Arranging a Time and Space for Girl-Led Meetings
When to meet is at your and your co-volunteers’ discretion: It may just be one time for this particular group of girls. Or, if you meet regularly, what day and times work best for the girls, for you, for your co-volunteer(s), and for other adults who will be presenting or mentoring? Once per week, twice a month, or once a month? Is after-school best? Can your co-volunteers meet at that time, or will meetings work better in the evenings or on the weekends? If so, which day of the week? At what time?
Where to meet can be a bit trickier: A meeting place needs to provide a safe, clean, and secure environment that allows for the participation of all girls. You might consider using meeting rooms at schools, libraries, houses or worship, community buildings, childcare facilities, and local businesses. For teens, you can also rotate meetings at coffee shops, bookstores, and other places girls enjoy spending time.
Perhaps the following tips go without saying, but in case you’re looking for some guidance on choosing a space, consider the following:
- Cost: The space should be free to use.
- Size: Make sure the space is large enough to hold all the girls in the group while engaged in a variety of activities.
- Availability: Be sure the space is available at the time and day you want to meet, for the entire length of time you plan to use the space.
- Resources: Determine what types of furnishings (table? chairs?) come with the room and ensure that the lighting is adequate. A bonus would be a cubby of some sort, where you can store supplies.
- Safety: Ensure that the space is safe, secure, clean, properly ventilated, heated (or cooled, depending on your location), free from hazards, and has at least two exits that are well-marked and fully functional. Also be sure first-aid equipment is on hand and that girls and adults with disabilities can safely enter and exit the space.
- Facilities: Sanitary and accessible toilets are critical.
- Communication-friendly: Be sure your cell phone works in the meeting space.
- Allergen-free: Ensure that pet dander and other common allergens won’t bother susceptible girls during meetings.
- Accessibility: Be sure the space can accommodate girls with disabilities, as well as parents with disabilities who may come to meetings.
If this is your first time asking for a Girl Scout meeting place, here are a few speaking points to get you started: “I’m a Girl Scout volunteer, with a group of ______ girls. We’re doing lots of great things for girls and for the community, like ____ and ______. We’re all about leadership—the kind that girls use in their daily lives and the kind that makes our community better. We’d love to hold our meetings here because ______.”