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Managing_Girl_Scout_Troop_Camping

Troop Management

Leadership is more than “being in charge” or having a title; it’s recognizing that you’re part of a team and understanding that team’s needs and interests. Here’s how you’ll do that with your troop! 

Your Role as a Volunteer

The Girl Scout Leadership Experience is based on three keys—discover, connect, and take action—but it’s not just for the girls! As a Girl Scout leader, you’ll embark on your own leadership journey as you help girls develop the vital leadership skills they’ll use to make the world a better place. The Girl Scout perspective on leadership is permeated with a few basic, but all-important, concepts.  

Leadership is teaching girls:

  • That they can do and be anything!  
  • That they are decision makers and should own their decisions.  
  • How to live the Girl Scout Law by modeling it for them.

As a leader, see yourself as a coach who:

  • Guides and instructs, not as a teacher with a canned lesson or activity or as someone who has to perform for the girls each week. 
  • Advises and discusses.  
  • Ensures each girl can carry out her responsibilities within the troop.  
  • Encourages girls to build their skills and their ethics.  
  • Gives more responsibilities to the girls as they grow and develop. 

It’s important to remember that: 

  • You cannot know everything that the girls might ever want to learn.
  • You’ll explore and learn alongside your girls and grow your confidence in the process.
  • You’re not expected to know everything about Girl Scouting, but you should know where to go for information—and to ask for help when you need it.

Your 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[Field] with a positive and flexible approach.
  • Working in a partnership with girls so that their activities are girl-led and that they learn by doing, individually and a group. You’ll also partner with other volunteers and council staff for support and guidance.  
  • Organizing fun, interactive, girl-led activities[Field] that address relevant issues and match girls’ interests and needs.
  • Providing guidance and information regarding Girl Scout group meetings with girls’ families 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[Field] 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, including helping the girls manage their own troop finances as they get older.
  • Maintaining a close connection to your volunteer support team as well as your council.
  • Facilitating a safe and inclusive experience for every girl.

Volunteer Grievance Procedure

A grievance is a complaint related to a volunteer’s position not being properly administered or performed. Girl Scouts of Colorado expects parents/guardians and volunteers to first approach the parties with whom they have a complaint and attempt to find resolution. Girl Scouts of Colorado Program staff are available for consultation on best practices for facilitating difficult conversations and conflict resolution. If the conflict cannot be resolved between the parties, please:

  1. Submit an initial complaint to the supervisor for that volunteer or staff position. This may be the service unit manager (volunteer) or volunteer support specialist (GSCO support staff) for your area – or the regional manager (GSCO management staff) if the complaint involves staff performance. Local staff and volunteers will respond and assist you in resolving the issue locally, if possible. This may include participating in a conference with all parties involved.
  2. If the steps taken in #1 are not successful, initiate the grievance process. Submit a detailed written statement (email is acceptable) highlighting the problem to the volunteer support specialist/regional manager. Council staff will collaborate to gather additional information from you and other involved parties, and objectively define and communicate a response plan to you within 10 business days. This plan may include a conference or meeting between some or all parties.
  3. If necessary, the grievance will be escalated to the chief program officer, who will decide if there is any additional action to take. The decision of the chief program officer is final.
Planning for Your First Troop Meeting

Depending on the ages of your girls, you might take the lead in guiding the structure and experiences of your troop—from how and when meetings are held to how the troop communicates, from steering girl-led activities to setting financial expectations. You’ll make these decisions collaboratively with your troop leader team, as well as with input from the girls and their parents and caregivers. 

Use these questions to guide your conversation with your troop leadership team before discussing these topics with parents and caregivers. 

  • When will we meet and for how long? How frequently should we schedule troop meetings? 
  • Where will we meet? Your meeting space should be somewhere safe, clean, and secure that allows all girls to participate. Some great meeting space ideas include schools, places of worship, libraries, and community centers. If working with teens, consider meeting at coffee shops, bookstores, or another place they enjoy.
  • Which components of the uniform will families need to purchase?
  • Will our troop be a single-grade level or  facilitated as a multi-level troop with girls of many grade levels combined into one troop? If multi-level, how will we make sure they each get an age-appropriate experience?
  • How will we keep troop activities girl-led? Use the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) to help you through this process by exploring options for activities and reviewing the meeting plans and resources lists.
  • How often are we going to communicate to troop families? Which channels will we use to keep families in the loop? Effective communication will help set expectations and clarify parent/ caregiver responsibilities.
  • Will our troop charge dues, use product program proceeds, and/or charge per activity? How much money will we need to cover supplies and activities? What should our financial plan look like
  • What will your troop/group and family agreements look like? Be sure to include the girls when developing a troop agreement.

