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GSNorCal Volunteer Essentials

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Book: GSNorCal Volunteer Essentials
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Date: Saturday, August 8, 2020, 11:25 AM

QUICK LINKS TO CHAPTERS: TABLE OF CONTENTSNAVIGATION | QUICK START GUIDE| ABOUT GSNorCal | VOLUNTEERING | GIRL SCOUT PROGRAM | GIRLS & ADULTS | SAFETY-WISE | MONEY | BIENVENIDO (en Español) | GLOSSARY |

Quick Links to NAVIGATION Chapter Topics: Table of Contents | Quick Links | Right Menu Bar | Search | Find | Links in Volunteer Essentials | Print Chapter | Print Book |

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WELCOME TO GSNorCal's

VOLUNTEER ESSENTIALS

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of girls! Use this e-book in combination with our online resources and training links to help you in your volunteer role throughout the year. 


For your convenience, this guide is searchable and printable. You are able to print a single section, an entire chapter, or the entire guide. However, keep in mind that the Volunteer Essentials is updated throughout the year, so you will want to access the guide electronically to get the most up-to-date information. The most recent changes will be displayed in the Navigation section at the beginning of the Volunteer Essentials. 


Questions? Can't find what you need? No need to know which staff member to ask! For any questions, phone: 800-447-4475 Ext 0 or email: info@gsnorcal.org


How do I use Volunteer Essentials?

There are quite a few ways to find what you need:

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Table of Contents

You can use the Table of Contents to quickly find topics in this guide, including information on Girl Scout traditions, responsibilities, leadership, awards, badges and so much more. All of the chapters and topics are clickable, and will take you right to that spot within the guide. Get to the Table of Contents by clicking "home" or use the quick links at the top of each page.

Table of Contents

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Quick Links

You can use the clickable quick links at the top of each page to jump to any of the other chapters or to the Table of Contents or Glossary. You can also use quick links on each page to get to the topics within that chapter more quickly (these are the same topics listed on the Table of Contents). The chapter name where you currently are will be slightly larger and bold. The chapters are color-coded to assist you in navigating.

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Right Menu Bar

Use the Table of Contents on the right bar (desktop view) or at the bottom of the page (mobile view). The chapter where you currently are will show in black.

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Search

Search the entire Volunteer Essentials by entering key words or phrases on the search bar at the top of the page.

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Find

Search just the page you're on by clicking on Ctrl F (PC) or Cmd F (Mac) to find key words or phrases on that page. Depending on your browser, your search box will likely be in the upper or lower left, or one of the other corners of your page. The word or phrase you searched for will be highlighted. You can go from one to the next with the Previous and Next buttons.   

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Button to Top

There are buttons at the end of most sections in Volunteer Essentials that will take you back to the top of that page to enable you to use the quick links to quickly move from one section to another.

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Links in Volunteer Essentials

Links to specific areas of the Volunteer Essentials are hyperlinked. For people using Volunteer Essentials as a printed document, the chapter and section name are included. To assist you, those references are color coded with the chapter color, and listed like this: [CHAPTER: Section]. Links to a section of Volunteer Essentials will open in the same window. Where a specific form or document is listed, the name of the form is hyperlinked to the specific form, along with the place to get forms on the council website where you can type in the name of the form: www.gsnorcal.org/forms. Links to external links (outside Volunteer Essentials) will open in a new window.

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QUICK LINKS TO CHAPTERS: TABLE OF CONTENTSNAVIGATION | QUICK START GUIDE| ABOUT GSNorCal | VOLUNTEERING | GIRL SCOUT PROGRAM | GIRLS & ADULTS | SAFETY-WISE | MONEY | BIENVENIDO (en Español) | GLOSSARY |

Quick Links to QUICK START GUIDE Topics: Welcome! | Girl Scout Leadership Experience | Promise & Law | A Worldwide Movement | Organizational Structure | Troop Size | Joining Girl Scouts | Flexible Ways to Belong | Safety Basics | Get Started |


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WELCOME TO GIRL SCOUTING!

Welcome to the great adventure of Girl Scouting! Thanks to volunteers like you, generations of girls have learned to be leaders in their own lives and in the world. We know you’re busy and need to be efficient with your time. For that reason, this Quick-Start Guide to our Volunteer Essentials gives you the answers to the basic questions you might have right now about the Girl Scout organization. The rest of Volunteer Essentials is a reference for you to use as needed, and supports our online training modules. Think of it is as your encyclopedia to Girl Scout volunteering! For tips on navigating Volunteer Essentials [NAVIGATION]

Girl Scouts was founded in 1912 by trailblazer Juliette Gordon Low. We are the largest girl-serving organization in the United States and a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, a sisterhood of close to 10 million girls and adults in 145 countries.

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Girl Scout Leadership Experience

leadership keysWe have identified Three Keys to Leadership: girls Discover themselves and their values; Connect with others; and Take Action to make the world a better place. At Girl Scouts, everything centers around the girl: activities are girl-led, which gives girls the opportunity to learn by doing in a cooperative learning environment.
 

Benefits of Girl Scouting

There's no question that girls get a lot out of Girl Scouting! You'll want to make sure that your girls get to have a wide variety of experiences so that they will get the most out of being a Girl Scout.



It's clear that girls like variety, and a troop/group program should include opportunities for lots of different activities. The basic parts of a robust Girl Scout experience include these aspects. You'll learn much more about all of them in other sections of Volunteer Essentials.

[PROGRAM: The Girl Scout Leadership Experience]

[PROGRAM: Five Benefits for Girls]

[PROGRAM: National Program Resources]

[PROGRAM: National Leadership Journeys]

[PROGRAM: Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting]

[PROGRAM: Product Sales Program]

Parts of the Program



As a volunteer, you are in charge of keeping Girl Scouts both safe and fun! You and your troop will share adventures through something called the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. It’s simple:

  • The girls discover what they care about
  • They connect with and collaborate with people in the community
  • Then they take action to do something that makes the world a better place

And there’s a whole galaxy of activities to choose from and badges to earn along the way. Share these possibilities with the girls. They will discuss, decide, and plan the year’s adventures – everything from troop meetings to camping trips!

A great place to start out is with a Leadership Journey, which has sample meetings along with lists of needed materials, and tips and pointers on how to weave in fun ways of teaching the girls to plan their activities and make decisions. [PROGRAM: National Leadership Journeys]

For Daisy, Brownie, and Junior troops, you'll also have access to the digital Volunteer Toolkit, which gives you detailed meeting plans with tons of downloadable resources. All troops have access to the Volunteer Toolkit for managing their troops and communicating with families. [VOLUNTEERING: Volunteer Toolkit]


Girl Scout MissionGirl Scout Vision
Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

 We strive to be the premier leadership organization for girls, and experts on their growth and development.


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The Girl Scout Promise and Law

The Girl Scout Promise and Law are shared by every member of Girl Scouting. The Girl Scout Promise is the way Girl Scouts agree to act every day toward one another and other people, and the Girl Scout Law outlines a way to act
towards one another and the world. Everything we do in Girl Scouting is rooted in the Girl Scout Promise and Law, which speak to the vision we all share for girls and inspire each of us to work on behalf of tomorrow’s leaders.  The Promise is often recited at Girl Scout troop meetings while holding up the three middle fingers of the right hand, which forms the Girl Scout sign. Girl Scout policy states that the organization does not endorse or promote any particular philosophy or religious belief. 

Girl Scout Promise

 The Girl Scout Law

*Girl Scouts of the USA makes no attempt to define or interpret the word “God” in the Girl Scout Promise. It looks to individual members to establish for themselves the nature of their spiritual beliefs. When making the Girl Scout Promise, individuals may substitute wording appropriate to their own spiritual beliefs for the word “God.” Note: This disclaimer appears in the National Leadership Journey adult guides, but not in the girls’ books. It is included here as a reminder to you, as a volunteer, that it’s your responsibility to be sensitive to the spiritual beliefs of the girls in your group and to make sure that everyone in the group feels comfortable and included in Girl Scouting. Please feel free to share this information with girls’ families.

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A WORLDWIDE MOVEMENT

2.6 Million Strong
We are urban, rural, and suburban. We are in schools, churches, temples, mosques, public housing, foster homes, and detention centers. There are 1.8 million girls five to eighteen years of age and 800,000 adults in 92 countries and more than fifty-nine million alums, united across distance and decades by lifelong friendships, shared adventures, and the desire to do big things to make the world a better place. At any given time, approximately ten percent of girls are Girl Scouts in our 112 councils throughout the United States.

globe More than 2.6 Girl Scouts live in every US zip code and in ninety-two countries around the world
briefcase Fifty percent of women business owners were Girl Scouts
government

Seventy-three percent of female U.S. Senators were Girl Scouts, and fifty-one percent of female members of the House of Representatives were Girl Scouts.

One hundred percent of female U.S. Secretaries of State were Girl Scouts

Four or the six current female governors were Girl Scouts

astronaut helmet Virtually every female astronaut who has flown in space was a Girl Scout
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Girl Scouts are more likely to succeed academically and pursue higher education


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ToGetHerThere

ToGetHerThere GraphicAt Girl Scouts, we know that when girls are given the opportunity, they change their world. Every girl has an important role to play, and every girl deserves the confidence to achieve anything she sets her sight on. But we need help to ensure that girls in every U.S. zip code develop the confidence that Girl Scouts nurtures. That's why we've launched ToGetHerThere, the largest fundraising campaign for girls in history.
 
ToGetHerThere is a Movement wide fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $1 Billion for girls by 2020. Every gift to every Girl Scout Council counts toward the goal. Together, we will get her there - to help lead her troop, her family, her community, her company, her country, and her world. To learn more about joining the largest campaign for girls visit girlscouts.org/invest.

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National Organization and Worldwide Sisterhood

Girl Scouts is the world’s largest organization of and for girls, currently encompassing 1.8 million girl members and nearly one million volunteers! Three core structures support all these members: the national headquarters, your council, and your support team.

GS Organizational Chart

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS)

WAGGGS ensures that girls have increased awareness about the world, cross-cultural learning opportunities, and education on relevant global issues that may inspire them to take action to make the world a better place. Visit Global Girl Scouting online for additional information. Since 1925, USA Girl Scouts Overseas (USAGSO), a division of Global Girl Scouting, has helped ease the transition for American families relocating overseas by offering the familiar traditions and exciting opportunities of Girl Scouting to girls abroad. USAGSO now serves thousands of American girls living overseas, as well as girls attending American or international schools. Through Global Girl Scouting, members participate in World Thinking Day on February 22, visit the four WAGGGS world centers (www.girlscouts.org/en/about-girl-scouts/global/world-centers.html), participate in international travel, promote global friendship and understanding by supporting the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund donate.girlscouts.org/worldfriendshipfund, and take action on global issues.

Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA)

The national office of Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), located in New York City, employs roughly 300 employees. GSUSA is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). Visit GSUSA online, where you’ll find a wealth of resources for both girls and volunteers.

Girl Scouts of Northern California (GSNorCal)

Girl Scout councils are chartered by the national office to attract and retain members in a geographic area, provide ways for girls to participate in Girl Scouting, create an environment that reflects Girl Scout values and ideals, manage volunteers’ experience with Girl Scouting, and keep girls and volunteers as safe as possible. The national office provides support materials to all councils to ensure that the Girl Scout experience is nationally consistent.

Service Units

A team of volunteers and staff provides you with local support, learning opportunities, and advice. As a volunteer, you will have the most contact with your Girl Scout support team, which is called a service unit. Never hesitate to contact them, because your support team will guide and assist you in all things Girl Scouting. If you have questions about the Girl Scout program, working with girls, resources in the National Program Portfolio (National Leadership Journeys and The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting), or selling Girl Scout cookies and other products, go to your team for answers and ongoing support.

    Troops

    Girl Scout troops need to be large enough to provide a cooperative learning environment and small enough to allow development of individual girls. The following group sizes are recommended:

    • 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 must have at minimum, five girls and two unrelated, registered and background-checked adult volunteers, one of whom is female. Although troop size may vary greatly, all troops stay open to a minimum of 12 girls. If the troop is listed in the Troop Opportunity Catalog, it will automatically stay open until 12 girls are registered with the troop. Troops that have fewer girls may meet and carry out their activities, but should always be open to taking more girls. Larger groups should not see the minimums as a limit. Large troops can be super fun and offer lots of opportunities for different groups of girls to interact with each other.

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    JOINING GIRL SCOUTS

    Girl Scouts is about sharing the fun, friendship, and power of girls and women together. Any girl—from kindergarten through 12th grade—can join Girl Scouts.

    Girl Scout DaisyGirl Scout BrownieGirl Scout Junior silhouetteGirl Scout Cadette SilhouetteGirl Scout Senior silhouetteGirl Scout Ambassador silhouette

    Girl Scout Daisy (grades K–1)

    Girl Scout Brownie
    (grades 2–3)

    Girl Scout Junior (grades 4–5)

    Girl Scout Cadette (grades 6–8)

    Girl Scout Senior (grades 9–10)

    Girl Scout Ambassador (grades 11–12)


    Girl Scout volunteers are also a diverse group—you may be a college volunteer working on a community-action project, a parent volunteer ready for an outdoor adventure with your daughter’s troop, or any responsible adult (female or male, who have passed the necessary background-checked process) looking to help prepare girls for the day when they’ll lead—however and wherever they choose.

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    How to Join

    What all members share, both girls and adults, are the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Each member also agrees to follow safety guidelines and pay the annual membership dues of $25, paid to the national organization, GSUSA. Adults have the option to purchase a lifetime membership (see fee options below). Additionally, girl members pay a $15 annual Council Service Fee (this portion directly supports GSNorCal).

    Membership Dues

    Adults - $25

    Girls - $40

    $25* annual membership fee
    paid to GSUSA


    Lifetime Membership 

    Adults have the option to purchase a one-time lifetime membership:

    • $400- Lifetime Membership for adults who are not a former girl member, or a former girl member who is 30 years or older.
    • $200- Young Alumnae Lifetime Membership for adults who were a former girl member who is 18-29 years old.

    $25* annual membership fee
    paid to GSUSA

    $15 annual Council Service Fee which directly supports GSNorCal

    GSNorCal is one of 112 Girl Scout Councils that operates under the “umbrella” of Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA).  The national dues that you pay to GSUSA support Girl Scout activity insurance and development of national programs (like badges and Journeys). Increasingly, dues also pay for technology investments, including the troop catalog, new registration system, Volunteer Toolkit and Digital Cookie.

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    FLEXIBLE WAYS TO BELONG

    Across the country, the Girl Scout community is hard at work on a whole new approach to make sure that everyone can participate in Girl Scouting in the ways they want to. As a volunteer, you can choose from flexible ways to participate that can be tailored to fit your schedule and lifestyle. You can also volunteer behind the scenes, in a GSNorCal office, instead of volunteering directly with girls.

    Girls can choose any one, all, or some of the options—camp, events, series, troop, travel— within a single membership year. 

    As a volunteer, you, too, have the option of partnering with girls throughout a membership year or committing to an opportunity for only a few weeks or months. Based on independent research and extensive surveys with thousands of council staff members from around the country, we have a good sense of which options will interest girls, based on their grade levels. These are reflected in this chart:

    Pathwayspathways chart


    Girls of all levels can explore their skills and interests while helping to shape a variety of fun and enriching leadership experiences that inspire them to reach their personal best. No matter where and how girls participate, they get the necessary guidance from adult volunteers and council staff to develop leadership skills and understand how those skills can be used to make a difference in the world.


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    Pathways for Girls in GSNorCal

    Troops
    Girls participate in a series of programs with the same group of girls over the course of an academic year. Girls of all levels can explore their skills and interests while helping to shape a variety of fun and enriching leadership experiences that inspire them to reach their personal best. No matter where and how girls participate, they get the necessary guidance from adult volunteers and council staff to develop leadership skills and understand how those skills can be used to make a difference in the world. Troops provide a flexible way for girls to meet. Some ideas include:

    • Fourteen Girl Scout Brownies who meet twice a month from November through March at a local community center
    • Seven girls who are homeschooled and meet weekly as a Girl Scout Cadette troop
    • Girls who meet together once a week at their juvenile detention center to participate in Girl Scout activities

    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 (“reasonable” has different definitions in different areas: In rural areas, a two-hour drive may be acceptable; in an urban area, a 30-minute subway ride may be too long). In each meeting, girls participate in fun activities that engage them in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE).

    Contact the GSNorCal Member Services Team for more info: Info@gsnorcal.org

    Events
    Girls participate individually or with their troop in one-time events (e.g., career day). Check out the Program and Event Guide www.gsnorcal.org/forms

    Camp
    Girls participate in day or resident camp with a focus on the out-of-doors and/or environmental education. www.CampRocks.org

    Series
    Girls participate in a series of programs with the same group of girls relating to a specific theme or purpose (e.g., high-adventure and travel troops, robotics teams, or after school programs where girls complete a Leadership Journey over a six-week period). Contact  info@gsnorcal.org

    Travel
    Girls plan, earn money, prepare, and participate in regional, national, and international trips! GSNorCal believes that every girl deserves a chance to see the world! Therefore, we host two annual travel adventures each summer (Cadette’s and a separate trip for Senior & Ambassadors). www.gsnorcal.org/en/about-girl-scouts/travel.html

    GSUSA coordinates a national GSUSA Destinations program that provides unique experiences for girls in grades 6-12. Through this program girls can apply for and attend events sponsored by councils throughout the United States that take place all over the country and also internationally. forgirls.girlscouts.org/travel/

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    Pathways for Adults

    Adult volunteers in GSNorCal can serve:

    At the troop level

    • Troop Leader
    • Troop Treasurer
    • Troop Cookie Manager
    • Troop Fall Product Manager
    • Troop Helpers
      • Troop Driver
      • Troop First Aider
      • Troop Trip Advisor
      • Event Manager
      • Troop Camp Advisor
      • Troop Background Advisor

    Or beyond the troop (service unit or council level opportunities)

    • Support troops traveling the world by sharing your love of travel!
    • Work with a group to plan and carry out events for girls in your area
    • Join the Girl Scout Alum (former girl or adult members who serve
      the council in a variety of ways)
    • Be a Campaign For Girls Champion in a local service unit (raise awareness about the benefits of financially supporting our Girl Scout council)
    • Work to coordinate cookie or fall sales in your service unit
    • Manage a Fall Sales or Cookie Cupboard in your service unit
      •  maintain an inventory of products for local volunteers to check out or return products during the sales
    • Work on property improvement or maintenance for our camps
    • Work with our Fund Development Department to explore funding opportunities with your employer, or foundations or other organizations you are affiliated with
    • Volunteer at camp (Day and/or Resident)
    • Provide Girl Scouting for girls in hard-to-serve areas including migrant camps, detention centers, homeless shelters or other areas.
    • Talk to potential new volunteers at a Parent Information Night or
      recruiting event.
    • Training/development of adults, help coordinate volunteer learning courses or mentor new volunteers in your service unit.

    Contact Member Services 800-447-4475 Ext 0 or info@gsnorcal.org

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    SAFETY BASICS

    Girl Scouts is fun, exciting and full of adventure, but it’s difficult to have a good time when you're experiencing bumps and bruises! It's important to keep safety a top priority!

    1. Use the Safety Activity Checkpoints for all of your Girl Scout activities. Safety guidelines in the Safety Activity Checkpoints are designed to keep girls safe and protect adults’ legal interests. You’ll be provided with resources that make it easy to comply with local, state, and federal laws and insurance requirements, and spend more time having fun with your girls! [SAFETY-WISE: Girl Scout Safety Guidelines]

    2. Make sure your girls have proper supervision - always two unrelated adults (sometimes more). Girl Scouts’ adult-to-girl ratios show the minimum number of adults needed to supervise a specific number of girls. (Councils may also establish maximums due to size or cost restrictions.) 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. It may take you a minute to get used to the layout of the chart, but once you start to use it, you’ll find the chart extremely helpful. [SAFETY-WISE: Adult-to-Girl Supervision Ratios]

    3. Be Prepared for emergencies! Make sure everyone in the troop knows how to handle fires, weather, and evacuations. And of course, always have a first aid kit handy. [SAFETY-WISE: Emergency Preparedness]

    4. Feelings get hurt, too, so one of your most important roles is to ensure that your girls feel emotionally safe. This is the place where girls try new things, and they have to do it without fear of how they look while they try, fail, practice, and succeed. Always include everyone – never ever allow cliques, bullying, or discrimination in your troop. Be the role model that encourages openness and acceptance. [GIRLS & ADULTS: Creating A Safe Space for Girls]

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    GET STARTED!

      Online & In Person Learning

      Ready to learn more? GSNorCal provides learning modules to help you every step of the way, and you’ll earn virtual badges when you complete them! Go to: training.gsnorcal.org and select your role. All the learning modules, forms, and resources you need are there just for you!

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        Support

        You probably have more questions – that’s a good thing! The volunteers and staff at GSNorCal will be answering them, and supporting you, throughout all your Girl Scout adventures. Don’t shy away from asking parents for a little time every now and then – making adventure happen is a collaborative effort.

        Finally, use the resources your council will provide for you – you’ll find all the answers you’ll need in there, from how to transport girls to events to contact information. And if you can’t track down what you need, contact us! There’s always someone to help you out! info@gsnorcal.org or 800-447-4475 Ext. 0

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          Get Connected

          Connect with Girl Scouts of the USA:
          www.GirlScouts.org
          www.facebook.com/GirlScoutsUSA
          www.twitter.com/GirlScouts
          www.pinterest.com/GSUSA
          Connect with Girl Scouts of Northern California:
          www.gsnorcal.org
          www.facebook.com/GSNorCal
          www.twitter.com/GSNorCal
          trailhead.girlscoutsnorcal.org
          www.pinterest.com/GSNorCal
          www.youtube.com/GirlScoutsSpeakOut
          www.instagram.com/GSNorCal

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          Resources in Volunteer Essentials

          Adult-to-Girl supervision ratios [SAFETY-WISE: Adult-to-Girl Supervision Ratios]

          Knowing which adults must be registered and screened [VOLUNTEERING: Registration Questions][VOLUNTEERING: Adult Screening]

          What to do with girls [PROGRAM]

          Finding a place to meet [SAFETY-WISE: Meeting Place Considerations]

          Girl characteristics [GIRLS & ADULTS: Understanding Healthy Development in Girls]

          Communicating with girls [GIRLS & ADULTS: Creating A Safe Space for Girls]

          What to do when sensitive topics come up [GIRLS & ADULTS: When Sensitive Topics Come Up]

          How to plan with girls [GIRLS & ADULTS: Letting Girls Lead]

          Preventing behavior problems (and what to do if they occur) [GIRLS & ADULTS: Preventing & Managing Conflict]

          How to form a network of adults to help [GIRLS & ADULTS: Friends & Family Network]

          Agenda for first parent/guardian/caregiver meeting [GIRLS & ADULTS: First Parent/Guardian/Caregiver Meeting]

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          QUICK LINKS TO CHAPTERS: TABLE OF CONTENTS | NAVIGATION | QUICK START GUIDE| ABOUT GSNorCal | VOLUNTEERING | GIRL SCOUT PROGRAM | GIRLS & ADULTS | SAFETY-WISE | MONEY | BIENVENIDO (en Español) | GLOSSARY |

          Quick Links to ABOUT GSNorCal Chapter Topics: Your Council | Office & Retail Locations | Property & Rental Information | Publications | Reporting Concerns | Staff | Governance & Operations |

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          YOUR COUNCIL - GSNorCal

          GSNorCal Map Girl Scouts of Northern California council serves approximately 41,060 girls and 29,000 adult members in 19 counties in Northern California which include: Alameda, Butte, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, and Trinity Counties. Each county is further divided into service units, smaller geographic regions in which our communities participate in Girl Scouting together. GSNorCal is the fourth largest council in the country, and we are viewed as leaders by other councils.

          Volunteers are welcome to visit whichever office, service center, or retail store is most convenient to them. Staff are assigned to work in offices according to the regional area they serve, but staff members in any office are eager to assist you.

          All offices, service centers, and shops are closed on Thursdays. If you need to meet with a staff person on a Thursday, please make an appointment with them.

          Please visit the GSNorCal website for hours for all offices, service centers, and stores: www.gsnorcal.org

          We have 83 local service units to serve our 19 counties. Service units are led by local volunteers who will be able to assist and support you. Contact Member Services to find out which service unit you belong to. 1-800-447-4475 ext. 0 or info@gsnorcal.org

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          OFFICE & RETAIL STORE LOCATIONS

          Visit: www.gsnorcal.org for office and service center hours.
          Field based staff are located throughout Northern California.
          Contact Member Services to find out which Volunteer Development Manager serves your area.
          800-447-4475 Ext 0, or info@gsnorcal.org
          Retail Store Locations www.girlscoutshop.com/NORTHERN-CALIFORNIA-COUNCIL

          (Scroll to the right if entire table doesn't display on your screen)

          Greater Bay Area

          North Central Area

          North Coast Area

          Redwoods Area

          Alameda Office & Store
          1650 Harbor Bay Pkwy
          Suite 100
          Alameda, Ca 94502-3013
          Phone: (510) 562-8470 or
          (800) 447-4475
          Shop: (510) 562-8470
          ext. 7093
          Fax: (510) 633-7925
          Shop@gsnorcal.org

          Chico Office & Store
          50 Landing Circle
          Chico, CA 95973
          Phone: (530) 343-1904 or
          (800) 447-4475
          Shop: (530) 343-1904
          ext. 7097
          Fax: (530) 343-6465
          ShopChico@   

          gsnorcal.org

          Santa Rosa Office & Store
          4825 Old Redwood Hwy
          Santa Rosa, CA 95403
          Phone: (707) 544-5472 or
          (800) 447-4475
          Shop: (707) 544-5472
          ext. 7091
          Fax: (707) 544-5477
          ShopSantaRosa@
          gsnorcal.org

          Eureka Office & Store
          3203 T Street
          Eureka, CA 95503
          Phone: (707) 443-6641 or
          (800) 447-4475
          Shop: (707) 443-6641
          ext. 7099
          Fax: (707) 443-0496
          ShopEureka@
          gsnorcal.org

          San Jose Office & Store
          1310 S. Bascom Avenue
          San Jose, CA 95128-4502
          Phone: (408) 287-4170 or
          (800) 447-4475
          ext. 7096
          Fax: (408) 287-8025
          ShopSanJose@
          gsnorcal.org

          Redding Office & Store
          1670 Market Street
          Suite 248
          Redding, CA 96001
          Phone: (530) 221-6180 or
          (800) 447-4475
          Shop: (530) 221-6180 ext. 7098
          Fax: (530) 221-5340
          ShopRedding@
          gsnorcal.org

          Girl Scout stores offer more than just Girl Scout handbooks and clothing; they offer the latest information about what’s going on in Girl Scouting, from resource materials to membership and council news. With stores in San Jose, Alameda, Santa Rosa, Chico, Eureka, and Redding, it’s easy to get what you need at your local Girl Scout shop! You can also order uniforms, supplies, GSNorCal T-shirts, sweatshirts, patches, pins and more by mail or through our online store.

