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Virtual Meeting Planning

Tips, Tools, and Ideas for Planning a Great Virtual Meeting: Keep the Girl Scout spirit strong, no matter where you are.

Planning virtual meetings can feel quite different from the in-person meetings we’re used to: can you successfully engage your girls through their screens? Can you keep your troop’s favorite traditions going virtually? The answer is yes! 

Use this sample agenda and the following tips to prepare for your virtual meeting and get ready to have fun with your girls, wherever their “meeting spaces” may be. 

Sample Virtual Meeting Agenda
  • Welcome (5 minutes)
    • Give girls a few minutes to join the meeting and get settled.
    • Encourage the girls to take this time to chat with each other before the official meeting begins.
  • Ground Rules (5 minutes)
    • Review the ground rules or use this time to create list together.  
  • Promise and Law (5 minutes)
    • Recite the Promise and Law together. Ask girls to keep themselves muted as they follow your lead. Internet connectivity issues can cause a lag in audio, which can be discouraging and frustrating for the girls when they aren’t hearing themselves in unison.
    • You can encourage girls to have their cameras on, but it shouldn’t be required.
  • Icebreaker (10 minutes)
    •  Add an icebreaker activity to help everyone get comfortable. Explore examples of icebreaker activities.
    • Use the same icebreaker at each meeting or try different ones—it’s entirely up to you!
  • Main Activity (20 minutes)
    • Whether it’s badge work or just something fun, the main activity should take up the bulk of your meeting time. Here are some tips.
  • Prep For Your Next meeting (5 Minutes)
    • If the girls will complete an activity on their own, set them up for success and explain what they’ll need to do.
    • If not, give them a sense of what to expect for the next meeting.
    • Looking for feedback on what to do next? This is a great time to poll the girls!
  • Make New Friends (5 minutes)
    • Wind down your meeting by singing “Make New Friends.”
    • Just as you did with the Promise and Law, ask the girls to mute their microphones and follow your lead.
  • Friendship Circle (5 minutes)
    • Encourage the girls to share this special time of the meeting with a sibling or even their favorite stuffed animal.  
    • Just as you would with an in-person meeting, ask them to cross their arms and give them a moment to squeeze their own hand (by making a fist) to virtually pass on the squeeze.  
    • Then, on the count of three, instruct the girls to lift their arms over their heads to virtually “twist out” to close the meeting.
Conducting a Virtual Meeting
  • Consider guiding the meeting with a PowerPoint or Google Slides deck. Having a slide show presentation can help your troop move smoothly from one part of the meeting to the next. Check out this sample, which you can customize on any PowerPoint or slides platform.

  • Be as visual as possible. Depending on their ages, your girls’ reading comprehension levels will vary. If you use slides, keep them as visual as possible and read everything aloud to make sure all the girls understand the rules, instructions, and activities planned for the meeting.

  • Tap into the Volunteer Toolkit. Look through the suggested activities on the several Volunteer Toolkit for badges the troop is working on. Think about how you might adapt the activity to be virtual-friendly—a special guest, for instance, could share a presentation during your meeting or offer a virtual tour of their place of work. 

Here are some suggestions for adapting badge or journey work for a digital setting.

  • Develop ground rules. To keep your troop girl-led, work with the girls to establish rules that everyone can agree to, like when to keep cameras and microphones on or off, or raising hands when girls want to speak.  

  • Keep your supply list simple. Remember, not all families have lots of craft supplies on hand. Consider activities that stick to the basics—crayons, paper, scissors, and glue—and give families advance notice if you will require additional supplies. 

  • Be flexible with timing. You might budget one hour for your meeting, but not all meetings will run that long—especially if you have younger girls with shorter attention spans. It’s perfectly OK to end the meeting early if you’ve accomplished everything on your agenda! Younger girls will be able to concentrate on a single task for only about 20 minutes, so plan your meeting in short sections!

