Volunteer Essentials 2017/2018
Girl Scout Traditions and Celebrations Girl Scout Calendar Ceremonies Signs, Songs, Handshake, and More! We Are Girl Scouts Who Can Join Girl Scouts—and How? Girl Scouts’ Organizational Structure Getting Started with the National Leadership Program through Journeys
Arranging a Time and Space for Girl-Led Meetings
Planning in a Girl-Led Environment
Understanding Healthy Development in Girls
Meeting with Girls for the First Time
Creating a Safe Space for Girls
Using Safety Activity Checkpoints
Recognizing and Supporting Each Girl
Understanding How Many Volunteers You Need
Following Girl Scout Safety Guidelines
Building Trust Managing Conflict Inspiring Open Communication Working with Parents and Guardians Creating an Atmosphere of Acceptance and Inclusion
Understanding Your Role as a Girl Scout Volunteer Your Responsibilities Your Volunteer Support Team Taking Advantage of Learning Opportunities
Knowing Your Responsibilities
Knowing How Much You’re Appreciated
Responsibilities of the Volunteer Responsibilities of Parents and Guardians
Chapter 2: Volunteer Policies and Procedures
Responsibilities of the Girls Knowing How Many Volunteers You Need Transporting Girls
Volunteer Policies and Procedures for Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc. – October 1, 2007
Checklist for Drivers Approaching Activities
Chapter 3: Girl Scouting as a National Experience
Health Histories (Including Examinations and Immunizations)
What Girl Scouting Does for Girls
Girl Scout Activity Insurance
Fun with Purpose
Providing Emergency Care
The National Program Portfolio
National Leadership Journeys
Procedure for Accidents
The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting and National Proficiency Badges Emblems and Patches Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards Other Initiatives and Opportunities
Establishing an Account
Procedures for Use of Council Properties:
Understanding the Girl Scout Cookie Program
Your Council’s Role
Girl Scout Properties at other Northeast Councils
Knowing Where Proceeds Go
Service Unit Camporee/Events
Safely Selling Girl Scout Cookies and Other Products
Cancellation and Refund Procedures
Selling at Girl Scout Cookie Booths
Frequently Asked Questions
Using Online Resources to Market Cookies and Other Products
Procedures for Use of Council Properties – Outsider User Groups
Additional Group Money-Earning Activities
Collaborating with Sponsors and Other Organizations
Helping Girls Reach Their Financial Goals
Reviewing Financial and Sales Abilities by Grade Level
Camp Check-In Camp Check-Out Directions to all GSOFCT Program Centers GSOFCT Property Policies
Helping Girls Reach Their Financial Goals Reviewing Financial and Sales Abilities by Grade Level Forming a Troop Committee
Understanding the Girl Scout Cookie Program
Holding Troop Meetings
Understanding the Girl Scout QSP Program
Letting Girls Lead
Product Sales: The Girl Scout Leadership Experience
Looking at a Sample Troop Year
Determining Who Can Participate Knowing Where Proceeds Go The Girl/Adult Partnership Preparing for your Girl Scout Cookie Booths
Traveling with Girls
Cookie Donation Programs
Using Journeys and The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting in Their Travels
Handling Product Complaints Using Online Resources and Social Media to Market Cookies and QSP Products
Seeking Council Permission
Setting up a Troop/Group Website
Letting Girls Lead
Staying Safe During the Trip
GSOFCT Money-Earning Activities Guidelines
(MEA) Additional Group Money-Earning Five Steps Towards Successful MEA Activities Collaborating with Sponsors and Other Organizations
Dear Valued Adult Volunteer: the lifeblood of Girl Scouting, and we thank you for your commitment as a Girl Scouts of Connecticut volunteer. You are making a lasting difference in one meeting, one event, one day at a time! Girl Scouts of Connecticut serves nearly 30,000 Girl Scouts in just about every town in our state, and volunteers like you enable girls to discover themselves, their values and their voices, connect with others to build healthy relationships, and take action to make their communities and the world a better place. This guide is designed to help you throughout your time as a volunteer. It is a reference for any and all questions that may arise during your journey with Girl Scouts of Connecticut. We place the safety and well-being of our girls and volunteers above all else and the important procedures, forms, and contacts in this guide are there to assist you. Read through it carefully to become familiar with our programming and policies. Girl Scouts of Connecticut is grateful for all you do to make Girl Scouting possible throughout the state. You make it possible for our girls to be true G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, and Leaders)! We thank you once again for your hard work and efforts in building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. We could not do it without you and others like yourself! So please be sure to use this guide to help you navigate the world of Girl Scout volunteering forget to have fun. Yours in Girl Scouting,
Mary Barneby Chief Executive Officer
Welcome to the great adventure of Girl Scouting! Thanks to volunteers like you, generations of girls have learned to be leaders in their own lives and in the world. We know you’re busy and need to be efficient with your time. For that reason, this Quick Start Guide to Volunteer Essentials gives you the nitty-gritty—what you need to know now, as you plan for your first meeting with girls. We encourage you to read through these tips as soon as you can so that you can get started and the fun can begin! The rest of Volunteer Essentials is a reference for you to use only as needed. When you have a question, simply look up the topic in the Table of Contents, and you’ll find your answer. Think of Volunteer Essentials as your encyclopedia to being a Girl Scout volunteer: it’s here when you need it! Ready to get started? Read the following handy tips and you’ll be on your way! We encourage you to take advantage of the following opportunities and resources we provide to assist you: • Program Resource Guide: Annual publication that contains information and dates of events and other opportunities offered by GSOFCT’s Program Services Department for the entire membership year. • Camp Brochure: Contains details of summer camp opportunities. • Service Unit Meetings: Locally scheduled meetings managed by volunteers that provide an ideal forum for sharing information, answering questions, and networking with volunteers. • GSOFCT Newsletters: A variety of monthly and bi-monthly electronic newsletters are available to support volunteers, girls, and families: Girl Event Promo, Shop Promo, Bridges, Pathways, and Volunteer Update. • Volunteers and Staff: The service unit manager, a volunteer like you, can help with many elements of troop/group management. In addition, the GSOFCT membership specialist in your area can also provide any assistance you may need. • Girl Scouts of Connecticut Website: gsofct.org.
Connect With Us! Find GSOFCT on:
Facebook 4 Girls!
Girl Scouts was founded in 1912 by trailblazer Juliette Gordon Low. We are the largest girl-serving organization in the United States and a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), a sisterhood of close to 10 million girls and adults in 145 countries.
Our Mission and Vision Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. We strive to be the premier leadership organization for girls and experts on their growth and development.
Girl Scouts ayuda a las niñas a desarrollar el valor, la confianza en sí mismas y los principios para hacer del mundo un mejor lugar. Girl Scouts se esfuerza por ser la principal organización de liderazgo para las niñas y los expertos en su crecimiento y desarrollo.
La Promesa de Girl Scouts 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.
Por mi honor, yo trataré: De servir a Dios* y a mi patria, ayudar a las personas en todo momento, y vivir conforme a la Ley de Girl Scouts.
La Ley de Girl Scouts 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.
Yo me esforzaré por: Ser honrada y justa cordial y servicial, considerada y compasiva, valiente y fuerte, y responsable de lo que digo y hago, y por respetarme a mí misma y a los demás respetar la autoridad usar los recursos de manera prudente, hacer del mundo un lugar mejor, y ser hermana de cada una de las Girl Scout.
*Girl Scouts of the USA makes no attempt to define or interpret the word “God” in the Girl Scout Promise. It looks to individual members to establish for themselves the nature of their spiritual beliefs. When making the Girl Scout Promise, individuals may substitute wording appropriate to their own spiritual beliefs for the word “God.” Note: This disclaimer appears in the National Leadership Journey adult guides, but not in the girls’ books. It is included here as a reminder to you, as a volunteer, that it’s your responsibility to be sensitive to the spiritual beliefs of the girls in your group and to make sure that everyone in the group feels comfortable and included in Girl Scouting. Please feel free to share this information with girls’ families.
We are urban, rural, and suburban. We are in schools, churches, temples, mosques, public housing, foster homes, and detention centers. We are in virtually every zip code and in 90 countries around the world.
2.3 million girls 5 to 18 years of age 16,800 Girl Scouts overseas 888,000 adult volunteers 59 million alumnae 112 councils throughout the United States
At any given time, approximately 10 percent of girls are Girl Scouts, and it’s interesting to know that:
80 percent of women business owners were Girl Scouts. 69 percent of female U.S. Senators were Girl Scouts. 67 percent of female members of the House of Representatives were Girl Scouts. Virtually every female astronaut who has flown in space was a Girl Scout.
We have identified three keys to leadership: Girls discover themselves and their values; connect with others; and take action to make the world a better place. At Girl Scouts, everything centers on the girl: activities are girl-led, which gives girls the opportunity to learn by doing in a cooperative learning environment.
ToGetHerThere At Girl Scouts, we know that when girls are given the opportunity, they change their world. Every girl has an important role to play, and every girl deserves the confidence to achieve anything she sets her sights on. But we need help to ensure that girls in every U.S. zip code develop the confidence that Girl Scouts nurtures. That's why we've launched ToGetHerThere, the largest fundraising campaign for girls in history. ToGetHerThere is a movement-wide fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $1 billion for girls by 2020. Every gift to every Girl Scout Council counts toward the goal. Together, we will get her there-to help lead her troop, her family, her community, her company, her country, and her world. To learn more about joining the largest campaign for girls visit girlscouts.org/invest.
Girl Scouts is about sharing the fun, friendship, and power of girls and women together. Any girl from kindergarten through 12th grade can join Girl Scouts. Girl Scout volunteers are also a diverse group— you may be a college volunteer working on a community-action project, a parent volunteer ready for an outdoor adventure with your daughter’s group, or any responsible adult (female or male, who have passed the necessary screening process) looking to help prepare girls for the day when they’ll lead— however and wherever they choose. What all members share, both girls and adults, are the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Each member also agrees to follow safety guidelines and pay the annual membership dues of $25 or purchase a lifetime membership for $400. A lifetime member must be 18 years old (or a 17-year-old high school graduate). Lifetime membership is available at a reduced rate of $200 for alumnae between the ages of 18 and 29. Grade level is determined by the current membership year beginning October 1.
After girls join, they team up in the following grade levels:
Girl Scout Daisy (grades K–1) Girl Scout Brownie (grades 2–3) Girl Scout Junior (grades 4–5) Girl Scout Cadette (grades 6–8) Girl Scout Senior (grades 9–10) Girl Scout Ambassador (grades 11–12)
Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s Board of Directors, after recognizing the opportunity that a council service fee offers, made a strategic decision to implement a $15 council service fee for girls only.
Therefore, the total cost for a girl to be a Girl Scout is $40 for the membership year. Adults will only have to pay a $25 fee that goes directly to GSUSA.
We believe that Girl Scouting is invaluable.
Think about what your girls have learned over their years in Girl Scouts – how they have developed the courage, confidence, and character necessary to lead in their communities and make the world a better place. There’s no better value than Girl Scouts for those types of experiences! And, to make sure all girls continue to benefit from Girl Scouting, we are offering scholarship aid for any girl who requires assistance with the council service fee.
We have surveyed council delegates and volunteers about what the council service fee should be used for. Here are the key areas we would like to focus on with these funds:
To better serve our girls, in all areas – by providing more programming in underserved parts of the state and/or expanding our programming. Increasing support for our membership through updating our technology infrastructure. Provide more local support to everyone in Girl Scouting.
We ask for your continued and enduring support to help us continue to offer the great Girl Scouting experiences for our girls across the state! Contact your membership specialist should you have any additional questions.
Across the country, the Girl Scout community is hard at work on a whole new approach to make sure that everyone can participate in Girl Scouting! As a volunteer, you can choose from flexible ways to participate that can be tailored to fit your schedule and lifestyle. You can also volunteer behind the scenes or in your local service center instead of volunteering directly with girls.
Pathways to Participation A pathway is how girls and adults participate in Girl Scouting – how they belong. Troops: The same group of girls come together and meet regularly for Girl Scout Program. Camp: Girls participate in day or resident camp with a focus on the outdoors and/or environmental education. Series: The same group of girls interested in a particular topic meet six to eight times. Events: Girls come together to attend a day or weekend event. While girls may attend several events, the same group of girls do not always attend each event. Travel: Girls plan, prepare for, and participate in specific trips. Virtual: Girls participate in interactive, high-quality programs in a safe, secure online environment. Nationally, the virtual pathway is under construction. Girls can choose any one, all, or some of the options—camp, events, series, troop, travel, and virtual*— within a single membership year. (*Note that virtual is still in development). As a volunteer, you have the option of partnering with girls throughout a membership year or committing to an opportunity for only a few weeks or months. Based on independent research and extensive surveys with thousands of council staff members from around the country, we have a good sense of which options will interest girls, based on their grade levels. These are reflected in the chart below:
This graph allows us to see what pathways are most participated in by certain grade levels. The darker shaded areas reflect those grades with the highest interest for a specific pathway. Girls are always interested in each pathway no matter what their grade level.
Girl Scouts is the world’s largest organization for girls, currently encompassing 1.8 million girl members and over 800,000 adults! Three core structures support all these members: the national headquarters, your council, and your support team.
The national office of Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) located in New York City employs roughly 300 employees. GSUSA is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). Visit GSUSA online, where you’ll find a wealth of resources for both girls and volunteers. Global Girl Scouting ensures that girls have increased awareness about the world, cross-cultural learning opportunities, and education on relevant global issues that may inspire them to take action to make the world a better place. Visit Global Girl Scouting online for additional information. Since 1925, USA Girl Scouts Overseas (USAGSO), a division of Global Girl Scouting, has helped ease the transition for American families relocating overseas by offering the familiar traditions and exciting opportunities of Girl Scouting to girls abroad. USAGSO now serves thousands of American girls living overseas, as well as girls attending American or international schools. Through Global Girl Scouting, members participate in World Thinking Day on February 22, visit the four WAGGGS world centers (see the “For Travel Volunteers” appendix), participate in international travel, promote global friendship and understanding by supporting the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund, and take action on global issues.
Girl Scout councils are chartered by the national office to attract and retain members in a geographic area, provide ways for girls to participate in Girl Scouting, create an environment that reflects Girl Scout values and ideals, manage volunteers’ experience with Girl Scouting, and keep girls and volunteers as safe as possible. The national office provides support materials to all councils to ensure that the Girl Scout experience is nationally consistent. Girl Scouts of Connecticut (GSOFCT), in partnership with committed adults, ensures girls in grades K-12 develop strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth. Our mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. The first Girl Scout troop in Connecticut was formed in 1912. By 1920, a large number of groups of Girl Scouts began organizing and Girl Scout councils formed to provide support for Girl Scouting in Connecticut. In 2007, the five Girl Scout councils merged to become one, vibrant organization, making Girl Scouts of Connecticut the largest organization serving women and girls in the state.
Check out your local service center! Hartford Service Center 340 Washington Street Hartford, CT 06106 (800) 922-2770
Waterbury Service Center 171 Grandview Ave., Suite 102 Waterbury, CT 06708
Lebanon Service Center 175 C Clubhouse Road Lebanon, CT 06249
Wilton Service Center 529 Danbury Road Wilton, CT 06897
North Haven Service Center 20 Washington Ave. North Haven, CT 06473
GSOFCT Service Centers:
Each service center and outdoor program center is open to every Girl Scout throughout Connecticut.
We operate a variety of summer camps and program centers across the state consisting of over 1,900 acres and servicing girls from all areas. Outdoor program centers can be found in: Bristol, East Lyme, Lebanon, Manchester, Milford, Oxford, Stamford, Tolland, and Weston. Our Girl Scouts of Connecticut Alumnae Association continues to grow as women across the state reconnect and discover new sisters in Girl Scouting.
In our Forms section on our website and on Rallyhood you will find forms for troop business, trips, events, and more, along with resources such as the Safety Activity Checkpoints and the Program Resource Guide. You can even find a copy of this guide!
There are links to our online shop, activity calendar, online event registration area, online membership registration area, online training area, and product sales information.
We also have areas for you to share Girl Scout stories and memories, service projects, award projects, and more. Please visit the website often for all of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut information you may need and important updates.
Connect with us on social media! Look for GSOFCT on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest. Girls over 13 can also become a fan of GSOFCT 4 Girls (facebook.com/gsofct4girls).
Do you need to renew your membership or need to renew your troop? This can be done through My GS on the website!
The Volunteer Toolkit under MY GS will provide you and your troop with planning tools for your entire Girl Scout year.
Here at Girl Scouts, there are five targeted e-newsletters that are sent out on a monthly rotation to different groups of our membership. Be sure to add us (firstname.lastname@example.org) as a contact in your email so we don’t end up in your spam folder!
Bridges- Girl & Family Newsletter: For girls and their families; Check out the latest events, programs, and activities in which you can participate in.
Pathways: For all members, donors, and friends of Girl Scouts for general information and events covering the entire state!
Volunteer Update: For all co-leaders, service unit team members, and council learning facilitators to get the important updates, newly added programs, and promotions.
Girl Event Promotion: For all members; provides information on upcoming events!
Shop Promo: Check out the latest deals and promotions at your local Girl Scout Shop.
A team of volunteers and staff provide you with local support, learning opportunities, and advice. At the council level, you are supported by membership specialists who focus on supporting your local service unit. The Volunteer Engagement Department can help support your volunteer development, learning, and recognition. As a volunteer, you will have the most contact with your local Girl Scout support team and your service unit (see below). Never hesitate to contact them; your support team will guide and assist you in all things Girl Scouting. If you have questions about the Girl Scout program, working with girls, resources in the National Program Portfolio (Leadership Journeys and The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting), or participating in our Girl Scout Product Sales programs, go to your team for answers and ongoing support.
Questions? email@example.com (800) 922-2770
The policy implementing responsibility is shared by both volunteers and employed staff who perform the day-to-day work of the council under the direction of the Chief Executive Officer toward achieving the council’s goals and objectives. The Chief Executive Officer is accountable to the Board of Directors for administering the total operation.
What is the difference between governance and operations?
Governance in Girl Scouting is the process by which the Board of Directors, led by the Board Chair, exercises its ultimate authority and fulfills its responsibility:
For furthering and ensuring the Girl Scout Mission
For the care, custody, and oversight of Girl Scouting within its jurisdiction
For providing strategic direction and leadership for Girl Scouts of Connecticut
Operations in Girl Scouting is the process by which the Chief Executive Officer fulfills the responsibility for:
Developing and implementing systems and processes to carry out the strategic direction set by the board of directors.
Providing leadership and direction to the employees and operational volunteers in carrying out the day-to-day operations and the mission of Girl Scouts of Connecticut
Supporting the Board of Directors in carrying out its governance responsibilities
There is a definite division of the areas of governance and operations. Those who create and mandate policy (those who govern) do not deliver program. Those who deliver the program (those in operations) do not sit on the Board of Directors, nor set policy.
Girl Scouts of Connecticut Annual Meeting is held once a year and is devoted to:
Electing members on its Board of Directors and the Board Development Committee Reporting the previous years’ Girl Scout program accomplishments and any significant changes to policies that have been approved by the board Voting on any proposed changes to the organization’s bylaws Discussing and approving audited financial statements and appointing auditors for the following year Electing National Council Delegates in National Council Session years
How are decisions made? Two categories of decisions are made in Girl Scouting – governance decisions and operational decisions. Both types of decisions are based on the belief that people should have a voice in major decisions that will have an effect on all or a large part of the membership. See chart below for more information.
What types of decisions are made?
Who makes the decisions?
Governance decisions relate to policy making, strategic planning, fund development, fiduciary oversight, selection and evaluation of the Chief Executive Officer, and organizational performance appraisal. Council Delegates attend our council’s annual meeting, vote on any amendments to our council bylaws and elect the Board of Directors, Board Development Committee, and National Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the National Council of GSUSA. Board of Directors: The following volunteers make up the Board of Directors: President First Vice President Second Vice President Third Vice President Secretary Treasurer 18 Directors-at-large including the Chair of the Board Development Committee Four Girl Board Members Delegates: Each service unit elects one delegate and one alternate delegate. Girls ages 14 or older can serve as council delegates. There are 103 service units in GSOFCT.
Operational decisions relate to policy making, annual planning, budgeting, selection, placement, and supervision of operational volunteers and staff, the development of systems to ensure effective delivery of Girl Scout program to all girls, oversight of fiscal and physical resources, and the implementation of policies and procedures established by the Board of Directors.
Operational decisions are made by the Chief Executive Officer and are concerned with the organization and management of all operational work within the framework of the council’s goals. They are based on governance decisions made by the Board of Directors, as well as reflecting input from volunteers and staff.
Visit gsofct.org for more information about our Board of Directors and Council Delegates.
Fund Development Girl Scouts can change a young girl’s life. Camp, cookies, badges, positive communication, rocketry, financial literacy, community service, STEM, leadership, enhancing academic success, healthy body image and lifestyle — these are just a few of the core programs and activities at Girl Scouts. Not to mention the squeals of laughter, wealth of memories, and lifetime friendships. More than 20 percent of the girls we serve require some form of financial assistance in order to participate in Girl Scouting. Donations make this possible for many girls who would not otherwise be able to be a Girl Scout. You can participate in a variety of ways:
Networking and Connections: You know the
Family Partnerships: Many local troops and
key people in your community better than anyone. Can you introduce us to a key business or networker in your community?
service units enjoy hosting their own fundraising events and activities to benefit Girl Scouts of Connecticut.* Camperships: Provides camp fees for sister Girl Scouts. Girl Assistance Fund: Provides membership uniforms, and books to sister Girl Scouts. fees, Workplace Giving Employer Giving Campaign: Ask your employer for payroll deduction opportunities. United Way: Some people designate Girl Scouts through their United Way employee giving campaign. Employer Matching Gift: Ask your employer if they will match your personal gift. Employer Volunteer Recognition: Some employers will make a gift to a charity of your choice in recognition of your volunteer hours.
Join an Event Committee: Inclusion and involvement of local Girl Scout families and enthusiasts is critical to successful fundraising events. You know what would work best in your community.
Research: Successful fund development is based on sound research and data. Using the internet, you can help to identify corporate and foundation funders.
Grant Writing: Do you like writing? Support our grant department in raising nearly 40 percent of our fund development revenue.
Office Support: Sometimes people forget that office support impacts our girls just as much as working directly with girls. But it is critical. Periodically or on a regular basis our department can always use extra hands.
Gifts in Honor “of” and Gifts in Memory “of”: Celebrate a life, a birthday, a friendship, or any memorable occasion by making a donation in the name of a loved one.
Planned Giving: Leave a legacy for future generations of Girl Scouts by becoming a member ofthe Juliette Gordon Low Society and leaving GSOFCT in your will or other estate plans.
If you have questions or need more information: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 922-2770
Council Fundraising Events: Attend a council fundraising event and purchase a table, be a sponsor, or bring your friends. *See Chapter 6, Managing Group Finances, for guidelines on Troop/Group/Service Unit Gift Acceptance Policy.
The Girl Scout program is based on the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE), in which girls Discover themselves, connect with others, and take action to make the world a better place—all within the safety of an all-girl environment where girls take the lead, learn by doing, and learn cooperatively. At the core of the GSLE are National Leadership Journeys, fun and challenging experiences grouped around a theme and spread over a series of sessions. Each Journey has all the important components of the GSLE sewn right in. So, to guide girls on a great Journey, all you need is enthusiasm and a sense of adventure. Before you dive in, try these six simple tips: 1. Check out the Journeys at girlscouts.org/en/ourprogram/journeys.html. There, you can find information about the topics that each Journey covers, which you can share with girls. And you’ll find even more fun traditions to complement your Journey in The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting, a resource for each grade level of Girl Scouting. 2. Choose a Journey. Because Girl Scouting is girl-led, it’s important to give girls the chance to pick the Journey they want to do. Talk to them about what each Journey for their grade level is about and let them choose one. 3. Get to know the Journey. Pick up a girls’ book and an adult guide. Read the girls’ book for the pleasure of it, just to get an overview of the Journey’s theme and content. 4. Invite girls (and their parents/guardians) to use their imaginations to make the Journey come to life in ways that excite them. Remember that you and the girls don’t have to do everything exactly as laid out in the sessions. 5. Step back and watch how the girls, with your knowledge, support, and guidance, have enormous fun and a rewarding experience. Celebrate with them as they earn their National Leadership Journey awards—and perhaps some Girl Scout badges, too!
To start planning your time with girls, log in to the Volunteer Toolkit from the MY GS tab on our website gsofct.org. You should consider the following questions and begin to map out your Girl Scout year:
How many times each month will you meet? When do you plan to break for holidays? How many weeks do you need to allocate for the Girl Scout Cookie Program? Will you have time in your schedule for guest speakers and other visitors? If you’ve worked with this group before, what are their preferences: Badge work? Field trips? Other activities? For specific ideas on how to incorporate badges, trips, and other Girl Scout traditions into a Journey, check out the online Journey maps for the grade level of the girls you’re partnering with.
If your group will be meeting for less than a year (such as at a resident camp or during a series), you will be able to adjust the calendar to suit your needs. In the same way, if you’re planning a multi-year event (such as a travel excursion), add one or two more years to the framework. After you’ve drafted a loose framework, ask the girls what they think. Or, create the online calendar together! Remember that you want girls to lead, but younger girls will need more guidance. Seniors and Ambassadors may not even want you to draft a calendar in advance, so if they balk at what you’ve done, let them take the reins (Journeys for older girls include planning pages specifically designed to help them customize their Journey). Daisies and Brownies on the other hand may enjoy your calendar and just fill in a few ideas here and there, which will clue you in to their interests. As your group starts its Journey, get a discussion (or debate!) going on the Journey’s theme and what it means to the girls. Probe to find out what they’re most interested in accomplishing during their time together, and then help them connect those interests to their Journey.
When you first get together with girls (and this meeting may also include parents/guardians, or you may decide to hold a separate meeting for adults), you’ll want to get to know the girls and give them a chance to get to know one another. Icebreaker games that let girls share simple details about themselves are a great way to start off your first gathering. Journeys often start with such an icebreaker, so if you’re digging into a Journey right away, you’ll be all set. You can also check your council’s resources to find more ideas. If you already know which Journey the girls want to do, you’ll find it useful to accomplish some of the following during this meeting (note that all these points are detailed in the adult guide for each Journey, too). If your girls haven’t chosen a Journey yet, you can spend time during the first meeting talking about the themes of the three Journeys that are available for their grade level and find out which one the group would like to do. You can then discuss these points in the next meeting if you run out of time. 1. Introduce the Journey, its theme, and its ties to leadership. Each Journey’s adult guide gives ideas for talking with girls and their parents/guardians about the Journey’s theme and the Three Keys to Leadership. 2. Find out what interests the group (and be sure to include the other adult volunteers), so that you and the girls can begin to customize the Journey. Do the girls want to dig deeper into a particular aspect of the Journey? Without promising anything (yet!), ask the girls to talk about what they’re passionate about, what they’ve always wanted to do, and how they would spend their time if money and other barriers were no object. Remind the girls they can do activities inside or outside. Build off the ideas shared, but be sure to include opinions from all the girls. Ask direct questions of those who seem to be holding back or are unsure about answering, so everyone is included. 3. Get the girls talking about how they want to schedule their time together. Use the planning pages from their Journey (referring to your draft calendar only as needed, so that the girls lead). Consider questions like these: o
Can girls organize and plan a field trip or longer travel opportunity that will allow them to learn more about a particular Journey topic or theme? o Is there an event that meshes with this topic or area of interest? o Can the girls locate and communicate with an expert in the field via email or social media? o Can they invite a guest speaker to answer questions or demonstrate particular skills? o Which badges can the group choose to work on that will deepen their skills in this particular area? o If they are Juniors or older, are they interested in pursuing their Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, or Gold Awards? o Do they have ideas for activities that will involve younger or older girls?
When preparing for any activity with girls, start by reading the Girl Scout Safety Activity Checkpoints for that particular activity. You can find these on your council’s website and on the Volunteer Toolkit; your council also provides them in other electronic forms. Each Safety Activity Checkpoint offers you information on where to do this activity, how to include girls with disabilities, where to find both basic and specialized gear required for the activity, how to prepare yourselves for the activity, what specific steps to follow on the day of the activity, and so on. In addition to reading these checkpoints yourself, you can email or print them for co-volunteers, parents/guardians, and the girls themselves. The checkpoints are formatted as checklists, so that you, your co-volunteers, and the girls can check off each step that has been accomplished. In keeping with the three processes of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, be sure that: All activities are girl-led. Take into account the age and abilities of the girls. Older girls can take the bulk of the responsibility for carefully planning and executing activities, while younger girls will require more of your guidance but should still be deeply involved in making decisions about their activities. Girls have the chance to learn cooperatively. Have girls teach each other new skills they may need for the activities, rather than hearing all that from you. Girls learn by doing. If research or special equipment is needed, they’ll learn better by doing that research themselves than by having you do the legwork and report back to them. Even Daisies can do basic research and give reports or do show-and-tell for each other. Ambassadors may need you only for moral support as they research, teach each other, and plan every detail of their excursions. If Safety Activity Checkpoints do not exist for an activity you and the girls are interested in, check with your council before making any definite plans with the girls. A few activities are allowed only with written council pre-approval and only for girls 12 and over, while some are off limits completely: Caution: You must get written pre-approval from your council for girls ages 12 and older who will operate motorized vehicles, such as go-carts and personal watercraft; take trips on waterways that are highly changeable or uncontrollable; or fly in noncommercial aircraft, such as small private planes, helicopters, sailplanes, untethered hot air balloons, and blimps.
Warning: The following activities are never allowed for any girl: potentially uncontrolled freefalling (bungee jumping, hang gliding, parachuting, parasailing, go-karting, and outdoor trampolining); creating extreme variations of approved activities (such as high-altitude climbing and aerial tricks on bicycles, skis, snowboards, skateboards, water-skis, and wakeboards); hunting; shooting a projectile at another person; riding all-terrain vehicles and motor bikes; and taking watercraft trips in Class V or higher.
You must get council pre-approval for any activity which might be considered high adventure; which are activities that would fall into either or both of these categories: - The activity involves a reasonable expectation of physical risk to girls. - The activity involves legal risk to the adult volunteers and/or the council. These include situations where rider or other additional insurance may be required, vendor or facility contracts may need to be signed, adults must be certified in a specific skill, or other specified critical guidelines must be followed to ensure the safety of the girls. An additional note: Girl Scouts welcomes and serves girls and families from a wide spectrum of faiths and cultures. When girls wish to participate in discussions or activities that could be considered sensitive—even for some—put the topic on hold until you have spoken with parents and received guidance from your council. When Girl Scout activities involve sensitive issues, your role is that of a caring volunteer who can help girls acquire skills and knowledge in a supportive atmosphere, not someone who advocates a particular position. You are required to obtain permission slips signed by the girls’ parents/guardians; see the “Engaging Girls at All Grade Levels” chapter of this handbook. Please see ‘Chapter 5: Safety Wise’ for a breakdown of how many volunteers are needed.
Every adult in Girl Scouting is responsible for the physical and emotional safety of girls, and we all demonstrate that by agreeing to follow these guidelines at all times. 1. Follow the Safety Activity Checkpoints. Instructions for staying safe while participating in activities are detailed in the Safety Activity Checkpoints, available from your council. Read the checkpoints, follow them, and share them with other volunteers, parents, and girls before engaging in activities with girls. 2. Arrange for proper adult supervision of girls. Your group must have at least two unrelated, approved adult volunteers present at all times plus additional adult volunteers as necessary depending on the size of the group and the ages and abilities of girls. Adult volunteers must be at least 18 years old (or the age of majority defined by the state, if it is older than 18) and must be screened by your council before volunteering. One lead volunteer in every group must be female.
Girl Scouts of Connecticut defines a troop as consisting of at least five girls from more than one family. In order to ensure all girls have an opportunity to participate in Girl Scouting, GSOFCT recommends all troops/groups with less than ten girls remain open to new members. Two non-related adults, one of which is female, must be present at all times and at least one has successfully completed the Volunteer Application process, Background Screening, and Core Leadership requirements.
3. Get parent/guardian permission. When an activity takes place that is outside the normal day, time and place, advise each parent/guardian of the details of the activity and obtain permission for girls to participate. Use the Parent Guardian Trip/Event Permission Form. A writable form can be found in the Forms section of our website gsofct.org. 4. Report abuse. Sexual advances, improper touching, and sexual activity of any kind with girl members are forbidden. Physical, verbal, and emotional abuse of girls is also forbidden. Follow your council’s guidelines for reporting concerns about abuse or neglect that may be occurring inside or outside of Girl Scouting.
It is GSOFCT’s expectation that all staff and volunteers follow the state of Connecticut’s Child Abuse Reporting Laws (http://www.ct.gov/dcf/cwp/view.asp?a=2556&q=314384). Should reporting circumstances arise, we ask that you also make GSOFCT aware of your reporting. Call (800) 922-2770 and ask to be connected to either the chief mission delivery officer or the director of nember recruitment and support See Chapter 4, “Engaging Girls at all Grade Levels,” for more information. 5. Be prepared for emergencies. Work with girls and other volunteers to establish and practice procedures for emergencies related to weather, fire, lost girls/volunteers, and site security. Always keep handy a well-stocked first aid kit, girl health histories, and contact information for girls’ families. 6. Travel safely. When transporting girls to planned Girl Scout field trips and other activities that are outside the normal day, time and place, every driver must be an approved* adult volunteer and have a good driving record, a valid operator’s license appropriate for the vehicle, and a registered/insured vehicle. Insist that everyone is in a legal seat and wears her seat belt at all times, and adhere to state laws regarding booster seats and requirements for children in rear seats (http://www.ctsafekids.org/child-passenger-safety/). 7. Ensure safe overnight outings. Prepare girls to be away from home by involving them in planning, so they know what to expect. Avoid having men sleep in the same space as girls and women. During family or parent-daughter overnights, one family unit may sleep in the same 21
sleeping quarters in program areas. When parents are staffing events, daughters should remain in quarters with other girls rather than in staff areas. Girl Scouts of Connecticut requires that separate provisions are made for any men attending Girl Scout activities.
Separate bathroom and sleeping quarters are required. In situations where spouses are attending, separate sleeping arrangements also apply. Ensure designated areas are properly signed and the girls respect these areas. Adult males do not supervise sleeping areas.
Bed Space Guidelines: Each participant has her own bed or sleeping space. Parent/guardian permission must be obtained if girls are to share a double bed, such as in the case of staying in a hotel. It is required that girls sharing a bed use sleeping bags or alternate under-over the linens. No adult may sleep alone in a room or in the same bed with a girl; the exception being mothers/female guardians and daughters/wards. In the event that a Girl Scout troop/group is using a facility that does not lend itself to this practice, a minimum of two adults per sleeping area must occur and safety girl/adult ratios must be maintained. When using hotel rooms, safety girl/adult ratios must also be maintained. 8. Role-model the right behavior. Never use illegal drugs. Don’t consume alcohol, smoke, or use foul language in the presence of girls. Do not carry ammunition or firearms in the presence of girls unless given special permission by your council for group marksmanship activities. 9. Create an emotionally safe space. Adults and volunteers are responsible for making Girl Scouting a place where girls are as safe emotionally as they are physically. Protect the emotional safety of girls by creating a team agreement and coaching girls to honor it. Agreements typically encourage behaviors like respecting a diversity of feelings and opinions, resolving conflicts constructively, and avoiding physical and verbal bullying, clique behavior, and discrimination. 10. Ensure that no girl is treated differently. Girl Scouts welcomes all members regardless of race, ethnicity, background, disability, family structure, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic status. When scheduling, helping plan, and carrying out activities, carefully consider the needs of all girls involved including school schedules, family needs, financial constraints, religious holidays, and the accessibility of appropriate transportation and meeting places. 11. Promote online safety. Instruct girls never to put their full names or contact information online and engage in virtual conversation with strangers. Girls should never arrange in-person meetings with online contacts other than to deliver cookies and only with the approval and accompaniment of a parent or designated adult. On group websites, publish girls’ first names only and never divulge their contact information. Teach girls the Girl Scout Online Safety Pledge and have them commit to it. 12. Keep girls safe during money-earning activities. Girl Scout Cookies and other council-sponsored product sales are an integral part of the program. During Girl Scout product sales, you are responsible for the safety of girls, money, and products. In addition, a wide variety of organizations, causes, and fundraisers may appeal to Girl Scouts to be their labor force. When representing Girl Scouts, girls cannot participate in money-earning activities that represent partisan politics or that are not Girl Scout–approved product sales and efforts.
Who must register? Membership registration is required if a person will work directly with or supervise girls or handle money. It is recommended that all adults who will participate in any meetings or activities be registered. Registered adult members are automatically covered with the Girl Scout Activity Insurance for the entire membership year. Who must participate in a background screening? Any volunteer who will work directly with or has ultimate responsibility for groups of girls, handles money, or assumes the responsibility for driving girls during Girl Scout activities, must be a currently registered member and have successfully completed the Volunteer Application Process, which includes a criminal background screening. This includes any adult attending activities where they will be considered in the adult-to-girl supervision ratios. Asking several troop/group adults to complete the application process and criminal background screening helps to avoid cancellation of meetings or activities if the approved volunteer canâ€™t attend. How do I know if one of my troop/group volunteersâ€™ background screening has not been approved? All criminal background screening results are managed through the GSOFCT Human Resources Department. If a negative decision regarding a prospective volunteer is reached, the specific regional Director of Member Recruitment & Support is notified. The Director of Member Recruitment & Support then reaches out to the appropriate volunteer leadership advising the status of the prospective volunteer. Iâ€™ve had a criminal background screening done through another organization. Must I do another? Yes. State law prohibits organizations from sharing information with other agencies. Must all drivers complete the application process? Yes*. Drivers are the only adults who are ever alone with girls. Driving records are part of the background screening process, and it is important to take steps to ensure the safety of the girls. All adults assuming responsibility for driving during Girl Scout activities will need to be registered Girl Scout members and have successfully completed the Volunteer Application Process, which includes a criminal background screening. We highly encourage each troop/group to have several approved adult volunteer drivers. * At times, emergency situations arise that may cause your approved driver to be unable to attend the scheduled activity or event. In these cases, another adult may assume responsibilities for driving but in a one-time only capacity.
We will have a firefighter come to our meeting to discuss fire safety. Must that person be registered and complete the application process? No. The minimum number of registered and approved adults must be present at all times and will provide supervision for the girls while the firefighter is visiting. What constitutes an approved adult? To be considered an approved adult with Girl Scouts of Connecticut, a volunteer must be a currently registered member who has successfully completed the Volunteer Application Process, which includes a criminal background screening. What constitutes a trained adult? A currently registered volunteer who has successfully completed both the Volunteer Application Process and the Core Leadership Requirements is considered to be the troop/group trained adult. 24
May non-approved parents/guardians visit during meetings or attend outings with the troop/group? Non-approved adults may not assume the responsibilities for driving* or supervising girls. However, as long as the minimum number of approved adults will be present to provide the required adult-to-girl supervision ratio, it is acceptable. If ANY person – girl, sibling, adult, or anyone who is not currently registered as a Girl Scout member will participate at your meeting, trip, or other Girl Scout gathering, you will need to purchase additional insurance. Refer to Chapter 5, Safety Wise for more information on Girl Scout Activity Insurance. All adults wishing to attend meetings or volunteer with a troop/group on a regular basis (more than three times), must successfully complete the Volunteer Application Process. Can I have my troop/group sleep overnight in my backyard? Girl Scout troops/groups sleeping in a tent in a contained backyard less than 25 yards from a residence, not using a fire of any sort, grill, or fire ring, are considered to be having a sleepover - not camping. Troops/groups must be accompanied by at least one approved adult who has completed Out & About training, have approved adult(s) present who have met the Core Leadership requirements and must also meet adult-to-girl supervision ratios. Do adults who attend council-sponsored overnight programs need to go through the application process? This would depend on the type of event: Council-sponsored “Family Events” are basically facilitated by council core staff. The adult(s) attending with the family will not be supervising children other than their own so no application process needs to be completed. Supplementary insurance has been purchased to cover the nonmembers in attendance. Other council events where there is an overnight component are typically attended by troops/groups. Therefore, the responsibility falls on the troop/group volunteers. The troops/groups attending do so in accordance to GSOFCT policies and procedures. Where an individual girl is attending with an adult, the adult is only responsible for that child so no application process needs to be completed. The safety of girls is paramount to all of us in Girl Scouting. An adult must complete the Volunteer Application Process if she/he will:
Work directly with, supervise, or have the ultimate responsibility for girls Accompany girls on an overnight activity as part of the adult-to-girl supervision ratios Drive girls for Girl Scout activities* Handle monies (to include troop/group treasury and product sales)
Conducting criminal background screenings is one step in an overall process of assessing and placing employees and volunteers. Per GSOFCT policy, criminal background screenings will be completed on all individuals in the following categories: All council employees (including camp staff) Board of Directors Co-leaders Product sales volunteers Program and mentor volunteers Troop committee members Service team members Council learning facilitator/safety instructor
No matter how you volunteer with Girl Scouts, your investment of time and energy will pay back tenfold. With your help, girls will be able to identify issues they care about and work with one another to resolve them. Your interests and life experiences make you the perfect person to be a new kind of partner for girls, someone who creates a safe environment where they can work together and each girl feels free to work toward her highest aspirations. Have no doubt; you and nearly one million other volunteers like you are helping girls make a lasting impact on the world.
Your most important role as a Girl Scout volunteer is to be excited about everything this opportunity gives you: a chance to help girls succeed, play a critical role in their lives, and watch them blossom! You also want to be someone who enjoys the activities you’ll be embarking on with the girls—whether you’re volunteering at a camp, working with girls who are traveling, or partnering with girls on a shortterm series on a topic that interests you. As a Girl Scout volunteer, you’ll serve as a partner and role model to girls. You’ll also work closely with a co-volunteer (two volunteers must be present at all times when working with girls) and at least one of those volunteers must be female and not related to the other adult. This is an important distinction that bears repeating: Men can serve as troop volunteers, but an adult female who is not related to the other volunteer must be present at all times, and only in cases of emergency is a girl to be alone with only one volunteer. Remember to also check the volunteer-to-girl ratios in the “Safety-Wise” chapter of this handbook. In More than S’mores: Success and Surprises in Girl Scouts Outdoor Experiences, the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) has described the role of adult volunteers: “Because everything girls do outdoors in Girl Scouts must be supported by an adult, these results speak indirectly to adult volunteers and their preparation. To get girls outdoors more regularly, Girl Scouts need adult volunteers who encourage and promote outdoor experiences. Communicating to volunteers and parents that casual outdoor experiences are effective ways of giving girls opportunities to build competencies and try new things may be the key to opening the gateway for all Girl Scouts to participate in the outdoors on a more regular basis.” (2014, p. 27)
Your Responsibilities Your other responsibilities as a Girl Scout volunteer include:
Accepting the Girl Scout Promise and Law Understanding the Three Keys to Leadership that are the basis of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience: Discover, connect, and take action Sharing your knowledge, experience, and skills with a positive and flexible approach Working in a partnership with girls so that their activities are girl-led, allowing them to learn by doing, and for cooperative (group) learning; you’ll also partner with other volunteers and council staff for support and guidance Organizing fun, interactive, girl-led activities that address relevant issues and match girls’ interests and needs Providing guidance and information regarding Girl Scout troop/group meetings with girls’ parents or guardians on a regular and ongoing basis through a variety of tools, including email, phone calls, newsletters, blogs, other forms of social media, and any other method you choose Processing and completing registration forms and other paperwork, such as permission slips
Communicating effectively and delivering clear, organized, and vibrant presentations or information to an individual or the group Overseeing with honesty, integrity, and careful record-keeping the funds that girls raise Maintaining a close connection to your volunteer support team as well as your council Facilitating a safe experience for every girl
The Girl Scout Volunteer Management System ensures that you are matched with the right opportunities, provided efficient and effective learning and support, and recognized for the valuable service you provide on behalf of girls. The first steps of the process include a background screening and placement, which you’ve already experienced. Now you are in a position to assess the skills and competencies Girl Scouts has identified as the most important – the ones that will lead to the best results for girls. You surely already possess many of these skills and behaviors and will develop more in the coming year as you work closely with girls and your volunteer support team. After you have evaluated your skills and identified opportunities for growth, you can utilize the learning opportunities offered by the council. You’ll have the chance to learn and grow right along with the girls!
Volunteer Application Process - Steps to becoming a Girl Scout Volunteer Step 1: Complete Volunteer Application, Membership, and Criminal Background Screening
Step 2: Complete the Required Training Path
A. Submit a Volunteer Application. Complete application online at https://www.gsofct.org/en/for-volunteers/whyvolunteer.html. B. Successfully complete a criminal background screening. The background screening is free of charge to Girl Scout volunteers.
Background screening includes: Identity, Criminal History, DMV, and Sex Offender searches.
Background screenings are required at time of recruitment and then every seven years thereafter.
Complete your background screening online at https://www.gsofct.org/en/forvolunteers/why-volunteer.html.
Girl Scouts of Connecticut provides several learning paths to assist volunteers in their work with girls. Troop/group volunteer
Volunteer management positions require additional courses to execute the duties of the specific positions for which you apply.
To be considered an approved adult with Girl Scouts of Connecticut, a volunteer must be a currently registered member who has successfully completed the Volunteer Application Process, which includes a criminal background screening.