          Order by Mail, Email, Fax or Phone:
          Girl Scouts of Northern California Council Shop
          1650 Harbor Bay Pkwy Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94502-3013
               Phone: (800) 447-4475 ext. 7090
               FAX: (510) 633-7925
               Email: Shop@gsnorcal.org

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          PROPERTY & RENTAL INFO

          Discover the fun of camping, overnights, or other group activities with your friends! Girl Scout groups can enjoy special and affordable getaways at one of the nineteen council camps and program centers located throughout northern California. At our program centers, spread out to do troop activities, try your hand at preparing a meal for a group or have a fun sleepover. At our camps, experience the adventure of outdoor cooking, sleeping in a cabin or tent, gazing at the stars or learning about nature. Each council site offers something unique, from charming houses and play areas to old growth redwoods and the Pacific coast; from urban walking paths to trails that have sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay!

          Visit camp.gsnorcal.org/rentals for
          a rental directory, more information on rental sites and a link to online reservations.


          Each rental property has a webpage with a summary of facilities, pricing, camp map, links to local attractions and a slide show featuring facilities, trails and landscape.
          Reservations can be made online, by fax or by mail. Reservations cannot be taken over the phone. Mailed and faxed reservations may take two to three weeks to process.   


          Fees are based on a tiered system:

          1. GSNorCal groups
          2. Other non-profit groups (including out-of-council Girl Scouts)

          Questions? reservations@gsnorcal.org or call (800) 447-4475 ext. 2091


          GSNorCal Property Overview

          Program Centers:

          A Girl's Place- Fairfield
          Benicia Scout House*
          Carlton Corners GS House- San Bruno
          Livermore Cabin*
          Lou Henry Hoover Program Center- Palo Alto
          Hayward Cabin*
          Rainbow's End Program Center- San Jose
          Red Bluff Program Center*
          Rohnert Park Scout Hut*
          St. Helena Scout House*
          * Program Centers reserved through local Service Unit or Office

          Camps:
          Arequipa- Fairfax
          Bothin- Fairfax
          Butano- Pescadero
          Hidden Falls- Soquel
          Ida Smith- San Francisco
          Skylark Ranch- Davenport
          Sugar Pine- Dorrington
          Twin Canyon- Lafayette
          Two Sentinels- Kirkwood (not reservable - summer camp use only)

          Offices:
          Alameda
          Chico
          Eureka
          Redding
          San Jose
          Santa Rosa


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          Please visit camp.gsnorcal.org/rentals for detailed information and to reserve a property today!

          Site

          Day Use

          Overnight Use

          Kitchen Use

          Ropes Course

          Hiking Nearby

          Fire Circle

          Showers

          A Girl's Place
          Fairfield, CA

          X

          X

          X

          Arequipa
          Fairfax, CA

          X

          X

          X

          X

          X

          X

          Bothin
          Fairfax, CA

          X

          X

          X

          X

          X

          X

          X

          Butano Creek
          Pescadero, CA

          X

          X

          X

          X

          X

          X

          Hidden Falls
          Soquel, CA

          X

          X

          X

          X

          X

          Ida Smith
          San Francisco, CA

          X

          X

          X

              X       X

          Lou Henry Hoover Scout House
          Palo Alto, CA

          X

          X

          X

          Rainbow's End
          San Jose, CA

          X

          X

          X

              X       X

          Skylark Ranch
          Pescadeo, CA

          X

          X

          X

          X

          X

          X

          X

          Sugar Pine
          Dorrington, CA

          X

          X

          X

          X

          X

          X

          X

          Twin Canyon
          Lafayette, CA

          X

          X

          X

          X

          X

                X

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          Reservation Opening Dates/Process

          Reservation DateOpening DateUser Group Process
          Now - Dec 31, 2019OpenAllOnline and Offline

          Jan 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2020

          Aug 1, 2019Service Unit and Volunteer-Run Camps renting entire siteService Unit Property Reservation Request Online Form

          Jan 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2020

          Sept 1, 2019AllOnline and Offline


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          Archery Course Rentals

          Girls will develop a stronger sense of self by participating in archery of any level, 2nd grade and up. We offer two options for groups to choose from when renting the archery course at Camp Bothin, Skylark Ranch, or Twin Canyon. For both types of archery rentals, participating should be 2nd grade and up. For more information, including fee schedule: Visit camps.gsnorcal.org/rentals or contact registration@gsnorcal.org

          Archery Range Rental Only

          Reservations of the archery range and equipment only. Groups renting "range only" must provide their own certified archery instructor(s). Certification reviewed on site and during reservation process. 

          Instructor-Facilitated Archery

          Trained facilitator introduction to safety and basic archery skills. Participates will learn about the parts of the bow and arrow, proper mechanics, and have opportunity to shoot.

          • Minimum age: 2nd grade
          • Maximum number of partipants: 16 (1 group), 1 group per time slot
          • Cost: $150 per group

          Ropes Course Rentals 

          We offer different options for groups to choose from when renting the ropes course at either Camp Bothin or Skylark Ranch. Unique opportunities are available to build teamwork with your group, develop climbing skills, participate in an individual challenge, and more through this ultimate high adventure activity!

          Dynamic Course: High Elements  Participant is attached to a dynamic rope that passes through a pulley or karabiner above them and is kept tensioned by a belayer or belay team. Participants must be in 4th grade or higher.

          Challenge Course: Low Elements An element for which safety is achieved through safe and effective spotting. Participants must be in 2nd grade or higher.

          Static Course: Participant attaches themselves to various anchor points. This involves the use of a pair of karabiners, attached to the climbers harness with loops of webbing. Participants must be in 4th grade or higher.

          Zip Line: Girls will develop courage and confidence in participants as they climb through the cargo nets and descend the zip line through the trees. Participants must be in 4th grade or higher.

          For more information and fee information: camp.gsnorcal.org/rentals/book-a-facilitator or contact: registration@gsnorcal.org

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          Property Reservation FAQs

          Q. Must I rent an entire site?
          A. Smaller groups can plan their own special trips by renting unit areas within the larger site, and service units and large groups may rent entire campsites for their events. 

          Q. May we exceed the stated capacities for sites?
          A. No. Day use and overnight capacities at each site are based on several factors, including American Camping Association safety standards and may not be exceeded.

          Q. Where can I find out what the rental fees are for properties?
          A. Go to camp.gsnorcal.org/rentals/rent-a-property or email
          registration@gsnorcal.org, or phone (800) 447-4475 ext. 2091

          Q. How can I tell if the site is available for my desired dates?
          A. Go to camp.gsnorcal.org/rentals/rent-a-property, email
          registration@gsnorcal.org, or phone (800) 447-4475 ext. 2091

          Q. How will I know if my reservation has been accepted?
          A. Online reservations are confirmed at the time of reservation. Paper reservations are sent a confirmation within 5 business days if the site is available, or you will be informed that the site is not available for the dates requested.

          Q. How do I reserve a ropes course?
          A. Ropes course information can be found at camp.gsnorcal.org/rentals/book-a-facilitator or you can contact reservations@gsnorcal.org 

          Q. How do I reserve an archery course?

          A. Archery course information can be found at camp.gsnorcal.org/rentals/book-a-facilitator or you can contact registration@gsnorcal.org

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          GSNorCal Publications

          Girl Scouts of Northern California offers a variety of publications to inform girls, adults, volunteers, donors, funders, staff, and community partners of our program events, membership plans, and council business. The following is a listing of council publications:

          • Camp Brochure (camps.gsnorcal.org): This brochure houses all available programs for our resident summer camps - Bothin, Skylark Ranch, and Sugar Pine. The brochure is available online in October and is mailed to returning campers, troop leaders and Girl Scout families. 
          • The Guide (gsnorcal.org/theguide): The Programs & Events Guide is GSNorCal's annual one-stop-shop for the year's council-run programs. The Guide is published every year in mid-to-late August and is mailed to every Girl Scout family and troop leader.
          • The Trailhead (trailhead.gsnorcal.org): GSNorCal's troop leader and volunteer support blog. From quick and easy tips to fun and creative activity ideas, the Trailhead will provide you with exciting new content every Tuesday and Thursday that will help you on your leadership journey.
          • CEO Update: The electronic message from our council CEO, Marina Park, is sent to all registered adults. We publish all previous emails on our website at gsnorcal.org/publications.
          • Volunteer Essentials (ve.gsnorcal.org): This online guide is a great resource for all questions related to Girl Scouting. We call it the encyclopedia to Girl Scout volunteering. The guide is fully digital, searchable and printable.
          • GSNorCal Annual Report (gsnorcal.org/annualreport): Mailed and/or emailed to all donors and available on our council website

          *To subscribe or unsubscribe from GSNorCal electronic mailings   www.gsnorcal.org/subscribe

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          Reporting Concerns

          Volunteers and employees are expected to report serious concerns.  Concerns may include:

          • Suspected fraud or questionable or improper accounting
          • Abuse or misuse of the GSNorCal’s resources or assets
          • Dishonest actions or deeds, including theft
          • Suspected conflict of interest
          • Experienced or awareness of harassment or discrimination of any kind
          • Safety concerns, including child endangerment
          • Violations or suspected violations of the Council’s policies
          • Illegal activity

          If you become aware of any of the above types of serious concerns, please report them to our Member Services Department at info@gsnorcal.org and we will direct them to the correct person for handling. 

          If you want to report anonymously, call our confidential third-party automated telephone service, available 24/7 at TellGirlScoutsNorCal@getintouch.com or 877-767-7781.

          Handling of Concerns All reports received will be treated seriously and investigated to the extent possible to determine the facts and circumstances. GSNorCal will contact the individual within five business days, if possible. It will not be possible to acknowledge receipt of anonymously submitted concerns. Actions taken by the Council will include follow-up with the complainant for complete closure.

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          GSNorCal Staff


          Our GSNorCal staff are extremely dedicated and committed to making Girl Scouting available to all girls in our nineteen counties. Staff provide services to members and perform council support roles.

          Member Services
          For questions and assistance, please contact our Member Services Department. All calls and emails are tracked to ensure a world class level of customer service.

          1 (800) 447-4475 ext. 0

          info@gsnorcal.org

          Much of our staff spends a great deal of time “in the field” away from their email or phones. Each Member Services Specialist has information at their fingertips via an extensive solutions database. In the unlikely event they are not able to answer your question, they will forward your inquiry to a staff person who can. Help is also available in Spanish.

          Our friendly Member Services staff can help you with your needs and questions including:

          • Any questions about Girl Scout Programming
          • Adult background check process or status
          • Online membership registration and renewal
          • Troop Banking
          • The Guide (formerly Program and Event Guide): program event information and registration
          • Camp information and registration
          • Property information and reservations
          • Online and In-person adult learning course information and registration

          Here is an alphabetical listing of other departments within GSNorCal:

          Camp and Adventure: Responsible for the summer council-run and volunteer-run Day and Resident Camps. If your service unit or region is interested in or is running a camp, Camps and Adventures can assist and support you. They are also responsible for the operation of our ropes courses and school-year outdoor experience programming. Visit camp.gsnorcal.org for more information.

          eLearning: Responsible for creating and maintaining e-learning modules for volunteers, including fall and cookie product training. 

          Finance: Responsible for paying the bills and keeping track of our income, as well as managing the reporting process for grant projects.

          Fund Development: Responsible for soliciting grants and individual gifts to support our girl program. If you plan to solicit donations of goods, services, or funds, you should check with our Fund Development Department before doing so. They can assist you with solicitation and/or acknowledgement letters and ensure that donations are tax deductible for your donors. (info@gsnorcal.org)

          Human Resources: Responsible for administering employment processes, including job posting, recruiting, and performance evaluation systems, as well as managing employee on-boarding and benefits. They are also responsible for employee relations programs such as diversity, health and safety and employee policies and procedures. 

          Marketing/Communications (MarComm): Responsible for recruitment of new members, as well as all interaction with print, radio, or television media. They also produce The Trailhead, Volunteer View and other communication pieces. If you’ve been approached by the media, or would like to place articles in your local media, MarComm can help.

          Product Program: Responsible for our two largest girl programs, focused on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. The Product Program Department supports volunteers and girls in achieving their goals through the Fall Product and Cookie programs, both providing exceptional opportunities for girls to develop life skills, such as leadership, teamwork and commitment, along with business skills in marketing, project management and budgeting. 

          Program: Responsible for ensuring that all girls in GSNorCal have the benefit of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). Program staff partner with service units to deliver program opportunities for girls, manage council-run events offered in the Guide, (formerly The Program and Event Guide), oversee girl awards, run girl training courses and in-person adult learning courses, and supply Green by Nature (environmental) and Girls Go Tech (science, technology, engineering, & math) program boxes. Staff also serve girls directly through Discover Together (a program for girls in low-income communities), Got Choices (a program for girls involved with the juvenile justice system), and Daughters of Farm Workers (a program for girls and their families in migrant communities).

          Property: Responsible for maintaining GSNorCal’s nineteen properties (council camps and program centers). If you rent any of our camp properties, you will meet our friendly site managers.

          Retail Stores: Responsible for running our retail stores in the Alameda, Chico, Eureka, Redding, San Jose, and Santa Rosa office locations. They also bring mini-stores to major events in the council. Shop online anytime: www.girlscoutshop.com/NORTHERN-CALIFORNIA-COUNCIL

          Risk Management: Responsible for trip and high adventure approval process, management of the Volunteer Essentials, purchase of additional insurance for members/non-members, management of the high-adventure approved vendor list, signing agreements and contracts, fulfillment of Certificate of Insurance (COI) request, forms creation and editing, and management of the Safety Activity Checkpoints. Contact Insurance@gsnorcal.org for any insurance or policy questions. Contact travel@gsnorcal.org for trip or adventure planning questions.  

          Volunteer Experience: Responsible for supporting members and volunteer recognition. Your local Volunteer Development Manager (VDM) or Membership Manager (MM) can assist with many basic questions or can help you find who can. They support the volunteer teams that provide services to leaders and girls in local areas and attend Service Unit Team and Leader meetings.



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          GOVERNANCE & OPERATIONS


          How are decisions made?


          Two categories of decisions are made in the Girl Scout organization - governance decisions and operational decisions. Both types of decisions are based on the belief that members should have a voice in major decisions that will have an effect on all or a large part of the membership.


           

          Governance


          Big picture decisions and direction

          Operations

          Carrying it out:

          implementing decisions and direction

          Who

          People in governance:

          ·   Board of Directors

          ·   National Delegates

          ·   Service Unit Delegates

          ·    Delegates-at-Large

          ·   Members of the Board Development Committee

          ·   Members of board committees and task groups

          People in operations:

          ·   Leaders and other volunteers working directly with girls

          ·   Service Unit team members and others working with operational adults

          ·   Council staff

          Responsibilities

          People in governance are concerned with:

          ·   Setting policy and long-term direction (strategic goals)

          ·   Establishing priorities

          ·   Ensuring financial and organizational stability

          People in operations are responsible for:

          ·   Day to day management

          ·   Implementation of policy

          ·   Carrying out strategic goals

          ·   Providing feedback to the governance arm on progress and future needs


          Governance

          Governance decisions are broad policy decisions made by the Board of Directors to provide stability within the council and to give direction for the way Girl Scouting is implemented in the council jurisdiction. Governance decisions relate to strategic planning, fund development, fiduciary oversight, selection and evaluation of the Chief Executive Officer, and organizational performance appraisal.

          • Become a delegate adults and girls 14 or overService Unit Delegates
            Service Unit Delegates give input to the Board of strategic priorities, attend our council's annual meeting, vote on amendments to our Council Bylaws and elect the Board of Directors, Board Development Committee and National Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the National Council of GSUSA. Service Unit Delegates are elected by members 14 years or older in the Service Unit they are representing. Both adults and girls, 14 or older, may serve as Service Unit Delegates. Nominations are open each year in October. Visit our Volunteer Learning Portal for information about the Service Unit Delegate position. www.training.gsnorcal.org
          • Delegates-at-Large
            Delegates-at-Large have the same responsibilities as Service Unit Delegates, but they represent constituent groups established by the council that are not Service Units. The Board appoints Delegates-at-Large, who can be adult or girl members. Visit our Volunteer Learning Portal for information about the Delegate-at-Large position.
          • Board of Directors
            The Board of Directors are volunteers who are nominated by the Board Development Committee, a group of volunteers who take great care to make sure that the Board of Directors represent the council geographically and demographically. The Board sets the strategic direction and goals for the council. They are responsible for setting policies, fiduciary oversight, ensuring compliance with GSUSA charter requirements, oversight of the management of the organization and review of the CEO. The Board also supports fund raising efforts and opens doors to resources in the community.

          • National Delegates 
            National Delegates represent the council at the National Council Session and convention held every three years. They gather input and vote on proposals that impact Girl Scouting across the country. They also elect the National Board of Directors and Board Development Committee.

          Operations

          Operational decisions relate to annual planning, budgeting, the selection, placement, and supervision of operational volunteers and staff, the development of systems to ensure the effective delivery of Girl Scout program to all girls within
          the jurisdiction, oversight of fiscal and physical resources, and the implementation of policies and standards established by the Board of Directors.

          Operational decisions are made by the Chief Executive Officer and are concerned with the organization and management of all operational work within the framework of the council’s goals. They are based on governance decisions made by the Board of Directors, as well as reflecting input from volunteers and staff who bring ideas from their experience.

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          QUICK LINKS TO CHAPTERS: TABLE OF CONTENTS | NAVIGATION | QUICK START GUIDE| ABOUT GSNorCal | VOLUNTEERING | GIRL SCOUT PROGRAM | GIRLS & ADULTS | SAFETY-WISE | MONEY | BIENVENIDO (en Español) | GLOSSARY |

          Quick Links to VOLUNTEERING Chapter Topics: Volunteering With Girl Scouts | Becoming A Volunteer | Adult Background Check | Volunteer Management Policies | Learning Opportunities | Support | New Troop Checklist | Volunteer Toolkit | Appreciation |


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          VOLUNTEERING WITH GIRL SCOUTS

          You make the difference - change the world one girl at a time and become a GS volunteerNo matter how you volunteer with Girl Scouts, your investment of time and energy will pay back tenfold! With your help, girls will be able to identify issues they care about and work with one another to resolve them. Your interests and life experiences make you the perfect person to be a new kind of partner for girls, someone who creates a safe environment where they can work together and each girl feels free to work toward her highest aspirations. Have no doubt: You, and nearly one million other volunteers like you, are helping girls make a lasting impact on the world!


          Your Role as a Girl Scout Volunteer

          Your most important role as a Girl Scout volunteer is to be excited about everything this opportunity affords you: a chance to help girls succeed, play a critical role in their lives, and watch them blossom! You also want to be someone who enjoys the activities you’ll be embarking on with the girls—whether you’re leading a troop, volunteering at a camp, working with girls who are traveling, or partnering with girls on a short-term series on a topic that interests you.

          You'll introduce girls to experiences that will change their lives and form life-long memories that will be treasured. In More than S'mores: Success and Surprises in Girl Scouts Outdoor Experiences, the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) has described the role of Adult Volunteers:

          “Because everything girls do outdoors in Girl Scouts must be supported by an adult, these results speak indirectly to adult volunteers and their preparation.  To get girls outdoors more regularly, Girl Scouts need adult volunteers who encourage and promote outdoor experiences. Communicating to volunteers and parents that casual outdoor experiences are effective ways of giving girls opportunities to build competencies and try new things may be the key to opening the gateway for all Girl Scouts to participate in the outdoors on a more regular basis.”

          As a Girl Scout volunteer, you’ll serve as a partner and role model to girls. You’ll also work closely with a co-volunteer, because two adults must be present at all times when working with girls, and at least one of those volunteers must be female and not related to the other adult. This is an important distinction that bears repeating: Men can serve as troop volunteers, but an adult female who is not related to the other volunteer must be present at all times, and only in cases of emergency is a girl to be alone with only one volunteer. Remember to also check the adult-to-girl ratios in the “Safety-Wise” section of this guide.

          volunteer with girl

          Your Responsibilities
          Your other responsibilities as a Girl Scout volunteer include:

          • Accepting the Girl Scout Promise and Law
          • Completing the appropriate learning modules for your role on the Volunteer Learning Portal.
          • Be a currently registered Girl Scout member and ensure the girls you're working with are registered Girl Scout members.
          • Process and complete registration forms and other paperwork, such as permission forms.
          • Complete background checks regularly (every three years, annually if volunteering at a resident camp), and be currently cleared as a volunteer.
          • Understanding the Three Keys to Leadership that are the basis of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience: Discover, Connect, and Take Action
          • Sharing your knowledge, experience, and skills with a positive and flexible approach
          • Working in a partnership with girls so that their activities are girl-led, allow them to learn by doing, and allow for cooperative (group) learning; you’ll also partner with other volunteers and council staff for support and guidance
          • Organizing fun, interactive, girl-led activities that address relevant issues and match girls’ interests and needs
          • Providing guidance and information regarding Girl Scout group meetings with girls’ parents or guardians on a regular and ongoing basis through a variety of tools, including email, phone calls, newsletters, blogs, other forms of social media, and any other method you choose
          • Ensure health and safety of the girls
          • Communicating effectively and delivering clear, organized, and vibrant presentations or information to an individual or the group
          • Overseeing careful record-keeping the funds that girls raise with honesty and integrity
          • Maintaining a close connection to your service unit volunteer support team as well as your council
          • Facilitating a safe experience for every girl

          Above all, though, don't ever try to go it alone! Remember to call on your volunteer support team. This team can help you observe a meeting, assign you a buddy, help with registration forms, assist you with opening a bank account, plan your first meeting, and so on. Also plan to attend service unit leader meetings—usually held several times throughout the year—that provide excellent opportunities to learn from other volunteers. [GIRLS & ADULTS: Friends & Family Network (Adults)]

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          BECOMING A VOLUNTEER

          Volunteering for Girl Scouts will be one of the most satisfying and gratifying things you will ever do. No matter what your role, the place to start is with the five steps below:

           volunteer icon

          Volunteer Interest Form

          Complete the Volunteer Interest Form. Go to www.gsnorcal.org and click on "Volunteer".

           select icon

          Select Your Role and Register as a Member

          Search the Opportunity Catalog and select the opportunity that is right for you. Either enter a specific troop number you’ve been given, or enter your zip code and choose from the offerings near you. Select unsure if you don’t find what you’re looking for or would like additional assistance.


          If you’d like to learn more about different roles, login to our Volunteer Learning Portal at training.gsnorcal.org

          Once you’ve chosen your role, you’ll pay your membership fee, and agree to the Volunteer Management Policies.

           check mark icon

          Background Check

          Enter your required information into the secure system. All information you provide will be treated confidentially. Note that you won't receive information to complete your background screening until you select a volunteer role above.

           play button

          Welcome Video

          Watch the 4 minute welcome video for an introduction and overview about Girl Scouting.

           learning course icon

          Adult Learning Courses

          Click on your role in the Volunteer Learning Portal to take the modules designed just for you. training.gsnorcal.org


          Volunteer Interest Form
          When you complete the Volunteer Interest Form, you will provide your basic contact information.

          Select Your Role
          You will either:

          • Provide the troop number of the troop you wish to join. Once you enter the troop number you've been given, you will choose the role you'd like. The choices you'll have are:
            • Troop Leader
            • Troop Cookie Manager
            • Troop Fall Product Manager
            • Troop Treasurer
            • Troop Helper - choose this one if you will be driving or helping out occasionally by supervising girls, preparing a meeting or two, or chaperoning outings or camping trips, or are unsure exactly what you'll be doing, but know you'll help out with the troop
            • Unsure
          • Search the Opportunity Catalog for the right role for you. You'll be able to specify your zip code and opportunities within certain mileage from you. After completing registration, watch for an email with a link to complete your background check.

          After you specify your role, you'll pay your membership dues to GSUSA and become an adult member.

          Terms & Conditions

          GSNorCal’s terms and conditions inform parent/caregivers and prospective volunteers of GSNorCal’s Volunteer Management Policies and the volunteer’s obligation to self-disclose any fact or circumstance that would call into question being entrusted with the supervision, guidance, and care of young people, as well as inform them that their membership registration is non-refundable and does not guarantee placement.

          Registration Questions

          Who must register?
          mom and girl at computerAll adults who are doing anything with a troop need to register as volunteer members and complete a background check. In Girl Scouts, it’s safety first. Volunteer roles include the following:

          • Troop Leader
          • Troop Cookie Manager
          • Troop Fall Product Sale Manager
          • Troop Treasurer
          • Troop Helpers, Some roles you select can include:
            • Troop Driver
            • Troop Camp Advisor
            • Troop Backpacking Advisor
            • Event Manager
            • Troop first aider
            • Troop Trip Advisor

          Registered adult members are automatically covered with the Girl Scout Activity Accident Insurance for the entire membership year (Plan 1). It is recommended that all adults who will participate in any meeting or activities be registered. If an adult is not a registered member and going to attend an outing then the troop/group must purchase additional insurance for each event where unregistered adults or children (including siblings) are present. Adults not registered or background checked cannot be used in the adult-to-girl ratios for supervision of girls at meetings, events, trips or activities.  

          Can unregistered adults or children (tagalongs) attend meetings or events?
          Yes. If an adult attends a meeting or activity as a visitor (e.g. guest speaker or audience member) and is not providing supervision in the adult-to-girl ratios, they need not be registered. This person would not be covered under Girl Scout insurance, and this should be made clear to them. The same is also true of children (siblings or friends) attending an activity as a non-participating visitor (such as an audience member at a ceremony.) If the child will be included in any activities, additional insurance must be purchased.

          It is the responsibility of the adult volunteer team of any troop/group to ensure that all adults or children who participate in Girl Scout activities (including siblings) are:

          • Registered members so that they will automatically be covered under the Girl Scout Activity Accident Insurance (Plan 1)
            • If a girl's family does not have their own personal insurance, then the troop should purchase (Plan 3P)                                  
          • Or, any unregistered children or adults participating in the meeting or activity are covered by purchasing additional activity insurance (Plan 2).

          Additional insurance is very reasonably priced and can be arranged by sending an online request to the council's Risk Management team: Plan 2 Event and Trip Insurance Enrollment Plan

          Questions regarding additional insurance can be directed to Insurance@gsnorcal.org [Safety-Wise:Girl Scout Activity Insurance]

          Can an unregistered adult attend an overnight event or activity?
          No. All adults attending any overnight event or activity must be registered and complete background check. This includes family camp.

