Happy New Year! Let’s Talk Activity Overload…

Recently I had a very embarrassing thing happen.  With all 8 of my Girl Scouts as well as two parents in tow, I arrived at a council activity an hour after it ended.  I had gotten the time wrong.  My phone and planner said 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. and the activity was actually from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.  I was mortified. I kicked myself, shed a tear or two and tried to turn it into a positive as an example to the girls.  I put on a brave exterior, bought them all “Girl Scouts Rock!” patches and let them browse the Girl Scout store.  They couldn’t have been happier.

Although our troop was able to reschedule the event for a later date, I did NOT want that to happen again.

Then something else happened. At the beginning of the school year at our troop parent meeting, I had my parents sign a contract of sorts, stating that they would be responsible for any events that were paid for that their daughters ultimately did not attend for any reason except for illness.  All my parents signed willingly and were on-board.  Now please keep in mind, I’m a prolific communicator.  I keep my troop informed through emails, Shutterfly and paper calendars. Last month I paid for an expensive council overnighter in full with troop funds.  When I began collecting the money for the parent portion for the aforementioned activity, I had a mom email me that her daughter did not want to go.  Mind you, this mom hadn’t RSVP’d yes or no.  She’s busy, works hard and is a bit…well…flighty.  I assumed her daughter would go because she was my troop overnighter mom.  Did I mention she’s also my co-leader?  I graciously sent her an email and reminded her that if her daughter didn’t go, she would owe the troop a reimbursement. She flat out said she wasn’t going to pay.  {What?} She said she hadn’t RSVPd and therefore was not responsible for the money. {I grumbled and stomped my feet!} Then I had a lightbulb moment (think Gru).

I ran the idea by my troop treasurer and voila! a new policy was born.  From now on parents pay for all trips and activities in advance and are then reimbursed when their daughter attends the event.  I was advised to adopt this policy from several leaders I had met at a representative council meeting, but I thought my contract would suffice. After all, my parents had all signed and understood the policy, right?  In an effort to save my sanity and to avoid this happening, I created an activity log.  The creation of this log came right along with my decision to call each of my seven parents and get verbal confirmations on trips and activities.  Seven phone calls will save me lots of time and headaches.  So I designed this planner page to be used when I call the parents or get email notification of their RSVPs.

As soon as I made it, I was in love, so I knew I had to share it with you all!  I know it’s not the cookie resources I’ve promised (or the Brownie Tracker–yikes! Did I mention I work full-time? No excuses!)

Here is how I put it to use while making phone calls:

It even has a spot for the date of the call/email and for notes.  Using this method, which goes directly into my Martha Stewart planner, I don’t have post-its, emails and verbal RSVPs in my head (or an empty space where non-RSVPs lurk in the shadows of ambiguity).  I modified the Excel template and it’s now ready for download directly here!

Please email me if you have any needs or ideas for Cookie Sales!  I started researching to find out what leaders needed and didn’t really find any holes in the resources out there.  Please add your suggestions to the comments below!


4 thoughts on “Happy New Year! Let’s Talk Activity Overload…

  • Risa

    This is a fantastic idea if it's executed properly. Our troop recently adopted this method and I wound up having to double pay everything and in the end I've wound with an $80 credit!

  • Unknown

    I like this idea, but also wondering if you have any ideas on how to get parents to submit permission slips "on time." Especially if your 'leader' is one of the culprits, so to speak. Our troop is having a heck of time…

  • straw/Jen/berry

    Heather, the girls in my troop are all from the same school and most have been together since Kindergarten. Because of that all of us moms know each other well. So for short trips or offsite meetings I use the orange permission cards. There are several slots on the back of the card and each card can hold 8 trips. I have my parents sign all the slots at the beginning of the year at the parent meeting. Then for each non-overnighter, under 100 miles I simply fill in the name of the event next to the number and the date next to the signature. I hope that makes sense. I know all council's are different. For long trips or overnighters I hand out packets. If you don't have the packet, you don't go on the trip. If you'd like to see an example of the orange card, feel free to email me at iamgirlscouts@sbcglobal.net

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