In your role as a Girl Scout volunteer, you’ll team up with co-volunteers, parents/guardians, members of the community, council staff, and others who have expressed interest in working alongside you. The adult guide of each Journey gives you tips and guidance for creating a friends-and-family network to support you all along the way. The other volunteers on your support team may help by:
Filling in for you Arranging meeting places Being responsible for communicating with girls and parents/guardians Locating volunteers with special skills to facilitate a specialized meeting Assisting with trips and chaperoning Building girls outdoor skills and experiences Managing group records
If you have a large support team, the first thing you’ll want to do is meet with this group and discuss what brought each of you to Girl Scouts, review your strengths and skills, and talk about how you would like to work together as a team. You might also discuss:
When important milestones will happen (Girl Scout Cookie activities, field trips, travel plans, events, dates for other opportunities) and how long the planning process will take When and where to meet as a group of volunteers, if necessary Whether, when, where, and how often to hold parent/guardian meetings Whether an advance trip to a destination, event site, or camp needs to happen
Remember to call on your volunteer support team. This team can help you observe a meeting, assign you a buddy, help with registration forms, assist you with opening a bank account, plan your first meeting, and so on. Also plan to attend support meetings—usually held several times throughout the year—that provide excellent opportunities to learn from other volunteers. Service Unit Meetings Regularly scheduled meetings are held locally for adult volunteers within your service unit. It is important that you or an adult from your troop/group attend every service unit meeting. If you miss a meeting, contact your service unit manager to receive the information discussed and get any materials that were distributed. Service Unit Events Most service units plan large events that are offered to specific program levels or to girls of all ages within the unit. These events are planned by volunteer coordinators. Additional troop/group volunteers as well as parents/guardians are usually needed to assist with the planning and implementation of these events. It is important to share information about service unit events with members of your troop/group. Girls should be given the opportunity to attend these events with or without their troop/group co-leaders where possible. Service Unit Role The role of the service unit is to promote and uphold the mission of GSOFCT and GSUSA in partnership with council staff in order to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Specific emphasis is on reaching girls and adults from every demographic within council jurisdiction. Volunteer management teams guide and support local Girl Scouting ensuring council policies and procedures are administered and adhered to. 29
Service Unit Team Members (included but are not limited to) Service unit manager is appointed by and works in partnership with the membership specialist to oversee and coordinate Girl Scouting in the service unit. She/he is responsible for the development, extension, and maintenance of girl and adult membership. She/he plans and directs the delivery of services to girls and adults holding service unit meetings on a regular basis. The service unit manager also oversees the approval of troop/group trips and money-earning activities, as well as the ongoing mentoring and coaching of area volunteers. Service unit registrar supports girl and adult membership registration for the service unit. She/he serves to support all members of the service unit to ensure proper registration in a timely manner. She/he receives a bi-monthly report from GSOFCT listing registered members of the Service unit for verification of membership. Service unit treasurer manages finances for the service unit. She/he maintains accurate records of all service unit transactions and tracks all troop/group accounts within the service unit. She/he works with new troops/groups to establish bank accounts, assists volunteers in managing their finances, handles any payments and bills incurred by service unit activities, and processes bank deposits. If you have questions about setting up troop/group bank accounts, the Service unit Treasurer can help! Service unit recruiter works with volunteers to recruit both girls and adults within the service unit. She/he works with the Recruitment Specialist to support the opportunity catalog placement of the girls wishing to be involved in Girl Scouting. If you need assistance with your initial parent/guardian meeting, the Sservice unit recruiter can help! Service unit family partnership fundraising chair promotes and encourages parents/guardians to financially support GSOFCT. She/he acts as a liaison between the Fund Development department of GSOFCT and the Service unit. Service unit product sales manager manages the QSP and/or Cookie Program within the service unit. She/he provides training and ongoing support to Troop/Group Product Sales Managers, submits the service unit order to council, distributes product to troops/groups, and reconciles accounts. Service unit recognitions coordinator works with the service unit to review and maintain up-to-date volunteer recognition records. She/he is responsible for reviewing council recognition guidelines that can be awarded monthly throughout the year and national recognition guidelines and resources, sharing available information with the service unit membership. She/he accepts nominations and completes and submits the appropriate award applications meeting deadlines. Service unit public relations representative promotes Girl Scouting within the community through troop/group and service unit programs, events, announcements, and girl and volunteer achievements. If you want to publicize troop/group news or activities, contact the Communications Department at email@example.com.
Girl Scouts strives to provide you with the necessary information to successfully manage your group of girls and to let you know how and where you can get additional information on certain topics when you want to learn more. Volunteer learning is offered in a variety of ways to best meet your unique learning styles: written resources, face-to-face learning, interactive online learning—and additional methods are being developed and tested all the time. Learning opportunities ensure that you have the support you need in Girl Scouting. The Volunteer Engagement Department will provide you with the instruction and guidance necessary to fulfill your role successfully as a Girl Scout volunteer. Learning that will not only help you work more effectively with Girl Scouts, but also may introduce new skills and behaviors into your work life, relationships, and personal development. In the end, your service is recognized and evident to all girls you help become confident, courageous, and character-driven young women, and that’s the greatest reward of all! GSOFCT is committed to providing volunteers with ongoing adult educational opportunities. Learning and developing new skills and insights are all part of the Girl Scout program — and not just for the girls! Knowledgeable and skilled volunteers have the ability to offer the highest quality programming for girls while staying safe and having fun at the same time. Along with the Core Leadership Requirements, the Volunteer Engagement Department offers a variety of learning opportunities including First Aid/CPR/AED and outdoor skills. In addition, there are regional training events throughout the year that will allow you to take a number of enrichment courses in one day. Finally, if you are unable to attend a training session in person, online courses may be available.
Learn about Girl Scouts online There’s a good chance you’ve already logged on to training.girlscouts.org to watch Girl Scouting 101, our self-paced online orientations to Girl Scouting. If you haven’t, please take a few moments and complete the appropriate orientation. These online sessions and Volunteer Essentials are designed to give you all of the information you need to start working with girls. They’re always available; think of them as references you can use whenever you need them. Girl Scouts of Connecticut offers many training courses through the new Learning Management System (LMS) designed to help you enhance the skills needed for your role. To get the most up-todate schedule of learning opportunities and to register online, visit https://gsofct.kdp.io/auth/sign-in. Registration deadline is one week prior to the course.
GSUSA policy requires that every adult volunteer in Girl Scouting must be selected on the basis of qualifications for membership, ability to perform the job, and the willingness and availability to participate in learning opportunities required for it. We are committed to providing our adult members with the skills and information needed to carry out their position responsibilities with competence and satisfaction. All classes are open to any registered adult member within the council’s jurisdiction.
Step 3: Click ‘Store’ on the left side of the page Step 4: Click on the course you would like to enroll in. Step 5: Click ‘Purchase’ and enter your credit card information if the course has a fee. Step 6: Once registered, your course will be viewable in the ‘Enrollments’ section of the website.
LMS Registration: All classes require registration. Training sessions fill up quickly. Early registration helps assure your place and allows the Council Facilitator adequate time to prepare for the number of participants in terms of space and materials. We are unable to ensure that materials will be available for nonregistered participants. All participants must register individually.
Capacity: Class sizes are limited by the facility, type of class and number of facilitators. Most sessions require a minimum of six registrations. A class will be cancelled if the minimum number has not been reached by the deadline date. Please sign up early!
Debit/Credit Card Payments: If paying by debit/credit card, you will enter the payment information through the website when prompted. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are accepted. Fees: Many classes are provided at no charge, but some may require a fee to cover the cost of materials or supplies. Registration will not be processed until all applicable fees have been received. Please note: Training is a legitimate troop expense and may be paid for from a troop’s treasury.
Registration Methods: The Adult Training Registration website can be found at https://gsofct.kdp.io/auth/sign-in. Payment must be made at time of registration. No registrations will be taken over the phone.
To register for a course online: Step 1: Go to https://gsofct.kdp.io/auth/sign-in. Step 2: Enter your username and password. Your username will be your full email address associated with your Volunteer Systems account. If you have misplaced your password, you can request this information by clicking on the ‘Forgot Password?’ link.
Confirmation: Upon completing registration through our website, https://gsofct.kdp.io/auth/sign-in, you will receive a confirmation that your registration has been received. Prerequisites: Prior to registering for a course, ensure you have completed any required prerequisites.
(Cont) Attendance: Classes begin promptly at the scheduled time. Plan to arrive 15 minutes early to settle in and enjoy networking with other volunteers. Arriving late is a disruption to the facilitator and other class participants. You are expected to stay until the end of a training class. Should circumstances arise that would cause you to be more than a few minutes late or require you to leave prior to the end of class, we suggest that you call to reschedule. Please attend all sessions indicated.
Financial Assistance: Financial assistance may be available for some courses for which there is a fee. A copy of the Request for Financial Assistance for Adult Members form can be found in the Form Section at gsofct.org. Cell Phone Courtesy: In consideration of your fellow participants and facilitator, please place your cell phone on silent. Should you need to take a call or respond to a text please do so outside of the training location.
Cancellations: If you are unable to attend a course, please contact Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s Customer Care Department at (800) 922-2770 or firstname.lastname@example.org during normal business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. If you cannot attend a course for which you have paid a fee and you cancel 48 hours prior to the course, you may reschedule. If you do not show up for the training, the fee will not be refunded. Emergency situations will be handled on an individual basis. Debit/credit card payments requiring refunds will be credited back to the card used for original payment.
Children: We appreciate you making arrangements for childcare as we cannot accommodate children at trainings. This is for your child’s safety, as well as for your benefit and the well-being of the class. Thank you for your understanding. Certifications: Please check the Safety Activity Checkpoints for certifications accepted. For non-certification courses, training taken through another council or organization may be accepted. Please provide a copy of training card/certificate showing completion of comparable training to the Volunteer Engagement Department for determination of course acceptance.
Please Note: Council reserves the right to cancel a course due to inclement weather, site problems, or unforeseen circumstances. We also reserve the right to cancel classes when the enrollment is low. Sharing and interaction provide learning opportunities within the session. If there is not enough participants, group work becomes a challenge that will hamper these intended learning opportunities. Email notifications will be sent during Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s office hours. Only those registered for a course will be notified.
Directions to most GSOFCT training locations can be found at gsofct.org; select the “About” tab and then “Our Council” for Service Center information or the “Camps” tab” for council properties information.
Questions: Please contact the Customer Care Team at (800) 922-2770 or email@example.com.
Volunteer Learning Requirements - Core GSOFCT encourages volunteers to be lifelong learners and to continuously take advantage of learning opportunities throughout their volunteer experience. Volunteers need to be currently registered members and have successfully completed the GSOFCT Volunteer Application Process prior to taking any training. Core Leadership Requirements – For Volunteers Working Directly with Girls An adult troop/group volunteer must also complete the Core Leadership Requirements*: Girl Scouting 101, GSOFCT Orientation, and Basic Leader Training. Although Girl Scouts of Connecticut encourages two adults in every troop/group to complete both Girl Scouting 101 and GSOFCT Orientations, at least one adult is required. This adult must be present at all times when meeting with girls. We highly encourage each troop/group to send several volunteers to train so that the same volunteer doesn’t have to be present at all events or events have to be cancelled because the trained volunteer isn’t available. GS101 and the GSOFCT Orientation Series must be completed prior to taking the Basic Leader course. Basic Leader Training needs to be completed within three months of starting your troop/group.
Adult Learning Pathway
* These are the required courses for starting or working with a Girl Scout troop/group as a leadership team.
Who Must Take Course
Girl Scouting 101(GS101) Overview of the Girl Scout organization, the National Program Portfolio, and the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Course Length: 45 min.
For every volunteer prior to starting any volunteer position.
GSOFCT Orientation Series Prerequisite: GS101 Consists of the following online learning classes/webinars:
At least one troop/group adult.
Volunteer Essentials Being Safety Wise Troop Finances Troop Start-Up webinar Resource: Volunteer Essentials Series Length: Approx. two hours Basic Leader Training Prerequisites: GS101 and GSOFCT Orientation Series Provides tools for planning and carrying out troop/group programs. Topics include safety awareness, group management skills, meeting planning, program ideas, and ways to keep the girls involved in the GSLE.
Must be taken prior to working with girls. Once completed, the adult troop/group volunteer may meet regularly with girls and go on simple field trips (four hours or less to an indoor location during meeting time).
How Course is Taken Online Self-paced; approx. 45 min. GSUSA hosted * Fee: None Online Self-paced Facilitated webinar provided by Council Staff and Council Learning Facilitators
* Fee: None At least one troop/group adult. Must be taken within three months of starting your troop/group.
Classroom setting provided statewide Online Learning Module Provided by Council Learning Facilitators
* Fee: None
Course Length: Three hours in classroom or one hour online
GSOFCT further requires that a trained adult be present at all events including troop/group meetings, service unit events, council events, camping trips, troop/group outings, etc. A currently registered volunteer that has successfully completed both the Volunteer Application Process and the Core Leadership Requirements is considered to be the troop/group trained adult. Please note: You have up to three months from the start of your troop/group to complete the Basic Leader training course. Certain activities may also require a certified First aider or a volunteer trained in outdoor skills to be present. 34
Volunteer Learning Requirements Service Unit Team Volunteers – Training Requirements Service unit team adults must be currently registered Girl Scout members and have successfully completed the Volunteer Application Process which includes a criminal background screening.
Adult Learning Pathway
Who Must Take Course
Girl Scouting 101(GS101) Overview of the Girl Scout organization, the National Program Portfolio, and the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Course Length: 45 min.
For every volunteer prior to starting any volunteer position.
GSOFCT Orientation Series Prerequisite: GS101 Consists of the following online learning classes/webinars:
Adults assuming a role on the Service unit Management Team.
Volunteer Essentials Being Safety Wise Troop Finances Troop Start-Up webinar Resource: Volunteer Essentials Course Length: Approx. two hours Position Specific Training Prerequisites: GS101 and GSOFCT Orientation Series Provides tools specific to the position.
Course Length: Varies with position
How Course is Taken Online Self-paced; approx. 45 min. GSUSA hosted * Fee: None Online Self-paced Facilitated webinar provided by Council Staff and Council Learning Facilitators
* Fee: None Service unit team members (to include but not limited to):
Service unit managers Registrars Treasurers Orientation volunteers Organizers
Classroom setting provided statewide Webinars may be available
* Fee: None
Adult Learning Pathway
Troop/Group Committee Training Requirements – For Volunteers Working Directly with Girls Troop/group committee adults must be currently registered Girl Scout members and have successfully completed the Volunteer Application Process which includes a criminal background screening. Course Girl Scouting 101(GS101) Overview of the Girl Scout organization, the National Program Portfolio, and the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.
Who Must Take Course For every volunteer prior to starting any volunteer position.
How Course is Taken Online Self-paced; approx. 45 min. GSUSA hosted
Course Length: 45 min. * Fee: None Position Specific Training Prerequisites: GS101 Provides tools specific to the position.
Troop/group adults (to include but not limited to): Troop/group QSP manager Troop/group cookie manager Troop/group outdoor trained person
Course Length: Varies with position
Classroom setting Provided statewide Online options may be available
* Fee: None
If the girls in the troop/group plan to participate in outdoor activities, then the troop will need to have an outdoor-trained adult who will be responsible for the following: PLAN and prepare for the outdoor event with the girls; ATTEND the event and help to supervise the girls; LISTEN to the girls and help them evaluate the experience. Who Can Attend: All outdoor training courses are open to currently registered adult Girl Scouts. You do not need to be the troop/group co-leader to be the outdoor trained volunteer. Learning Opportunities: Regional Training Days and other Learning Events are offered in the spring and fall. Courses vary from year to year and event to event. If you have a topic you would be interested in exploring, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will do our best to accommodate these topics at our events. Venture Out! is an online adventure that lets volunteers explore different ways of taking girls outside in Girl Scouts. It’s interactive, filled with possibility, and learner-led—just like Girls Scouts! Begin your adventure now! No need to do it all! Recruit adult volunteers to assist with your troop/group activities – from helping out at a meeting to assisting with the Product Sales programs and beyond. Encourage adults to take the trainings required to explore opportunities beyond your regular meeting site. It is recommended that the troop/group leadership not be the only trained adults working with the girls. GSOFCT highly suggests that no one adult volunteer working with a troop/group take all the required trainings. Sharing the responsibility will help bring more diversity among activities, provide a means for more parent/guardian support and provide venues where all members can enjoy the Girl Scout experience. Many hands make light work! Please note: When utilizing non-Girl Scout properties, adherence to vendors’ procedures and guidelines, and those of GSOFCT need to be considered. Maintaining dual compliance may pose confusion and add strain on training. Therefore, outdoor training courses are offered on GSOFCT properties ONLY! Adults should practice outdoor skills and learning experiences with girls prior to taking the next training course. Courses should be taken when the girls are “ready” for the next step (i.e. There is no need to take Camping Adventures when the girls are Girl Scout Daisies and have not experienced a simple hike or Brownies who have not slept overnight in a building). Recommended course for different age levels: Girl Scout Daisies
Out and About
Girl Scout Brownies
Out and About; Ready? Set? Go!
Girl Scout Juniors
Out and About; Ready? Set? Go!; Camping Adventures
Girl Scout Cadettes
Out and About; Ready? Set? Go!; Camping Adventures; Winter Camping
Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors
Out and About; Ready? Set? Go!; Camping Adventures; Winter Camping; Backpacking
Volunteer Learning Requirements - Outdoor Requirements for Outdoor Activities: Prior to participating in any outdoor adventure, troops/groups and/or service units must obtain council permission appropriate to the activity. 2. Prior council approval is required when using any GSOFCT Program Centers. Ensure your approval includes all sites you will be using. You may not be the only group on that property during your selected time frame. 3. When troops go camping, they must be accompanied by adults who have had the appropriate GSOFCT outdoor training or equivalent as well as at least one adult who has completed Core Leadership training. 4. Troops must meet the ratio of adults to campers as defined in Chapter 5, “Safety Wise” and/or as defined in specific SafetyActivity Checkpoints. At least one registered adult female must be present at all times. 5. At least one troop/group adult must be a qualified First aider with current Adult/Child CPR/AED certification. To encourage independence in girls and to avoid any appearance of impropriety, it is strongly recommended that girls and adults stay in separate cabins/tents whenever possible. If adults do share sleeping quarters with girls, at least two female adults must be present. Males may participate if separate sleeping quarters and bathrooms are available for their use.
Adult Learning Courses
Course Out and About Prerequisite: GS101 This course prepares volunteers to take girls beyond the basic four-hour field trip. Topics include health and safety, progression in the outdoors, simple hiking guidelines, and indoor food preparation. Course Length: Three hours
Ready? Set? Go! Prerequisite: Out and About This course provides volunteers with the skills they need to teach girls to build fires safely, begin their outdoor cooking adventures and to sleep overnight in established tents, A-Frames, and lean-tos. Course Length: Five hours
Camping Adventures Prerequisites: Out and About and Ready? Set? Go! This course builds on previously acquired skills preparing volunteers to plan and carry out camping trips with their girls, independent from the service unit. Volunteers will expand their camping skills to tenting and explore more advanced cooking techniques to include Dutch ovens.
Who Must Take Course
How Course is Taken
At least one adult volunteer for each troop/group. Required to participate in field trips of four hours or more. Encompasses events up to two nights and three days. Prepares participants to sleep overnight in buildings with an automated heat source, electricity, and running water.
Classroom setting: Provided by Council Learning Facilitators or Online course
At least one adult volunteer for each troop/group. Prepares participants to sleep overnight at camporees or like events only. Includes charcoal cooking, propane stoves, S’mores and more!
Offered at program centers around Connecticut - Provided by Council Learning Facilitators.
At least one adult volunteer for each troop/group. Required to go individual troop/group camping. Volunteers must attend the planning session assigned to a specific overnight experience.
Offered at program centers around Connecticut - Provided by Council Learning Facilitators.
Course Length: Includes a three-hour planning session and a 24-hour overnight experience.
* Fee: None
* Fee: $20
* Fee: $15 plus cost of food and program supplies (to be determined at course planning session).
Quick Guide - Outdoor Adventure Planning The opportunity for girls to plan their activities in partnership with adults is one of the most vital aspects of the Girl Scout program. The path to planning for successful outdoor adventures, whether it is a simple day trip or more involved camping trips, relies on the participation of both girls and adults – a Girl/Adult Partnership. Progressive learning is a key factor to consider when choosing and preparing for outdoor experiences. Girl Scouts of Connecticut has designed several resources to support a planning process where Girl/Adult Partnerships thrive and where everyone is able to grow and self-esteem flourishes. These supporting materials can be found on our website. Log onto gsofct.org, select the Volunteer tab, then click on Resources.
General Trip Planning Required Training: GSOFCT Orientation (for trips under four hours in length) Out and About (for trips over four hours in length) First Aid/CPR
Simple Day trips – Girls bring their own lunch
Resources to guide the planning process for any trip: Instructions on Completing Forms Things to Consider When Planning a Trip Planning an Outing GSOFCT Outdoor Progression – Steps for Girls and Adults Trip Checklist Trip Checklist – Step-By-Step
Resources to help during the planning process: Equipment for a Day Trip Suggested Planning Schedule for a Day Trip
Training Required: General Trip (above)
Simple Overnights in a building Training Required: General Trip (above)
Camporees Training Required: General Trip (above) Ready? Set? Go!
Resources to help during the planning process: Patrol Menu Planner Suggested Planning Schedule for an Overnight Overnight Planning Chart Quantity List Suggested Packing Lists Resources to help during the planning process: Patrol Menu Planner Suggested Planning Schedule for an Overnight Overnight Planning Chart Quantity List Safety and Camp Standards Check-Off List Suggested Packing Lists
Training Required: General Trip (above) Ready? Set? Go! Camping Adventures
Resources to help during the planning process: Patrol Menu Planner Suggested Planning Schedule for an Overnight Overnight Planning Chart Quantity List Safety and Camp Standards Check-Off List Suggested Packing Lists
Health and Safety
Resources that support safe environments: Suggested Items for a Troop First Aid Kit First Aid Treatment Log Emergency Checklist Booster Seat Brochure Booster Seat Flyer
General Resources Volunteer Essentials Safety Activity Checkpoints Quick Guide to Forms GSOFCT Acceptable Certifications for Outdoor Activities gsofct.org
Everything You Need to Know about First Aid and
The health and safety of a troop/group are very important. Although health and safety are the concern of the entire leadership team, a large part of the responsibility rests in the hands of the First aider. While First aiders may not be required for regular troop/group meetings and activities not involving physical exertion, they are needed for trips and strenuous activities or other activities involving any potential for injury. Consult the Safety Activity Checkpoints for specific activities that require a First aider. The adult acting as the certified First aider must be current in both First Aid and Adult/Child CPR/AED. Training covers rescue breathing, choking, CPR, broken bones, bleeding, cold weather emergencies, and much more. THE FOLLOWING POLICIES ARE UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE AMERICAN RED CROSS. GIRL SCOUTS OF CONNECTICUT IS THE ADMINISTRATOR. WE CANNOT CHANGE OR MODIFY THESE REQUIREMENTS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING.
First Aid/CPR/AED Certification is good for two years. In order to stay current, you must be recertified either on or before the expiration date on your card. There is no certification grace period. Materials: It is recommended, but not required, that participants review course materials prior to attending their selected course. To review or download resources, visit the American Red Cross website at: http://www.redcross.org/participantmaterials.
Caution: First-aid/CPR/AED trainings that are available entirely online do not satisfy GSUSA standards and therefore, are not acceptable certification for Girl Scout adults. All skills must be demonstrated to a currently certified instructor. Blended Learning courses, which comprise of an in-person skills demonstration, are acceptable. These courses provide volunteers with the opportunity to watch videos or review materials online prior to their arrival on site to demonstrate skills. If youâ€™re taking any course that has online components, please contact Volunteer Engagement at email@example.com to ensure the course(s) fulfills GSOFCT requirements.
Volunteer Learning Requirements - Safety Safety Courses While First aiders may not be required for regular troop/group meetings and activities not involving physical exertion, they are needed for trips and strenuous activities or other activities involving any potential for injury. Consult Safety Activity Checkpoints for specific activities that require a First aider. If your adult First Aider is a male, at least one unrelated adult female must be present at all times especially when medical assistance is needed. The adult acting as the certified First aider must hold current certification in First Aid, Adult/Child CPR, and Adult/Child AED. Training covers rescue breathing, choking, CPR, AED, broken bones, bleeding, cold weather emergencies, and much more.
Adult Learning Courses
Course First Aid/CPR/AED Successful completion of this course includes certifications in First Aid, Adult/ Child CPR, and Adult/Child AED. Course length: Six hours First Aid/CPR/AED Review: GSOFCT is offering an American Red Cross Review course that is presented in a blended learning format. Participants will: Independently review videos on First Aid, Adult/Child CPR, and Adult/Child AED Upon arrival at the site, pass the written tests. Demonstrate their skills to an American Red cross instructor
Who Must Take Course At least one adult volunteer per troop/group when leaving their meeting place or participating in an activity that lists a First aider as part of the standard.
How Course is Taken Classroom setting. Skills MUST be demonstrated to a certified instructor * Fee: $50
This course is designed for participants who have been certified in First Aid/CPR/AED in the past. It is recommended, but not required, that participants review course materials prior to attending their selected course.
Participants will receive videos for each section of the First Aid/CPR/AED course and are expected to review prior to arriving at class. Upon completion of the written exams, participants will demonstrate their skills to the Instructor.
Course Length: Self-paced * Fee: $50 First Aid or CPR Challenge In selecting this option to recertify either First Aid, CPR, or AED skills, volunteers:
Participants need not hold a current certification card when taking a challenge course.
Must arrive ready to take the written exam and when successfully completed,
Participants must successfully complete both the written exam and skills demonstration without any prompting from the instructor.
Demonstrate their First Aid, CPR or AED skills. Course length: Self-paced
Participants will receive videos for each section of the First Aid/CPR/AED course and are expected to review prior to arriving at class. Upon completion of the written exams, participants will demonstrate their skills to the Instructor. * Fee: $50
Please be advised: Girl Scouts of Connecticut does not consider you a certified First aider (First Aid and Adult/Child CPR/AED) if your certification has lapsed. Please plan accordingly for troop/group activities. 40
*Acceptable courses require successful demonstration of skills for certification. **These courses far exceed the requirements for a Girl Scout First Aider but may be used. SAC – Safety Activity Checkpoints
First Aid/CPR courses acceptable by GSUSA
First Aid Required
First Aid Required
(Needed if less than 30 min from EMS – see SAC)
(Needed if more than 30 min from EMS – see SAC)
American Red Cross
First Aid/Adult and Child CPR/AED* Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers
Responding to Emergencies Emergency Medical Response** Wilderness and Remote First Aid
American Heart Association
Heartsaver CPR/AED* (Pediatric module available) Heartsaver First Aid Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED (for Daisy/Brownie coleaders) BLS for Healthcare Providers* HeartCode BLS*
Primary Care (CPR)* Secondary Care (First Aid)
Basic CPR/AED* Basic First Aid CPR & First Aid for Childcare Providers (for Daisy/Brownie coleaders) CPR/AED for Healthcare and Professional Rescuers*
Emergency First Response (GSUSA and ACA approved)
EMS Safety Services (GSUSA approved)
Health and Safety Institute
Basic First Aid CPR and AED G2010 BasicPlus v.7 * (combined FA/CPR Junior co-leaders through adults)
National Safety Council
NSC First Aid/CPR/AED* NSC Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED* (for Daisy/Brownie co-leaders)
Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA)** Wilderness First Responder (WAFR)**
Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunity (SOLO)
Wilderness First Aid (WFA) + a CPR course Wilderness First Responder (WFR)** Wilderness EMT (WEMT)** Advanced Wilderness First Aid **
Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA International)
Wilderness First Aid (WFA) WAFA, WFR, WEMT**
State Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS), National Registry of EMT (NREMT), as well as some US military medical aid training.
MA-Emergency First Responder (EFR)(includes CPR) NY-Certified First Responder (CFR)** CT-Emergency Medical Responder (EMR)** Emergency Medical Technician (EMT or NREMT)**
National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS/WMA)
Whatever your volunteer position, your hard work means the world to girls, to your council staff, and to Girl Scouts. We’re calling on all members of society to help girls reach their full potential, and you’ve answered that call. So, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts! Just as you’ll receive support throughout your volunteering experience, when you reach the end of the term you signed up for, you’ll talk with your support team about the positive parts of your experience, as well as the challenges you faced, and discuss whether you want to return to this position or try something new. The end of your troop year, camp season, overseas trip, or series/event session is just the beginning of your next adventure with Girl Scouting! If you’re ready for more opportunities to work with girls, be sure to let your council support team know how you’d like to be a part of girls’ lives in the future—whether in the same position or in other, flexible ways. Are you ready to organize a series or event? Take a trip? Work with girls at camp? Work with a troop of girls as a year-long volunteer? Share your skills at a council office, working behind the scenes? The possibilities are endless, and can be tailored to fit your skills and interests. The appropriate recognition for adult volunteer contributions is a process that the Girl Scout council takes very seriously. It is expressed on a year-round basis, in a multitude of ways when we:
Have a genuine attitude of appreciation. Write personalized thank-you notes. Provide training opportunities. Award certificates of appreciation. Encourage personal growth. Ask them to help with training others.
Put them in charge of projects. Write letters of reference. Give tokens of appreciation. Celebrate at year-end parties. Say "thank you.”
We also realize that formalized recognition is appropriate and serves to reinforce the qualities and service that we value. Official recognitions provide the means to acknowledge individuals and service team members publicly for their outstanding service. There are two types of awards for adult volunteers: GSUSA and GSOFCT I. GSUSA (Girl Scouts of the USA): • Membership Year Pins • Volunteer Years of Service Pins • Volunteer of Excellence • Appreciation Pin • Honor Pin • Thanks Badge • Thanks Badge II • President’s Award
• • • • • • • • • • •
II. GSOFCT (Girl Scouts of Connecticut): Leading the Way Pin* Helping Hands Pin* Distinguished Leader* Distinguished Volunteer* Outdoor Enthusiast Outstanding Service Team Member Community Participation Award Friend of Girl Scouting Service Unit Award Light the Way Pin Spirit of the Dragonfly Award Girl Scouts of Connecticut Pin
The GSOFCT Adult Recognitions in Girl Scouting Booklet provides more detailed information about these recognitions as well as advice on who to nominate, how to nominate, and how to write a letter of endorsement. All forms are included in the booklet which is easily downloaded for sharing at meetings. The complete GSOFCT Adult Recognitions in Girl Scouting Booklet is available at gsofct.org under the Volunteer tab. For more information on the recognitions process, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. *These adult recognitions can be submitted year round via the electronic Recognitions Portal at
https://form.jotform.us/70516475454156 or by downloading and submitting the appropriate nomination form (gsofct.org/pages/VolunteerRecognitions.php).
Volunteer Appreciation Month Volunteer Appreciation Week—-a special week in April—is set aside especially for our volunteers. Girl Scouts pay tribute to those who help girls make the world a better place. The week centers on the long-standing National Girl Scout Leaders’ Day (April 22). In addition, Girl Scouts also celebrates Volunteers Make a Difference Week in conjunction with Make a Difference Day, which takes place during the weekend in autumn when we set our clocks back.
Approved by the GSOFCT Board of Directors 10/1/07 INTRODUCTION: Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc. (GSOFCT), maintains that the strength of the Girl Scout Movement rests in the volunteer leadership of its adult members. It is through its volunteer leadership that the movement serves its girls. To ensure the satisfaction of its volunteers and to best use their talents, it is essential that the following policies and procedures be established and maintained. These policies and procedures work in conjunction with the council’s by-laws and the following current Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. (GSUSA) publications: • Blue Book of Basic Documents, • Safety Activity Checkpoints GSOFCT upholds all GSUSA policies and has adopted the following policies and procedures of its own. DEFINITIONS A POLICY is an established course of action that must be followed. Policies provide consistency of action, give direction, and minimize the need for risk management. These policies do not create a contract, express or implied, with any volunteer and may be changed at any time at the discretion of the council. In addition, volunteers are not employees of the council and are not covered by any of its pay, benefit plans, or practices. Specifically, volunteers are not paid or provided benefits for their volunteer services. A PROCEDURE describes the course of action to carry out a policy. POLICIES AND PROCEDURES I. RECRUITMENT: Each volunteer is provided with an overview of the Girl Scout purpose and organization, local council information, and the support systems available to help her/him in her/his role. The volunteer position description provides specific responsibilities and schedules, cites expectations, and, in conjunction with performance goals, forms the basis for assessment of volunteer performance. GSOFCT strives to include volunteers who strengthen the council through two distinct types of service. A. GOVERNANCE VOLUNTEERS: These include members of the Board of Directors, Board Nominating and Development Committee, and Delegates. B. OPERATIONAL VOLUNTEERS: Service Team members, Co-Leaders, Program Volunteers, Episodic Volunteers, etc., are those involved in carrying out the council’s specific, measurable objectives, which have been developed within the framework of the corporate goals as adopted by the Board of Directors. These volunteers are ultimately accountable to the Chief Executive Officer. II. INCLUSION: In recognition of its responsibility to its volunteers and girls and in keeping with GSUSA equal opportunity policies, GSOFCT expressly prohibits any form of unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, learning disability, physical or mental disability, ancestry, genetic information, and any other protected class status. To ensure full equality of opportunity in all operations and activities of the organization, affirmative action policies and procedures shall be utilized in the recruitment, selection, training, placement, and recognition of volunteers. GSOFCT is committed to a policy of equal opportunity and outreach in the recruitment, selection, placement, development, and recognition of volunteers in all communities within its jurisdiction. 44
III. MEMBERSHIP. All volunteers and girls participating in GSOFCT shall meet GSUSA membership standards and be a currently registered member of GSUSA and Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc. She/he shall agree to abide by the policies, principles, practices, and standards of GSOFCT and GSUSA. IV. REGISTRATION. All adult volunteers participating in the Girl Scout Movement shall be registered members of GSUSA. V. VOLUNTEER SYSTEMS A. SELECTION: Policy: Every adult volunteer is selected on the basis of qualifications for membership, ability to perform the volunteer position, and the willingness and availability to participate in training for the position. Procedure: All adult volunteer members must submit a completed application and have a satisfactory background check according to the requirements of their position. B. TRAINING: Once a volunteer has successfully completed the application process, she/he must participate in orientation and training as required by the position. The level of orientation will correspond to the level of participation. For example, those who are serving as Co-Leaders take full orientation, while those who are less involved will have a less intensive level of orientation. C. PLACEMENT: Every attempt will be made to place volunteers in positions that meet both their needs and the needs of GSOFCT. In instances where this is not possible, the needs of GSOFCT will take precedence over the needs of the individual. D. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL: Volunteers will have the opportunity to confer with the person to whom she/he is accountable concerning her/his annual performance review. E. REAPPOINTMENT: Prior to completion of a volunteer’s term, she/he will receive confirmation of reappointment to her/his position or rotation to a different position. Reappointment takes place only after completion of a satisfactory performance review and mutual acceptance of position accountabilities, expectations, and adherence to GSOFCT and GSUSA policies and standards. F. RECOGNITIONS: Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc.'s, formal recognition system shall be consistent with GSUSA policies and standards. G. TERMINATION: Any volunteer may resign her/his position at any time, but the council expects that resignations will be with reasonable notification to the council. GSOFCT may terminate the services of a volunteer at any time and for any reason, such as these listed below. Restructuring of volunteer positions The elimination of the volunteer position in which a person serves The inability or failure to complete the requirements for the position Misappropriation of funds The inability or failure to perform the agreed-upon responsibilities to the satisfaction of GSOFCT The refusal to support the Mission and values of the organization and the council goals Membership in an organization whose goals are not compatible with those of GSUSA Failure to comply with council or GSUSA policies Providing false, incomplete, or misleading information on the volunteer application Inappropriate behavior including, but not limited to, physical violence, abuse, stalking, threatening, menacing, lying, harassment, falsification of documents, and carrying firearms at a Girl Scout activity Failure to pass successive background checks
An adult volunteer who is terminated from her/his adult position may continue her/his membership with GSUSA unless it is determined that she/he is not able to meet the membership requirement related to accepting the principles and beliefs of the Movement or to supporting the Mission and values of the organization. When this is the case, her/his Girl Scout membership will not be renewed. Procedure: The volunteer and her/his manager will confer both in person and in writing as to reasons for the termination. A third party should be present during this process. At this time, the volunteer will be given the opportunity to withdraw voluntarily from the position by submitting a written resignation within five (5) working days. If termination is not voluntary, the volunteer will be fully informed, in writing, regarding the reasons for the termination by the person to whom she/he is accountable. Unless otherwise indicated, the discussion should be followed by a written summary, one copy of which is given to the volunteer and one to be retained by the council. Absolute confidentiality must be observed at all times to protect the rights of the volunteer. H. CONFLICT RESOLUTION: GSOFCT has established a system for resolving conflicts that arise when a volunteer believes that policies and/or procedures related to her/his position are not being administered properly as applied to her/him. Philosophy: • Phase I: Many conflicts can be prevented and/or resolved by volunteer managers who understand the Volunteer Management System of GSOFCT and who are sensitive to human relations. Likewise, many conflicts can be avoided when volunteers are informed at the time of placement of the council’s structure and role accountability for decision-making responsibilities. Most conflicts can be resolved when they are brought to the attention of the volunteer’s immediate manager. It is hoped that most, if not all, conflicts will be resolved informally. The goal is to eliminate the cause for the conflict. • Phase II: When a volunteer and her/his immediate manager are unable to resolve a conflict through informal efforts, the volunteer should refer to the council’s conflict resolution procedure for all volunteers listed below. Every volunteer may expect a welcome reception and a fair resolution of the conflict without fear of jeopardizing her/his volunteer status. The initiation of the conflict resolution procedure, however, will not restrict the GSOFCT from taking appropriate action to safeguard the health and safety of the girls. Procedure: Step 1: The volunteer requests a conference with her/his manager to take place within ten (10) working days of the date the written complaint was filed. The volunteer cites the policy or procedure that has allegedly been misapplied, misinterpreted, or violated. If the manager is the issue, proceed to the next level. If the manager is not a staff member of GSOFCT, the appropriate staff member must be informed of the complaint and the date of the conference meeting. The staff member informs the Chief Executive Officer, or her/his designee, of the complaint and conference date. Step 2: If the volunteer is not satisfied with the disposition, the council staff member or, if appropriate, the staff member’s supervisor, will meet with the volunteer within ten (10) working days. After the initial review of the issues, the volunteer can expect a response within ten (10) working days. Step 3: In the event that the complaint is not resolved in Step 2, the staff member prepares a written report on the complaint, including recommendations for her/his supervisor, and sends a copy to the Chief Executive Officer. Step 4: The Chief Executive Officer will make the final decision as to the resolution of the complaint and see that this decision is implemented. VI. HARASSMENT/SEXUAL HARASSMENT 46
GSOFCT is committed to maintaining an environment free of harassment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. The council will not tolerate harassment, including sexual harassment as defined in this policy, of volunteers, employees, or members, by anyone, including any volunteer, employee, vendor, member, client, or customer, whether on the Girl Scout premises, at assignments outside, or at sponsored social or membership functions. Harassment is defined as verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of her/his race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, learning disability, physical or mental disability, ancestry, genetic information, or any other protected class status that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome or unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other physical, verbal, or visual conduct based on sex when (1) submission to the conduct is an explicit or implicit term or condition of the volunteer’s position, (2) submission or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for a decision relating to the volunteer, or (3) the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the volunteer’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. The offender or the victim of harassment may either be a man or a woman, and harassment can occur involving persons of the same or opposite sex. Examples of sexual harassment include unwanted sexual advances; explicit sexual propositions; demands for sexual favors in exchange for favorable treatment or continued employment; repeated sexual innuendos, suggestive comments, sexually oriented kidding, teasing, or practical jokes; jokes about gender-specific traits; foul or obscene body language or gestures; display of foul or obscene printed or visual material (including, but not limited to, email); and physical contact, such as touching, patting, pinching, or brushing against another's body. If any volunteer believes that she/he is being harassed, the volunteer should clearly and promptly notify the offender that the behavior is unwelcome. If for any reason a volunteer does not feel comfortable confronting the offender or if a confrontation does not successfully end the harassment, the volunteer should contact the council immediately. All complaints of harassment will be taken seriously and will be promptly and thoroughly investigated. To the fullest extent practical and appropriate under the circumstances, GSOFCT will treat complaints and the terms of their resolution as personal and confidential. Corrective action will be implemented if an investigation confirms that harassment has occurred. If either party directly involved in a harassment investigation is dissatisfied with the outcome or resolution, that individual should submit a written request to council to have the decision reconsidered. This policy also prohibits harassment and sexual harassment by any volunteer against any employee or member. VII. CHILD ABUSE GSOFCT supports and maintains environments that are free of child abuse and neglect. Child abuse or neglect is any act or failure to act resulting in imminent risk of serious harm, death, actual serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation of a child by a parent or caretaker who is responsible for the child’s welfare. A child is defined as a person under the age of 18. The council will follow up and report, if applicable, any unlawful act as stated in the State of Connecticut General Statutes. Sexual abuse is defined as employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or any simulation of such conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct; or rape and, in cases of caretaker or inter-familial relationships, statutory rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children. Sexual abuse may also include sexual touching and bodily contact, exhibitionism, voyeurism, and/or involvement of children in pornographic material. GSOFCT will refuse appointment or reappointment, and dismiss or exclude from volunteer status, any volunteer who in the judgment of the council poses a risk of injury to a minor, is believed to have abused or 47
neglected any child under the age of 18, or has been convicted of any crimes against children. Individuals who are listed on any sex offender list in any state or upon instructions from a government or legal authority will be refused membership or participation in any Girl Scout activities. Procedure: In order to protect confidentiality, in cases of reported, suspected, or confided abuse/neglect the volunteer should contact the Chief Executive Officer or her/his designee. If none of the above can be reached, the volunteer may call the Connecticut Department of Children and Families Care Line: 1-800-842-2288. Such a report should include the names and addresses of the children and her/his parents, guardians, or other person having responsibility for her/his care and all evidence forming the basis of such belief. A person who in good faith makes his report is immune from civil or criminal liability per state statue. VIII. SMOKING/ALCOHOL/DRUG ABUSE Volunteers are prohibited from smoking in the presence of girls and/or during any Girl Scout activity. No person shall possess, use, sell, distribute, or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, or use lawful drugs in an unauthorized manner, on GSOFCT property, during any Girl Scout activity, or at any time if it would adversely affect the reputation of the Girl Scouts. Any violation of this policy will result in the removal of the volunteer from the council property, and associated costs and/or transportation fees will be the responsibility of the volunteer. No refund of fees will be given. In addition, the volunteer will be removed from her/his volunteer position. Alcohol may be consumed at adult council-wide functions or events only with the permission of the Chief Executive Officer. IX. CONFLICT OF INTEREST Each volunteer has an obligation to conduct herself/himself in a manner that does not present an actual or perceived conflict of interest or that has the potential for one. An actual, perceived, or potential conflict of interest occurs when a volunteer, because of her/his position with Girl Scouts, makes or influences a decision that may result in a personal gain for the volunteer or the volunteerâ€™s friends or relatives. For purposes of this policy, a relative includes any person who is related to the volunteer by blood or marriage, or who is in a similar relationship. A friend is any social acquaintance or individual with whom the volunteer has a social relationship. If a volunteer is involved in any activity for Girl Scouts that presents an actual, perceived, or potential conflict of interest (e.g., if the volunteer has any influence on transactions involving purchases, contracts, or leases), full disclosure in writing to the Chief Executive Officer is mandatory as soon as possible, to establish safeguards and to protect all parties involved. A Board Member shall not, while serving as a member of the council Board of Directors, serve in a council operational volunteer position that would require formal GSUSA or council-developed or sanctioned training. X. CONTRACTS All contracts must be authorized and signed by the Chief Executive Officer or her/his designee. XI. COMMUNITY SERVICE Any court-mandated community service projects must have prior approval by the appropriate council staff. XII. ANIMALS No persons shall bring any animal onto any GSOFCT property or to any Girl Scout activity without the written permission of the Chief Executive Officer or her/his designee. Exceptions will be made for animals needed to assist persons with disabilities. XIII. WEAPONS Possession or use of firearms by adults or girls at any Girl Scout activity is prohibited. 48
XIV. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT All monies raised or earned, and other assets received in the name and for the benefit of Girl Scouting must be authorized by GSOFCT or GSUSA and used for the purposes of Girl Scouting. Such monies and other assets become the property of, and are administered by, GSUSA or GSOFCT. Such assets are not the property of individuals, geographic units, or communities within a Girl Scout council. Those assuming stewardship of any Girl Scout monies within the jurisdiction of GSOFCT are accountable to GSOFCT. Volunteers are responsible for complying with all finance and money-earning policies and practices, as defined in Volunteer Essentials, including but not limited to the following: • Money handling • Banking • Recordkeeping • Reporting • Money-earning activities Money-earning projects may not be held during the United Way campaign or council-wide fundraisers. Adults who owe a debt to the council that is past due will be removed from all volunteer positions. A debt is defined as a check written for insufficient funds, unpaid product sales funds to the council or the Troop, or non-payment of money owed to the organization for products or services. Past due debts (unpaid/misappropriation of funds) more than 30 days after notification will be processed for collection. Individuals will be responsible for all fees associated with the collection of the debt and may be subject to other legal action. Volunteers who repay a past due debt will not be reappointed to any position that includes leadership or money-handling responsibilities. All financial information is confidential. It is against council policy to disclose any financial or personal information garnered through one’s leadership role as a volunteer to others.
Now that you’re a Girl Scout volunteer, you belong to a network of nearly one million adults who share an important commitment: to help Girl Scouts deliver its mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. During your time as a volunteer, you will play an important role in building girl leaders by guiding girls through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). The GSLE is the foundation of all Girl Scout program activities, describing what girls do in Girl Scouts, how they do it, and how they will benefit from their participation.
Through our national curriculum, girls learn about themselves and their values, and stretch to seek and meet challenges beyond what they might in other settings. They also learn to connect with friends, family, and their community to create positive relationships and band together on issues of importance to them. Every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, and Leader)™ is challenged to look and think critically at the world around them and consider how they can best address significant problems they are passionate about solving. When girls participate in the GSLE, they experience five measurable outcomes – ultimately resulting in Girl Scouting achieving its mission. No matter where girls live or what their age or background, as Girl Scouts they are part of a powerful, national experience.
What Girl Scouting Does for Girls Girl Scouting guides girls to become leaders in their daily lives, their communities, and the world—helping them become the kind of person exemplified by the Girl Scout Law. When girls—as the Girl Scout Law states—are “honest and fair,” when they “use resources wisely,” and know how to be “courageous and strong,” they can be more successful in everything they do. It may start in school and on sports teams, but research shows that the courage, confidence, and character they develop as Girl Scouts follows them throughout their lives. Girl Scouting has a practical approach to helping girls become leaders:
When girls lead in their own lives, they Discover their values, skills, and the world around them. This helps them grow more confident and use their abilities to help themselves and others. When girls lead in their communities, they Connect with other people in a multicultural world. This helps them care about, inspire, and team with others locally and globally. 50
When girls lead in the world, they Take Action to make the world a better place. They learn how to identify problems in their community and create solutions to fix them.
In other words: Discover + Connect + Take Action = Leadership. And everything you do with girls in Girl Scouting is aimed at giving them the benefits of these three “keys” to leadership. More details about the benefits (or outcomes) Girl Scouts offers girls can be found online at https://www.gsofct.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-program.html
Fun with Purpose Girl Scouting isn’t just about what we do; it’s also about how we do it. Girls will give almost any activity a try, as long as the volunteers guiding them take the right approach. Girl Scout activities ask adult volunteers to engage girls in three ways that make Girl Scouting unique from school and other extracurricular activities:
Girl-led: Girls of every grade level shape their experience by asking questions, sharing ideas, and using their imaginations. As a volunteer, allow girls to take an active role in making decisions and choosing activities. Of course, you’ll provide guidance appropriate to the age of the girls. But when girls play a critical role as decision makers in the planning and implementation of their activities, they are more engaged and active learners. Engagement is one of the most powerful determinants of success and well-being for people of any age.