          How often do I need to register?
          Adult volunteers must register each year, or can become a lifetime member. Girl members must also register each year. Registered members are covered by Girl Scout insurance and can serve as Girl Scout volunteers. The membership year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30.

          What if I change my name or contact information?
          Should you begin using a hyphenated last name, change your last name, or change your contact information, it is necessary to notify the council. For name changes, please email info@gsnorcal.org To change your contact information, please log in to your membership community account at www.gsnorcal.org and click on My GS or email info@gsnorcal.org

          What if I don’t have a computer (or smart phone or tablet) and cannot register online?
          If you will need to complete your registration using paper forms, the girl and adult membership forms are found here www.gsnorcal.org/forms (search using ‘membership’) along with the additional form needed for the paper registration process (Troop Registration Summary).

          Adult Background Check 

          Who must be background checked?

          Before any adult (regardless of citizenship status) will volunteer with GSNorCal she or he must complete their adult background check. All adults who are doing anything with a troop need to register as volunteer members and complete a background check. In Girl Scouts, it’s safety first. Volunteer roles include the following:
          · Troop Leader
          · Troop Cookie Manager
          · Troop Fall Product Sale Manager
          · Troop Treasurer
          · Troop Helpers, Some roles you select can include:

          • Troop Driver
          • Troop Camp Advisor
          • Troop Backpacking Advisor
          • Event Manager
          • Troop first aider
          • Troop Trip Advisor

          Possible Outcomes of Adult Background Check Process

          At the time of the adult background check, volunteers will be either:

          • eligible to serve as Girl Scout volunteers,
          • or disqualified from serving in any volunteer position.

          If GSNorCal becomes aware of omissions or inaccurate information on documents or a previous or subsequent arrest or conviction of a crime, depending on the severity of the crime and at the discretion of GSNorCal, clearance will be revoked and a volunteer will be removed from duties until the situation is resolved to the satisfaction of the council.

          Any Girl Scout volunteer who is formally accused of, charged with, or under investigation by authorities for any automatically disqualifying offense (or offenses which might result in disqualification at the discretion of GSNorCal), will not be allowed to volunteer until disposition of the charge. The following procedures will be followed. A volunteer so accused is required to:

          • Suspend all Girl Scout activities and duties until the matter has been resolved.
          • Turn over all monies, materials, and records to a designated representative of the council until the matter is resolved.

          The accused is considered innocent until proven guilty.

          Confidentiality

          GSNorCal has taken great care to ensure that the background screening process is completely secure. Our vendor uses state-of-the-art technology and adheres to the highest standards to ensure that all information is secure.

          Your sensitive personal information is never transmitted to GSNorCal. All information that is received in the volunteer screening process will be treated confidentially. Your clearance status (whether eligible or disqualified) will be shared only with staff or volunteers working directly with the person, only as needed. The reasons for a disqualification will always remain confidential.

          The reports only come to GSNorCal and not to any other agencies or organizations. The information is confidential and cannot be used against you, other than to deny your application to work as a volunteer. Girl Scouts of Northern California will not report any information, including citizenship status, to any government agencies.

          People who are undocumented may be concerned about the screening process. It is not required that our volunteers be citizens, and citizenship/documentation status is not considered in screening our volunteers. We do require all volunteers to complete an adult screening. We believe that all of our girl members deserve the same protection, and an adult screening is required of all of our volunteers.

          How do I complete the background check?
          To generate an email to complete their background check, a member logs in to their own My GS Community (click on the My GS link at the top of the page www.gsnorcal.org) and selects a volunteer role (if unsure, select Troop Helper). Once a member has selected a volunteer role, they will then receive an email from our trusted vendor, Verified Volunteers, with a personal link to submit the electronic background check for Girl Scouts of Northern California. (If you had used the link in your email and too much time had passed, or you navigated away from the Verified Volunteers page, simply click on the link in the email again to ensure that the background check is connected with Girl Scouts of Northern California.) Verified Volunteers will send an email confirming that you have submitted your information when you complete that step (this email is not the same as confirmation of your approval to volunteer). NOTE: If you haven't selected a volunteer role, you won't receive the email from Verified Volunteers. Any adult who completes registration as a "volunteer" will automatically receive an email with screening instructions.

          How much does the adult background check cost?
          The price can vary if your driver's license is out of the state of California, or if you live in certain counties, but starts at $11.50. If the background check fees will cause financial hardship for your family, you can request financial aid. When submitting your background check through our vendor, Verified Volunteers, you may elect to pay some or zero dollars, opting for the council to cover the fees and can process your background check at little or no cost to you.

          Who must complete the adult background check this year?
          All new volunteers and renewing volunteers who completed the electronic background check in 2015-2016 or before are required to complete adult screening this year.

          How often do I need to complete the adult background check?
          Adult background checks must be repeated every three years during renewal (background check for resident camp volunteers must be repeated annually, consistent with American Camp Association requirements).

          What if I completed my background check by fingerprinting?
          There is no fingerprinting option for background check however, volunteers who previously completed their background check by fingerprinting with GSNorCal do not have to complete their background check again if there has been no lapse in membership.

          I’d like to complete my adult background check using fingerprinting.
          The council no longer offers a fingerprinting option for their adult background check, but those who previously completed fingerprinting will not have their background check expire as long as there has been no lapse in membership.

          Who ensures that the background check is completed?
          The troop or group’s adult volunteer team makes sure that adults are properly registered and background checked. You can check the troop tab in your member profile (click on MyGS on www.gsnorcal.org). Many groups ask the adults to register and complete their background check when the girls are registered as members to avoid disappointment (if they try to complete their adult background check just prior to certain activity or trips and cannot complete the process quickly enough).

          The adult volunteer team must also ensure that girls are always supervised by an adequate number of registered and background checked adults (minimum numbers per Adult-to-Girl ratios). [SAFETY-WISE: Adult-to-Girl Ratios]

          Those adults providing supervision should be aware of which other adults are also registered and background checked and providing supervision (and which aren’t). Unscreened adult visitors may never be counted in the minimum adult-to-girl ratios for supervision, nor should they be present without sufficient numbers of registered and background checked adults who are supervising the girls. Adults who are not registered or background checked may not attend overnight activities. 

          I’ve had an adult background check done for another organization. Can I ask that organization to share my results with Girl Scouts of Northern California?
          No. State law prohibits organizations from sharing information with other agencies. However, there are some screening vendors (including our vendor, Verified Volunteers) who can share your screening results with multiple organizations with your authorization. If you believe that your background check might be shared, contact info@gsnorcal.org for further assistance.

          Must all drivers complete adult checks?
          Yes. Drivers are the only adults who are ever alone with girls. Driving records are part of the background check process, and it is important to take steps to ensure the safety of girls.

          We will have an astronomer come to a meeting to talk about constellations. Must that person be registered and background checked?
          No. The minimum number of registered and background checked adults must be present at all times and will provide supervision for the girls while the astronomer is visiting.

          May parents who have not been background checked visit during meetings or attend outings with the troop/group? 
          Adults who have not been background checked may not attend overnight activities, however, but as long as the minimum number of background checked adults will provide supervision for the girls at all times (and are aware of who the other background checked adults providing supervision are), it is acceptable for meetings or day trips to have adults who have not been background checked present as visitors.

          Are there people who cannot attend Girl Scout activities?
          Yes. Anyone who has been convicted of a violent crime or crimes against persons, including registered sex offenders, may not attend Girl Scout activities where girls are present.

          Welcome Video

          When your registration and adult screening is complete, you will receive a link to the four minute video. Or watch it now:

          Adult Learning Courses

          There are required and/or optional learning courses available for nearly every role you might take in Girl Scouting, many online. Be sure to take the courses that are required for your role. If you want to learn more, there are many optional courses with all the information you need or want.

          Learn more about the available adult learning and support at GSNorCal. [VOLUNTEERING WITH GIRL SCOUTS: Adult Learning and Support]

          Take adult learning courses: training.gsnorcal.org

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          VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT POLICIES

          Girl Scouts of Northern California is governed by the policies of Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) as stated in the Blue Book of Basic Documents 2018 edition and the Volunteer Management Policies stated below. The goal of the Girl Scouts of Northern California is to provide beneficial and safe program for girls. The Girl Scouts of Northern California Board of Directors has adopted the following as policy:

          Safety
          Volunteers and participants in the Girl Scout program should familiarize themselves with Volunteer Essentials and the Safety Activity Checkpoints, which outline the guidelines and checkpoints for maintaining a safe environment in which to conduct Girl Scout activities. All activities should be conducted following the Safety Activity Checkpoints and the guidelines listed in the Girl Scouts of Northern California Volunteer Essentials, or following state or federal laws, whichever is most stringent. Where no specific activity checkpoints or laws are stated, the guidelines of Girl Scouts of the USA and the policies and procedures of Girl Scouts of Northern California are recognized as the authority on the specific activity as an acceptable practice.

          Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action
          Girl Scouts of Northern California seeks to offer volunteer opportunities to all adults, age 18 and up, regardless of race, color, creed, gender, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, veteran status, citizenship, pregnancy, childbirth or other related medical condition, marital status or any other classification protected by federal, state or local laws or ordinances. Adult volunteers are selected on the basis of ability to perform the volunteer tasks, willingness and availability to participate in training for the position and acceptance of the principles and beliefs of Girl Scouting. All girls and adults who meet the membership requirements will not be denied access to the program. Annually we review our Affirmative Action Program to monitor progress toward our council goal. Girl Scouts of Northern California is committed to the Affirmative Action policies of GSUSA and our local Affirmative Action Policy as set forth in this paragraph. The council will endeavor, through targeted recruitment efforts, to enroll and train adult volunteers of culturally, racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds. The council is committed to assuring equal opportunity and equal consideration to all applicants. In most cases, a written agreement will be completed at the time of appointment, which will include a term of appointment, specific expectations for tasks, and signatures of the volunteer and her/his supervisor.

          Girl Scout volunteers who are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS are treated no differently than those with any other catastrophic illness. They are subject to Girl Scout volunteer policies and practices in the same manner as other volunteers.

          For purposes of transgender volunteers, the Volunteer Essentials and the Safety Activity Checkpoints apply based on the volunteer’s most consistent gender expression.  If an adult does not identify as female, the same rules will apply to that volunteer as apply to male volunteers.

          Male volunteers are welcomed to the organization to serve in accordance with standards established in the Volunteer Essentials and the Safety Activity Checkpoints. Girl Scouts of Northern California believes that female role models are especially important to girls as they develop the decision making and planning abilities they will need as women. Therefore, when men serve in troop/group leadership roles, they do so as assistant leaders or co-leaders with female leaders.

          Girl Scouts values diversity and inclusiveness, and our staff and volunteers are representative of our diverse communities. Girl Scout membership does not discriminate on any basis; including sexual orientation and gender identity. There are established standards that do not permit adults to advocate or promote a personal lifestyle or sexual orientation, nor do we recruit accordingly. Adults working with girls must adhere to our firm standards relating to appropriate conduct, and we comply with all federal and state human resource regulations.

          With guidance from volunteers and their parents, girls themselves are expected to respect the values and beliefs of other girls and refrain from advocating or promoting a personal lifestyle or sexual orientation. We believe that sexual orientation is a private matter for girls and their families to address together. In relation to gender identity, if a child identifies as a girl and the child's family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Northern California welcomes her as a Girl Scout. GSNorCal will work with the family to get the child involved in Girl Scouts and will provide training and support, as necessary, to our staff and volunteers to ensure the child’s Girl Scout experience is a positive one.

          Inclusion and Accommodation
          Girl Scouts is inclusive. We support troop leaders to accommodate girls of all abilities and support each girl to make the most of her Girl Scout experience. We work with troop leaders to identify reasonable accommodations that can be made to meet the needs of each girl. We also understand that each troop leader’s ability to provide such reasonable accommodations may vary given all of the circumstances of their troop.

          It is always our preference to find ways to support the troop leader, while accommodating the girl. Occasionally, a troop leader determines that they are not able to meet the needs of one or more girls in their troop. A troop leader in this situation should contact their service unit Leader Support Manager, or other designated service unit volunteer, for guidance and support.

          If the troop leader and LSM are not able to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of all parties involved, then the troop leader and/or LSM should involve GSNorCal staff to resolve the matter in accordance with the GSNorCal Grievance Process included below.

          A member of the GSNorCal staff will evaluate the circumstances and provide resources and support to help resolve the issues. If GSNorCal staff determines that the troop leader’s concerns are reasonable given all of the circumstances of the troop, then GSNorCal staff will support removal of the girl from the troop and will work with the girl and her family to locate an alternate troop and/or other reasonable accommodations. If an alternate troop placement or other reasonable accommodations are not possible, then GSNorCal will issue a refund of membership dues and council service fee paid for that membership year unless the girl chooses to continue to participate as an individual member.

          Harassment
          All girl members, volunteers and employees in Girl Scouts of Northern California are entitled to work in an environment free of harassment in all forms including sexual, verbal, and physical harassment. Girl Scouts of Northern California maintains a strict policy prohibiting harassment of all forms. Council policy and equal opportunity law prohibit harassment on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, veteran status, citizenship, pregnancy, childbirth or other related medical condition, marital status or any other classification protected by federal, state or local laws or ordinances.

          Adult Background Checks
          A background check process for volunteers has been established for the safety of our girl members and the protection of our adult members. All volunteers must complete the background check process as established by the council for the specific role they will assume or have assumed.

          Before any adult will work directly with/supervise girls (or drive them), work with money or be responsible for products, work with girls’ or other adults’ personal information, or attend an overnight activity (including family camp or a parent/daughter event), she or he must complete the volunteer background check process as outlined by GSNorCal, including completion of a background check.  The adult’s clearance status will be shared with staff or volunteers only as needed.  The reasons for a disqualification will always remain confidential. 

          Any Girl Scout volunteer who is formally accused of, charged with, or under investigation by authorities for any automatically disqualifying offense (or offenses which might result in disqualification at the discretion of GSNorCal), will not be allowed to volunteer until disposition of the charge. The following procedures will be followed. A volunteer so accused is required to:

          • Suspend all Girl Scout activities and duties until the matter has been resolved.
          • Turn over all monies, materials, and records to a designated representative of the council until the matter is resolved.

          The accused is considered innocent until proven guilty.

          Volunteer Conduct
          Standards outlining acceptable conduct of volunteers are important for the orderly operation of any organization and for the benefit and protection of the rights and safety of all the members. Volunteers are expected to abide by the Girl Scout Promise and Law and all policies, standards and practices established by Girl Scouts of Northern California and GSUSA. Inappropriate conduct may result in revoking volunteer status. Some examples of unacceptable conduct are identified below:

          • Possession of alcohol or any controlled substance at a Girl Scout event where girls are present, or while on Girl Scouts of Northern California premises (unless at an adult event) or participation in Girl Scout activities under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance, unless as prescribed by a personal physician.  Alcohol must not be consumed by adults for the entirety of the event or activity when they are responsible for the supervision of girls as part of the adult-to-girl ratio. 
          • Smoking in areas designated as non-smoking areas or any place girl members are present.
          • Bringing dangerous or unauthorized materials such as explosives, firearms and other similar items onto council properties or to Girl Scout activities unless such items are part of the program and are under strict supervision and control.
          • Failure to comply with California State Law requiring the driver and each passenger to be restrained by a separate safety belt when a passenger car, truck or van is being used.
          • Failure to comply with California State Law regarding the use of car seats for children, and the use of cell phones or other electronic devices without a hands-free device while driving.  Children must be in a belt-positioning booster seat until they are at least 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall.
          • Failure to comply with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines which prohibit children under 12 years of age from riding in the front seat of a car equipped with air bags.
          • Falsifying or making material omissions in Council records.
          • Misappropriation of any Girl Scout funds.
          • Theft or inappropriate removal of property that belongs to or is in the possession of Girl Scouts of Northern California, council employees, girl members or visitors, and/or malicious or willful destruction or damage to such.
          • Soliciting or accepting gratuities for personal gain or benefit.
          • Violation of federal, state, or local laws.
          • Girl Scouts of Northern California reserves the right to release any volunteer from service if, in the sole discretion of the Girl Scouts of Northern California, the volunteer’s actions are inconsistent with Girl Scout policies, principles, or procedures.
          • Adult volunteers are responsible for informing parents and others participating in Girl Scout activities of the standards of acceptable conduct.

          Grievance Process

          A grievance is a complaint regarding the application of policies and procedures. The grievance process is set up for handling these complaints in an orderly and fair manner. All council adults should seek resolution to problems through open communications and informal discussions.

          If a volunteer has a concern or conflict, they should take it to the person involved first and negotiate for a mutually beneficial resolution.

          If informal communications fail, the people involved should meet with their volunteer supervisor. The parties should try to resolve the conflict and specify the specific steps necessary.

          If this does not solve the problem, the appropriate staff member should be contacted to provide assistance. (If the staff member is involved in the problem, that person’s supervisor should be contacted.)

          If the volunteer still feels that the situation is not adequately resolved, the issue may be taken to the Chief Officer for the department involved who will make a final decision on the conflict and see that the decision is implemented. All decisions should be documented, and each party should sign the agreement and keep a copy.

          Child Abuse Reporting

          Girl Scout volunteers have a moral responsibility to report known or suspected cases of child abuse to Child Protective Services. If a volunteer is told or suspects that a child has been abused, she/he may report this information to the council staff member assigned to her/his area for assistance with the report to Child Protective Services. Staff are mandated reporters and must ensure that a report is filed.

          California law defines an abused child as one who is any one or more of the following:

          • Physically abused
          • Sexually molested
          • Emotionally neglected or abused
          • Under constant verbal attack or torment
          • Without proper food, clothing, or shelter
          • Left alone for long periods of time
          • Volunteer suspected accused of abusing children

          In the event that a Girl Scout volunteer is formally accused of, charged with, or under investigation by authorities for the crime of child abuse, the following procedures will be followed.

          A volunteer so accused is required to:

          • Suspend all Girl Scout activities and duties until the matter has been resolved.
          • Turn over all monies, materials, and records to a designated representative of the council until the matter is resolved.

          The accused is considered innocent until proven guilty.

          Registered Sex Offenders,
          Those Living in Households with Registered Sex Offenders

          Registered sex offenders are expressly prohibited from serving as Girl Scout volunteers in any capacity.  Those living in households with registered sex offenders are expressly prohibited from serving as Girl Scout volunteers in any capacity where they work directly with, drive, or supervise girls.

          Adult Education/Training
          All volunteers with primary responsibility for working with girls must be adequately prepared for the position they will assume or have assumed in accordance with guidelines established by the council. Basic courses that are designated as mandatory for the position must be completed within a specified time frame. Adult courses will ensure that each volunteer has the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in her or his work.

          Drivers
          Drivers for Girl Scout activities where the transportation is arranged by Girl Scout volunteers or staff, must be at least 21 years of age, have a valid driver’s license, carry the minimum insurance required by law and have completed background check procedures for drivers established by the council.

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          VOLUNTEER LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

          URL for Volunteer Learning Portal 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!

          There is a specific learning path for each volunteer role, which may consist of a combination of online and/or in-person courses designed to acquaint you with Girl Scouting basics, provide resources for you to be more effective in your role, and help you feel prepared.

          GSNorCal’s Volunteer Learning Portal is designed to give you the information you need just when you need it! Many of the online courses are fewer than 10 minutes long. You can learn at a time and pace that is convenient for you, resume where you left off, and your progress and completions will be tracked for your records. Our in-person courses vary from 2 hours or can be a whole weekend.

          Find the course for your volunteer role

          There is a course for most volunteer roles here: training.gsnorcal.org  Your course page will take the guesswork out of which courses/modules are required or recommended for you, along with links for needed forms and helpful publications and resources. Most of the modules are very short and specifically address particular topics, such as "Opening Your Bank Account," which will answer all of your questions about how to open a bank account for your troop/group, or "Getting Adults to Help," which will help you understand what kind of help you need and some tried and true techniques on how to get it. As you complete each course/module, you’ll receive a virtual badge as proof of completion. If you have already completed a step and received a badge (for example, you are a Brownie leader and you already took Welcome to GSNorCal as a Daisy Leader) you don’t need to re-take the course.

          Badges Aren't Just for Girls Anymore!

          examples of learning portal badgesWhen you’ve completed all of the required modules in a course, you’ll receive a virtual course badge. If you need to show someone which modules and courses you’ve completed as well as the badges you’ve earned, click on your name in the top right hand corner, then select "View profile," and then you can take a screenshot and print it out or email it.

          Multiple Roles

          If you have more than one role, that’s terrific! There will be a course page for each of your roles. For example, you may be a troop leader and also have a position on your Service Unit Team as a Service Unit Treasurer. You might also be a Regional Delegate. If that’s the case, you’ll follow the steps on each course page for each of your roles. You don’t have to do the steps twice, though—once is enough! If you’ve already taken Troop Treasurer in your capacity as a leader, you don’t need to take it again because you are a Service Unit Treasurer.

          Your Course Completions

          If you want to see your course completions, you can view all your virtual badges you’ve earned. Click on your name in the top right hand corner, then select "View profile."  You will then be able to see the courses you are enrolled in, and all the badges you have earned. If you click on each badge, you will also see your completion date. 

          Get Help More Easily!

          One of the things that some leaders struggle with is getting help from the parents in the troop/group. One of the best ways to get people to help is to be very specific about exactly what is expected, and give people the tools and resources they need to do what you’ve asked.

          Once you’ve recruited someone for a certain role, you can simply give the volunteer the link to the Volunteer Learning Portal (training.gsnorcal.org) and have them select their role. They will have all the tools they need, and will be able to take modules or courses to support them, rather than you having to take all the courses yourself and then to have to train another volunteer about what they need to know.

          There are specific courses for most of the roles you’ll need, and more are coming soon! If you’d rather take the time to train your volunteers yourself, you can still do that. For example, you might feel it would be easier to let the drivers for a field trip know what their responsibilities are, but you don’t have to—you can simply refer them to the Troop Driver course page in the Volunteer Learning Portal, where they will take a couple of short modules and will learn all they need to know.

          Registration for In-Person Volunteer Learning Courses

          You must register at least one week in advance for in-person training courses. All course registrations close one week before the course. Our volunteer facilitator/trainers plan and bring materials based on the number of registered participants. Also, only registered participants are notified of occasional cancellations or last minute changes in location.

          Use one of the three methods below to register for your in-person classes. Note that first aid and camping courses have fees required. Volunteers may consider using troop/group funds to take needed courses if the girls and families agree.

          Please note that we do not accept registrations for classes over the phone.

          Online Registration
          (preferred method—fastest and most secure)

          www.gsnorcal.org/events

          Or, search available in-person course offerings in our Volunteer Learning Portal (training.gsnorcal.org). When you find the date and time that works best for you, just click on the link to register.

          Mail

          Mail registration form and any payments to:

          Member Services —Adult Learning Registration
          Girl Scouts of Northern California
          1310 S. Bascom Ave.
          San Jose, CA 95128-4502

          Fax

          To fax registration form: (408) 287-8025

          Do not fax your credit card number—please call (800) 447-4475 ext. 2091 to give it verbally after you fax your form).

          You will receive a course confirmation email about one week before your course. If you do not receive confirmation (check your junk or spam email folder!), please contact: registration@gsnorcal.org.

          What to Bring

          • Check the course description or your course confirmation
          • Water or other beverage (optional).
          • Feel free to bring a snack or light meal if the course occurs at your meal time.

          Course Completion

          When you attend an in-person course, completion is given by the instructor. The instructor will let us know who has completed the course. We will then import the course completion to our Volunteer Learning Portal so you can receive course completion credit and your virtual badge. Sometimes this process may take up to 3 weeks.

          Learning Events

          Register for Fall Festival or Discoveree, our enhancement learning opportunities where numerous workshops are offered!

          www.gsnorcal.org/events

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          VOLUNTEER SUPPORT

          GSNorCal Events
          GSNorCal provides hundreds of events throughout Northern California each year, many of which contain an Adult Training Component. Take a look through GSNorCal's Program and Events Guide to discover endless opportunities for fun, learning, and adventure. We have something for everyone; troops, individual girls, and yes, adults too!  www.gsnorcal.org/forms

          Participate in a series, a one-time event, or explore our travel opportunities. For info visit the Activity Finder on our website: www.gsnorcal.org/events

          All you need to do is share the guide with your girls and find something that fits your calendar and your budget. Simply register online, and show up for an excellent program opportunity! So easy!

          Program Boxes

          Go to www.gsnorcal.org/en/about-girl-scouts/stem/tech-and-eco-questions.html for a list of Green By Nature and Girls Go Tech boxes and to reserve boxes for your troop and pick them up at your local Girl Scout office. Inside you’ll find everything you need--instructions and supplies--for some unique and fun program experiences for girls. For more information, contact registration@gsnorcal.org

          Volunteer Toolkit

          The Volunteer Toolkit has some great tools to manage your troop and communicate with the families. Also, for grades K-5, there are detailed meeting plans and materials available. [VOLUNTEERING: Volunteer Toolkit]

          Other Support

          volunteers in a circleIn addition to the online and in-person courses and learning events, GSNorCal also offers the following support for volunteers:

          • Service Unit Team: Experienced volunteers in your local service unit who provide coaching, support and ideas.
          • GSNorCal Staff: Member Services and Volunteer Development Managers (VDMs) are available to help you. 800-447-4475 Ext 0 info@gsnorcal.org
          • Social Media & Weekly News: The Weekly News electronic newsletter contains many reminders and ongoing clarification on procedures as well as program ideas. www.gsnorcal.org/subscribe
          • Electronic Resources: The GSNorCal website has specific publications, tools, templates, ideas, and other resources designed specifically for each volunteer role. www.gsnorcal.org/forms
          • Local Service Unit Meetings: Taking part in ongoing training and attending service unit meetings are basic responsibilities of a Girl Scout Leader or Advisor. Service unit meetings throughout the council offer ongoing mini-courses, and are considered an important part of a volunteers’ development. You’ll also have networking opportunities which will put you in touch with many experienced volunteers who are eager to give you ideas, advice, help and support, and a chance to discuss timely topics that will help you become more effective in the way you work with your girls. Contact 800-447-4475 Ext. 0 info@gsnorcal.org to connect with your service unit.

