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Parent’s Guide to Girl Scouting

Why is Girl Scouts a Good Investment of My Daughter’s Time?


Girls have unique needs. Girl Scouts understands that these needs are best met through programs designed specifically for girls, delivered in an all-girl setting, in a place where she can be herself and take on new challenges. Girl Scout activities are girlled and learning is cooperative, not competitive. Our girls are mentored by women who model skills, behaviors, relationships, and careers that Girl Scouts can emulate. National research has shown that Girl Scouts achieve higher grades, have twice as many leadership opportunities, are more likely to make sound moral decisions, and have stronger relationships with their parents than their non-Girl Scout peers. Research also shows that Girl Scouting provides benefits not only to the girls involved, but also to their parents. As a Girl Scout parent, you may spend more quality time with your daughter, enjoy a strengthened relationship, build lasting friendships with other adults, and develop leadership skills. Girl Scouts gives parents and girls opportunities to be involved in activities that benefit the community while also providing them a sense of personal satisfaction by achieving a goal together.

What will my daughter do in Girl Scouts? Girl Scouts is a girl-led Leadership Experience at every age level. It is a place where girls discover who they are, connect with others, and take action to make the world a better place. The Girl Scout program is fun with purpose - giving girls the opportunity to try things they may not have considered and/or build upon skills and interests they already have. Girls choose how they want to participate in Girl Scouts and what they want to do once they’ve joined. They may earn badges, hike and camp, and participate in the cookie program. They may choose service projects to improve neighborhoods or protect the planet. They may design robots or establish sports clinics. It’s up to the girls! Standardized portions of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience include: • National Leadership Journeys are a series of books that are age specific and are the core of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. On a journey, girls build leadership skills and confidence as they gain new skills and knowledge and widen their view of the world. Troops or individuals can choose to experience a journey at any time, and for any length of time, throughout the Girl Scout Year. Journeys also give girls a chance to continue a long-standing Girl Scout tradition: earning leadership awards. • The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting is a colorful, easy to use binder designed for girls at each age level. These binders complement Journeys with skill-building badge activities that feature traditional and beloved topics, including nature, art, cooking and first-aid, as well as many current interests to girls. It’s chock full of essential information that helps girls customize their own experience – it’s got variety, choice, and relevance. • Take Action Projects are planned and implemented by girls as service projects to benefit local or regional communities. Troops use their creativity, with appropriate guidance and mentoring from adults, to determine needs in their area and work to meet those needs. • Trips, Events, Series Opportunities, Camp Because Girl Scouts is girl-led, troops or individuals can take part in one time events or a series of events based on one theme. Girls also plan field trips, camping trips, overnight trips, and even trips abroad. Older troops may retain troop proceeds from product sales over a period of several years to go to amazing places like New York, Florida, Switzerland, England, Australia, or wherever they desire to go!



The Girl Scout Leadership Experience The Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) is a girlled leadership program where girls discover who they are, connect with others, and take action to make the world a better place. The GSLE is intentionally designed to tie to one or more of the 15 national leadership benefits categorized under the three keys to leadership. The GSLE provides three processes for adults partnering with girls to incorporate: Girl-Led, Cooperative Learning, and Learning by Doing.

The Three Keys to Leadership Discover: Girls understand themselves and their values and use their knowledge and skills to explore the world. Connect: Girls care about, inspire, and team up with others locally and globally.

Discover 1. Girls develop a strong sense of self. 2. Girls develop positive values. 3. Girls gain practical life skills. 4. Girls seek challenges in the world. 5. Girls develop critical thinking. Connect 1. Girls develop healthy relationships. 2. Girls promote cooperation and team building. 3. Girls can resolve conflicts. 4. Girls advance diversity in a multicultural world. 5. Girls feel connected in their communities, locally and globally. Take Action 1. Girls can identify community needs. 2. Girls are resourceful problem solvers. 3. Girls advocate for themselves and others locally and globally. 4. Girls educate and inspire others to act. 5. Girls feel empowered to make a difference in their world.