Learning by doing: This means hands-on learning that engages girls in an ongoing cycle of action and reflection. When girls actively participate in meaningful activities and later reflect on them, they obtain a deeper understanding of concepts and are more likely to master the skills the activities require. Make sure girls always have a chance to talk with each other—and you—after an activity. It doesn’t have to be formal—just get them talking and see what happens.
Cooperative learning: Girls learn to share knowledge and skills in an atmosphere of respect and cooperation as they work together on a common goal. Great teamwork helps girls in school now and on the job later. Look for ways to help each girl contribute her unique talents and ideas to projects, help all girls see how their differences are valuable to the team, and coach girls to resolve their conflicts productively.
We call these three methods “processes.” You might be wondering how to put these processes into action with the girls in your group. These steps should help you get started: 1. After you help girls choose a National Leadership Journey (there’s more information about those later in this chapter), make sure you get the adult guide that accompanies the Journey. The three Girl Scout Processes are already built into the activities. When you do the activities as written, you are already using the processes. As you read through that guide, look at how the activities, conversations, and choice-making options are set up using the three processes. Once you start practicing the processes, you’ll probably find that they become second nature when you’re with girls. 2. If you haven’t already, watch Girl Scouting 101, our online introduction to volunteering with Girl Scouts. If you’ve already watched Girl Scouting 101, you may want to review its “What Girl Scouts Do” section to brush up on the processes. 3. Want more detail about the processes? Take a look at the examples in Transforming Leadership Continued, available online at https://www.gsofct.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-program.html. One last tip about using the processes: Girls’ time in Girl Scouting isn’t a to-do list, so please don’t ever feel that checking activities off a list is more important than tuning in to what interests and excites girls and sparks their imaginations. Projects don’t have to come out perfectly, and girls don’t have to fill their vests 51
and sashes with badges: What matters most is the fun and learning that happens as girls make experiences their own.
You’ll use several books, awards, and online resources to bring the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to life. We strongly recommend that each girl has her own books from the National Program Portfolio. These books—the Journeys and The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting—and national program awards—like badges and pins—are an important part of how Girl Scouting helps girls experience the power of millions of girls changing the world together. As you use the National Program Portfolio with girls, keep in mind that Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) creates materials to serve our vast and diverse community of girls. To help bring topics off the page and into life, we sometimes provide girls and volunteers with suggestions about what people across the country and around the world are doing. We also sometimes make suggestions about movies, books, music, websites, and more that might spark girls’ interests. At Girl Scouts, we know that not every example or suggestion we provide will work for every girl, family, volunteer, or community. In partnership with those who assist you with your Girl Scout group—including parents, faith groups, schools, and community organizations—we trust you to choose real-life topic experts from your community as well as movies, books, music, websites, and other opportunities that are most appropriate for the girls in your area to enrich their Girl Scout activities. We are proud to be the premier leadership organization for girls. While girls and their families may have questions or interest in programming relevant to other aspects of girls’ lives, we are not always the organization best suited to offer such information. Your council can recommend local organizations or resources that are best suited to do so. Also note that GSUSA continuously reviews national program content to guarantee that all our resources are relevant and age appropriate, and that their content doesn’t include violence, sex, inappropriate language, or risky behavior. We value your input and hope that you will bring to your council’s attention any content that concerns you.
National Leadership Journeys help Girl Scouts learn and practice the Three Keys to Leadership, aid their communities, and earn leadership awards, progressing up Girl Scouting’s Ladder of Leadership as they do so. In July, we rolled out new Journeys in the Volunteer Toolkit. These new Journeys are adding on to the choices that girls and volunteers already have. Every Journey (whether new or old) is topic-specific, includes hands-on activities, and incorporates Discover, Connect, and a Take Action project. Depending upon the content, some Journeys are shorter and some are longer, but they have been made simpler to use and easier to deliver. As of July 2017, the following Journeys are available for volunteers to choose from. They are: It’s Your Planet—Love It! It’s Your Story—Tell It! It’s Your World—Change It! (Daisies ONLY) Outdoor Think Like an Engineer Think Like a Programmer Think Like a Citizen Scientist It’s Your World—Change It!: Available for purchase in council stores (adult guide and girl book) for Daisies–Ambassadors On the VTK for Daisies ONLY as part of a 15 meeting Year Plan It’s Your Planet—Love It: 56
Available for purchase in council stores (adult guide and girl book) for Daisies–Ambassadors On the VTK for Daisy, Brownie, and Junior as part of a 15 meeting Year Plan
It’s Your Story—Tell It!: Available for purchase in council stores (adult guide and girl book) for Daisies–Ambassadors On the VTK for Daisy, Brownie, and Junior as part of a 15 meeting Year Plan Outdoor: Available on the VTK for Brownie and Junior as nine sessions in total, which includes three outdoor badges plus three Take Action meetings and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan. Available on VTK for Daisies as seven sessions in total, which includes two outdoor badges plus three Take Action meetings and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan. Available for Multi-level for Daisies-Juniors on the VTK. Cadette, Senior, Ambassador, and Multi-level will be available for Back to Troop as PDFs on the VTK. Think Like an Engineer: Available on the VTK for Daisy, Brownie, Junior, and Multi-level. The Journey is six sessions in total, including three Take Action meetings, and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan. Think Like a Programmer: Available on the VTK for Daisy, Brownie, Junior, and Multi-level. The Journey is six sessions in total, including three Take Action meetings, and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan. Think Like a Citizen Scientist: Available on the VTK for Daisy, Brownie, Junior, and Multi-level. The Journey is six sessions in total, including three Take Action meetings, and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan.
In addition to the Leadership Journeys, girls at each Girl Scout grade level have their own edition of The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting—a binder full of information about being a Girl Scout and how to earn certain badges, including ones about financial literacy and the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Girls who want to earn more badges can add a Skill Building Badge Set tied to the theme of the Journey they’ve chosen. When a Girl Scout earns a badge, it shows that she’s learned a new skill, such as how to make a healthy snack or take great digital photos. It may even spark an interest at school or plant the seed for a future career. Please remember that we don’t expect you to be an expert in the badge topics; just have fun learning by doing with the girls! While you’re having fun, keep in mind: Badges are for educating girls, not for decorating their sashes and vests. The quality of a girl’s experience—and the skills and pride she gains from earning leadership awards and skill-building badges—far outweigh the quantity of badges she earns. There are several ways to supplement the National Program Portfolio and enhance girls’ time as Girl Scouts—and have fun while you’re doing it! A few of them are outlined below.
Digital programming The For Girls section of girlscouts.org features a variety of videos, games, blogs, and other fun ways to enrich the GSLE. Girls will find opportunities to post their ideas for public service announcements on topics that matter to them and get inspired by watching short videos that tell the stories of women from all walks of life. If you work with Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies, you might like the site’s print-and-play coloring and 57
game pages—great for having on hand when energetic girls get together! Both girls and volunteers will have fun with Badge Explorer, an overview of all of the badges girls can earn. For Girls is updated frequently, so check back often—and invite girls to do the same!
My Promise, My Faith Pin The Girl Scout Law includes many of the principles and values common to most faiths. And even though Girl Scouts is a secular organization, we’ve always encouraged girls to explore spirituality via their own faiths. Girls of all grade levels can now earn the My Promise, My Faith pin. By carefully examining the Girl Scout Law and directly tying it to tenets of her faith, a girl can earn the pin once each year she participates in Girl Scouting. You can find more about the requirements for this pin in The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting.
The Girl Scout Cookie and QSP Programs In addition to giving girls an opportunity to earn money to fund their Girl Scouting goals, taking part in the Girl Scout Cookie and QSP Programs teach girls five important skills that serve them throughout their lives: goal setting, money management, people skills, decision making, and business ethics. For more information on the Girl Scout Cookie and QSP Programs, see Chapter 7, Financing Your Girl Scout Program of this handbook.
Outdoor adventures Being outside is a great way for girls to explore leadership, build skills, and develop a deep appreciation for nature. Whether they spend an afternoon exploring a local hiking trail or a week at camp, being outside gives girls an opportunity to grow, explore, and have fun in a whole new environment. For more information, visit www.girlscouts.org/program/basics/camping.
Prior to participating in outdoor adventures, each troop/group must have at least one approved outdoortrained volunteer present during all outdoor activities. The level of training required will be dictated by the activities planned. Refer to Chapter 1, Sharing Your Unique Gifts for outdoor training specifics. To allow time to prepare your girls with the skills they will need for their outdoor adventure, all required training should be completed 6-8 weeks prior to the activity.
The Girls’ Choice Outdoor badges – chosen by girls – are made for the awesome adventure seeker, team builder, and problem solver in her! It’s the newest way for girls to explore their world. Outdoor Adventurer – Girl Scout Brownies can explore new things in the outdoors and then decide what to try again! Horseback Riding – Girl Scout Juniors will learn that understanding a horse is as important as learning to ride one. Archery – Girl Scout Cadettes will get ready to take aim outdoors as they build their archery skills and learn how to shoot on a range. Paddling – Girl Scout Seniors develop their paddling skills and learn how to be safe and have fun on the water. Ultimate Recreation Challenge – Girl Scout Ambassadors will plan and take five adventures that transform and challenge them creating stories to tell for a lifetime! Can’t wait to get started? Download the digital requirements today by clicking on the badge above and reconnect with the outdoors. 58
Venture Out! Venture Out! is an online adventure that lets volunteers explore different ways of taking girls outside in Girl Scouts. Here, volunteers working with K-5 troops/groups will encounter the kind of challenges (and successes) that only the outdoors can bring: bad weather, distracted girls, new discoveries, and lifechanging events. Along the way you’ll find tips for getting girls outdoors, plus real-life stories and advice from other volunteers. It’s interactive, filled with possibility, and girl-led—just like Girl Scouts! Troop/group co-leaders of older girls may also find it useful. Begin your adventure now!
Spanish-language resources Two of the Journey series—It’s Your World—Change It! and It’s Your Planet—Love It!—are available in Spanish, as are two supporting books for Spanish-speaking volunteers to use with Spanish-speaking and bilingual Girl Scout Brownies and Juniors :¡Las Girl Scouts Brownies Cambian El Mundo! (Girl Scout Brownies Change the World!) and ¡Las Girl Scouts Juniors Apuntan a las Estrellas! (Girl Scout Juniors Reach for the Stars!). The books, which introduce the Girl Scout Movement to these girls and their families, provide everything you need for a fun-filled year in Girl Scouting. For more information on these resources, contact email@example.com.
Braille-language resources A generous grant provided GSOFCT with Braille copies of all The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting, Badge sets, Journey adult guides, and Girl Scout Journey books. We have lending sets available at each service center. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s Program Resource Guide for council-sponsored events/series/travel opportunities that introduce girls to new topics and skills. Some events support the Journeys and badges. While events do not complete an entire journey or badge, they are intended to help expand the girls’ experiences. Need resources to start your girls on their leadership journey? Check out our Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s council shops. Log onto http://www.girlscoutshop.com/CONNECTICUT-COUNCIL and preview all the Leadership Journey Series and corresponding awards available for purchase or visit gsbooks.docpit.com/.
All of this may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry. Exploring the following links will give you an idea of what’s involved when you use the National Program Portfolio with girls at each Girl Scout grade level. What Daisies Do What Brownies Do What Juniors Do What Cadettes Do What Seniors and Ambassadors Do
Anatomy of a Badge Each badge begins by stating the badge’s purpose; that is, the skills girls will have learned when they’ve completed the badge. This program-with-a-purpose approach was tested with girls—and they loved it! Girls complete five steps to earn each badge. There are three choices for completing each step (girls have to choose only one to complete the step). As you begin exploring the Journeys and the badges, you’ll see that many steps to earn a badge can be worked naturally into activities that girls are doing on their Journey. To help you and the girls see some of these connections, each badge also includes a tip for tying the badge into a specific Journey. Each badge ends with a few ideas about how girls can use their new skill to help others, plus a space for girls to jot down their own ideas. Although girls aren’t required to help others to earn the badge, these ideas were offered to honor the standard that Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouting, set for badge work more than 100 years ago: “A badge is a symbol that you have done the thing it stands for often enough, thoroughly enough, and well enough to be prepared to give service in it.” Help girls understand that service is a part of who we are as a worldwide organization. Reinforce the importance of including a component of service in all activities that girls choose to participate in.
In addition to the leadership awards tied to the Journeys and the National Proficiency badges, girls can show they belong by adding emblems to the front of their vests or sashes and participation patches on the back. Emblems show membership in Girl Scouts, a particular council, a particular troop, or in some other Girl Scout group. These can be worn on the front of a sash or vest (see the diagram in the handbook section of The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting to see where these are placed).
Participation patches represent activities girls have tried and are fun ways for girls to remember special events they’ve attended. Since these patches and pins aren’t tied to skill-building activities, they are worn on the back of a girl’s sash or vest.
You can purchase emblems and patches—along with badges and leadership awards—at your council’s Girl Scout Shop or by visiting the GSUSA online shop. There, you’ll find a list of the earned awards for each grade level and a link that shows you exactly where girls can place their emblems, awards, badges, pins, and patches on their vests and sashes.
You can purchase emblems and patches—along with badges and leadership awards—at any of our council Girl Scout Shops or online at http://www.girlscoutshop.com/CONNECTICUT-COUNCIL
Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards The Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards are Girl Scouting’s highest awards. These awards offer girls relevant, grade-level-appropriate challenges related to teamwork, goal setting, and community networking and leadership. They also engage girls in building networks that not only support them in their award projects, but in new educational and career opportunities. Like everything girls do in Girl Scouting, the steps to earning these awards are rooted in the GSLE. This is why, to earn each of these awards, girls first complete a grade-level Journey (two Journeys for the Gold Award or a Silver Award and one Journey). With Journeys, girls experience the keys to leadership and learn to identify community needs, work in partnership with their communities, and carry out Take Action projects that make a lasting difference. They can then use the skills they developed during a Journey to develop and execute projects for their Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards. Girl Scouts has just introduced a web application that takes girls step-by-step through the Gold Award requirements. Visit https://www.gsofct.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-program/highest-awards.html Did you know that a Girl Scout who has earned her Gold Award immediately rises one rank in all four branches of the U.S. Military? A number of college-scholarship opportunities also await Gold Award Girl Scouts. A girl does not, however, have to earn a Bronze or Silver Award before earning the Girl Scout Gold Award. She is eligible to earn any recognition at the grade level in which she is registered. As a Girl Scout volunteer, encourage girls to earn these awards at the Junior through Ambassador levels. Check out some of the highest award projects girls in your council are doing and talk to some Gold Award Girl Scouts. You’ll be inspired when you see and hear what girls can accomplish as leaders and the confidence, values, and team-building expertise they gain while doing so. And imagine the impact girls have on their communities, country, and even the world as they identify problems they care about, team with others, and act to make change happen! All this, of course, starts with you—a Girl Scout volunteer! Information on the awards and guidelines for you to use when helping girls earn their awards are available online.
A Tradition of Honoring Girls From the beginning of Girl Scouts, one prestigious award has recognized the girls who make a difference in their communities and in their own lives. The first of these awards, in 1916, was the Golden Eagle of Merit. In 1919, the name changed to The Golden Eaglet, and in 1920, the requirements for The Golden Eaglet were updated. The First Class Award existed for only two years, from 1938–1940, and was replaced in 1940 with The Curved Bar Award, the requirements for which were updated in 1947. In 1963, GSUSA re-introduced the First Class Award, for a girl who was an “all-around” person, with skills in many fields and a proficiency in one. Today’s highest award, the Girl Scout Gold Award, was introduced in 1980.
Other Initiatives and Opportunities Other exciting initiatives and opportunities exist to support the GSLE. In the past, these have covered topics like the environment, robotics, and space exploration. You can find out how to engage your group in opportunities like these by contacting your council or by visiting gsofct.org/en/about-girl-scouts/ourprogram/program-initiatives.html or by contacting email@example.com. Additional GSOFCT program opportunities:
FIRST LEGO® League serves girls ages 9-14 (FLL): FLL introduces girls to STEM using LEGO MINDSTORMS, programmable robotics that test girls’ technical skills and expose them to leadership skills. Teams of girls research a topic and build and program a robot to perform tasks related to that topic. Interested teams should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Junior FIRST LEGO® League serves girls ages 6-9 (JFLL): FLL introduces girls to STEM using LEGO MINDSTORMS, programmable robotics that test girls’ technical skills and expose them to leadership skills. Teams of girls research a topic, build a model based on their research, and present their work at an Expo. Interested teams should contact email@example.com for more information.
Techbridge Kits provide hands-on exploration of STEM and related careers. Each box contains a guide and materials for activities as well as online instructional video clips to help facilitators become familiar with the activities and concepts. Most kits are geared for Girl Scout Juniors and older. Some kits have booklets showing how they support Journeys. Boxes can be rented from the Program Department for a fee. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letterboxing is a sport that combines the pleasures of hiking, scavenger hunts, passing notes, and depending on clues or finding your way with compass directions. The only supplies you need to begin your new hobby, other than regular hiking gear, is a rubber stamp, a small notepad, the clues, and a pen, all in a water-tight bag. A compass is a great item to have, too! Follow the clues until you discover a hidden letterbox. There are several letterboxes “planted” at most of our Outdoor Program Centers. For more information, contact email@example.com. For general Letterboxing information visit letterboxing.org. Check out the Program Resource Guide for letterboxing events.
Destinations: Girl Scout destinations are unique, life-changing travel adventures for Girl Scouts in grades 6 through 12. Whether within the United States or around the world, destinations, arranged by Girl Scouts of the USA, helps girls develop leadership, learn new skills, gain self-confidence, and experience valuable, service-learning opportunities while meeting new friends from around the globe. Acceptance is competitive and applications must be received by mid-November. Based on need and the number of supplicants, financial assistance may be available. For the most up-to-date offerings, visit forgirls.girlscouts.org/travel. For local information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travel Troop #3 is an exciting opportunity for all Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors, Ambassadors, and adults to make new friendships through the adventures of travel. This council-wide group meets monthly and plans local, regional, national, and international trips. New members are always welcome. For more information, contact traveltroop3.weebly.com/index.html.
Presidential Award: The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation was established in 2003 to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers are making in our communities and encourage more people to serve. The President’s Volunteer Service Award program was created to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. GSOFCT is an authorizing agency for these awards. The Presidential Volunteer Service Award form can be found at gsofct.org. GSOFCT places orders three times per year: October 15, January 15, and April 15.
Girl Scouts of Connecticut: McGuff Museum of Girl Scout History: Located in the North Haven Service Center, the museum highlights the history of Girl Scouting in Connecticut and a variety of Girl Scout historical items. From September through June, the museum is open twice a month including a Saturday or Sunday. Groups may request a visit anytime throughout the year. Contact email@example.com for more information and hours. Historical suitcases may also be borrowed. Visit gsofct.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-history/gsofct-history.html to reserve yours today!
P.R.A.Y.: Religious awards are programs that have been created by national religious organizations and committees, not by Girl Scouts. These programs encourage girls and young women to become more active members in their own religious groups, and they encourage spiritual development by providing specific religious instruction. Awards are available for most ages and religions. Girls may begin at any age. For information visit praypub.org. The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting contains the My Promise, My Faith awards, which were developed by GSUSA.
Publications GSOFCT publishes several resources promoting the many program opportunities for girls statewide. The publications/resources listed below are available at gsofct.org:
Program Resource Guide: Released each August, this guide contains information and dates of events and other opportunities offered by the GSOFCT’s Program Services Departments. It also contains more in-depth information regarding available program resources. The Program Resource Guide can be found as a Quick Link at gsofct.org.
Bridges: Every-other-month electronic newsletter for girls and their families.
Volunteer Update: Monthly electronic newsletter sent to all volunteers that provides updates about programs, properties, product sales, and much more. It also informs you of upcoming events that your troop/group or girl will be interested in participating in, as well as links to our website and to various locations where you can find necessary documents for your work.
Girl Event Promotion: Emailed on the first day of each month, this fun email lets you know a bunch of upcoming events!
Camp Brochure: Released in the winter, this guide details upcoming summer camp opportunities. The Camp Brochure with more in-depth information can be found as a Quick Link at gsofct.org as soon as it is available.
Printing tip: Make sure your margins are set to zero on your printer settings to ensure that your newsletters print in their entirety. Not currently on our mailing list? Join us at http://gsc.informz.net/gsc/profile.asp?fid=2803. Keeping your email address current is important to receiving up-to-date council information. Take a few moments to ensure we have your accurate information on record and that you are signed up for the emails. With parental/guardian permission, girls 13 years or older can have their email addresses on record with us.
Girl Scout Traditions and Celebrations Throughout the long history of Girl Scouts, certain traditions remain meaningful and important and are still practiced today. This section gives you an overview of annual celebrations in the Girl Scout year, as well as other revered Girl Scout traditions. Be sure to look in The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting and Leadership Journeys for more information on songs, outdoor activities, historical anecdotes, traditions, and ceremonies.
Girl Scout Calendar Girl Scouts celebrate several special days each year, which you’re encouraged to include in your group planning.
February 22: World Thinking Day (the birthday of both Lord Baden-Powell and Lady Olave BadenPowell, the originators of Boy Scouts and the Scouting Movement worldwide). March 12: The birthday of Girl Scouting in the USA. The first troop meeting was held in Savannah, Georgia, on this date in 1912. Note that Girl Scout Week begins the Sunday before March 12 (a day known as “Girl Scout Sunday”) and extends through the Saturday following March 12 (a day known as “Girl Scout Sabbath”). April: Volunteer Appreciation Week centers on the long-standing National Girl Scout Leaders’ Day (April 22), but expands the definition of volunteers beyond troop co-leaders to include all the volunteers who work in so many ways on behalf of girls in Girl Scouting. October 31: Founder’s Day (Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday).
World Thinking Day: February 22 World Thinking Day, first created in 1926, offers a special day for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from around the world to “think” of each other and give thanks and appreciation to their sister Girl Scouts. February 22 is the mutual birthday of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout movement, and his wife, Olave, who served as World Chief Guide. Today, girls honor World Thinking Day by earning the World Thinking Day award, which focuses on an annual theme selected by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. They also show their appreciation and friendship on World Thinking Day not only by extending warm wishes but also by contributing to the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund, which helps offer Girl Guiding/Girl Scouting to more girls and young women worldwide.
Ceremonies Ceremonies play an important part in Girl Scouts and are used not only to celebrate accomplishments, experience time-honored traditions, and reinforce the values of the Girl Scout Promise and Law, but also to encourage girls to take a short pause in their busy lives and connect with their fellow Girl Scouts in fun and meaningful ways. Many examples of ceremonies—for awards, meeting openings and closings, and so on— are sewn right into the Journeys, including ideas for new ceremonies girls can create. Girls use ceremonies for all sorts of reasons. Here’s a brief list, in alphabetical order, so that you can become familiar with the most common Girl Scout ceremonies:
Bridging ceremonies mark a girl’s move from one grade level of Girl Scouting to another, such as from Junior to Cadette. (Note that Fly-Up is a special bridging ceremony for Girl Scout Brownies who are bridging to Juniors.) Closing ceremonies finalize the meeting, with expectations for the next. A closing ceremony may be as simple as a hand squeeze while standing in a circle. 64
Court of Awards is a time to recognize girls who have accomplished something spectacular during the Girl Scout year. Flag ceremonies can be part of any activity that honors the American flag. Girl Scout Bronze (or Silver or Gold) Award ceremonies honor Girl Scout Juniors who have earned the Girl Scout Bronze Award, Cadettes who have earned the Silver Award, and Seniors or Ambassadors who have earned the Gold Award, and are usually held for a group and combined with council recognition. Girl Scouts’ Own is a girl-led program that allows girls to explore their feelings and beliefs around a topic (such as the importance of friendship or the personal meaning they get from the Girl Scout Promise and Law) using the spoken word, favorite songs, poetry, or other methods of expression. It is never a religious ceremony. Investiture welcomes new members, girls or volunteers, into the Girl Scout family for the first time. Girls receive their Girl Scout, Girl Scout Brownie, or Girl Scout Daisy pin at this time. Opening ceremonies start troop meetings and can also begin other group meetings. Pinning ceremonies help celebrate when girls receive grade-level Girl Scout pins. Rededication ceremonies are opportunities for girls and volunteers to renew their commitment to the Girl Scout Promise and Law.
Girl Scout Heritage The Girl Scouts of Connecticut Historical Committee has a collection of historic girl and adult uniforms and handbooks that can be loaned for fashion shows, book reports, and service unit or troop/group events. For more information on our GSOFCT History and the resources available to you, log onto gsofct.org/pages/History.php. The Historical Committee also has Juliette Gordon Low books/biographies and articles for loaning. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Hosting a Girl-Led Event If you’re working with girls who want to host an event—large or small—be sure girls are leading the event-planning. To get girls started, ask them to think about the following questions:
What sort of event do we have in mind? Who is our intended audience? Will it be outdoors? Does the audience have to be invited, or can anyone come? What’s our main topic or focus? What’s our objective—what do we hope to accomplish at the end of the day? Will one or more speakers need to be invited? If so, who? How do we find speakers? Where will the event take place? Is there a charge for this venue? Is the venue large enough to accommodate the audience? Do we have to obtain permission to use this venue? If so, from whom? Are there adequate facilities for the audience? If not, how much will extra portable toilets cost, and how many do we need? Is there adequate parking or a drop-off point for girls? Do we need tables? Chairs? Podiums? Microphones? Speakers? What sort of entertainment will we provide? Will we provide or sell refreshments? If so, what kinds? 65
How many chaperones will we need? Who will we ask? What emergency care do we need to plan for? Is the event large enough that local police and fire departments need to be notified? Do we need to purchase additional insurance for non-Girl Scouts? How will we advertise the event? What decorations will we use? Will we give away any keepsakes? Will we charge for the event? Who will set up the event? Who will clean up after the event? How will we determine whether the event was a success?
Ideas for girl-led events with family, friends, and community experts are also available in the Leadership Journey adult guides!
Signs, Songs, Handshake, and More! Over time, any organization is going to develop a few common signals that everyone understands. Such is the case with Girl Scouts, which has developed a few unique ways to greet, acknowledge, and communicate, some of which are listed here.
Girl Scout Sign The idea of the sign came from the days of chivalry, when armed knights greeted friendly knights by raising the right hand, palm open, as a sign of friendship. To give the sign, raise the three middle fingers of the right-hand palm forward and shoulder high (the three extended fingers represent the three parts of the Girl Scout Promise). Girls give the sign when they:
Say the Promise or Law. Are welcomed into Girl Scouts at an investiture ceremony that welcomes new members. Receive an award, patch, pin, or other recognition. Greet other Girl Scouts and Girl Guides.
Girl Scout Handshake The handshake is a more formal way of greeting other Girl Scouts, and is also an appropriate way to receive an award. Shake left hands and give the Girl Scout Sign with your right hand.
Quiet Sign The quiet sign can be extremely useful to you as a volunteer, so teach it to girls during your first meeting. Raise your right-hand high with an open palm. As girls in the group see the
sign, they stop talking and also raise their hands. Once everyone is silent, the meeting can begin.
Girl Scout Slogan and Motto The Girl Scout slogan is, “Do a good turn daily.” The Girl Scout motto is, “Be prepared.”
Songs Whether singing around a campfire or joining a chorus of voices on the Mall in Washington, D.C., Girl Scouts have always enjoyed the fun and fellowship of music. In fact, the first Girl Scout Song Book, a collection of songs put together by girl members, was published in 1925. Songs can be used to open or close meetings, enhance ceremonies, lighten a load while hiking, or share a special moment with other Girl Scouts. For tips on choosing and leading songs, go tohttp://gsuniversity.girlscouts.org/resource/song-leading-workshops/. A variety of songbooks are also available for purchase at the GSOFCT online shop.
“Copyright is basically a protection for material that has been created by a person or persons and that is disseminated publically. Copyright law protects a wide range of works to photographs, musical compositions, publications, videos, movies, to sculpture. The basic purpose of copyright law is to protect not only America’s, but also the world’s cultural and informational resources.” (A Guide to Copyright and Permissions, GSUSA 1996).
A copyright provides its holder with the right to restrict unauthorized copying and reproduction of original works. Public Domain is anything which legally has no owner. Works become public domain when copyright protection has expired or the creator has formally given their work to the public. For more information regarding the usage of copyrighted materials, visit: * Terms and Conditions at girlscouts.org/help/terms_conditions.asp * Frequently Asked Questions – Copyrights and Trademarks at girlscouts.org/help/faqs/copyrights_trademarks.asp#songs_list * Welcome to Copyright Kids! at copyrightkids.org
As a Girl Scout volunteer, you’ll have the opportunity to guide girls of all backgrounds, behaviors, skills, and abilities. You’ll help her develop leadership skills she can use now and as she grows—all in a safe and accepting environment. This chapter gives you tips for doing just that.
Arranging a Time and Place for Girl-Led Meetings When and how often to meet is up to you, your co-volunteers, parents, and girls; it may just be one time for a particular group of girls. Where to meet can be a bit trickier: A meeting place needs to provide a safe, clean, and secure environment that allows for the participation of all girls. You might consider using meeting rooms at schools, libraries, houses or worship, community buildings, childcare facilities, and local businesses. For teens, you can also rotate meetings at coffee shops, bookstores, and other places girls enjoy spending time. Here are a few points to keep in mind as you consider meeting locations:
Cost: The space should be free to use. Size: Make sure the space is large enough accommodate the whole group and all planned activities. Availability: Be sure the space is available for the day and the entire length of time you want to meet. Resources: Determine what types of furnishings (table? chairs?) come with the room and ensure that the lighting is adequate. A bonus would be a cubby of some sort, where you can store supplies or a safe outdoor space for activities. Safety: Ensure that the space is safe, secure, clean, properly ventilated, heated (or cooled, depending on your location), free from hazards, and has at least two exits that are well-marked and fully functional. Also, be sure a first aid equipment is on hand. Facilities: Sanitary and accessible toilets are critical. Communication-friendly: Be sure your cell phone works in the meeting space. Allergen-free: Ensure that pet dander and other common allergens won’t bother susceptible girls during meetings. Accessibility: Be sure the space can accommodate girls with disabilities, as well as parents with disabilities who may come to meetings.
If this is your first time asking for a Girl Scout meeting place, here are a few speaking points to get you started: “I’m a Girl Scout volunteer, with a group of ______ girls. We’re doing lots of great things for girls and for the community, like _____ and ______. We’re all about leadership—the kind that girls use in their daily lives and the kind that makes our community better. We’d love to hold our meetings here because ______.”
Girl Scout Group Size Girl Scout groups are large enough to provide a cooperative learning environment and small enough to allow for development of individual girls. It is recommended that group sizes, when possible, are as follows: • Girl Scout Daisies: 5-12 girls • Girl Scout Brownies: 10-20 girls 68
• Girl Scout Juniors 10-25 girls • Girl Scout Cadettes: 5-25 girls • Girl Scout Seniors: 5-30 girls • Girl Scout Ambassadors: 5-30 girls A Girl Scout troop/group must have at minimum, five girls and two approved adult volunteers. Adults and girls registering in groups of less than five girls and /or two approved, unrelated adult volunteers at least one of whom is female, will be registered as individual Girl Scouts to more accurately reflect their status and experience. Individual girls are still welcome to participate in Girl Scout activities and events
Understanding Healthy Development in Girls Just being attentive to what girls are experiencing as they mature is a big help to girls. Take some time to understand the likes, needs, and abilities of girls at different ages. As you listen and learn along with girls, you may find it useful to review the highlights of their development. What follows are the developmental abilities and needs of girls at various grade levels. You’ll also find these listed in the adult guide of each Leadership Journey. Plus, the activities in the Journeys are set up with the following guidelines in mind! Of course, each girl is an individual, so these are only guidelines that help you get to know the girls. GSRI reports in More than S’mores that participating in casual outdoor activities in Girl Scouts, like playing, walking, or taking field trips in the outdoors, made girls stronger problem-solvers and challenge seekers. These outdoor experiences often place girls in new physical, psychological, and social situations that motivate curiosity and foster a sense of discovery. These challenges “require girls to become more selfaware and to cooperate, communicate, and solve problems” (2014, page. 5).
Girl Scout Daisies At the Girl Scout Daisy level (kindergarten and first grade), girls . . . Have loads of energy and need to run, walk, and play outside. Are great builders and budding artists, though they are still developing their fine motor skills.
Love to move and dance.
Are concrete thinkers and focused on the here and now.
Are only beginning to learn about basic number concepts, time, and money. Are just beginning to write and spell, and they don’t always have the words for what they’re thinking or feeling.
This means . . . They’ll enjoy going on nature walks and outdoor scavenger hunts. Encouraging them to express themselves and their creativity by making things with their hands. Girls may need assistance holding scissors, cutting in a straight line, and so on. They might especially enjoy marching like a penguin, dancing like a dolphin, or acting out how they might care for animals in the jungle. Showing instead of telling, for example, about how animals are cared for. Plan visits to animal shelters, farms, or zoos; meet care providers; or make a creative bird feeder. You’ll want to take opportunities to count out supplies together—and, perhaps, the legs on a caterpillar! That having girls draw a picture of something they are trying to communicate is easier and more meaningful for them. 69
Know how to follow simple directions and respond well to recognition for doing so.
Being specific and offering only one direction at a time. Acknowledge when girls have followed directions well to increase their motivation to listen and follow again.
Girl Scout Brownies At the Girl Scout Brownie level (second and third grade), girls . . . Have lots of energy and need to run, walk, and play outside. Are social and enjoy working in groups. Want to help others and appreciate being given individual responsibilities for a task. Are concrete thinkers and focused on the here and now.
Need clear directions and structure, and like knowing what to expect. Are becoming comfortable with basic number concepts, time, money, and distance. Are continuing to develop their fine motor skills and can tie shoes, use basic tools, begin to sew, etc. Love to act in plays, create music, and dance.
Know how to follow rules, listen well, and appreciate recognition of a job done well.
This means . . . Taking your session activities outside whenever possible. Allowing girls to team up in small or large groups for art projects and performances. Letting girls lead, direct, and help out in activities whenever possible. Allow girls as a group to make decisions about individual roles and responsibilities. Doing more than just reading to girls about the Brownie Elfâ€™s adventures. Ask girls questions to gauge their understanding and allow them to role play their own pretend visit to a new country. Offering only one direction at a time. Also, have girls create the schedule and flow of your get-togethers and share it at the start. Offering support only when needed. Allow girls to set schedules for meetings or performances, count out money for a trip, and so on. Encouraging girls to express themselves and their creativity by making things with their hands. Girls may need some assistance, however, holding scissors, threading needles, and so on. Girls might like to create a play about welcoming a new girl to their school, or tell a story through dance or creative movement. Acknowledging when the girls have listened or followed the directions well, which will increase their motivation to listen and follow again!
Girl Scout Juniors At the Girl Scout Junior level (fourth and fifth grades), girls . . . Want to make decisions and express their opinions.
This means . . . Whenever possible, allowing girls to make decisions and express their opinions through guided discussion and active reflection activities. Also, have girls set rules for listening to othersâ€™ opinions and offering assistance in decision making. 70
Are social and enjoy doing things in groups.
Allowing girls to team up in small or large groups for art projects, performances, and written activities.
Are aware of expectations and sensitive to the judgments of others.
Although itâ€™s okay to have expectations, the expectation is not perfection! Share your own mistakes and what you learned from them, and be sure to create an environment where girls can be comfortable sharing theirs.
Are concerned about equity and fairness.
Not shying away from discussing why rules are in place, and having girls develop their own rules for their group.
Are beginning to think abstractly and critically, and are capable of flexible thought. Juniors can consider more than one perspective, as well as the feelings and attitudes of another.
Asking girls to explain why they made a decision, share their visions of their roles in the future, and challenge their own and othersâ€™ perspectives.
Have strong fine and gross motor skills and coordination.
Engaging girls in moving their minds and their bodies. Allow girls to express themselves through written word, choreography, and so on.
Love to act in plays, create music, and dance.
Girls might like to tell a story through playwriting, playing an instrument, or choreographing a dance.
May be starting puberty, which means beginning breast development, skin changes, and weight changes, and more.
Being sensitive to girlsâ€™ changing bodies, possible discomfort over these changes, and their desire for more information. Create an environment that acknowledges and celebrates this transition as healthy and normal for girls.
Girl Scout Cadettes At the Girl Scout Cadette level (sixth, seventh, and eighth grades), girls . . .
This means . . .
Are going through puberty, including changes in their skin, body-shape, and weight, mood shifts, and more.
Being sensitive to the many changes Cadettes are undergoing and acknowledging that these changes are as normal as growing taller! Girls need time to adapt to their changing bodies, and their feelings about their bodies may not keep up. Reinforce that, as with everything else, people go through puberty in different ways and at different times.
Are starting to spend more time in peer groups than with their families and are very concerned about friends and relationships with others their age.
That girls will enjoy teaming up in small or large groups for art projects, performances, and written activities, as well as tackling relationship issues through both artistic endeavors and Take Action projects.
Can be very self-conscious—wanting to be like everyone else, but fearing they are unique in their thoughts and feelings.
Encouraging girls to share, but only when they are comfortable. At this age, they may be more comfortable sharing a piece of artwork or a fictional story than their own words. Throughout the activities, highlight and discuss differences as positive, interesting, and beautiful.
Are beginning to navigate their increasing Trusting girls to plan and make key decisions, independence and expectations from adults— allowing them to experience what’s known as “fun at school and at home. failure.” Girls learn from trying something new and making mistakes.
Girl Scout Seniors At the Girl Scout Senior level (ninth and tenth grades), girls . . .
This means . . .
Are beginning to clarify their own values, consider alternative points of view on controversial issues, and see multiple aspects of a situation.
Asking girls to explain the reasoning behind their decisions. Engage girls in role-play and performances, where others can watch and offer alternative solutions.
Have strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and are able to plan and reflect on their own learning experiences.
Girls are more than able to go beyond community service to develop projects that will create sustainable solutions in their communities. Be sure to have girls plan and follow up on these experiences through written and discussion-based reflective activities.
Spend more time in peer groups than with their families and are very concerned about friends and relationships with others their age.
That girls will enjoy teaming up in small or large groups for art projects, performances, and written activities. They’ll also want to tackle relationship issues through both artistic endeavors and Take Action projects. Alter the makeup of groups with each activity so that girls interact with those they might not usually pair up with.
Frequently enjoy expressing their individuality.
Encouraging girls to express their individuality in their dress, creative expression, and thinking. Remind girls frequently that there isn’t just one way to look, feel, think, or act. Assist girls in coming up with new ways of expressing their individuality.
Feel they have lots of responsibilities and pressures—from home, school, peers, work, and so on.
Acknowledging girls’ pressures and sharing how stress can limit health, creativity, and productivity. Help girls release stress through creative expression, movement, and more traditional stress-reduction techniques.
Are continuing to navigate their increasing Trusting girls to plan and make key decisions, independence and expectations from adults— allowing them to experience what’s known as “fun at school and at home. failure.” Girls learn from trying something new and making mistakes.
Girl Scout Ambassadors At the Girl Scout Ambassador level (eleventh and twelfth grades), girls . . .
This means . . .
Can see the complexity of situations and controversial issues—they understand that problems often have no clear solution and that varying points of view may each have merit.
Inviting girls to develop stories as a group, and then individually create endings that they later discuss and share.
Have strong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, and can adapt logical thinking to real-life situations. Ambassadors recognize and incorporate practical limitations to solutions.
Girls are more than able to go beyond community service to develop projects that will create sustainable solutions in their communities. Be sure to have girls plan and follow up on these experiences through written and discussion-based reflective activities.
Spend more time with peers than with their families and are very concerned about friends and relationships with others their age.
Girls will enjoy teaming up in small or large groups for art projects, performances, and written activities. They’ll also want to tackle relationship issues through artistic endeavors and Take Action projects. Alter the makeup of groups with each activity so that girls interact with those they might not usually pair up with.
Frequently enjoy expressing their individuality.
Encouraging girls to express their individuality in their dress, creative expression, and thinking. Remind girls frequently that there isn’t just one way to look, feel, think, or act. Assist girls in coming up with new ways of expressing their individuality.
Feel they have lots of responsibilities and pressures—from home, school, peers, work, etc.
Acknowledging girls’ pressures and sharing how stress can limit health, creativity, and productivity. Help girls release stress through creative expression, movement, and more traditional stress-reduction techniques.
Are continuing to navigate their increasing independence and expectations from adults— at school and at home—and are looking to their futures.
Trusting girls to plan and make key decisions, allowing them to experience what’s known as “fun failure.” Girls learn from trying something new and making mistakes.
Creating a Safe Space for Girls A safe space is one in which girls feel as though they can be themselves without explanation, judgment, or ridicule. Girl Scout research shows that girls are looking for an emotionally safe environment where confidentiality is respected and they can express themselves without fear. The environment you create is as important—maybe more—than the activities girls do; it’s the key to developing the sort of group that girls want to be part of. The following sections share some tips on creating a warm, safe environment for girls.
Girl-Adult Partnership Girl Scouting is for the enjoyment and benefit of the girls, so meetings are built around girls’ ideas. When you put the girls first, you’re helping develop a team relationship, making space for the development of leadership skills, and allowing girls to benefit from the guidance, mentoring, and coaching of caring volunteers. The three Girl Scout processes (girl-led, learning by doing, and cooperative learning) are integral to the girl-adult partnership. Take time to read about processes and think about how to incorporate them into your group’s experiences. (See the “Girl Scouting as a National Experience” chapter of this handbook for more about using the Journey adult guides.)
Recognizing and Supporting Each Girl Girls look up to their volunteers. They need to know that you consider each of them an important person. Emphasize the positive qualities that make each girl worthy and unique. Be generous with praise and stingy with rebuke. Help girls find ways to show acceptance of and support for one another.
Promoting Fairness Girls are sensitive to injustice. They forgive mistakes if they are sure you are trying to be fair. They look for fairness in the ways responsibilities are shared, in handling of disagreements and in responses to performance and accomplishment. When possible, consult girls as to what they think is fair before decisions are made. Explain your reasoning and show why you did something. Be willing to apologize if needed. Try to see that the responsibilities, as well as the chances for feeling important, are equally divided. Help girls explore and decide for themselves the fair ways of solving problems, carrying out activities, and responding to behavior and accomplishments. A “kaper chart” is a Girl Scout method of assigning jobs. Using a kaper chart is one way of assuring fairness. A kaper is a job or chore that must be done. In Girl Scouting, a kaper chart is prepared to indicate all the jobs available and who is responsible for each one. In other words, a kaper chart is a way of dividing the jobs so that each girl has a part. To make a kaper chart, first decide: 1. Which kapers should be divided? 2. Whether the kapers should be handled by groups or individuals 3. If using groups, determine group size 4. What type or style to use 5. How to rotate the girls
Keep in mind that kaper groups allow co-leaders to mix the girls in different ways. Typically, groups would stay together for a few times and then are mixed up again. Sometimes, however, girls are rotated more often to give them an opportunity to meet lots of different girls. Sometimes, groups use a combination of kaper charts for different functions: e.g., one for groups splitting major jobs, one for flag ceremony jobs. Don’t forget: you can have kaper charts for adults, too!
Building Trust Girls need your belief in them and your support when they try new things. Show girls you trust them to think for themselves and use their own judgment. Help them make the important decisions in the group. Help them correct their own mistakes. Help girls give and show trust toward one another. Help them see how trust can be built, lost, regained, and strengthened.
Managing Conflict Conflicts and disagreements are an inevitable part of life, and when handled constructively can actually enhance communication and relationships. At the very least, Girl Scouts are expected to practice selfcontrol and diplomacy so that conflicts do not erupt into regrettable incidents. Shouting, verbal abuse, or physical confrontations are never warranted and cannot be tolerated in the Girl Scout environment. When a conflict arises between girls or a girl and a volunteer, get those involved to sit down together and talk calmly and in a nonjudgmental manner (each party may need some time—a few days or a week—to calm down before being able to do this). Although talking in this way can be uncomfortable and difficult, it does lay the groundwork for working well together in the future. Whatever you do, do not spread your complaint around to others—that won’t help the situation and causes only embarrassment and anger. If a conflict persists, be sure you explain the matter to your volunteer support team. If the supervisor cannot resolve the issues satisfactorily (or if the problem involves the supervisor), the issue can be taken to the next level of supervision and, ultimately, contact your council if you need extra help.
When communicating with girls, consider the following tips:
Listen: Listening to girls as opposed to telling them what to think, feel, or do (no “you should”) is the first step in helping them take ownership of their program. Be honest: If you’re not comfortable with a topic or activity, say so. No one expects you to be an expert on every topic. Ask for alternatives or seek out volunteers with the required expertise. Be open to real issues: For girls, important topics are things like relationships, peer pressure, school, money, drugs, and other serious issues (you’ll also have plenty of time to discuss less weighty subjects). 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 a young adult helps them grow. Offer options: Providing flexibility in changing needs and interests shows that you respect the girls and their busy lives. But whatever option is chosen, girls at every grade level also want guidance and parameters. Stay current: Be aware of the TV shows girls watch, movies they like, books and magazines they read, and music they listen to—not to pretend you have the same interests, but to show you’re interested in their world.
Consider the following tips when working with teenage girls:
Think of yourself as a partner, and as a coach or mentor, as needed (not a “leader”). Ask girls what rules they need for safety and what group agreements they need to be a good team. Understand that girls need time to talk, unwind, and have fun together. Ask what they think and what they want to do. Encourage girls to speak their minds. Provide structure, but don’t micromanage. Give everyone a voice in the group. Don’t repeat what’s said in the group to anyone outside of it (unless necessary for a girl’s safety).
Girl Scout Research Institute It’s amazing what you can learn when you listen to girls. Since its founding in 2000, the Girl Scout Research Institute has become an internationally recognized center for research and public policy information on the development and well-being of girls. Not just Girl Scouts, but all girls. In addition to research staff, the GSRI draws on experts in child development, education, business, government, and the not-for-profit sector. We provide the youth development field with definitive research reviews that consolidate existing studies. And, by most measures, we are now the leading source of original research on the issues that girls’ face and the social trends that affect their lives. Visit www.girlscouts.org/research.
