
It’s Your World—Change It!  Social Change
It’s Your Planet—Love It!  Environment
It’s Your Story—Tell It!  Self-Esteem

  • Break your girls into three groups and assign each group one of the Journey themes listed above.
  • Have each group create a poster that illustrates a Take Action project surrounding that theme.
  • Allow each group to share their poster with the entire troop.
  • After each group has presented their topic, vote on which one you want to pursue.
  • Then do the Journey that correlates to that topic!

Brainstorming Collage—D,B
Girls can begin to develop ideas for service learning projects.

Objective:  To use a girl driven approach to pick a topic for their service learning project and engage girls in decision-making process.

Hang multiple sheets of newsprint.
Explain to the girls that this is a brainstorming activity and together with their troop/group, they are going to throw out ideas for taking action.
Girls can cut pictures from magazines, draw their idea or write their idea for a project using the newsprint around the room.
Facilitator should prepare a list of questions to get the girls thinking.

Newspaper Hunt—J,C,S,A
Girls will use resources around them to discover some issues in their community.

Objective:  To use a girl driven approach to pick a topic for their service learning project and engage girls in decision making process.

Put girls in groups of three to four and give each girl a local or national newspaper section.
Have each girl pick out a headline/story that grabs their attention.  They should scan the article and be ready to give a brief synopsis of the story to the group.
As a small group, they should pick one story and go over some of the questions below (modified for the grade level):
What is the topic or issue in this story?
What is the root issue in this situation? What is the root cause?
Are there local and global impacts?
Does this story lead you to think about other concerns more locally?
How could a Take Action project address this issue?

Engage Your Local Library

After you decide on a topic area, it’s time to identify resources available in your community through asset mapping—the process of identifying resources available in the community.  One of the resources you will most likely identify is your local library.  Libraries are a great place to start your Take Action project.  They are full of resources that will help you research the issue you choose and identify people and places that can help you along the way.