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          New Troop Leader Checklist


              

          1. Grab your calendar and talk to your interested parents


          You'll need to decide on:

          • Meeting location, zip code and city
          • Meeting frequency, day and start time
          • Meeting start date (when you plan to start holding meetings)
          • Grade(s) of girls you wish to include
          computer and smart phone illustrations

          2. Set up your new troop

          • Fill out the Troop Number Request Form, one submission per troop: https://fs19.formsite.com/girlscoutsnorcal/form130/index.html

          • Register to be a volunteer; once we have your troop number request, you will receive an email with a personal link and instructions to completing your membership registration.

          • Once registered, check your email for your background check invitation with screening link, as it expires in 72 hours (check Spam folder if you don’t get a link within 24 hours of registration).

          • You will receive an email with your background screening approval and new troop number assignment


          puzzle pieces

          3. Build your new troop

          Girl Scout briefcase

          4. Get ready for your first troop meeting


          5. Stay in touch


          A troop is ready to meet with girls when it has one or more troop leaders and the correct member-volunteer/girl ratio for its program level. [SAFETY WISE: Adult-to-Girl-Ratios]

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          VOLUNTEER TOOLKIT


          GSUSA and GSNorCal have launched The Girl Scout Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) which is a comprehensive digital tool accessible on your computer, smartphone and/or tablet that is the primary support resource for troop leaders. This means that we have a new resource with a transformative purpose: to save our volunteers precious time and frustration so you can spend less time navigating our many available resources as you plan, organize, and manage your troop year with the girls and more time doing the things that you imagined when you volunteered: changing girls’ lives through amazing experiences!


          My Troop—Troop Information

          Manage roster and contact information for girls and parents/caregivers

          Renew now button will not show if member is registered

          My Troop Tab

          Year Plan Library

          Different year plans are given. All year plans start with the same first two meetings. The first introduces girls to Girl Scouting, and the second helps them to choose their year plan.

          Year Plan Library

          Year Plan—Troop Year Overview and Plans

          Full year view for meetings and activities

          Add/update activities and events

          Move/Add Meetings during the year

          Specify meeting dates, times and locations

          Year Plan Tab
          Meeting Plan—Detailed Plans for Meetings

          Review Activity Details—activities with steps, materials, time required

          Meeting Aids—Downloads and videos

          Manage Agenda—change duration,
           delete or add your own activities

          Download or print materials list, meeting overview, activity plans

          Meeting Plan Tab

          Resources

          Lots of resources to download and print

          Resources Tab

          For Parents: My Troop

          Parent can renew self and/or daughter, change contact info

          Parent View: My Troop Tab

          For Parents: Year Plan

          Parent can see dates, times and locations for meetings

          Parent can see planned activities (and can know what to sign up for)

          Special reminders for parents, such as renewal information

          Parent View Year Plan

          For Parents: Meeting Plans

          Parent can see agenda of activities

          Parent can download meeting aids (helpful to make up meeting if girl is absent)

          Parent can be prepared to help at the meeting

          Parent View Meeting Plan

          For Parents: Resources

          Parents can see and download all resources available to the troop leaders

          Parent View: Resources




          How do I access the Volunteer Toolkit? Click on the My GS tab on the GSNorCal website GSNorCal.org and enter your member login credentials.

          Will there be training on how to use the Volunteer Toolkit? The toolkit is designed to be intuitive and require no formal training, however, video tutorials are available in the Volunteer Learning Portal for Daisy, Brownie and Junior troop leaders.

          Will all troop leadership have access to the toolkit? All leaders have access to the fantastic administrative tools. K-5 leaders have prepopulated meetings plans, with more added all the time.

          Why aren’t there meeting plans for older girl troops? In order to use our resources wisely, we had to narrow our focus to a starting point. Stay tuned!

          What if I don’t have internet access at my meeting place? You can easily download the materials to a laptop or print them to take to your meeting. Also, the VTK can be accessed on a tablet or smart phone, which may expand where it can be used.

          What about volunteers who don’t have internet access at home? The toolkit can be accessed from any computer or device. Libraries or other public computers are a great resource. Meeting plans can be printed or downloaded.

          Why has Girl Scouting decided to go digital? VTK is designed to help cut down the amount of time it takes for a volunteer to manage their troop including planning meetings (in partnership with the girls), communicating with parents, and finding support resources. Now volunteers can easily find resources, access the website, and communicate with parents all in one spot.

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          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. We’re calling on all members of society to help girls reach their full potential, and you’ve answered that call. So thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

          volunteers have the heartJust as you’ll receive support throughout your volunteering experience, when you reach the end of the term you signed up for, you’ll talk with your support team about the positive parts of your experience, as well as the challenges you faced, and discuss whether you want to return to this position or try something new. The end of your troop year, camp season, overseas trip, or series/event session is just the beginning of your next adventure with Girl Scouting!

          If you’re ready for more opportunities to work with girls, be sure to let the GSNorCal support team know how you’d like to be a part of girls’ lives in the future—whether in the same position or in other, flexible ways. Are you ready to organize a series or event? take a trip? work with girls at camp? work with a troop of girls as a year-long volunteer? share your skills at a council office, working behind the scenes? The possibilities are endless, and can be tailored to fit your skills and interests.

          Adult Recognition in GSNorCal

          adult recognitionVisit the council website at www.gsnorcal.org/en/for-volunteers/recognition-and-awards.html or visit the GSNorCal Recognition Pinterest Board for ideas on how to recognize your volunteers, find the nomination forms for national, council, or service unit awards for adults, and more info. Do you have a special volunteer who deserves recognition? Download the National and Council Adult Recognitions Packet or the Service Unit Adult Recognitions Packet from the council website: www.gsnorcal.org/forms

            Volunteer Appreciation Month

            Volunteer Appreciation Month - The month of April is set aside especially for you. Girl Scouts pay tribute to the volunteers who help girls make the world a better place.

            The month centers on the long-standing National Girl Scout Leaders' Day (April 22). In addition, Girl Scouts also celebrates Volunteers Make a Difference Week, in conjunction with Make a Difference Day, which takes place during the weekend in autumn that we set our clocks back.

            Recognizing the Volunteers Who Help You

            See [GIRLS & ADULTS: Friends & Family Network (Adults): Asking for Help - Best Practices] and our website www.gsnorcal.org/en/for-volunteers/recognition-and-awards.html for some ideas to recognize the people who help you.

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            QUICK LINKS TO CHAPTERS: TABLE OF CONTENTS | NAVIGATION | QUICK START GUIDE| ABOUT GSNorCal | VOLUNTEERING | GIRL SCOUT PROGRAM | GIRLS & ADULTS | SAFETY-WISE | MONEY | BIENVENIDO (en Español) | GLOSSARY |

            Quick Links to GIRL SCOUT PROGRAM Chapter Topics: The Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) | Five Benefits for Girls | Take Action Projects | Advocacy Projects | Program Content Areas | National Program Resources | National Leadership Journeys | Girl's Guide to Badges and Skill Building | Girl Scout Bronze, Silver & Gold Awards | Other National Awards | Emblems, Insignia, & Patches | Other Program Resources | What Girls Do in Girl Scouting | Outdoor Experiences | Camps: Day & Resident | Product Program | Trips & Travel | Girl Scout Traditions, Celebrations & Ceremonies | Girl Scout Heritage |

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             GIRL SCOUT PROGRAM

            Now that you’re a Girl Scout volunteer, you belong to a network of more than 1 million adults who share an important commitment: preparing girls to lead successful lives. During your time as a volunteer, you’ll have fun, meet new people, and learn by doing alongside girls at every step.

            90% of parents say their daughter is more confident through GS 95% GS have more friends 95% volunteers make girls' lives better

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            What Girl Scouting Does for Girls

            At Girl Scouts, guided by supportive adults and peers, girls develop their leadership potential through age-appropriate activities that enable them to discover their values, skills, and the world around them; connect with others in a multicultural environment; and take action to make a difference in their world. These activities are designed to be girl led, cooperative, and hands-on—processes that create high-quality experiences conducive to learning.

            Girl Scouts’ mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Since 1912, girls have explored new fields of knowledge, learned valuable skills, and developed strong core values through Girl Scouts. Today Girl Scouts is, as it always has been, the organization best positioned to help girls develop important leadership skills they need to become successful adults.

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

            Girl Scouting has a practical approach to helping girls become leaders:

            • When girls lead in their own lives, they Discover their values and the confidence to do what’s right. This helps girls act in ways that make us proud, no matter where they are.
            • When girls lead in their communities, they Connect as they learn how to work with other people. This helps them get along better with others, resolve conflicts, and do better on group projects at school.
            • When girls lead in the world, they Take Action to change the world for the better. Starting as young Girl Scouts, girls learn how to see problems—such as a food pantry in need of donations or an elderly neighbor who could use a hand—and come up with a solution.

            In other words: Discover + Connect + Take Action = Leadership. And everything you do with girls in Girl Scouting is aimed at giving them the benefits of these Three Keys to Leadership.


            infographic - benefits of Girl Scouting

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            THE GIRL SCOUT LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE (GSLE)

            The Girl Scout program—what girls do in Girl Scouting and how they do it—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 isn’t just about what the girls do; it’s also about how they do it. Over time, we’ve noticed that girls will give almost any activity a try, as long as the adults guiding them take the right approach. Girl Scout activities ask adult volunteers to engage girls in three ways that make Girl Scouting unique from school and other extracurricular activities.

            What Girls Do, and How They Do It

            The three leadership keys describe What Girls Do

            The Girl Scout Processes describe How They Do It

            Discover
            Girls explore many different topics but don’t just learn about them, they also discover their own value towards complex challenges in the world as they discover many different points of view around a topic. They then begin to wonder how they can make a difference. 
            Girl-led
            Girls of every grade level take an active role in determining what, where, when, why, and how they’ll structure activities. Of course, you’ll provide guidance appropriate to the age of the girls. Plus, you’ll encourage them to bring their ideas and imaginations into the experiences, make choices, and lead the way as much as they can.
            Connect
            These activities are based on two things. First, the process of cooperative learning in which  girls can understand other’s point of view and how that affects the community they live in as well as solutions to complex challenges. They also learn about different solutions by working with a team of girls to explore how to best use their individual interest and talents to work together.
            Cooperative learning
            Girls learn so much about themselves and each other when they team up on common goals. Plus, great teamwork helps girls in school now and on the job later. Look for ways to help each girl contribute her unique talents and ideas to the team, help all girls see how their differences are valuable to the team, and coach girls to resolve their conflicts productively.
            Take Action
            These activities help girls to make meaningful change in their community—the best possible way to build their sense of empowerment and independence.  Take Action activities are not just actively doing something like going to a children’s museum, but give them the opportunity to create lasting impact together and individually.
            Learning by doing
            This means that girls have active, hands-on experiences. It also means they have a chance to think and talk about what they are learning as a result of the activities. This kind of reflection is what helps girls gain self-awareness and confidence to dive into new challenges. So make sure girls always have a chance to talk with each other—and you—after an activity. It doesn’t have to be formal, just get them talking and see what happens.


            The Girl Scout program is designed to help girls build the skills they need to lead and thrive today and be ready for tomorrow. They do so through engaging, hands on activities that foster an environment for girls to build lasting friendships and have fun. Guided by supportive adults and peers, girls develop their leadership potential through activities that enable them to 

            • Discover their values, skills, and the world around them;
            • Connect with others in a multicultural environment; and
            • Take Action to make a difference in their world.

            Girls will thrive in this exploration when it is girl led, allowing them a place to try on their own leadership, take risks safely as they learn by doing independently and as a team. Through cooperative learning girls will learn
            how to work together, learn differently from each other and help each other through the stages of project planning and execution.

            You might be wondering how to put these processes into action with the girls in your group. These steps should help you get started:

            1. After you help girls choose a National Leadership Journey [PROGRAM: National Leadership Journeys], make sure you get the adult guide that accompanies the Journey. As you read through that guide, look at how the activities, conversations, and choice-making options are set up using the three processes. Once you start practicing the processes, you’ll probably find that they become second nature when you’re with girls.
            2. If you haven’t already, watch the Welcome Video. (You should receive a link to the video by email when you register).
            3. Want more detail about the processes? Watch Having Fun with Purpose to see the processes in action.

            One last tip about using the processes: The girls’ time in Girl Scouting isn’t a to-do list, so please don’t ever feel that checking activities off a list or completing badge requirements is more important than tuning in to what interests and excites girls and sparks their imaginations. Projects don’t have to come out perfectly, and girls don’t have to fill their vests and sashes with badges: what matters most is the fun and learning that happens as girls make experiences their own.

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            Five Benefits for Girls

            When girls participate in Girl Scouts, they develop five important outcomes:

            GSLE Model with outcomes




            5 Ways Girl Scouts Builds Girl Leaders

            When girls participate in Girl Scouts, they benefit in 5 important ways:


            icon strong sense of self

            1. Strong Sense of Self

            Girls have confidence in themselves and their abilities, and form positive identities.

            Confidence:

            1. Girls like me can be leaders.
            2. Girls like me can do important things.
            3. Girls like me can be good at many different things.

            Positive Identity:

            1. I am happy with myself most of the time.
            2. I really like the way I look.
            3. I am glad I am me.
            icon - positive values

            2. Positive Values

            Girls act ethically, honestly, and responsibly, and show concern for others.

            Integrity:

            1. I take responsibility for my actions when I
              make a mistake
            2. I do what is right, even when it is hard.
            3. I tell the truth, even when it is not easy.

            Caring:

            1. When I see someone being taken advantage of, I want to help them.
            2. When I see someone being picked on, I feel sad.
            3. When I see another person who is hurt or upset, I want to make them feel better.
            icon - challenge seeking

            3. Challenge Seeking

            Girls learn to take appropriate risks, try things even if they might fail, and learn from mistakes.

            1. I try things even if I may not be good at them.
            2. I don’t give up, even when things are hard.
            3. Even if I am afraid of making mistakes, I still try new things.
            Outcome Healthy Relationships

            4. Healthy Relationships

            Girls develop and maintain healthy relationships by communicating their feelings directly and resolving conflicts constructively.

            1. If my friend makes me angry, I can talk to them about it.
            2. When someone does a good job, I tell them.
            3. I listen to people even when I disagree with them.
            icon community problem solving

            5. Community Problem Solving

            Girls desire to contribute to the world in purposeful and meaningful ways, learn how to identify problems in the community, and create “action plans” to solve them.

            Civic Orientation

            1. I want to make the world a better place to
              live in.
            2. It is important for me to make a difference
              in my community.
            3. I know what my community needs to
              become a better place.

            Civic Engagement

            1. I pay attention to what my community
              needs.
            2. When I see a problem in my community, I
              figure out who can help me solve it.
            3. When I see a problem in my community, I
              think of many ways to solve it.

            Girls experience these benefits through participating in age-appropriate activities that are girl-led, cooperative and hands-on. This means girls and adults:

            • make decisions together about what to do and how to do it
            • work collaboratively as a team, and
            • learn by actively reflecting on experiences that are relevant to them.

            There are many tools available to support girls and adults in Girl Scouts including Badges, Activities and Experiences, Fall and Cookie sales, Journeys and leadership opportunities, outdoor experiences and adventures, and trips and travel. 

            Why do these 5 outcomes matter?

            When a girl develops these 5 outcomes, she’ll become…

            • A girl who stands up for herself and believes she can do anything
            • A girl who is honest, reliable and caring
            • A girl who isn’t afraid to go outside of her comfort zone
            • A girl who gets along with and works well with others
            • A girl who is an active and engaged citizen


            Youth who develop these five outcomes...


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            Girl Scouts Participating 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 will now expose our membership enrollment and brand to risks. This may mean that the relationship between a council and its BSA counterpart should fundamentally change. 

            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. Participation of Girl Scouts in activities with other scouting organizations creates risks to Girl Scouts. Confusion is in the marketplace regarding the relationship between Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts by the expansion of Boy Scouts to include girls in their programs. Girl Scout participation in Boy Scout activities will increase that confusion and will contribute to the misperception that Girl Scouts has merged, or is somehow interchangeable, with Boy Scouts. 

            Brand. Associating with organizations who do not have similar brand history, program portfolio, and track record for safety dilutes and tarnishes our brand, and allows Boy Scouts to leverage the reputation of Girl Scouts for their own purposes. 

            Guidelines. Girl Scouts may participate in community activities (including, but not limited to; street fairs, town fairs and carnivals, church fairs, community college nights, back to school nights, after school carnivals, and the like) as Girl Scouts, wearing Girl Scout uniform elements and as individuals. Attendance by Boy Scouts and/or Scouting BSA side by side at community events is expected. Girl Scout troops who wish to participate in NON-recruitment events sponsored by Boy Scouts and/or Scouting BSA may do so at their discretion, but must identify as Girl Scouts, wearing sashes and/or vests, and/or clothing identifying them as Girl Scouts. 

            Girl Scouts of Northern California will not insure any shared activities sponsored by Boy Scouts and/or Scouting BSA, as these are forbidden. This includes Pinewood Derby, Camporees, and the like. (If a girl has a brother or other family member, or friend participating in these activities, she may attend to support them, but not in an official Girl Scout capacity.) Additionally, Girl Scouts of Northern California will not provide additional medical insurance (Plan 2) to cover Boy Scout who are also participating. 

            Brand Guidelines. In cases where signage is being created representing multiple groups participating in a community activity, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts/Scouts BSA are to be represented by two different logos, side by side. Girl Scouts is NOT to be represented under Scouts BSA. 

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            Take Action Projects

            Take Action is one of the three leadership keys in Girl Scouting, and each Journey culminates in a Take Action Project. While community service projects will always have a place in Girl Scouting, girls deserve the benefits of the full Girl Scout Leadership Experience by having the opportunity to do Take Action projects. Through participating in Take Action projects, girls really do have the opportunity to change the world!

            Community Service Projects Take Action Projects

            Addresses a one-time need

            Addresses the root cause of a problem

            Example: A one time food drive. (People will be hungry again when the food is gone). Nearly 4 million Californians are food insecure, which means that they have limited access or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate food. Example: One of the root causes of hunger is that not enough stores accept food stamps (EBT from the CalFresh program). Girls might identify a store in an impacted area and work with them to adopt the food stamps to make nutritious food available.
            Example: Beach cleanup (litter will accumulate again) Example: Beach cleanup with a publicity campaign of the quantity and types of litter picked up to educate the public

            We have a proud tradition in Girl Scouting of being a service organization—one that has provided countless hours of valuable service to local and broader communities. However, when questioned about the “Take Action outcomes” girls are consistently reporting that, while they believe that girls can make a difference in the world, they don’t see themselves personally in this way.

            We are faced with the challenge of finding ways to help girls raise the bar from simply performing community service to truly taking action and making a difference in the world.

            A Take Action Project has three qualities:

            1. It is a sustainable solution—it addresses the root cause of the issue in some way so as to make a lasting impact When girls create a change that directly addresses the root cause of the problem, the project could almost always be considered sustainable. Sustainable means that there is lasting effect, it does not necessarily mean that somebody has to continue the project yearly. As an example; a beach clean up is a community service project, because the beach is just going to get dirty again. But a beach cleanup could be a Take Action Project if other people were educated and inspired to act. For example, you could place informational signs to educate people about why they should throw out trash and provide trash cans for them to use. This creates lasting change.
            2. It makes a measurable impact—girls identify their project goals for their community, target audience, and themselves by developing success indicators so that they can see the impact they’ve had.
            3. It is girl-led. The girls (even the youngest girls) need to be involved in the planning and carrying out of the project—not just showing up and participating.

            These aspects of a Take Action project may seem like lofty ideals that are not possible for girls to achieve. However, like almost anything else in Girl Scouting, the idea is to start small and think about providing stepping stones for our youngest girls so that they are ready for ever larger steps as they get older. And, it’s always easier to ensure that you arrive at your destination if you know ahead of time where you are planning to go!  Journeys for all grade levels walk girls through the process of doing Take Action projects in age-appropriate ways.

            Community Service Projects

            Does all this mean that there is no place for community service projects in Girl Scouting? Absolutely not! These projects can provide girls with experience so that they can later take action themselves. Service Projects are a great first step toward helping girls to do their Take Action projects.  “To do a good turn daily” is an important part of the Girl Scout philosophy, and all troops and groups are encouraged to seek out opportunities for service. Service projects may involve helping other people, animals or our environment. Girls should be encouraged to plan, promote and participate in service projects for the joy and satisfaction of helping others rather than to earn something for themselves. GSNorCal offers a variety of patch programs. It is important to be mindful that receiving these patches should be a welcome surprise for girls, not
            a motivating force.

            Council-Wide Service Projects

            Each year, GSNorCal coordinates a variety of council-wide service projects open to troops and groups throughout the council. Information on council sponsored service projects will be available at your service unit leader meetings and in the GSNorCal Program and Events Guide or on our website: www.GSNorCal.org.

            Planning Your Own Service Project? Girls and adults should feel free to use their local community contacts to design community service projects (or Take Action projects) that are of interest to them.

            Choose A Take Action Project

            1. Identify an issue or problem you want to take action on. Always start here, rather than thinking of a project and then trying to find someone who needs it.
            2. Investigate thoroughly to ensure it is a problem/issue.
            3. Identify root causes of the issue or problem.
            4. Brainstorm possible solutions that address  a root cause.
            5. Assess your resources.
            6. Create a realistic plan, including a timeline.
            7. Spread the word— and solicit help from the people you need.

            Feeling stuck and just can't some up with a project? Reach out to others! Ask students and teachers at your school what problems they have seen in the community. What would they like to change? What are some of the hot issues that you have read about in your local papers or seen on local news programs? You may want to invite guest speakers from community organizations, or take a trip to visit their facilities.

            For inspiration, check out the Map It! Interactive map that shows how Girl Scouts all over are changing the world at www.girlscouts.org/en/for-girls/girls-changing-the-world.html Whether it’s Gold Awards, Silver Awards, Bronze Awards, Forever Green, or Journey Take Action projects, browse what girls are doing around the country! It’s a great way to get inspiration for your Girl Scout year or just see what other girls are doing to change the world! Map It! features Take Action projects, not service projects.

            One of the hardest things is to avoid giving the girls a list of projects to choose from.  But they will really miss out if they don’t get to go through the process themselves.  If you find yourself wanting to rush the process or solve the problems or do the planning, resolve to only ask questions.  Instead of “That won’t work—we’ll have to do it this way” ask “How do you think we should find out if it’s OK if we do this project?” or “Do we have all the important information on the flyer?”  These leading questions will help the girls think through the process.  Finally, trust the process— even the youngest girls can come up with some ideas of issues and solutions.

            Sustainable Take Action Projects

            Pass It On: Choose a Journey activity that you participated in. Think about who else could benefit from doing the same activity. For example, get permission to lead a special lunchtime (or early morning or after-school) session for kids who are interested in learning how to create a personal budget. Adjust the activity for your audience. Enhance your project’s sustainability by leaving behind a tip sheet or activity kit for teachers or other employees.

            Pass It Down: Assist younger girls by educating them about your issue and solution. Organize a mini-workshop by adapting the Journey activities or games for younger girls. Organize a “get ready for middle school” session for girls in elementary school.

            Increase Adult Awareness: Do you think adults could be savvier about global warming issues? Organize a workshop for adults on ways to reduce the causes of climate change, including changes they can make in their homes and daily lives. Encourage them to think  about how they can pass their ideas on!

            Spread the Word: On a website or the radio or in print, develop a “miniseries” or  awareness campaign of an issue you explored.

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              Advocacy Projects

              Girls may decide to engage in advocacy activities as part of their Take Action Projects.  The laws governing nonprofit organizations draw a distinction between lobbying activities and electioneering activities. While GSUSA encourages members to actively work with and lobby their public officials on policy issues, it is important to remember that any type of electioneering in your official Girl Scout capacity is prohibited. Electioneering is defined as participating in the electoral process by promoting particular candidates for office. Such activity is a direct violation of the tax law that governs non-profit organizations. You may, however, campaign on behalf of a political candidate as an individual without reference to your role as a Girl Scout leader.

              Nonprofit organizations are allowed to educate elected officials or other government officials about issues that are important to them. In your capacity as a Girl Scout representative, you may communicate with elected officials and their staff members in order to influence action on specific legislation, encouraging them either to enact it or defeat it. As a Girl Scout representative, you can write letters to members of congress and/or their staff, visit them, send e-mails, or make phone calls about their legislative interests or pending legislation. However, if you are in communication with an elected official during his or her re-election campaign, you must be very careful that your actions aren’t misconstrued as an endorsement.

              The official GSUSA policy on electioneering is as follows:
              Political and Legislative Activity: Girl Scouts of the United States of America and any Girl Scout council or other organization holding a Girl Scouts of the United States of America credential may not, nor may they authorize anyone on their behalf to, participate or intervene directly or indirectly in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office; or participates in any legislative activity or function which contravenes the laws governing tax-exempt organizations. (Blue Book of Basic Documents 2015).

              The Girl Scouts Advocacy Network provides a tool for you to become the voice for girls and to make a difference in your community and across the nation.  
              www.GirlScouts.org/en/about-girl-scouts/advocacy.html/advocacy.html

              Advocacy
              n.  Public support for or recommendation
              of a particular cause or policy 
              Electioneering
              n.  To work for the success of a particular candidate, party, ticket, etc. in an election

              Advocacy/Lobbying Activities (Allowed)

              It IS acceptable for Girl Scout staff and volunteers to engage in the following activities:

              • Write, visit, or call your Members of Congress, Governor, state legislator and all other local policy makers in support or opposition to legislation, especially when Girl Scout or girl issues arise.
              • Keep your members of congress, Governor, state legislators and all other local policy makers informed about of your council’s work. For example, you may continue to mail to your elected officials newsletters, key press releases, fact sheets, annual reports, and other relevant council publications with your position on legislative proposals (including ballot measures) and other public issues.
              • Invite your elected officials to major council events, such as Gold Award ceremonies or other community events, hosted by your council as long as the elected official is clear that they are invited in his or her capacity as an elected official, not as a candidate, and cannot use their speaking time as an election-related platform. It is a good practice to send a letter to the elected official prior to the event reminding them that your Girl Scouts council is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization that cannot support or oppose candidates and that he or she cannot mention their candidacy, hand out campaign literature, or use speaking time to discuss their election platform.
              • Participate in and host “get out the vote” registration drives. Registration may not be limited to a particular political party or on behalf of a specific political party
                or candidate.

              It IS acceptable for Girl Scout staff and volunteers to teach girls about the election process by encouraging them to participate in the following activities:

              • Going to the polls with an adult on election day.
              • Collecting signatures of members in their community who promise that they will vote on election day such as participating in the “I Promise a Girl Scout I Will Vote” campaign and publicizing the efforts.
              • Stage a public candidate debate on a wide range of issues concerning girls that the candidates would address if elected to the office and that are of interest to the public.
              • Equally attend Republican and Democratic candidate events in Girl Scout uniform and ask candidates questions about issues that are important to girls and publicize the responses.  