According to Feeling Safe: What Girls Say, a 2003 Girl Scout Research Institute study, girls are looking for groups that allow connection and a sense of close friendship. They want volunteers who are teen savvy and can help them with issues they face, such as bullying, peer pressure, dating, athletic and academic performance, and more. Some of these issues may be considered “sensitive” by parents, and they may have opinions or input about how, and whether, Girl Scouts should cover these topics with their daughters. Girl Scouts welcomes and serves girls and families from a wide spectrum of faiths and cultures. When girls wish to participate in discussions or activities that could be considered sensitive—even for some—put the topic on hold until you have spoken with parents and received guidance from your council. When Girl Scout activities involve sensitive issues, your role is that of a caring adult volunteer who can help girls acquire skills and knowledge in a supportive atmosphere, not someone who advocates a particular position. Girl Scouts does not take a position or develop materials on issues relating to human sexuality, birth control, or abortion. Our role is to help girls develop self-confidence and good decision-making skills that will help them make wise choices in all areas of their lives. We believe parents and guardians, along with schools and faith communities, are the primary sources of information on these topics. We at Girl Scouts of Connecticut consider any activity that might cause conflict, discomfort, or distress a sensitive issue. Parents/guardians make all decisions regarding their girl’s participation in Girl Scout programs that may be of a sensitive nature. As a volunteer co-leader, you must get written parental permission for any locally planned program offering that could be considered sensitive. Included on the permission form should be the topic of the activity, any specific content that might create controversy, and any action steps the girls will take when the activity is complete. Be sure to have a form for each girl, and 76
keep the forms on hand in case a problem arises. For activities not sponsored by Girl Scouts, find out in advance (from organizers or other volunteers who may be familiar with the content) what will be presented, and follow your council’s guidelines for obtaining written permission. Report concerns: There may be times when you worry about the health and well-being of girls in your group. Alcohol, drugs, sex, bullying, abuse, depression, and eating disorders are some of the issues girls may encounter. You are on the frontlines of girls’ lives, and you are in a unique position to identify a situation in which a girl may need help. If you believe a girl is at risk of hurting herself or others, your role is to promptly bring that information to her parent/guardian or the council so she can get the expert assistance she needs. Your concern about a girl’s well-being and safety is taken seriously, and your council will guide you in addressing these concerns.
Contact a staff member at your Girl Scout council and find out how to refer the girl and her parent/guardian to experts at school or in the community. Share your concern with the girl’s family, if this is feasible.
Here are a few signs that could indicate a girl needs expert help:
Marked changes in behavior or personality (for example, unusual moodiness, aggressiveness, or sensitivity) Declining academic performance and/or inability to concentrate Withdrawal from school, family activities, or friendships Fatigue, apathy, or loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities Sleep disturbances Increased secretiveness Deterioration in appearance and personal hygiene Eating extremes, unexplained weight loss, distorted body image Tendency toward perfectionism Giving away prized possessions; preoccupation with the subject of death Unexplained injuries such as bruises, burns, or fractures Avoidance of eye contact or physical contact Excessive fearfulness or distrust of adults Abusive behavior toward other children, especially younger ones
Connecticut General Statute* defines an abused child as any youth less than 18 years of age or any person under 21 years of age that is a DCF client who: Has been inflicted with physical injury or injuries other than by accidental means, or Has injuries which are at variance with the history given of them, or Is in a condition that is the result of maltreatment, including, but not limited to, malnutrition, sexual molestation or exploitation, deprivation of necessities, emotional maltreatment, or cruel punishment. Connecticut General Statute* states neglect occurs when a child, for other reasons than being impoverished: Has been abandoned, or Is being denied proper care and attention, physically, educationally, emotionally, or morally or Is being permitted to live under conditions, circumstances, or associations injurious to well-being of the child or youth. Is being abused *Conn. Gen. Stats. GS46b-120(6-7) (2013)
GSOFCT Reporting Procedures: Connecticut law requires certain citizens to report suspected child abuse and neglect. These mandated 77
reporters are people in professions or occupations that have contact with children or whose primary focus is children. Mandated Reporters are required to report or cause a report to be made when in the ordinary course of their employment or profession and/or volunteer activities, they have reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a child under the age of 18 has been abused, neglected, or is placed in imminent risk of serious harm (Conn. Gen. Statue 17a-101a). Certainty is not required. A suspicion is enough to file a report based on what you observe, or are told by the child and/or your knowledge from professional training and experience. Mandated reporters must report orally to the Department of Children and Families' (DCF) Hotline or a law enforcement agency as soon as practical but no later than 12 hours after the mandated reporter becomes aware of or suspects abuse/neglect or imminent risk of serious harm to a child or children. A written report must follow (DCF-136) within 48 hours of the oral report. Mandated reporters are required to give their name when they make a report to DCF, however, reporters may request anonymity to protect their privacy (Connecticut General Statutes, Sections 17a-28 and 17a101). To report suspected child abuse and neglect, call Careline (1(800) 842-2288). This Child Abuse and Neglect Careline operates 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Anyone who suspects that a child has been abused or neglected or is in danger of abuse or neglect is strongly encouraged to call. GSOFCT staff and volunteers are considered mandated reporters. It is GSOFCT’s expectation that all staff and volunteers follow the state of Connecticut’s Child Abuse Reporting Laws*. The first oral report from the field should be made as soon as possible to the DCF Careline (1 (800) 8422288) or by calling the local law enforcement agency within 12 hours. Should reporting circumstances arise, we ask that you also make GSOFCT aware of your reporting. Confidential reports should be made directly to the Director of Member Recruitment & Support or the Director of Program Services (gsofct.org/about/staff.php) or call 800) 922-2770 and ask to be connected to either the Director of Member Recruitment & Support or the Director of Program Services. For more information consult Chapter 2, GSOFCT Policies and Procedures, Policy VII, Child Abuse. *More information on Connecticut’s Child Abuse Reporting Laws go to http://www.ct.gov/dcf/cwp/view.asp?a=2556&q=314384.
Working with Parents and Guardians Most parents and guardians are helpful and supportive and sincerely appreciate your time and effort on behalf of their daughters. And you almost always have the same goal, which is to make Girl Scouting an enriching experience for their girls. Encourage them to check out girlscouts4girls.org to find out how to expand their roles as advocates for their daughters.
Advocating for Girls The Girl Scouts Public Policy and Advocacy Office in Washington, D.C., builds relationships with members of Congress, White House officials, and other federal departments and agencies, continuously informing and educating them about issues important to girls and Girl Scouting. The 78
office also supports Girl Scout councils, at the state and local levels, as they build capacity to be the voice for girls. These advocacy efforts help demonstrate to lawmakers that Girl Scouts is a resource and an authority on issues affecting girls. Visit the Advocacy office at www.girlscouts.org/who_we_are/advocacy.
Perhaps the most important tip for communicating with parents/guardians is for you to use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. “I” statements, which are detailed in the aMAZE Journey for Girl Scout Cadettes, tell someone what you need from her or him, while “you” statements may make the person feel defensive. Here are some examples of “you” statements:
“Your daughter just isn’t responsible.” “You’re not doing your share.”
Now look at “I” statements:
“I’d like to help your daughter learn to take more responsibility.” “I’d really appreciate your help with registration.”
If you need help with specific scenarios involving parents/guardians, try the following:
If a Parent or Guardian . . .
You Can Say . . .
Is uninvolved and asks how she can help but seems to have no idea of how to follow through or take leadership of even the smallest activity.
“I do need your help. Here are some written guidelines on how to prepare for our camping trip.”
Constantly talks about all the ways you could make the group better.
“I need your leadership and project ideas you would like to develop and lead can fit in well with our plan. Please put your ideas in writing, and perhaps I can help you carry them out.”
Tells you things like, “Denise’s mother is on welfare, and Denise really doesn’t belong in this group.”
“I need your sensitivity. Girl Scouting is for all girls, and by teaching your daughter to be sensitive to others’ feelings you help teach the whole group sensitivity.”
Shifts parental responsibilities to you and is so busy with her own life that she allows no time to help.
“I love volunteering for Girl Scouts and want to make a difference. If you could take a few moments from your busy schedule to let me know what you value about what we’re doing, I’d appreciate it. It would keep me going for another year.”
A parent/guardian meeting, or a meeting of your friends-and-family network (as encouraged in many of the leadership Journeys), is a chance for you to get to know the families of the girls in your group. Before the meeting, be sure you and/or your co-volunteers have done the following: 79
For younger girls, arrange for a parent, another volunteer, or a group of older girls to do activities with the girls in your group while you talk with their parents/guardians (if girls will attend the meeting, too) Practiced a discussion on the following: Girl Scout Mission, Promise, and Law; benefits of Girl Scouting for their daughters, including how the GSLE is a world-class system for developing girl leaders; all the fun the girls are going to have; expectations for girls and their parents/guardians; and ideas of how parents and other guardians can participate in and enrich their daughters’ Girl Scout experiences Determined when product sales (including Girl Scout Cookie activities) will happen in your council; parents/guardians will absolutely want to know Established what information parents should bring to the meeting Used the Friends and Family pages provided in the volunteer guides for many of the Journeys, or created your own one-page information sheet (contact information for you and co-volunteers and helpers, the day and time of each meeting, location of and directions to the meeting place, what to bring with them, and information on how to get Journey resources—books, awards, and keepsakes—and other merchandise like sashes, vests, T-shirts, and so on) Gathered or created supplies including a sign-in sheet, an information sheet, permission forms for parents/guardians (also available from your council), health history forms (as required by your council), and GSUSA registration forms Prepared yourself to ask parents and guardians for help, being as specific as you can about the kind of help you will need (the Journey’s Friends and Family pages will come in handy here)
Registering Girls in Girl Scouting Every participant (girl or adult) in Girl Scouting must register and become a member of Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA). GSUSA membership dues are valid for one year. Membership dues (currently $25) are sent by the council to GSUSA; no portion of the dues stays with the council. Membership dues may not be transferred to another member and is not refundable. Pre-registration for the upcoming membership year occurs in the spring. Girls are encouraged to register early to avoid the fall rush. Early registration helps ensure uninterrupted receipt of forms and materials from the council, helps girls and councils plan ahead, and gets girls excited about all the great stuff they want to do as Girl Scouts next year. Girl Scout grade level is determined by the current membership year beginning October 1. Lifetime membership is available at a reduced rate of $200 for those age 29 and under. A lifetime member must be at least 18 years old (or a 17-year-old high-school graduate) and agree to the Girl Scout Promise and Law. You’re free to structure the parent/guardian meeting in whatever way works for you, but the following structure works for many new volunteers:
As the girls and adults arrive, ask them to sign in. If the girls’ parents/guardians haven’t already registered them online, you’ll want to email or hand out information so they can do so. Check with your council for its specific registration guidelines. You may also want to email or hand out a brief information sheet before or at this meeting. Open the meeting by welcoming the girls and adults. Introduce yourself and other co-volunteers or helpers. Have adults and girls introduce themselves, discuss whether anyone in their families has been a Girl Scout, and talk about what Girl Scouting means to them. Welcome everyone, regardless of experience, and let them know they will be learning about Girl Scouts today. (If you’re new to Girl Scouting, don’t worry—just let everyone know you’ll be learning about Girl Scouting together!) Ask the girls to go with the adult or teen in charge of their activity and begin the discussion. 80
Discuss the information you prepared for this meeting: o o o o o o o o o o o
All the fun girls are going to have! When and where the group will meet and some examples of activities the girls might choose to do That a parent/guardian permission form is used for activities outside the group’s normal meeting time and place and the importance of completing and returning it How you plan to keep in touch with parents/guardians (a Facebook page or group, Twitter, email, text messaging, a phone tree, or fliers the girls take home are just some ideas) The Girl Scout Mission, Promise, and Law The Girl Scout program, especially what the GSLE is and what the program does for their daughters When Girl Scout Cookies (and other products) will go on sale and how participation in product sales teaches life skills and helps fund group activities The cost of membership, which includes annual GSUSA dues, any group payments (ask your council), optional uniforms, and any resources parents/guardians will need to buy (such as a girl’s book for a Journey) The availability of financial assistance and how the Girl Scout Cookie Program and other product sales generate funds for the group treasury That families can also make donations to the council—and why they might want to do that! That you may be looking for additional volunteers, and in which areas you are looking (be as specific as possible!)
Remind the group of the next meeting (if you’ll have one) and thank everyone for attending. Hold the next meeting when it makes sense for you and your co-volunteers—that may be in two months if face-to-face meetings are best, or not at all if you’re diligent about keeping in touch with parents/guardians via Facebook, Twitter, text messages, email, phone calls, or some other form of communication. After the meeting, follow up with any parents/guardians who did not attend, to connect them with the group, inform them of decisions, and discuss how they can best help the girls.
Creating an Atmosphere of Acceptance and Inclusion Girl Scouts embraces girls of all abilities, backgrounds, and heritage, with a specific and positive philosophy of inclusion that benefits everyone. Each girl—without regard to socioeconomic status, race, physical or cognitive ability, ethnicity, primary language, or religion—is an equal and valued member of the group, and groups reflect the diversity of the community. Inclusion is an approach and an attitude, rather than a set of guidelines. Inclusion is about belonging, about all girls being offered the same opportunities, about respect and dignity, and about honoring the uniqueness of and differences among us all. You’re accepting and inclusive when you:
Welcome every girl and focus on building community. Emphasize cooperation instead of competition. Provide a safe and socially comfortable environment for girls. Teach respect for, understanding of, and dignity toward all girls and their families. Actively reach out to girls and families who are traditionally excluded or marginalized. Foster a sense of belonging to community as a respected and valued peer. Honor the intrinsic value of each person’s life.
A Variety of Formats for Publications The Hispanic population is the largest-growing in the United States, which is why Girl Scouts has translated many of its publications into Spanish. Over time, Girl Scouts will continue to identify members’ needs and produce resources to support those needs, including translating publications into additional languages and formats. As you think about where, when, and how often to meet with your group, you will find yourself considering the needs, resources, safety, and beliefs of all members and potential members. As you do this, include the special needs of any members who have disabilities, or whose parents or guardians have disabilities. But please don’t rely on visual cues to inform you of a disability. Approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population has a disability—that’s one in five people, of every socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, and religion. As a volunteer, your interactions with girls present an opportunity to improve the way society views girls (and their parents/guardians) with disabilities. Historically, disabilities have been looked at from a deficit viewpoint with a focus on how people with disabilities could be fixed. Today, the focus is on a person’s abilities—on what she can do rather than on what she cannot. If you want to find out what a girl with a disability needs to make her Girl Scout experience successful, simply ask her or her parent/guardian. If you are frank and accessible, it’s likely they will respond in kind, creating an atmosphere that enriches everyone. It’s important for all girls to be rewarded based on their best efforts—not on the completion of a task. Give any girl the opportunity to do her best and she will. Sometimes that means changing a few rules or approaching an activity in a more creative way. Here are some examples of ways to modify activities:
Invite a girl to complete an activity after she has observed others doing it If you are visiting a museum to view a sculpture, find out if a girl who is blind might be given permission to touch the pieces If an activity requires running, a girl who is unable to run could be asked to walk or do another physical movement
In addition, note that people-first language puts the person before the disability. Say . . .
Instead of . . .
She has a learning disability.
She is learning disabled.
She has a developmental delay.
She is mentally retarded; she is slow.
She uses a wheelchair.
She is wheelchair-bound.
When interacting with a girl (or parent/guardian) with a disability, consider these final tips:
When talking to a girl with a disability, speak directly to her, not through a parent/guardian or friend. It’s okay to offer assistance to a girl with a disability, but wait until your offer is accepted before you begin to help. Listen closely to any instructions the person may have. Do not lean on a girl’s wheelchair. When speaking to a girl who is deaf and using an interpreter, speak to the girl, not to the interpreter. When speaking for more than a few minutes to a girl who uses a wheelchair, place yourself at eye level. When greeting a girl with a visual disability, always identify yourself and others. You might say, “Hi, it’s Sheryl. Tara is on my right, and Chris is on my left.”
Registering Girls with Cognitive Disabilities Girls with cognitive disabilities can be registered as closely as possible to their chronological ages. They wear the uniform of that grade level. Make any adaptations for the girl to ongoing activities of the grade level to which the group belongs. Young women with cognitive disorders may choose to retain their girl membership through their 21st year, and then move into an adult membership category.
(Revised April 2017) In Girl Scouting, the emotional and physical safety and well-being of girls is always a top priority. Here’s what you need to know.
Knowing Your Responsibilities You (the volunteer), the parents/guardians of the girls in your group, and the girls themselves share the responsibility for staying safe. The next three sections provide more details on everyone’s responsibilities.
Responsibilities of the Volunteer Every adult in Girl Scouting is responsible for the physical and emotional safety of girls, and we all demonstrate that by agreeing to follow these guidelines at all times. 1. Follow the Safety Activity Checkpoints. Instructions for staying safe while participating in activities are detailed in the Safety Activity Checkpoints, available from your council. Read the checkpoints, follow them, and share them with other volunteers, parents, and girls before engaging in activities with girls. 2. Points common to all Safety Activity Checkpoints include: Girls plan the activity. Keeping their grade-level abilities in mind, encourage girls to take proactive leadership roles in organizing details of the activity. Arrange for proper adult supervision of girls. Your group must have at least two unrelated, approved adult volunteers present at all times, plus additional adult volunteers as necessary (this is dependent upon the size of the group and the ages and abilities of girls). Adult volunteers must be at least 18 years old (or the age of majority defined by your state, if it is older than 18), and must be screened by your council before volunteering. One lead volunteer in every group must be female. Get parent/guardian permission. When an activity takes place that is outside the normal time and place, advise each parent/guardian of the details of the activity and obtain permission for girls to participate. Parent/Guardian Trip/Event Permission form Communicate with council and parents. Follow council procedures for activity approval, certificates of insurance, and council guidelines about girls’ general health examinations. Make arrangements in advance for all transportation and confirm plans before departure. Be prepared for emergencies and compile key contacts. Work with girls and other adult volunteers to establish and practice procedures for emergencies related to weather, fire, lost girls/adults and site security. Give an itinerary to a contact person at home; call the contact person upon departure and return. Create a list of girls’ parents/guardian contact information, telephone numbers for emergency services and police, and council contacts—keep on hand or post in an easily accessible location. Always keep handy a well-stocked first aid kit, girl health histories, and contact information for girls’ families. Check activity-specific Safety Activity Checkpoints to determine the type of First Aider needed. Get a weather report. On the morning of the activity, check weather.com or other reliable weather sources to determine if conditions are appropriate. If severe weather conditions prevent the activity, be prepared with a backup plan or alternate activity, and/or postpone the activity. Write, review, and practice evacuation and emergency plans for severe weather with girls. In the event of a storm, take shelter away from tall objects (including trees, buildings, and electrical poles). Find the lowest point in an open flat area. Squat low to the ground on the balls of the feet, and place hands on knees with head between them. 84
Use the buddy system. Using the buddy system, girls are divided into teams of two. Each girl is responsible for staying with her buddy at all times, warning her buddy of danger, giving her buddy immediate assistance if safe to do so, and seeking help when the situation warrants it. Girls are encouraged to stay near the group or buddy with another team of two, so in the event someone is injured, one person cares for the patient while two others seek help. 3. Report abuse. Sexual advances, improper touching and sexual activity of any kind with girl members, as well as physical, verbal and emotional abuse of girls is strictly forbidden. Follow your council’s guidelines for reporting concerns about abuse or neglect that may be occurring inside or outside of Girl Scouting. GSOFCT’s expectation that all staff and volunteers follow the state of Connecticut’s Child Abuse Reporting Laws http:///www.ct.gov/dcf/cwp/view.asa?a-2556&q=314384. Should reporting circumstances arise, we ask that you also make GSOFCT aware of your reporting. Call (800) 922-2770 and ask to be connected to the Director of Member Recruitment & Support for your area. Travel safely. When transporting girls to planned Girl Scout field trips and other activities that are outside the normal time and place, every driver must be an approved adult volunteer, age 21 or over and have a good driving record, a valid license and a registered/insured vehicle. Insist that everyone is in a legal seat and wears her seat belt at all times, and adhere to state laws regarding booster seats and requirements for children in rear seats. http://www.ctsafekids.org/child-passenger-safety/ 4. Ensure safe overnight outings. Prepare girls to be away from home by involving them in planning, so they know what to expect. Avoid having men sleep in the same space as girls and women. During family or parent-daughter overnights, one family unit may sleep in the same sleeping quarters in program areas. When parents are staffing events, daughters should remain in quarters with other girls rather than in staff areas. 5. Role-model the right behavior. Never use illegal drugs. Don’t consume alcohol, smoke, or use foul language in the presence of girls. Do not carry ammunition or firearms in the presence of girls, unless given special permission by your council for group marksmanship activities. 6. Create an emotionally safe space. Volunteers are responsible for making Girl Scouting a place where girls are as safe emotionally as they are physically. Protect the emotional safety of girls by creating a team agreement and coaching girls to honor it. Agreements typically encourage behaviors like respecting a diversity of feelings and opinions; resolving conflicts constructively; and avoiding physical and verbal bullying, clique behavior, and discrimination. 7. Ensure that no girl is treated differently. Girl Scouts welcomes all members, regardless of race, ethnicity, background, disability, family structure, religious beliefs and socioeconomic status. When scheduling, planning and carrying out activities, carefully consider the needs of all girls involved, including school schedules, family needs, financial constraints, religious holidays and the accessibility of appropriate transportation and meeting places. 8. Promote online safety. Instruct girls never to put their full names or contact information online, engage in virtual conversation with strangers, or arrange in-person meetings with online contacts. On group websites, publish girls’ first names only and never divulge their contact information. Teach girls the Girl Scout Internet Safety Pledge and have them commit to it. 9. Keep girls safe during money-earning activities. Girl Scout Cookies and other council-sponsored product sales are an integral part of the program. During Girl Scout product sales, you are responsible for the safety of girls, money and products. In addition, a wide variety of organizations, causes and fundraisers may appeal to Girl Scouts to be their labor force. When representing Girl Scouts, girls cannot participate in money-earning activities that represent partisan politics or are not Girl Scout–approved product sales and efforts. See Chapter 7, Financing Your Girl Scout Program for more information on Money-Earning activities 85
CAUTION: When activities involve unpredictable safety variables, they are not recommended as Girl Scout program activities. These include but are not limited to: Bungee Jumping Flying in small private planes, helicopters, or blimps Go-Carting Hang gliding Hot air ballooning Hunting Motor biking Parachuting Parasailing Riding all-terrain vehicles Riding motorized personal watercraft such as jet skis Skydiving Stunt skiing Outdoor trampolining Zorbing
Responsibilities of Parents and Guardians You want to engage each parent or guardian to help you work toward ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of girls. Clearly communicate to parents and guardians that they are expected to:
Provide permission for their daughters to participate in Girl Scouting as well as provide additional consent for activities that take place outside the scheduled meeting place. This can include such activities as: product sales, including the Digital Cookie® platform; overnight travel; the use of special equipment; or sensitive issues. Make provisions for their daughters to get to and from meeting places or other designated sites in a safe and timely manner, and inform you if someone other than a parent or guardian will drop off or pick up their child. The Annual Pick-up Authorization form must be completed for anyone, including parents/legal guardians, who will pick up their Girl Scout from troop/group meetings/events regardless of where the meeting/event takes place. Provide their daughters with appropriate clothing and equipment for activities, or contact you before the activity to find sources for the necessary clothing and equipment. Follow Girl Scout safety guidelines and encourage their children to do the same. Assist you in planning and carrying out program activities as safely as possible. Participate in parent/guardian meetings. Understand what appropriate behavior is for their daughters, as determined by the council and you. Assist volunteers if their daughters have special needs or abilities and their help is solicited.
Responsibilities of Girls Girls who learn about and practice safe and healthy behaviors are likely to establish lifelong habits of safety consciousness. For that reason, each Girl Scout is expected to:
Assist you and other volunteers in safety planning. Listen to and follow your instructions and suggestions. 86
Learn and practice safety skills. Learn to “think safety” at all times and to be prepared. Identify and evaluate an unsafe situation. Know how, when and where to get help when needed.
Knowing How Many Volunteers You Need Whatever the activity, from camping to cookie sales, adult supervision is required regardless of the grade level of the girls. The table below has been developed to show the minimum number of volunteers needed to supervise a specific number of girls (councils may also establish maximums due to size or cost restrictions). These adult-to-girl supervision ratios were devised to ensure the safety and health of all girls taking part in the activity. For example, if one adult has to respond to an emergency, a second adult is always on hand for the rest of the girls. It may take you a minute to get used to the layout of this chart, but once you start to use it, you’ll find the chart extremely helpful.
Events, Travel, and Camping
Two unrelated volunteers (at least one of whom is female) for every:
One additional volunteer to each additional:
Two unrelated volunteers (at least one of whom is female) for this number of girls:
One additional volunteer to each additional:
Girl Scout Daisies (grades K–1)
Girl Scout Brownies (grades 2–3)
Girl Scout Juniors (grades 4–5)
Girl Scout Cadettes (grades 6–8)
Girl Scout Seniors (grades 9–10)
Girl Scout Ambassadors (grades 11–12)
Here are some examples on utilizing the chart: If you’re meeting with 17 Daisies, you’ll need three volunteers, at least two of whom are unrelated (in other words, you and someone who is not your sister, spouse, parent, or child), and at least one of whom is female. This is determined as follows: for up to 12 Daisies you need two volunteers, and one more volunteer for up to six additional girls. Since you have 17 girls, you need three volunteers (2+1). If, however, you have 17 Cadettes attending a group meeting you need only two unrelated volunteers, at least one of whom is female, since the chart shows that two volunteers can manage up to 25 Cadettes. In addition to the volunteer-to-girl ratios, please remember that adult volunteers must be at least 18 years old, or the age of majority defined by your state if it is older than 18. 88
Adult supervision for all girls also extends to any online activity. For additional information on online safety, please consult: The “Computer/Online Use” Safety Activity Checkpoints Girl Scout Internet Safety Pledge Digital Cookie Terms & Conditions for Girls, Digital Cookie Terms & Conditions for Parents/Guardians and Digital Cookie Terms & Conditions for Volunteers
Transporting Girls How parents decide to transport girls between their homes and Girl Scout meeting places is each parent’s individual decision and responsibility. For planned Girl Scout field trips and other activities (outside the normal meeting time and place) in which a group will be transported in private vehicles keep in mind the following: Every driver must be an approved volunteer at least 21 years old, and have a good driving record, a valid license and a registered/insured vehicle. Girls never drive other girls. If a group is traveling in one vehicle, there must be at least two unrelated, approved adult volunteers in the vehicle, one of whom is female. In addition, the girl-volunteer ratios in the “Knowing How Many Volunteers You Need” section must be followed. If a group is traveling in more than one vehicle, the entire group must consist of at least two unrelated, approved adult volunteers, one of whom is female, and the girl-volunteer ratios in the “Knowing How Many Volunteers You Need” section must be followed. Care should be taken so that a single car is not separated from the group for an extended length of time. Private transportation includes private passenger vehicles, rental cars, privately owned or rented recreational vehicles and campers, chartered buses, chartered boats and chartered flights. Each driver of motorized private transportation must be at least 21 years old and hold a valid operator’s license appropriate to the vehicle. In addition, state laws must be followed, even if they are more stringent than the guidelines here. Anyone who is driving a vehicle with 12 or more passengers must be a professional driver who possesses a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Note, you must check with your council to determine specific rules about renting large vehicles. To help reduce the likelihood of a serious accident involving 10 passenger or greater capacity vehicles, GSOFCT suggests: Drivers should have no less than six years driving experience with the type of vehicle being driven. Use of seatbelts by driver and passengers should be strictly enforced. To reduce driver distractions, the front seat passenger should be designated to assist the driver by reading maps, caring for passenger needs, etc. Procedures should be in place to avoid driver fatigue. No roof-top loads or luggage is allowed. Please note: For safety reasons, 15 passenger vans may not be used for Girl Scout activities. GSOFCT has a listing of approved vendors for Girl Scout activities. Check with your Membership Specialist prior to reserving any vehicle to ensure they are on the council approved vendor list.
Please keep in mind the following non-negotiable points regarding private transportation:
Consult GSOFCT Policies and Procedures to make sure you are following accepted practices when using private transportation; this ensures that both you and the council are protected by liability insurance in the event of an accident. Even though written agreements are always required when renting or chartering, you are not authorized to sign an agreement or contract, except for rental car agreements, even if there is no cost associated with the rental. GSOFCT Policies and Procedures state that all contracts must be authorized and signed by the Chief Executive Officer or her/his designee. If your council has given permission to use a rented car, read all rental agreements to be sure you comply with their terms and avoid surprises. For example, in many cases the minimum age of drivers is 25 and the maximum age is often 70. In addition, make sure the car is adequately insured and you know who is responsible for damage to, or loss of, the vehicle. Finally, ensure you have a good paper trail that the shows the vehicle rental is Girl Scout–related. Auto insurance is one of the most frequently used types of personal insurance and is required in Connecticut in order to drive legally. As of June 2013, Connecticut law requires: $10,000 in coverage per accident for property damage liability $20,000 in coverage per person per accident for bodily injury liability $40,000 in coverage per accident for bodily injury liability A driver’s personal automobile insurance is the primary insurer. Girl Scouts of Connecticut does not provide any additional coverage for that automobile. Obtain parent/guardian permission for any use of transportation outside of the meeting place.
Checklist for Drivers When driving a car, RV or camper, take the following precautions and ask all other drivers to do the same: Ensure all drivers are approved volunteers at least 21 years old Girls should not be transporting other girls. Never transport girls in flatbed or panel trucks, in the bed of a pickup, or in a camper-trailer. Keep directions and a road map in the car, along with a first-aid kit and a flashlight. Check your lights, signals, tires, windshield wipers, horns and fluid levels before each trip, and recheck them periodically on long trips. Keep all necessary papers up to date including, but not limited to: your driver’s license; vehicle registration; any state or local inspections; and insurance coverage. Wear your seat belt at all times, and insist that all passengers do the same. Girls under 12 must ride in the back seats. Adhere to Connecticut State laws regarding booster seats and requirements for children in rear seats (ctsafekids.org/child-passenger-safety/). Follow all the established rules of the road in your state, including the speed limit. Some additional guidelines include: keeping a two-car-length distance between you and the car ahead of you; not talking or texting on a cell phone or other personal electronic device while driving; not using ear buds or headphones while driving; and turning your lights on when your windshield wipers are on. Plan rest stops every few hours and avoid driving for extended periods at night. If traveling with others, prearrange stopping places along the way. When planning longer trips, arrange for relief drivers. Do NOT drive when you are tired or taking medication that makes you drowsy. Check with your council for any other specific guidelines or requirements they have. 90
It is recommended that you create a folder for each car that will be transporting girls during your trip. This folder should include:
Trip Folder For each participant: Parent/Guardian Trip/Event Permission Form Annual Consent Form Girl Health History Form Girl Health Record (if applicable) Adult Health History Card (suggest all adults complete and carry) Over-the-Counter Medication – Parent/Guardian Authorization Form (if applicable) Also: GSOFCT Crisis Card Girl Scout Activity Insurance Information Accident/Injury Report Form Incident Report Form Troop/Group Driver Annual Form Troop Roster with phone numbers of other drivers and at-home contacts Trip Itinerary - map, directions, or address of destination (if applicable)
Product Sales Program Safety Girl Scout council‐sponsored product sales, which include magazines and nuts, as well as cookies, give girls proven opportunities to earn money and/or credits for their Girl Scout program activities. These sales also contribute significantly to the girls’ local councils and communities through Take Action projects. In order to ensure the emotional and physical safety and well-being of girls, which is always a top priority in any activity, you need to read and understand the following guidelines.
Prepare Early Communicate with Parents Ensure that the parents/guardians of all girls participating in product sales are fully informed about the activity including the: Safety precautions in place Need for appropriate clothing and/or supplies Need for advance arrangements for all transportation and confirmation of these plans Need for written permission from them in order for their girl to participate Location of designated sale areas, which are also communicated to the council
Communicate with Your Local Police Department Establish a relationship with your local police department to determine any support they may be able to provide during product sales especially those related to cookie booths, and any safety precautions they might suggest. While police departments vary from state to state and city to city, many of them have resources such as: School resource officers who have specific training for communicating with young people Community volunteers who may be able to assist by being present during booth sales Police departments can also provide information on areas and addresses to avoid as well as access to known sex offender registries.
Prepare for Emergencies Regardless of the type of activity, you need to be prepared for emergencies involving girls or other volunteers. This should include having a first aid kit always available and making sure that if someone is injured and needs help, that one volunteer cares for the injured person while another volunteer seeks help.
Arrange for Volunteer Supervision Volunteers provide supervision and guidance for all grade levels, and must accompany Girl Scout Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors when they are selling, taking orders for or delivering products. Volunteers must be present at booth activities, regardless of the age of the girls (see also the section “Knowing How Many Volunteers You Need”). Volunteers who oversee Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors must: Be aware of how, when and where the girls are selling products Be on call when girls are participating in product sales Be readily available to them should they need assistance. Help girls understand how to be safe in their surroundings, and always enforce the use of the buddy system Volunteer supervision for all Girl Scouts extends to any online activity. Consult the “Computer/Online Use” Safety Activity Checkpoints for specific information about safe online practices for all activities, and to obtain a copy of the Girl Scout Internet Safety Pledge.
Girls should always have a plan for safeguarding money, which includes such things as: Not walking around with large amounts of money Keeping the cash box against a wall or behind a barrier of cookie boxes Not keeping money at home or school 92
Giving cookie money to supervising volunteers, who will deposit the money as soon as possible
Using the buddy system, girls are divided into teams of two. Each girl is responsible for staying with her buddy at all times, warning her buddy of danger, giving her buddy immediate assistance if safe to do so, and seeking help when the situation warrants it. Girls are encouraged to stay near the group or buddy with another team of two, so in the event someone is injured, one person cares for the patient while two others seek help.
In order to ensure the safety of girls while selling door-to-door, you and the girls should become familiar with the areas and neighborhoods in which girls would like to sell. In addition, girls should: Participate in door‐to‐door sales only during daylight hours Wear a membership pin, uniform, or Girl Scout clothing (e.g., Girl Scout T‐shirt) to clearly identify themselves as Girl Scouts. Avoid a house or person that makes them uncomfortable. They should walk away and find the next person/place that does not make them uncomfortable Call 9-1-1 if they see someone that seems to be acting in a way that makes them feel unsafe. This could include, but is not limited to, any person who is staring at them for long periods, seems to be following them for no apparent reason or takes pictures of the them Use safe pedestrian practices, such as crossing at corners and obeying walk signals Not enter the home or vehicle of a stranger, and to avoid selling to people in vehicles (except at drive-thru cookie booths) or going into alleys Should not carry large amounts of money (see “Plan for Safeguarding Money” above)
Cookie booths are a traditional and fun way of selling Girl Scout Cookies. Booth locations are approved by councils, facilitated within council jurisdiction, and you must follow all council guidelines with regard to setting up, manning and taking down a booth. When setting up booth sales, it’s important that: Volunteers are present at all times There is adequate space at the booth for table, products and girls and to allow safe passage by pedestrians, bikes and cars Girls are a safe distance from cars. If possible, set up a safety barrier between cars and the booth— perhaps a few volunteers could park their cars in spaces near the booth location The booth is not blocking a store entrance or exit Girls and volunteers do not confront or engage an irate customer, but call local authorities for assistance While girls can receive cash from buyers and make change, they should hand the money to a volunteer for safekeeping. It is important that cash is kept safe and out of sight. This can be accomplished by: Keeping the cash box against a wall or behind a barrier of cookie boxes Having an adult volunteer keep the money by, for example, securing it in a front‐facing pouch tied around her waist. If someone takes money or cookies from your booth, do not attempt to physically recover the stolen items and do not allow the girls to do so. Instead, get a good description of the offender(s), call 911, and alert 93
local security (if applicable). Make sure girls know what to do in case of theft. Report any incidents to your local council according to its guidelines. For additional information about setting up a booth and safety and security suggestions, consult your council guidelines.
Computer/Online Safety Understand the Girl Scout Internet Safety Pledge In order to make sure that girls are aware of how to safely use the Internet, you should discuss online safety issues with the girls and distribute copies of the Girl Scout Internet Safety Pledge (the pledge is available at the end of this document and at www.girlscouts.org). The girls should also take a copy of the pledge home and go over it with their parents. Both the girl and her parent should sign the pledge.
Safeguard Information Girls must understand that the internet is an open means of communication that anyone can access. As such, websites will often attract people other than their intended users. It is therefore imperative that any information that could jeopardize the safety and security of girls and volunteers not be disclosed on a website. The following measures will help to ensure girls’ online safety: Girl Scouts should only use their first names A Girl Scout’s last name, address, phone number, or email address should never be posted. For Digital Cookie, a girl may post her unique Digital Cookie URL on her Facebook page and may email it to friends and family (for additional information please refer to Safety Activity Checkpoints for Online Product Sales, Digital Cookie Terms & Conditions for Volunteers, and Digital Cookie Pledge for Girls) Always have a parent’s or guardian’s permission when using pictures of girls on a website. This is especially important if the girl is under 13 years old Do not post addresses of group meeting places, dates and times of meetings, events or trips on a website. Instead, a volunteer who wishes to communicate upcoming events with families of Girl Scouts should send an email to the families Do not allow automatic posting of messages to a website. All postings to message boards, social media and guest books should have volunteer oversight, and be screened prior to posting live. Ensure that websites do not show personal email addresses of girls, but use a troop, group or volunteer’s email.
Safety in Technology Based Sales Girl Scouts use the internet for a variety of reasons including the online marketing and sale of approved Girl Scout-related products. Below are some key points to keep in mind for all online sales and marketing: Girls must read, understand and accept the Girl Scout Internet Safety Pledge, prior to conducting any online sales or marketing activities, which is available at the end of the Safety Activity Checkpoints Girls may send email messages to alert friends and relatives about product sales and accept customer commitments via email Social media sites may be used to market product, however, all applicable GSUSA and council guidelines must be followed Girls writing product emails or announcements online should sign with their first names only, their troop/group number, or name and their council name. Personal emails or street addresses of girls should never be used. Instead, use one of the following: o A blind return address account where the girls’ name or personal email is not revealed to the customer and is instead hosted on a secure site 94
A group account, monitored by a volunteer A volunteer’s email account, which is supervised by that volunteer
For Digital Cookie, there are additional, specific guidelines. Some of which are:
Girls must read and accept the Girl Scout Digital Cookie Pledge before they can participate in Digital Cookie Volunteers must read and accept the Digital Cookie Terms and Conditions for Volunteers before they can participate in Digital Cookie Girls may only post about their participation on Digital Cookie on social media that allows them to restrict access to friends and family (e.g. Facebook). Parents/guardians must approve the content of a girls Digital Cookie web page before it goes live For girls under 13 years old, a parent/guardian must manage the girl’s website and be responsible for all content. In other words, girls under 13 are not allowed to post anything to their websites; it must be done by their parent/guardian.
For additional information and guidance please see the “Girl Scout Cookie/Council-Sponsored Product Sale: Safety Activity Checkpoints”, “Computer/Online Use: Safety Activity Checkpoints”, the Digital Cookie “Terms & Conditions for Girl Scouts”, “Terms & Conditions for Parents/Guardians”, and “Terms & Conditions for Volunteers.”
Approaching Activities How can you, as a Girl Scout volunteer, determine whether an activity is safe and appropriate for Girl Scouts? Good judgment and common sense often dictate the answer. What’s safe in one circumstance may not be safe in another. An incoming storm, for example, might force you to assess or discontinue an activity. If you are uncertain about the safety of an activity, call your council staff with full details and don’t proceed without approval. Remember, the safety of girls is your most important consideration. Prior to any activity, read the specific Safety Activity Checkpoints (available on your council’s website or from your support team in some other format) related to any activity you plan to do with girls. If Safety Activity Checkpoints do not exist for an activity you and the girls are interested in, check with your council before making any definite plans with the girls. A few activities are allowed only with written council preapproval and only for girls 12 and over, while some are off-limits completely: Caution: You must get written pre-approval from your council for girls ages 12 and older who will: o Use firearms for target shooting (see Sport Shooting Safety Activity Checkpoints) o Take trips on waterways that are highly changeable or uncontrollable (See Whitewater Rafting Safety Activity Checkpoints) CAUTION: When activities involve unpredictable safety variables, they are not recommended as Girl Scout program activities. These include but are not limited to: Bungee Jumping Flying in small private planes, helicopters or blimps Go-Carting Hang gliding Hot air ballooning Hunting Motor biking Parachuting Parasailing Riding all-terrain vehicles Riding motorized personal watercraft such as jet skis 95
Skydiving Stunt skiing Outdoor trampolining Zorbing
Need more information on the troop trip process? Contact your service unit manager.
When planning activities with girls, note the abilities of each girl and carefully consider the progression of skills from the easiest part to the most difficult. Make sure the complexity of the activity does not exceed girls’ individual skills. Bear in mind that skill levels decline when people are tired, hungry or under stress. Also use activities as opportunities for building teamwork, which is one of the outcomes for the Connect key in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). Certificates of Liability Insurance (COI) Girl Scouts of Connecticut requires a Certificate of Liability Insurance (COI) be on file from certain program providers or sites our members are using. Activities: A Certificate of Liability Insurance (proof of insurance) is needed for any activity that involves significant risk. Below is a list of activities that require certificates of liability (for $1 million), though the council may deem one necessary for activities that are not listed:
Archery Caving Challenge Courses Climbing and Rappelling Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding Fencing Hayrides Horseback Riding Martial Arts Scuba Diving Sledding, Tobogganing, and Snow Tubing White‐Water Rafting
Once a COI is on file, other troops/groups are able to utilize that venue without requesting a new certificate. A certificate of liability insurance is required to ensure that if someone is hurt on the property as a result of the negligence of the company, there is proper insurance coverage. If you have further questions, please contact the Risk Management Department at email@example.com. Waivers could be required by facilities that offer activities that may involve risk. It is a GSUSA policy that waivers releasing vendor liability are not to be signed by our members without council review. Therefore, GSOFCT must review all required waivers prior to granting approval for any activity where risk is involved. The council, on behalf of its membership, has the final say when accepting insurance liability.
GSOFCT will permit waivers to be signed only after we have screened them and have agreed to accept the liability. We will make every effort for girls to try new opportunities, but ultimately the goal is to keep them safe and to protect their rights. Please note: Girl Scout volunteers may not sign a waiver on behalf of a troop/group member. Only a parent or guardian may sign a vendor’s waiver for their girl/ward.
High Adventure Approval Process: Approved Vendor List For trips that include activities that are considered high adventure, council approval is required. For the safety of our members, the council must approve sites and vendors for these activities before a troop/group uses the site or vendor for a troop/group or service unit event. Council approval verifies that the site or vendor has met the safety and insurance guidelines for Girl Scouts of Connecticut. This procedure is designed to ensure a safe experience for our girls, as well as to protect the legal interests of the adult volunteers and the council. For more information, contact your Membership Specialist.
High Adventure Trip Process Trips that include activities requiring specialized skills, training, and/or equipment, are considered to be high adventure. These activities involve a reasonable expectation of physical risk to the girls or a legal risk to the adult volunteers and/or the council. 1. Complete the High Adventure Trip Application form. This form can be found on our website at gsofct.org under Forms. Please note: The GSOFCT vendor list is fluid and changes continuously. All troops/groups must complete the High Adventure Approval Process even if they have previously visited a site.
2. Submit the High Adventure Trip Application form along with your troop/group roster, to your service unit manager or designee for approval four weeks prior to trip. 3. Service unit manager or designee will review and verify application for accuracy and completion of training. Approved: o If service unit level approval is given, the service unit manager or designee will forward onto the Director of Member Recruitment & Support or her/his designee for review and approval. o The Director of Member Recruitment & Support or her/his designee will then forward to Risk Management for final approval. o Once final approval is granted, a copy of the approved High Adventure Trip Application form will be forwarded to the Membership Specialist. Non-Approved: o If service unit level approval is denied, the troop/group co-leader will be notified. o The service unit manager or designee will work with the troop/group co-leader to ensure needed information is obtained to approve request. Not on Council Vendor Approved List: o If during the approval process it is noted that the facility or vendor is not on the council approved vendor list, the Director of Member Recruitment & Support or her/his designee will forward the High Adventure Trip Application form onto the GSOFCT Risk Management department for further research. o The GSOFCT Risk Management department will contact facility or vendor to begin the process of adding proposed facility or vendor the council-approved vendor list. Depending on the vendor, this process could be lengthy. Allow at least four weeks for new facility/vendor approval (see below for more information on adding vendors to the approved vendor list). Vendor Approval: Once facility or vendor has been approved, a copy of the approved High Adventure Trip Application form will be forwarded to the Membership Specialist. 97
Vendor Non-approved: There may be instances when a facility or vendor does not meet GSOFCT safety standards. In these instances, the Risk Management Department will contact the Membership Specialist who will then contact the service unit manager or her/his designee. The service unit manager or designee will work with the troop/group to find an alternate facility or vendor. 4. Troop/group co-leader submits the High Adventure Trip Evaluation form to the Risk Management department within two weeks of trip completion (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Adding Vendors to the Approved Vendor List Troop/groups are NOT limited to the facilities and vendors on the approved vendor list. If you find a site or vendor that you would like to use, Risk Management will work with them to place them on the approved vendor list. For a facility or vendor to be listed as an “approved vendor,” they must meet the safety and insurance guidelines for GSOFCT, which include the following:
Comply with all guidelines listed in the Safety Activity Checkpoints and in Volunteer Essentials. Facilities and vendors must supply GSOFCT with a Certificate of Liability for one million dollars or more, naming Girl Scouts of Connecticut as additionally insured. GSOFCT will list the facility or vendor as additionally insured on the council Certificate of Liability.
If you would like to have a facility or vendor approved for your troop or group’s use, please forward the following information to the Risk Management department at email@example.com.
Your contact information Contact information for the facility or vendor, including phone number Possible dates for the trip/activity Explanation of proposed activities
Once we receive this information, we will work with the facility or vendor to become an approved vendor for your activity. If you wish to be involved in the process (vendors can sometimes be a little quicker to supply the needed information when they are working directly with their customer), please let us know and we’ll supply you with the information you need. Please allow as much time as possible (at least four weeks) for approving a new facility or vendor. If a facility or vendor refuses to follow the safety and insurance guidelines for Girl Scouts of Connecticut then we will not be able to endorse this facility or vendor on our approved vendor list or approve trips/activities using this facility or vendor.
Caution needs to be taken when deciding whether to participate in activities that involve the handling of animals. While animals can provide important opportunities for learning and entertainment, there is also a risk of illness and injury from contact with animals. Research the activity site prior to your outing. The education center or organization that owns the animals should: • Provide trained and/or certified personnel to ensure for a safe learning environment. • Ensure sound hygiene practices are maintained. Have areas where participants can wash hands before and after the handling of animals (if applicable). • Provide a Certificate of Liability Insurance proving they are insured. Work with your Membership Specialist to ensure coverage is adequate and all safety precautions are identified and in compliance with GSOFCT requirements.
Please note: When planning activities that include animals, consider those girls and adults that may have pet allergies. Verification of site approval must be obtained prior to your trip. Trips to locations such as petting zoos, farms, animal shelters, pet stores, and horseback riding facilities are approved site by site. Opportunities to provide service rather than participating in activities with animals may be available. Safety of our members is the primary concern in our approval process.
