FAQ’s for Volunteers

General

This page provides a sampling of some of the frequently asked questions received from Girl Scout volunteers.  For more information, check out the rest of this website, especially Volunteer Essentials and the section on Forms and ResourcesIf you are a new troop volunteer, you will get all the information you need to get started once you schedule an Introduction to Troop Management session.  For a weekly round-up of GSKH information, news, and events, make sure you sign up to receive our Connect e-Newsletter by submitting your email in the white box at the bottom of any page on www.kansasgirlscouts.org.

  • Getting started as a volunteer
  • What do girls do in Girl Scouting?
  • Policies and guidelines

Getting started as a volunteer

Why should I volunteer?

It’s FUN! And rewarding, too.You can make a difference in a girl’s life. You’ll learn new skills and go to new places. You will be part of a nationwide and local network of volunteers who all share a belief in the Girl Scout mission. You will grow as a person. It’s a chance to be a mentor to girls and lead them to success.

How can I make a difference in someone’s life?

Women and men have partnered with Girl Scouts to help girls everywhere realize their full potential. Our volunteers are inspirational and invaluable, and they have a profound effect on girls they mentor. Quite simply, there would be no Girl Scouting without them.

I would love to help but don’t seem to have the time.

Most of our Girl Scout volunteers work, they raise their families and they are active in the community. The Girl Scout program is flexible and has many opportunities to volunteer, both short and long term opportunities. We will help you determine where you can make a difference no matter what your schedule!

How can I help if I’m not very creative?

Girl Scout programs and activities are so varied we’re sure that your talents and skills will be an asset to us. Remember – Girl Scouts is not just about cookies, crafts and camping.

What do I need to do to become a volunteer?

In order to begin volunteering with girls, every volunteer must follow these 5 simple steps:

  1. Complete the Volunteer Application.
  2. Participate in a short, informal placement interview.
  3. Complete the Girl Scout adult membership registration and payment of membership dues.
  4. Begin your volunteer learning while your application is processed and background check is completed.
  5. Receive your volunteer appointment.

What is the difference between the application and the membership registration?

The volunteer application, which also includes authorization for a criminal background check is the first step to becoming a volunteer.  Submitting the application online will help GSKH staff and volunteers place new volunteers as quickly as possible, but new volunteers cannot meet with girls until GSKH has approved the application.   All applications expire after 3 years. Volunteers must submit a new application 3 years from original application date. Read more about our background check and screening procedures here.

Every participant (girl or adult) in Girl Scouting must register and become a member of Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA). GSUSA membership dues are valid for one year. Membership dues (currently $15) are sent by the council to GSUSA; no portion of the dues stays with the council.  Membership dues may not be transferred to another member and are not refundable.  Every registered Girl Scout and registered adult member in the Girl Scout movement is automatically covered under the basic Girl Scout Activity Insurance plan upon registration.  This insurance provides up to a specified maximum for medical expenses incurred as a result of an accident while a member is participating in an approved, supervised Girl Scout activity, after the individual’s primary insurance pays out. Complete your online membership registration here.

Does every volunteer have to be a troop leader?

No, although we always need volunteers who can be troop leaders, there are many other volunteer opportunities with a variety of time commitments. Read more about different volunteer opportunities here.

Will I receive training or development as a Girl Scout volunteer?

Girl Scouts strives to provide you with the necessary information to successfully manage your group of girls and to let you know how and where you can get additional information on certain topics when you want to learn more. Volunteer learning is offered in a variety of ways to best meet your unique learning styles: written resources, face-to-face learning, interactive online learning—and additional methods are being developed and tested all the time. Check out requirements and a list of learning opportunities here.

Where can I get ideas and inspiration for guiding the girls in my troop/group?

The girls are your best and first source of information on activities they’re interested in. Have them look through the grade level resources and awards and tell you what they want to do. Also share with them upcoming council and service unit activities and see if they’d like to attend. Network with the other volunteers in your community and service unit, and ask a GSKH staff member.  You can also find great resources from Girl Scout volunteers around the country by searching online.

What do girls do in Girl Scouting?

What is the GSLE?

The Girl Scout program—what girls do in Girl Scouting— is based on the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE), a national model that helps girls become leaders in their own lives and as they grow. No matter where girls live or what their age or background, as Girl Scouts they are part of a powerful, national experience. As they build leadership skills, they also develop lifelong friendships and earn meaningful awards, two of many treasured traditions in the sisterhood of Girl Scouting.

Girl Scouting guides girls to become leaders in their daily lives, their communities, and the world—helping them become the kind of person exemplified by the Girl Scout Law. When girls—as the Girl Scout Law states—are “honest and fair,” when they “use resources wisely,” and know how to be “courageous and strong,” they can be more successful in everything they do. It may start in school and on sports teams, but research shows that the courage, confidence, and character they develop as Girl Scouts follows them throughout their lives.  Girl Scouting has a practical approach to helping girls become leaders.

Are uniforms required?

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) has an official policy of uniforms: Girl Scouts at each level have one required element (tunic, sash, or vest), for the display of official pins and awards, that will be required when girls participate in ceremonies or officially represent Girl Scouting. 