Choosing a Meeting Place 
What makes a great meeting space? It depends on your troop, but here are a few considerations as you visit potential spaces: 

Cost: The space should be free to use. 

Size: Make sure the space is large enough for 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: Ask if tables and chairs come with the room and ensure that the lighting is adequate. A bonus would be a cubby of some sort where you could store supplies or a safe outdoor space for activities.

Safety: Potential spaces must be safe, secure, clean, properly ventilated, heated (or cooled, depending on your location), free from hazards, and have at least two exits that are well-marked and fully functional. Also be sure first-aid equipment is on hand.

Facilities: Make sure that toilets are sanitary and accessible.

Communication-friendly: Check for cell reception in the potential space and whether Wi-Fi is available. 

Allergen-free: Ensure that pet dander and other common allergens won’t bother susceptible girls during meetings.

Accessibility: Your space should accommodate girls with disabilities as well as parents with disabilities who may come to meetings. 

Need a few speaking points to get started? Try: 

“I’m a Girl Scout volunteer with a group of [number of girls] girls. We’re doing lots of great things for girls and for the community, like [something your group is doing] and [something else your troop is doing]. 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 [reason why you’d like to meet there].”

Stuck and need additional support? Contact your volunteer support specialist or your service unit support team for help with a troop meeting place.

Note: Troop meetings may never be held at a private home/residence; please reach out to your volunteer support specialist for more details. An occasional chaperoned event (i.e. BBQ, party, etc.) may take place at a private home/residence.  A chaperoned event means there is one adult guardian/caregiver for every girl in attendance.  If even one girl does not have a dedicated adult chaperone, then every person living in the home over the age of 18 must have a membership, pass a criminal background check and proof of homeowner's insurance must be provided.

Virtual Meetings

If your group or troop can’t meet in person or hold a traditional meeting, there are so many ways to bring the power of Girl Scouting home! Meeting virtually can be a fun, engaging option for your troop.

, you’ll want to:

  • Partner with troop families to make sure the girls are safe online.
  • Select a meeting platform that allows families who may not have internet access to call in.
  • Think about logistics: work with the girls to set up ground rules; consider how you’ll incorporate in-person meeting traditions in your virtual space and how you’ll keep the meeting on track.
  • Talk with families on how to keep activities girl-led if your girls will be completing them from home.

And don't worry if your girls want to use a web or social platform you’re not as familiar with, because you’ll learn alongside them! Don’t know where to start? Try out a badge or journey in our online Badge Series. We have taken our traditional Girl Scout program and translated it to be accessible virtually and at home. Each month we will cover new badges or Journeys. Girls can sign up to participate individually or leaders can register to get the materials to lead for their own troop. You’ll also find lots of inspiring badge activities and tips on Girl Scouts at Home.

Girl Scout Troop Size
The troop size “sweet spot” is large enough to provide an interactive and cooperative learning environment and small enough to encourage individual development. Research has shown that the ideal troop size is 12 girls; recommended group sizes, by grade level, are:

  • Girl Scout Daisies: 5–12 girls
  • Girl Scout Brownies: 10–20 girls
  • 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 three girls and two approved adult volunteers. (Double-check the volunteer-to-girl ratio chart to make sure you’ve got the right amount of coverage for your troop!) Adults and girls registering in groups of fewer than three 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 program experience. Troops that have less than five girls must remain open in the online troop catalog to accept up to at least five girls. Individual girls are always welcome to participate in Girl Scout activities and events. 