Take Action: Girls act to make the world a better place.

Program Pathways Girls can become involved in Girl Scouting in many ways – called “Pathways.” With more than one way to get involved throughout the year, girls are able to balance school, sports, and family, and still receive a dynamic Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Girls can also register as an individual Girl Scout (also referred to as a Juliette - see page 4), choose a Journey, and proceed through one of the many Program Pathways to Girl Scouting. Our Program Pathways include (but are not limited to):

• Events: Girls participate in one time local or council-wide events based on interest or theme; different girls participate each time.



• Series: Girls participate in a series of program activities with the same group of girls relating to a specific theme or purpose.

• Virtual: The Virtual Program Pathway is currently under development by Girl Scouts of the USA.



• Camp: Day and resident camps; the essence is outdoors and/or includes a focus on environmental or outdoor education.

• Travel: Girls plan, earn money, prepare, and participate in regional, national, and international trips.


• Troops: Series of program activities with the same group of girls; typically spans the length of a school year.






A Parent’s Responsibility to the Troop • Please see that your daughter arrives and is picked up on time for all meetings and outings. • Help your daughter fulfill her troop responsibilities (dues, permission slips, snack, uniforms, etc.) • Be supportive of your daughter in her Girl Scout endeavors; help her complete any missed activities. • Please notify troop volunteers ahead of time if your daughter will not be able to attend a meeting/activity. • Check with the troop volunteer for any important news or paperwork that needs to be completed. • Assist the troop volunteers during meetings/activities as needed. • Give feedback to the troop volunteers about your daughter’s experience in a positive manner.

• Consider volunteering with the Fall Product Program, the Girl Scout Cookie Program, to chaperone events, or serve on a troop committee. • If issues arise, please discuss this privately with the troop volunteer, not in front of the girls. • Help the troop volunteers establish and maintain a positive environment by talking with your daughter in a positive manner and setting a good example. • Let your daughter know that you consider her participation in Girl Scouting to be important and special. • Attend parent meetings, group activities, and special ceremonies. • Consider making a tax-deductible contribution to Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa to support local programs for girls.

Your Daughter’s Responsibility to Her Troop • Attend and participate in meetings and outings. • Fulfill obligation of dues and get permission slips signed by a parent or guardian. • Complete any missed activities. • Pass along important information to parents or leaders. • Treat each member of the troop as a sister. • Listen to others in the troop and show respect for what they are saying. • Respect troop volunteers and troop parents. • Conduct herself in a safe manner. • Have FUN!

Troop Information Troop Leader: Telephone: Troop Co-Leader: Telephone: Troop #: Meeting Day: Location: Time: Service Unit Email

How does Girl Scouts work if my daughter is NOT in a troop? Individual girls are called Girl Scout Juliettes and are able to work independently on The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting, Girl Scout Awards, badge work, Journeys and/or attend events, camp, or any other Program Pathway Activity! Contact the Juliette Coordinator at your local Leadership Center and ask for a Juliette resource packet.



Toolkit FOR MY Daughter?


As Girl Scouts take journeys and earn the awards, they’re climbing a ladder that lets them be leaders in their own lives and in the world! Pass it on!

It’s Your World— Change It! Ambassadors raise their voices to advocate for issues they care about.

Product Program Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa offers two annual product programs, the fall product program and our cookie program. Proceeds earned through the product programs can offset either all, or a large part of the cost of Girl Scout activities (and relieve parents of this obligation, too!) Additionally, through the Girl Scout Product Programs, girls will learn five key skills including: • goal setting • decision making • money management • people skills, and • business ethics.

Seniors learn that leaders have a vision and can move the world a step closer to it.

Cadettes develop the people skills that leaders need.

It’s Your Story— Tell It!

It’s Your Planet— Love It!

juliette Girls move dreams forward!


Ambassadors learn that leaders aim for justice.


Girls see how much sisterhood does for the world!

Seniors find out what leaders can sow for Earth.

SE N IO R Girls put the ME in media.

