side menu icon
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! 

How to Become a Girl Scout Volunteer

Successful completion of the membership process, including a background check, is required to become a volunteer at Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland. To purchase a membership, visit https://mygs.girlscouts.org/.

Once you have purchased a membership, you will watch a short video introducing the Girl Scout Program. You must also complete a background check. Please look for an email with information on how to complete it.

After completing those steps, you will be contacted in the following ways:

  • Email with information about accessing MY GS, where you can manage your membership, register for programs, access the Volunteer Toolkit, access gsLearn, and more.
  • Email with next steps for training, information about your service unit meetings, and other useful support.
  • Call from your membership manager.

Background Check

The background check is required in the state of Ohio and includes a criminal record check as well as a check of sexual offender registries. This is for the safety of our girls. If you continue to hold your

volunteer position in continuous service in a troop or service team, you are required to renew your background check every three years.

Due to the confidential nature of all background checks, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council:

  •  Does not accept background checks from other agencies.
  • Is not authorized to share the results of the background check with the individual for any purpose.
  • Will maintain the confidentiality of all background check information obtained, including reasons why a volunteer applicant may not be appointed.

Volunteer Requirements

Requirements for appointment to volunteer positions include:

  • Completion of the membership process and successful background check.
  • Completion of required courses for the position within six months of starting the position. Training requirements can be found at https://www.gsoh.org/training.

Reappointment

Requirements for reappointment to volunteer positions include:

  • Current successful background check.
  • Registration as a member of Girl Scouts of the USA.
  • Completion of required courses.
  • Successful completion and submission of all required paperwork for the position by the required deadlines.
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 your troop! 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. Here are a few basic concepts that outline what leadership means in Girl Scouting. 

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:

  • Advises, discusses, and cheers on your troop, not as a teacher with a planned lesson or activity. 
  • Ensures each member understands and can carry out their responsibilities within the troop.  
  • Encourages Girl Scouts 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 your Girl Scouts 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  and coaching 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 Girl Scouts 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 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 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 Scout.

All volunteers who at any time will:

  • Have care, custody or control of girls other than his or her daughter.
  • And/or be counted as part of the volunteer to girl ratio.
  • And/or handle funds.

MUST complete the following requirements:

  • Current membership.
  • Successful background check.
  • Successful Leader Learning Series – gsLearn.
  • 238 – Safety Essentials – gsLearn.
  • 238 – Leadership Essentials (virtual instructor led or face-to-face) – gsLearn.
  • 238 – Finance Report Training (troop bank account signers) – virtual instructor led – gsLearn.
Volunteer Personnel Policies

We maintain that the leadership of the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council, Inc. rests in the strength of its adults.

All volunteers are selected on the basis of qualifications for membership, ability to perform the job, and willingness and availability to participate in training. All volunteers are governed by policies adopted by the board of directors, which are periodically reviewed.

Affirmative Action: In the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council, Inc., there shall be no discrimination against an otherwise qualified adult volunteer by reason of disability or the basis of age. Furthermore, there shall be no discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, sex, religion, national origin, or socio-economic status. In addition, to ensure full equality of opportunity in all operations and activities of the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council, Inc., affirmative action policies and procedures shall be utilized in the recruitment, selection, training, placement, and recognition of volunteers. Special emphasis shall be placed upon securing representation of underrepresented racial groups.

Membership: All volunteers participating in the Girl Scout Movement shall meet GSUSA membership standards, and shall agree to abide by the policies and principles of GSUSA and Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council, Inc.

All girls and adults shall be registered members through the council with GSUSA and individually pay the applicable membership dues, except those adults working as temporary advisors or consultants.

Selection: Every adult volunteer is selected on the basis of qualification for membership, ability to perform the volunteer position, and willingness and availability to participate in training for it. (Reaffirms GSUSA policy.)

Placement: Every attempt will be made to place volunteers in positions that meet both their needs and the needs of the council. In instances where this is not possible, the needs of the council will take precedence over the needs of the individual.