Registering Girls and Adults 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 from October 1-Septermber 30.. Membership dues cannot be transferred to another member and are 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 girls, troops, and councils plan ahead, and gets girls excited about all the great stuff they want to do as Girl Scouts next year. Girl Scouts of Colorado celebrates Early Bird registration each year with incentives for girls, troops and service units. Girls grade levels automatically increase on July 1 of every year. Girl Scout grade level is determined by the current membership year beginning October 1.

Lifetime membership is available to anyone who accepts the principles and beliefs of the Girl Scout Promise and Law, pays the one-time lifetime membership fee, and is at least 18 years old (or a high school graduate or equivalent).

Adding New Girls to Your Troop
Growing your troop is a great way to share the power of the Girl Scout experience and , like hanging posters at your girl’s school, using social media to reach families in your community, or including your troop in your council’s online troop catalog.

Contact the Girl Scouts of Colorado office to connect with the Recruitment Specialist in your area for support with marketing and recruitment materials for adding new girls to your troop.  To list your troop in the local troop opportunity catalog so new girls can join you, reach out to the Girl Scouts of Colorado customer care team at 855-726-4726 or inquiry@gscolorado.org or complete the Troop Update form to indicate how many openings you have in your troop.

Creating an Atmosphere of Acceptance and Inclusion

Girl Scouts is for every girl, and that’s why we embrace girls of all abilities and backgrounds 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. 

We believe inclusion is an approach and an attitude, rather than a set of guidelines. Inclusion is about belonging, all girls being offered the same opportunities with respect, dignity, and celebration of their unique strengths. It’s about being a sister to every Girl Scout! 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.

If you have questions about accommodating an individual girl, please reach out to Girl Scouts of Colorado at 855-726-4726 or inquiry@gscolorado.org.

As you think about where, when, and how often to meet with your group, consider the needs, resources, safety, and beliefs of all members and potential members. Include the special needs of any members who have disabilities or whose parents or caregivers 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, age, and religion.

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 or caregiver. If you are open and honest, they’ll likely 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 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. 

Focus on a person’s abilities—on what she can do rather than on what she cannot. In that spirit, use people-first language that 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/caregiver) with a disability, consider these tips:

  • When talking to a girl with a disability, speak directly to her, not through a family member 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.
  • Leaning on a girl’s wheelchair is invading her space and is considered annoying and rude.
  • 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 twenty-first year, and then move into an adult membership category.

As you think about where, when, and how often to meet with your group, consider the needs, resources, safety, and beliefs of all members and potential members. Include the special needs of any members who have disabilities or whose parents or caregivers 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.

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 or caregiver. If you are open and honest, they’ll likely 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 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. 

 

Getting Support for Your Troop

It takes a village to lift up the next generation of female leaders, but you won’t do it alone. You can count on a dedicated Girl Scout support team, consisting of council staff and passionate volunteers just like you. Your support team, which may be called a service unit in your council, is ready to offer local learning opportunities and advice as well as answer your questions about the Girl Scout program, working with girls, product sales, and so much more.

Before you hold your first troop meeting with girls, consider the support and people resources you’ll need to cultivate an energizing troop experience. Parents, friends, family, and other members of the community have their own unique strengths and can provide time, experience, and ideas to a troop, so get them involved from the very beginning as part of your volunteer troop team. This team is made up of troop leaders (like you) and troop support volunteers.

Your troop support volunteers are the extra sets of eyes, ears, and hands that help the troop safely explore the world around them. Depending on your troop’s needs, they can play a more active role—for instance, someone can step up as a dedicated troop treasurer—or simply provide an occasional helping hand when you need to keep a meeting’s activity on track.

If a parent or caregiver isn’t sure if they can commit to a troop leadership team or troop support volunteer role, encourage them to try volunteering in a smaller capacity that matches their skill set. Just like your young Girl Scouts, once troop parents and caregivers discover they can succeed in their volunteer role, they’ll feel empowered to volunteer again.

Troop Management Tools and Resources

From toolkits and guides to regular contact with experienced people, you’ll have all the support you need to be a Girl Scout volunteer. Here’s a list of some important resources you’ll want to check out.