Cadettes become leaders in clearing the air!

CA DE TT E Juniors learn that leaders need power—their own, their team’s, and their community’s.

Girls explore all the roles open to them in life.

Juniors bring energy solutions to the world.

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Brownies go on a quest to find the three keys to leadership.

Brownies take the lead in saving Earth’s water.

Girls explore their place in the wide world of girls.

B R OW N IE Girls learn they can care for animals and themselves. Daisies have fun—and learn leadership skills—in the garden.


C20 &65

C40 Y5

C100 M40


M50 Y12

C100 Y65 K8

C50 M50


Girl Scout Ambassador grades 11-12

Girl Scout Senior grades 9-10

Girl Scout Cadette grades 6-8

Girl Scout Junior grades 4-5

Girl Scout Brownie grades 2-3

M60 Y100 K50

Daisies learn to protect Earth’s treasures.

Girl Scout Daisy grades K-1





How often should I expect my daughter’s troop or group to meet?

How often a troop meets depends on a variety of factors, including the availability of the meeting place and the schedules of the troop volunteers and girls. Usually troops meet for an hour or two, from once a week to once a month. Many troops meet every other week. Occasional troop activities may involve longer time commitments, such as field trips and camp outs.

I have questions about my daughter’s troop. Who do I ask? Your first step is to communicate with the troop or group volunteers. Ask the troop volunteer to meet with you when it is convenient for both of you. Ask the troop volunteer to share the goals of the troop and how these goals fit into the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Ask her to explain why certain policies and procedures were put into place. The troop volunteer is a great resource for you - she is volunteering her time to ensure that your daughter and the rest of the troop members have the opportunity to participate in Girl Scouting. If you have concerns that the troop or group leader cannot address, please contact your local Girl Scout Leadership Center.

Does my daughter have to wear a uniform? Uniforms are not required; but we do recommend that girls have a sash or a vest to display their awards and badges. Troops may decide which pieces of the uniform they wish to use or make their own t-shirts for group trips/events; others may allow each individual girl to decide which type of uniform to wear. Check with your troop volunteer before you go shopping. You may shop online at or at any of our five shops located within your Leadership Center locations. For official placement of Girl Scout insignia, please visit

Who is leading my daughter’s troop? Will my daughter be safe? Girl Scout troop volunteers undergo comprehensive training to enable them not only to conduct activities in a safe manner, but to make each girl feel safe and secure in the troop environment. They often have daughters of their own in their troops. They have all passed a background check and are required to follow stringent rules governing safety/supervision issues. Of course, parents are encouraged to register and participate with the troop in its activities.





How much does Girl Scouts cost? Girl Scout membership fees are $15 per year - that fee goes directly to Girl Scouts of the USA and does not stay with Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa. Most troops also collect dues or program activity fees to support their needs. Participation in Girl Scouting should not be expensive for girls and their families, as Girl Scout troops have the opportunity to earn funds through the Girl Scout Cookie and Fall Product Programs and through other money-earning projects. Financial assistance is available to girls for dues, program fees, and camp. Please call 800-342-8389 for more information.

How can I get financial assistance? To request financial assistance, please contact your local Girl Scout Leadership Center. No girl is denied membership because of inability to pay; financial assistance is available to ensure that every girl is able to participate. Approximately one-fourth of girls in Girl Scouting receive financial assistance.

Does Girl Scouts have a particular religious affiliation? Girl Scouting supports girls from all backgrounds and beliefs. While we are a secular organization that refrains from teaching religious or spiritual beliefs or practices, we believe that the motivating force in Girl Scouting is a spiritual one, and we greatly value our longstanding partnerships with religious organizations across many faiths that share the values of the Girl Scout Promise and Law. We encourage girls to develope connections to their own spiritual and religious beliefs by earning recognitions provided by their faith communities and by earning the My Promise, My Faith pin, which helps a girl deepen the connection between the Girl Scout Law and her faith. We support the right of faith leaders to verify that program delivered to girls in their places of worship is consistent with their faith’s teachings.

