Sometimes when you move abroad you just want a little something to remind you of your home country. That was the case with my daughter when we moved from the US to Basel three years ago. In her case the 'home' connection was Girl Scouts.
Turns out that while Basel Girl Scouts offered up the familiarity of the American Girl Scout traditions, the organization also proved a great way to meet girls from around the world, build new skills and have lots of fun.
What is Basel Girl Scouts?
Girl Scouts is a longstanding youth development program in the US and is active worldwide through its overseas communities. Currently, USA Girl Scouts Overseas operates in over 90 countries and has over 12,000 members. Basel Girl Scouts is one of the many Girl Scouts Overseas communities.
Currently, Basel Girl Scouts has 5 troops with girls ranging from 5 to 18 years of age. Troops are organized by age/school year. Each troop has its own schedule (i.e. some meet monthly, others bi-weekly) and participate in a wide range of activities. Recent adventures include horseback riding, hiking, pottery, dumpling making, baking, service projects and more. In addition to individual troop activities, Basel Girl Scouts creates opportunities for all the troops to come together such as Halloween parties, ice skating, camping and special Girl Scout ceremonies.
Powered by Volunteers
Basel Girl Scouts is a volunteer run organization and there are several great reasons to lend a hand:
Support your own girl: For those who have daughters in Girl Scouts joining as an adult volunteer can be rewarding. Girls appreciate the extra time with their parents and it is a great way to support their interests. And bonus! Adult volunteers receive a discount on their daughters' scout membership.
Join a community: When you sign up as a volunteer you are joining a community of caring and committed individuals. You gain a knowledgeable and helpful network of friends who are there to help out with Girl Scout questions and more.
Learn something new: Girl Scouts has extensive volunteer training resources and can be a fun way build skills. Since becoming a leader I've had to learn how to make emergency shelters, build a campfire, tie knots, and make cider to name a few!
Make an impact: Volunteering with Girl Scouts is a great way to help build the next generation of leaders. Supporting the development of girls' interests and skills helps cultivate their confidence and character and build strong relationships with other young women.
While most of Basel Girl Scouts volunteers are parents, anyone can sign up to volunteer. And, it's not just moms! The organization has a number of dads who support troops and the organization.
How to Get Involved
There are three main ways to volunteer with Basel Girl Scouts:
As a troop leader: Troop leaders are responsible for helping troops plan and lead activities. Every troop requires at least two troop leaders (or more depending on the troop size). Troop leaders are able to set their own calendar and activities in partnership with their troop.
As a committee member: Basel Girl Scouts has a small group that manages the organization and ensures that the troops have the resources they need. They are responsible for organizing leader trainings, recruiting new members, planning cross-troop events and managing the registration and budget process.
As a parent volunteer: Not quite ready for your own troop? Parents can sign up to help their daughters' troop or volunteer for cross-troop events.
Want to know more? Check out the organization's FAQs on volunteering.
It was easy for me to write this post because for the past three years I've served as a troop leader and now as a committee member too. While the thought of wrangling a dozen 7-year olds stressed me out when I started, I've been able to watch that group of girls develop into caring, thoughtful, confident tweens. With these ladies as our next generation of leaders I feel much more hopeful about the future of our planet!