The Volunteer Toolkit 
The Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) is a customizable digital planning tool for troop leaders and co-leaders to easily manage their troop year-round and deliver easy, fun troop meetings. Accessible via desktop and mobile devices, the VTK saves you time and energy all year long, so that you can focus on unleashing the G.I.R.L (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ in every girl, ensuring she has every opportunity she deserves to build a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure. 

Girls have more fun when they can shape their own experiences, do hands-on activities, and work together as teams. With the VTK, girls and leaders can explore meeting topics and program activities together, and follow the fun as they plan their Girl Scout year. 

Through the Volunteer Toolkit, troop leaders can: 

  • Plan the troop’s calendar year and meeting schedule. 
  • Email parents/caregivers with one click. 
  • View the troop roster, renew girls’ membership, and update girls' contact information. 
  • View meeting plans for Journeys and badges, including suggested tracks for multi-level groups (K–5 and 6–12). 
  • Customize meeting agendas to fit your unique troop. 
  • Explore individual meeting plans that show a breakdown of every step, including a list of materials needed, editable time allotments for each activity within a meeting, and printable meeting aids. 
  • Record girls’ attendance at meetings and their badge and Journey achievements. 
  • Add council or custom events to the troop’s calendar. 
  • Submit troop’s finance reports (depending on the council’s process). 
  • Easily locate both national and local council resources, such as Safety Activity Checkpoints.  

Parents and caregivers can:  

  • View the troop’s meeting schedule and individual meeting plans to stay up to date on the badges and Journeys they are working on. 
  • Renew their memberships, and update their contact information. 
  • View their Girl Scout’s attendance and achievements. 
  • See upcoming events the troop is planning or attending. 
  • Easily locate both national and local council resources, such as the Family Hub. 
  • View the troop’s finance report (depending on the council’s process). 

Get started by visiting: www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org

The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting 
What does it mean to be a go-getting Girl Scout? It’s all in The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. These grade level-specific binders will help you break it down for your girls. It’s part handbook, part badge book, and 100 percent fun! You can purchase the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting through the Girl Scout shop

Safety Activity Checkpoints
Safety is paramount in Girl Scouting, and this resource—Safety Activity Checkpoints—contains everything you need to know to help keep your girls safe during a variety of exciting activities outside of their regular Girl Scout troop meetings. 

Tips for Troop Leaders
When you’re looking for real-world advice from fellow troop leaders who've been there, this volunteer-to-volunteer resource, called Tips for Troop Leaders, on the Girl Scouts of the USA website has what you need for a successful troop year.

Girl Scout Volunteers in Your Community
Remember that Girl Scout support team we mentioned? You’ll find them in your service unit! Troops are organized geographically into service units or communities. You’ll find a local network of fellow leaders and administrative volunteers ready to offer tips and advice to help you succeed in your volunteer role. 

Customer Care Contacts
Questions? Need help resolving an issue? We’ve got you! Reach out anytime by either clicking on the “Contact Us” form or email inquiry@gscolorado.orgDuring business hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can reach a customer service specialist by calling 855-726-4726.

Newsletters/Communication

Make sure that you have opted in for email communications by visiting your MyGS Member Profile and opting in on the Family Profile tab.

Volunteer View is a monthly e-newsletter that is distributed on the 15th of each month. Check this resource for important monthly updates and reminders. Volunteer View is emailed directly to the email GSCO has on file for each volunteer and copies of Volunteer View are posted onto the GSCO blog.

Connections is a quarterly newsletter that goes out to all GSCO families with reminders and council updates. Connections is also published on the GSCO blog after distribution.

Visit the GSCO blog for council updates, event spotlights, and local stories of Girl Scout activities. Don’t forget to follow GSCO on InstagramFacebook and Twitter!

Additional communication may come from local service unit volunteers, your volunteer support specialists or other GSCO staff.

Customer Care Contacts
Questions? Need help resolving an issue? We’ve got you! Reach out anytime either by clicking on the “Contact Us” form at  our council site, calling 855-726-4726 or email us at  inquiry@gscolorado.org

Taking Advantage of Learning Opportunities

We know that when you have the knowledge and skills you need to manage your girls, both you and your troop will thrive. Contact your council to ask about ongoing learning opportunities that will help you grow your skills and confidence. 

