Confidentiality of Girl Information
Troop/group leaders are expected to maintain health history records for the group.
Troop leaders should have complete health history forms on hand during troop meetings and any other troop activities. When travelling, health history forms and emergency contact information should be in the possession of the adult in charge. Heath history, address and contact details of girls are confidential (pertinent information may be shared with other volunteers or GSCO staff when needed). Please keep this information in a safe place. Troops are encouraged to have a binder or folder that is accessible only to troop volunteers to store confidential health information.
Medication, including over-the-counter products and sunscreen, must never be dispensed without prior written permission from a girl’s custodial parent or guardian (Medication Permission form).
Volunteer Safety Responsibilities
The emotional and physical safety and well-being of girls is always a top priority. You, the girls, and the parents/guardians of the girls share the responsibility for staying safe.
Follow the Safety Activity Checkpoints
Safety Activity Checkpoints is a resource that provides instructions for staying safe while participating in various activities. Read the checkpoints and share them with the adults and girls in your group before engaging in activities. Each set of Safety Activity Checkpoints offers information on:
- Where to do the activity
- How to include girls with disabilities
- Where to find both basic and specialized gear required
- How to prepare yourselves for the activity
- What specific steps to follow on the day of the activity
- What program levels are appropriate to participate in each type of activity
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 the guidelines for reporting concerns about abuse or neglect that may be occurring inside or outside of Girl Scouting.
Share your concern with the girl’s family, if this is feasible. If you believe a child is at risk and it is not feasible to share your concern with her family, get the information you need to make a report.
How to Report
Suspected Child Maltreatment:
The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with professional crisis counselors who have access to emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are anonymous. Contact them at (800) 4-A-CHILD or (800) 422-4453.
When transporting girls to planned Girl Scout field trips and other activities that are outside the normal time and place of regular troop meetings, every driver must be an adult (21+) with a membership and an approved background check, a valid license, and a registered/insured vehicle. Insist that everyone is in a legal seat and wears a seat belt at all times and adhere to state laws regarding booster seats and requirements for children in rear seats. Use the Driver Information Record as an optional resource to help you coordinate drivers for trips and ensure that they are fully aware of responsibilities as a driver.
Ensure Safe Overnight Outings
Prepare girls to be away from home by involving them in planning, so they know what to expect. Males should have a separate sleeping area (such as tent, tabin, or separate room). Groups should have access to either a separate restroom or troops should bring a sign to indicate the gender using the restroom at that time. It is not mandatory that an adult sleep in the sleeping area (tent, cabin, or designated area) with the girls, but if an adult female does share the sleeping area, there should always be two unrelated adult females present. During family or parent-daughter overnights, one family unit may sleep in the same sleeping quarters. During family overnight events, each girl must have accompanied by a caregiver. If this is not possible, then every single adult who is able to attend must be a registered member and have a completed background check. When parents are staffing events, daughters should remain in quarters with other girls rather than in adult areas. Overnight Trips training (available as part of the Travel Peak learning path in gsLearn) is required before your first overnight activity. If the troop will be camping or cooking outdoors, Outdoor Skills training is also required.
Role-model the Right Behavior
GSCO expects volunteers to be fully capable of performing their duties. While volunteering, it is not permitted to be under the influence of any substance, including marijuana, which may impair physical and/or mental skills. Don’t consume drugs or 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.
Create an Emotionally Safe Space
Adults 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 Group Agreement and coaching girls to honor it. Group 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.
Ensure That No Girl is Treated Differently
Girl Scouts welcomes all members, regardless of race, ethnicity, background, disability, family structure, religious beliefs, gender identity 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.
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, never divulge girl’s contact information or identify girls by name in photographs. Review the Computer/Online Use: Safety Activity Checkpoints, and teach girls the Girl Scout Online Safety Pledge.
Keep Girls Safe During Money-Earning Activities
The Girl Scout Cookie Program and other council-sponsored product programs are an integral part of the program. During Girl Scout product sale programs, 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 programs and efforts. Follow the guidance for money earning activities in the Troop Finances section of Volunteer Essentials.