  • Keep the sisterhood strong. You’ll have fun working on badges virtually, of course, but it’s also OK to take a meeting or two to just relax and be silly together. This strengthens the bonds among the girls during times of social distancing or when they can’t be together in person—it’s what Girl Scout sisterhood is all about! 

Supplies for a Virtual Meeting

Before we talk about physical supplies, a fun thing to share before the meeting are our Zoom and virtual call backgrounds! Everyone in the meeting can pick a fun, bright virtual backdrop to help hide background distractions at home and bring more visual excitement to the meeting! To download the backgrounds and for instructions on using them, please click here

Girls and families may already have some basic supplies to power a fun, hands-on meeting activity at home, but you’ll want to give troop families a heads up about what the girls will need on-hand at least one day before the meeting. If an activity requires supplies that might not be easily accessible, give families more notice to gather the materials, and provide potential substitutions wherever possible.

Everyday Supplies

Families are likely to have these items at home and easily accessible:

  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Glue
  • Glue sticks
  • Children’s Scissors
  • Plain paper
  • Construction Paper
  • Tape

Supplies That Require Advance Notice

When planning activities that use these supplies, consider providing substitutions if families don’t have the exact item on hand:

  • Printouts of meeting handouts
  • Toilet paper tube or empty paper towel roll
  • Paint
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Pom poms
  • Glitter glue
  • Stickers
  • Cardstock

Adapt Badges and Journeys

Easy Badge and Journey Adaptations for Virtual Troop Meetings 

In-person troop meetings are amazingly fun, but virtual meetings can offer a whole range of new ways to engage your girls, your guests, and families! 

Check out our newest training video, Virtual Meetings: Adapting Badges and Journeys! We walk you through our existing badges and journeys tailored for virtual meetings and share some tips on adapting badges and journeys for online. 

Check out these proven tips for how you and your girls can adapt your badge, journey, or award activities to a virtual setting.

Group Activities
  • Breakout rooms: If your virtual meeting software allows it, separate girls into smaller “breakout rooms.” Enlist a parent or caregiver to sit in on each breakout room to ensure that the conversation is productive.

  • Chat Leaders: Appoint two girls as the conversation leaders and mute the rest of the troop. The conversation leaders pose questions to the troop to get things started. The other girls should use the chat (or a virtual whiteboard) to respond.  The conversation leaders  read out the chat comments, make connections, and share any new ideas the chat comments might inspire. Rotate chat leaders times during the meeting. 

  • Small group virtual meetings: If you can’t do breakout rooms, simply set up three or four simultaneous virtual meetings (each with its own log-in). At the start of your troop meeting, break girls into small group and provide each with a new “small group” meeting log-in and assign an adult volunteer to help each group. Set a time limit to make sure that everyone comes back to the original meeting at the same time.

  • Parent and girl partners: For younger girls, ask each girl to invite a supportive adult to the meeting to be her discussion partner.  

  • Online Virtual Tours: Find a virtual tour, inspired by the badge requirements. Ideally, you want a tour with lots of options for clicking into different paths on the tour. Allow girls to lead the exploration, deciding where and when to click.

  • Virtual Reality Tours: If you and your troop have access to virtual reality goggles (such as Google Cardboard), find a VR tour, and explore the ocean, a foreign city, go on a hike, or even a new planet!

  • Photo tours: Invite a guest to your meeting to share a photo tour. The girls can ask questions while listening to stories and looking at the person’s photos or videos. Consider a museum docent, a family member who has visited a national park or international destination that your girls are interested in, or local tour guide.

Guest Experts

Virtual guests are even easier to find than in-person ones! Remember that you can invite a guest from anywhere in the world. Speak to them in advance so that they understand what you would like them to do in your meeting.

Family Events

Family celebrations can be done with free video conferencing software. Consider playing games and asking each girl to lead her family in a special activity, giving each girl a moment to shine.