              Electioneering Activities
              (Not Allowed)

              GSUSA respects that Girl Scout staff and volunteers may hold strong political convictions concerning upcoming elections; however, it is crucial that you adhere to the GSUSA policy. Participation in electioneering as Girl Scouts could result in the loss of our 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this topic, please contact the GSUSA Public Policy and Advocacy Office at (212) 659-3780 or Advocacy@GirlScouts.org

              Below is a list of electioneering examples. This list is not exhaustive and if at any point you are uncertain as to what constitutes electioneering, contact your local Girl Scout
              legal counsel.  When acting as a Girl Scout representative, a Girl Scout council staff person, volunteer or young Girl Scout may NOT engage in the following prohibited
              electoral activity:

              • Endorse any candidate for public office. This includes social media functions that may be viewed as endorsement, such as “liking,” “friending,” or “following” a candidate.
              • Influence in any way the nomination or election of someone to a federal, state or local public office or to an office in a political organization, including by publishing or communicating anything that explicitly or implicitly favors or opposes a candidate..
              • Mobilize constituents to support or defeat a candidate.
              • Use official Girl Scout letterhead, office email, or computers to write in support or opposition of a candidate or any statements that favor or oppose candidates, or let a political candidate use any council office space or property for
                a campaign event.
              • Distribute campaign materials, including flyers, postcards, newsletters and signage.
              • Post, tweet, retweet, or otherwise share on social media any posts, tweets, or other materials from a candidate, campaign or political organization, or any statements that favor or oppose candidates.
              • Share the link to a website that discusses specific candidates and their views on specific issues.
              • Post political statements on personal social media accounts that identify your employment organization without clarifying that the post is not work-related.
              • Provide an email list to candidates, political parties or politically active 501 (c)(4) organizations.
              • Coordinate or host council site visits, activities or other functions with a candidate running for office.
              • Participate in any election events or activities, including a campaign parade or rally.
              • Host a flag ceremony to open a political campaign event.
              • Provide public opinions about a candidate.
              • Wear official Girl Scouts uniforms or other insignia to a political campaign event or fundraiser, even during non-work hours.
              • Wear campaign buttons on the Girl Scout uniform at any time, as well as on non-Girl Scout apparel, while conducting official Girl Scout business.
              • Make financial contributions to candidates or political parties on behalf of Girl Scouts, meaning any payment, loan, deposit, gift, or other transfer of anything of value.
              • Ask candidates to endorse the Girl Scouts platform and publicize the responses (but feel free to urge all candidates and the public to invest in girls and make girls a priority).
              • In addition, be careful if you are considering posting, retweeting or otherwise sharing news video of a candidate talking about the Girl Scouts, to lessen the risk of an implicit endorsement. A candidate may speak favorably about the Girl Scouts. You cannot control what candidates say, but circulating their statements creates a risk that the Girl Scouts will be viewed as promoting that candidate.

              NOTE: It is acceptable for individuals to participate in the above activities as long as they do not do so in their capacity as a Girl Scout.

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              PROGRAM CONTENT AREAS

              What Girls Do

              Girl Scouts focuses on the following content areas to enrich the Girl Scout experience for girls that follow the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. A few examples are listed here, and you can find out how to engage your group in opportunities like these by visiting www.gsnorcal.org/program/basics



              Girl Scout logo

              Leadership Awards 
              The Girl Scout Awards create opportunities for girls to take initiative and lead giving them skills and motivation to forge their own path and take charge of their future.

              sun icon

              Outdoors
              Activities and camps that build outdoor skills and confidence for girls and adults.

              cookie icon

              Entrepreneurship
              Everyone knows about the Cookie and Fall Nut Sale Programs, but did you know that the Girl Scout Cookie Program is the longest running and largest financial literacy program for girls in the world? Through it and other business and financial literacy programs, girls and adults experience a range of opportunities including product sales, adult/girl skills-based workshops, career exploration, and money management.

              telescope icon

              STEM (www.gsnorcal.org/stem)
              Opportunities to dive into science, technology, engineering, math (Girls Go Tech), environmental and conservation activities (Green By Nature), as well as the world of tinkerers and inventors (MakeHers).

              Life Skills: Providing girls skill building in communications, relationship building, citizenship and healthy living. 

               Image result for check mark Life Skills
              Providing girls skill building in communications, relationship building, citizenship and healthy living.
              airplane icon

              Travel and Adventure
              Adventures both near and far to help girls explore and experience new things.

              GSNorCal's Program Department delivers program to girls through either of these ways:

              Enrichment Programs

              • The Program Guide offers events to all girls throughout the council designed to enrich their Girl Scout experience and retain their membership in Girl Scouting.
              Community Based Programs
              Increasing access to Girl Scouting by offering staff-led programs. Current service includes girls in K-12 in:

              • Detention centers or alternative high schools. 
              • Title 1 Elementary and Middle schools
              • Migrant family communities 
              • Local service units also offer numerous events, weekend Camporees or Emcampments, and even day or resident camps over spring break and in the summer.

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              Online Event Manager Training

              Events provide the opportunities for girls and adults to rekindle friendships with "old" friends, to learn life skills, and provide leadership opportunities for girls. If you’ve ever planned a child’s birthday party, a wedding, or any other large celebration, you’re familiar with some of the logistics involved with planning an event.

              Online Event Manager training is required for at least one adult who will be working with girls or other volunteers running events where they are responsible for the planning and implementation of the event and for the well-being of the participants. Older girls/troops who are planning and/or hosting a money-earning event to support troop activities such as travel/trip or Silver/Gold Award are encouraged to complete the Event Manager course as well. They do so with the understanding that the adult advisor to their project will be present at the event and also complete the necessary training on the Volunteer Learning Portal (training.gsnorcal.org).

              Is your activity an “event”? If your occasion meets one or more of the following criteria, it should be considered an event. If your activity meets one or more of these criteria and you feel that the Event Manager course should not be required, please contact GSNorCal at info@gsnorcal.org to discuss it.

              •Any activity other than just a regularly scheduled troop/group meeting may be an event if it includes other people outside the troop/group
              •Girls attending individually – any time you have girls attending as individuals rather than with their troop the activity qualifies as an event
              •Promotion – when other troops, groups, or people are invited outside those planning the activity, it is an event
              •Size – if more than two large or three small troops are involved, it would be considered an event
              •Logistics – a complicated activity where there are many logistics to consider such as site, safety, transportation, etc. would be considered an “event”.

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              NATIONAL PROGRAM RESOURCES

              You’ll use several books, awards, and online resources to bring the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to life with girls. We strongly recommend that each girl has her own books from the National Program Portfolio. These books—the Journeys and The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting—and national program awards—like badges and pins—are an important part of how Girl Scouting helps girls experience the power of millions of girls changing the world together.


              National Leadership Journeys

              Journeys

              Girl's Guide to Girl ScoutingGirls Guide to Girl Scouting

              As you use the National Program Portfolio with girls, keep in mind that Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) creates materials to serve our vast and diverse community of girls. To help bring topics off the page and into life, we sometimes provide girls and volunteers with suggestions about what people across the country and around the world are doing. We also sometimes make suggestions about movies, books, music, websites, and more that might spark girls’ interests.

              GSUSA and GSNorCal knows that not every example or suggestion provided will work for every girl, family, volunteer, or community. In partnership with those who assist you with your Girl Scout group—including parents, faith groups, schools, and community organizations—choose real-life topic experts from your community as well as movies, books, music, websites, and other opportunities that are most appropriate for the girls in your area to enrich their Girl Scout activities.

              We are proud to be the premier leadership organization for girls. While girls and their families may have questions or interest in programming relevant to other aspects of girls’ lives, we are not always the organization best suited to offer such information. Your council can recommend local organizations or resources that are best suited to do so.

              Also note that GSUSA continuously reviews national program content to guarantee that all our resources are relevant and age appropriate, and that their content doesn’t include violence, sex, inappropriate language, or risky behavior. We value your input and hope that you will bring to your council’s attention any content that concerns you.

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              Volunteer Toolkit

              ipad with VTK

              Volunteer Toolkit is a troop administration tool designed to help facilitate running your troop. It is accessible from your home computer, tablet, or mobile device.

              Troop leaders can:

              - Access the girl and family roster

              - Communicate with families and let them see the calendar of activities

              - Track girls' achievements and attendance

              - Plan a year's worth of meetings with customized agendas

              Learn more about the Volunteer Toolkit

              To access the Volunteer Toolkit, simply sign in where it says “MyGS” at www.gsnorcal.org

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              NATIONAL LEADERSHIP JOURNEYS

              The Girl Scout program is based on the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE), in which girls discover themselves, connect with others, and take action to make the world a better place - all within the safety of an all-girl environment where girls take the lead, learn  by doing, and learn cooperatively.  At the core of the GSLE are National Leadership Journeys, which are fun and challenging experiences grouped around a theme and spread over a series of sessions.  Each Journey has all the important components of the GSLE sewn right in.

              National Leadership Journeys help Girl Scouts learn and practice the Three Keys, aid their communities, and earn leadership awards, progressing up Girl Scouting’s Ladder of Leadership as they do so. There are three series of Leadership Journeys, each about a different theme; the girls in your group can choose the theme that interests them most.

              The Ladder of Leadership below shows the awards girls will earn on each Journey.

              Ladder of Leadership

              Journeys help girls develop 21st Century skills that allow them to come up with creative solutions to challenges in their lives and their community. Journeys offer girls a path to understand how to best dive into a topic. Armed with  research, critical thinking skills, and brainstorming sessions, girls come up with creative solutions to problems in their community. Each time a girl completes a Journey, she has learned skills which will help her accomplish future goals, including working towards the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards.

              Girls who use Journeys have learned to be curious and know how to accomplish their goals. This will help them throughout college and later in their careers in a fast-paced, technologically driven global economy.

              In a national survey, when girls were asked whether they believed that a girl could make a difference in the world, about 90% answered yes. But, when the same Girl Scouts were asked whether they believed they personally could make a difference in the world, most did not believe they could. Community service has long been a fundamental part of the Girl Scout program. However, it’s clear that girls want to be able to make a lasting change in the world. Journeys provide step-by-step instructions for helping girls to create and carry out a Take Action project in the sample sessions in the Adult Guides.  They also incorporate Discover and Connect activities, and the three Girl Scout processes (Girl-led, Learning by Doing, and Cooperative Learning).  The sample sessions in the Adult Guides have it all mapped out!


              To guide girls on a great Journey, all you need is enthusiasm and a sense of adventure.  Before you dive in, try these four simple tips:

              1. Journey Adult Guides OutlineChoose a Journey. Because Girl Scouting is girl-led, it’s important to give girls the chance to pick the Journey they want to do. Talk to them about what each Journey for their grade level is about and let them choose one.

              2. Get to know the Journey.  Pick up a girls’ book and an adult guide.  Read the girls’ book for the pleasure of it, just to get an overview of the Journey’s theme and content.

              3. Invite the girls (and their parents/guardians) to use their imaginations to make the Journeys come to life in ways that excite them. Remember that you and the girls don’t have to do everything exactly as laid out in the sample sessions.

              4. Step back and watch how the girls, with your knowledge, support, and guidance, have enormous fun and a rewarding experience. Celebrate with them as they earn their national leadership Journey awards, and perhaps some Girl Scout badges too!

              Girl Scouts of the USA provides digital troop tools just for you! Be sure to check out the Volunteer Toolkit (often called the "VTK"), available for troop leaders and parents of all troop levels with resources and activity plans for badges and journeys, as well as troop management tools. Get more information about how to use the Volunteer Toolkit here: https://www.gsnorcal.org/en/for-volunteers/troops/volunteers-toolkit.html. To access it directly, simply click on "My GS" in the upper bar of our website, www.gsnorcal.org, login and then click on Volunteer Toolkit.


              Although each Journey is unique, the following elements are present in every Journey (although the order may be slightly different):

              Teambuilding Girls get to know each other and learn each other's strengths and weaknesses
              Be Inspired Girls learn about women role models, and think about who inspires them
              Learn & Discover Girls have the opportunity to learn about an issue they care about
              Create A Vision Girls create a vision - if they had no boundaries or limitations, what would they want to accomplish to make the world a better place?
              Choose A Take Action Project Girls focus on a doable part of their vision and choose a Take Action Project
              Plan the Project Girls make plans, and realize that together they can do greater things than they can accomplish alone
              Do the Project Girls carry out their plans and get a chance to make mistakes and adjust, in a safe environment
              Reflect Girls think about what went well, what didn't and what they learned
              Celebrate Girls plan a celebration of what they've accomplished

              Journey Downloads

              Downloads to send home to parents, Journey Assets (lists that provide a fast, easy way to find the relevant pages for each topic area), songs, ties to state curriculum, and other resources for the journeys are included in the Volunteer Toolkit to download and use. [VOLUNTEERING: Volunteer Toolkit]

              Journey Maps

              How do the Leadership Journeys fit in with the other things girls do in Girl Scouting? Check out the Journey maps at www.girlscouts.org/en/our-program/journeys.html. These maps show you how all the fun and meaningful traditions of Girl Scouting fit right into any National Leadership Journey. There, you can also find information about the topics that each Journey covers, which you can share with girls. And you’ll find even more fun traditions to complement your Journey in The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting, a resource for each grade level of Girl Scouting.


              The following Journeys are available for volunteers to choose from. They are:

              • It’s Your Planet—Love It!
              • It’s Your Story—Tell It!
              • It’s Your World—Change It! (Daisies ONLY)
              • Outdoor
              • Think Like an Engineer
              • Think Like a Programmer
              • Think Like a Citizen Scientist

               

              It’s Your World—Change It!:

              • Available for purchase in council stores (adult guide and girl book) for Daisies–Ambassadors
              • On the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for Daisies ONLY as part of a 15 meeting Year Plan

               

              It’s Your Planet—Love It:

              • Available for purchase in council stores (adult guide and girl book) for Daisies–Ambassador
              • On the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for Daisy, Brownie, and Junior as part of a 15 meeting Year Plan

               

              It’s Your Story—Tell It!:

              • Available for purchase in council stores (adult guide and girl book) for Daisies–Ambassadors
              • On the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for Daisy, Brownie, and Junior as part of a 15 meeting Year Plan

               

              Outdoor:

              • Available on the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for Brownie and Junior as nine sessions in total, which includes three outdoor badges plus three Take Action meetings and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan
              • Available on Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for Daisies as seven sessions in total, which includes two outdoor badges plus three Take Action meetings and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan.
              • Available for Multi-level for Daisies-Juniors on the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK).
              • Cadette, Senior, Ambassador, and Multi-level will be available for Back to Troop as PDFs on the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK).

               

              Think Like an Engineer:

              • Available on the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for Daisy, Brownie, Junior, and Multi-level. The Journey is six sessions in total, including three Take Action meetings, and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan.

               

              Think Like a Programmer:

              • Available on the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for Daisy, Brownie, Junior, and Multi-level. The Journey is six sessions in total, including three Take Action meetings, and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan.

               

              Think Like a Citizen Scientist:

              • Available on the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for Daisy, Brownie, Junior, and Multi-level. The Journey is six sessions in total, including three Take Action meetings, and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan.


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              GIRL'S GUIDE TO BADGES AND SKILL BUILDING

              In addition to the Leadership Journeys, girls at each Girl Scout grade level have their own edition of The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting—a binder full of information about being a Girl Scout and how to earn certain badges, including ones about financial literacy and the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Girls who want to earn more badges can add a Skill Building Badge Set tied to the theme of the Journey they’ve chosen.

              When a Girl Scout earns a badge, it shows that she’s learned a new skill, such as how to make a healthy snack or take great digital photos. It may even spark an interest at school or plant the seed for a future career. Please remember that we don’t expect you to be an expert in the badge topics; just have fun learning by doing with the girls!

              While you’re having fun, keep in mind: Badges are for educating girls, not for decorating their sashes and vests. The quality of a girl’s experience—and the skills and pride she gains from earning leadership awards and skill-building badges—far outweigh the quantity of badges she earns.

              If you are working with Girl Scout Daisies, please note that they earn Petals and Leaves (which form a flower) along with some skill building badges. 

              Use Badge Explorer to discover the wide variety of topics you can pursue with your troop. Badge information is available in the following ways:

              • Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting
              • Skill Building Sets
              • Individual Badge Pamphlets (also digitally downloaded)
              • Volunteer Toolkit  

              Girl's Guides to Girl Scouting

              The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting for Brownies through Ambassadors is the handbook that includes legacy badges.

              Skill building badge sets for Brownie-Senior levels are available to purchase from the Girl Scout store. The badge sets can be earned individually or in concert with Leadership Journeys. 

              Pamphlets, typically for our new badges, contact the requirements and can be purchased in the retail store or online. They can also be purchased as a digital download. 

              Volunteer Toolkit

              The Volunteer Toolkit provides meeting plans for Girl Scout Badges and Journeys. These plans are pre-set to allow quick start. To learn more about the individual requirements and activities, you can also reference other curriculum resources on the GSNorCal website or the Badge Explorer on the GSUSA website.  

              Outdoor Badges

              New outdoor badges were introduced in early 2015 after girls voted to choose the topic for their badge. The outdoor badges were created for Brownie through Ambassador girls. The requirements can be purchased in printed form or purchased for download here: www.GirlScoutShop.com/new-girls-choice-outdoor-badges.


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              Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards

              General Overview
              gold award pinningThe Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards are Girl Scouting’s highest awards. These awards offer girls relevant, grade-level-appropriate challenges related to teamwork, goal setting, community networking  and  leadership. They also engage girls in building networks that not only support them in their award project, but in new educational and career opportunities.

              Like everything girls do in Girl Scouting, the steps to earning these awards are rooted in the GSLE. This is why, to earn each of these awards, girls first complete a grade-level Journey (two Journeys for the Gold Award or a Silver Award and one Journey). With Journeys, girls experience the keys to leadership and learn to identify community needs, work in partnership with their communities, and carry out Take Action projects that make a lasting difference. They can then use the skills they developed during a Journey to develop and execute projects for their Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards. Girl Scouts has just introduced a web app that takes girls step-by-step through the Gold Award requirements.Visit http://www.girlscouts.org/program/highest_awards/gold_award/asp to take a peek.

              GSNorCal's website www.GSNorCal.org/awards provides all information for awards, including council specific requirements. Girls, parents, and volunteers must view or attend a GSNorCal training. In-person trainings, webinars, and GSNorCal's online training are offered for Silvery and Gold Awards. Bronze Award training is offered online only. Online training can be found at  training.gsnorcal.org for all three levels. Webinars can be found in the Activity Finder. In-person trainings can be found at Discoveree and by talking to your local Service Unit. Girls must submit the online final report for the Bronze and Silver Award (both available at www.GSNorCal.org/forms). Girls must submit online proposal for approval and the online Final Report for Gold Award at www.GirlScouts.org/GoGoldOnline.

              Did you know that a Girl Scout who has earned her Gold Award immediately rises one rank in all four branches of the U.S. Military? A number of college-scholarship opportunities also await Gold Award Girl Scouts. A girl does not, however, have to earn a Bronze or Silver Award before earning the Girl Scout Gold Award. She is eligible to earn any recognition at the grade level in which she is registered.

              As a Girl Scout volunteer, encourage girls to go for it by earning these awards at the Junior through Ambassador levels.  Check out some of the award projects girls are doing by visiting forgirls.GirlScouts.org/wp-content/themes/theMap.html or talk to a few past recipients of the Girl Scout Gold Award. You’ll be inspired when you see and hear what girls can accomplish as leaders—and by the confidence, values, and team-building expertise they gain while doing so. And imagine the impact girls have on their communities, country, and even the world as they identify problems they care about, team with others, and act to make change happen!

              All this, of course, starts with you—a Girl Scout volunteer! Encourage girls to go after Girl Scouting’s highest awards—information on the awards and guidelines for you to use when helping girls earn their awards are also available online  www.gsnorcal.org/awards

              For information regarding troop bank accounts and funding awards [MONEY: Options for Funding]

              Girls work with GSNorCal when applying for small grants to support their Awards take action projects. Contact info@gsnorcal.org if you plan on applying for a grant at least 21 days prior to submitting your grant application.  More information about grants can be found here: DoSomething.org
              www.YSA.org

              Snapshot View of Prerequisites and Requirements

              Bronze Awardbronze award pinSilver Awardsilver awardGold AwardGold Award Pin
              • Complete a Girl Scout
                Junior Journey.
              • Build your Girl Scout Bronze Award team.
              • Explore your community.
              • Choose your Girl Scout Bronze Award project.
              • Make a plan.
              • Put your plan in motion.
              • Spread the word.
              • Complete a Cadette Journey.
              • Identify issues you care about through online and in-person research.
              • Build your Girl Scout Silver Award team or decide to go solo.
              • Explore your community. Consider how your issue impacts the community and who you can partner with to address the issue. 
              • Pick your Silver Award  Take Action project.
              • Develop your project. Determine the steps to your project and who will lead each step.
              • Make a plan and put it into motion. Take leadership and complete the project. 
              • Reflect, share your story, and celebrate.
              • Complete two Senior or Ambassador Journeys or have earned the Silver Award and completed one Senior or Ambassador Journey.
              • Use your values and skills to identify a community or global issue you care about.
              • Investigate it thoroughly.  Use online searches and in-person interviews to ensure that it is an issue.
              • Get help. Build your team by inviting others to support and  Take Action with you.
              • Create a plan. Identify the root cause of the issue and create a project plan to tackle it.
              • Present your plan and get feedback. Submit a Project Proposal Form to the Girl Scout council for approval, clearly identifying how the prject will address the issue in a sustainable way.
              • Take Action: Take the lead and manage your team to carry out the plan.
              • Educate and inspire: Share what you have experienced with others.
                Note: Girls use GoGoldOnline:
                www.GirlScouts.org/GoGoldOnline


              GSNorCal Procedures

              Information and electronic forms for girls working on the Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards can be found on the GSNorCal website at www.GSNorCal.org/awards. Each award has specific prerequisites and requirements that must be met in order for a girl to complete a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Take Action  project and earn the award. 

              Bronze Awardbronze award pin

              The Bronze Award is the highest award for Junior Girl Scouts, girls in grades 4-5, and is designed to be completed within the group setting, but can be done individually. Adults and girls take the online Bronze Award training to learn how to do the Bronze Award prior to planning the project.  For training, please visit training.gsnorcal.org.

              Council approval is not needed to begin the work or to purchase the award. Approval is given by the supervising adult. Troop leaders notify the council upon project completion by submitting the Bronze Award final report form found on our website: www.GSNorCal.org/forms.

              Silver Awardsilver award

              The Silver Award is the highest award for Cadette Girl Scouts, girls in grades 6-8. This award is primarily completed within a group setting in teams of no more than four, however individual girls may also earn the award with a team of her own volunteers. Adults and girls take a Silver Award training to learn how to do the Silver Award prior to planning the project. For training, please visit training.gsnorcal.org.

              Council approval is not needed to begin the Silver Award, but an electronic final report form must be submitted to the council Program Department for final approval immediately after completion of the work. The Silver Award Final Report can be found at www.GSNorCal.org/forms. The Silver Award pin can be purchased at the council store once the girl’s final report has been accepted by the program department. Silver Awards must be completed by September 30th of the year in which girls complete 8th grade.

              Gold AwardGold Award Pin

              The Gold Award is the highest recognition a girl can earn in Girl Scouts. This award is for Senior (grades 9-10) and Ambassador (grades 11-12) girls. Preliminary work is completed with approval of a supervising adult, but pre-approval by the council must be obtained before work can begin on the final project. Adults and girls take a Gold Award training to learn how to do the Gold Award prior to planning the project. For training, please visit training.gsnorcal.org.

              The council’s volunteer Gold Award Committee works directly with girls, and pre-approves projects, monitors progress, receives final reports, and approves completions. Work for the Gold Award must be completed by September 30th directly following high school graduation, or their eighteenth birthday, whichever is the later date. Gold Award pins are available at the council store. You’ll receive instructions on how to pick up your Gold Award Pin upon acceptance from the council. 

              Questions?
              For more information about these procedures, please visit: www.GSNorCal.org/awards.  It will be very helpful for you to read the general information on the website first so we can better assist you with your specific questions.

              For more information, please contact: info@gsnorcal.org or (800) 447-4475 Ext. 0

              Please Note: The Bronze, Silver and Gold Award pins may not be purchased until after a girl has earned the award.

              Resources

              Everything you need to know about awards is on the council website. The following are available at www.GSNorCal.org/awards

              Bronze Award Resources Silver Award ResourcesGold Award Resources
              • Bronze Award Online Training
              • Bronze Award Packet
              • Bronze Award Electronic Final Report
              • Silver Award Online Training
              • Silver Award Packet
              • Silver Award Electronic Final Report
              • Gold Award Online Training
              • Gold Award Packet
              • Go Gold Online


              A Tradition of Honoring Girls


              From the beginning of Girl Scouts, one prestigious award has recognized the girls who make a difference in their communities and in their own lives. The first of these awards, in 1916, was the Golden Eagle of Merit. In 1919, the name changed to The Golden Eaglet, and in 1920, the requirements for The Golden Eaglet were updated. The First Class Award existed for only two years, from 1938–1940, and was replaced in 1940 with The Curved Bar Award, the requirements for which were updated in 1947. In 1963, GSUSA re-introduced the First Class Award, for a girl who was an “all-around” person, with skills in many fields and a proficiency in one. Today’s highest award, the Girl Scout Gold Award, was introduced in 1980.


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              Other National Awards

              Journey Summit Award

              Journey Summit Award Pins




              Girls earn the Journey Summit Award by completing all three Journeys at their grade level. It will be placed just below the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards on a sash or vest to recognize the importance of the award. This is now the highest award that a Daisy or Brownie can earn, and second only to the Bronze Award for Juniors, the Silver Award for Cadettes, or the Gold Award for Seniors or Ambassadors.

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              My Promise My Faith Award and Religious Recognitions

              My Promise My Faith Pins

              The Girl Scout Law includes many of the principles and values common to most faiths. And even though Girl Scouts is a secular organization, we’ve always encouraged girls to explore spirituality via their own faiths. Girls of all grade levels can now earn the My Promise, My Faith pin. By carefully examining the Girl Scout Law and directly tying it to tenets of her faith, a girl can earn the pin once each year she participates in Girl Scouting. The My Promise My Faith pin is found in the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting and can be earned by girls of any faith. 

