Healthy Service Units
Each service unit is different and evolves over time as leadership changes. Periodically, it's worth taking the time to regroup as a service unit leadership team to ensure you're moving forward and on the same page.
To become a happy and healthy service unit, here are some tips that will help you focus your efforts to make the most impact for volunteers and troops in your area.
Define Your Main Purpose
Why does a service unit exist? What are the main benefits of meeting monthly with volunteers in your area? These are excellent questions to ask at your next meeting. Then listen to the answers and tailor your year plan to match.
Curious about what the most common answers are? In a recent study by Girl Scouts of the USA, these are the top three services that a service unit provides:
- Organizing events that troop leaders can take back to their troops.
- Support for troop leaders, troop managers, and the girls surrounding the product programs.
- Facilitating a safe space for sharing of ideas and networking.
Characteristics of a Healthy Service Unit
Once you have your purpose, it's time to get to work! A healthy service unit:
- Uses various communication methods to ensure volunteers are engaged in the GSLE and that diverse viewpoints are expressed and valued.
- Talks about council goals and priorities and how they are achieved within troop, group, and service unit activities. These goals may include membership numbers for girls and adults, camp participation, Family Giving participation, Early Bird renewal, etc.
- Promotes participation in the Fall Product and Cookie Programs.
- Supports and develops troop leaders and recognizes volunteer contributions and efforts. This includes offering learning opportunities and volunteer appreciation at the service unit level.
- Involves girls in the planning, implementing, and evaluating of service unit activities. Make sure you debrief with your girls after a service unit event!
- Develops networks within their community to open up additional opportunities for girls and volunteers.
Now that you know some ways to build (or maintain) a healthy service unit, consider the group of dedicated volunteers who attend your service unit meetings. What areas above does your service unit do well? What areas could use some extra focus or support? Make a plan, make some changes, and help the Girl Scout volunteers in your area thrive!