Make sure your words and intentions create connection with the girls. Keep in mind how important the following attitudes are:
Listen. Listening to girls, as opposed to telling them what to think, feel, or do (no “you should”) is the first step in building a trusting relationship and helping them take ownership of their Girl Scout experience.
Be Honest. If you’re not comfortable with a topic or activity, it’s OK to say so. No one expects you to be an expert on every topic. Ask for alternatives or seek out volunteers with the required expertise. Owning up to mistakes—and apologizing for them—goes a long way with girls.
Be Open to Real Issues. Outside of Girl Scouts, girls may be dealing with issues like relationships, peer pressure, school, money, drugs, and other serious topics. When you don’t know, listen. Also seek help from your council if you need assistance or more information than you currently have.
Show Respect. Girls often say that their best experiences were the ones where adults treated them as equal partners. Being spoken to as young adults reinforces that their opinions matter and that they deserve respect.
Offer Options. Girls’ needs and interests change and being flexible shows them that you respect them and their busy lives. Be ready with age-appropriate guidance and parameters no matter what the girls choose to do.
Stay Current. Show your girls that you’re interested in their world by asking them about the TV shows and movies they like; the books, magazines, or blogs they read; the social media influencers they follow; and the music they listen to.
Remember LUTE: Listen, Understand, Tolerate, and Empathize. Try using the LUTE method to thoughtfully respond when a girl is upset, angry, or confused.
- Listen. Hear her out, ask for details, and reflect back what you hear; try “What happened next?” or “What did she say?”
- Understand. Show that you understand where she’s coming from with comments such as, “So what I hear you saying is…” or “I understand why you’re unhappy,” or “Your feelings are hurt; mine would be, too.”
- Tolerate. You can tolerate the feelings that she just can’t handle right now on her own. Let her know that you’re there to listen and accept how she is feeling about the situation. Say something like: “Try talking to me about it. I’ll listen," or “I know you’re mad—talking it out helps,” or “I can handle it—say whatever you want to.”
- Empathize. Let her know you can imagine feeling what she’s feeling with comments such as, “I’m sure that really hurts” or “I can imagine how painful this is for you.”