              Religious Recognition programs are also developed and administered by each of the major religious groups themselves. Through Girl Scouting, each girl is encouraged to become a stronger member of her own religion. Girls who choose to participate in one of these programs usually do so outside of their regular group meetings with a group of girls guided by a spiritual counselor or with their own families. Individual awards are listed on the council website. PRAY (Programs of Religious Activities with Youth) works with various religious groups to develop requirements for the various awards. You can find information about requirements and ordering information on the PRAY website:  www.PrayPub.org

              www.gsnorcal.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-program/highest-awards/additional-awards.html For more information, please contact 

              info@gsnorcal.org or call (800) 447-4475 ext. 0

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              Girl Scout Ranger Program

              Girl Scout Ranger patch

              The National Park Service and Girl Scouts of the United States of America have partnered to create the Girl Scout Ranger Program. Girl Scouts are invited to participate in a variety of existing, organized educational or service projects at national park sites, or design their own experience or project to align with Journey work, badge activities, or a Take Action or Highest Award project. Girl Scouts are awarded certificates and/or patches for their participation. Find out more: www.nps.gov/subjects/youthprograms/girlscoutranger.htm 

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              Awards & Opportunities for Older Girls

              The Girl Scout program for older girls (grades 6-12) involves much more than working on awards. In fact, some girls may not be interested in earning the Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards and, while a little gentle encouragement never hurts, girls should not be pressured to do so. When working with older girls, it is crucial to remember that girls should have ownership of their program. We challenge both leaders and girls to be flexible and to explore the full potential of all available program options.

              Leader in Action (LiA)

              LIA awards

              This special award is available to Girl Scout Cadettes who assist a Girl Scout Brownie troop in completing a Brownie Journey. There are separate Leader in Action awards for each Brownie Journey.  Requirements can be found in the Cadette Program Aide Facilitator's Guide at www.gsnorcal.org/forms or in the Brownie adult guides for each Journey. There are specific ideas for what girls might do to earn the LiA for each Journey in the Program Aide Girl Workbook at www.gsnorcal.org/forms. The LiA is a prerequisite for earning the Program Aide. 

              Program Aide (PA)Program Aide pin

              Cadettes receive their Program Aide award by earning one LiA award, completing the GSNorCal Program Aide curriculum, and working directly with younger girls. Requirements for the Program Aide are found in the Cadette Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting and the Program Aide Booklet.  Check out the Program Aide Girl Workbook and the Cadette Program Aide Facilitator's Guide for tons of helpful information and ideas. www.gsnorcal.org/forms This program enables girls to become proficient in an area of interest, and to develop leadership skills by sharing their specialized knowledge with younger girls in a troop, group, activity, or event setting. Girls can also specialize in areas such as crafts, computers, games, and songs.  For more information on Program Aide trainings, check with your local Service Unit team.

              Counselor-in-Training (CIT/CIT II)CIT and CIT II pins

              Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors mentor young girls in a camp setting as they build skills toward becoming a camp counselor. 

              To earn this award Girl Scouts complete a leadership course on outdoor experiences and work with younger girls over the course of a camp session.  Requirements for the CIT can be found in the Senior and Ambassador Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting.  Additionally, Girl Scout Ambassadors can earn their  CIT II Award.  Girl Scout Ambassadors earn this award by working with younger girls over the course of at least one camp session while focused on increasing their skills in one specific area--such as riding instruction, lifeguarding, or the arts. Requirements can be found in the Ambassador Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. For more information about the CIT/CIT II programs, please visit www.CampRocks.org/leadership

              Volunteer-in-Training (VIT)VIT pin

              This award is for girls who’d like to mentor a Girl Scout Daisy, Brownie, Junior or Cadette group outside of the camp experience. Girls who have completed ninth grade are eligible to earn this award. Girls complete a group leadership course, and commit to helping a younger girl troop under the guidance of that troop’s leader. The program usually spans five to eight months with time split between course work and 25 volunteer hours with the troop.  Requirements can be found in the Senior and Ambassador Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. 

              Girl Planning Committees

              Girls in grades 6-12 work with adult advisors to plan activities for other girls. Girls are in the driver’s seat and make decisions about issues they care about that benefit girls in their areas. This is a great way for girls to make a 

              big impact on the council and have fun, too. For more information, contact your local office or email info@gsnorcal.org 

              Girl Scouts of Northern California Board of Directors

              As a Girl Scout 14 years or older, girls are eligible to be a Girl Board Participant. The Board of Directors meets throughout the year to conduct business. Girl Board Participants are elected by the council, serve for one year, voice their opinions, and vote on issues critical to the future of GSNorCal.  www.gsnorcal.org

              Delegate to the National Council of GSUSA

              Girls aged 14 and older are eligible to be a delegate to the National Council, which meets every three years. Delegates, who are elected by their council, serve for three years; they voice their opinions and vote on issues critical to the future of Girl Scouting. Contact info@gsnorcal.org for more information.

              GSNorCal Regional Delegate

              Girls aged 14 and older are eligible to be a Regional Delegate and attend the GSNorCal Annual Meeting held each year in the spring.  Regional Delegates are elected by their regions.  Girls aged 14 and older are eligible to run for either a one or a two year term.  Regional Delegates are the liaison between the members of their region and GSNorCal’s Board of Directors.  They carry information to the members, and gather input to inform their vote on issues of great importance to the  future of our council.  Nominations are open October, and elections are held in January. www.gsnorcal.org/en/our-council/leadership/delegate-governance.html

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              Emblems, Insignia, and Patches

              In addition to leadership awards tied to the Journeys and national proficiency badges, girls can show they belong by adding emblems to the front of their vests or sashes and participation patches on the back.

              Emblems show membership in Girl Scouts, a particular council, a particular troop, or in some other Girl Scout group.  These can be worn on the front of a sash or vest (see the diagram in the handbook section of The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting to see where these are placed.

              Troop Crests

              The troop crest is chosen by the girls in a Girl Scout troop. The crests are worn by Girl Scout Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors. Center the troop crest directly under the council identification strip. Throughout its history, Girl Scouts has assigned no specific meaning to troop crests. The items used in troop crests, such as flowers and other natural elements, often have various meanings that have come to be associated with them by cultures around the world. Some of these elements carry multiple meanings, and sometimes their symbolism has changed and evolved through the ages. Some of these meanings are offered in the description of each crest, which may be of interest to girls and their adult volunteers. You can think of a troop crest as a symbol for your troop's interest and character. All the troop crest descriptions are available in your Girls Guide to Girl Scouting and the girls can decide what the symbols mean for them. We encourage you and your troop to talk about each option and vote to select your troop crest.

              Where to place emblems, insignia and awards

              Junior Vest emblem placement

              The Uniform Insignia Booklet www.GSNorCal.org/forms shows the emblems and earned awards for each grade level with illustrations which show exactly where girls can place their emblems, awards, badges, pins, and patches on their vests and sashes. 

              Participation patches (or fun patches) represent activities girls have tried and are fun ways for girls to remember special events they’ve attended. Since these patches and pins aren’t tied to skill-building activities like the earned awards are, they are worn on the back of a girl’s sash or vest. Think of back of the vest or sash as a scrapbook for the year. 

              Purchasing Information

              You can purchase emblems and patches, along with badges and leadership awards at: girlscoutshop.com/NORTHERN-CALIFORNIA-COUNCIL

              For retail shop locations [ABOUT GSNorCal: Office & Retail Locations]

               

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              OTHER PROGRAM RESOURCES

              STEM

              Opportunities to dive into science, technology, engineering, math (Girls Go Tech), environmental and conservation activities (Green By Nature), as well as the world of tinkerers and inventors.

              Digital Programming

              The For Girls section of GirlScouts.org features Badge Explorer, an overview of all of the badges girls can earn, and other programs girls can participate in individually and as a troop. For Girls is updated frequently, so check back often—and invite girls to do the same!

              STEM Programs in a Box (www.gsnorcal.org/stem)

              Program boxes are filled with hands-on activity materials and instructions, designed to introduce girls to the science and technology we interact with every day. Using program box materials, girls collaborate to explore everything from animal habitats to engineering with wind power. Troops, groups, and individuals can borrow a program box from the council to make a Journey connection, earn a skill-building patch, or just have fun with something new.

              Girls Go Tech - Apply scientific concepts and find innovative solutions to real world problems through hands-on activities. 15 badge or  patch-earning boxes to choose from!

              Green By Nature - Connect with nature while learning to value and protect our Northern California home and beyond with these 5 engaging, rocker-earning boxes.

              Girls Learning Environment and Energy (GLEE) - Demonstrate your commitment to making the world a better place with these 2 patches-developed with Stanford University. 

              Robotics - Design, build, and program your own robot. Use LEGO® Mindstorm NXT or VEX Robot kits to help you develop an interest in robotics and complete a challenge. Reserve your kits online now!

              How do I reserve a box? Our boxes have been very popular, so we ask that you request a box at least 8 days before you'd like to use it.  We will customize your box to your troop size and make sure it is stocked and ready to go.  You can make a reservation online to get started on a fun exploration of science of our natural world. To reserve a program box, specify the preferred date and your local council office to check availability: 

              girlscoutsnorcal.doubleknot.com/facilitysearch/2995 

              Where do I pick up the boxes? After your reservation has been accepted, you may pick up the boxes at your local GSNorCal office. 

              How long can I keep the boxes? Boxes can be borrowed for up to 12 weeks, but we're always glad to get them back more quickly so that others can use them. After 12 weeks, a late fee will be charged automatically.

              How much do the boxes cost?

              Green By Nature (all ages) and Girls Go Tech(grades K-3 + Robotics): $5/per girl 

              Girls Go Tech (grades 4 - 12): $10/ per girl 

              There is also a refundable $100 deposit per box that is charged at the time of booking. The deposit will be returned to you when boxes are returned to your local office and inventoried. The deposit is to ensure all non-consumables, such as binoculars, scissors, glue guns and other equipment are returned. If a non-consumable is missing, the cost to replace it is paid for out of your deposit. Please allow 5 business days for staff to inventory the box, and an additional 7-10 business days for your refund. 

              If you are serving a large group of girls (25 or more), ask us about special pricing.

              What is in the boxes? Almost all the materials you need are included in the boxes, as well as detailed instructions. Some boxes might require items such as ovens, cameras, computers, printers, or water that are not included in the boxes.

              How can these boxes be fit in to our program year? These boxes may be used at troop meetings/events and are great to use with large groups or at weekend events. Other suggestions: older girls can teach activities to younger girls, Camporees, Day Camps, or Service Unit events.

              Is there additional training for the modules? If you are planning to offer an event to a large group (Camporee, Day Camp, Service Unit event) arrangements can be made to have a STEM staff person come out to train your volunteers. Girls Go Tech (grades 4 - 12) has online training videos.

              Do girls earn a patch? Yes, there are patches or badges for each module. You may purchase the patches, badges and rockers online and in our Alameda and San Jose offices.  


              For more information about Program Boxes visit GS NorCal Program Boxes

              Please reserve your box through Doubleknot.


              The Girl Scout Cookie Program

              In addition to giving girls an opportunity to earn money to fund their Girl Scouting goals, taking part in the Girl Scout Cookie Program teaches girls five important skills that serve them throughout their lives: goal setting, money management, people skills, decision making, and business ethics. [PROGRAM: Product Program]


              Outdoor Adventures

              Being outside is a great way for girls to explore leadership, build skills, and develop a deep appreciation for nature. Whether they spend an afternoon exploring a local hiking trail or a week at camp, being outside gives girls an opportunity to grow, explore, and have fun in a whole new environment. www.GirlScouts.org/program/basics/camping

              Publications & CDs 

              There are a variety of publications, and other resources available in our GSNorCal retail stores, as well as songbooks with CDs and songs for every occasion.  www.GirlScoutShop.com/NORTHERN-CALIFORNIA-COUNCIL 

              Spanish-Language Resources

              Spanish Resources

              Two of the Journey series—It’s Your World—Change It! and It’s Your Planet—Love It!—are available in Spanish, as are two new supporting books for Spanish-speaking volunteers to use with Spanish-speaking and bilingual Girl Scout Brownies and Juniors :¡Las Girl Scouts Brownies Cambian El Mundo! (Girl Scout Brownies Change the World!) and ¡Las Girl Scouts Juniors Apuntan a las Estrellas! (Girl Scout Juniors Reach for the Stars!). The books, which introduce the Girl Scout movement to these girls and their families, provide everything you need for a fun-filled year in Girl Scouting. girlscoutshop.com/NORTHERN-CALIFORNIA-COUNCIL 

              Take Online Training

              There are numerous modules to help you understand and use the national program resources, including:

              • Girl Scout Program
              • Journeys (for each level)
              • Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting (for each level)
              • Uniform & Awards (for each level)

              Go to training.gsnorcal.org and click on your Leader course for the appropriate program level.

              Take In-Person Training

              Use the Program and Event Guide and the Activity Finder on the GSNorCal website to access Adult Learning opportunities as well as side-by-side experiences with girls. These experiences offer learning and networking opportunities.  

              Finally, consider attending one of our council-wide Learning Events. Fall Festival and Discoveree each offer numerous workshops in a whole variety of topics. See all our available in-person course on our Volunteer Learning Portal.

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              WHAT GIRLS DO IN GIRL SCOUTING

              All of this may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry. The next few pages give you an idea of what’s involved when you use the National Program Portfolio with girls at each Girl Scout grade level. The first page shows the options girls have using the national program resources, and the second page shows how to fit that in with the other opportunities that girls have.

              Recent studies have shown that girls love variety, and really want to have unique challenging experiences and adventures in Girl Scouting.

              What Girls Do - Daisies

              Daisy Journey Map

              What Girls Do - Brownies

              Brownie Journey map

              What Girls Do - Juniors

              Junior Journey Map

              What Girls Do - Cadettes

              Cadette Journey Map

              What Girls Do - Seniors

              Senior Journey Map

              What Girls Do - Ambassadors

              Ambassador Journey Map

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               OUTDOOR EXPERIENCES


              Being outside is a great way for girls to explore leadership, build skills, and develop a deep appreciation for nature. Whether they spend an afternoon exploring a local hiking trail or a week at camp, being outside gives girls an opportunity to grow, explore www.GSNorCal.org/en/about-girl-scouts/get-outdoors.html, and have fun in a whole new environment.

              Remember: If girls will go on an overnight trip or engage in any high adventure activity, you must have GSNorCal approval for your activity. [SAFETY-WISE: Trip Checklist]


              Top Ten Reasons Why Girls Should Get Outdoors


              Outdoor Progression Chart

              Interest Groups

              backpackers looking at map

              Outdoor Interest Groups provide volunteer-run, girl-centered outdoor program opportunities for older girls. All Girl Scouts, grades 5-12, are welcome to join whether they are independent Girl Scouts or members of a traditional troop. Outdoor Interest Groups include: Backpacking, High-Adventure, Mariners, & Older Girl Adventure Interest Groups. For more information, please visit: 

              www.GSNorCal.org/interest-groups

              Ropes Course Rentals

              We offer different options for groups to choose from when renting the ropes course at either Camp Bothin or Skylark Ranch. Unique opportunities are available to build teamwork with your group, develop climbing skills, participate in an individual challenge, and more through this ultimate high adventure activity! [ABOUT GSNorCal: Property & Rental Information: Ropes Course Rentals

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              GSNorCal CAMPS: DAY & RESIDENT

              Camps: Day and Resident

              girls at camp

              Day Camps, Resident Camps and Core Camps offer a variety of outdoor activities for girls, and are usually held during the summer months. Day Camps at both the service unit and council level are usually one-week sessions at convenient in-town locations. Resident camps last for more than three nights. Core camps are short-term outdoor programs, lasting from one to three nights and are managed by the council.

              Camp brochures highlighting our council-run camps are mailed to all girls (and adults registered as troop leaders) in October. Some volunteer-run camp flyers containing detailed information are available in the winter and spring online at www.CampRocks.org

              All registered Girl Scouts as well as non-Girl Scouts are welcome to register.

              Camp Info number and URL

              Volunteer-Run Camps

              Day and resident camps run by volunteers are held at community locations throughout Northern California. Parents and volunteers can often attend with their daughter in exchange for helping in different areas of camp operation.

              Volunteer Run Resident Camps

              Volunteer run resident camps occur in many local areas. Flyers are mailed or given to girls in those areas in late winter with registration opening in late winter and spring.

              • Butano Creek — in San Mateo County near the town of Pescadero

              • Camp Tall Trees — Northern Humboldt County

              • Two Sentinels — on the shores of Lake Kirkwood high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

              • Kamp Konocti — Fairfax, CA (new location)

              Council-Run Camps

              Organized resident camps run by full time and seasonal Council staff members. Girls attend as an individual, not with their troop or parents (except for family camp programs).

              Council Run Resident Camps

              • Bothin - Marin County

              • Skylark Ranch — overlooks the Pacific Ocean north of Santa Cruz

              • Sugar Pine — in the Sierras in Calaveras County

              Registration for camp opens on December 1.

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              PRODUCT PROGRAM


              Product Program has now transitioned to our new home at https://www.gsnorcal.org/en/for-volunteers/volunteer-essentials.html

              OUTINGS, TRIPS & TRAVEL

              Benefits of Trips

              girls at Our Chalet in Switzerland

              A Girl Scout trip is an opportunity for girls to have fun, to experience adventure, and to enrich their ongoing Girl Scout program. A Girl Scout trip is defined as any time a group has an activity at a location other than the regularly scheduled meeting place. If the group will start and end at the regular meeting location, but will walk to a local park or other destination, this activity is not defined as a trip.

              Safety Activity Checkpoints and the guidelines in this booklet should be consulted when planning a trip of any length. Care should be taken to determine if troops are ready to participate in troop/group travel and trips. Safety and money-earning procedures are also available in this resource.

              Not only do some of the most memorable moments in a Girl Scout’s life happen while taking trips, but travel also offers a wealth of opportunities for girls to develop leadership skills. The following few sections help you prepare girls for local, regional, or international travel of any scope and duration.

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              Letting Girls Lead

              Although it's tempting to do all the planning and take care of the logistics, your girls would miss out on a great opportunity to build their life skills. Whether the trip is a day hike or a cross-country trek, the basic steps of trip planning are essentially the same. It’s true that as the locale gets farther away, the itinerary longer and more complex, the planning specifics become richer and more detailed, but planning every trip—whether it's a day-long outing or an international trek—starts by asking the following:

              • What do we hope to experience?
              • Who will we want to talk to and meet?
              • What will we ask?
              • Where are we interested in going?
              • When are we all available to go?
              • Will everyone in our group be able to go?
              • Are there physical barriers that cannot be accommodated?
              • What are hours and the need for advance reservations?
              • What are our options for getting there?
              • What’s the least and most this trip could cost?
              • What can we do now to get ourselves ready?
              • How will we earn the money?
              • What’s the availability of drinking water, restrooms, and eating places?
              • Where is emergency help available?
              • What safety factors must we consider?
              • What will we do as we travel?
              • What will we do when we get there?
              • How will we share the Take Action story?

              As girls answer these questions, they begin the trip-planning process. In time, girls can make specific arrangements, attend to a myriad of details, create a budget and handle money, and accept responsibility for their personal conduct and safety. Later, after they’ve returned from an event or trip, girls also have the chance to evaluate their experiences and share them with others.

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              Include Girls With Disabilities

              Communicate with girls with disabilities and/or their caregivers to assess any needs and accommodations. Make sure that reasonable accommodations are made for girls with disabilities. Learn more about the resources and information that Global Explorers and Wilderness Inquiries provide to people with disabilities.

              http://www.nobarriersusa.org/spread-the-word/ and http://www.wildernessinquiry.org/tag/accessibility/

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              Using Journeys & The Girl's Guide in Their Travels

              Girl Scout travel is an ideal way to offer girls leadership opportunities. Encourage girls to choose one of the three series of National Leadership Journeys. The Journey’s theme will give girls a way to explore leadership through their travels. Use the adult guide to incorporate activities and discussions that help girls explore the Three Keys to Leadership (Discover, Connect, and Take Action) as they plan their trip and eventually travel.

              Tying your trip to the topic of a Leadership Journey is a cinch. For example, if Cadette girls have chosen MEdia, before their trip they can read online newspapers from the area to which they’re traveling—and evaluate when they arrive how well the media reflects the realities there. If Senior girls are using SOW WHAT?, they can plan to observe agricultural practices in other parts of the country or around the world. Ambassadors using BLISS: Live It! Give It! can build a trip around dreaming big—and empowering others in their community to dream big, too.

              If girls also want to complete skill-building badge requirements as part of their trip, they can. The most obvious example is the Senior Traveler badge, which fits perfectly into planning a trip. In addition, girls can explore other badge topics, depending on the focus of their trip. For examples, Cadettes can explore the food in other regions or countries for their New Cuisines badge, Seniors can find out about international business customs as part of their Business Etiquette badge, and Ambassadors can work on their Photography badge while documenting their trip.

              To find out more about the exciting series of Journeys and The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting [PROGRAM: National Program Resources]. 

              For additional Outdoor and STEM Journeys with even more trip and travel opportunities, please see the Volunteer Toolkit


              To ensure that any travel you do with girls infuses the Girl Scout Leadership Experience at every opportunity, limit your role to facilitating the girls’ brainstorming and planning—but never doing the work for them. Allow the girls to lead, learn collaboratively, and learn by doing (and by making mistakes). All the while, however, provide ideas and insight, ask tough questions when you have to, and support all their decisions with enthusiasm and encouragement!

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              Travel Readiness (Progression)

              girls and boat

              Girls love trips. And Girl Scouts is a great place for them to learn how to plan and take exciting trips, because travel is built on a progression of activities—that is, one activity leads to the next. Girl Scout Daisies, for example, can begin with a discovery walk. As girls grow in their travel skills and experience and can better manage the planning process, they progress to longer trips. The Journey Adult Guides have a lot of other ideas about trips that bring the Journey to life. Here are some examples of the progression of events and trips in Girl Scouting:

              • Local Field Trips  (Daisies and older): A walk to the nearby garden or a short ride by car or public transportation to the firehouse or courthouse is a great first step for Daisies.
              • Day Trip (Daisies and older): An all-day visit to a point of historical or natural interest (bringing their own lunch) or a day-long trip to a nearby city (stopping at a restaurant for a meal)—younger girls can select locations and do much of the trip-planning, while never being too far from home. Note: Full-day trips may be very challenging for Daisies, especially for kindergartners who have not experienced short trips. Make sure girls take some short trips before they progress to a full day trip.
              • Overnight trips (Daisies and older): One (or possibly two) nights. This could start with one night camping or staying at a Girl Scout property and progress to a visit to a a state or national park, or nearby city for sightseeing, staying in a hotel, motel, or campground- or even an overnight at a large museum! These short trips are just long enough to whet their appetites, but not long enough to generate homesickness. Note: A Daisy troop may participate in an overnight experience if the girls are ready. Brownie troops can participate up to two nights. For camp, girls who have completed kindergarten may independently participate at day camp and in resident camp experiences lasting up to three nights. Girls who have completed first grade may independently participate in resident camp experiences lasting four or more nights.
              • Regional Trips (Juniors and older): Three nights or four nights camping or a staying in a hotel, motel, or hostel within the girls’ home region (for example, New England, the Upper Midwest, the Southeast, the Pacific Northwest, and so on). 
              • National trips (Cadettes and older): Travel anywhere in the country, often lasting a week or more. Try to steer clear of trips girls might take with their families and consider those that offer some educational component—such as incredible cities, historic sites, and museums around the country. Perhaps the girls want to plan a trip to some national parks as part of the Girl Scout Ranger program!
              • International Trips/ Independent Travel (Cadettes and older*): Travel around the world, often requiring two or three years of preparation. International trips are available to Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors who have successfully participated in a progression of overnight trips with Girl Scouting. When girls show an interest in traveling abroad, fill out the online Trip and High-Adventure Approval form (www.tinyurl.com/GSNorCalTravelApproval) to get permission to plan your trip. You can also download the Global Travel Toolkit to help with trip planning. Adult volunteers should ensure that girls are mature enough to participate in the trip. Factors to consider are adaptability, good decision-making, previous cross-cultural experience, group dynamics, team capability, language skills (where applicable), and specific skills and interests related to the trip. Visiting one of the four World Centers is a great place to start www.girlscouts.org/en/about-girl-scouts/global/world-centers.html, but also consider traveling with international service-learning organizations to perform community service, or meeting up with Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from around the world at an international scouting event. All international groups should register with S.T.E.P.-the U.S. Department of State travel registry. In addition to completing council forms, troops should complete this online Intent to Travel Form. Be sure to also read the Trips and Travel Safety Activity Checkpoints, the Travel Section below and the Outings, Trips and Travel Section of the Safety-Wise chapter of Volunteer Essentials to learn about specific policies related to travel and ensure you meet all GSNorCal requirements for international travel. 
              • Tips for Girls Traveling Alone: If a Girl Scout Cadette, Senior, or Ambassador will be traveling alone during any part of a trip, use the opportunity to help her feel comfortable with and capable of being on her own. Always talk first with her parents to assess her maturity and ability to handle herself, and have them complete an emergency form. If she is flying, discuss the possibility of booking a nonstop flight to make her trip less stressful, and ask parents to consider contacting the airline which can make special arrangements for any unaccompanied minor. With the girl herself, develop a trip plan, discuss security and safety, and talk about avoiding excess communication with strangers, not wearing a nametag, and avoiding exposing money or other items (such as smartphones or iPads) that are attractive to pickpockets. 

              Travel Progression Checklist

              If your group is thinking about travel, consider first whether the girls are mature enough to handle the trip. Determine a group’s readiness for travel by assessing the girls’:

              • Ability to be away from their parents and their homes
              • Ability to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings and situations
              • Ability to make decisions for themselves and the good of the group well and easily
              • Previous cross-cultural experiences
              • Ability to get along with each other and handle challenges
              • Ability to work well as a team
              • Skills, interests, and language skills (where applicable)

              Group Dynamics & Team Capabilities

              A successful trip is dependent upon the ability of the group to work and function together as a team. The team includes girls and any adult chaperones who will be participating in the trip. Certain factors are crucial, including:

              • the ability to function as a team member
              • the ability to follow as well as lead
              • the ability to accept more direction and leadership from the group leaders than they are used to at home.

              A group needs to establish a working relationship prior to traveling together. This can be done through planning meetings, activities, and electronic correspondence prior to the trip. Ways of addressing differences and emergencies, whether life-threatening, cultural, or due to individual attitudes, should be discussed prior to travel.

              Establishing a team agreement prior to leaving for the trip on how the group will function and make decisions is very important.