For girls, the unifying look includes wearing a choice of a tunic, vest, or sash for displaying official pins and awards, combined with either the full uniform set, or their own solid white shirts and khaki pants or skirts. Girl Scouts in high school can also wear a scarf that ties their look to the sisterhood of Girl Scouts around the world.

For adult members, the unifying look of the uniform is a Girl Scout official scarf, or tie for men, worn with official membership pins, combined with their own navy blue business attire.

GSKH does not require Girl Scouts to purchase uniforms, but that option is available to all girls, whether they participate in a troop or group or as individuals, and regardless of whether their troop or group purchases uniforms.You can find diagrams on where to place uniform insignia on the GSUSA website at http://www.girlscouts.org/program/basics/for_volunteers/insignia/how_to_wear_booklet.pdf.  Along with the tunic, sash, or vest, the uniform includes the American flag patch, a council identification set, and troop numerals, along with additional emblems, earned awards, and fun patches. To purchase uniforms and other Girl Scout merchandise, view the shop page at www.kansasgirlscouts.org. Read more about Girl Scout costs here

Is there a required handbook for girls and volunteers?

GSUSA has several books, awards, and online resources to bring the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to life with girls. These books—the Journeys and The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting—and national program awards—like badges and pins—are an important part of how Girl Scouting helps girls experience the power of millions of girls changing the world together.

GSUSA recommends that each girl has her own books from the National Program Portfolio.  GSKH does not require Girl Scouts to purchase books, but that option is available to all girls, whether they participate in a troop or group or as individuals, and regardless of whether their troop or group purchases books.To purchase books and other Girl Scout merchandise, view the shop page at www.kansasgirlscouts.orgRead more about Girl Scout costs here

What are special days in Girl Scouting?

  • February 22: World Thinking Day (the birthday of both Lord Baden-Powell and Lady Olave Baden-Powell, the originators of Boy Scouts and the Scouting Movement worldwide).
  • March 12: The birthday of Girl Scouting in the USA. The first troop meeting was held in Savannah, Georgia, on this date in 1912. Note that Girl Scout Week begins the Sunday before March 12 (a day known as “Girl Scout Sunday”) and extends through the Saturday following March 12 (a day known as “Girl Scout Sabbath”).
  • Third week in April: Volunteer Appreciation Week centers on the long-standing National Girl Scout Leaders’ Day (April 22), but expands the definition of volunteers beyond troop leaders to include all the volunteers who work in so many ways on behalf of girls in Girl Scouting.
  • October 31: Founder’s Day (Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday).

What is bridging?

Bridging ceremonies mark a girl’s move from one grade level of Girl Scouting to another, such as from Junior to Cadette. Fly-Up is a special bridging ceremony for Girl Scout Brownies who are bridging to Juniors.

The girls’ families cannot afford much money for activities. What do we do, especially in the first part of the Girl Scout year?

Many activities require little or no money. As the girls decide the kinds of projects they want to do, make a list of what is needed. Use recycled materials for projects. Involve the families and neighborhood in collecting aluminum cans for recycling to provide funds for the troop treasury. Give girls a scavenger hunt list for basic items around the house, like scissors, string, glue, pieces of fabric and foil. Look for projects you can adapt. Start early in creating a goal and budget for the troop’s Girl Scout council-sponsored product sale/cookie activities. Read more about Girl Scout costs hereFinancial assistance is available through the Council Cares Program.

How do girls earn money for Girl Scouting activities?

Girls earn money in two distinct ways:

Learn more about money-earning and troop/group finances in the Volunteer Essentials handbook.

Do we have to participate in Girl Scout Cookie activities as a troop?

All are expected to participate in the cookies sales. Otherwise, no – participation is completely voluntary. However, girls report that they enjoy taking part in cookie activities and they like running a project on their own. Girls gain important skills from participating in the cookie sale that add to their Girl Scout experience. Cookie activities are also one of the easiest ways for troops to earn money for trips and events. When you take part in Girl Scout Cookie activities, keep in mind that, as with other Girl Scout program activities, each girl must have parental permission to sell cookies and the group should follow all council guidelines. Learn more about the Cookie Sale here.

Are all Girl Scouts in troops?

Troops are just one Girl Scout Pathway – ways that girls can participate in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.  Through Girl Scout Pathways, girls have the freedom to choose among any of the Pathways to join Girl Scouting and may participate in multiple Pathways within a membership year.  Read more about all Pathway options here.

Keep in mind that girls who are looking to join a troop, but cannot be place in one right away can still participate in Girl Scout activities while new troops are being established.  We sometimes do not have the needed volunteers to start new troops at the beginning of the school year. Although we recruit year-round, many volunteers are being recruited at the same time girls are joining and we need time to properly screen and place them.

How often do Girl Scout troops meet?

Girls and adults participating in troops can meet once a week, once a month, or twice a month for several months—how often is up to you and the girls. Troops can meet just about anywhere, as long as the location is safe, easily accessible to girls and adults, and within a reasonable commute. In each meeting, girls participate in fun activities that engage them in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). Check out Volunteer Essentials and the Troop Appendix for further guidelines.