Online Learning gsLearn

gsLearn is a resource for you to access courses that meet you where you are in your learning experience. This user-friendly platform allows you to take courses on your own time, be engaged in your learning progress, and verify completion of required courses. Start with the Successful Leader Learning Series and continue with learning about managing your troop finances, navigating the Volunteer Toolkit, and taking your troop on field trips and outings. Additional enrichment trainings also available!

In-person and Live Virtual Learning Opportunities

  • Program Level Training
    From Daisy to Ambassador program level, this 2-hour workshop is your ticket to a super successful troop! Learn how to structure a meeting and find the right resources to jump start your Girl Scout year. Get hands-on with Journeys and badges,and learn how to plan and partner with your girls and create a network of support to make the troop experiences meaningful and fun. Required for new troop leadership team members and bridged leaders. Fill your leader toolbox full of resources that will provide you with support to be successful in managing your troop.
  • Outdoor Skills
    Learn the skills and policies to ensure that your first experience taking girls on a camping overnight or cooking outdoors is a successful one. Get hands-on experience building a proper Girl Scout fire, setting up your campsite, and preparing meals with girls.
  • CPR and First Aid
    American Red Cross Certification in adult and pediatric CPR and First Aid

Check the Training Events and Events Page for trainings scheduled in your area.

Knowing How Much You’re Appreciated

Whatever your volunteer position, your hard work means the world to girls, to your council staff, and to Girl Scouts of the USA. 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 you’ll 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 Scouts!

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 yearlong 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.

Check out other Ways to Volunteer or connect with your volunteer support specialist to discuss expanding your volunteer role.

Volunteer Appreciation Month
Without our passionate and dedicated volunteers, there would be no Girl Scouting. That’s why we celebrate National Volunteer Month every April! And get ready to crank up the party as we ring in National Girl Scout Leader’s Day on April 22.

Girl Scouts also celebrates National Volunteer Week, which falls during the third week of April. What can we say—we love our volunteers!

Visit the Volunteer Appreciation page to learn about recognizing amazing volunteers throughout the year.  

Girl Scouts also celebrates Volunteers Make a Difference Week in conjunction with Make a Difference Day, which takes place during the weekend in autumn that we set our clocks back when daylight saving time ends. What can we say—we love our volunteers!

 

Girl Scout Participation in Activities with Other Scouting Organizations

The decision by Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to open the Boy Scout program to girls has fundamentally altered the nature of the relationship between BSA and Girl Scouts nationally and locally. Local relationships between BSA and Girl Scout councils that have led to partnerships and joint activities in the past may now create certain risks or challenges for Girl Scouts. For this reason, councils are encouraged to avoid joint recruiting and/or joint participation in community events or activities.

Marketplace Confusion
To protect the integrity of the Girl Scout brand and reinforce our programming as unique, girl-only, and best in class, we must ensure that we take care that the activities in which girls participate are exclusive to the Girl Scout program, are safe and girl-led, and are conducted under the appropriate supervision of Girl Scouts.

Protecting Use of Girl Scout Materials
Girl Scout materials are intended for the exclusive use of Girl Scouts and are protected as the intellectual property of Girl Scouts of the USA. Materials include but are not limited to: Girl Scout logo, tag lines, and/or program and badge requirements. 

Troop Policies

Who Needs a Background Check?

Every adult who spends 3+ sessions/meetings and/or activities with girls, handles group funds, or attends an overnight activity must become a registered member and submit to a background check.

Troop Meeting Locations

Troop meetings may never be held at a private home/residence; please reach out to your volunteer support specialist for more details.  An occasional chaperoned event (i.e. BBQ, party, etc.) may take place at a private home/residence.  A chaperoned event means there is one adult guardian/caregiver for every girl in attendance.  If even one girl does not have a dedicated adult chaperone, then every person living in the home over the age of 18 must have a membership, pass a criminal background check and proof of homeowner's insurance must be provided.