              Here are some things to consider:

              • Safety rules and expectations.
              • What are your rules for the buddy system, and what if two girls clique up for the entire trip?
              • Curfews and consequences for breaking them.
              • Policy on bringing extra money for souvenirs or snacks.
              • Rules/expectations about cell phones, iPods, and other electronic devices.
              • How will the group decide where/what to eat?
              • Expectations regarding restaurant behavior, and how much food is suitable to order at one meal.
              • Expectations on how to behave in public, e.g. visiting museums, participating in a tour, etc. 
              • What to wear and not wear.
              • How much luggage to pack/bring.
              • For adults: What is the role of a chaperone? What is expected of a chaperone?

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              GLOBAL TRAVEL TOOLKIT

              Girl Scout troops/groups planning an international trip are strongly encouraged to use the Global Travel Toolkit.  The toolkit is a nuts and bolts resource for international travel, including planning advice, procedures for international travel, budgeting suggestions, cultural recommendations, and resources on Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting all over the world. Download your Global Travel Toolkit at forgirls.girlscouts.org/travel/resources/global-travel-toolkit/

              The Global Travel Toolkit consists of the following sections:

              Exploration: The Girl Scout Guide to Global Travel
              Takes girls through the steps of planning their own international group trip. It’s filled with tips and tricks for traveling abroad.
              cover - Global Travel Toolkit Exploration Booklet
              cover - Global Travel Toolkit Adult Guide The Adult Guide to Girl Scout Global Travel
              Serves as a companion to The Girl Scout Guide to Global Travel and The Girl Scout Travel Log.
              The Girl Scout Travel Log
              A journal for girls to record their travel experiences – before, during and after your trip.
              cover - Global Travel Toolkit Travel Log
              cover - Global Travel Toolkit Appendix The Appendix
              Travel resources, handouts, and GSUSA forms.  Please use GSNorCal forms for travel and use this document for the additional  resources.

              Additionally, there are other great travel resources available on the Global Travel Toolkit site:

              take-a-trip-footerexplorer-footertravel-stories-linktravel video linktravel resources link


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              GIRL SCOUT TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES


              GSUSA Destinations

              GSUSA Destinations are amazing national and international travel opportunities lasting 2 days—3 weeks with specific themes.  These opportunities are sponsored by GSUSA in partnership with a council or travel organization and open to individual girls ages 11-18. To be considered, girls need to submit 2 letters of reference and an application by November 1 for first round acceptance. Sponsoring groups select the applicants. We recommend submitting your application early for better results. For more information on this exciting opportunity and for tips on how to help fund this type of travel opportunity, please visit our website at forgirls.girlscouts.org/travel/ or email info@gsnorcal.org.

              There are six categories of GSUSA Destinations:

              • Domestic—events within the U.S.
              • International—events outside of the U.S.
              • Outdoors—events ranging from learning outdoor skills to Outward Bound challenges on land or sea.
              • STEM—events that take science to a new level. Learn animal behavior or what a doctor’s life is like.
              • People—events that visit cities and countrysides so you can experience the culture of new places.
              • Apprenticeships—events that give you hands-on, 

                real-life experience in a potential career field.

              Getaways

              This is a fun option for troops who want to explore two-to four-day events created just for Girl Scouts.  Getaways are open to troops and don’t require an application process.  Learn more at: forgirls.girlscouts.org/travel/take-a-trip/getaways/

              GSNorCal Travel Opportunities

              Girl Scouts offers many travel opportunities so girls can see new places, meet new people, and learn about different cultures and ideas. Whether exploring your own neighborhoods, going on overnight camping trips, participating in a GS event across the country, or flying to a World Center, Girl Scouts are continually expanding their horizons through travel.  Join us for a special council organized travel trip or travel the world as a troop.  For more information about these exciting opportunities, please visit www.gsnorcal.org/en/about-girl-scouts/travel.html

              From the Birth of Girl Scouting to the World Centers

              The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah, Georgia, is a fantastic place for Girl Scout Juniors and older to visit. Reservations and council approval are required to take a group of girls to visit the birthplace, and most educational opportunities are booked at least a year in advance, so book early! Families and individuals, however, do not need to reserve a tour in advance.

              In addition, four lodges are available in England, Mexico, Switzerland, and India for use by Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, each with hostel or dormitory-style accommodations. The world centers are operated by WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) and offer low-cost accommodations and special programs. They are also a great way to meet Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from around the world. www.girlscouts.org/en/about-girl-scouts/global/world-centers.html 

              Closer to home, check with your council to see whether council-owned camps and other facilities can be rented out to the group of girls with whom you’re working.

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              Reengaging Girls

              The end of this trip doesn’t have to be the end of a girls’ time with Girl Scouting. Some girls participate in Girl Scouting in all sorts of ways; others are excited only about travel. What lies ahead for them—and for you?

              • Girls who have never been involved in any other way besides travel may be looking for longer-term opportunities closer at home. Younger Cadettes may want to participate in resident camp, while Seniors and Ambassadors—as well as older Cadettes—will want to hear all about upcoming series and events at your council.
              • Girls who have traveled once tend to want to travel again. Be sure girls are aware that other travel opportunities, such as GSUSA Destinations, will exist for them in the years ahead. The great experiences they had on this trip may have prepared them for longer and more global trips in the future.
              • Girls may want to hear about the Girl Scout Silver and Gold Awards, which are opportunities for them to make a dramatic difference in their communities—and to have plenty to brag about with college admissions officers, too!

              And what about you? If you’re ready for more opportunities to work with girls, be sure to let your council know how you’d like to be a part of girls’ lives in the future. Are you ready for a year-long volunteer opportunity with a troop? Help organize a series or event? Take another trip? The possibilities are endless.

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              GIRL SCOUT TRADITIONS & CELEBRATIONS

              Throughout the long history of Girl Scouts, certain traditions remain meaningful and important and are still practiced today. This section gives you an overview of annual celebrations in the Girl Scout year, as well as other revered Girl Scout traditions. Be sure to look in The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting and Leadership Journeys for more information on songs, outdoor activities, historical anecdotes, traditions, and ceremonies.

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              Girl Scout Holidays

              Girl Scouts celebrate several special days each year, which you’re encouraged to include in your group planning.

              • February 22: World Thinking Day (the birthday of both Lord Baden-Powell and Lady Olave Baden-Powell, the originators of Boy Scouts and the Scouting Movement worldwide). World Thinking Day, first created in 1926, offers a special day for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from around the world to “think” of each other and give thanks and appreciation to their sister Girl Scouts. February 22 is the mutual birthday of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout movement, and his wife, Olave, who served as World Chief Guide. Today, girls honor World Thinking Day by earning the World Thinking Day award, which focuses on an annual theme selected by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. They also show their appreciation and friendship on World Thinking Day not only by extending warm wishes but also by contributing to the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund, donate.GirlScouts.org/worldfriendshipfund which helps offer Girl Guiding/Girl Scouting to more girls and young women worldwide.
              • March 12: The birthday of Girl Scouting in the USA. The first troop meeting was held in Savannah, Georgia, on this date in 1912. Note that Girl Scout Week begins the Sunday before March 12 (a day known as “Girl Scout Sunday”) and extends through the Saturday following March 12 (a day known as “Girl Scout Sabbath”).
              • April: Volunteer Appreciation Week centers on the long-standing National Girl Scout Leaders’ Day (April 22), but expands the definition of volunteers beyond troop 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)

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              Signs, Songs, Handshake, and More!

              Over time, any organization is going to develop a few common signals that everyone understands. Such is the case with Girl Scouts, which has developed a few unique ways to greet, acknowledge, and communicate, some of which are listed here.

              GS Sign

              Girl Scout Sign 

              The idea of the sign came from the days of chivalry, when armed knights greeted friendly knights by raising the right hand, palm open, as a sign of friendship. To give the sign, raise the three middle fingers of the right hand palm forward and shoulder high (the three extended fingers represent the three parts of the Girl Scout Promise). Girls give the sign when they:

              • Say the Promise or Law.
              • Are welcomed into Girl Scouts at an investiture ceremony that welcomes new members.
              • Receive an award, patch, pin, or other recognition.
              • Greet other Girl Scouts and Girl Guides.
              Girl Scout handshake


              Girl Scout Handshake

              The handshake is a more formal way of greeting other Girl Scouts, and is also an appropriate way to receive an award. Shake left hands and give the Girl Scout Sign with your right hand. 

              Girl Scout Quiet Sign

              Quiet Sign

              The quiet sign can be extremely useful to you as a volunteer, so teach it to girls during your first meeting. Raise your right hand high with an open palm. As girls in the group see the sign, they stop talking and also raise their hands. Once everyone is silent, the meeting can begin. 

              Girl Scout Friendship Circle

              Friendship Circle 

              When we stand in a friendship circle, we stand with our right hand over our left. Sometimes, we have the Friendship Squeeze, when we gently squeeze hands in turn all around the circle.

              Do A Good Turn Daily  Be Prepared

              Girl Scout Slogan and Motto 

              The Girl Scout slogan is, “Do a good turn daily.” The Girl Scout motto is, “Be prepared.”

               trefoil with treble clef 

              Songs 

              Whether singing around a campfire or joining a chorus of voices on the Mall in Washington, D.C., Girl Scouts have always enjoyed the fun and fellowship of music. In fact, the first Girl Scout Song Book, a collection of songs put together by girl members, was published in 1925.

              Songs can be used to open or close meetings, enhance ceremonies, lighten a load while hiking, or share a special moment with other Girl Scouts. For tips on choosing and leading songs, go to http://gsuniversity.girlscouts.org/resource/song-leading-workshops/. A variety of songbooks are also available for purchase. Check out your council shop or visit the GSUSA online shop.

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              Time-Honored Ceremonies

              friendship circle

              Ceremonies play an important part in Girl Scouts and are used not only to celebrate accomplishments, experience time-honored traditions, and reinforce the values of the Girl Scout Promise and Law, but also to encourage girls to take a short pause in their busy lives and connect with their fellow Girl Scouts in fun and meaningful ways. Many examples of ceremonies—for awards, meeting openings and closings, and so on—are sewn right into the Journeys, including ideas for new ceremonies girls can create.

              Girls use ceremonies for all sorts of reasons. Here’s a brief list, in alphabetical order, so that you can become familiar with the most common Girl Scout ceremonies:

              • Bridging ceremonies mark a girl’s move from one grade level of Girl Scouting to another, such as from Junior to Cadette. (Note that Fly-Up is a special bridging ceremony for Girl Scout Brownies who are bridging to Juniors.) There are learning modules, as well as lots of ideas and resources about the bridging process and ceremonies in the Volunteer Learning Portal (training.gsnorcal.org) for each level.
              • Closing ceremonies finalize the meeting, with expectations for the next. A closing ceremony may be as simple as a hand squeeze while standing in a circle.
              • Court of Awards is a time to recognize girls who have accomplished something spectacular during the Girl Scout year.
              • Flag ceremonies can be part of any activity that honors the American flag.
              • Girl Scout Bronze (or Silver or Gold) Award ceremonies honor Girl Scout Juniors who have earned the Girl Scout Bronze Award (Cadettes who have earned the Silver Award; Seniors or Ambassadors who have earned the Gold Award), and are usually held for a group and combined with council recognition.
              • Girl Scouts’ Own is a girl-led program that allows girls to explore their feelings and beliefs around a topic (such as the importance of friendship or the personal meaning they get from the Girl Scout Promise and Law) using the spoken word, favorite songs, poetry, or other methods of expression. It is never a religious ceremony.
              • Investiture welcomes new members, girls or adults, into the Girl Scout family for the first time. Girls receive their Girl Scout, Brownie Girl Scout, or Daisy Girl Scout pin at this time.
              • Opening ceremonies start troop meetings and can also begin other group meetings.
              • Pinning ceremonies help celebrate when girls receive grade-level Girl Scout pins.
              • Rededication ceremonies are opportunities for girls and adults to renew their commitment to the Girl Scout Promise and Law.
              • Golden Gate Bridging is a special ceremony and celebration for girls bridging from Juniors to Cadettes, and is held in late April or early May. Bridging Juniors join 5,000 of their sisters and cross into older girlhood on one of the most famous bridges in the world! Girls from across the country celebrate in true Northern Californian style on the Golden Gate Bridge and conclude the day with a party just for them. The girls play games, do crafts, and partake in activities that reflect the adventures that lie ahead as Cadettes on Crissy Field. Check out GSNorCal for event and registration information.

              About Ceremonies

              No One Right Way, Make New Traditions

              Like much of Girl Scouting, there are few hard and fast rules for planning and carrying out ceremonies; what really counts is that the occasion has special meaning for the participants. There are traditional ways to do things, but it is also fun to create some new traditions. Some occasions call for pull-out-all-the-stops formality, and on other occasions, ceremonies can and should be more light-hearted and informal.

              Mix & Match

              Ceremonies can be mixed and matched or used in combination with each other. For example, a bridging ceremony might (and usually does!) incorporate an opening ceremony, a flag ceremony, a rededication ceremony, as well as using a closing ceremony.

              Be Creative

              Ceremonies can be edited to fit the situation, and become even more meaningful with a little personalization.

              Girl Planning

              The most important thing to remember when planning ceremonies is that they are for the girls. The most meaningful ceremonies to the girls will be the ones that they have planned themselves. Remember that ceremonies are opportunities for the girls, not the adults, to express themselves, and that is far more important than it is to put on a polished production.

              If you’re working with girls who want to host a special ceremony or event—large or small—be sure girls are leading the event-planning, instead of sitting by passively while you or another adult plans the event. To get girls started, ask them to think about the following questions:

              • What sort of event do we have in mind?
              • Who is our intended audience?
              • Will it be outdoors?
              • Does the audience have to be invited, or can anyone come?
              • What’s our main topic or focus?
              • What’s our objective—what do we hope to accomplish at the end of the day?
              • Will one or more speakers need to be invited? If so, who? How do we find speakers?
              • Where will the event take place?
              • Is there a charge for this venue?
              • Is the venue large enough to accommodate the audience?
              • Do we have to obtain permission to use this venue? If so, from whom?
              • Are there adequate facilities for the audience? If not, how much will extra portable toilets cost, and how many do we need?
              • Is there adequate parking or a drop-off point for girls?
              • Do we need tables? chairs? podiums? microphones? speakers?
              • What sort of entertainment will we provide?
              • Will we provide or sell refreshments? If so, what kinds?
              • How many chaperones will we need? Who will we ask?
              • What emergency care do we need to plan for? Is the event large enough that local police and fire departments need to be notified?
              • Do we need to purchase additional insurance for non–Girl Scouts?
              • How will we advertise the event?
              • What decorations will we use?
              • Will we give away any keepsakes?
              • Will we charge for the event?
              • Who will set up the event?
              • Who will clean up after the event?
              • How will we determine whether the event was a success?

              Ideas for girl-led events with family, friends, and community experts are also available in the Leadership Journey adult guides!

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              Historic Uniforms and Memorabilia Collections

              The GSNorCal Heritage Committee has collections of historic US Girl Scout uniforms, International uniforms, and camp uniforms. They may be rented for fashion shows, book reports, or service unit or troop events. Juliette’s Trunk is also available for check-out, which includes hands-on activities to help girls learn about old-time Girl Scouting. You can also borrow historic handbooks, a game about Juliette Low and other memorabilia. Contact the Heritage Committee in your area.

              Heritage Museums

              GSNorCal’s Heritage Committee also maintains a Girl Scout Museum at Camp Bothin in Marin County. Contact the Heritage Committee to arrange for a tour (a two-week notice is recommended.) Several of our council offices also have historical displays and change them throughout the year.  The Heritage display at the Alameda office is adjacent to the retail store and the displays in San Jose and Chico are in the lobby areas. These displays may be visited during regular store/office hours.

              Heritage Committee Contact

              Please visit the council website at www.GSNorCal.org/museum for more information or contact info@girlscoutsnorcal.org or phone (800) 447-4475 ext. 0 to be put in touch with the right people to assist you.

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              QUICK LINKS TO CHAPTERS: TABLE OF CONTENTS | NAVIGATION | QUICK START GUIDE| ABOUT GSNorCal | VOLUNTEERING | GIRL SCOUT PROGRAM | GIRLS & ADULTS | SAFETY-WISE | MONEY | BIENVENIDO (en Español) | GLOSSARY |

              Quick Links to GIRLS & ADULTS Chapter Topics: Engaging Girls At All Grade Levels | Troop Size | Understanding Healthy Development in Girls | Creating A Safe Space For Girls | When Sensitive Topics Come Up | Creating An Atmosphere of Acceptance & Inclusion | Girl Scout Meetings | Planning in A Girl-Led Environment | Letting Girls Lead | Troop Government | Preventing & Managing Conflict | Sample Troop Year | Friends & Family Network (Adults) | First Parent/Guardian/Caregiver Meeting | Working With Parents & GuardiansAdditional Resources |

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              ENGAGING GIRLS AT ALL GRADE LEVELS

              As a Girl Scout volunteer, you’ll have the opportunity to guide girls of all backgrounds, behaviors, skills, and abilities. You’ll help her develop leadership skills she can use now and as she grows—all in a safe and accepting environment. This Girls & Adults chapter gives you tips for doing just that.

              You’ll read about how to effectively mentor girls to reach their highest potential, and how to effectively engage parents and other volunteers.

              One of the key elements of participation in a Girl Scout troop is the group experience. Girl Scout groups are large enough to provide a cooperative learning environment and small enough to allow development of individual girls with a recommended troop size of twelve girls. Data shows that troops and groups have the most positive experience and stay together when they have at least twelve girls. Larger groups tend to have fewer problems with girls not getting along—girls can take a break from each other when there are other girls around. Getting along with people in a group and being tolerant of others are important life skills. Sometimes new volunteers are hesitant to have a larger group of girls. But, with twelve girls (or more), you have more adults to help and spread out the responsibilities.

              The following group sizes are recommended ranges for each program level:

              • 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

              Although troop size may vary greatly, all troops need to stay open to a minimum of twelve girls. If the troop is listed in the Troop Opportunity Catalog, the troop will automatically stay open until twelve girls are registered with the troop. Troops that have fewer girls may meet and carry out their activities, but should always be open to taking more girls. Large troops can be super fun, and offer lots of opportunities for different groups of girls to interact with each other.

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              UNDERSTANDING HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT IN GIRLS


              Just being attentive to what girls are experiencing as they mature is a big help to girls. So take some time to understand the likes, needs, and abilities of girls at different ages.

              As you listen and learn along with girls, you may find it useful to review the highlights of their development. What follows are the developmental abilities and needs of girls at various grade levels. You’ll also find these listed in the adult guide of each Leadership Journey. Plus, the activities in the Journeys are set up with the following guidelines in mind! Of course, each girl is an individual, so these are only guidelines that help you get to know the girls.


              Girl Scout Daisies

              At the Girl Scout Daisy level (kindergarten and 1st grade), girls . . .

              This means . . .

              Have loads of energy and need to run, walk, and play outside. They’ll enjoy going on nature walks and outdoor scavenger hunts.
              Are great builders and budding artists, though they are still developing their fine motor skills. Encouraging them to express themselves and their creativity by making things with their hands. Girls may need assistance holding scissors, cutting in a straight line, and so on.
              Love to move and dance. They might especially enjoy marching like a penguin, dancing like a dolphin, or acting out how they might care for animals in the jungle.
              Are concrete thinkers and focused on the here and now. Showing instead of telling, for example, about how animals are cared for. Plan visits to animal shelters, farms, or zoos; meet care providers; or make a creative bird feeder.
              Are only beginning to learn about basic number concepts, time, and money. You’ll want to take opportunities to count out supplies together—and, perhaps, the legs on a caterpillar!
              Are just beginning to write and spell, and they don’t always have the words for what they’re thinking or feeling. That having girls draw a picture of something they are trying to communicate is easier and more meaningful for them.
              Know how to follow simple directions and respond well to recognition for doing so. Being specific and offering only one direction at a time. Acknowledge when girls have followed directions well to increase their motivation to listen and follow again.


              Girl Scout Brownies

              At the Girl Scout Brownie level (2nd and 3rd grade), girls . . .

              This means . . .

              Have lots of energy and need to run, walk, and play outside. Taking your session activities outside whenever possible.

              Are social and enjoy working in groups.

              Allowing girls to team up in small or large groups for art projects and performances.

              Want to help others and appreciate being given individual responsibilities for a task.

              Letting girls lead, direct, and help out in activities whenever possible. Allow girls as a group to make decisions about individual roles and responsibilities.

              Are concrete thinkers and focused on the here and now.

              Doing more than just reading to girls about the Brownie Elf’s adventures. Ask girls questions to gauge their understanding and allow them to role play their own pretend visit to a new country.
              Need clear directions and structure, and like knowing what to expect. Offering only one direction at a time. Also, have girls create the schedule and flow of your get-togethers and share it at the start.

              Are becoming comfortable with basic number concepts, time, money, and distance.

              Offering support only when needed. Allow girls to set schedules for meetings or performances, count out money for a trip, and so on.

              Are continuing to develop their fine motor skills and can tie shoes, use basic tools, begin to sew, etc.

              Encouraging girls to express themselves and their creativity by making things with their hands. Girls may need some assistance, however, holding scissors, threading needles, and so on.

              Love to act in plays, create music, and dance.

              Girls might like to create a play about welcoming a new girl to their school, or tell a story through dance or creative movement.

              Know how to follow rules, listen well, and appreciate recognition of a job done well. Acknowledging when the girls have listened or followed the directions well, which will increase their motivation to listen and follow again!


              Girl Scout Juniors

              At the Girl Scout Junior level (4th and 5th grades), girls . . . This means . . .
              Want to make decisions and express their opinions. Whenever possible, allowing girls to make decisions and express their opinions through guided discussion and active reflection activities. Also, have girls set rules for listening to others’ opinions and offering assistance in decision making.
              Are social and enjoy doing things in groups. Allowing girls to team-up in small or large groups for art projects, performances, and written activities.
              Are aware of expectations and sensitive to the judgments of others. Although it’s okay to have expectations, the expectation is not perfection! Share your own mistakes and what you learned from them, and be sure to create an environment where girls can be comfortable sharing theirs.
              Are concerned about equity and fairness. Not shying away from discussing why rules are in place, and having girls develop their own rules for their group.
              Are beginning to think abstractly and critically, and are capable of flexible thought. Juniors can consider more than one perspective, as well as the feelings and attitudes of another. Asking girls to explain why they made a decision, share their visions of their roles in the future, and challenge their own and others’ perspectives.
              Have strong fine and gross motor skills and coordination. Engaging girls in moving their minds and their bodies. Allow girls to express themselves through written word, choreography, and so on.
              Love to act in plays, create music, and dance. Girls might like to tell a story through playwriting, playing an instrument, or choreographing a dance.
              May be starting puberty, which means beginning breast development, skin changes, and weight changes. Some may be getting their periods. Being sensitive to girls’ changing bodies, possible discomfort over these changes, and their desire for more information. Create an environment that acknowledges and celebrates this transition as healthy and normal for girls.


              Girl Scout Cadettes

              At the Girl Scout Cadette level (6th, 7th, and 8th grades), girls . . .

              This means . . .
              Are going through puberty, including changes in their skin, body-shape, and weight. They’re also starting their menstrual cycles and have occasional shifts in mood. Being sensitive to the many changes Cadettes are undergoing and acknowledging that these changes are as normal as growing taller! Girls need time to adapt to their changing bodies, and their feelings about their bodies may not keep up. Reinforce that, as with everything else, people go through puberty in different ways and at different times.
              Are starting to spend more time in peer groups than with their families and are very concerned about friends and relationships with others their age. That girls will enjoy teaming-up in small or large groups for art projects, performances, and written activities, as well as tackling relationship issues through both artistic endeavors and Take Action projects.
              Can be very self-conscious — wanting to be like everyone else, but fearing they are unique in their thoughts and feelings. Encouraging girls to share, but only when they are comfortable. At this age, they may be more comfortable sharing a piece of artwork or a fictional story than their own words. Throughout the activities, highlight and discuss differences as positive, interesting, and beautiful.
              Are beginning to navigate their increasing independence and expectations from adults—at school and at home. Trusting girls to plan and make key decisions, allowing them to experience what’s known as “fun failure”: girls learn from trying something new and making mistakes.

              Girl Scout Seniors

              At the Girl Scout Senior level (9th and 10th grades), girls . . . This means . . .

              Are beginning to clarify their own values, consider alternative points of view on controversial issues, and see multiple aspects of a situation.

              Asking girls to explain the reasoning behind their decisions. Engage girls in role-play and performances, where others can watch and offer alternative solutions.

              Have strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and are able to plan and reflect on their own learning experiences. 

              Girls are more than able to go beyond community service to develop projects that will create sustainable solutions in their communities. Be sure to have girls plan and follow up on these experiences through written and discussion-based reflective activities. 

              Spend more time in peer groups than with their families and are very concerned about friends and relationships with others their age.

              That girls will enjoy teaming up in small or large groups for art projects, performances, and written activities. They’ll also want to tackle relationship issues through both artistic endeavors and Take Action projects. Alter the makeup of groups with each activity so that girls interact with those they might not usually pair up with.
              Frequently enjoy expressing their individuality. Encouraging girls to express their individuality in their dress, creative expression, and thinking. Remind girls frequently that there isn’t just one way to look, feel, think, or act. Assist girls in coming up with new ways of expressing their individuality.
              Feel they have lots of responsibilities and pressures—from home, school, peers, work, and so on.

              Acknowledging girls’ pressures and sharing how stress can limit health, creativity, and productivity. Help girls release stress through creative expression, movement, and more traditional stress-reduction techniques.

              Are continuing to navigate their increasing independence and expectations from adults—at school and at home. Trusting girls to plan and make key decisions, allowing them to experience what’s known as “fun failure”: girls learn from trying something new and making mistakes.


              Girl Scout Ambassadors

              At the Girl Scout Ambassador level (11th and 12th grades), girls . . . This means . . .
              Can see the complexity of situations and controversial issues—they understand that problems often have no clear solution and that varying points of view may each have merit. Inviting girls to develop stories as a group, and then individually create endings that they later discuss and share.
              Have strong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, and can adapt logical thinking to real-life situations. Ambassadors recognize and incorporate practical limitations to solutions. Girls are more than able to go beyond community service to develop projects that will create sustainable solutions in their communities. Be sure to have girls plan and follow up on these experiences through written and discussion-based reflective activities.
              Spend more time with peers than with their families and are very concerned about friends and relationships with others their age. Girls will enjoy teaming up in small or large groups for art projects, performances, and written activities. They’ll also want to tackle relationship issues through artistic endeavors and Take Action projects. Alter the makeup of groups with each activity so that girls interact with those they might not usually pair up with.
              Frequently enjoy expressing their individuality. Encouraging girls to express their individuality in their dress, creative expression, and thinking. Remind girls frequently that there isn’t just one way to look, feel, think, or act. Assist girls in coming up with new ways of expressing their individuality.
              Feel they have lots of responsibilities and pressures—from home, school, peers, work, etc. Acknowledging girls’ pressures and sharing how stress can limit health, creativity, and productivity. Help girls release stress through creative expression, movement, and more traditional stress-reduction techniques.
              Are continuing to navigate their increasing independence and expectations from adults—at school and at home—and are looking to their futures. Trusting girls to plan and make key decisions, allowing them to experience what’s known as “fun failure": girls learn from trying something new and making mistakes.