My daughter has a disability. Will she be allowed to join Girl Scouts? Yes. Every girl is welcome and encouraged to join Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts has a long history of adapting activities to fit girls’ abilities and strengths; the founder of Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low, had a severe hearing disability. Every reasonable effort will be made to include all girls in council events and activities. The council will also work to support troop volunteers so that their troop can be inclusive of all girls.

About Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa

Family Partnership Appeal

Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa is the premier leadership development organization for girls. Serving approximately 15,000 girls, and led by 4,000 adult volunteers, Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa encompasses 67 counties in Iowa, two counties in South Dakota, and one county in Nebraska. Our headquarters is located in Des Moines, with Leadership Centers also in Council Bluffs, Fort Dodge, Mason City, and Sioux City.

Financial support for Girl Scouting comes from many sources including corporate gifts, grants, United Way, and most importantly Girl Scout families. Your support ensures every girl, regardless of financial ability, is able to participate and build leadership skills. The continued support of our families will allow Girl Scouts to be the premiere leadership program for girls in our community today and for the next 100 years.

To Make a Donation: • Call 800-342-8389 to make a secure credit card gift by phone • Donate securely online. Go to and click on “donate” • Include a gift on your daughter’s annual Girl Scout membership form • Mail a check to your local Leadership Center – payable to Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa Thank you for making a difference in the life of a girl.

SUPPORT YOUR GIRL SCOUT Volunteers are the Lifeline of Girl Scouting.

Roles to make a troop successful:

• Leader/Assistant Leader • Troop Fall Product Manager (responsible for the Fall Product Program) Our volunteers make a difference ... in the lives of • Cookie Troop Manager (responsible for the Cookie Program) girls, in the success of families, and in the growth of communities. The strength of Girl Scouts comes from • Troop Treasurer (responsible for financial affairs) devoted adult volunteers who help all girls develop into • Transportation (coordinate who will drive on field trips) • Emergency contact (available for volunteers and parents to contact in strong, confident, capable women. Every troop must have two adults trained and able to help support girls as case of an emergency while the troop is on a field trip) they grow on their Girl Scout journey. Do you want to recognize an outstanding leader? Visit volunteer-awards.cfm today!

As a parent or guardian, what can I do to help?

Remember, in the end ... it is ALL ABOUT THE GIRL!

Girl Scouting is built around a unique concept emphasizing that girls should have a say and be extensively involved in their Girl Scout experiences. Girls and adults work together to make sure that the girls are getting the experience they expect. In Girl Scouting, the focus is always on the girl and giving her the opportunity to develop leadership and build courage, confidence, and character.

Get involved! Become a registered Girl Scout and help support the troop! Encourage your Girl Scout’s participation in activities to enable her to enjoy her Girl Scout experience. Girl Scouts is a team effort with leaders, girls, parents, and the community collaborating to help your Girl Scout build leadership skills.


The Girl Scout Promise and Law are shared by each Girl Scout member.

The Girl Scout Promise On my honor, I will try: To serve God and my country, To help people at all times, And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

The Girl Scout Law I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.

GIRL SCOUTS OF GREATER IOWA LEADERSHIP CENTERS: 1860 Madison Ave, Ste 3 Council Bluffs, IA 51503 (712) 328-2338 (800) 422-2093

10715 Hickman Rd Des Moines, IA 50322 (515) 278-2881 (800) 342-8389

112 S 3rd St Fort Dodge, IA 50501 (515) 573-8141 (800) 798-8141

601 S Illinois Ave Mason City, IA 50401 (641) 423-3044 (800) 657-5853

1515 Zenith Dr Sioux City, IA 51103 (712) 255-0187 (800) 746-8947

For more information on how to join, volunteer, or donate to Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa, call 800-342-8389 or visit For information on our national organization, Girl Scouts of the USA, visit

Parent's Guide to Girl Scouting  

Detailed guide for parents to learn about Girl Scouting.

Parent's Guide to Girl Scouting  

Detailed guide for parents to learn about Girl Scouting.