Default Troop Settings

All troops are initially set to accept 12 girls and will display in the troop catalog online for easy registration access for new girl members. You can update your desired number of girls and your preference on whether your troop displays in the online troop catalog by using the Troop Update form

Troop Definition

In our council, a troop is defined as three unrelated girls, with two unrelated adult leaders.  To earn proceeds from product programs, a troop must meet this requirement.  However, if a troop is less than five girls (the GSUSA minimum) then the troop must remain open in the online troop catalog and open to new girls up to at least five girls. Girl Scouts of Colorado currently defines “related” as marriage, partnership, family, or roommates. If you have additional questions, please reach out to your volunteer support specialist.

Removal of a Girl from a Troop or Group

Removal of a girl from a troop or group is never a decision that can be reached by a troop leadership team member alone without the support of their volunteer support specialist. Using language in the group or family agreement such as “failure to do so will result in removal from the troop” is strongly discouraged.

Troop/Group and Family Agreements

Girl Scouts of Colorado strongly encourages the use of Family Agreements within troop and group settings. Family agreements should be created at the first parent/family meeting before the troop begins meeting and be reviewed at the beginning of every troop year. This is an opportunity for the leadership team and families to gain a mutual understanding of troop expectations for the year. Some best practices include addressing:

  • Meeting time and location
  • Drop off and pick up windows/expectations
  • Collection of health history paperwork or any other relevant data needed
  • Family involvement with the troop, chaperones, additional troop support
  • Girl-led expectations
  • Troop dues (if any)
  • Attendance policy (if any) 
  • Sharing a little bit about the leaders and each girl
  • Troop accounting structure and plans for financial transparency
  • Communication methods

Note: If the troop decides to collect troop dues please note the following; Girl Scouts of Colorado does not recommend troop dues exceed $50.00 annually.

Once the group decides on the above-mentioned items, the troop leadership team can put it into one document and send it out to parents or guardians for signatures of acceptance.

Secondly does the troop have a group agreement in place? Like a family agreement this should be put into place by the girls at their first troop meeting. This can start with simple rules and norms from the group and grow as their age and troop maturity do. This is an opportunity for the girls to determine expectations for the troop year. When creating or updating your troop’s group agreement please consider the following:

  • What is the troop focus for the year?
  • Is the troop planning to participate in fall and cookie sale programming to participate in money earning activities?
  • What will those funds be used for?
  • When to speak and when to listen
  • Defining sisterhood and positive relationship building.
  • Troop accountin
  • Attendance policy (if needed).

Group Websites or Online Groups

Your troop may want to share information, market Girl Scout products, and celebrate their Girl Scout memories online. While doing so it is important to adhere to these guidelines:

  • Groups of girls 13 years or older who have parental permission may set up a group Facebook page/group or website. Parents/guardians and volunteers may create and manage a group website for girls 12 and under. 
  • Make yours a site that does not allow outsiders to post message to the site without approval.
  • Use girls’ first names only and never post girls’ personal information including addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses
  • Always collect an Annual Parent Permission form, which includes a photo release, for all girls.
  • Don’t violate copyright law by using designs, text, poetry, music, lyrics, videos, graphics, or trademarked symbols without specific permission from the copyright or trademark holder.

Social Media Policy

  • When representing yourself as a GSCO volunteer on social media, think about the messages you are putting forth and how they will be perceived.
  • The nature of social media means that we can’t control the message all of the time.  Don’t connect/follow people/organizations simply to monitor their activity and argue with them. If you encounter someone who is posting incorrect information about Girl Scouts, let us know. We also monitor social media and respond to inaccurate reports and misinformation. Feel free to “set the record straight” from your personal account, but do not engage in a full-blown argument with someone. Keep in mind that some people are “just looking for a fight.” Make your point and move on.
  • Social media channels run by volunteers are encouraged to follow GSCO’s channels and share the information we are sharing there, ask questions of us, share updates with us, and more.
  •  If you use social media, you are responsible for what you write or say online about GSCO, even if it is on your personal social media channels. The same rules that apply offline apply online. Use good judgment and common sense – please do not write or post anything that would embarrass other members or volunteers or reflect badly on our organization.
  • When using hashtags on any social media network, make sure you research them before you use them and check them regularly. A seemingly innocent hashtag may not be. You also want to make sure you are using hashtags correctly and associating Girl Scouts with the right groups.
  • Know what you are talking about when you respond to messages. If you are unsure, ask!