              The Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) reports in More than ‘Smores that participating in casual outdoor activities in Girl Scouts, like playing, walking, or taking field trips in the outdoors made girls stronger problem solvers and challenge seekers. These outdoor experiences often place girls in new physical, psychological, and social situations that motivate curiosity and foster a sense of discovery. These challenges "require girls to become more self-aware and to cooperate, communicate, and solve problems." (2014 More than S'mores, page 5)


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              CREATING A SAFE SPACE FOR GIRLS

              A safe space is one in which girls feel as though they can be themselves, without explanation, judgment, or ridicule. Girl Scout research shows that girls are looking for an emotionally safe environment, where confidentiality is respected and they can express themselves without fear.

              The environment you create is as important—maybe more—than the activities girls do; it’s the key to developing the sort of group that girls want to be part of. The following sections share some tips on creating a warm, safe environment for girls.

              Girl-Adult Partnership
              Girl Scouting is for the enjoyment and benefit of the girls, so meetings are built around girls’ ideas. When you put the girls first, you’re helping develop a team relationship, making space for the development of leadership skills, and allowing girls to benefit from the guidance, mentoring, and coaching of caring adults.

              The three Girl Scout processes (girl-led, learning by doing, and cooperative learning) are integral to the girl-adult partnership. Take time to read about processes and think about how to incorporate them into your group’s experiences. GIRL SCOUT PROGRAM: THE GIRL SCOUT LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE (GSLE)

              Progression

              Girl Scout activities should be age-appropriate and should build on existing skills, while being just a little bit (attainably) challenging. Activities should build the girls' skills as they go.

              Recognizing and Supporting Each Girl

              Girls look up to their volunteers. They need to know that you consider each of them an important person. They can survive a poor meeting place or an activity that flops, but they cannot endure being ignored or rejected. Recognize acts of trying as well as instances of clear success. Emphasize the positive qualities that make each girl worthy and unique. Be generous with praise and stingy with rebuke. Help girls find ways to show acceptance of and support for one another.

              Promoting Fairness

              Girls are sensitive to injustice. They forgive mistakes if they are sure you are trying to be fair. They look for fairness in the ways responsibilities are shared, in handling of disagreements and in responses to performance and accomplishment. When possible, consult girls as to what they think is fair before decisions are made. Explain your reasoning and show why you did something. Be willing to apologize if needed. Try to see that the responsibilities, as well as the chances for feeling important, are equally divided. Help girls explore and decide for themselves the fair ways of solving problems, carrying out activities, and responding to behavior and accomplishments.

              Building Trust

              Girls need your belief in them and your support when they try new things. They must be sure you will not betray a confidence. Show girls you trust them to think for themselves and use their own judgment. Help them make the important decisions in the group. Help them correct their own mistakes. Help girls give and show trust toward one another. Help them see how trust can be built, lost, regained, and strengthened.

              Managing Conflict

              Girls expect and want conflicts to be dealt with consistently and fairly. For more information, go to [ENGAGING GIRLS: Girls: Best Practices - Preventing & Managing Conflicts]

              Inspiring Open Communication

              Girls want someone who will listen to what they think, feel, and want to do. They like having someone they can talk to about important things, including things that might not seem important to adults. Listen to the girls. Respond with words and actions. Speak your mind openly when you are happy or concerned about something, and encourage girls to do this, too. Leave the door open for girls to seek advice, share ideas and feelings, and propose plans or improvements. Help girls see how open communication can result in action, discovery, better understanding of self and others, and a more comfortable climate for fun and accomplishment.

              Communicating Effectively with Girls of Any Age

              When communicating with girls, consider the following tips:

              • Listen: Listening to girls, as opposed to telling them what to think, feel, or do (no "you shoulds") is the first step in helping them take ownership of their program.
              • Be honest: If you’re not comfortable with a topic or activity, say so. No one expects you to be an expert on every topic. Ask for alternatives or seek out volunteers with the required expertise. (Owning up to mistakes—and apologizing for them—goes a long way with girls.)
              • Be open to real issues: For girls, important topics are things like relationships, peer pressure, school, money, drugs, and other serious issues. (You’ll also have plenty of time to discuss less weighty subjects.) When you don’t know, listen. Also seek help from GSNorCal if you need assistance or more information than you currently have.
              • Show respect: Girls often say that their best experiences were the ones where adults treated them as equal partners. Being spoken to as a young adult helps them grow.
              • Offer options: Providing flexibility in changing needs and interests shows that you respect the girls and their busy lives. But whatever option is chosen, girls at every grade level also want guidance and parameters.
              • Stay current: Be aware of the TV shows girls watch, movies they like, books and magazines they read, social media they engage with, and music they listen to—not to pretend you have the same interests, but to show you’re interested in their world.

              One way to communicate with girls is through the LUTE method—listen, understand, tolerate, and empathize. Here is a breakdown of the acronym LUTE to remind you of how to respond when a girl is upset, angry, or confused.

              • L = Listen: Hear her out, ask for details, and reflect back what you hear, such as, "What happened next?" or "What did she say?"
              • U = Understand: Try to be understanding of her feelings, with comments such as, "So what I hear you saying is . . ." "I’m sure that upset you," "I understand why you’re unhappy," and "Your feelings are hurt; mine would be, too".
              • T = Tolerate: You can tolerate the feelings that she just can’t handle right now on her own. It signifies that you can listen and accept how she is feeling about the situation. Say something like: "Try talking to me about it. I’ll listen," "I know you’re mad—talking it out helps," and "I can handle it—say whatever you want to."
              • E = Empathize: Let her know you can imagine feeling what she’s feeling, with comments such as, "I’m sure that really hurts" or "I can imagine how painful this is for you."

              Addressing the Needs of Older Girls

              Consider the following tips when working with teenage girls:

              • Think of yourself as a partner, and as a coach or mentor, as needed (not a "leader").
              • Ask girls what rules they need for safety and what group agreements they need to be a good team.
              • Understand that girls need time to talk, unwind, and have fun together.
              • Ask what they think and what they want to do.
              • Encourage girls to speak their minds.
              • Provide structure, but don’t micromanage.
              • Give everyone a voice in the group.
              • Treat girls like partners.
              • Don’t repeat what’s said in the group to anyone outside of it (unless necessary for a girl’s safety).

              Girl Scout Research Institute

              It’s amazing what you can learn when you listen to girls. Since its founding in 2000, the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) has become an internationally recognized center for research and public policy information on the development and well-being of girls. Not just Girl Scouts, but all girls.

              In addition to research staff, the GSRI draws on experts in child development, education, business, government, and the not-for-profit sector. We provide the youth development field with definitive research reviews that consolidate existing studies. And, by most measures, we are now the leading source of original research on the issues that girls face and the social trends that affect their lives. www.GirlScouts.org/research

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              When Sensitive Topics Come Up

              In Girl Scouts, "sensitive issues" are subjects that may be deeply rooted in beliefs and values, or are controversial topics. Examples are topics such as these: relationships, dating, violence, human sexuality, eating disorders, pregnancy, suicide, death, drug/alcohol use, or current events of a controversial nature.

              It’s not uncommon for girls of any age to spontaneously talk about these topics. They are faced with them in school, in the news, and in magazines, and will want to talk about them together. This is especially true with pre-teen and teenage girls. Also, the girls in your troop/group may choose a sensitive issue as a program focus. Girl Scouting plays an important role in helping girls explore their values and beliefs and gain self-confidence in their ability to make good decisions.

              According to Feeling Safe: What Girls Say, a 2003 Girl Scout Research Institute study, girls are looking for groups that allow connection and a sense of close friendship. They want volunteers who are teen savvy and can help them with issues they face, such as bullying, peer pressure, dating, athletic and academic performance, and more. Some of these issues may be considered "sensitive" by parents, and they may have opinions or input about how, and whether, Girl Scouts should cover these topics should be covered with their daughters. (http://www.girlscouts.org/content/dam/girlscouts-gsusa/forms-and-documents/about-girl-scouts/research/feeling_safe.pdf)

              Girl Scouts welcomes and serves girls and families from a wide spectrum of faiths and cultures. When girls wish to participate in discussions or activities that could be considered sensitive—even for some—put the topic on hold until you have spoken with parents and received guidance from GSNorCal.

              You should know, GSUSA does not take a position or develop materials on issues relating to human sexuality, birth control, or abortion. We feel our role is to help girls develop self-confidence and good decision-making skills that will help them make wise choices in all areas of their lives. We believe parents and guardians, along with schools and faith communities, are the primary sources of information on these topics.

              Parents/guardians make all decisions regarding their girl’s participation in Girl Scout program that may be of a sensitive nature. As a volunteer leader, you must get written parental permission for any locally-planned program offering that could be considered sensitive. Included on the permission form should be the topic of the activity, any specific content that might create controversy, and any action steps the girls will take when the activity is complete. Sensitive and Controversial Issues Permission forms are available from www.gsnorcal.org/forms. Be sure to have a form for each girl, and keep the forms on hand in case a problem arises. For activities not sponsored by Girl Scouts, find out in advance (from organizers or other volunteers who may be familiar with the content) what will be presented, and follow GSNorCal's guidelines for obtaining written permission.

              Listen and Ask: As the preceding sections suggest, you can help most just by being an empathetic listener. Sometimes, you may also find that by asking questions, you can help girls figure out how to get more information and guidance at school or at home. You don’t have to solve their issues, but you can put them on the trail toward solving them.

              Arrange for Education: If you observe that girls need or want more information on a topic that concerns them, check with your Volunteer Development Manager (VDM), Membership Manager (MM) or other GSNorCal staff member about opportunities for arranging topical discussions with experts on areas such as healthy eating, or coping with bullies and cliques. You can reach your VDM at info@gsnorcal.org. They will get back to you within a few days.

              Don’t feel that you have to solve everything! Your role is to help girls get information from those trained people who can provide it. Council staff has built up relationships with community experts who can help.

              What may seem benign to one person could be a sensitive issue for another. When you or the girls wish to participate in anything that could be considered controversial, including health or education in human sexuality, advocacy projects, work with religious groups, or anything that could consider a political/social debate, put the topic on hold until you’ve obtained written parental permission. See the Sensitive and Controversial Issues Parent Permission Form available from www.gsnorcal.org/forms. For non-Girl Scout activities, find out in advance from organizers or other volunteers who may be familiar with the content what will be presented, and follow GSNorCal's guidelines for obtaining written permission.

              Report concerns: There may be times when you worry about the health and well-being of girls in your group. Alcohol, drugs, sex, bullying, abuse, depression, and eating disorders are some of the issues girls may encounter. You are on the front-line of girls’ lives, and you are in a unique position to identify a situation in which a girl may need help. If you believe a girl is at risk of hurting herself or others, your role is to promptly bring that information to her parent/guardian or the council so she can get the expert assistance she needs. Your concern about a girl’s well-being and safety is taken seriously, and GSNorCal staff will guide you in addressing these concerns.

              If you suspect that a girl needs special help:

              Contact your VDM or MM at GSNorCal (info@gsnorcal.org) and find out how to refer the girl and her parents/guardians to experts at school or in the community. Share your concern with the girl’s family, if this is feasible. Here are a few signs that could indicate a girl needs expert help:

              • Marked changes in behavior or personality (for example, unusual moodiness, aggressiveness, or sensitivity)
              • Declining academic performance and/or inability to concentrate
              • Withdrawal from school, family activities, or friendships
              • Fatigue, apathy, or loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
              • Sleep disturbances
              • Increased secretiveness
              • Deterioration in appearance and personal hygiene.
              • Eating extremes, unexplained weight loss, distorted body image
              • Tendency toward perfectionism
              • Giving away prized possessions; preoccupation with the subject of death
              • Unexplained injuries such as bruises, burns, or fractures
              • Avoidance of eye contact or physical contact
              • Excessive fearfulness or distrust of adults
              • Abusive behavior toward other children, especially younger ones

              Your Role With Sensitive Issues

              When Girl Scout activities involve sensitive issues, your role is that of caring adult who can help girls acquire their own skills and knowledge in a supportive atmosphere, not someone who advocates any particular position. Here are some guidelines for you:

              • Remain neutral
              • Provide factual information
              • Respect the girls’ family values
              • Admit when you don’t know an answer, or if the topic makes you uncomfortable
              • Express confidence in the girls’ decision-making abilities.
              • Protect the girls’ privacy
              • Gently interrupt if the discussion becomes too personal and suggest that you talk it over after the meeting
              • If possible, bring in experts
              • Sensitive and Controversial Issues Permission Forms should be used whenever you feel the families may wish to be notified. Every region of our council and the country differs in terms of what families feel is okay for girls to discuss at various grade levels.
              • Consult with GSNorCal staff for additional support (and whenever there are legal issues involved).

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              CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF ACCEPTANCE & INCLUSION


              Girl Scouts embraces girls of all abilities, backgrounds, and heritage, with a specific and positive philosophy of inclusion that benefits everyone. Each girl—without regard to socioeconomic status, race, physical or cognitive ability, ethnicity, primary language, or religion—is an equal and valued member of the group, and groups reflect the diversity of the community.

              Inclusion is an approach and an attitude, rather than a set of guidelines. Inclusion is about belonging, about all girls being offered the same opportunities, about respect and dignity, and about honoring the uniqueness of and differences among us all. You’re accepting and inclusive when you:

              • Welcome every girl and focus on building community.
              • Emphasize cooperation instead of competition.
              • Provide a safe and socially comfortable environment for girls.
              • Teach respect for, understanding of, and dignity toward all girls and their families.
              • Actively reach out to girls and families who are traditionally excluded or marginalized.
              • Foster a sense of belonging to community as a respected and valued peer.
              • Honor the intrinsic value of each person’s life.

              As you think about where, when, and how often to meet with your group, you will find yourself considering the needs, resources, safety, and beliefs of all members and potential members. As you do this, include the special needs of any members who have disabilities, or whose parents or guardians have disabilities. But please don’t rely on visual cues to inform you of a disability: Approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population has a disability—that’s one in five people, of every socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, and religion.

              As a volunteer, your interactions with girls present an opportunity to improve the way society views girls (and their parents/guardians) with disabilities. Historically, disabilities have been looked at from a deficit viewpoint with a focus on how people with disabilities could be fixed. Today, the focus is on a person’s abilities—on what she can do rather than on what she cannot.

              If you want to find out what a girl with a disability needs to make her Girl Scout experience successful, simply ask her or her parent/guardian. If you are frank and accessible, it’s likely they will respond in kind, creating an atmosphere that enriches everyone.

              It’s important for all girls to be rewarded based on their best efforts—not on the completion of a task. Give any girl the opportunity to do her best and she will. Sometimes that means changing a few rules or approaching an activity in a more creative way. Here are some examples of ways to modify activities:

              • Invite a girl to complete an activity after she has observed others doing it.
              • If you are visiting a museum to view sculpture, find out if a girl who is blind might be given permission to touch the pieces.
              • If an activity requires running, a girl who is unable to run could be asked to walk or do another physical movement.

              In addition, note that people-first language puts the person before the disability.

              Say . . .

              Instead of . . .
              She has a learning disability. She is a learning disabled girl.
              She has a developmental delay. She is a mentally retarded girl; she is slow.
              She uses a wheelchair. She is a wheelchair-bound girl.

              When interacting with a girl (or parent/guardian) with a disability, consider these final tips:

              • When talking to a girl with a disability, speak directly to her, not through a parent/guardian or friend.
              • It’s okay to offer assistance to a girl with a disability, but wait until your offer is accepted before you begin to help. Listen closely to any instructions the person may have.
              • 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."
              GSNorCal staff and volunteers can assist you in accommodating girls with disabilities. Remember that not all disabilities can be seen—a girl who acts out may well have a diagnosed or undiagnosed condition.

              Registering Girls with Cognitive Disabilities

              Girls with cognitive disabilities can be registered as closely as possible to their chronological ages. They wear the uniform of that grade level. Make any adaptations for the girl to ongoing activities of the grade level to which the group belongs. Young women with cognitive disorders may choose to retain their girl membership through their 21st year, and then move into an adult membership category.

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              GIRL SCOUT MEETINGS

              When and how often to meet is up to you, your co-volunteers, parents, and girls: it may just be one time for this particular group of girls. Or, if you meet regularly, what day and time work best for the girls, for you, for your co-volunteers, and for other adults who will be presenting or mentoring? Once per week, twice a month, once a month? Most troops meet bi-weekly. Is after-school best? Can your co-volunteers meet at that time, or will meetings work better in the evenings or on weekends? For meeting place considerations [SAFETY-WISE: Meeting Place Considerations]

              The sample sessions in the Leadership Journey adult guides will give you ideas about how to plan and hold successful troop meetings that allow girls to Discover, Connect, and Take Action as they have fun with a purpose. (See [PROGRAM: The Girl Scout Leadership Experience] for more on the three processes.) Many volunteers find it helpful to think of meetings having six parts, as outlined below, but feel free to structure the meeting in a way that makes sense for you and the girls.

              As Girls Arrive

              Start-up activities are planned so that when girls arrive at the meeting they have something to do until the meeting begins. For younger girls, it could be coloring pages; teen girls might jot down a journal entry or just enjoy a little time to talk.

              Opening

              The opening focuses the meeting and allows girls to start the meeting. Each troop decides how to open their own meeting—most begin with the Girl Scout Promise and Law, and then add a simple flag ceremony, song, game, story, or other ceremony designed by the girls. Girl Scout Brownies, for example, might create a new tradition by skipping in a circle while singing a song. Ceremonies, even when brief or humorous, make Girl Scout time special. The Journey adult guides contain ideas about openings that correspond to Journey themes.

              Business

              Troop business may include taking attendance, collecting dues, making announcements, and planning an upcoming event or trip. This is a good time for girls to take turns leading, especially as they grow up! (Some troops may move the business portion of the meeting to an earlier or later slot.

              Activities

              Activities will depend on what the girls want to do in their troop and how they want to spend their collective time. Outdoor time is important, so encourage the girls to do an activity in a park or forest. If girls are interested in animals, encourage the girls to plan a visit to a zoo or animal shelter. As you engage in one of the three National Leadership Journeys, review the "Sample Sessions at a Glance" in the adult guide for Journey activity ideas.

              Snack

              Treats are an option some troops decide to include in their meetings and range from a bottle of soap bubbles or a jump rope to a food snack. If girls choose to include snacks, guide them to consider the health of a potential snack, as well as possible food allergies. Enlist the help of parents or guardians by asking them to sign up and bring a treat. You’ll also find plenty of snack ideas and signup forms in the adult guide of most Leadership Journeys.

              Clean-up

              Clean-up is a great habit for girls to get their meeting space back to the way it was when they arrived—maybe even cleaner! Girls can also take leadership of the cleaning themselves, deciding who does what. They might even enjoy the tradition of a kaper chart (a chore chart that lists all the chores and assigns girls’ names to each), so that everyone takes turns at each responsibility.

              Closing

              The closing lets the girls know that the troop meeting is ending. Many girls close with the friendship circle, in which each girl stands in a circle, puts her right arm over her left, and holds the hand of the girl standing next to her. The friendship squeeze is started by one girl, and then passed around the circle until it comes back to the girl who started it. When the squeeze is finished, girls twist clockwise out of the circle lifting their arms and turning around and out of the circle. In addition, you may find some helpful, Journey-related closing ceremony ideas in the Journey’s adult guide.

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              First Troop Meeting

              When you first get together with girls (and this meeting may also include parents/guardians, or you may decide to hold a separate meeting for the adults), you’ll want to get to know the girls, and give them a chance to get to know one another.

              Icebreaker games that let girls share simple details about themselves are a great way to start off your first gathering. Journeys often start with such an icebreaker, so if you’re digging into a Journey right away, you’ll be all set. You can also check your council’s resources or search the Internet for "icebreakers for kids" to find more ideas.

              If you already know which Journey the girls want to do, you’ll find it useful to accomplish some of the following during this meeting. (Note that all these points are detailed in the adult guide for each Journey, too). If your girls haven’t chosen a Journey yet, you can spend time during the first meeting talking about the themes of the three Journeys that are available for their grade level and find out which one the group would like to do. You can then discuss these points in the next meeting, if you run out of time.

              1. Introduce the Journey, its theme, and its ties to leadership. Each Journey’s adult guide gives you ideas for talking with girls and their parents/guardians about the Journey’s theme and the Three Keys to Leadership (Discover, Connect, Take Action). Just follow Sample Session 1 and you'll be all set!
              2. Find out what interests the group (and be sure to include the other adult volunteers), so that you and the girls can begin to customize the Journey. Do the girls want to dig deeper into a particular aspect of the Journey? Without promising anything (yet!), ask the girls to talk about what they’re passionate about, what they’ve always wanted to do, and how they would spend their time if money and other barriers were no object. Remind the girls they can do activities inside or outside. Build off the ideas shared, but be sure to include opinions from all the girls. Ask direct questions of those who seem to be holding back or are unsure about answering, so everyone is included.
              3. Get the girls talking about how they want to schedule their time together. Use the planning pages from their Journey (referring to your draft calendar only as needed, so that the girls lead). Consider questions like these:
                • Can girls organize and plan a field trip or longer travel opportunity that will allow them to learn more about a particular Journey topic or theme?
                • Is there an event that meshes with this topic or area of interest?
                • Can the girls locate and communicate with an expert in the field via email or social media?
                • Can they invite a guest speaker to answer questions or demonstrate particular skills?
                • Which badges can the group choose to work on that will deepen their skills in this particular area?
                • If they are Juniors or older, are they interested in pursuing their Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, or Gold Awards?
                • Do they have ideas for activities that will involve younger or older girls?

              Volunteer Toolkit

              For all troop levels, Daisy through Ambassador and multi-level troops, you can log into your Volunteer Toolkit to find meeting plans, and lots of other tools to help manage the troop.

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               PLANNING IN A GIRL-LED ENVIRONMENT

              It’s important to start planning your time with girls. You should consider the following questions and begin to map out your Girl Scout year:

              How many times each month will you meet? When do you plan to break for holidays?

              How many weeks do you need to allocate for the Girl Scout Cookie Program?

              Will you have time in your schedule for guest speakers and other visitors?

              If you’ve worked with this group before, what are their preferences: badge work? field trips? other activities? For specific ideas on how to incorporate badges, trips, and other Girl Scout traditions into a Journey, check out the online Journey maps for the grade level of the girls you’re partnering with.

              If your group will be meeting for less than a year (such as at a resident camp or during a series), you’ll be able to adjust the calendar to suit your needs. In the same way, if you’re planning a multi-year event (such as a travel excursion), add one or two more years to the framework.

              After you’ve drafted a loose framework, ask the girls what they think. Or, create the online calendar together! Remember that you want girls to lead, but younger girls will need more guidance, while older girls will require much less. Seniors and Ambassadors may not even want you to draft a calendar in advance, so if they balk at what you’ve done, let them take the reins. (Journeys for older girls include planning pages specifically designed to help them customize their Journey.) Daisies and Brownies, on the other hand, may enjoy your calendar and just fill in a few ideas here and there, which will clue you in to their interests.

              As your group starts its Journey, get a discussion (or debate!) going on the Journey’s theme and what it means to the girls. Probe to find out what they’re most interested in accomplishing during their time together, and then help them connect those interests to their Journey.

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               LETTING GIRLS LEAD

              Involving Girls in Meeting & Activity Planning

              Help each troop member do her part to ensure the meeting and activities are enriching and fun. Based on their grade levels and abilities, girls may decide and plan opening and closing activities, bring and prepare treats, teach songs or games, and clean up. As girls grow, they can show and teach younger members about Girl Scouting. They can also assist you in preparing materials for activities. For trips, campouts, parent meetings, and multi-troop events, girls may be responsible for shopping, packing equipment, handing out programs, cleaning up, gathering wood, and so on. As long as you pay attention to grade level and maturity, what girls can do is endless! What better way to prepare them for life after high school?


              Yearly Approach: In the spring the girls make lists of ideas for activities the following year. A "draft" calendar is then created for the last meeting and parents sign up to help with the activities. Over the summer, a tentative yearly calendar is put together and folders with the meeting info and schedule along with the roster and calendar. Girls receive their folder at the first meeting and then they can lead the meetings following the calendar that they set up.

              Month-to-Month Approach: After the girls make some decisions about what they’d like to do, make a general calendar for the year with the big things they’ve planned, and then prepare a calendar each month with the regular meeting activities which are scheduled. That way, the girls can be planning as they go, and have more flexibility to plan in additional activities doing something they are enjoying. As well, there is less ’pressure’ to finish projects since they can just keep going with them at the next meeting if they want to.

              Getting the Girls' Ideas

              Discussions and decision-making should be fun! Along with the fun techniques in the Journey sample sessions, here are some other fun ideas. It’s a good idea to use many different ways to get the girls’ ideas and engage them in their planning. Here are fun ways to bring out their ideas.

              • Brainstorm Graffiti Sheet: Hang a large sheet of paper on the wall at each meeting. Let girls write ideas or add to other ones already written.
              • Brainstorm Session: This immediately gives girls the feeling that anything is possible, and ideas will flow.

                Checklists or Surveys: Provide a list of possible activities that could be done. Leave space at the bottom of the sheet for them to write in suggestions.

              • Fives: Everyone gives five ideas in each of the categories they agree on: crafts, outings, outdoor activities, service projects, awards, etc.
              • Idea or Dream Box: Girls suggest activities.
              • Jelly Bean Game: Each girl gets a certain number of jelly beans (or Cheerios, grapes, raisins, M&Ms, etc). As you go around a circle, each girl gives an idea or answers a question (such as "What do I like to do?" or "Where would I like to go?") and eats her jelly bean. You can’t eat a jelly bean unless you answer or speak up, and you can’t answer/speak up unless you have a jelly bean.
              • Sticky Notes: Have girls draw or write things they like to do on separate sticky notes to post on a large piece of paper for all to see.
              • "Taster" activities: Try sample activities and ask for girls’ reactions. They won’t hide their enthusiasm (or lack of it!)
              • "What we like to do collage": Have girls cut pictures from magazines or draw pictures of things they'd like to do.

              Narrowing Choices:
              First, allow girls to advocate for some of their choices. Here are some ways to find out the girls’ feelings about the ideas.

              • Now, