I have always had a tremendous appreciation for the many volunteers who run my kids’ soccer team and Cub Scout den and other activities.

I particularly admire their patience. Try coaching an under-five soccer team: Herding cats is easier than corralling a dozen five-year-olds.

A Girl Scout draws Liberian clothing for a poster. (Katherine Frey/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Sure, I can lead a couple of meetings each month and haul the kindergartners on some field trips. Exposing them to the outdoors and service activities will be fun.

That part isn’t what scares me. It’s the realization that beyond the meetings and activities is a mountain of administrative work. Leadership meetings, forms, training, planning, running a bank account and managing fundraisers adds up to a lot of time. Fortunately, I’m sharing this task with someone else, but it’s still overwhelming for both of us.

So, like my colleague Amy Joyce, I must find a way to get organized. I need to organize my time, as well as the piles of paperwork that go along with leading a troop.

I spent two hours at the home of a longtime troop leader last weekend, learning the basics of Girl Scout administration. When I left, my head was swimming. Her very neat, orderly and enormous pile of notebooks and files — and her ability to put her hands on anything troop-related in less than 30 seconds — was phenomenal.

I’ve already adopted some of her tricks: I’m using a Mead Five-Star binder and tabs to keep all the paperwork in order, and I’ve started a site on Qlubb.com that will automatically send e-mail reminders to troop parents about meetings and other upcoming events.

I know there are other great tricks out there for planning meetings and activities, managing the forms and juggling the leadership role with a full-time job and your husband’s crazy schedule. Please tell me how you do it in the comments section below.


The organized parent: paperwork practices

Organizing in 20 minutes