Tip: Encourage girls to share their ideas for how they can meet specific badge requirements in a virtual setting. It’s a great way to keep things girl-led and they’ll be more engaged in the content if their creative thinking helped to shape it.

Plus, visit explore the activity pages on Girl Scouts at Home for examples of how specific badge steps can be accomplished virtually.  

Digital Icebreakers and Games 

An icebreaker game is a great way to start any meeting, but in a virtual setting they offer your troop the chance to get familiar with the technology and engage the girls before getting down to business. Here are a few ideas!

Icebreaker Ideas
  • Digital Show and Tell
    • Ask the girls to share something of theirs with the troop. Consider giving them a theme or a question, for example, “Show us something you’ve had since you were a baby” or “Show us something you can’t go a day without.”
  • Two Truths and a Fib
    • Give this well-known icebreaker a virtual spin! Ask the girls a specific question (“What are some places you have visited?” Or “What don’t we already know about you?”) and ask them to pick three answers—two that are true and one that’s not. But, when it’s not true, they have to make a subtle gesture or change in their tone of voice. Then see if the other girls can guess which answers are true.

  • Where Are You?
    • Ask girls to give you a brief virtual tour of their space. What’s one thing they love about the room they are in?  What’s one thing they wish they could change?

  • Virtual ‘I Spy’
    • Ask the girls to pick one spot and stay in that spot for the entire icebreaker. Then, have the girls take turns looking at the screens and seeing what they can find!
  • If Only I Could… Then I Would...
    • Ask girls to complete each part of the sentence “If only I could____, then I would _____.”  Remind them that it can be something true or just something silly—- it’ is completely up to them!
  • Question of The Day
    • Pick a different question for each meeting and ask the girls to answer it in just one or two sentences. The question can tie into something going on in their lives, badge activities you will complete during the meeting, or just something silly!
  • What's Your Emoji Today?
    • Instead of asking the girls how they’re feeling, ask them to take turns making the emoji face that matches how they are feeling. Then, give the rest of the troop a few minutes to guess the emotion before asking the girl to share how she is feeling. This icebreaker is a great way to check in on everyone while turning it into a game for the girls.
Tips for Leading Successful Icebreakers
  • Set ground rules. Share guidelines about the icebreaker before you start: how much time will you spend on the icebreaker activity, and how much time will each girl have to speak? You can set boundaries by time (“Everyone will have one minute to answer.”) or length (“Everyone should answer in three sentences or less.”)  Remind the girls to give everyone a chance to participate by not interrupting one another and muting their microphones when they’re not speaking.

  • Don’t make icebreakers mandatory. Remember, not every girl will want to speak or answer every question. Encourage them to participate, but don’t force them to if they aren’t comfortable. 

  • Don’t interrupt. Aside from the time limits they agreed to, let the girls speak and give them space to fully participate in the icebreaker. Remember, they are not just expressing themselves to their Girl Scout sisters; they’re also building their comfort with virtual meeting tools, and they need the space to do that.

  • Be comfortable with silence. It’s natural to want to fill any quiet moments during an activity but remember that the girls may need time to think about the question, and will speak up when they are ready. Filling the silence for them may discourage them from jumping in when they are ready to share. 

  • Keep parents or caregivers in the loop. If you’re using an icebreaker that involves the girls showing items in their home, let families know in advance so they can plan accordingly—they’ll appreciate it! 

  • Consider uniquely virtual icebreakers. Showing off a favorite routine or a favorite room in their home is something you couldn’t do with your girls during an in-person meeting. Embrace it! Take this time to explore new ways of getting to know your girls that wouldn’t be open to you during a regular meeting. 

  • Keep an eye on their involvement. Some girls will jump right into virtual meetings- but some may not. Watch closely for signs that girls are losing interest or having trouble participating and try to gently pull them into the fold. If the issue continues, ask their parent or caregiver about ways to better engage them during meetings, and possibly address other challenges the girls may be facing outside of Girl Scouts.