Agreement/Appointment/Reappointment: Operational volunteers shall be appointed for a term not to exceed one year, unless otherwise negotiated or indicated by term of office. A volunteer agreement will be completed at the time of appointment/election to a volunteer position. Reappointment/re-nomination takes place only after completion of a satisfactory performance review and mutual acceptance of position accountabilities, expectations, and time commitment.

Training: Upon accepting a position in the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council, Inc., every volunteer must complete training appropriate for the position within six months of appointment.

Performance Appraisal: Each operational volunteer shall be provided with the opportunity for regular review and evaluation.

Uniforms: Members of the Girl Scout Movement are readily identified by uniforms worn for official functions. A uniform is not required for participation in Girl Scout activities but is suitable for almost all Girl Scout functions. Volunteers are encouraged to wear the Girl Scout pin when they are not in uniform (GSUSA standard).

Grievance: A grievance is a complaint that policies and/or procedures related to a volunteer’s position are not being administered properly as applied to her or him. The grievance procedure is a systematic process to ensure the objective hearing and orderly handling of volunteer grievances.

The grievance procedure may be used by all operational volunteers. Every volunteer may expect a fair resolution of her or his grievance without fear of jeopardizing her or his volunteer status. The council also maintains an open-door policy regarding volunteer concerns.

Many possible grievances can be anticipated and prevented by volunteer managers who understand the council’s volunteer management system and who are sensitive to human relations. Likewise, many grievances can be avoided when volunteers are informed at the time of placement of the council’s structure, and their place in it, who carries decision-making responsibilities and how decisions are made.

Most complaints and concerns can be resolved when they are brought to the attention of the volunteer’s immediate supervisor. It is hoped that most, if not all, grievance situations will be resolved through informal conferences and communications, the goals of which are to eliminate the cause for the grievance.

If occasionally a volunteer and her or his immediate supervisor are unable to resolve a job-related difference of opinion through informal efforts, the volunteer may request a copy of the council’s grievance procedures for operational volunteers. The initiation of the grievance procedure, however, will not restrict the council from taking appropriate action with respect to the volunteer.

Recognition: The council’s formal recognition system will be consistent with GSUSA guidelines.

Resignation: A volunteer may initiate termination of services prior to the end of the term of appointment. A volunteer unable to complete her/his term should give notice to her/his supervisor as far in advance as possible. Membership in the Girl Scout movement may continue beyond the term of a specific position and is not contingent upon current appointment to a job.

Release: Situations may arise that make it necessary to consider releasing an individual from an assignment. Any action to release a volunteer should receive careful and detailed consideration because of the possible implications and consequences for both the individual and the council.

Possible reasons for release are:

  • Restructuring of volunteer positions.
  • The elimination of the volunteer position in which a person serves.
  • Inability or failure to complete the requirements (or perform the job) of the position.
  • Refusal to comply with council or GSUSA policies.
  • Refusal to support the mission and values of the organization and council goals or performance not consistent with the principles of the Girl Scout Movement.
  • Misappropriation of funds.
  • Excessive absences or tardiness from required meetings.
  • Membership in an organization whose goals are not compatible with GSUSA.

An adult volunteer who is terminated from her or his position may continue her or his membership with GSUSA unless it is determined that she or he is not able to meet the membership requirements related to accepting the principles and beliefs of the Movement or to support the mission and values of the organization. When this is the case, her or his membership will not be renewed.

Child Abuse: The council supports and maintains environments that are free of child abuse and neglect as defined by the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.

Child abuse and neglect are unlawful acts and it is against the council’s policy for any volunteer, male or female, to physically, sexually, or mentally abuse or neglect any girl member.

The council reserves the right to refuse membership endorsement or reappointment, and to dismiss or to exclude from affiliation with the council, any volunteer implementing a Girl Scout program who is found guilty of child abuse and neglect, or who has been convicted of child abuse and neglect.

Sexual Harassment: The council policy guarantees volunteers an environment free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. Sexual harassment has been defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.”

It is against the organization’s policies for any volunteer, male or female, to sexually harass another volunteer, employee, or Girl Scout member of the same or opposite sex. The council reserves the right to refuse membership endorsement or reappointment, and to dismiss or suspend from affiliation with the council any volunteer who, in conducting a Girl Scout program, advocates, solicits, or promotes a personal lifestyle or sexual orientation so as to create a substantial risk that such conduct will be detrimental to the proper role model for girl members.

Council Position on Concealed Carry Law: Firearms or weapons of any type are strictly prohibited anywhere on council-owned premises whether or not permitted by Ohio law. With the exception of the police or sheriff’s personnel, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council, Inc., does not permit its members, guests, employees, or any other individual to carry weapons, such as firearms, on their body or in their belongings while engaged in Girl Scout activities or on Girl Scout property.

Non-smoking Policy: All buildings owned, rented, leased, or loaned to Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council, Inc., are designated as non-smoking environments. Adults who must smoke must use special areas on the grounds designated as smoking areas. Extinguished cigarettes must be put in the trash. There is to be no smoking, including electronic or vapor cigarettes, in the presence of minors. Adults must not leave minors unattended to smoke.

Benefits: Volunteer personnel benefits include:

  • job description
  • accident and liability insurance as part of national/council membership
  • continuing education and other learning opportunities
  • Opportunity to make a difference
  • right to apply for financial assistance
  • recognition and appreciation.
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 volunteer team or co-leader, as well as with input from the girls and their parents and caregivers.

Use these questions to guide your conversation with your troop committee volunteers or co-leader 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 other places they enjoy.
  • Which components of the uniform will families need to purchase? Which uniform components will the troop provide for each girl?
  • 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 and decisions girl-led? Use the Volunteer Toolkit 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?

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: It goes without saying, but 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 talking 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 council or your service unit support team for help with a troop meeting place. 

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.

Before setting up a virtual meeting, 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! For more tips on successful virtual meetings, check out the For Troop Leaders section of 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. Though the ideal troop size is 12 girls, we recommend that groups be no fewer and no more than:

  • 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 five 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 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 program experience. 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. Membership dues cannot be transferred to another member and are not refundable.  

Preregistration for the upcoming membership year occurs in the spring. Girls are encouraged to register early to avoid the fall rush. Early registration allows for 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 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). Volunteers with ten or more years of service can become lifetime members at the discounted young alum rate. 

Adding New Girls to Your Troop
Growing your troop is a great way to share the power of the Girl Scout experience and there are many ways to get the word out , like hanging posters at your girls’ schools, using social media to reach families in your community, or including your troop in your council’s Opportunity Catalog or Troop Catalog.

[Council: Provide contact information for council representatives who can give troop leaders  information about marketing and recruitment materials for adding new girls to their troops. This should include details about how to list their troops in a troop opportunity catalog.]

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 Scout—regardless of her socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, physical or cognitive ability, sexual orientation, primary language, political belief, 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—about 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 everyone and focus on building community.
  • Emphasize cooperation instead of competition.
  • Provide a safe and socially comfortable environment 
  • Teach respect for, understanding of, and dignity toward all Girl Scouts and their families.
  • Actively reach out to Girl Scouts and their families who are traditionally excluded or marginalized.
  • Foster a sense of belonging and 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 your council.  

[Council: Insert your customer care contact information here.]

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 them or their 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 Scout 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 Scout who is with visual impairment might be given permission to touch the pieces.

  • If an activity requires running, a Girl Scout who is unable to run could be asked to walk or do another physical movement.

Focus on a person’s abilities—on what they can do rather than on what they 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 Scout with a disability, speak directly to her, not through a family member or friend.

  • It’s okay to offer assistance to a Girl Scout 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 someone’s wheelchair is invading their space and is considered annoying and rude.

  • When speaking to a Girl Scout who is hearing impaired and using an interpreter, speak to the person themselves, not to the interpreter.

  • When speaking for more than a few minutes to someone who uses a wheelchair, place yourself at eye level.

  • When greeting someone 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 Scout 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.

Getting Support for Your Troop

Just as your Girl Scouts rally around each other for support, you’ll also have 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 at 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 committee volunteers.

Your troop committee volunteers are the extra set 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 committee or co-leader 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.

Program Resources

Girl Scout programs and activities meet the needs and interests of girls, are based on the Girl Scout Promise and Law, and enable girls to grow and develop. Girl Scout program activities can take place in a variety of settings and come in many forms including:

  • Troop or group activities planned and implemented by the girls with the guidance of their adult leadership.
  • Service unit or other large volunteer-driven local events.
  • Council sponsored programming coordinated and/or facilitated by council staff.

Program and Special Events
Programs are offered for every age level and for families. These events are offered at council-owned facilities, community partners, and local sites. Information about these programs, including dates/times, descriptions, fees, and supervision requirements, is published in myGSOH at https://www.gsoh.org/publications and in our Activities List at https://www.gsoh.org/activities.

Event registration is completed through My GS. View our detailed step-by-step instructions on completing registration here.

Patch, Kit Programs, and Community Resources
These activities may be completed throughout the year according to the schedules and interests of the girls. Many of the patch program activity guides can be downloaded for free or purchased through the GSOH Resource Stores. Program specifics may vary and new opportunities may be added throughout the year, so check back regularly on the website.

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 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 Volunteer Toolkit saves you time and energy so that you can focus on having fun with your Girl Scouts.

With the Volunteer Toolkit, 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 attendance at meetings and their troop’s 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 logging into the VTK today! (find it in your MyGS account)

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! 

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 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 at https://www.gsoh.org/contact or email customercare@gsoh.org. You can reach a customer service specialist by calling 614-487-8101 during business hours.

Customer Care Hours
August 15–May 15
Monday–Thursday: 8:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

May 16–August 14
Monday–Friday: 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Newsletters/Communication
Our council has multiple ways of sharing information with parents/caregivers and volunteers. Check all of these to stay up to date with council news.

Campfire Connections
A newsletter that is emailed on the first and third Wednesdays of every month for parents and caregivers. Volunteers get a monthly version on the fifth day of every month. Be sure to watch for this informational newsletter filled with updates on the latest events, programs, new opportunities, and GSOH news. Make sure you opt into these emails through MY GS.

Council Social Media
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GirlScoutsOH/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/girlscoutsoh/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GirlScoutsOH
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/GirlScoutsOH/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/girlscoutsoh/

We also have grade level Facebook page for each Girl Scout grade level. These groups provide opportunities for age specific support. Visit https://www.facebook.com/GirlScoutsOH/groups to join groups.

myGSOH
A Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council publication published and mailed one per Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland volunteer household once a year. A digital copy is also uploaded at https://www.gsoh.org/publications. It contains listings of program events and information.

Resident and Day Camp Guides
These annual guides provide information about summer camp programming. The Resident Camp Guide is mailed to girls’ homes/added to the website in late January each year and the Day Camp Guide is mailed to girls’ homes/added to the website in late March each year. You can view them at https://www.gsoh.org/publications.

Impact Report
This annual comprehensive report details the council’s activities and successes from the most recent membership year. You can view the most recent edition at https://www.gsoh.org/publications.

Logos and Brand Marks

Individuals and service units may request to use the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland logos, brand marks, and fonts, however the council marketing department must review all requests to approve usage. The logo (trefoil) and council lockup may not be reassembled or manipulated in any way. GSOH council marketing department must approve all final artwork to ensure all guidelines are met before printing or production.

Merchandise offered for resale or distributed at fee-based activities must receive approval from council and council must facilitate orders through official GSUSA licensed vendors. Contact GSOH Marketing and Communications at marcomm@gsoh.org in the early planning stages to allow for approval time from GSUSA.

Merchandise may be purchased from non-licensed vendors when there are no resale or fee-based events involved. This merchandise is to be strictly used for gifts, displays, and awards. Council facilitates an order by granting a one-time approval to a non-licensed vendor. Non-licensed vendors may contact our Marketing and Communications department at marcomm@gsoh.org to request high quality files and branding guidelines.

Web Page and Social Media Guidelines

Websites
The guidelines below are to help you create a website that will accomplish your goals while maintaining the integrity of the Girl Scout brand and protecting the safety of our girls.

  • The design and content of your troop, service unit, or Girl Scout activity website should reflect the Girl Scout program and principles. Think carefully about how you want to present yourselves and Girl Scouting as you design the web page. The Girl Scout Mission, Promise, and Law apply in an internet environment as well as in a troop meeting or at an event.
  • Be wary of inappropriate language or topics on your web page. You are creating a Girl Scout troop, service unit, or Girl Scout activity website, not a personal website. References to race, color, religion, age (except when referring to girl program age levels), sex, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, learning disability, physical or mental disability, ancestry, genetic information, and any other protected class, as well as political and personal opinions, have no place on a Girl Scout web page.
  • Avoid linking to commercial sites to avoid implied Girl Scout endorsement.
  • The website must not request names, addresses, phone numbers, or any other identifying information from visitors. Also, be sure all messages are screened carefully before posting them.
  • Troop websites may not be used to conduct sales of any products sold in “council-sponsored product sales,” such as Girl Scout Cookies and QSP. For safety and security reasons, sales on non-Girl Scout approved sites for any Girl Scout troop/group money-earning activities may not be conducted by individual girls or volunteers (this includes sites such as eBay and Craigslist.) However, troop websites may be used to market products. For more information on these guidelines, please refer to The Safety Activity Checkpoints.
  • Be sure to adhere to the rules listed above on the proper use of Girl Scout graphics and logos.
  • Once you have created a site, we encourage you to share it with your regional membership manager.

Internet Safety
Girls should not get online without permission from a parent/caregiver and should never give out their personal information, including name, address, school, or telephone number.

Ways to protect girls’ information on the internet:

  • Sign the Internet Safety Pledge found here.
  • If you include photos of girls on your webpage, make sure each girl’s parent/caregiver agrees that photos can be used and signs a photo release form.
  • Protect the identity of troop members by never using personal information (address, last name, phone number, school, or meeting location) about any girl or adult. If you wish to post Girl Scouts’ names, use first names only. Do not identify by full name any Girl Scouts pictured in any photos you post online. Photos of girls should not have nametags visible.
  • In the interest of keeping girls safe, never post the location of Girl Scout events, programs, troop meetings, or camps before they occur. Instead, recap and review events after they have happened.
  • Advise girls to consult a troop leader or parent immediately if they are uncomfortable with any material they receive via email or view online.

Social Media
GSOH maintains a social media presence through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram. The goal of our social media presence is to recruit potential Girl Scouts, volunteers and donors as well as to retain current membership. The use of social media enhances the visibility of our council as a united front reaching out to the community and media regarding council activities, events, and more.

Social Media Etiquette

We invite volunteers to participate and follow our social media accounts keeping the guidelines below in mind.

  1. Be honest and fair.
    Be transparent about your role as a Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland volunteer when communicating about Girl Scout-related issues online.
  2. Be friendly, helpful, considerate and caring.
    Treat others as you want to be treated. Don’t use social media to attack other volunteers, troop members, and/or staff.
  3. Be courageous and strong.
    Careful monitoring of social media is important in maintaining a positive image of Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland. If you see posts/comments or behavior that concerns you, please notify your membership manager. Don’t be afraid to speak up or ask questions.
  4. Be responsible for what you say and do.
    Remember that what you post online can be around permanently. If you have questions about whether you should post something, ask your membership manager.
  5. Respect yourself and others.
    Respect other people’s privacy and your own personal boundaries by using discretion when choosing to accept or invite a fellow volunteer and/or parents as your Facebook friend on your personal page. (For the service unit or troop Facebook page, the privacy settings will give you the ability to give permission to only those who are involved with the service unit or troop.)
  6. Respect authority.
    Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland reserves the right to block or delete any postings, administrators, group members, etc., or restrict volunteer access to social media sites within council control. If you are contacted by a member of the media through a social media site and asked to comment on an issue, please refer them the council Marketing and Communications department.
  7. Use resources wisely.
    Your time is a valuable resource and your social media activities should not interfere with your volunteer commitments.
  8. Make the world a better place and be a sister to every Girl Scout.
    This is true regardless of how you are communicating.
  9. Be mindful of how you look and act by living the Girl Scout Promise and Law.
    Your online presence can reflect positively or negatively on Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland. Be wary of your actions captured via images, posts, or comments. It is always recommended to set your personal Facebook profile to private, especially if you have Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland listed as an organization that you volunteer for or represent. Please remember that your Facebook profile picture can always be viewed publicly, so use discretion when choosing how the world sees you.
  10. Deliver effective and deliberate communication to internal and external customers.
    Respond to questions and concerns in a timely manner. Be a valuable resource for information.

Volunteer Responsibility
Before you begin developing a social media platform for your service unit, troop, or Girl Scout activity, you should designate one adult who will be responsible for monitoring the platform, ensuring that members communicate effectively and follow the guidelines stated below.

Identifying Members

  • If you wish to post Girl Scouts’ names, use first names only. Do not identify by full name any Girl Scouts pictured in any photos you post online.
  • Only identify the schools, addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses of adult Girl Scout members in a closed group.
  • Only list the address or location of any Girl Scout meeting or activity in a closed group. You may identify trip or event locations after they have occurred.

Content
Remember that anything posted is a reflection of Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland and GSUSA, so please be cautious when selecting content.

Girl Use
Speak with the girls in your troop or service unit and make sure they understand the importance of preserving the Girl Scout image online. Encourage them to use good judgment and discretion when posting online.

Girls should sign the GSUSA Internet Safety Pledge found here.

Girl Scouts 13 years of age and older may use social media after they have reviewed this document with their parents and signed the pledge form. You can also find more online safety information in the Girl Scout aMAZE Journey.

Infractions
If you are contacted by Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland or GSUSA and asked to remove any content or links from your social media platform, please comply with that request. If you find a Girl Scout social media platform that is in violation of these guidelines, please contact your membership manager. Please describe the violation in detail and provide the web address. We expect all who participate in social media on behalf of Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland (or in relation to) to understand and follow these guidelines. These guidelines will continue to evolve as social media evolves and new technologies and tools are added.

Social Media Platforms
The next section of these guidelines gives specific information about council accounts and how to start Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Creating a closed Facebook Group for your service unit or troop
The first step is to create your own Facebook account, if you have not done so already. You can create an account at facebook.com. To create a group, take the following steps:

  1. On the homepage on your Facebook account, on the left side column, there is a menu item called Groups. Click on that option. On that page, you will see Create New Group on the left side column. Click it and then start filling in information about your group.
  2. Choose your group name. This should be the name of your service unit (or your troop number if you are creating a group page for your troop). For example: Big Walnut Service Unit or Troop #XXXX. Please do not include “Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland” or “Girl Scouts” in your group name. You can specify in the about section that your service unit or troop is affiliated with Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland.
  3. Pull down the menu labeled Privacy. Your options will be Public or Private. Select the Private option. This ensures that only members of the group will see the information posted in the group page.
  4. You can now add other service unit members to the group who also have Facebook accounts. Please make sure to add only service unit members and Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland staff. All service units must make Jane Volunteer an Administrator. That allows for the page to continue if volunteers move or change positions.
  5. Click Create and you’re finished.

If you have already created a profile for your troop and/or service unit, please set the privacy settings to friends only (if it is a regular Facebook profile page). This way, individuals must request to be your friend. Note: This will only work if your page is a regular Facebook profile page. If you created a fan page, you should change it to a group and set the settings as noted above.

These guidelines for Facebook are in place so that girls are protected online, especially if you are posting pictures and/or meeting dates and times on the page.

Things you can do with a closed Facebook group:

  • post messages
  • use the Notes section for longer posts
  • post photos
  • create an event on the calendar
  • post links to other sites
  • post videos
  • post documents on Facebook
  • chat with group members

In a closed group, any member can invite other members to join, as long as they are Facebook friends. Remember to protect everyone’s privacy by only inviting current adult volunteers.

The creator of the closed group is the administrator by default. For that reason, we encourage the communications consultant to create the closed group. It is a good practice to have more than one administrator so that the responsibility of the account can be shared.

If you have any questions, please contact the Marketing and Communications department at marcomm@gsoh.org or 614-487-8101.

Forms on Website
Need a form on the website, but don’t know where to look? Visit https://www.gsoh.org/forms .

You can search for any form you need. To narrow your search, click Options right below the box. You can choose a category or categories based on the context of the form.

Girl Scout Shop

The Girl Scout Shop has everything a Girl Scout, troop leader, or volunteer needs from badges, books, and clothes to games, toys, gifts, and sportswear for the family.

Check out shop locations and hours at https://www.gsoh.org/girlscoutshop

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. Here are a few of the opportunities available to volunteers. Check https://www.gsoh.org/training for new training and learning opportunities.

Adult Camporee: This fun-filled get-away occurs yearly in September for adult members to meet new friends while exploring the beautiful grounds of Camp Molly Lauman.

Online classes: Sign into MY GS to access gsLearn. Please check gsLearn throughout the year for additional classes, but you can get started with the following classes:

  • GSUSA: Successful Leader Learning Series (always available)
  • 238 - Safety Essentials (always available)
  • 238 - Leadership Essentials (register on gsLearn and facilitated online)
  • 238 - Finance Report – learn to manage troop and service unit finance reports (register on gsLearn and facilitated online)
  • Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) – will help you learn to use the Volunteer Toolkit to facilitate a successful Girl Scout year (always available)

Search the content library on gsLearn for additional optional courses. There are many, many options, but we suggest taking:

  • Age/Grade Level Badge Requirements and Grade Level Essentials
  • Creating an Inclusive Troop
  • Using Zoom
Knowing How Much You’re Appreciated

What begins with Girl Scouts speaking up at a troop meeting can go all the way to speaking in front of their city council for a cause they champion—and they’ll have your support to thank for that. Your volunteer role makes a powerful difference. Thank you for all you do.

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, 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.

Volunteer Development Hearts

The volunteer development hearts are presented to adults in Girl Scouting who:

  • Complete certain classes.
  • Volunteer for specific positions.
  • Engage new volunteers/donors to the organization.

Volunteer Recognitions

As a volunteer, your hard work means the world to girls, to your council staff and to Girl Scouts of the USA. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!

Each year at the Annual Meeting in late April, we honor our volunteers with special recognitions. For more information about these, visit https://www.gsoh.org/volunteerrecognition.

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!

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. 


 

 

© Copyright 2009–2021 Girl Scouts of the United States of America.  All rights reserved. All information and material contained in Girl Scouts’ Volunteer Essentials guide (“Material”) is provided by Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) and is intended to be educational material solely to be used by Girl Scout volunteers and council staff. Reproduction, distribution, compiling, or creating derivative works of any portion of the Material or any use other than noncommercial uses as permitted by copyright law is prohibited, unless explicit, prior authorization by GSUSA in writing was granted. GSUSA reserves its exclusive right in its sole discretion to alter, limit, or discontinue the Material at any time without notice.