When can I take a Girl Scout troop or group camping?

The camping experience is based on progression as girls develop. Volunteers need to complete GSKH Outdoor Leadership training before facilitating outdoor activities with girls.  Requirements for Outdoor Leadership are listed here.

Do I need special training to take a nature walk with girls?

For your convenience, we have developed a simple home-study Outdoor Leadership 100 course which prepares volunteers to take troops or groups out for the day to go hike, have a picnic, and get a taste of outdoor fun.  If you are planning to cook a meal outdoors or stay overnight, you will need to take an additional Outdoor Leadership course.  Outdoor Leadership is enjoyable and enables you to do many fun activities, indoors and out. If you are unable to attend an Outdoor Leadership course, ask a parent or additional volunteer to help out by taking it.

Policies and guidelines

How many volunteers are needed to work with girls?

Girl Scouts requires a minimum of two unrelated adults (approved Girl Scout volunteers), including one female, for any activity with girls, though more adults may be required depending on the age and number of girls.  Girl Scouts’ adult-to-girl ratios show the minimum number of adults needed to supervise a specific number of girls. These supervision ratios were devised to ensure the safety and health of girls—for example, if one adult has to respond to an emergency, a second adult is always on hand for the rest of the girls.  Refer to the adult-to-girl ratio chart in Volunteer Essentials.

Can I rely on a Girl Scout aged 14 to 17 as an adult when preparing to meet adult-to-girl ratios necessary at meetings or on trips?

No, a girl should never be left alone to supervise younger girls. It is unfair to her, the girls, and the parents, who expect adult supervision.

Can my troop or group receive sponsorships or donations?

Groups and individuals must complete the Donation Request and Sponsorship Agreement and submit it to the GSKH Wichita Girl Scout Center (or turn in at your local office) for approval prior to approaching groups or individuals for donations or sponsorships valued at $25 or more.  Requests for donations valued less than $25 do not need council approval.  This form ensures our donors are not being approached with multiple requests for support, keeps the fundraising process organized, and helps us track troop donation requests.  A donation over $25 must be submitted to GSKH so we may send a tax receipt and an acknowledgement of the donation.  The donation will be turned over to the troop/group who received it.  See more about collaborating with sponsors and other organizations in Volunteer Essentials.

How can we transport girls?

How parents decide to transport girls between their homes and Girl Scout meeting places is each parent’s decision and responsibility.

For planned Girl Scout field trips and other activities—outside the normal time and place—in which a group will be transported in private vehicles:

  • Every driver must be an approved adult* volunteer and have a good driving record, a valid license, and a registered/insured vehicle.
  • Girls never drive other girls.
  • If a group is traveling in one vehicle, there must be at least two unrelated, approved adult volunteers in the vehicle, one of whom is female, and the girl-volunteer ratios in Volunteer Essentials must be followed.
  • If a group is traveling in more than one vehicle, the entire group must consist of at least two unrelated, approved adult volunteers, one of whom is female, and the girl-volunteer ratios in Volunteer Essentials must be followed. Care should be taken so that a single car (with a single adult driver) is not separated from the group for an extended length of time.

*“Adult” is defined by the age of majority in each state.

Note: Anyone who is driving a vehicle with more than 12 passengers must also be a professional driver who possesses a commercial driver’s license (CDL)

For more about driving, see the “Transporting Girls” section of Chapter 4: Safety-Wise of Volunteer Essentials.

Do I need to be certified in First Aid and CPR?

To ensure the safety and well-being of all girls, Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland requires troops and groups to be accompanied by someone currently certified in First Aid and CPR for any activity or trip beyond their regular meeting site, any physically demanding activity and all overnight trips.

For details on activities that require a First-Aid and CPR certified adult, please see the Safety Activity Checkpoints at http://kansasgirlscouts.org/volunteer-essentials. If a registered adult with the troop or group is a nurse (RN/LPN), a certified emergency medical technician, or a doctor, they can serve as the troop’s “First Aider.”  Otherwise, a troop volunteer or other registered adult will need to become certified, through a GSKH course or another certifying organization.

If you are certified through another organization, please submit proof of certification and expiration information to the Volunteer Services department of your regional office.

Where can I find specific forms I need as a Girl Scout volunteer?

All our forms and resources are available on our website.  You will also find all volunteer policies and guidelines outlined in Volunteer Essentials, available here.

My co-leader/ my daughter’s Girl Scout leader/ another adult I know is an AMAZING volunteer?  Is there a way that I can nominate this person for some sort of recognition?

Absolutely! GSKH offers a number of volunteer awards at the local, council, and national levels.  Volunteer awards are for currently registered Girl Scouts volunteers who have given outstanding service that exceeds expectations, makes a unique contribution, or substantially supports the Girl Scout program. Any Girl Scout troop, service unit, or individual, such as a parent, can nominate a volunteer for an award. Find details and nomination forms on our website here.

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