Health Histories (Including Examinations and Immunizations) Girl Scout health histories and records may be handled differently by each council. For example, the staff at your council office may take care of obtaining and storing girl health histories, including a physician’s examination and list of required immunizations. In other councils, you may be asked to maintain these records for your group. Either way, keep in mind that information contained in a girl’s health history is confidential and protected by law. This information may only be shared with people who have a need to know this information such as the girl herself, her parent/guardian and a healthcare provider. Appropriate medical history and information for each girl member must be secured in writing before she can participate in Girl Scout activities. This form must accompany co-leaders/adult chaperones during all events/trips/activities. All necessary paperwork must be in vehicles transporting the girls to whom they refer. Adults should carry the Adult Health History cards whenever they participate in Girl Scout activities. The Girl Health History Form must be reviewed/updated yearly—or any time medical information changes— for each girl in the troop/group and may be re-signed for an additional two years. For trips of three nights or more, also complete the Girl Health Record Form. The volunteers working with a Girl Scout troop/group should be diligent in ensuring all medical forms are upto-date, and in reminding parents to partner with them to make sure that happens. These forms can be found in English and Spanish on our website at gsofct.org under the Resource and Form Library. For various reasons, some parents/guardians may object to immunizations or medical examinations. Councils must attempt to make provisions for these girls to attend Girl Scout functions in a way that accommodates these concerns. The Connecticut State Department of Public Health states: Immunization exemptions are permitted under certain circumstances. According to state law a child can be exempted from receiving a vaccine for medical conditions which are contraindicated or for religious reasons. If one of these circumstances is true for your child, please visit http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3136&q=388416 and read the appropriate form for additional information. It is important for you to be aware of any medications a girl may take or allergies she may have. Keep in mind the following Medication, including over-the-counter products, must never be dispensed without prior written permission from a girl’s custodial parent or guardian (your council can provide the necessary form). GSOFCT has developed the Over-the-Counter Medication – Parent/Guardian Authorization form to provide volunteers with the written instructions needed for girls to self-administer any nonprescription medications that may be necessary during an event. The child will request the medication approved by the parent/guardian and the First aider will oversee the child taking the medication to ensure they are taking the correct medication, dosage, etc. Some girls may need to carry and administer their own medications, such as bronchial inhalers, EpiPens or diabetes medication. You must have documentation from the girl’s parent or guardian that it is acceptable for the girl to self-administer these medications 99
Common food allergies include dairy products, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts and seafood. This means that before serving any food (such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cookies or chips), ask whether anyone is allergic to peanuts, dairy products or wheat. Do this even if you are aware of which girls have specific allergies! Even Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies should be aware of their allergies, but double-checking with them and their parents/guardians is always a good idea.
Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s adult members are not permitted to administer medication. This includes the administration of an Epi-Pen (epinephrine). Volunteers and staff who have been certified to dispense medications and are comfortable doing so can administer medication upon proof of current certification (Medic First, American Red Cross, CT State Department of Developmental Services, etc.) GSOFCT requires that any over-the-counter or prescribed medications should be in the original container and administered by the girl in the prescribed dosage in the presence of the responsible adult as per written instruction by custodial parent, guardian, or physician. In some instances, there may be a need to have a certified First aider administer medication. Please note: The attendance of a Girl Scout’s parent/guardian or other responsible adult may be necessary when considering certain activities where an individual child needs additional assistance. Girl Scout volunteers and staff are responsible for the safety of all girls during Girl Scout activities. Volunteers and staff may have varying levels of comfort providing care and support for girls with medical conditions. With this in mind, open conversations between troop/group co-leaders and the parents/guardians is encouraged prior to Girl Scout activities.
Girl Scout Activity Insurance Every registered Girl Scout and registered volunteer member in the Girl Scout movement is automatically covered under the basic Mutual of Omaha Activity Insurance plan upon registration. The entire premium cost for this protection is borne by Girl Scouts of the USA, and the basic plan is effective during the regular fiscal year (October 1 to the following October 1). Up to 14 months of insurance coverage is provided for new members who register in the month of August. This insurance provides up to a specified maximum for medical expenses incurred as a result of an accident while a member is participating in an approved, supervised Girl Scout activity. This is one reason why all volunteers and girls should be registered members. It is important to remember that non-registered parents, tagalongs (brothers, sisters and friends) and other persons are not covered by the basic plan. A tagalong is any person not registered with the troop. A tagalong is not just a younger brother or sister attending a troop meeting or going along on a Girl Scout outing or activity. A tagalong may also be a registered Girl Scout who is attending a meeting or event not designed for her age group, unless working in a leadership capacity. Tagalongs can distract girls from their planned activities and distract the co-leaders from providing proper supervision of girls. Decisions as to how to handle this situation should be discussed by the leadership team. This insurance coverage is not intended to diminish the need for, or replace existing, family health insurance. When $130 in benefits has been paid under this plan for covered expenses, any subsequent benefits from the basic plan will be payable (up to the specified maximum) only for expenses incurred that aren’t covered under another insurance policy. If there is no family insurance or healthcare program, a specified maximum of medical benefits is available under the basic plan. An optional Activity Insurance plan is available for Girl Scouts taking extended trips (longer than three days and two nights) and for non-members who participate in Girl Scout activities. These optional plans are secondary insurance that a council may offer to cover participants taking part in any council-approved, supervised Girl Scout activity. Contact your council to find out how to apply. In some cases, your council may make this insurance mandatory, particularly for overseas travel. Review the Girl Scouts insurance plan description here. 100
Please note: All requests for additional Activity Insurance must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the activity or event. Forward the enrollment form along with payment to your Membership Specialist for processing. Enrollment forms submitted less than two weeks before an event or activity may jeopardize the purchase of additional Activity Insurance. To ensure for the safety of all participants, adhere to submission deadlines. To obtain additional Activity Insurance coverage for extended trips, contact your Membership Specialist for enrollment and/or submission and instructions. In the event that you or one of the girls in your Troop/Group is injured, treatment must occur within thirty days after the accident. For information on how to file a claim please contact your Membership Specialist.
Mutual of Omaha Insurance - Girl Scout Coverage Overview Plan
Basic accident protection to registered Girl Scout members.
(covers accidents only)
(covers accidents and illness)
(covers accidents and illness)
(covers accidents and illness)
Supplemental insurance to personal health insurance for accidents only for activities lasting more than two consecutive nights non-member participants
Supplemental insurance to personal health insurance for accidents and illness for events lasting more than three days and two consecutive nights non-member participants
Primary insurance for accident and illness for events lasting more than three days and two consecutive nights non-member participants
Primary insurance for accident and illness for events lasting more than three days and two consecutive nights non-member participants
Illness Once $130 of covered expenses is paid by United of Omaha the remaining benefits will be payable only for expenses not covered by claimant’s personal health insurance
Once $130 of covered expenses is paid by United of Omaha, the remaining benefits will be payable only for expenses not covered by claimant’s personal health insurance
Does not cover
Illness Activities lasting more than three days and two consecutive nights Non-members, including tagalongs
For approved, supervised Girl Scout activities; troop/group meetings, trips, camping as well as travel directly to and from these activities
Included as benefit with national membership fee
Service unit events, extended troop/group trips, non-member participants in all approved and supervised Girl Scout activities, including travel directly to and from these activities
Service unit events, extended troop/group trips, including travel directly to and from these activities.
Trip and Destinations including travel directly to and from these activities.
Recommended for international travel. Includes travel directly to and from these activities. This plan includes 24hour travel assistance and medical services.
$.11 a day per participant Enrollment form along with premium must be returned to your Membership Specialist at least two weeks prior to event. Contact your Membership Specialist for more info.
$.29 a day per participant Enrollment form along with premium must be returned to your Membership Specialist at least two weeks prior to event. Contact your Membership Specialist for more info.
$.70 a day per participant Enrollment form along with premium must be returned to your Membership Specialist at least two weeks prior to event. Contact your Membership Specialist for more info.
$1.17 a day per participant Enrollment form along with premium must be returned to your Membership Specialist at least three weeks prior to event. Contact your Membership Specialist for more info.
($5 minimum premium)
($5 minimum premium)
($5 minimum premium)
($5 minimum premium)
Premium *reviewed 8-2015
In case of an accident, the Mutual of Omaha, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. Claim Form must be completed at the time of accident (minor or major) and signed by an adult (either the injured party or the parent/guardian of the injured girl). Fill out the form for all accidents, even if minor. The Mutual of Omaha Claim form can be found on our website at gsofct.org under the Resource and Form Library. Do not mail the claim form directly to Mutual of Omaha. Return a completed claim form along with the Accident/Injury Report to the Hartford Service Center within 24 hours, if possible.
Steps for Requesting Additional Activity Insurance: Plan 2 Additional Activity Insurance is required when ANY person – girl, sibling, adult, or anyone who is not currently registered as a Girl Scout member, will participate in a meeting, on a trip, or other Girl Scout gathering. If an adult will participate other than a visiting speaker or presenter or audience member, or unregistered children (siblings or friends) will participate in any way other than as an audience member, the additional insurance is required. This insurance is reasonably priced, and the process is easy. 1. Obtain the Mutual of Omaha Enrollment Form - Plan 2 from your Membership Specialist, service unit manager or on our website at gsofct.org under the Forms. 2. Please complete the following information: Contact Information Name and Location of the Event/Trip. In order to ensure the site is covered, please provide the address of where the event/trip will be. o Bowling Event, Scouting Lanes, 12 Girl Scout Way, National Portfolio, GSUSA 12345 Beginning Date and Ending Date of the event/trip Number of Participants o This number reflects the number of unregistered participants attending an event/trip 102
If the event/trip is more than three days, all participants registered and unregistered must be included. Number of Days the event/trip will last Number of Participant Days (Multiply columns 1 x 2 of form) Premium Each Day – this is pre-established by Mutual of Omaha Total Premium due (Multiply columns 3 x 4 of form) Verification of information. Signature is required verifying information is true and correct.
3. Submit the completed form along with a check made payable to “United of Omaha Life Insurance Company” for the required premium two weeks prior to the event/trip. Up to five events/trips can be listed on each form. Please Note: There is a minimum premium of $5.00 per enrollment form. Enrollment forms submitted with less than the required $5.00 will be returned unprocessed. 4. If for any reason the event/trip is rescheduled, contact your Membership Specialist with the new date within 24 hours of the cancellation. Mutual of Omaha will be contacted and provided with the new date to carry over the insurance coverage. If we are not contacted within the specified time, the premium is forfeited and a new enrollment form, along with payment, must be re-submitted. Please Note: To obtain additional Activity Insurance coverage for extended trips lasting more than three days and two consecutive nights, contact your Membership Specialist for enrollment and/or submission instructions.
Please take the time to become familiar with the council instructions before requesting additional insurance. Mutual of Omaha Enrollment Forms may not be sent directly to the insurance company. Those sent directly to Mutual of Omaha will be returned unprocessed and therefore delay obtaining additional insurance coverage. Forward the enrollment form along with payment to your Membership Specialist for approval and submission.
Experts The Safety Activity Checkpoints for most activities require having an expert on hand to help girls learn an activity. Please remember that all experts must be approved by your council. To make it a bit easier, many councils keep lists of local experts (such as sailing instructors) and facilities (such as roller skating rinks) they’ve already approved. If your council doesn’t keep these lists, you’ll have to present an expert for the council’s consideration. Some things to keep in mind: Does the person have documented training and experience? She or he should have documented experience for the activity in question, such as course completion certificates or cards, records of previous training to instruct the activity and letters of reference. What does she or he need to be able to do? This person should have the knowledge and experience to make appropriate judgments concerning participants, equipment, facilities, safety considerations, supervision and procedures for the activity. At the very least, she or he should be able to give clear instructions to girls and volunteers, troubleshoot unexpected scenarios and respond appropriately in an emergency.
There is an Accident Although you hope the worst never happens, you must observe council procedures for handling accidents and fatalities. At the scene of an accident, first provide all possible care for the injured person. Follow established council procedures for obtaining medical assistance and immediately reporting the emergency. To do this, you must always have on hand the names and telephone numbers of council staff, parents/guardians and emergency services such as the police, fire department or hospital. GSOFCT Crisis Cards can be found on our website gsofct.org under Forms.
Girl Scouts of Connecticut Volunteer Procedures for handling Serious Accidents or Major Emergencies: 1. Call 911 for emergency care. 2. Give priority attention to providing all possible care for injured. 3. Secure doctor, ambulance, police, and other support as appropriate. 4. Contact staff on site and call the Administrative Office at (800) 922-2770 or (203) 239-2922, or the emergency after-hours and weekend number at (800) 459-6311 to secure additional assistance. a) Your call will be taken by an operator and forwarded to the director responsible for that situation. b) A confidential telephone report form will be filled out. c) The appropriate staff member will be notified of the situation. 5. In the event of a serious accident, ALWAYS notify the police. Retain a responsible person at the scene. See that there is no disturbance to the victim or surrounding area until the police have assumed authority. 6. Make no statements to the press. Refer all media (press, radio, television) inquires to the GSOFCT Communications Department by stating: â€œGirl Scouts always puts its membersâ€™ safety first. For more information, call the Communications Department at (800) 922-2770.â€? Do not discuss the incident, place blame, or accept liability. 7. Do not sign any statements or reports, except for police, your own insurance company, and your own attorney. 8. Document details and witnesses. 9. Complete a written Accident/Injury Report Form, found on our website gsofct.org under the Resource and Form Library and submit to the Girl Scout Service Center in Hartford within 24 hours, if possible. Girl Scouts of Connecticut Attn: Risk Management 340 Washington Street Hartford, CT 06106 (800) 922-2770 Fax (860) 548-0325 After receiving a report of an accident, council staff will immediately arrange for additional assistance at the scene, if needed, and will notify parents/guardians, as appropriate. If a Girl Scout needs emergency medical care as the result of an accident or injury, first contact emergency medical services, and then follow council procedures for accidents and incidents. Your adherence to these procedures is critical, especially with
regard to notifying parents or guardians. If the media is involved, let council-designated staff discuss the incident with media representatives. In the event of a fatality or other serious accident, the police must be notified and a responsible volunteer must remain at the scene at all times. In the case of a fatality, do not disturb the victim or surroundings and follow police instructions. Do not share information about the accident with anyone but the police, your council and, if applicable, insurance representatives or legal counsel. Every volunteer should keep Crisis Cards on hand in the case of an unforeseen incident. When taking trips, ensure that each adult also carries a card. This card will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to handle an emergency situation and includes a listing of important phone numbers. Toll free emergency number: (800) 922-2770 or (203)239-2922 (Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) (800) 459-6311 (after hours and weekends)
Communicate with GSOFCT Membership Department within 24 hours in case of any accident, injury, or incident. Council staff is prepared and eager to assist you. In the event of an emergency, follow the Council Emergency Procedures as outlined on the previous page.
Accident/Injury Report Form: This form is to be used to report:
Any accident/injury occurring at a Girl Scouts of Connecticut event/activity/meeting/campout/field trip/etc. Any non-injury incident that occurs which may result in future problems or other future repercussions for the people involved or for Girl Scouts of Connecticut. Incident Report Form: This form is to be used to report: A serious argument (may or may not escalate into a verbal or physical threat) A physical altercation A non-injury incident of any sort where police are summoned Possible or threatened legal proceedings Possible or threatened adverse report(s) to the media
Someone Needs Emergency Care As you know, emergencies can happen. Girls need to receive proper instruction in how to care for themselves and others in emergencies. They also need to learn the importance of reporting to volunteers any accidents, illnesses or unusual behaviors during Girl Scout activities. You can help girls by keeping in mind the following:
Know what to report. See the “What to Do If There is an Accident” section earlier in this chapter. Establish and practice procedures for weather emergencies. Know the type of extreme weather to expect in your area (e.g. tornadoes, hurricanes and lightning). Please consult with your council for the most relevant information for you to share with girls. Establish and practice procedures for such circumstances as fire evacuation, lost persons and building-security issues. Every girl and adult volunteer must know how to act in these situations. For example, you and the girls, with the help of a fire department representative, should design a fire evacuation plan for meeting places used by the group. 105
Assemble a well-stocked first-aid kit that is always accessible. First aid administered in the first few minutes can make a significant difference in the severity of an injury. In an emergency, secure professional medical assistance as soon as possible, normally by calling 911, and then administer first aid, if appropriately trained.
Emergencies require prompt action and quick judgment. For many activities, Girl Scouts recommends that at least one adult volunteer be first aid/CPR-certified. For that reason, if you have the opportunity to get trained in council-approved first-aid/CPR, do it! You can take advantage of first aid/CPR training offered by chapters of the American Red Cross, National Safety Council, EMP America, American Heart Association or other sponsoring organizations approved by your council. As a partner of GSUSA, American Red Cross offers discounts on certification courses. Caution: First aid/CPR training that is available entirely online does not satisfy Girl Scoutsâ€™ requirements. Such courses do not offer enough opportunities to practice and receive feedback on your technique. If youâ€™re taking a course not offered by one of the organizations listed in the previous paragraph, or any course that has online components, get approval from your support team or council prior to enrolling in the course.
A first aider is an adult volunteer who has taken Girl Scout-approved first aid and CPR training that includes specific instructions for child CPR. If, through the American Red Cross, National Safety Council, EMP America, or American Heart Association, you have a chance to be fully trained in first aid and CPR, doing so may make your activity planning go a little more smoothly. To be considered a certified first aider with Girl Scouts of Connecticut, the adult volunteer must hold current certifications in First Aid, CPR/AED for both children and adults. Your troop/group first aider must also be an approved adult. See Chapter 1, Sharing Your Unique Gifts, for more information. The Safety Activity Checkpoints always tell you when a first-aider needs to be present. Since activities can take place in a variety of locations, the presence of a first aider and the qualifications they need to have are based on the remoteness of the activity. For example, if you take a two-mile hike in an area that has cell phone reception and service along the entire route and EMS (Emergency Medical Services) is no more than 30 minutes away at all times the first aider will not need to have knowledge of wilderness first aid. If, on the other hand, you take the same two-mile hike in a more remote area with no cell phone service and where EMS is more than 30 minutes away, the first-aider must have knowledge of wilderness first aid (see the chart below). Access to EMS
Minimum Level of First Aid Required
Less than 30 minutes
More than 30 minutes
Wilderness First Aid (WFA) or Wilderness First Responder (WFR)*
*Although a WFR is not required, it is strongly recommended when traveling with groups in areas that are greater than 30 minutes from EMS.
It is important to understand the differences between a first-aid course, and a wilderness-rated course. Although standard first-aid training provides basic incident response, wilderness-rated courses include training on remote-assessment skills, as well as emergency first-aid response, including evacuation techniques, to use when EMS is not readily available. 106
Note: The presence of a first aider is required at resident camp. For large events—200 people or more— there should be one first-aider for every 200 participants. The following healthcare providers may also serve as first-aiders: physician; physician’s assistant; nurse practitioner; registered nurse; licensed practical nurse; paramedic; military medic; and emergency medical technician. The following healthcare providers may also serve as first aiders: physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, paramedic, dentist, military medic, and emergency medical technician. To ensure a health care provider holds current certification, a copy of their certificate or cards should be requested.
Make sure a general first aid kit is available at your group meeting place and accompanies girls on any activity (including transportation to and from the activity). Please be aware that you may need to provide this kit if one is not available at your meeting place. You can purchase a Girl Scout first aid kit, you can buy a commercial kit, or you and the girls can assemble a kit yourselves. The Red Cross offers a list of potential items in its Anatomy of a First Aid Kit (note that the Red Cross’s suggested list includes aspirin, which you will not be at liberty to give to girls without direct parent/guardian permission). You can also customize a kit to cover your specific needs, including flares, treatments for frostbite, or snake bites and the like. In addition to standard materials, all kits should contain your council and emergency telephone numbers (which you can get from your council contact). Girl Scout activity insurance forms, parent consent forms, and health histories may also be included.
You Witness or Experience Abuse Sexual advances, improper touching, and sexual activity of any kind with girl members are forbidden. Physical, verbal, and emotional abuse of girls is also forbidden. All states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have statues identifying persons who are required to report suspected child abuse to an appropriate agency. Therefore, if you witness or suspect child abuse or neglect, whether inside or outside of Girl Scouting, follow your council’s guidelines for reporting your concerns to the proper agency within your state. For additional information please check the following resources: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Child Welfare Information Gateway: https://www.childwelfare.gov/can/
How to Report Suspected Child Maltreatment: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/responding/reporting/how/
Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect: https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/manda.cfm
The Adult Role in Troop/Group Money Management Co-leader guidance is fundamental in successful troop/group money management. The troop/group co-leader is responsible for ensuring that the troop/group operates within GSUSA and GSOFCT program guidelines. Briefly, the troop/group co-leader is responsible for:
Reading and following GSUSA and GSOFCT guidelines on money. Helping girls understand planning, budgeting, and troop/group finances. Keeping parents advised of troop/group plans and troop/group finances. Requesting financial assistance from council for individual girls who need funding for uniforms, registration, or programs. Opening and maintaining a troop/group checking account. Ensuring that accurate records of income and expenditures are kept and that open communication between all account signatories is ongoing. Submit Troop/Group Year-End Financial Report (attach link) to the service unit Treasurer by August 15th.
Establishing an Account If your group is earning and spending money, the group needs to set up a bank account. If you’re taking over an existing group, you may inherit a checking account, but with a new group, you’ll want to open a new account. This usually happens when there is money to deposit, such as group dues or money from product sales or group money-earning activities. Consider these tips when working with a group account:
Keep group funds in the bank before an activity or trip, paying for as many items as possible in advance of your departure. It is required that the person who will be responsible for the bank account be a registered member. Use debit cards during the activity or trip. Make one person responsible for group funds and for keeping a daily account of expenditures. When applicable your additional signer should have a back-up a debit card, in case the main card is lost. Handle a lost group debit card the same way you would a personal debit card: cancel it immediately Girl Scout troop/group funds cannot be co-mingled with personal accounts. Troop/Group checks are not to be printed with the name of the troop/group co-leader/adult volunteer.
Follow your council’s financial policies and procedures for setting up an account. Most council-sponsored product sale activities have specific banking and tracking procedures (see Chapter 7, Financing Your Girl Scout Program). Unused Girl Scout money left in accounts when groups disband becomes the property of the council. Prior to disbanding, the group may decide to donate any unused funds to their service unit, another troop or for girl activities. Girl activities can include purchasing materials to support another organization through Take Action projects. When closing a personal account, be sure all checks and other debits have cleared the account before you close it, and realize that you may have to close the account in person. Turn remaining funds over to a council staff member.
Girl Scouts of Connecticut recommends establishing an account with Webster Bank. The council has been able to establish a relationship with Webster Bank that provides the opportunity to leverage a council-wide relationship for account maintenance. To find a Webster Bank near you, visit: https://www.websteronline.com/personal/personal-homepage.html and click on “locations” in the navigation listed at the top of the page. For new accounts, GSOFCT will provide a letter of introduction and copy of the Corporate Resolution. Contact your service unit Treasurer, service unit manager, or Membership Specialist for assistance.
Troop/Group Bank Accounts Each troop/group must have a checking account into and out of which all funds flow. This account must be used solely in support of Girl Scout program. All statement savings or certificate of deposit (CD) accounts must have a designated purpose and must also be accounted for in the Troop/Group Year-End Financial Report. GSOFCT does not authorize passbook savings accounts. “Such money and other assets must be used for the purposes of Girl Scouting. They are the property of and are administered by the Girl Scout council or Girl Scouts of the USA and shall not be sold, given, transferred, or conveyed to a third party for less than fair market value. Such assets are not the property of individuals, troops, geographic units, subordinate units, or communities within a Girl Scout council.” (Blue Book of Basic Documents, 2017, Page 22) Each troop/group account must be in the name of “Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Troop/Group #_____” with the address of the primary troop co-leader or her/his designee. Additionally, the corporate nonprofit identification number, # 06-0662134, must be used on each account.
There must be at least two authorized signers*, none of whom are related to each other nor reside in the same household, on all Troop/Group accounts (including statement savings and certificate of deposit (CD) accounts). These signers shall be as follows:
The service unit Treasurer or service unit manager and one approved* adult from the troop/group or
In the absence of the service unit manager and service unit Treasurer, two approved* Girl Scout adults from the troop/group.
Please note: GSOFCT highly recommends that a service team member be an additional signer on all troop/group accounts.
*All volunteers who handle money must be currently registered Girl Scout members and have successfully completed the Volunteer Application Process and Background Screening prior to opening the bank account.
Checks are never to be signed without a payee written on the face of the check.
Troop/group bank accounts and the funds therein, are the property of Girl Scouts of Connecticut. Girl Scouts of Connecticut, therefore, reserves the right to randomly audit troop/group accounts as deemed necessary.
Ensure that only authorized signers are on troop/group accounts. Annually review accounts making certain that only currently registered and approved volunteers are listed as signatories. Verify with your banking institution that accounts are current and up-to-date; remove signatories who are no longer authorized signers. Report any changes to the account(s) to the service unit treasurer or
service unit manager. Include a current listing of authorized signers on your Troop/Group Year-End Financial Report.
To support girl programming, troops/groups will need to develop an operating budget. This budget will reflect anticipated income and expenses for the upcoming Girl Scout year. A Troop/Group Budget Forecast Worksheet has been developed to assist you in this process.
Reimbursement from troop/group accounts should only be made with appropriate supporting documentation.
Money earned during a membership year should be spent during that year. These monies belong to the troop/group jointly, and only as long as the troop/group is registered.
It is appropriate to have $10 per girl remain in the account to help with the next year’s troop/group start-up. If a troop/group is saving for a more expensive activity and needs to carry over more than the $10 per girl allotment to accomplish it, please note the details on the Troop/Group Year-End Financial Report. Special circumstances requiring larger carry over balances must be discussed and approved by the Membership Specialist.
It is appropriate to allocate end-of-year troop/group funds to purchase and/or supplement GSUSA Membership Dues for the following year. All currently registered troop/group members would be considered.
Service unit event expenses must never be processed through a troop/group account. Troops/groups hosting a service unit event should process all event-related monies through the service unit account.
Troops/groups must reconcile bank accounts monthly.
All bank statements, check registers, and supporting documentation (receipts, invoices, canceled checks, etc.) must be maintained for seven years by the troop/group.
Managing Your Account The troop/group treasurer is responsible for coordinating deposits, expenditures, and financial reporting for and to the troop/group. Since the money belongs to the “troop/group,” it is important that the management of funds is transparent for the girls, parents, and volunteers as well as the council. The service unit treasurer is responsible for providing local training and ongoing support to troop/group volunteers. Purchasing supplies and requesting reimbursements correctly for troops/groups is an essential part of managing your bank account. Follow these guidelines to keep the process easy:
Purchases Whenever possible, purchase supplies, equipment, goods, and services as a debit card transaction or with a troop/group check. This provides for a detailed accounting of monies spent. Use the Sales Tax Exempt certificate for all purchases. It is also important to only use the troop/group bank account for appropriate troop/group expenses. If a troop/group co-leader has a question about appropriate purchases, the service unit treasurer should be contacted. See below for a partial list: GSUSA Membership Dues – one troop/group check should be submitted to service unit registrar with completed registration packet Purchase of troop/group checks Training/workshops for registered troop/group adults that will directly benefit working with the girls Supplies, equipment, goods, and services purchased for troop/group use (become property of the troop/group and must be included in the troop/group Inventory) Troop events and field trips 110
Donations to GSOFCT’s Girl Assistance Fund or the Juliette Gordon Low World Friendship Fund Co-leader books and materials (become property of the troop/group and must be included in the troop/group Inventory) Babysitting for troop/group co-leader to attend training or meeting times – this should be discussed and agreed upon during a parent/guardian meeting. All parents/guardians must be made aware of the childcare need prior to any troop/group monies being used. Recognitions for girls and adults (i.e.– gift for cookie volunteer, outdoor trained adult, etc.) Purchase of food gift cards to donate to needy families (Stop & Shop, Big Y, etc.)
Reimbursements If a volunteer or parent requires a reimbursement for pre-approved purchases, requests need to be submitted to the troop/group and/or service unit within two weeks of purchase and must be accompanied by a detailed receipt. To maintain good financial management, strict adherence to the two-week timeframe is suggested. No reimbursements are to be given without a detailed receipt. Reimbursements should be made by check with the reason for reimbursement noted in the check memo section. If a signer on the account or a member of her or his family is receiving reimbursement, one of the alternate signers must review the receipts and sign the check.
Cash An ATM withdrawal receipt does not qualify as a receipt for reimbursement or justification for troop/group purchases. Troop/group checks may not be made out to cash. All purchases made with cash require detailed receipts of the goods and services purchased.
Debit Cards To help facilitate troop/group money management, GSOFCT has established guidelines for debit card use. Each troop/group may obtain one debit card to be used for deposits and payments. The card is for official Girl Scout business only. Debit cards should only be issued to currently registered troop/group co-leaders who have completed the application process and have had a successful background screening. The cardholder is responsible for obtaining purchase receipts, securing the card, and is legally responsible for the transactions posted to the card. Debit card expenditures should be reconciled monthly to ensure that there are no unauthorized expenditures to the account. Inappropriate debit card usage will result in forfeiture of the debit card privilege. Credit cards will not be authorized since borrowing money is not allowed for troop/group accounts. PayPal accounts are not authorized for troop/group use.
Online Banking Online banking is authorized on troop/group bank accounts to view account balances, download transaction history, and print copies of checks and statements. Because all signers are responsible for maintaining the troop/group account, the user ID and password for access to the account should be shared with all account signers. This will facilitate monitoring the account activity and balance and help prevent cardholders/signers from inadvertently overdrawing the account and/or incurring fees. Passwords should be changed whenever there is a change in account signers. Please note: Webster Bank requires additional paperwork to be completed and notarized prior to gaining online access to banking accounts.
Reporting By August 15, troops/groups are required to submit the Troop/Group Year-End Financial Report, accompanied by a copy of the most recent banking statement, to the service unit treasurer. If the account year-end balance is more than the allotted $10 per girl carry over, note details on the Troop/Group Year-End Financial Report. Special circumstances requiring larger carry over balances must be discussed and approved by the Membership Specialist. These reports are reviewed by service unit treasurers, service unit managers, and/or council staff. All troops/groups must complete this form regardless of their year-end balance. Girl Scout troops/groups cannot participate in non-council sponsored money-earning activities of any kind if they have not submitted their year-end financial reports from the previous year(s).
Bad Check Procedures It is the responsibility of the troop/group co-leader to ensure all accounts are in compliance with GSOFCT Financial Procedures and monthly bank reconciliation is occurring. Any checks returned to by our bank as NSF (insufficient funds), account closed, refer to maker, etc. will be immediately forwarded to Payliance for processing. Payliance will have full authority to contact the check writer for collection on the bad check and to charge collection fees from the check writer as allowed under current state law. GSOFCT will no longer attempt redeposit of bad checks. o An initial courtesy phone call will be made if contact information is available. As a reminder, all checks accepted and deposited on behalf of GSOFCT should include name, residence address (no P.O. Boxes), phone number with area code, and driver’s license number. Temporary checks and checks lacking imprinted information should never be accepted. If possible, use the reference line to list the troop number and activity (example: Troop XXXXX/cookies). At no time will the council accept or hold a check to be deposited at a later date.
Troops/groups with any financial delinquencies will be submitted to the Chief Financial Officer for further action.
When a bank account is mismanaged and fees are accumulated, it is the responsibility of the volunteer(s) managing the account to personally pay such fees assessed by the bank or by a given business. Poor financial management on a volunteer’s part will result in jeopardizing not only the individual’s financial status but also places GSOFCT’s credit standing and relationship with the financial institution at risk. Bank Account fees may not be deducted from troop/group funds.
Outstanding Debt Procedures A person owing a debt to GSOFCT for more than 120 days will be removed immediately from any adult volunteer position currently held. Only if the debt is repaid within three months from the date it was incurred may the individual be reinstated in a volunteer position. Any person incurring a second debt to the council will be removed immediately from any adult volunteer position and permanently banned from any volunteer position. Procedures: 1. The council will notify the debtor via mail that there is a debt. The debtor will be given 10 business days from the date the first letter is mailed to pay the debt in full. If the debt is not paid in full, the responsible party will be charged a $25.00 surcharge/processing fee. Should the council agree to work out payment arrangements, there will be a $10 monthly service fee in addition to the amount owed. 112
2. If the debtor does not make arrangements or pay within the 10-business day period, the debtor will be notified via certified letter that she/he is removed as a volunteer. A copy of the certified letter will be retained by council. The service unit manager, membership staff, and any other appropriate individuals will be notified of volunteer’s release. Reinstatement as a volunteer will occur after all payments have been made in full; appropriate individuals will be notified. If the debt remains uncollected it will be turned over to the collection agency for them to handle. 3. If a second debt occurs, the council will notify the debtor via certified mail that she/he is immediately and permanently removed from any adult volunteer position. The volunteer’s council record will be marked with a permanent ban from any volunteer position. The service unit manager, membership staff, and any other appropriate individuals will be notified of volunteer’s permanent release.
Protect Yourself! Money is one of those areas that can cause a lot of bad feelings and ill will among girls and parents/guardians in a troop/group. Save yourself an endless amount of heartache and avoid the possibility of having your financial practices being called into question by following these practices: Keep good financial records including receipts for all expenditures. Ensure all financial responsibilities are addressed in a timely manner. All outstanding delinquencies will be reported to the Chief Financial Officer for further action. Involve girls (and sometimes parents/guardians) in financial decision-making. The more they know, the better! Ensure all signers on the account(s) are aware of financial transactions not just the primary checkbook holder. Review account status regularly with all signers to ensure compliance with GSOFCT policies and procedures. Report any discrepancies to your service unit manager. Report on troop/group finances regularly to girls and parents/guardians. The money belongs to the girls, and they should know how much they have and how it has been spent. Pay attention to and follow the other financial guidelines in this booklet. They are there to protect you, and to keep you in compliance with GSOFCT policies and guidelines.
Financial Assistance The Girl Scout program is designed to be an affordable program for all girls. All efforts should be made by the troop/group (with girl planning) to provide programming that is funded through troop/group dues, cookie and QSP Programs, other approved money‐earning projects, and reasonable support from families. Girl planning includes budgeting and making decisions on what activities the troop/group can participate in because of the troop/group’s ability to fund the proposed activity. All monies earned by the troop/group should be shared equally among all the girls and not divided into individual “shares.” Financial assistance will be granted regardless of race, color, ethnicity, creed, national origin, religion, or socioeconomic status. No girl should be denied reasonable accommodation in Girl Scouting due to financial need. Dues, cookie, and QSP proceeds should cover everything the troop/group plans for the year including Girl Scout membership pins/stars, recognitions, activities, and field trips. Field trips can be partially paid for by parents/guardians, but should be kept to a minimum, as a result of good budgeting. Uniforms, insignia, and books are the responsibility of the parent/guardian. If the parent is unable to pay for 113
these items, financial assistance may be available (see Financial Assistant Guidelines below for specifics). The girl member can pay dues either weekly, monthly, quarterly or in a lump sum. If collected in a lump sum, parents/guardians should be given the opportunity to pay this amount in installments. Parents/Guardians should be told what dues will cover. Financial assistance for dues may be available. Financial assistance for adults is limited to council‐sponsored training and/or program events and Girl Scout membership pins when available. Assistance will not be given to cover the cost of uniforms. When girl members determine the cost of an activity where adult participation is necessary, expenses should be budgeted into the total cost of the activity and thus the cost per girl is created. Possible costs could be the following: admission fees, site fees, transportation, food, etc. Financial assistance for activities may be available. Financial assistance should be applied for when all other sources of funding for an individual girl have been exhausted. An effort needs to be made to ensure that girls have an opportunity to participate even though their family cannot or chooses not to financially support the girl in this program.
Financial Assistance Guidelines:
Financial Assistance will be granted only to currently active registered Girl Scouts. Financial Assistance should be requested before troop/group funds are spent. The Girl Scout and her family will be expected to pay a portion of the total expense. Financial Assistance requests must be submitted on the appropriate form: o Request for Financial Assistance for Girl Members o Request for Financial Assistance for Adult Members Financial assistance is non‐transferable and not redeemable for cash. Limited financial assistance is available and is based both on apparent need and the availability of funds. Financial assistance may be available for the following: o GSUSA national membership fees. o Girl Scout sash with insignia, membership pin, grade level appropriate Journey, or Girl’s Guide. o Girl Scout‐sponsored activities/events and/or GSUSA‐sponsored destinations. o Volunteer educational and training opportunities that benefit the troop. o Adult membership pin. o GSOFCT resident and day camp programs.
Handling Discrepancies in Troop/Group Funds At the time of appointment, the troop/group co-leader should be told that she and/or a designated adult volunteer is the custodian of the troop/group funds. The troop/group and/or designee, are responsible for any monies collected in the name of Girl Scouts of Connecticut. Such monies are to be used ONLY by the troop/group and for troop/group activities. The troop/group co-leader is responsible for maintaining records and preparing reports, which reflect the status of funds within the troop/group. If a troop/group co-leader fails to maintain records and prepare reports, the service unit manager should review the situation with the troop/group co-leader and try to reconcile the problem. The following guidelines are applicable to more serious situations:
Existence, Amount, or Status of Troop/Group Bank Account Unknown If a troop/group co-leader has moved, leaving no records, no accounting of funds and no access to the troop/group bank account and the service unit manager has exhausted all means at her/his disposal to determine the status of the account, she/he should consult directly with the Membership Specialist for
support and advice. This situation can be avoided by having the service unit manager, service unit treasurer, or a member of the service team as a co‐signer for all troop/group bank accounts.
Misappropriation of Troop Funds If it is suspected that there has been misappropriation of funds or when actual misappropriation is established, the service unit manager or her/his designee, depending on circumstances, may request any one or a combination of the following actions: Audit of troop/group monies. Collection of all monies outstanding and/or on hand. Funds will be deposited into the service unit account pending investigation outcome. If personal contact is not possible, a letter with a specific reply date should be sent requesting an appointment for accounting of the funds. Collection of all reports, funds, records, property, etc. and removal of the troop/group co-leader from her/his position. Funds will be deposited into the service unit account pending investigation outcome.
Financial Procedures When Troop/Groups Change Girls Changing Troop/Groups If one or more girls move from one troop/group to another troop/group within the council, it is appropriate to transfer a proportionate amount of the former troop/group funds to the new troop/group. Merging Troop/Groups If two troop/groups merge, the funds from both troop/groups are combined into one account. Bridging Groups Multi-age groups with girls bridging to a new level and thus into a new troop/group may transfer a proportionate amount of the former troop/group funds to the new troop/group. Splitting Groups If the entire group (ALL girls and families) mutually decide to split or divide, it is appropriate for the troop/group to decide to split the funds of the existing troop/group proportionally. However, if a small group decides to split off to form a new troop/group, they do so with the understanding that they have no claim to their “share” of the funds unless the troop/group decides together to split the funds in this way. Contact your service unit or your Membership Specialist for assistance in the process/procedures to split the funds.
Reminder: Any troop/group funds remaining once all expenses have been recorded must never be divided and distributed directly to the girls or adult volunteers.
Closing a Bank Account Prior to disbanding, the troop/group may decide to donate any unused funds to a worthwhile organization, to another troop/group, or to the service unit to use for girl programming, financial assistance and/or scholarships. Unused Girl Scout money left in accounts when groups disband becomes the property of the service unit. Forward any remaining funds to the service unit Treasurer prior to closing accounts. As when closing a personal account, be sure all checks and other debits have cleared the account before you close it, and realize that you may have to close the account in person.
Timeline: End-of-Year Financial Report May & June July August August 15 to 30 August 30 September October 1 November 30
Volunteers will be reminded at service unit Meetings and Volunteer Update of deadline Volunteers will be reminded in Volunteer Update of deadline Service unit deadlines Due to Membership Specialists Email sent to troops/groups that have not submitted Financial Reports to service unit Treasurer Membership Specialists will send email to delinquent troops/groups Director of Membership Recruitment & Support will send email to delinquent troops/groups Chief Financial Officer will be notified of delinquent troops/groups for further action
Disbandment Procedures A troop/group is considered to be disbanded if it is no longer meeting or the troop/group has not re-registered for at least four months from the expiration date of the last registration.
of the service unit after the hold period has occurred.
When a Troop/Group Disbands: If the troop/group decides not to re-register or decides to stop meeting during the membership year, the troop/group co-leader is to:
If one or more girls from a disbanding troop/group are placed into one or several other active troop/groups within the council, a percentage of the troop/group funds transfers to the new troop/group(s):
1. Notify the service unit registrar. 2. Help the girls decide how to use existing funds. The council encourages disbanding troop/groups to expend all remaining funds in a manner determined by the girls. Please note: The funds are for Girl Scout activities and are not to be retained by individuals as their property. Girls may contribute a portion of their troop/group treasury to organizations or projects they consider worthwhile. Appropriate use of funds includes: final trip or activity, purchasing Lifetime Membership for all girls (if applicable), and/or donations to the Juliette Gordon Low World Friendship Fund, GSOFCT for Financial Assistance, or to another organization of the girls’ choice. Be sure to request documentation from the organization that your troop/group has donated to and attach this documentation to your Troop/Group Year-End Finance Report. 3. Complete the Troop/Group Disbanding Notice. 4. Complete the Troop/Group Year-End Financial Report. 5. Remit any remaining funds to the service unit; Close the account after all checks and other debits have cleared.
This percentage is determined by dividing the total amount in the account by the number of girls in the group at the time of disbanding. This division is made regardless of an individual girl’s contribution through product sales and other money-earning means. A check for the apportioned amount of money per girl is sent to the new troop/group(s).Funds may not be given to any individual girl or adult. Attach a copy of the issued check(s) to the Troop/Group Year-End Financial Reports. The transfer of funds must take place within 60 days of the troop/group disbanding. The service unit will hold all un-apportioned funds from disbanded troops/groups until the beginning of the next membership year but in no case less than 12 months from the date of the disband. If the group reactivates during this period, the funds will be returned to the group by written request to the service unit. All funds from disbanded troops/groups will be used to benefit the total girl membership
6. Turn checkbook, bank statements, Debit/ATM cards, and all troop/group equipment and supplies to your service unit manager and/or treasurer.
Please note: The transfer of any monies must be noted in the year-end financial report.
Summary: Disbursal of Troop/Group Funds Girl leaves group, does not continue in Girl Scouts
No funds move
Girl moves to another group
Portion of funds transfers Portion of funds transfers; SU holds unapportioned funds Funds held by service unit until start of next membership year, or not less than 12 months of the date of the disbandment Portion of funds transfers; SU holds unapportioned funds
Group disbands, girl moves into another group Group disbands, no girls continue in Girl Scouts Group ends, some girls bridge to a new troop Groups merge
Funds combine Group decidesâ€”contact your service unit or Membership Specialist to discuss procedures
Group splits into two or more groups
Service Unit Bank Accounts Each service unit must have a checking account into which and out of which all funds flow. This account must be used solely in support of Girl Scout program. All statement savings or certificate of deposit (CD) accounts must have a designated purpose and must also be accounted for in the Annual Service Unit Financial Report. GSOFCT does not authorize passbook savings accounts. “Such money and other assets must be used for the purposes of Girl Scouting. They are the property of and are administered by the Girl Scout council or Girl Scouts of the USA and shall not be sold, given, transferred, or conveyed to a third party for less than fair market value. Such assets are not the property of individuals, troops, geographic units, subordinate units, or communities within a Girl Scout council.” (Blue Book of Basic Documents, 2017, Page 22)
Each service unit account must be in the name of “Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Service Unit _____” with the address of the service unit treasurer or the service unit manager. Additionally, the Corporation non-profit identification number, #06-0662134, must be used on each account.
There must be at least two authorized signers*, none of whom are related to each other nor reside in the same household, on all service unit accounts (including statement savings and certificate of deposit (CD) accounts). These signers must include the service unit treasurer and service unit manager or In the absence of a service unit treasurer and/or service unit manager, another service team member appointed by the council may serve as an authorized signer.
*All volunteers that handle money must be currently registered Girl Scout members and have successfully completed the Volunteer Application Process and Background Screening prior to opening the bank account.
Checks are never to be signed without a payee shown on the face of the check.
Service unit bank accounts and the funds therein, are the property of Girl Scouts of Connecticut. Girl Scouts of Connecticut, therefore, reserves the right to randomly audit service unit accounts as deemed necessary.
Ensure that only authorized signers are on service unit accounts. Annually review accounts making certain that only currently registered and approved volunteers are listed as signatories. Verify with your banking institution that accounts are current and up-to-date; remove signatories who are no longer authorized signers. Report any changes to the account(s) to the service unit manager and membership specialist. Include a current listing of authorized signers on your Annual Service Unit Financial Report.
Reimbursement from service unit accounts should be only made with appropriate supporting documentation.
It is appropriate to have $10 per girl, and $10 per adult, remain in the service unit account to assist in the overall management of the service unit and for providing program opportunities for girls. If a service unit needs to carry over more than the $10 per girl and $10 per adult allotment, please note the details the Annual Service Unit Financial Report. Special circumstances requiring larger carry over balances must be discussed and approved by the membership specialist.
The Annual Service Unit Financial Report, accompanied by a copy of the most recent banking statement, must be submitted to the membership specialist by August 15. Ensure that the service unit manager has reviewed and approved. These reports are reviewed by service unit treasurers, service unit managers, and/or council staff.
Troops/groups hosting a service unit event should process all event related monies through the service unit account. Service unit event expenses must never be processed through a troop/group account.
The service unit exists to support troop/group programming. In order to cover related administrative costs and create opportunities for inter-troop/group activities, service units will need to develop an operating budget. This budget will reflect anticipated income and expenses for the upcoming Girl Scout year. A service unit Budget Forecast Worksheet has been developed to assist you in this process. A service unit proposed budget is due to the Membership Specialist no later than August 15 of each year. GSOFCT reserves the right to disapprove anticipated expenses.
Service units must reconcile bank accounts monthly.
All bank statements, check registers, and supporting documentation (receipts, invoices, canceled checks, etc.) must be maintained for seven years by the service unit treasurer or service unit manager.
Managing the Service Unit Account The service unit treasurer is responsible for coordinating deposits, expenditures, and financial reporting for and to the service unit. Since the money belongs to the “service unit,” it is important that the management of funds is transparent for the volunteers as well as the council. The service unit manager is responsible for ensuring the service unit treasurer obtains training necessary for the position and that she/he supports local troop/group volunteer’s financial needs. Purchasing supplies and requesting reimbursements correctly for service units is an essential part of managing your bank account. Follow these guidelines to keep the process easy:
Purchases Whenever possible, purchase supplies, equipment, goods, and services as a debit card transaction or with a service unit check. This provides for a detailed accounting of monies spent. Use the Sales Tax Exempt certificate for all purchases. It is also important to only use the service unit bank account for appropriate service unit expenses. If the service unit treasurer has a question about appropriate purchases, the service unit manager should be contacted. See below for a partial list. Training/workshops for registered troop/group adults that will directly benefit working with the girls. Purchase of service unit checks Supplies, equipment, goods, and services purchased for service unit use (become property of the service unit and must be included in the service unit inventory) Service unit events and field trips Service unit donations to GSOFCT’s Girl Assistance Fund or the Juliette Low World Friendship fund Purchase copies of National Portfolio materials for all service unit troop/groups to use (become property of the service unit and must be included in the service unit inventory) Volunteer recognitions (i.e. Helping Hands, Leading the Way, etc.) Purchase of food gift cards to donate to needy families (Stop & Shop. Big Y, etc.)
Reimbursements If a volunteer or individual troop/group requires reimbursement for a pre-approved purchase and/or event expenses, requests need be submitted within two weeks of purchase or event completion and must be accompanied by a detailed receipt. To maintain good financial management, strict adherence to the two-week timeframe is suggested. No reimbursements are to be given without detailed receipts. Reimbursements should be made by check with the reason for reimbursement noted in the check memo section. If a signer on the account or a member of her or his family is receiving reimbursement, one of the alternate signers must review the receipts and sign the check.
Cash An ATM withdrawal receipt does not qualify as a receipt for reimbursement or justification for service unit purchases. Service unit checks may not be made out to cash. All purchases made with cash require detailed receipts of the goods and services purchased.
Debit Cards To help facilitate service unit money management, GSOFCT has established guidelines for debit card use. Each service unit may obtain one debit card to be used for deposits and payments. The card is for official Girl Scout business only. Debit cards should only be issued to currently registered service unit treasurers who have completed the application process and have had a successful background screening. The cardholder is responsible for obtaining purchase receipts, securing the card, and is legally responsible for the transactions posted to the card. Debit card expenditures should be reconciled monthly to ensure that there are no unauthorized expenditures to the account. Inappropriate debit card usage will result in forfeiture of the debit card privilege. Credit cards will not be authorized since borrowing money is not allowed for service unit accounts. PayPal accounts are not authorized for service unit use.
Online Banking Online banking is authorized on service unit bank accounts to view account balances, download transaction history, and print copies of checks and statements. Because all signers are responsible for maintaining the service unit account, the user ID, and password for access to the account should be shared with all account signers. This will facilitate monitoring the account activity and balance and help prevent cardholders/signers from inadvertently overdrawing the account and/or incurring fees. Passwords should be changed whenever there is a change in account signers. Please note: Webster Bank requires additional paperwork to be completed and notarized prior to gaining online access to banking accounts.
Money Management and the Individually Registered Girls (Juliettes) Girl Scouts of Connecticut uses the title “Juliette” for a girl who registers in Girl Scouts individually (Individually Registered Girls), rather than as a part of a specific pathway. As Juliettes, girl members may participate in the Girl Scout cookie and QSP programs, as well as, additional Money Earning Activities (when applicable). Monies for Juliettes can be managed through the service unit banking account. These monies are the property of the service unit and should be distributed to girls following GSOFCT guidelines and accounted for on the Service Unit Year-End Financial Report. The following resource has been developed to help in managing these funds:
Request for Funding – Independently Registered Girl Scout – This form is to be completed when a Juliette is requesting monies to help pay or defray the cost of participating in Girl Scouts. The form, along with supporting documentation, is submitted to the service unit treasurer or designee for approval and disbursement. See form for more specifics.
Remember: All monies raised in the name of Girl Scouting must be used solely for that purpose. Monies are never directly disbursed to a girl, her parent/guardian or an adult volunteer without proper documentation.
Reporting By August 15, service units are required to submit the Annual Service Unit Financial Report, accompanied by a copy of the most recent banking statement, to the service unit manager. If the account year-end balance is more than the allotted $10 per girl and $10 per adult carry over, note details on the Annual Service Unit Financial Report. Special circumstances requiring larger carry over balances must be discussed and approved by the membership specialist. This report is reviewed by the service unit manager and council staff. All service units must complete this form regardless of their year-end balance. Girl Scout service units cannot participate in non-council sponsored money-earning activities of any kind if they have not submitted their year-end financial reports from the previous year(s).
Bad Check Procedures It is the responsibility of the service unit treasurer to ensure the service unit account(s) are in compliance with GSOFCT Financial Procedures and monthly bank reconciliation is occurring. Any checks returned by our bank as NSF (insufficient funds), account closed, refer to maker, etc. will be immediately forwarded to Payliance for processing. Payliance will have full authority to contact the check writer for collection on the bad check and to charge collection fees from the check writer as allowed under current state law. GSOFCT will no longer attempt redeposit of bad checks. o An initial courtesy phone call will be made if contact information is available. As a reminder, all checks accepted and deposited on behalf of GSOFCT should include name, residence address (no P.O. Boxes), phone number with area code and driver’s license number. Temporary checks and checks lacking imprinted information should never be accepted. If possible, use the reference line to list the service unit number and activity (example: Service unit XXXX/Square Dance). At no time will the Council accept or hold a check to be deposited at a later date. Service units with any financial delinquencies will be submitted to the Chief Financial Officer for further action.
When a bank account is mismanaged and fees are accumulated, it is the responsibility of the volunteer(s) managing the account to personally pay such fees assessed by the bank or by a given business. Poor financial management on a volunteer’s part will result in jeopardizing not only the individual’s financial status but also places GSOFCT’s credit standing and relationship with the financial institution at risk. Bank Account fees may not be deducted from service unit funds.
Protect Yourself! Money is one of those areas that can cause a lot of bad feelings and ill will among volunteer in a service unit. Save yourself an endless amount of heartache and avoid the possibility of having your financial practices being called into question by following these practices: 121
Keep good financial records including receipts for all expenditures. Ensure all financial responsibilities are addressed in a timely manner. All outstanding delinquencies will be reported to the Chief Financial Officer for further action. Ensure all signers on the account(s) are aware of financial transactions not just the primary checkbook holder. Review account status regularly with all signers to ensure compliance with GSOFCT policies and procedures. Report any discrepancies to your service unit manager. Report on service unit finances at monthly volunteer meetings. Service unit monies support your area’s girl and adult activities as well as cover administrative expenses. Local volunteers should know how much the service unit has and how it has been spent. Pay attention to and follow the other financial guidelines in this booklet. They are there to protect you, and to keep you in compliance with GSOFCT policies and guidelines.
Handling Discrepancies of Service Unit Funds At the time of appointment, the service unit treasurer should be told that she/he is the custodian of the service unit funds. The service unit treasurer is responsible for any monies collected in the name of Girl Scouts of Connecticut. Such monies are to be used ONLY by the service unit and for service unit activities. The service unit treasurer is responsible for maintaining records and preparing reports, which reflect the status of funds within the service unit. If the service unit treasurer fails to maintain records and prepare reports, the service unit manager should review the situation with the service unit treasurer and try to reconcile the problem. If it is suspected that there has been misappropriation of funds or when actual misappropriation is established, the service unit manager or her/his designee will contact the membership specialist to establish a course of action that may include the audit of service unit monies and/or the possible removal of the service unit treasurer from her/his position.
Thank you for adhering to these policies. GSOFCT reserves the right to step in and close accounts if there is misappropriation or policy violations. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact GSOFCT’s director of finance at (800) 922-2770.
Troop/Group and Service unit Gift Acceptance Policy Girl Scouts of Connecticut supports and encourages troop/groups and service units to fundraise monetary and in-kind contributions from local businesses, foundations, organizations, or individuals using the following guidelines: 1. The maximum amount a troop/group/service unit may accept from donated monetary gifts in a membership year is $1,000. a. The funds must benefit the entire troop/group or service unit, not a specific individual. b. Funds will be disbursed to the troop/group or service unit only after the troop/group coleader or service unit manager sends written correspondence confirming that the funds will be for the benefit of the entire troop/group or service unit and not for a specific individual. 2. Any designated donation monies of $250.00 or more from a foundation, corporation, government entity, or individual (including recognition of volunteer service hours) should be written payable to Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc. and sent to 340 Washington Ave., Hartford, CT, 06106 and designated to the specific troop/group or service unit. Online donations can be made at 122
gsofct.org (click the “Donate” button on top right corner of main page) and call (800) 922-2770 to confirm troop/group or service unit designation. a. The troop/group or service unit should complete the Monetary Gift Acceptance Form and forward to the Hartford Service Center, Attn: Data Management, email firstname.lastname@example.org. b. The council is responsible for thanking the donor though the troop/group or service unit may want to send an acknowledgement as well. c. Girl Scouts of Connecticut will issue up to $1,000 of donation to the designated troop/group or service unit upon completion of the Monetary Gift Acceptance Form. d. The balance of donations will be used toward the council’s Girl Assistance Fund to benefit Connecticut Girl Scouts in need. e. Troops/groups or service units are not legal 501(c) (3) organizations. The troop/group or service unit therefore cannot provide documentation of tax-deductibility of the donation. GSOFCT will provide a tax receipt. 3. Any designated donation monies of $249.99 or less from a foundation, corporation, government entity, or individual can be written to and received directly by the troop/group or service unit. a. Notification to the council is appreciated. b. The troop/group or service unit is responsible for thanking and acknowledging the donor. c. If the donor requests a tax-deductible receipt the troop/group or service unit must forward the donation to the council to process with the completed Monetary Gift Acceptance Form. d. Troops/groups or service units are not legal 501(c) (3) organizations. The troop/group or service unit therefore cannot provide documentation of tax-deductibility of the donation. GSOFCT will provide a tax receipt if requested by the donor. 4. In-kind Gifts: Troops/groups or service units should notify their director of member recruitment & support or her/his designee of any in-kind gifts of goods for troop/group or service unit activities. a. If an in-kind gift of goods or services is received that is valued at over $250 and/or the donor requests a tax-deductible receipt, the Gift-In-Kind Acceptance Form must be completed and submitted to the council so the donor may be properly thanked. If the form is not submitted, the gift may not be recognized as tax deductible. b. All in-kind gifts of goods or services received that are valued at $250 or less can be received directly by the troop/group or service unit. The troop/group or service unit is responsible for thanking and acknowledging the donor. 5. Funds donated must benefit the entire troop/group or service unit not a specific individual. The funds in the troop/group or service unit never become the property of individual girls/adults. 6. All donations must be accounted for on the Troop/Group Year-End Financial Report or the Annual Service Unit Financial Report. 7. Troops/groups or service units that do not comply with fundraising guidelines may be subject to sanctions. Girl Scouts of Connecticut thanks all volunteers, service unit managers and troop/group coleaders who solicit and secure donations for the benefit of our members.
Gifts Designated to Troops/Groups and Service Units Volunteer Hours Matching Gifts Donations Members of a troop/group or service unit may be eligible to participate in their employer’s charitable giving program for donations, matching gifts or volunteer hours. These gifts can be designated to a specific troop/group/service unit or they can be directed to the council for the benefit all Girl Scouts in Connecticut. Adult volunteers are encouraged to contact their employer to inquire if a volunteer-hours grant is available. Such programs require the volunteer to report their service hours and summarize their volunteer activities. Upon approval, the employer will make a charitable contribution to the organization designated by the volunteer. Families, volunteers, and friends can also direct a donation or matching gift made through an employer charitable giving program to a troop/group or service unit. Troops/groups or service units are allowed to receive a maximum of $1,000.00 per fiscal year in donations. GSOFCT’s fiscal year runs October 1 through September 30. To expedite the processing of the gift to your troop/group or service unit, please follow the directions below.
Requesting the Gift From an Employer: When requesting a donation, please only use the account for Girl Scouts of Connecticut. All donations requesting a matching gift, a tax receipt, and/or are $250.00 or more must go through GSOFCT as they are the nonprofit entity with the legal status of tax exemption. Troops/groups or service units are considered subdivisions of the council and therefore do not have separate tax exemption status. 1. Access your employer’s Charitable Giving Program: Search for the “Girl Scouts of Connecticut” or “Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc.” main account. Please note: There should be no GSOFCT accounts listed for individual troops/groups or service units. If you have the option to search by Tax ID Number or EIN, the number is: 06-0662134. If you cannot find an established account for GSOFCT, please have your employer contact: Data Management Girl Scouts of Connecticut 340 Washington Street, Hartford, CT 06106 (800) 922-2770 or email email@example.com Our staff will send your employer the documentation required to set up the account.
Do not set up a separate account for the troop/group or service unit. Doing so will result in the following: The account set up for your troop/group or service unit will be closed. GSOFCT staff will need to call the employer to have them move the gift into the GSOFCT main account. The processing of the gift will be delayed and may miss the deadline set by the employer’s charitable giving program.
2. There will be a field in which to designate how you would like GSOFCT to use the donation. Complete this field with the specific troop/group and/or service unit you wish to receive the donation; if the troop number is unknown, enter the town or troop/group co-leader’s name. Donations can also be designated to GSOFCT Campership Fund or Girl Assistance Fund. If this field is left blank, the gift will be allocated to general operating. 124
3. Allow ample time when processing the donation or matching gift, or requesting volunteer hours from the employer. Familiarize yourself with the employer’s charitable giving program deadlines and timeline for processing gifts.
Notifying GSOFCT of a Gift for Troop/Group or Service Unit: In order to receive the gift, you must complete the Monetary Gift Acceptance Form and forward to the Hartford Service Center, Attn: Data Management, email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax to (860) 5480325. Gifts will not be released to a troop/group or service unit without this form on file at GSOFCT. Please note:
Gifts that are directed to a troop/group or service unit must be used for the benefit of the entire troop/group or service unit and not for a specific individual(s).
If your troop/group or service unit receives a check or cash over $250.00 directly from a parent, guardian, organization, etc. please send the donation to GSOFCT along with the Monetary Gift Acceptance Form. GSOFCT will process the donation, issue it to the designated troop/group or service unit, and provide a tax receipt to the donor. Do not deposit the check/cash into your troop/group or service unit bank account.
If your troop/group or service unit has reached the $1,000 limit for the current fiscal year, the balance of the gift(s) can be designated to benefit another Girl Scout through the GSOFCT Campership Fund or GSOFCT Girl Assistance Fund. Gifts can also be redirected to another troop/group or service unit.
Receiving a Gift for Troop/Group or Service Unit: Once GSOFCT has received the gift from your employer and has the corresponding Monetary Gift Acceptance Form on file, a check will be requested from the GSOFCT Finance Department.
All checks are made payable to the troop/group or service unit.
The GSOFCT Finance Department cuts checks every two weeks; depending upon the timing of your paperwork, it may take up to three weeks to process the check.
This donation must be reported on the appropriate year-end financial report for the troop/group or service unit.
If you have any questions, please contact the Data Management Department at email@example.com. A staff member will promptly contact you.
Funding Acknowledgement of Responsibilities as a Public Charity Girl Scouts of Connecticut acknowledges and accepts the responsibility of adults to fund Girl Scouting and holds funding the organization to be an integral part of service to girls. The Board of Directors elected by and representing the adults of the council, acknowledges its responsibility to provide the financial resources necessary to make Girl Scout Program available to all girls—today and tomorrow. This policy establishes the standards governing the council's fiduciary stewardship of contributions and gifts.
General All State and Federal laws related to designation of Girl Scouts of Connecticut as a Public Charity will be followed. All principles and policies of Girl Scouts of the USA related to fund development as proscribed in the Blue Book of Basic Documents will be followed. Procedures related to carrying out the Gift Acceptance Policy will be written and reviewed annually by the Fund Development and Finance committees. Revisions to the policies are approved by the Board of Directors. 125
Contributions All contributions, intended to benefit the Girl Scout Program within Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s jurisdiction, regardless of value, form, or designated use, shall be made only to Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc., as a public charity and designated as a 501(c)(3) organization. The council is the only entity to which such tax-deductible contributions may be made. Any tax deduction available to a donor is determined by the Federal Internal Revenue Code. 1. The Board of Directors has the right to refuse any gift or contribution that the Board of Directors in its discretion believes is inconsistent with the Mission or does not enhance, promote, and ensure the purpose of Girl Scouting and the long-range financial viability of the council. 2. Contributions will generally be accepted if the intended use of funds is unrestricted or is in keeping with the mission of Girl Scouting and the policies and priorities of the Council as expressed in the corporate plan of work. Contributions subject to restrictions which are not expressed in the annual corporate plan of work shall be reviewed for acceptance by the Fund Development Committee. Once a gift is accepted, efforts will be made to use it consistently with the donor’s intent. In the unlikely event that, at some future time, it becomes impossible for a restricted gift to serve the specific purpose for which it was created, the Chief Executive Officer shall direct that the gift, including principal and income if applicable, be devoted to the purposes that are deemed to be the most consistent with the wishes of the donors and, if possible, in consultation with the donors or their heirs. 3. The propriety of gifts to volunteers and staff is governed by the council’s policy on conflict of interest.
Types of Gifts 1. Cash Gifts: Cash gifts that are made by check, wire transfer, debit card, credit card, or by means such as PayPal will be accepted regardless of the amount. Cash gifts should be made payable to “Girl Scouts of Connecticut,” and may generally be accepted by council staff without committee approval where unrestricted. 2. Publicly Traded Securities: Securities for which there is an active public market generally will be accepted. The Finance Committee will determine when to sell such securities. In no case shall anyone working on behalf of the council commit to a donor that the council will retain a security unless authorized to do so by the committee. The council’s staff will provide instructions to donors on how to transfer securities to the council. The council will be responsible for any brokerage fees or transaction costs associated with the sale of donated securities. 3. Non-Publicly Traded Securities: All proposed gifts of closely-held securities, limited partnership interests and other interests in business entities for which there is no active public market will be considered by the committee on a case-by-case basis. The committee may require the donor to provide a qualified appraisal of the securities. 4. Life Insurance Policies: Girl Scouts of Connecticut shall be named both the beneficiary and the irrevocable owner of an insurance policy before an insurance policy may be recorded as a gift. Should the donor contribute future premium payments, the council will include the entire amount of the additional premium payment as a gift in the year the payment is made. If the donor elects not to continue to make gifts to cover premiums on the life insurance policy, the committee shall decide whether to continue to pay the premiums, convert the policy to paid-up insurance or surrender the policy for the current cash surrender value.
5. Real Estate: Gifts of real estate will be accepted only after a complete analysis by the committee and the councilâ€™s legal counsel taking into account such issues as potential use, marketability, restrictions, carrying costs, environmental liability, and financial encumbrances. Due diligence, environmental studies, title and transfer costs generally will be borne by the donor, unless otherwise determined at the time of the gift. 6. Gifts-In-Kind: The council generally will accept donations of unrestricted tangible personal property or services of a type that may be used by the council to meet its immediate needs, or which are readily converted to cash (e.g., real property and gifts of tangible personal property, including but not limited to works of art, manuscripts, literary works, boats, motor vehicles, and computer hardware). The council staff will use discretion to determine whether to use unrestricted gifts-in-kind as is or to sell the items and use proceeds to further the Girl Scout mission. Likewise, for gifts of art and artifact, the council shall not guarantee that such items shall be displayed publically, either permanently or for shorter periods of time. The council will not place a value on the donation except when an appraisal is obtained by the donor.
Categories of Gifts 1. Unrestricted Gifts: Gifts that are unrestricted should be included as part of the operating income that supports the annual budget and work of the organization, unless conditions outlined in the procedure indicate otherwise. 2. Restricted Gifts: Any individual gift restricted for a specific purpose should be a minimum of $250, except as enumerated below. Gifts restricted for the purposes noted below may generally be accepted of any amount: a. Camperships and Sponsor a Girl/Financial Aid: Funds in these categories are fully expendable and are used to provide financial assistance for girls who meet income criteria set by the council. These gifts may be restricted to a town or area, but not to an individual girl or troop/group. b. Honorariums and Memorials: These gifts are fully expendable and may be restricted by the donor to camperships, financial aid, or troop startup funds. All other gifts in this category will be considered unrestricted unless meeting the minimum $250 for designated gifts. c. Capital Gifts: Gifts for specific or general capital projects shall receive advanced authorization by the committee and should be fully expendable for capital projects as designated. d. Institutional gifts: Gifts of any amount (grants or United Way funds) may be accepted for projects established as part of a grant or the corporate plan of work. 3. Right of Refusal: The committee reserves the right to refuse any gift or contribution that the committee in its discretion believes is inconsistent with the Mission or does not enhance, promote and ensure the purpose of Girl Scouting and the long-range financial viability of the council. 4. Donation/Payment Refund: All donations/payments are non-refundable unless the following two conditions are met: (i) An error was made in payment processing (e.g., multiple donations/payments were submitted when the intent was to make a single donation/payment, the donation/payment was submitted with the amount listed incorrectly); and (ii) the refund request was received in writing within 10 business days immediately following receipt of donation/payment. If conditions are met, refunds should be returned using the original method of payment (except cash donations, which should be returned via check).
Deferred Gifts and Endowments 1. Bequests: Donors are encouraged to provide in their wills or testamentary trusts for bequests to the council upon their death. Bequests may be accepted for the same items outlined in Procedure Section 5 (Current Gifts). The council may also accept contributions for which the principal is to be held and managed for the benefit of the council, with income only to be spent or applied for the benefit of the council. To provide the maximum benefit to the council, donors are encouraged not to subject bequests to limitations or restrictions on how they may be used by the council. In general, unrestricted bequests will be placed in the General Endowment Fund for such purposes as the Board may determine. If any conditions do apply, the council requests that the language of the will or trust indicate expectations set out in Procedure Section 4.b.2 (Intended Use). 2. Retirement Plan Assets and Life Insurance Proceeds: Donors also may designate the organization as the beneficiary of assets remaining in their retirement plan account upon death or the proceeds of insurance policies on the donors’ life. Doing so requires that donors complete a beneficiary designation in the form specified by the retirement plan administrator or insurance carrier. A copy of the beneficiary designation should be submitted to the council so that it may ensure that the designation has been properly completed. 3. Trusts: The council may accept beneficial interests in trusts, but shall not accept appointment as a trustee of a charitable lead or charitable remainder trust. The minimum gift size for a trust to be accounted for separately by the council is $25,000. Gifts of less than $25,000 to be held in trust shall be placed in the General Endowment Fund or may be added to existing Named Funds. 4. Endowment: Gifts of any amount may be placed in the general Endowment Fund of Girl Scouts of Connecticut (“General Endowment Fund”). A minimum gift size is required for gifts to be accounted for separately (“Named Funds”) by the council, as detailed in Procedure Section 7 (Naming Opportunities). a. Endowment Fund Purpose: The General Endowment Fund has been established to hold funds for the council. This allows the council to have a financial vehicle for donor restricted and unrestricted funds. It also serves as a vehicle for the Board of Directors to designate additional funds of the council to the Endowment General Fund, which are not needed for current operations of the council. b. Use of Endowment Fund: The use of the General Endowment Fund and interest income are intended but not restricted to such things as youth and adult training, financial aid for members, scholarships for members, and capital maintenance and improvements to council-owned property. Other unrestricted gifts and funds designated to the Endowment Fund by the Board of Directors of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut may be withdrawn from the Endowment Fund in accordance with the Spend Policy regulations and as approved by the Board of Directors. c. Named Funds: A separate Named Fund may be established with the completion of an endowment agreement endorsed by the donor, Chief Executive Officer, and Board of Directors. The agreement shall detail: the endowment fund purpose, fund disbursement restrictions, administration, and stewardship expectations and accountability. The required corpus for an endowed program fund shall be discussed with the donor at the onset of gift negotiations and may be adjusted based upon the objectives of the council and the donor. d. Endowment Fund Investment Performance: The Investment Committee is responsible for monitoring the investment performance of the endowment and providing regular reports to the Council’s Board of Directors. The assets of Named Funds may be merged or pooled for investment and investment management purposes with the General Endowment Fund or other assets of the council and managed and invested in accordance with council policy and procedure, but shall be entered on the books and records of the council separately.
e. Pledges for Named Endowments: All pledges for Named Endowments shall be completed within five years from the initial pledge date. For endowment pledges that do not reach the minimum funding level within the stated five-year period, the donor or their representative shall be consulted to determine the most appropriate course of action, which may include a pledge extension or the transfer of the donated funds to the Council General Endowment Fund.
Financial Management - What should we do with our monies? Troops/groups should be as self-supporting as possible. All monies earned in the name of Girl Scouting should be used to support girl program efforts throughout the troop/group’s Girl Scout journey. When troops/groups change or when girls move on, unused monies can result. Below are some suggested ways girls may choose to use these funds:
Encourage girls to spend down earned money on activities they enjoy. Girls can supplement the purchase of a Lifetime Membership (if applicable). Send a donation to GSOFCT to sponsor a girl: o Provide the opportunity for a girl to experience Girl Scouting; membership fees, uniform components, Journey books, etc. o Provide funding for a sister Girl Scout to attend one of our GSOFCT camps. Support programming in their local service unit: o Provide start-up funds for new Girl Scout Daisies. o Earmark funds to ensure archery programming takes place at Service Unit Camporees. o Start a Girl Scout lending library - purchase several Journey Books and/or Girl Guides to Girl Scouting for all volunteers to borrow. o Purchase tents and cooking equipment that individual troops/groups can use to explore beyond basic outdoor adventures (Dutch ovens, propane stoves, compasses, etc.). Purchase and donate equipment/goods for a favorite Girl Scout Camp. o For specific camp needs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Support a cause by purchasing needed supplies and donating them. Contact the recipient prior to purchasing to ensure for current needs: o Hospital Children’s wards-make blankets and donate o Local shelters-donate hygiene supplies o Local Food pantries and/or food banks – donate food o Pet shelters-purchase needed items o Educational supports: books, school supplies, etc. Discuss the value in donating funds to organizations they are passionate about and then choose the level at which they will support it.* Have the girls research the organization prior to deciding. Suggestions may include but are not limited to: o Girl Scouts of Connecticut o Make a Wish Foundation, Special Olympics, etc. o Medical awareness: Autism, Juvenile Diabetes, Breast Cancer, Leukemia, Muscular Dystrophy, etc. o Assisting Third World Countries – buy farm animals
*Remember: Girl Scouts are not allowed, when identifying ourselves as Girl Scouts, to solicit money on behalf of another organization.
Helping girls decide what they want to do, and coaching them as they earn and manage money to pursue their goals, is an integral part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Your Girl Scout troop/group plans and finances its own activities with your guidance. At the same time, the girls learn many valuable skills that serve them throughout their lives. Girl Scout troop/groups are funded by a share of money earned through council-sponsored product sale activities (Girl Scout QSP and Girl Scout Cookie Programs), group money-earning activities (councilapproved, of course), and any dues your group may charge (this is in addition to the annual membership dues that go directly to the national organization). This chapter gives you the ins and outs of helping girls manage their group’s finances, practice successful product sales techniques, review the safety requirements around product sales, and understand how to collaborate with sponsors and causes.
Helping Girls Reach Their Financial Goals The Girl Scout Cookie Program is so well known in communities, it’s likely that your girls will already know a bit about it and want to get out there to start selling as soon as possible. But it’s important that the girls have a clear plan and purpose for their product sale activities. One of your opportunities as a volunteer is to facilitate girl-led financial planning, which may include the following steps for the girls: 1. Set financial goals. What do girls hope to accomplish through this activity? In addition to earning money, what skills do they hope to build? What leadership opportunities present themselves? 2. Create a budget. Use a budget worksheet that includes both expenses (the cost of supplies, admission to events, travel, and so on), and available income (the troop/group’s account balance, projected cookie and QSP sale proceeds, and so on). 3. Determine how much the group needs to earn. Subtract expenses from available income to determine how much money your troop/group needs to earn. 4. Make a plan. The troop/group can brainstorm and make decisions about its financial plans. Will cookie and QSP product sales—if approached proactively and energetically—earn enough money to meet the troop/group’s goals? If not, what additional troop/group money-earning activities might offset the difference in anticipated expense and anticipated income? Will more than one additional troop/group money-earning activity be necessary to achieve the troop/group’s financial goals? In this planning stage, engage the girls through the Girl Scout processes (girl-led, learning by doing, and cooperative learning) and consider the value of any potential activity. Have them weigh feasibility, implementation, and safety factors. 5. Write it out. Once the troop/group has decided on its financial plan, describe it in writing. If the plan involves an additional troop/group money-earning activity, fill out a Troop/Group or Service Unit Money Earning Activity application for approval from your council and submit it along with the budget worksheet the girls created. Remember: It’s great for girls to have opportunities, like the Girl Scout Cookie and QSP Programs, to earn funds that help them fulfill their goals as part of the GSLE. As their mentor, try to help girls balance the money-earning they do with opportunities to enjoy other activities that have less emphasis on earning and spending money. Take Action projects, for example, may not always require girls to spend a lot of money.
Reviewing Financial and Sales Abilities by Grade Level As with other activities, girls progress in their financial and sales abilities as they get older. This section gives you some examples of the abilities of girls at each grade level. 130
Girl Scout Daisies The group volunteer handles money, keeps financial records, and does all group budgeting. Parents/guardians may decide they will contribute to the cost of activities. Girls can participate in Girl Scout Cookie activities and other council-sponsored product sales. Daisies are always paired with a volunteer when selling anything. Girls do the asking and deliver the product, but volunteers handle the money and keep the girls secure.
Girl Scout Brownies The group volunteer handles money, keeps financial records, and shares some of the groupbudgeting responsibilities. Girls discuss the cost of activities (supplies, fees, transportation, rentals, and so on). Girls set goals for and participate in council-sponsored product sales. Girls may decide to pay dues.
Girl Scout Juniors The group volunteer retains overall responsibility for long-term budgeting and record-keeping, but shares or delegates all other financial responsibilities. Girls set goals for and participate in council-sponsored product sales. Girls decide on group dues, if any. Dues are collected by girls and recorded by a group treasurer (selected by the girls). Girls budget for the short-term needs of the group, on the basis of plans and income from the group dues. Girls budget for more long-term activities, such as overnight trips, group camping, and special events. Girls budget for Take Action projects, including the Girl Scout Bronze Award, if they are pursuing it.
Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors Girls estimate costs based on plans. Girls determine the amount of group dues (if any) and the scope of money-earning projects.
Girls set goals for and participate in council-sponsored product sales. Girls carry out budgeting, planning, and group money-earning projects. Girls budget for extended travel, Take Action projects, and leadership projects. Girls may be involved in seeking donations for Take Action projects, with council approval. Girls keep their own financial records and give reports to parents and group volunteers. Girls budget for Take Action projects, including the Girl Scout Silver or Gold Awards, if they are pursuing them.
Money-Earning Basics How do troops/groups earn money? Troops/groups should be as self‐supporting as possible. The goal is for the troop/group to earn enough money to pay for anticipated program activities, without resorting to asking for money from parents/guardians. Girls earn money in several distinct ways:
Troop/Group Dues: Troop/group dues are the funds girls contribute to help support their program and activity goals. The amount and frequency of dues should be decided in partnership with the girls and their parents/guardians. No girl is denied membership based on the inability to pay troop/group dues. When discussing dues, consideration should be given to: o What activities the girls want to do. o Other sources of funding (council-sponsored product sales). o Parent/guardian’s financial situation. o How girls get or earn their money. o Troop/group dues may range from 50 cents per meeting up to $25 per year (levelappropriate). o Financial assistance may be available for troop/group dues.
It’s a great idea to have girls pay dues. Families often think it is easier to just give a flat amount at the beginning. However, collecting dues provides girls with the opportunity to develop their financial literacy skills. Council-sponsored Product Sales Programs are council-wide sales of Girl Scout–authorized products (Girl Scout Cookies and QSP), and open to all Girl Scouts. Girls can participate in both council-sponsored product sale activities each year. QSP Program - The QSP Program is Girl Scouts of Connecticut’ s fall Product Sales Program that enables girls to offer their customers magazine renewals and subscriptions, photo keepsake items, delicious nut/candy products, and gift items. The magazines are offered through QSP, Inc., a Great American Opportunities company, photo keepsake items by To Remember This!, and nut/candy products provided by Ashdon Farms. This program generally takes place in October through early November. This program is a great way for troops/groups to earn startup funds in the fall. Girl Scout Cookie Program - The cookie program is an important part of Girl Scouting. Not only does it fund programs and activities, it is the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the country. The cookie program starts in November with Election Day Booth Sales, continues with Individual Order Taking and Goal Getter Period in January and February, and then with booth sales and direct sales in March until early April. GSOFCT’s current baker of choice is Little Brownie Bakers. To view resources to support your cookie sale and learn more about Little Brownie Bakers, go to littlebrowniebakers.com. 132
All proceeds from the QSP and cookie program remain right here in Connecticut. The Girl Scout Product Sales Programs are a fun way for girls of all ages to earn money for their troop/group treasuries. While participating in these programs, girls learn to set goals, to make decisions, and to manage money further developing their personal social skills and basic understanding of business ethics. The GSOFCT Board of Directors decides how the council’s proceeds are spent. Some GSOFCT activities and projects that are funded by the cookie program include girl leadership opportunities, programs, training for adult volunteers, financial aid, and facility and property maintenance.
“Group money-earning” refers to activities organized by the group (not by the council) that are planned and carried out by girls (in partnership with volunteers) and that earn money for the group.
Participation in both GSOFCT sponsored Product Sales Programs, QSP and cookies, is required for approval of additional money-earning requests. Council and service unit approval is required. GSOFCT defines “troop/group participation” in either Product Sales Program as having an approved adult attend Service Unit Product Sales training, review safety measures and program specifics with the girls, and then, in good faith, forward program materials home. Together with their parents/guardians, the girls can then choose their level of participation in that program. Troops/groups and/or service units with outstanding End-of-Year Financial Reports will not be approved for additional money-earning activities. Girls’ participation in both council-sponsored product sale activities and group money-earning projects is based upon the following:
Voluntary participation Written permission of each girl’s parent or guardian An understanding of (and ability to explain clearly to others) why the money is needed An understanding that money-earning should not exceed what the group needs to support its activities Observance of local ordinances related to involvement of children in money-earning activities, as well as health and safety laws Vigilance in protecting the personal safety of each girl (see Chapter 5 for guidance) Arrangements for safeguarding the money
Girl Scout Daisies should begin acquiring the skills of money-earning by participating in council-sponsored Product Sales Programs. They are only allowed to participate in money-earning activities to this extent and they cannot collect money in any other way except group dues or parental contributions. The money that they raise from the product sales programs should prove to be more than enough to cover the activities for which they are ready. There are a few specific guidelines—some required by the Internal Revenue Service—that ensure that sales are conducted with legal and financial integrity. To that end, consider the following reminders and cautions:
All rewards earned by girls through the product sale activities must support Girl Scout program experiences (such as camp, travel, and program events, but not scholarships or financial credits toward outside organizations). Rewards are based on sales ranges set by councils and may not be based on a dollar-per-dollar calculation. Troops/groups are encouraged to participate in council product sales as their primary money-earning activity; any group money-earning shouldn’t compete with the Girl Scout Cookie Program or other council product sales. Obtain written approval from your council before a group money-earning event; most councils ask that you submit a request for approval. 133
Girl Scouts discourages the use of games of chance. Any activity which could be considered a game of chance (raffles, contests, bingo) must be approved by the local Girl Scout council and be conducted in compliance with all local and state laws. Girl Scout Blue Book policy forbids girls from the direct solicitation of cash. Girls can collect partial payment towards the purchase of a package of Girl Scout Cookies and QSP Program products through participation in council-approved product sale donation programs. Girl Scouts forbids product demonstration parties where the use of the Girl Scout trademark increases revenue for another business (For example: in-home product parties). Any business using the Girl Scout trademark must seek authorization from GSUSA. Group money-earning activities need to be suited to the age and abilities of the girls and consistent with the principles of the GSLE.
Money earned is for Girl Scout activities and is not to be retained by individuals. Girls can, however, be awarded incentives and/or may earn credits from their Girl Scout Product Sales Programs. Funds acquired through group money-earning projects must be reported and accounted for by the group, while following council procedures.
Understanding the Girl Scout Cookie Program Did you know that the Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led business in the world, with sales of more than $700 million per year for girls and their communities nationwide? That’s right. The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the leading entrepreneurial program for girls: no university has produced as many female business owners as the Girl Scout Cookie Program has. If you have a moment, watch the latest Girl Scout What Can a Cookie Do? video for an inspiring look into just how powerful those treats—and the girls who sell them—can be. Council-sponsored product sales are really the best way for girls to earn money to pursue their goals: the sales are beloved by the community and come with program, sales, and marketing materials and support that help girls run a great business. And they’re an integral part of the GSLE. With every season of cookies, another generation of girls learns five important skills:
Goal setting Decision making Money management People skills Business ethics
And most of all, girls gain a tremendous amount of confidence. It’s not easy to ask people to buy something—you have to speak up, look them in the eye, and believe in what you’re doing—all skills that help a girl succeed now and throughout the rest of her life. Before beginning any cookies or other product sales with your group, refer to the cookies section of Girl Scout Central and girlscoutcookies.org Training is provided by the service unit cookie manager to the troop cookie manager and/or troop/group coleader. Complete instructions are provided as part of the training. Please view the Cookie Volunteer Resources on the GSOFCT website for more tools.
A Sweet Tradition It has been decades since Girl Scouts began selling home-baked cookies to raise money. The idea was so popular that, in 1936, Girl Scouts enlisted bakers to handle the growing demand. For more on Girl Scout Cookie History, visit girlscouts.org/program/gs_cookies/history.asp. Two commercial bakers are currently licensed by Girl Scouts of the USA to produce Girl Scout Cookies—Little Brownie Bakers and ABC/Interbake Foods—and each council selects the baker of its choice. Each baker gets to name its own cookies (which is why some cookies have two names) and gets to decide which flavors it will offer in a given year, besides the three mandatory flavors (Thin Mints®, Do-Si-Dos®/Peanut Butter Sandwich®, and Trefoils®/Shortbread®). For additional information on cookie varieties, including nutritional details, visit girlscoutcookies.org.
Understanding the Girl Scout QSP Program Like the cookie program, the QSP Program provides opportunities for girls to learn business and financial literacy skills. The QSP Program enables girls to offer magazines renewals/subscriptions to their customers either in person, online or through the mail. In addition, supporters can order delicious nut/candy products, photo keepsake products, and gift items. Designed to be “Quick, Simple, and Profitable,” the QSP Program is generally held in the fall and offers girls the opportunity to learn while providing important troop/group funds early in the membership year. Girls can also earn recognitions for their efforts. Training is provided for the troop QSP manager and/or the troop/group co-leader. GSOFCT partners with QSP, a Great American Opportunities company for the magazine portion of the program, To Remember This! for photo keepsakes, and with Ashdon Farms for the nut/candy products. Please view the QSP Volunteer Resources on the GSOFCT website for helpful tools.
Product Sales: The Girl Scout Leadership Experience Selling Girl Scout Cookies and QSP products (which include nuts/candy, magazines, photo keepsakes, and gift items) gives girls a chance to run a business and practice leadership skills they can use in their lives. Girls will enjoy all the benefits this important component of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience has to offer. They’ll engage in planning and goal-setting (aiming to achieve their personal best), teamwork, marketing, money management (including the importance of saving for future needs), and the enduring skill of customer service.
Determining Who Can Participate All girl members (including Daisies), no matter what pathway of participation they choose (travel, camp, series, events, or troop), are eligible to participate in council-sponsored product sales activities, under adult supervision. For example, GSOFCT offers girls in the camp pathway the opportunity to participate in the Cookies for Camp program. Individually Registered Girls (Juliettes) may participate in council-sponsored product sales activities under the supervision of the service unit product sales manager. All monies earned will be managed by the service unit treasurer. Refer to the Money Management and the “Juliette’ Girl Scout section of Chapter 6, Managing Group Finances for more information. Please remember: Volunteers and Girl Scout council staff don’t sell cookies and other products—girls do.
Each year, your council provides learning opportunities on the procedures to follow during each sale. Your council also establishes guidelines and procedures for conducting the sale and determines how the proceeds and girl reward system will be managed.
Knowing Where Proceeds Go Your council will provide a breakdown of “How the Cookie Crumbles” in your council. Please share this information with girls and their parents/guardians so everyone’s clear on how revenue raised through product sales makes it possible for your Girl Scout council to serve girls. Proceeds resulting from Product Sales support program activities—in fact, council-sponsored product sales are a primary way in which your council raises funds to support Girl Scouting. The percentage of money to be allocated to participating groups (like yours) is determined by your council and explained to girls and volunteers as part of the product sale activity orientation. The income from Product Sales does not become the property of individual girl members. Girls, however, may be eligible for incentives and credits that they put toward Council sponsored camps, programs and programmatic materials. Girls may earn official Girl Scout grade-appropriate rewards related to product sale activities, and each council may choose to provide items such as participation patches, rewards, and council credit for event fees, camp fees, grants for travel and Take Action projects, as well as materials and supplies for program activities. The council plan for rewards applies equally to all girls participating in the product sale activity. One critical task for each troop/group, is to keep excellent records and establish a clear accounting system for all money earned and spent. As the group’s volunteer, you’re in charge of making sure money is spent wisely, excellent records are kept (keeping copies of all receipts in a binder or folder), and all income is tracked, too. For older girls, your job is to oversee their work, as they learn to keep impeccable records.
The Girl/Volunteer Partnership Underlying all the lessons that girls can learn from their participation in the Girl Scout Cookie Program is the girl/volunteer partnership. Ideally, this is a partnership between the girl and her co-leader and between the 136
girl and her parents or guardian. Volunteers do not sell cookies; they participate only in supporting the direct involvement of girls. During the Girl Scout Cookie Program the girl/volunteer partnership may look like this: A volunteer and girl working together to make plans and set goals. A volunteer assisting a girl by giving her access to the information and training she needs but letting the girl do the selling and delivering of cookies. A volunteer guiding a girl in understanding the finances and letting her practice the skills. A volunteer advising a girl on how to market her cookies but allowing her to make her own decisions. A volunteer helping a girl understand her responsibility to support her local council but ensuring that her participation is voluntary.
Safely Selling Girl Scout Cookies Girl safety is the top priority while selling Girl Scout Cookies and other products. Volunteers, Parents and girls should be familiar with and practice the following:
Chapter 5 Safety Wise – Volunteer Essentials Girl Scout Cookie/Council – Sponsored Product Sale Safety Activity Checkpoints Safety Tips for Product Sales Computer/Online Use: Safety Activity Checkpoints
Preparing for your Girl Scout Cookie Booths Cookie booths, or temporary sales set-ups in areas with lots of foot traffic, are a popular way for girls to sell cookies as a team. Your council may have established cookie booth locations; contact the council before planning a cookie booth of your own. Once you’ve gotten council approval, check out the booth site before the day of the sale. Talk to business owners in the area so they’ll know what to expect. Find out what security measures are in place—these may include lights for evening sales and whether a security camera watches the booth area—and where the nearest bathrooms are located. In addition, review the Girl Scout Cookie/Council-Sponsored Product Sale Safety Activity Checkpoints, as well as Chapter 5, Safety-Wise to make sure you and the girls are as prepared as possible. On the day of the sale, these tips will help make booth sales enjoyable for everyone: Ensure that you have adequate space at the booth (table, products, and girls) to allow safe passage by pedestrians, bikes, and cars.
Safety is our first concern when girls are participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program. All Safety Activity Checkpoints and Council policies and guidelines must be followed. GSOFCT expects that at least one currently registered approved adult from each troop/group participates in Product Sales training and convey safety, sale, and program materials to girls and troop/group volunteers prior to the scheduled booth sale. Individually Registered Girls who are not affiliated with a troop/group must ensure they have reviewed all safety rules on the order card and submit an Annual Consent form, signed by their parent/guardian, to their service unit product sales manager or the GSOFCT Product Sales Department prior to scheduling a booth sale. Adults working with them must also be aware of and adhere to all GSOFCT and GSUSA safety policies. 137
While GSOFCT does not require that the adult(s) supervising the booth sale have First Aid/CPR/AED training or outdoor training, a troop/group first aid kit must be present at all times during the activity.
Girls make all sales, except in cases where volunteers are helping Daisies handle money. Respect the surrounding businesses by making sure your booth isn’t blocking a store entrance or exit. Attract customers with colorful signs. Remind girls to be polite and to have their sales pitch ready for interested shoppers. Report any suspicious people in the area to local security. If someone takes money or cookies from your booth, do not attempt to physically recover the stolen items and do not allow the girls to do so. Instead, get a good description of the offender(s), call 911, and alert local security (if applicable). Make sure girls know what to do in case of theft. Report any incidents to your local council according to its guidelines. (See Chapter 5, Safety Wise, for GSOFCT Volunteer Procedures for Handling Serious Accidents or Major Emergencies.)
Cookie Donation Programs Your council may have a cookie donation program established where customers may purchase cookies for the sole purpose of having them donated to an organization coordinated by your council. This is a great talking point for girls to share with their customers and a great way to help teach girls that the cookie program can make a big impact in their community and to others. Troops/groups can also contact local organizations that may benefit from a donation of Girl Scout Cookies. For more information regarding local Gift of Caring opportunities, contact email@example.com. Here are some things to remember about cookie donations: All cookie donation programs must be approved by your council Donated cookies must stay within the council jurisdiction unless your council has the approval from other council jurisdictions Donated products cannot be resold and must be used in a responsible and ethical way. Donated products are used in a way that does not undermine the work of councils or jeopardizes the integrity of the Girl Scout Brand
Handling Product Complaints It has always been the practice of Girl Scout councils and the bakers to guarantee customer satisfaction with their cookies. If a customer for some reason is not satisfied with the quality of their cookies they can contact the baker via the number printed on the side of the box of cookies. Troops/group should notify their council if they are aware of any customer dissatisfaction
Using Online Resources and Social Media to Market Cookies and Other Products Girls may use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and emails as online marketing tools to let family, friends, and former customers know about the sale and collect indications of interest. All are effective ways that girls ages 13 and older can promote Product Sales Programs. Girls under 13 cannot independently set up online marketing sites. Girls under 13 can use their parent or guardians online sites with their approval and supervision. The following sections detail how girls can use electronic marketing, social media, and group websites to gather sale commitments from family, friends, and previous customers. But first, please keep in mind that girls:
Can market to and collect indications of interest from customers within their councils’ zip codes. Refer prospects that come from outside council jurisdiction to the council finder at girlscoutcookies.org. Family members and Digital Cookie sales are the exception to this rule. Must sign the Girl Scout Internet Safety Pledge (available at girlscouts.org/help/internet_safety_pledge.asp) before doing any online activities, and all online activities must be under the supervision of volunteers. Cannot expose their own or any other girl’s email address, physical address, or phone number to the public. When writing email messages or online announcements, girls should sign with their first name only, along with their group number or name and their council name.
See Chapter 5, Safety-Wise for additional information and guidance regarding online product marketing and sales.
Troops whose girls meet age criteria (13 years or older) and have parental permission may set up a group Facebook page or website. This site must be approved by the council, yes, but it can be a fantastic way for girls to share information, market Girl Scout products, and talk about their Take Action projects. Don’t violate copyright law by using designs, text from magazines or books, poetry, music, lyrics, videos, graphics, or trademarked symbols without specific permission from the copyright or trademark holder (and, generally, this permission is pretty tough to get). Girl Scout trademarks (such as the trefoil shape, Girl Scout pins, badges, and patches) can be used only in accordance with guidelines for their use. (The Girl Scout trefoil, for example, may not be animated or used as wallpaper for a website). Check with your council’s website for complete graphics guidelines and approvals. It is important to remember the twofold purpose of the Girl Scout Cookie Program when selling cookies or other products. The primary purposes of these sales are to help girls grow and develop and to generate the revenue necessary to provide Girl Scouting to as many girls as possible. For this reason, girls should be directly involved in any sales that are made, whether in person or over the internet. Before you and the girls design a website, remember that the web is an open forum for anyone, including potential predators. Documented instances of cyber stalkers make it imperative that any information that could jeopardize the safety and security of girls and adults is not disclosed on a website. Please adhere to these guidelines to ensure the girls’ safety:
Use girls’ first names only. Never post girls’ addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses. Never, ever, ever post addresses of group meeting places or dates and times of meetings, events, or trips. An adult volunteer who wishes to communicate upcoming events with families of girls should use email instead of posting details on a website, unless that site is password protected or is a closed/secret Facebook group. Always have a parent or guardian’s signature on a photo release form before using pictures of girls on a website. Make yours a site that does not allow outsiders to post messages to the site, or make sure all postings (such as message boards or guest books) have adult oversight and are screened prior to posting live. For more detailed guidelines, read Website Guidelines for Leaders in Rallyhood.
Additional Group Money-Earning Product sales are a great way to earn the funds necessary for girls to travel or carry out Take Action projects. If income from the product sale isn’t enough, however, girls have more options available to them. Although you cannot resell products, you can offer services, such as the following: 139
Cell phones for refurbishment Used ink cartridges turned in for money Christmas tree recycling Aluminum can recycling
Themed meals, like high tea, Indian meal, Mexican dinner (if girls are earning money for travel, tie the meal to their destination) Spaghetti dinner, pancake breakfast Lunch box auction (prepared lunch or meal auctioned off) Bake sales Concession stand (sports events, concerts, dances, festivals) Meals at volunteer meetings or camporees, etc.
All troops/groups interested in undertaking a money-earning activity involving the handling of food, such as bake sales and dinners, must check with the local health department for appropriateness of food-related activities. As part of girl planning, a troop/group or individual should research legal restrictions before planning any money-earning activities. GSOFCT requires that at least one adult present at an event involving food preparation and/or serving must have completed a ServSafe or equivalent course. ServSafe certification is not required when preparing foods during Girl Scout meetings. For more information on ServSafe certification, refer to Chapter 8, GSOFCT Properties or visit servsafe.com. Be sure to follow strict hygiene and cleanliness requirements, including hand-washing, hair nets, food temperatures, etc. It is the responsibility of the adult in charge to ensure compliance with local health ordinances and safety laws. Service(s):
Babysitting for holiday (New Year’s Eve) or service unit events Raking leaves, weeding, cutting grass, shoveling snow Cooking class or other specialty class Car wash (please check on your local area’s ordinances) Gift wrapping Program event or badge workshop; girls provide the program and benefit from program fees
Talent show Craft sale Giant garage or tag sale
Five Steps Towards Successful Money - Earning Activities Step One: Planning Girls should be involved in all aspects of planning activities and determining if additional funds are needed. Once a need has been established, girls should be involved in deciding how to earn that money within GSOFCT guidelines. In every money-earning activity, there are great opportunities for girls to learn about and experience strategic planning and goal-setting, budgeting, consumer needs, marketing and advertising, customer service and so much more. 140
If the money is being earned for a future trip, the adults in charge should review council information on trip planning, including required forms and permissions for Girl Scout trips. Refer to Chapter 5, Safety Wise, for more information. Girl members who plan to earn money to use for the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award or to attend a destination should request guidance and assistance from the GSOFCT Program Department.
Step Two: Review Guidelines Review GSOFCT Policies and Financial Guidelines pertaining to money-earning activities. Review the Safety Activity Checkpoints. Step Three: Apply for Permission Complete Troop/Group or Service Unit Money-Earning Activity Application and submit for approval as follows: o MEA request should reach the service unit manager at least six weeks prior to the activity. o Service unit manager approves or denies MEA request and notifies applicant and/or council membership specialist. o Approved MEA application must reach director of member recruitment & support at least four weeks prior to the activity. Step Four: Activity Conduct the approved activity and keep detailed record of income and expenses. Step Five: Reporting Outcomes Complete Troop/Group or Service Unit Evaluation Report for Money-Earning Activity within two weeks of completing the activity to the director of member recruitment & support or her/his designee. Retain a copy of the evaluation report for troop/groups records. Include earned/expended funds on Troop/Group Year-End Financial Report or Service Unit Financial Report.
GSOFCT Troop/Group/Service Unit Money-Earning Activities Guidelines (MEA): Money-earning activities are approved, girl-adult planned activities that generate money for a specific need when available funds will not support that need. A MEA is a money-earning activity that is in addition to those provided under the QSP and cookie programs. Appropriate MEAs have program value for girls and are consistent with Program Standards and council policies on money earning. All Safety Activity Checkpoints and council policies and guidelines must be followed. Criteria A money-earning activity must meet the following criteria: Be a valuable program activity for girls that will generate additional funds for a planned activity or event that uses teamwork to achieve troop/group goals; Be suited to ages/abilities of the girls and consistent with goals/principles of the Girl Scout Program; Be a girl activity – planned, generated, produced, and performed by girls. Eligibility 1. Girl Scout Daisies may not hold MEAs.
2. Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, Ambassadors, Independently Registered Girls, and/or Gold/Silver Award applicants may hold MEAs (Gold Award MEA applications must be approved by the Gold Award Mentor and the Program Department). 3. All troop/group members must be registered GSUSA members and have the Annual Consent Form signed by a parent/guardian for each girl to participate in the MEA. 4. Every troop/group must follow “program progression” for trips and must have a Troop/Group Trip/Event Application on file for extended trips or events, if applicable. 5. The troop/group/service unit must have all prior year’s Year-End Financial Report on file with council (unless a new troop). Troops/groups and/or service units with outstanding End-of-Year Financial Reports will not be approved for additional money-earning activities. 6. A troop must have participated in both council-sponsored product sales (QSP and cookies). If the programs have not occurred yet in the current membership year, the prior year’s participation is required (unless it is a new troop). 7. Troops/groups/service units must have a purpose and financial need for the MEA. The income from the MEA never becomes the property of individual girls, but is part of the troop/group or service unit treasury.
Restrictions 1. The council is not responsible for any loss incurred from a MEA. 2. Blackout Periods - MEAs are not allowed during the initial QSP or cookie Order Taking Periods. During the balance of the QSP or cookie times, there will be some limitations on MEAs. 3. Activities must comply with local ordinances (including, but not limited to, local health department rules), must be free from any association with gambling (no raffles, contests, or bingo), and must protect the name and goodwill of Girl Scouts of the USA and Girl Scouts of Connecticut. Only GSOFCT’s CEO (or her designee) can enter into contracts. 4. MEAs cannot solicit money for or sell tickets on behalf of any other organization or solicit over the internet. 5. If the MEA is outside your service unit area, ask the service unit manager to place a courtesy call to the out-of-area service unit manager. All money-earning activities must take place within the council’s jurisdiction. 6. Girls and adults should be dressed appropriately and should wear the Girl Scout pin, sash/vest, or uniform (if the activity permits) during the MEA. 7. Girl Scouts forbids product demonstration parties (31 Gifts, Pampered Chef, Tupperware, etc.) where the use of the Girl Scout trademark increases revenue for another business. 8. No money-earning activity shall use unauthorized trademark or copyrighted material such as Disney characters, song lyrics, etc.
Application Requirements and Process 1. If a flyer is created to promote the MEA, please attach it to the application for approval. Flyers must be in compliance with GSUSA branding guidelines and indicate that proceeds will benefit Girl Scout programming. 2. MEAs are approved by the service unit manager or membership specialist. Girl Scouts of Connecticut reserves the right to deny an MEA if it is deemed not in compliance with the Safety Activity Checkpoints and council polices and guidelines.
3. A completed MEA Application must reach the service unit manager, or designee, at least six weeks prior to the activity. 4. An approved MEA application must reach the director of member recruitment & support or designee at least four weeks prior to the activity. 5. The evaluation report on the troop/group or service unit’s MEA must be filed with the local council service center and service unit manager within two weeks of the completed MEA. If the report is not received by the council within two weeks, future MEA applications may be denied. Your service unit manager and/or membership specialist can answer questions regarding MoneyEarning Activities. Additional Money-Earning Information for *Gold Award Projects When planning projects, we encourage girls to think within their means: in terms of time, ability, and finances. Resourceful, creative girls can make a huge impact without much cost. When funds are required, include this in your Product Sales Program goal setting. In rare cases where additional funds are needed, girls may do an MEA. An MEA may be held to obtain needed supplies. Remember: Girl Scouts do not raise funds for other organizations and an MEA may not be a Take Action project. *Independently Registered Cadettes working on a Silver Award may also apply for an MEA by completing the MEA paperwork and submitting it to firstname.lastname@example.org at least six weeks prior to the activity.
Collaborating with Sponsors and Other Organizations Sponsors help Girl Scout councils ensure that all girls in the community have an opportunity to participate in Girl Scouting. Community organizations, businesses, religious organizations, and individuals may be sponsors and may provide group meeting places, volunteer their time, offer in-kind donations, provide activity materials, or loan equipment. The sponsor’s contribution can then be recognized by arranging for the girls to send thank you cards, inviting the sponsor to a meeting or ceremony, or working together on a Take Action project. For information on working with a sponsor, consult your council; it can give you guidance on the availability of sponsors, recruiting responsibility, and any council policies or practices that must be followed. Your council may already have relationships with certain organizations, or may know of some reasons not to collaborate with certain organizations. Please contact your membership specialist for more information.
When collaborating with any other organization, keep these additional guidelines in mind: Avoid fundraising for other organizations. Girl Scouts are not allowed, when identifying ourselves as Girl Scouts (such as wearing a uniform, a sash or vest, official pins, and so on) to solicit money on behalf of another organization. This includes participating in a walkathon or telethon while in uniform. You and your group can, however, support another organization through Take Action projects or by making a donation from your group’s account. Girl Scouts as individuals are able to participate in whatever events they choose, so long as they’re not wearing anything that officially identifies them as Girl Scouts. Steering clear of political fundraisers: When in an official Girl Scout capacity or in any way identifying yourselves as Girl Scouts, your group may not participate (directly or indirectly) in any political campaign or work on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for public office. Letter-writing campaigns are not allowed, nor are participating in a political rally, circulating a petition, or carrying a political banner.
Being respectful when collaborating with religious organizations: Girl Scout groups must respect the opinions and practices of religious partners, but no girl should be required to take part in any religious observance or practice of the sponsoring group. Avoiding selling or endorsing commercial products: “Commercial products” are any product sold at retail. Since 1939, girls and volunteers have not been allowed to endorse, provide a testimonial for, or sell such products.
Council Properties Girl Scouts of Connecticut owns and maintains a wide variety of properties to provide many outdoor and indoor camping experiences. Properties are available for use by our members and non-members. You will find that each site has different facilities and outdoor opportunities to explore. Accommodations at each camp range from modern buildings with heat and running water to primitive sites with tents and latrines. Most camps are open year-round. Using these properties will build great experiences, lasting memories, and skills for your girls. In this section, you will find the procedures and guidelines for use of the properties, as well as basic summaries of each site and its facilities. More detailed information regarding our properties can be found on the GSOFCT website at gsofct.org by selecting Participate and then Property Tours. Please note online reservations and payments are the only option for site use. You can make a reservation here: http://gsofct.doubleknot.com/facilitysearch/3554.
GSOFCT Procedures for use of Council Properties
Outdoor activities have always been an integral part of Girl Scouting. Girl Scout camping is different from other outdoor experiences because it is a group effort. The girls involved plan their own activities, meals, and schedules to meet their needs. It is a creative, educational experience that not only instills an appreciation for the environment, but also enforces the importance of minimal impact, all accomplished while having fun and learning new skills!
Reservations for the use of council-owned sites are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. You can register for a site by going to http://gsofct.doubleknot.com/facilitysearch/3554. Use the link to reserve sites on this page.
Troops can make a reservation for sites up to 90 days prior to the scheduled start day of their reservation. Please note reservations must be made after 2:01 p.m. Eastern Standard time. Payment in full is required when making a site reservation.
A confirmation will be sent when the reservation is processed. GSOFCT will contact the person who reserved the site 48 hours prior to their event with access instructions via email.
Additional Camp Information:
Buildings and gates at most GSOFCT properties have key boxes or combination locks for easy entry upon your arrival. You will receive the codes to enter the property 48 hours prior to your stay. You will also be sent a full description of the property and any important information you may need for your visit.
Overnight Use o Check-in at all camp facilities begins at 3:00 p.m. on the first day of the reservation. o
Check-out: everyone must check out of the property no later than 2:00 p.m. on the last day of their reservation. After all campers have departed, the ranger or caretaker will inspect the facility and note the condition and any damage. A fee may be charged to your group and/or a security deposit may be instituted on future site usage if the condition of the facility is not deemed acceptable.
Hourly Use: o
Check-in and check-out will be based on the time reserved between the hours of 8:00 a.m. 10:00 p.m.
You cannot enter a property prior to the time reserved. You must check out on time to allow next group entry to the property. After all campers have departed, the ranger or caretaker will inspect the facility and note the condition and any damage. A fee may be charged to your group and/or a security deposit may be instituted on future site usage if the condition of the facility is not deemed acceptable.
Food service and kitchen use: In order to use the kitchen, the person in charge of food preparation must have a ServSafe certificate or equivalent documented experience. For more information on ServSafe certification contact the Property Services Department at email@example.com or visit servsafe.com.
Any outside, non-Girl Scout groups must contact the Property Services Department directly to request use of a facility. You can reach the office at (800) 922-2770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Specialty Equipment Use/Certifications: o The Program Department is prepared to help service units utilize specialty areas. Additional fees are required for facilitators. For information regarding specialty areas and/or equipment please contact the Program Department at (800) 922-2770 or email@example.com. o
Troops/groups may utilize specialty areas if they secure their own facilitators and pay the appropriate fees. NOTE: Many facilitators expect to be paid for services rendered.
Payment is due in full at time of registration for troop overnights or weekly use.
For more information concerning the registration process, property, or Camporees, please contact the Property Services Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information concerning specialty equipment and/or program equipment, please contact the Program Department at email@example.com.
Girl Scout Properties at Other Northeast Councils Girl Scout Councils in the Northeast Region are opening their camps to Girl Scout troops and groups from around the region. Check out these camps for your next campout. Many are located near great attractions or easy transport to major cities. Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains Girl Scouts of Maine Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England All camps will accept your appropriate council training for camping as required. Reservations for camps are made with the sponsoring Girl Scout Council. Be sure to check and follow GSOFCT’s procedures for travel.
GSOFCT Procedures for use of Council Properties
Service Unit Camporees/Events
Service Unit Camporees are intended to provide a dynamic program to girls in a particular service unit. They are organized by volunteers in the service unit and girls usually attend with troops. Some service units have been enjoying camporees for many years. Usually a theme helps the committee plan and prepare for their event. Sometimes bridging ceremonies, Scout’s Own, or awards ceremonies are included in the camporee plans. Frequently, activity facilitators are brought in by the Service Unit Camporee Committee to run boating, archery, or challenge course activities. These specialists may teach specific skills and/or facilitate a program. Many Service Unit Camporee Committees have found that the event provides a perfect venue for older girls to practice leadership skills, while some older girls even run most of the camporee. If the kitchen at the camp is available and will be staffed by a qualified food operator, food service may be provided by the camporee organizers.
To request a camp property for camporee use, go to gsofct.doubleknot.com/facilitysearch/3554.
Service units can book sites 180 days prior to the start date of their scheduled camporee and/or service unit event. A 10 percent deposit is due upon making a reservation. The balance is due six weeks prior to the event. Any balance not paid will result in cancellation of the reservation and forfeit of full deposit.
The remaining balance must be paid in full six weeks prior to the event. The initial 10 percent deposit will be deducted from the final amount due. Please note: The reservation deposit is nonrefundable.
If a camporee will not be using all sites at the camp, they may be asked to share the camp property with another Service Unit Camporee, GSOFCT event, or troop camping. If the Service Unit Camporee wishes to have exclusive use of the camp, they must pay for the entire camp. See property profiles on the website for details. gsofct.org/en/camp/property-information-and-rental.html.
The service unit camporee coordinator or person making the reservation will receive a confirmation when making initial reservation. They will receive a receipt stating when balance is due. It is the responsibility of the service unit to make additional payments. If payment is not received by six weeks before the event, the camporee and/or event will be canceled. Please note: All reservations are made online and on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations cannot be made over the phone.
Lifeguard, archery, and/or adventure course facilitator certifications must be received by the Property Services Department at least six weeks prior to use date. Copies of each certification, front and back, are required.
At least one member of the Service Unit Camporee Committee, preferably the coordinator, must attend Camporee Planning Training.
Additional Camp Information:
Buildings and gates at most GSOFCT properties have key boxes or combination locks for easy entry upon your arrival. You will receive the codes to enter the property 48 hours prior to your stay. You will also be sent a full description of the property and any important information you may need for your visit.
Check-in at all camp facilities begins at 3:00 p.m. on the first day of the reservation. 147
Check-out: Everyone must check out of the property no later than 2:00 p.m. on the last day of their reservation. After all campers have departed, the ranger or caretaker will inspect the facility and note the condition and any damage. A fee may be charged to your group and/or a security deposit may be instituted on future site usage if the condition of the facility is not deemed acceptable.
Hourly Use: o
Check-in and check-out will be the actual hours you reserve the property for. You cannot enter a property prior to the time reserved. You must check out on time to allow next group entry to the property. After all campers have departed, the ranger or caretaker will inspect the facility and note the condition and any damage. A fee may be charged to your group and/or a security deposit may be instituted on future site usage if the condition of the facility is not deemed acceptable.
Food service and kitchen use: In order to use the kitchen, the person in charge of food preparation must have a ServSafe certificate or equivalent documented experience. For more information on ServSafe certification contact the Property Services Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit servsafe.com.
For more information, please contact email@example.com.
Cancellation and Refund Procedures Troops/Groups and Service Units Cancellations and Refunds
If weather conditions make transporting girls dangerous, you must notify the council at (800) 922-2770 about your cancellation. If a reservation is canceled because of weather concerns by the party holding the reservation, they have until the end of the fiscal year (i.e. September 30, 2012) to reschedule. Failure to do so will result in their forfeiting 100 percent of the rental fee.
If GSOFCT needs to cancel a reservation, the impacted party can either accept a full refund or reschedule for another date.
If a service unit cancels six weeks or more prior to the scheduled camporee/event date. The reservation deposit is non-refundable. For Service Unit Camporees or events, any payments made six weeks prior to the event are non-refundable.
No refunds are given for troops/groups who cancel their reservations. In extreme situations, you should contact the Property Services Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 for Free
GSOFCT registered Girl Scout troops may use all sites, including most buildings, for three hours or less after 3:00 p.m. on Sunday until 10:00 p.m. on Thursday free of charge. Anything more than three hours will be charged the hourly rate. An online reservation must be completed prior to use. If your troop/group plans to utilize any of the buildings during their visit, they must request these areas when booking their site reservation. Please Note: This does not apply to service units or service unit events.
- Frequently Asked Questions How can I tell if the site is available for the dates I want? You can search by date for all GSOFCT unit/buildings for availability using the online reservation system. All information online is in real time. Reservations are not made until payment is processed. Reservations in your shopping cart are not guaranteed. What if you’re planning an event and wanted to view multiple sites and dates to see availability? On the Property website, you can click a link that will bring you to a calendar. The calendar will allow you to view monthly by site to see what has already been reserved. How will I know if my troop’s reservation has been accepted? After completing your online reservation with payment, you will receive a receipt as a confirmation. How will I know if my service unit’s reservation has been accepted? After completing your online reservation with the 10 percent deposit, you will receive a receipt as a confirmation. Where can I find out what the rental fees are for the properties? All fees are shown underneath each unit/building when browsing availability. The lower rate of the range is the price for all registered GSOFCT users. Final pricing will be shown in your shopping cart. We want to arrive earlier during the day for our overnight rental. Can we? No. You must reserve the site(s) for the time slot you wish to use them. Early arrival could interfere with another user/group using the site. Does my troop need permission from my service unit to reserve a site? Troops are not required to get permission from service unit managers (SUM) prior to their scheduled troop visit at a GSOFCT property. However, you should forward your confirmation to the SUM so they have knowledge when your troop is having an overnight. Please Note: Troop co-leaders are required to take all necessary training required for their overnight. Training requirements are dependent on what the troop intends to do at the property. If you have any questions about what training is required, contact Customer Care at email@example.com. If I book a site hourly or overnight, why is the price the same? DoubleKnot is set up to use the same rate regardless if you rent for two hours or 14 hours. It will charge for the unit/building per use. You should choose hourly if you don’t intend to sleep overnight or plan to use a site/building that does not allow sleeping. How will I get codes or access to the camp? You will still receive access to the property the same way you always have. The Property Services Department and/or Ranger will email you 48 hours prior to your stay with codes for the building(s) and/or gates you have reserved. Why don’t we get access to the codes to the buildings earlier? Codes are changed frequently. We change them for many different reasons. The best way to ensure you receive the proper codes is to send them out just before your reservation. What if I have questions about the property? You can contact the Property Services Department via email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at (800) 922-2770. 149
Please Note: During the months of July and August, offices close at 12:00 p.m. on Fridays. Can I book multiple sites in one transaction? Yes. You can book hourly sites, overnights, and activities in one transaction. You can also book several dates and different camps in one transaction. Please Note: You will not be able to book a Service Unit Camporee/Event and a troop event in the same transaction. Separate transactions are required. Remember to also use the proper credentials when reserving sites: troop credentials for troop events; service unit credentials for Service Unit Camporees. What if the group wants to rent the dining hall for just three hours? Will the price change? No. The dining hall and other hourly units/buildings are rented at one flat rate per use. The rate is based on a minimum of two hours and a maximum of 14 hours. The price does not change regardless of the number of hours you decide to use an hourly unit/building. What is an hourly unit/building? An hourly unit/building is usually a common area that can be used during the day and is not available to be slept in. An hourly unit/building can be used from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. each day. You cannot book an hourly unit/building overnight. Examples of hourly unit/building(s) are dining halls, archery ranges, boating areas, playgrounds, etc. Can you reserve a site over night from 12:00 p.m. on Saturday to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday? No. All overnight reservations have a check-in time of 3:00 p.m. and check-out time of 2:00 p.m. If you choose to reserve an overnight unit/building then you are required to reserve it from the allotted times available. Overnight unit/buildings reserved prior to the check in and out times would require an additional night’s stay. Can I pay with my troop checking account? No. All online payments must be made in the form of a debit or credit card. What forms of payment are accepted for online site registration? All online registrations are paid for with a credit or debit card: Discover, MasterCard, or Visa. We do not accept American Express. Please Note: AT CHECKOUT, THE AMERICAN EXPRESS BUTTON WILL APPEAR. If you attempt to use an American Express card, it will not be accepted. Must I rent an entire camp? Service units and large groups may reserve the entire camp for their events. Smaller groups can plan their own special trips by renting areas within a larger site. Please Note: If you do not reserve the entire camp, you should plan on other Girl Scout groups sharing the property. Why do I have to use the service unit manager’s login information for Service Unit Events or Camporees? You must log in with the service unit manager’s credentials to book any service unit event or camporee. This allows the service unit to give a 10 percent deposit at time of reservation and allows them to pay in full six weeks prior to the event. It also gives the service unit six months in advance to book sites. Why can’t I use my service unit login to book a troop event? Troops are required to pay in full at time of booking. Individual troops can book smaller sites; service units typically reserve multiple sites to support event attendance. Registered Girl Scout troops also have the “3 for Free” option available to support their outdoor experiences. 150
Please Note: Any troop that books under a service unit’s login will be cancelled immediately. What if I do not pay in full six weeks prior to my service unit event? Your event will be canceled and you will forfeit the initial deposit. The site will become available for others to reserve. How far in advance can a troop reserve a site? Troops can reserve up to 90 days from the date you intend to reserve and must pay in full at the time of making the reservation. The site will not become available until 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard time. For Example: if you wish to rent June 29, 2018, you wouldn’t be able to reserve the site until March 31, 2018; at 3:01 p.m. How far in advance can a service unit reserve a site for a Camporee or Service Unit Event? Service Unit Camporees/Events can be reserved up to 180 days from the date you intend to reserve and must pay a 10% deposit of total reservation at the time of making the reservation. The site will not become available until 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard time. For Example: if you wish to rent September 29, 2017, you wouldn’t be able to reserve the site until March 29, 2017 at 3:01 p.m. How do I obtain my service unit login to reserve a site for a Camporee or Event? All service unit managers received an email with log on instructions for their service units. If your service unit manager is not the person responsible for making the reservation they must contact the Property Services Department to issue a new login for the appropriate person. Each service unit will only be able to assign one person to make reservations for their service unit. Please Note: You cannot use the service unit login for making troop reservations. If you book troop events or overnights using the service unit login, your event will be canceled. If you are a troop looking to share the expense of an overnight with more than one troop, it is not considered a service unit event unless you are inviting the entire service unit. I have a smaller troop and want to use the lodge. Can I book with another troop? Yes. You can book with another troop to help share the expense. Only one troop co-leader is responsible for making the reservation. Please Note: When sharing a site with multiple troops, you do not reserve the site using a service unit login. To be considered a service unit event/Camporee, the entire service unit must be invited to participate. What are some ways to reserve the property at a discount? Watch for online specials throughout the year. Coupon codes will be given randomly for last-minute bookings and specials. These discounts can be up to 50 percent off a unit/building. Only rent the units/buildings that you intend to use.
How can the service unit find a facilitator for the pool, ropes course, waterfront, or archery area? The Program Department can help secure facilitators for the use of specialized areas/equipment. Please Note: Many facilitators expect to be paid for services rendered. Current rates of $75 per half day and $100 or more per day are common. Service units are expected to pay facilitators directly. *Special Pool Regulations: Pool usage is subject to the approval of the Director of Property Services. Pools are only available for rental from the end of summer camp until end of August. Pools must be requested a minimum of four weeks in advance. If no usage is scheduled, pools are subject to early closure. Please Note: Reserving an entire camp does not include the pool. You are required to reserve that separately. 151
How can my troop/group use a pool, ropes course, waterfront, or archery area and/or equipment? If your troop has facilitators, the troop can reserve the specialized area/equipment by choosing it from the hourly section online and completing the reservation with full payment. Taking advantage of the 3 for Free option will waive the site cost, but it does not apply to the use of specialized area/equipment. May we exceed the stated capacities for buildings? Day use and overnight capacities for each building are based on several factors, including local Fire Marshall State Codes and American Camp Association safety standards and may not be exceeded. What is a ServSafe Certification? ServSafe is a food and beverage safety training and certificate program administered by the National Restaurant Association. Your food handler needs to know food safety and the critical importance of her or his role. Some of the concepts in the training include: Sanitation, The Flow of Food through Operation, and Sanitary Facilities and Pest Management. The ServSafe Food Handler Certification is recognized for a threeyear period. For more information on ServSafe certification, visit servsafe.com
GSOFCT Procedures for use of Council Properties
Outside User Groups
Each request for use of Girl Scouts of Connecticut properties by an outside group shall be made to the Property Services Department via email or telephone. Each request shall be evaluated separately to determine if the usage is appropriate.
Consideration shall be given to non-profit and for-profit organizations whose mission and purpose are compatible with that of Girl Scouting. Consideration shall also be given to private individuals and groups for personal or family recreation with appropriate insurance coverage. In all cases, first priority shall always be given to Girl Scout related events and activities.
All outside groups shall be required to execute and return the agreement, furnish the necessary fees, any deposits, submit a certificate of insurance, and abide by all the conditions set forth in the agreement and accompanying rules.
Outside groups will be placed in properties only when Girl Scouts are not using any part of the premises.
Groups using pools, lakes, and ponds must furnish their own lifeguards and provide proof of certification prior to use.
Use of specialty equipment must be negotiated including rescue equipment.
All groups using GSOFCT facilities must abide by GSUSA guidelines and GSOFCT Property Policies.
Girl Scouts of Connecticut Properties Most Camp Properties are open year round. Outdoor camping Season is May 1 – October 15 at most camps. Some camps have winterized facilities as noted in descriptions. Pool usage is subject to the approval of the Director of Property Services. Pools are only available for rental from the end of summer camp until end of August. Pools must be requested a minimum of four weeks in advance. If no usage is scheduled, pools are subject to early closure. Rental fees and facilitator fees will apply.
Camp An-Se-Ox (Year-round facility) Located in Oxford on 55 beautiful acres, An-Se-Ox has a swimming pool, five picnic areas, hiking trails, an accessible playground, and a sports field. An-SeOx's handicapped accessible Spence Lodge is split into two separate sides. Morning side has a total day capacity of 35 and sleeps 24. Cozy Corner has a total day capacity of 40 and sleeps 30. Morningside is equipped with a fire place. Both sides have a sink, stove, and refrigerator. A bathroom with flush toilets is shared between both sides. The lodge offers mattresses for sleeping.
Camp An-Se-Ox, Spence Lodge
An-Se-Ox offers six units with platform tents one of which is handicap accessible. Every site has at least one fire circle and a raised cooking grate suitable for wood or charcoal. An-Se-Ox is suitable for training sessions, service unit meetings, troop meetings and camporees, troop camping and day outings. Recreation – ADA accessible playground A swimming pool and archery range are on site – additional fees apply and certifications are required.
Camp Aspetuck (Year-round facility) Located in Weston on 16 beautiful acres, Aspetuck has picnic areas, swamp walk, two lodges, and a sports field. The Frey Lodge, built in 2010, has a day capacity of 62 and sleeps 42. It is equipped with a full kitchen, gas fire place, private adult sleeping rooms, and flush toilets. Aspetuck has seven A-Frame/Platform tents and areas for pitching tents. There is a raised wetlands walkway through the swamp. Camp Aspetuck, Frey Lodge
Aspetuck is suitable for training sessions, service unit meetings, troop meetings, camporees, troop camping, and day outings. Recreation – ADA accessible Lodge, Wetlands exploration A swimming pool and archery range are on site – additional fees apply and certifications are required.
Camp Candlewood (Year-round facility)
Camp Candlewood, Lake Candlewood
Located on 80 acres on the shore of Lake Candlewood in New Fairfield, Candlewood is approximately 20 minutes north of Danbury. There are two large units and one small unit of A-Frames and bunkhouses on the top of the slope and two small units of A-Frames and bunkhouses at Candleberry Shelter. It also has a year-round dining hall that seats 150. The Lighthouse, a troop house built in 2009, has a day capacity of 30 and sleeps 25. It has a full kitchen, bathrooms with showers, and a separate handicapped accessible bathroom with shower. You can also rent the Lighthouse 2 which was formerly the infirmary for summer camp. This additional space has many separate bedrooms for sleeping. Candlewood is suitable for training sessions, service unit meetings, troop meetings, camporees, troop camping, day outings, and team building sessions. Recreation – ADA accessible Lodge Archery, swimming, boating and ropes course are on site – additional fees apply and certifications are required.
Camp Katoya (Open April 1
Located on 57 acres in the town of Milford, Katoya has several opportunities for primitive camping with shelters. Macauley Cabin sleeps 20 and has a day capacity of 30. The cabin is great for an overnight or a day program. The camp is just minutes away from the local Metro North Train system for a day trip into New York City. Katoya is suitable for training sessions, camporees, troop camping, day outings, and troop meetings. Camp Katoya, Main Cabin
A swimming pool and archery range are on site – additional fees apply and certifications are required.
Camp Laurel (Year-round facility) Located on 343 acres of woodlands and fields, Laurel is situated on Stiles Pond in Lebanon. The Health Center has a day capacity of 100 and sleeps 60. It is equipped with flushing toilets and a full kitchen during the months of May – October. The building can be rented throughout the rest of the year without any running water. Bathroom facilities are located outdoors with a frost-free faucet for running water. There are 28 different sites accommodating over 650 campers during the day and sleeping up to 575 campers. Some sites offer handicap accessible facilities. All sites have port-o-johns and running water. Cabins are available as well, holding 200 during the day and sleeping 80. Each tent and cabin is equipped with cots and mattresses.
Camp Laurel, Dining Hall
The Miriam Healy Dining Hall can accommodate 175 with meals or up to 450 for a program event. A new service center provides a Girl Scout Store and access to Membership staff daily. The site is suitable for large or small camporees, training sessions, service unit meetings, troop meetings, troop camping, or day events. Archery, horseback riding (summer camp only), swimming and boating on site – additional fees apply and certifications are required. Recreation –playground
Camp Merrie-Wood (Year-round facility) Located on 7 acres in the town of Manchester, Merrie-Wood has a main cabin that is open for year-round use with a day capacity of 30 and that sleeps 25. The cabin is equipped with a full kitchen and bathroom facilities. The camp has six shelters that surround a large fire pit and two fields that can be used for activities and/or as a tent site. There are outside bathroom facilities also available. The site is suitable for small trainings, troop meetings, small camporees, troop camping, and day outings.
Camp Merrie-Wood, Cabin and Shelter
Camp Pattagansett (Year-round facility) Located on 87 acres of beautiful woodlands in East Lyme, Pattagansett has numerous hiking trails, sports fields, and a large lake for swimming and boating. It has a 30-foot. climbing wall available for use May through November. This three-sided wall offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels of climbing. A new high/low ropes course was added in 2009 and includes a zip line. The waterfront area can be used for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and boating. Metcalf Lodge offers three rooms that each sleep 35. Day capacity for each room is 45. Each room is equipped with a kitchen. Two of the rooms have an accordion style wall between them and can be opened into one large room with a wood burning fireplace. There are flushing toilets and showers. Camp Pattagansett, Tent Unit
Platform tent sites are available including a handicap accessible tent. Each unit during the day can hold 45 people and sleeps 24. The Brownie House has a day capacity of 16. The nature cabin has a day capacity of 15. The pavilion can hold an event up to 50 people. Pattagansett is suitable for camporees, training sessions, troop meetings troop camping, and large day events. Swimming, boating, low/high ropes course, climbing wall on site – additional fees apply and certifications are required.
Camp Rocky Craig (Year-round facility) Located on 28 acres of hilly woodland and rocky cliffs, Rocky Craig is just north of the Merritt Parkway, 20 minutes from the center of Stamford and just minutes from the Metro North Train Station. It has a large meadow for games, tent pitching, etc. The camp has a birding trail and a Discovery Trail that winds through the pond and wetland area. Although the pond is NOT suitable for swimming, it is useful for nature work along with the study of swamp life in the adjacent wetlands.
Camp Rocky Craig, Nichols Troop House
Rocky Craig offers a newer troop house which was built in 2012 with over 1,500 square feet of open space for troop use including separate sleeping areas for adults and co-ed sleeping arrangements. It has a fully equipped kitchen, ADA compliant bathroom facilities, and shower. The troop house has a day capacity of 60 and sleeps 45. Rocky Craig is suitable for trainings, camporees, troop camping, service unit meetings, troop meetings, and day outings. Archery on site – additional fees apply and certifications are required.
Camp Yankee Trails (Year-round facility) Located in Tolland on 363 beautiful acres, Yankee Trails has a nature center, picnic areas, hiking trails, a dining hall for gatherings, platform tents, outdoor amphitheater, Infirmary building, two troop houses, Director’s Cabin, and sports fields. Sweetheart Lake is equipped with docks for boating and swimming and a boat house to house boats and use for program facilities.
Camp Yankee Trails Stone House
The camp offers swimming, canoeing, archery, non-competitive sports and games, nature study, hiking, cookouts and campfires. The Stone House is winterized with separate sleeping areas for adults and girls and is fully equipped with flush toilets, a kitchen, and fire place. It has a day capacity of 40 and sleeps 36. There are 11 areas with different types of tents for camping that have pavilions, fire circles, latrines, and running water. Each site has a day capacity of 20-60 and sleeps 10-38. Sprague Hall, which was re-built in 2013(without the kitchen), can accommodate 200 with seating for 150. The sports field can accommodate large groups of 150 and can sleep more than 30 with pop up tents. The Nature Cabin has a day capacity of 15. The amphitheater has a day capacity of 150. The Director’s Cabin has a capacity of four during the day and can sleep four as well. The Stone House, Infirmary, and Directors Cabin, are all equipped with cots and mattresses. Yankee Trails is suitable for large camporees, trainings, troop camping, service unit meetings, troop/group meetings, and day outings. Archery, boating and swimming on site – additional fees apply and certifications are required.
Candlewood, New Fairfield, CT
Laurel, Lebanon, CT
Merrie-Wood, Manchester, CT
Pattagansett, East Lyme, CT
Rocky Craig, Stamford, CT
Yankee Trails, Tolland, CT
Units with cabins, tents, etc.
Total Suggested Capacity Day* *Toilet capacity 50-1 Total Suggested Capacity Overnight* *More if tenting -Check toilet ratio
Primitive Camping Tent Sites
(April 1 – October 15)
Aspetuck, Weston, CT
Katoya, Milford, CT
An-Se-Ox, Oxford, CT
Girl Scouts of Connecticut – Properties Summary
Water Year Round
Playground Horseback Riding (summer only)
Low Ropes Challenge Course
Boating (canoes, rowboats, kayaks, and/or paddle boats)
Swimming - Lake or Pond Swimming - Pool Amphitheater (Council Campfire Ring)
Winter Activity Areas
Summer Day Camp
Summer Resident Camp
Girl Scouts of Connecticut Camp Check-in Please READ and familiarize yourself and your entire group with the posted GSOFCT Property Policies. Also note:
Firewood is not allowed to be brought into camp. Connecticut and Massachusetts have bans on transporting firewood in an attempt to control insect infestation. These insects or eggs may not be visible on firewood. Firewood will be supplied by the Girl Scouts of Connecticut at various sites.
Park only in designated areas and remember to lock all vehicle doors. Girl Scouts of Connecticut is not responsible for any lost or stolen items.
Send only ONE vehicle to unload your gear at reserved site and/or park in the designated area and transport equipment by foot, as discussed with ranger or caretaker before arrival.
Familiarize yourself and other adults in your group with the posted Emergency Contact phone numbers.
Be respectful of other groups sharing the camp. Use only the area(s) reserved, as listed on your confirmation form.
Please do not pick or dig up any flowers, plants, or saplings. Use only “down” wood for fires. Take only pictures. Leave only footprints.
Fire circles should be cleaned PRIOR to building a fire. Ashes can be left for the next group. Cool Ashes only can be disposed of deep into the forest. Ashes should be spread not piled.
See Safety Activity Checkpoints for use of portable cook stoves at camp. Those with sealed gas units (canisters) may be used: propane, butane, alcohol, or Sterno (not fuel). Where electricity is not available, a lantern may be used at the latrine at night. It must be hung from a bracket at the latrine, so that it cannot be knocked over. Never, never use sealed gas units, charcoal, or open fires in a tent, cabin, or closed room.
Girl Scouts of Connecticut Camp Check-out Remember that a Girl Scout always leaves an area cleaner than when she arrived. Before you leave, please make sure that: □ All fires are completely out and pails have been returned to storage. For safety, please leave ashes for next group and be prepared to clean the fire pit before your use.
Return all tables, chairs, picnic tables, or other movable items back to where they were originally located.
Tents/cabins have been swept clean.
Mattresses have been sanitized.
Beds and mattresses are in the center of the tent—proper number in each tent.
Tent flaps have been closed and tied; corners lashed.
Bathrooms/latrines/portos and washstands have been scrubbed and disinfected with Sanitabs (Sanitabs can be purchase at the council shops).
Kitchen Area has been cleaned – Tables and benches/chairs washed; refrigerator turned down, cleaned, and doors propped open.
Any borrowed equipment or supplies are returned to their place.
Garbage and trash have been taken to dumpster Please be courteous of the next group. Leave an empty garbage bag in the garbage cans of buildings.
Unit is free of all litter.
No food has been left behind any where. Please do not leave food/condiments etc. in Refrigerators or kitchen cabinets.
Nothing has been left behind by your group.
Heat is turned down and lights are off (where applicable).
Broken or damaged equipment will be reported to email@example.com. 158
DIRECTIONS TO ALL GSOFCT PROGRAM CENTERS AN-SE-OX – 47 CONDON ROAD, OXFORD, CT 06478 From North (Torrington/Litchfield): Take Rt. 8 South to exit 33. Merge onto I-84 West. Take I-84 W to exit 16. At the end of the exit ramp, turn left onto Rt. 188. Follow approximately 2.4 miles past Oxford Airport access road. At the light for Rt. 67, turn left. Go approximately 1.8 miles and turn left onto Christian Road. Take an immediate right onto Old State Road #2. Then take a left onto Condon Road. Camp is at the top of the hill on the left. From South (Stamford/Bridgeport): Take Rt. 8 North to exit 21 toward Rt. 67. Merge onto Derby Avenue. Continue straight onto River Street. Turn left onto Rt. 67 West for 4.8 miles. Make a slight right onto Old State Road #2. Take first right onto Condon Road. Camp is at the top of the hill on the left. From East (Waterbury/Hartford): Take I-84 West to exit 16. At the end of the exit ramp, turn left onto Rt. 188. Follow approximately 2.4 miles past Oxford Airport access road. At the light for Rt. 67, turn left. Go approximately 1.8 miles and turn left onto Christian Road. Take an immediate right onto Old State Road #2. Then take a left onto Condon Road. Camp is at the top of the hill on the left. ASPETUCK – 88 OLD EASTON TURNPIKE, WESTON, CT 06883 From North (Torrington/Litchfield): Take Rt. 8 South to exit 10 for Rt. 15 South. Take exit 42. Turn right toward Westport, stay left at the fork in the road, going immediately to the 4-way stop with blinking light. Turn left onto Easton Road (Rt. 136). Go 4 miles and turn left on Judges Hollow Road; cross the river and pass Jana Drive. Turn left onto Old Easton Turnpike. Camp is the fourth driveway on the right, with dumpster in parking lot. From South (Stamford): Take Rt. 15 North (Merritt Parkway) to Exit 42. Turn left toward Westport, stay left at the fork in the road, going immediately to the 4-way stop with blinking light. Turn left onto Easton Road (Rt. 136). Go 4 miles and turn left on Judges Hollow Road; cross the river and pass Jana Drive. Turn left onto Old Easton Turnpike. Camp is the fourth driveway on the right, with dumpster in parking lot. From West (New Haven/Hartford): Take Rt. 15 South (Merritt Parkway) to Exit 42. Turn right toward Westport, stay left at the fork in the road, going immediately to the 4-way stop with blinking light. Turn left onto Easton Road (Rt. 136). Go 4 miles and turn left on Judges Hollow Road; cross the river and pass Jana Drive. Follow directions above.
CANDLEWOOD – 29 BOGUS HILL ROAD, NEW FAIRFIELD, CT 06812 From North (Torrington/Litchfield): Follow Rt. 202 West to Rt. 7 North. Take Rt. 7 North for 2.7 miles and turn slight left onto Rt. 37 South (Sherman Road). Continue onto Rt. 39 South (Brush Hill Road). Rt. 39 South will turn right – stay straight onto Bogus Hill Road. Camp entrance is .04 miles on the left. From South (Stamford/Bridgeport): Take Rt. 7 North and merge onto I-84 East to exit 5. At the end of the exit ramp, merge into Downs Street (which turns into North Street). Stay on North Street, which is Rt. 37 North. Continue on Rt. 37 North to the intersection with Rt. 39 North. Turn right onto Rt. 39 North (Brush Hill Road). After 4 miles, turn right onto Bogus Hill Road. Camp entrance is .04 miles on the left. From West (Waterbury/Hartford): Take I-84 West to exit 6. Turn right onto Rt.-37 North toward New Fairfield for 4.5 miles. Turn right onto Rt. 39 North (Brush Hill Road) for 4 miles. Turn right onto Bogus Hill Road. Camp entrance is .04 miles on the left. 159
KATOYA – 71 COUNTRY LANE, MILFORD, CT 06461 From North (Torrington/Litchfield): Take Rt. 8 South to exit 15 for Derby/New Haven. Turn right onto CT-34 (East Main Street) for .2 miles, then take the first right onto Derby Avenue for .3 miles. Continue onto New Haven Avenue for 1 mile. Turn right onto Derby Milford Road for 3 miles. Turn right again onto West River Road for .6 miles, and take the first right onto Country Lane. Camp driveway is on the left side with a sign. From South (Stamford/Bridgeport): Take Rt. 15 North to exit 55B – Wolf Harbor Road. Turn left onto Wolf Harbor Road for .7 miles. Turn left onto West River Street for .6 miles. Continue past stop sign and take next left onto Country Lane. Camp driveway is on the left side with a sign. From West (Hartford): Take I-91 South to exit 17 (Rt. 15 South). Follow to exit 56. Take right off the exit onto Grassy Hill Road (Rt. 121). Follow for 2.2 miles and make right onto Flax Mill Lane. Go .2 miles to West River Street on right. .07 miles on the left is Country Lane. (If you reach Derby Milford Road, you have gone too far.) Camp driveway is on the left side with a sign.
LAUREL – 175 B CLUBHOUSE ROAD, LEBANON, CT 06249 From Northeast (Hartford): Take Rt. 2 East to exit 13 in Marlborough. Turn left onto Rt. 66. Turn right onto Rt. 85. Turn left onto Rt. 207. Continue straight past the intersection with Rt. 16, and then take the next left onto Clubhouse Rd. Camp will be 1.9 miles down on your left. From Southwest (New Haven): Take I-91 North to exit 18. Merge onto CT-66 East for 6.8 miles. Turn left onto Main Street for approximately 1 mile. Follow Rt. 66 over the bridge into Portland. Make a right turn just before Rite Aid to continue on Rt. 66. Turn right onto Rt. 16. Follow Rt. 16 as it makes a left turn, then a quick right turn to get around the Colchester Town Green (you will briefly join with Rt. 85 as you do this, but just follow the signs to remain on Rt. 16). At the end, turn right onto Rt. 207. Take your first left onto Clubhouse Rd. Camp will be 1.9 miles down on your left. From West (New London): Take Rt. 2 West to exit 25, toward Franklin/Willimantic. At end of exit, turn right onto Rt. 32. Turn left onto Rt. 87. Turn left onto Rt. 207. Turn right onto Clubhouse Rd, which is .3 miles past North Street. Camp will be 1.9 miles down on your left.
MERRIE-WOOD – 650 GARDNER STREET, MANCHESTER, CT 06040 From South (New London): Take Rt. 2 West to exit 10 (Rt. 83 East). Take a slight right onto Rt. 83 East (Manchester Road) for 5 miles. Turn right onto Line Street for .9 miles. At the end of Line Street, take a right onto Gardner Street. Camp entrance is .5 miles on the right. There is no visible sign for camp; you will see a fenced parking area. From West (Waterbury/Hartford): Take I-84 East to exit 59 (I-384 East). Merge onto I-384 East and take exit 3. At the end of the exit, make a left onto Rt. 83 South (Main Street). Drive 1.4 miles, past Manchester Country Club, and take a left onto Line Street for .9 miles. At the end of Line Street, take a right onto Gardner Street. Camp entrance is .5 miles on the right. From East (Tolland): Take I-84 West to exit 59 (I-384 East). Merge onto I-384 East and follow directions above. PATTAGANSETT – 121 UPPER PATTAGANSETT ROAD, EAST LYME, CT 06333 From Northeast (Hartford/Middletown): Take Rt. 9 South to I-95 North. Take exit 74 and turn left onto Flanders Road for .5 miles. Turn left onto Boston Post Road (Rt. 1) for .5 miles. Take the first right onto Upper Pattagansett Road for 1 mile. Camp entrance is on the right. 160
From Southeast (Stamford/New Haven): Take I-95 North to exit 74. Follow directions above. ROCKY CRAIG – 69 GUINEA ROAD, STAMFORD, CT, 06903 From North (Hartford/New Haven): Take Rt. 15 South to exit 33. Go straight onto Den Road for .2 miles. Take a slight left onto Bangall Road for .2 miles. Turn right onto Riverbank Road for .3 miles. Turn left onto June Road for .2 miles, then left onto Guinea Road for .2 miles. Camp entrance is on the right. When leaving camp, turn left on Guinea Road, right onto June Road, and watch for signs for the Merritt Parkway. YANKEE TRAILS – 343 PLAINS ROAD, TOLLAND, CT 06084 From West (Waterbury/Hartford): Take I-84 East to exit 70. Make a left turn off the exit onto Rt. 32 (River Road) for 2.5 miles. Make a sharp left onto Plains Road, and camp entrance is the first driveway on the right.
Girl Scouts of Connecticut Property Policies* Outdoor Program Center and Service Center Philosophy A. Management The council will manage its outdoor program center and service center properties in such a way as to provide the following: 1. Protect and preserve the natural resources guaranteeing them for use by future generation of girls. 2. Assure the health and safety and welfare of all program participants. 3. Promote full, efficient and cost-effective use of the land and facilities. 4. Project a positive public image. 5. Gather and maintain a positive attitude from staff, girls, volunteers, community leaders, the media, and the general public with respect to council ownership and operation of the outdoor program. B. Accommodation Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc. will provide reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities using council owned property. Development plans for the property will seek to address reasonable accommodation of facilities and site access. C. Training Site Users must have appropriate training prior to using a site and follow Girl Scout safety guidelines and standards when on council owned property. Site Usage Policies A. Alcohol, Illegal Drugs Misuse of any substance is prohibited on council-owned property or during any Girl Scout activities. Possession or use of alcoholic beverages is not allowed at the program centers, on any councilowned property, or during Girl Scout activity. Exception: Permission for any exception to this policy may be given by the Chief Executive Officer of the council. Possession or use of illegal drugs including marijuana is not allowed under any circumstance at the program centers, on council owned property or during any Girl Scout activities. B. Smoking Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc. is a smoke-free environment at all offices and program sites. Smoking is prohibited on all council-owned properties. Adults should not smoke in the presence of girls at any Girl Scout activities. C. Weapons Weapons are defined as, but not limited to: knives (other than those used for cooking), firearms, (including water and paint guns), hatchets, archery equipment, and explosives. Possession of weapons is not permitted at program centers or on -council-owned property. Exception: This does not apply to equipment actually used for Girl Scout programs. Permission for an exception to this policy may be given by the Chief Executive Officer of the council. 162
Girl Scouts of Connecticut Property Policies* D. Pets Pets are not allowed on camp property except for service animals required to accommodate a health-related need, such as a seeing-eye dog. No live animals except service animals are permitted in the kitchen, dining hall, or infirmary at any time. Exception: The Chief Executive Officer or her designee may grant an exception to seasonal administrative camp staffers who are not housed in a unit or for camp rangers or caretakers. E. Hunting/Trapping No trapping or hunting is allowed on council property at any time. Exception: The Chief Executive Officer may grant an exception for camp rangers or caretakers to ensure the safety of girls and volunteers. F. Violence Violence, threatening behavior, or bullying are not tolerated. Persons exhibiting inappropriate behavior on council property will be removed from the property. G. Graffiti and Damage Graffiti is prohibited. Anyone found to be writing on, carving in, or otherwise defacing, marking or damaging any equipment, tree, tent, building, or other surface, will be responsible for restoration and/or the cost of restoration and/or replacement of the object or site cleanup. Anyone found inappropriately disposing of chemicals or waste on council properties will be responsible for restoration and/or cost of restoration or site clean-up. Removal or theft of council equipment or property is prohibited. H. Motorized Recreational Vehicles Motorized Recreational Vehicles for land, water, or air are prohibited on the property except as permitted by the Chief Executive Officer or her designee. I. Accommodations If a female adult is sharing accommodations with girls, two adults must be present when using the sleeping quarters. Males must have separate sleeping and changing quarters from girls. Couples will be required to use separate sleeping quarters when staying overnight during a girl program. Exception: The Chief Executive Officer or her designee may make an exception to 1, 2, and 3 when Family Camping is involved and a family is sharing accommodations. J. First Aid and Emergencies Each user group must have at least one designated adult to provide first aid treatment as necessary; this adult must possess a current certification in first aid and CPR from a nationally recognized provider.
Girl Scouts of Connecticut Property Policies* K. Activity Areas No one shall enter activity areas unless they have made prior arrangements with the Girl Scouts of Connecticut. Prior to usage of any specialized activity area, including use of equipment at such area, the user group must be orientated to the site, procedures, and equipment at the site. If other specialized program activity areas or equipment are part of the facility, Girl Scouts of Connecticut will either provide appropriately trained staff or will determine minimum qualifications for supervision by the user group. Additional information and guidelines for waterfront use and use of special equipment (for example, ropes course or archery) will be sent to all applicants expressing an interest in participating in such activities. Minimum standards are set for in Safety Activity Checkpoints and/or ACA guide. L. Fires Fires must only be built in established fire circles. Only downed and dead wood may be used. Liquid fire starters and bonfires are strictly prohibited. M. Cleanliness The user group agrees to keep the portions of the facilities rented by the user group free of any trash, to leave all areas used by the user group in as good a condition as they were at the beginning of the use, reasonable wear and tear excepted, and to take away at the end of the use anything brought to the facility by the user group. This includes items used for games and or activities markings on the walls or ground. Cost of cleaning the area will be charged to the user group and payment is required within ten business days. N. Parking and Speed Limits All vehicles traveling on Girl Scout property must travel at safe speeds as posted on the site. If speed is not posted the speed is not to exceed ten mph. Each site has different policies regarding parking; Rangers or Caretakers will inform user of parking policies upon arrival. O. Quiet Times In consideration of other users of facility, quiet time is from 10:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. P. Food Service If the user group prepares its own food, it assumes all responsibility for foods prepared and for all activities incident to their preparations, and the user group shall hold the Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc. harmless from any and all liability therefore. The food service area must be kept clean and only clean utensils will be used. Food must be handled by trained or qualified personnel and stored properly. Qualifications and/or records of training should be filed with Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc. The trained or qualified personnel shall monitor refrigerators, freezers, and dishwasher to ensure they meet or exceed acceptable temperatures and notify Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc. if they do not. Food is required to be stored and served at appropriate temperatures.
Girl Scouts of Connecticut Property Policies* Q. Additional Restrictions The use of gasoline, white gas, flammables, poisonous substances, and hand and power tools are restricted. Buddy Burners can be used with appropriate adult supervision. All girls must be at the Junior level or higher to have participation or use of the buddy burner. Exception: Prior written authorization from the Girl Scouts of Connecticut Chief Executive Officer or designee is required. Use of the above must comply with Safety Activity Checkpoints and/or ACA.
Non-Girl Scouts Individuals/Groups A. Hold Harmless Agreements An Individual or group wishing to rent or use a council facility for a non-Girl Scouts activity must: Sign a hold harmless agreement with Girl Scouts of Connecticut in which they take responsibility for any damage to council-owned property or any property they bring. Indemnify Girl Scouts of Connecticut in case of accidents or injuries that occur during or resulting from their activities while on Girl Scouts of Connecticut properties. B. Certificates of Insurance Liability insurance and a certificate showing such insurance with Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc. named as an additional insured, is required of a non-Girl scout group wishing to use Girl Scouts of Connecticut facilities. The amount of insurance will depend on the activity but will be a minimum of one million dollars. C. Refusal to Rent Property Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc. reserves the right to refuse to rent the property to any group at its sole discretion. D. Shared Usage Non-Girl Scouts groups may not sublease or share the council-owned property with other groups without express written permission of Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc. Each group using a property owned by Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc. will be considered a separate user. E. Policy and Safety Standards Non-Girl Scout groups must comply with the policies of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc. and appropriate safety standards in the use of property.
Girls and volunteers participating in troops can meet once a week, once a month, or twice a month for several months—how often is up to you and the girls. Troops can meet just about anywhere, as long as the location is safe, easily accessible to girls and volunteers, and within a reasonable commute (“reasonable” having different definitions in different areas: In rural areas, a two-hour drive may be acceptable; in an urban area, a 30-minute subway ride may be too long). In each meeting, girls participate in fun activities that engage them in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). Troops provide a flexible way for girls to meet. Some ideas include:
Fourteen Girl Scout Brownies who meet twice a month from November through March at a local community center Seven girls who are homeschooled and meet weekly as a Girl Scout Cadette troop Girls who meet together once a week at their juvenile detention center to participate in Girl Scout activities
Arranging a Time and Place for Girl-Led Meetings When and how often to meet is up to you, your co-volunteers, parents/guardians, and girls: it may just be one time for this particular group of girls. Or, if you meet regularly, what day and time work best for the girls, for you, for your co-volunteers, and for other adults who will be presenting or mentoring? Once per week, twice a month, once a month? Is after-school best? Can your co-volunteers meet at that time, or will meetings work better in the evenings or on the weekends? Where to meet can be a bit trickier: a meeting place needs to provide a safe, clean, and secure environment that allows for the participation of all girls. You might consider using meeting rooms at schools, libraries, houses or worship, community buildings, childcare facilities, and local businesses. For teens, you can also rotate meetings at coffee shops, bookstores, and other places girls enjoy spending time. Here are a few points to keep in mind as you consider meeting locations:
Cost: The space should be free to use. Size: Make sure the space is large enough to hold all the girls in the group while engaged in a variety of activities. Availability: Be sure the space is available for the day and the entire length of time you want to meet. Resources: Determine what types of furnishings (table? chairs?) come with the room and ensure that the lighting is adequate. A bonus would be a cubby of some sort, where you can store supplies. Safety: Ensure that the space is safe, secure, clean, properly ventilated, heated (or cooled, depending on your location), free from hazards, and has at least two exits that are well-marked and fully functional. Also, be sure first-aid equipment is on hand. Facilities: Sanitary and accessible toilets are critical. Allergen-free: Ensure that pet dander and other common allergens won’t bother susceptible girls during meetings. Accessibility: Be sure the space can accommodate girls with disabilities, as well as parents with disabilities who may come to meetings.
If this is your first time asking for a Girl Scout meeting place, here are a few talking points to get you started: “I’m a Girl Scout volunteer, with a group of ______ girls. We’re doing lots of great things for girls and for the community, like ____ and ______. We’re all about leadership—the kind that girls use in their daily lives and the kind that makes our community better. We’d love to hold our meetings here because ______.”
Written agreements may be required when securing meeting sites. Please remember that you are not authorized to sign any building-use agreements or contracts. GSOFCT Policy and Procedures state that all contracts must be authorized and signed by the Chief Executive Officer or her/his designee.
Meeting in Homes Homeowners and renters have a legal responsibility if any person (invited or not) is injured while on their property. This is just one reason why it is important to carry adequate homeowners or renter’s insurance to protect your financial interests. If you choose to hold Girl Scout meetings at your residence, you carry the same legal liability as when any other visitor is on your property or at your place of residence. Having adequate renters or homeowner’s insurance is a must if Girl Scout meetings will be held at your place of residence.
Girl Scouts of Connecticut strongly discourages meetings held in private residences. Instead, we recommend that troop/group meetings take place in safe community settings that are accessible to all members, both girls and adults. Careful consideration should be used to find appropriate facilities for the age of the girls to be served and the activities to be conducted (i.e. schools, community centers, libraries, churches/synagogues, municipal entities, etc.). Girl Scouts of Connecticut also recognizes that in some instances, access to public and community facilities may be limited. If you are having difficulty securing a meeting site, please contact your Membership Specialist for assistance. Should a troop/group be unable to secure a public meeting place and GSOFCT and the troop/group feel no alternate locations are available, council approval then needs to be secured for meetings in a private residence. The following must be completed prior to meeting in a private residence: - Review of Meeting Place Safety Guidelines for Troop/Group Leaders - Complete and submit Private Residence Authorization Form
To ensure that all places selected for troop/group meetings, whether private or elsewhere, minimize the potential for accidents and injuries, review the Meeting Place Safety Guidelines for Troop/Group Leaders prior to deciding on your final meeting site.
Certificates of Liability Insurance (COI) Girl Scouts of Connecticut requires a Certificate of Liability Insurance (COI) be on file from certain program providers or sites our members are using. A COI is required to ensure that if someone is hurt on the property as a result of the negligence of the company, there is proper insurance coverage. Meeting Sites: A COI needs to be on file with GSOFCT for all meeting sites our membership will be using throughout the year. Certificates for site usage are valid through December 31 of the year issued. A review of current COIs is done annually and if the venue will be used again for the upcoming year, a new COI will be automatically forwarded to each individual site. To verify that a certain COI is on file, please contact your Membership Specialist. Once a COI is on file, other troops/groups are able to utilize that venue without requesting a new certificate. If you have further questions, please contact the Risk Management Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A parent/guardian meeting, or a meeting of your friends-and-family network (as encouraged in many of the Leadership Journeys), is a chance for you to get to know the families of the girls in your group. Before the meeting, be sure you and/or your co-volunteers have done the following:
For younger girls, arrange for a parent, another volunteer, or a group of older girls to do activities with the girls in your group while you talk with their parents/guardians (if girls will attend the meeting, too).
Practice a discussion on the following: Girl Scout Mission, Promise, and Law; benefits of Girl Scouting for their daughters, including how the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) is a world-class system for developing girl leaders; all the fun the girls are going to have; expectations for girls and their parents/guardians; and ideas of how parents and other guardians can participate in and enrich their daughters’ Girl Scout experiences.
Determine when Product Sales Programs (Girl Scout Cookie and QSP) will happen in your council; parents/guardians will absolutely want to know!
Determine what information parents should bring to the meeting.
Use the Friends and Family pages provided in the adult guides for many of the Journeys, or create your own one-page information sheet (contact information for you and co-volunteers and helpers, the day and time of each meeting, location of and directions to the meeting place, what to bring with them, and information on how to get the Journeys and Girl Guide resources (books, awards, and keepsakes) and other merchandise like sashes, vests, T-shirts, and so on).
Gather or create supplies, including a sign-in sheet, an information sheet, permission forms for parents/guardians including Annual Pick Up Authorization form (available from your council), health history forms (as required by your council), and GSUSA registration forms. Assemble a packet for each family.
Prepare yourself to ask parents and guardians for help, being as specific as you can about the kind of help you will need (the Journey’s Friends and Family pages will come in handy here).
Registering Girls in Girl Scouting Every participant (girl or adult) in Girl Scouting must register and become a member of Girl Scouts of the USA. GSUSA membership dues are valid for one year. Membership dues are sent by the council to GSUSA; no portion of the dues stays with the council. Membership dues may not be transferred to another member and is not refundable. Early Bird Registration for the upcoming membership year occurs in the spring. Girls are encouraged to register early to avoid the “fall rush.” Early registration helps ensure uninterrupted receipt of forms and materials from the council, helps girls and councils plan ahead, and gets girls excited about all the great stuff they want to do as Girl Scouts next year. Girl Scout grade level is determined by the current membership year beginning October 1. Lifetime membership is available at a reduced rate to graduating high-school seniors only. A lifetime member must be at least 18 years old (or a 17-year-old high-school graduate) and agree to the Girl Scout Promise and Law.
Submitting membership registrations online provides troop/group co-leaders with an efficient way to complete the registration process and ensure their member’s information is current. Real-time processing allows for immediate submission of information thus, no waiting to know who’s registered! GSOFCT highly suggests using the council’s Online Membership Registration Portal. To enter your registrations online, go to gsofct.org/pages/OnlineRegistration.php Please contact your service unit registrar or membership specialist for assistance in completing the membership registration process. You’re free to structure the parent/guardian meeting in whatever way works for you, but the following structure works for many new volunteers:
As the girls and adults arrive, ask them to sign in. If you have not already registered your troop/group online, you’ll want to email or hand out registration forms so this can be completed. The annual consent forms and any other paperwork, including a brief information sheet, should be provided at this time.
Open the meeting by welcoming the girls and adults. Introduce yourself and other co-volunteers or helpers. Have adults and girls introduce themselves, discuss whether anyone in their families has been a Girl Scout, and talk about what Girl Scouting means to them. Welcome everyone, regardless of experience, and let them know they will be learning about Girl Scouts today. (If you’re new to Girl Scouting, don’t worry—just let everyone know you’ll be learning about Girl Scouting together!)
Ask the girls to go with the adult or teen in charge of their activity and begin the discussion. Discuss the information you prepared for this meeting: o o o o o o
All the fun girls are going to have! When and where the group will meet, as well as the start and end time. Stress to them the importance of punctuality (dropping off/picking up girls on time.) The troop co-leader’s role in the troop is to be an advisor to help girls manage their troop. That a parent/guardian permission form is used for activities outside the group’s normal meeting day, time, and place, and the importance of completing and returning it promptly. How you plan to keep in touch with parents/guardians (a closed Facebook page or group, Twitter, email, text messaging, a phone tree, or fliers the girls take home are just some ideas). The Girl Scout Mission, Promise, and Law. 169
o o o
Share what training the troop co-leaders have taken and any meetings the co-leaders will be attending. The Girl Scout program, especially what the GSLE is and what the program does for their daughters. Troop activities The troop activities may come from the Leadership Journeys or Girl Guides. Girls will discuss ideas and make plans. Ideas from families are also welcome. Will the group have snacks? If so, develop a snack schedule for girls to take turns bringing in. Approximate date of investiture/rededication ceremony. When Girl Scout Cookies and QSP products will go on sale and how participation in product sales teaches life skills and helps fund group activities The cost of membership, which includes annual GSUSA dues, Council Service Fee, optional uniforms, and any resources parents/guardians will need to buy (such as a Journey or Girls Guide). Bring a sample uniform if possible.
Note: Uniforms are desired, but not required. Wearing the pin alone is considered being “in uniform.” However, Girl Scouts at each level have one uniform element (tunic, sash, or vest) for the display of official pins and awards which will be required when girls participate in ceremonies or officially represent the Girl Scout Movement. Preview level specific uniform components at shop.gsofct.org. For adults, the unifying look of the uniform is a Girl Scout official scarf, or tie for men, worn with official membership pins, combined with their own navy-blue business attire. o
Determine your troop/group dues. Each troop must decide what amount is best for them based on the needs of the troop and the financial situations of the girls’ families. Troop dues may range from 50 cents per meeting up to $25 per year (level-appropriate). See Chapter 7, Financing Your Girl Scout Program for additional information.
The availability of financial assistance and how the Girl Scout Cookie and QSP Programs generate funds for the group treasury. That families can also make donations to the council—and why they might want to do that! That you may be looking for additional volunteers, and in which areas you are looking (be as specific as possible!) Explain responsibilities and time commitments. Remember neighbors or extended family may also be interested in helping!
If registration was not done using the online Membership Registration portal, collect the completed paper registration forms. Go through each form to ensure completeness.
Remind the group of the next meeting (if you’ll have one) and thank everyone for attending. Hold the next meeting when it makes sense for you and your co-volunteers—that may be in two months if face-to-face meetings are best or not at all if you’re diligent about keeping in touch with parents/guardians via Facebook, Twitter, text messages, email, phone calls, or some other form of communication.
You may want to close with the Parents’/Guardians’ Promise (see the following page.) After the meeting, follow up with any parents/guardians who did not attend, to connect them with the group, inform them of decisions, and discuss how they can best help the girls. 170
Six Steps to Parental Cooperation 1. Hold a Parent/Guardian Meeting Meet the parents/guardians, introduce yourself and explain how the troop/group will operate. These are the most important first steps to gaining parents’/guardians’ support. At the meeting, discuss your expectations, such as picking girls up on time, and ask for their help. 2. Ask for Help Don’t assume people will offer. You need to ask them specifically. Most people will respond positively to a specific request. Ask them face-to-face. Telephoning and notes are very ineffective – it’s too easy to say no to a telephone or to assume that someone else responded to a note. Ask ahead of time so that parents/guardians can make necessary adjustments or arrangements. 3. Know the Job What exactly do you want them to do? Be specific in your request. Tell them exactly what the job is, when it needs to be done (date and time), where it is to be done (at home, at the meeting site, from their office), and how long it will take (one hour, one meeting, a month, all year). 4. Ask Them to Help Their Daughter’s Troop, Not You They are more likely to want to help their daughter than to help you – a total stranger. Try “Mrs. Jones, would you be able to help your daughter’s troop/group out by driving on next week’s field trip?” instead of “I need a driver next week.” 5. Expect and Insist That Every Parent/Guardian Do Something Many jobs can be done at night or on weekends (such as telephoning, shopping, driving, cookie manager) so “I work” is no excuse for not helping. Remind parents/guardians that you are a busy person too, and that you made the time to work with their daughter, so they can make the time to help the troop in some way also. 6. Offer a Choice of Jobs, Not Just One Ask them, “Mrs. Brown, would you rather drive on our field trip to the museum next Tuesday afternoon, or shop for the supplies we’ll need for our service project the following week?” Mrs. Brown will inevitably pick one of those jobs. Rarely will you get turned down flat. - Embrace all new and different experiences that Girl Scouts has to offerKeep your parents informed, involved, and feeling good about Girl Scouting.
Parent/Guardian Responsibilities: - Drop off and pick up on time - Help with at least one troop/group committee - Pay troop/group dues - Sew/iron on patches - Buy girl’s uniform and books, if possible - Participate with your daughter in the Girl Scout Cookie and QSP product sales, which are council-wide events - Fill in and sign all permission slips and return promptly - Join Girl Scouts as an adult member - Support Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Inc. financially with a donation to the Annual Giving Campaign
Recognition: A “thank you” is so very important to Girl Scout adult volunteers when they are active on the troop, Girl Scout community, or council levels. The recognition can be a thank you note, a picture of the troop, a certificate of appreciation - the possibilities are limitless. These expressions of appreciation and gratitude strengthen the Girl Scout program. Check with your local service team for other recognition suggestions.
Parents’/Guardians’ Promise On my honor, I will try to share my daughter’s new Girl Scout interests and show appreciation for her efforts to live up to the Girl Scout Promise and Law. I will try to give her opportunities to practice her new skills at home, to attend the troop meetings to which I am invited, and to support Girl Scouting by working for and contributing to activities and funds that make Girl Scouting possible in our community.
Forming a Troop Committee You’ll want to involve other adults in the troop—there’s no need to go it alone or depend on too few adults! Many hands make light work, and the role is more fun when it’s shared. Think about the people you know whom you admire, who can connect with girls, who are dependable and responsible, and who realistically have time to spend volunteering (remember that these volunteers will need to register as Girl Scout members, fill out volunteer application forms, take online learning sessions, and review written resources). Consider business associates, neighbors, former classmates, friends, and so on. If you have trouble finding reliable, quality volunteers to assist, talk to your volunteer support team for advice and support. And feel free to use the sample welcome letter and friends/family checklist in the Girl Scout Daisy, Brownie, and Junior Leadership Journeys to assist you in expanding your troop’s volunteer network. Remember: Be sure every volunteer reviews and follows the 12 Girl Scout Safety Guidelines, available both in the Quick-Start Guide to this handbook and in the “Safety-Wise” chapter. Your troop committee members might help by:
Filling in for you Arranging meeting places Locating volunteers with expertise on a topic of special interest to girls Assisting with trips and chaperoning Managing troop records
A troop committee may be made up of general members or may include specific positions, such as:
Cookie manager: A volunteer who would manage all aspects of Girl Scout Cookie activities Transportation coordinator: The volunteer you’d look to whenever you need to transport girls for any reason; this person would have volunteers available to drive and chaperone Record keeper: A treasurer/secretary rolled into one person—someone to keep track of the money and keep the books
Set up roles that work for you, and draw on other volunteers who possess skill sets that you may lack. When you’re ready to invite parents, neighbors, friends, colleagues, and other respected adult volunteers to partner with you, send them a letter and invite them to their first troop committee meeting.
Holding Troop Meetings The sample sessions in the Leadership Journey adult guides will give you ideas about how to plan and hold successful troop meetings that allow girls to Discover, Connect, and Take Action as they have fun with a purpose. (See the “Girl Scouting as a National Experience” chapter of this handbook for more on the three processes.) Many volunteers find it helpful to think of meetings having six parts, as outlined below, but feel free to structure the meeting in a way that makes sense for you and the girls.
As Girls Arrive
Start-up activities are planned so that when girls arrive at the meeting they have something to do until the meeting begins. For younger girls, it could be coloring pages; teen girls might jot down a journal entry or just enjoy a little time to talk.
The opening focuses the meeting and allows girls to start the meeting. Each troop decides how to open their own meeting—most begin with the Girl Scout Promise and Law, and then add a simple flag ceremony, song, game, story, or other ceremony designed by the girls. Girl Scout Brownies, for example, might create a new tradition by skipping in a circle while singing a song. Ceremonies, even when brief or humorous, make Girl Scout time special. The Journey adult guides contain ideas about openings that correspond to Journey themes.
Troop business may include taking attendance, collecting dues, making announcements, and planning an upcoming event or trip. This is a good time for Business girls to take turns leading, especially as they grow up! (Some troops may move the business portion of the meeting to an earlier or later slot).
Activities will depend on what the girls want to do in their troop and how they want to spend their collective time. Outdoor time is important, so encourage the girls to do an activity in a park or forest. If girls are interested in animals, encourage the girls to plan a visit to a zoo or animal shelter. As you engage in one of the three National Leadership Journeys, review the “Sample Sessions at a Glance” in the adult guide for Journey activity ideas. Treats are an option some troops decide to include in their meetings and range from a bottle of soap bubbles or a jump rope to a food snack. If girls choose to include snacks, guide them to consider the health of a potential snack, as well as possible food allergies. Enlist the help of parents or guardians by asking them to sign up and bring a treat. You’ll also find plenty of snack ideas and signup forms in the adult guide of most Leadership Journeys.
Clean-up is a great habit for girls to get their meeting space back to the way it was when they arrived—maybe even cleaner! Girls can also take leadership of the cleaning themselves, deciding who does what. They might even enjoy the tradition of a kaper chart (a chore chart that lists all the chores and assigns girls’ names to each), so that everyone takes turns at each responsibility.
The closing lets the girls know that the troop meeting is ending. Many girls close with the friendship circle, in which each girl stands in a circle, puts her right arm over her left, and holds the hand of the girl standing next to her. The friendship squeeze is started by one girl, and then passed around the circle until it comes back to the girl who started it. When the squeeze is finished, girls twist 173
clockwise out of the circle lifting their arms and turning around and out of the circle. In addition, you may find some helpful, Journey-related closing ceremony ideas in the Journey’s adult guide. You help each troop member do her part to ensure the meeting and activities are enriching and fun. Based on their grade levels and abilities, girls may decide and plan opening and closing activities, bring and prepare treats, teach songs or games, and clean up. As girls grow, they can show and teach younger members about Girl Scouting. They can also assist you in preparing materials for activities. For trips, campouts, parent meetings, and multi-troop events, girls may be responsible for shopping, packing equipment, handing out programs, cleaning up, gathering wood, and so on. As long as you pay attention to grade level and maturity, what girls can do is endless!
Letting Girls Lead Many troops employ a democratic system of governance so that all members have the opportunity to express their interests and feelings and share in the planning and coordination of activities. Girls’ partner with you and other volunteers, and you facilitate, act as a sounding board, and ask and answer questions. Girls from Daisies through Ambassadors will gain confidence and leadership skills when given the opportunity to lead their activities, learn cooperatively as a group, and learn by doing instead of by observing. The following are some traditions troops have used for girl-led governance, but these are just examples. National Leadership Journeys offer examples of team decision-making, too.
Daisy/Brownie Circle: While sitting in a circle (sometimes called a ring), girls create a formal group decision-making body. The circle is an organized time for girls to express their ideas and talk about activities they enjoy, and you play an active role in facilitating discussion and helping them plan. Girls often vote to finalize decisions. If girls are talking over each other, consider passing an object, such as a talking stick, that entitles one girl to speak at a time. Junior/Cadette/Senior/Ambassador Patrol or Team System: In this system, large troops divide into small groups, with every member playing a role. Teams of four-to-six girls are recommended so that each girl gets a chance to participate and express her opinions. Patrols may be organized by interests or activities that feed into a Take Action project, with each team taking responsibility for some part of the total project; girls may even enjoy coming up with names for their teams. Junior/Cadette/Senior/Ambassador Executive Board: In the executive board system (also called a steering committee), one leadership team makes decisions for the entire troop. The board’s responsibility is to plan activities and assign jobs based on interests and needs, and the rest of the troop decides how to pass their ideas and suggestions to the executive board throughout the year. The executive board usually has a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer and holds its own meetings to discuss troop matters. Limit the length of time each girl serves on the executive board so all troop members can participate during the year. Junior/Cadette/Senior/Ambassador Town Meeting: Under the town meeting system, business is discussed and decisions are made at meetings attended by all the girls in the troop. As in the patrol and executive board systems, everyone gets the chance to participate in decision-making and leadership. Your role is to act as a moderator, who makes sure everyone gets a chance to talk and that all ideas are considered.
Transporting Girls How parents decide to transport girls between their homes and Girl Scout meeting places is each parent’s decision and responsibility. For planned Girl Scout field trips and other activities—outside the normal time and place—in which a group will be transported in private vehicles: Every driver must be an approved adult volunteer, at least 21 years of age, and have a good driving record, a valid license, and a registered/insured vehicle. Girls never drive other girls. If a group is traveling in one vehicle, there must be at least two unrelated, approved adult volunteers in the vehicle, one of whom is female, and the girl-volunteer ratios in Volunteer Essentials must be followed. If a group is traveling in more than one vehicle, the entire group must consist of at least two unrelated, approved adult volunteers, one of whom is female, and the girlvolunteer ratios in Volunteer Essentials must be followed. Care should be taken so that a single car (with a single adult driver) has at least two girls, and is not separated from the group for an extended length of time. For more about driving, see the “Transporting Girls” section of the “Safety-Wise” chapter of this handbook.
Looking at a Sample Troop Year Planning is made easy with the Volunteer Toolkit. Access your Volunteer Toolkit by logging in to your account here: Volunteer Toolkit Here is just one example of how you and the girls could set up your troop year.
Hold a parent/guardian meeting. Open a checking account, if needed. Register all the girls in the troop. Meet together for the first time, allowing the girls to decide how they can learn each other’s names and find out more about each other. Kick off a Leadership Journey with the opening ceremony recommended in the first sample session, or a trip or special event that fits the theme. Have the girls brainstorm and plan any trip or event. Enjoy the full Journey, including its Take Action project. Along the way, add in related badge activities that girls will enjoy and that will give them a well-rounded year. Have the girls plan, budget for, and “earn and learn” in the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Help girls plan a field trip or other travel opportunity. Encourage girls to plan a culminating ceremony for the Journey, including awards presentations, using ideas in the Journey girls’ book and/or adult guide. Pre-register girls for next year. Camp out! Participate in a council-wide event with girls from around your region.
Have the girls plan and hold a bridging ceremony for girls continuing on to the next Girl Scout grade level.
Not only do some of the most memorable moments in a Girl Scout’s life happen while taking trips, but travel also offers a wealth of opportunities for girls to develop leadership skills. This appendix helps you prepare girls for local, regional, or international travel of any scope and duration.
Juliette Low World Friendship Fund To honor Juliette Gordon Low’s love of travel, of experiencing different cultures, and of making friends, Girl Scouts created the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund in 1927. Today, this fund supports girls’ international travel, participation in adult learning, and attendance at other international events—any event that fosters global friendships that connect Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from 145 nations. Click here to find out more or to donate to the fund.
Traveling with Girls Girls love trips. And Girl Scouts is a great place for them to learn how to plan and take exciting trips, because travel is built on a progression of activities—that is, one activity leads to the next. Girl Scout Daisies, for example, can begin with a discovery walk. As girls grow in their travel skills and experience and can better manage the planning process, they progress to longer trips. The Journey Adult Guides have a lot of other ideas about trips that bring the Journey to life. Here are some examples of the progression of events and trips in Girl Scouting’s Ladder of Leadership:
Short trips to local points of interest (Daisies and older): A walk to the nearby garden or a short ride by car or public transportation to the firehouse or courthouse is a great first step for Daisies. Overnight Camping (Daisies and older): A Daisy troop may participate in an occasional overnight camping experience. Daisies who have completed kindergarten may independently participate at day camp and in resident camp experiences lasting up to three nights. Daisies who have completed first grade may independently participate in resident camp experiences lasting four or more nights. Day trip (Brownies and older): An all-day visit to a point of historical or natural interest (bringing their own lunch) or a day-long trip to a nearby city (stopping at a restaurant for a meal)—younger girls can select locations and do much of the trip-planning, while never being too far from home. Overnight trips (Brownies and older): One (or possibly two) nights away to a state or national park, historic city, or nearby city for sightseeing, staying in a hotel, motel, or campground. These short trips are just long enough to whet their appetites, but not long enough to generate homesickness. Extended overnight trips (Juniors and older): Three or four nights camping or a stay in a hotel, motel, or hostel within the girls’ home region (for example, New England, the Upper Midwest, the Southeast, the Pacific Northwest, and so on). Planning a trip to a large museum—and many offer unique opportunities for girls to actually spend the night on museum grounds—makes for an exciting experience for girls. 177
National trips (Cadettes and older): Travel anywhere in the country, often lasting a week or more. Try to steer clear of ordinary recreational trips girls might take with their families and consider those that offer some educational component such as incredible cities, historic sites, and museums around the country. International trips (Cadettes and older): Travel around the world, often requiring one or two years of preparation. International trips are available to Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors who have successfully participated in a progression of overnight trips with Girl Scouting. When girls show an interest in traveling abroad, contact your council to get permission to plan the trip and download the Global Travel Toolkit . Adult volunteers should ensure that girls are mature enough to participate in the trip. Factors to consider are adaptability, good decision-making, previous cross-cultural experience, group dynamics, team capability, language skills (where applicable), and specific skills and interests related to the trip. Visiting one of the four World Centers is a great place to start, but also consider traveling with international service-learning organizations. Girls have traveled to rural Costa Rica to volunteer at elementary schools, to Mexico to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, and to India to work with girls living in poverty in urban slums. WAGGGS World Centers or your Girl Scout Council may have additional guidelines regarding age requirements. Girl Scouts of Connecticut has a statewide Travel Troop which offers Girl Scout Cadette, Seniors, Ambassadors, and adults opportunities to make new friendships through the adventures of travel. Contact email@example.com for more information. Are the girls in your troop/group ready to hit the road? Help prepare them and other group adults for a fabulous trip and memorable experiences by attending a See the Country or See the World course. Refer to the Travel section in Chapter 1, Sharing Your Unique Gifts for more information.
Using Journeys and
in Their Travels
Girl Scout travel is an ideal way to offer girls leadership opportunities. Encourage girls to choose one of the three series of National Leadership Journeys. The Journey’s theme will give girls a way to explore leadership through their travels. Use the adult guide to incorporate activities and discussions that help girls explore the Three Keys to Leadership (Discover, Connect, and Take Action) as they plan their trip and eventually travel. Tying your trip to the topic of a Leadership Journey is a cinch. For example, if Cadette girls have chosen MEdia, before their trip they can read online newspapers from the area to which they’re traveling—and evaluate when they arrive how well the media reflects the realities there. If Senior girls are using SOW WHAT, they can plan to observe agricultural practices in other parts of the country or around the world. Ambassadors using BLISS: Live It! Give It! can build a trip around dreaming big—and empowering others in their community to dream big, too. If girls also want to complete skill-building badge requirements as part of their trip, they can. The most obvious example is the Senior Traveler badge, which fits perfectly into planning a trip. In addition, girls can explore other badge topics, depending on the focus of their trip. For examples, Cadettes can explore the food in other regions or countries for their New Cuisines badge, Seniors can find out about international business customs as part of their Business Etiquette badge, and Ambassadors can work on their Photography badge while documenting their trip. 178
Be sure to visit the “Girl Scouting as a National Experience” chapter in this handbook to find out more about the three, exciting series of Journeys and The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. To ensure that any travel you do with girls infuses the Girl Scout Leadership Experience at every opportunity, limit your role to facilitating the girls’ brainstorming and planning—but never doing the work for them. Allow the girls to lead, learn collaboratively, and learn by doing (and by making mistakes). All the while, however, provide ideas and insight, ask tough questions when you have to, and support all their decisions with enthusiasm and encouragement!
Include girls with disabilities. Communicate with girls with disabilities and/or their caregivers to assess any needs and accommodations. Make sure that reasonable accommodations are made for girls with disabilities. Learn more about the resources and information that Global Explorers and Wilderness Inquiries provide to people with disabilities.
Travel Progression Checklist If your group is thinking about travel, consider first whether the girls are mature enough to handle the trip. Determine a group’s readiness for travel by assessing the girls’: o
Ability to be away from their parents and their homes
Ability to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings and situations
Ability to make decisions for themselves and the good of the group well and easily
Previous cross-cultural experiences
Ability to get along with each other and handle challenges
Ability to work well as a team
o Skills, interests, and language skills (where applicable)
Seeking Council Permission Any activity away from the troop/group meeting place or anytime a troop/group meets at a day; time and/or location different from their regular meeting shall be considered a trip. Before all trips, you and the girls will need to obtain council permission. All GSUSA, GSOFCT, and Safety Activity Checkpoint procedures MUST be followed. Please review appropriate sections before making plans and again before your trip. Failure to follow policies and procedures will result in your trip not being approved. If approval is denied, the Troop/Group Co-Leader will be contacted. All trips must be approved by the service unit manager or designee. Guidelines for Troop/Group Trip Application Submission: Type of Trip Request Application
Deadline to Submit
Field trips/events of no more than four hours
One week prior to trip 179
Day trips in excess of four hours trip
Two weeks prior to
Overnight trips of one or two nights trip
Four weeks prior to
*High Adventure trips of any duration trip
Four weeks prior to
*Extended trips of three or more nights within the continental U.S.
Six weeks prior to trip
*Trips to Canada, Hawaii, or Alaska trip
Six months prior to
*Trips outside of the United States and Canada One year prior to trip (Contact Director of Membership Recruitment & Support (or designee) for Global Tool Kit information) *The director of member recruitment & support or her/his designee approves all high adventure trips, extended trips of three or more nights within the continental U.S., and international trips. Encourage the girls to submit much of the information themselves, including the following:
A detailed itinerary, including specific activities involved, mode of travel, and all dates and times Location and type of premises to be used Numbers of girls who will be participating (parental permissions must be obtained) Names and contact information for the volunteers participating Any other groups, organizations, consultants, or resource people who will be involved Participants’ skill levels, if applicable (language skills, backpacking or camping experience, and so on) Any specialized equipment that will be used, if applicable Required agreements or contracts (for example, hiring a bus, use of premises)
From the Birth of Girl Scouting to the World Centers The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah, Georgia, is a fantastic place for Girl Scout Juniors and older to visit. Reservations and council approval are required to take a group of girls to visit the birthplace, and most educational opportunities are booked at least a year in advance, so book early! Families and individuals, however, do not need to reserve a tour in advance.
In addition, four lodges are available in England, Mexico, Switzerland, and India for use by Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, each with hostel- or dormitory-style accommodations. The world centers are operated by WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) and offer low-cost accommodations and special programs. They are also a great way to meet Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from around the world. Closer to home, check with your council to see whether council-owned camps and other facilities can be rented out to the group of girls with whom you’re working.
Involving Chaperones To determine how many volunteer chaperones the girls will need with them on the trip, see the adult-to-girl ratios. As you ask for chaperones, be sure to look for ones who are committed to:
Being a positive role model Respecting all girls and adults equally, with no preferential treatment Creating a safe space for girls Prioritizing the safety of all girls Supporting and reinforcing a group agreement Handling pressure and stress by modeling flexibility and a sense of humor Creating an experience for and with girls Getting fit (appropriate to the trip)
Be sure every chaperone reviews and follows the 12 Girl Scout Safety Guidelines, available both in the Quick-Start Guide to this handbook and in the “Safety-Wise” chapter.
Letting Girls Lead Whether the trip is a day hike or a cross-country trek, the basic steps of trip planning are essentially the same. It’s true that as the locale gets farther away, the itinerary more complex, and the trip of greater duration, the details become richer and more complex, but planning every trip—from a day-long event to an international trek—starts by asking the following:
What do we hope to experience? Who will we want to talk to and meet? What will we ask? Where are we interested in going? When are we all available to go? Will everyone in our group be able to go? Are there physical barriers that cannot be accommodated? What are visiting hours and the need for advance reservations? What are our options for getting there? What’s the least and most this trip could cost? What can we do now to get ourselves ready? How will we earn the money? What’s the availability of drinking water, restrooms, and eating places? Where is emergency help available? What safety factors must we consider? What will we do as we travel? What will we do when we get there? How will we share the Take Action story?
As girls answer these questions, they begin the trip-planning process. In time, girls can make specific arrangements, attend to a myriad of details, create a budget and handle money, and accept responsibility for their personal conduct and safety. Later, after they’ve returned from an event or trip, girls also have the chance to evaluate their experiences and share them with others.
Tips for Girls Traveling Alone If a Girl Scout Cadette, Senior, or Ambassador will be traveling alone during any part of a trip, use the opportunity to help her feel comfortable with and capable of being on her own. Always talk first with her parents to assess her maturity and ability to handle herself, and have them complete an emergency form. If she is flying, discuss the possibility of booking a nonstop flight to make her trip less stressful, and ask parents to contact the airline, which will make special arrangements for any unaccompanied minor. With the girl herself, develop a trip plan, discuss hotel security and safety, and talk about avoiding excess communication with strangers, not wearing a name tag, and avoiding exposing money or other items (such as smartphones, iPads, and iPods) that are attractive to pickpockets.
Staying Safe During the Trip Be sure to discuss the following items with the girls and their parents before you leave on any trip (you may also want to put this information in writing and have girls sign it):
Who her buddy is—and how the buddy system works What to do if she is separated from the group, whether by accident or because of a crime What to do if she loses something significant: money, passport, luggage How to report a crime What to do if emergency help is needed How to perform basic first-aid procedures How to deal with a large crowd (if applicable) What to do in the event of a crime What behaviors you expect—and what consequences exist for not living up to those behaviors
Travel Security and Safety Tips Share these safety tips with girls before you leave on any trip that involves a stay at a hotel, motel, hostel, or dormitory:
Always lock the door behind you, using the deadbolt and the chain or anchor. Do not open the door for strangers; if hotel staff claims to be at the door, call the front desk to confirm. Don’t mention or display your room number when in the presence of strangers. Never leave jewelry, cameras, electronics, cash, or credit cards in your room. Never leave luggage unattended in the hotel lobby (or in an airport or train or bus station). 182
When arriving at the hotel, locate emergency exits. Keep a small flashlight on your bedside table, along with a small bag with your room key, wallet, passport, and cell phone. Take the flashlight and bag with you if you have to leave the room in an emergency. If a fire alarm goes off, get out as quickly as possible. Don’t stop to pack your suitcase. Before leaving your room, feel the door: If it is warm, do not open it. Stay in your room and stuff towels around the door. Call the hotel operator immediately. If the door is cool, proceed slowly out the door, looking for flames or smoke. Repeat these instructions for any door you encounter. Contact the front desk to make sure girls’ rooms are cleared of any minibars or refrigerators. Also, be sure the hotel doesn’t provide access to inappropriate movies on TVs and does not allow long-distance calls. Alert the hotel management that underage girls are staying in the hotel, and ask them to contact you if any girls are seen out of their rooms after bedtime.
These forms can be found in the Forms section on our website.
Forms required for adults: Adult Health History Card Membership Registration Adult Recognitions Handbook Register for Adult Learning Courses at https://gsofct.kdp.io/auth/sign-in
Forms required to have on-hand for all girls: Annual Consent Form Girl Health History Form Girl Health Record Annual Pick-Up Authorization Form Over-the-Counter Medication – Parent/Guardian Authorization Form (if applicable) Membership Registration Form
Forms for Troop/Group management: Troop/Group Disbanding Form Council Shop Order Form Private Residence Annual Authorization Form (if applicable) First Aid/CPR certifications accepted by GSUSA Safety Activity Checkpoints
In addition to appropriate girl/adult ratios, the following permission and health forms are required for any trip/outing: Troop/Group Trip Application and Guidelines Troop/Group Event Roster Annual Consent Form Parent/Guardian Trip/Event Permission Form Parade/Float and Hayride Request Form (if applicable) Girl Health History and/or Girl Health Record Adult Health History Cards High Adventure Trip Application The following forms are also required: Crisis Card Accident/Injury Report Form Incident Report Form Mutual of Omaha Claim Form First Aid Treatment Log
GSOFCT Sponsored Program/Event
Girl Health History and/or Girl Health Record Adult Health History Cards
Forms for money management:
Troop/Group Year-End Financial Report Troop/Group Budget Forecast Worksheet Service Unit Annual Financial Report Service Unit Budget Forecast Worksheet Financial Assistance Request for Girls Financial Assistance Request for Adults Money Earning Activity - Troop/Group/Service Unit Application & Guidelines Money Earning Activity - Troop/Group/Service Unit Evaluation Report Form Monetary Gift Acceptance Form Gift-in-Kind Acceptance Form Spanish forms are available in the Resource and Form Library at gsofct.org. Forms/information to ensure website safety: Media Release Form Media Release Form – Adult Only Internet Safety Pledge Social Media Guidelines Website Guidelines for Co-Leaders Blue Book of Basic Documents
GSOFCT Annual Report GSOFCT Fact Sheet Program Resource Guide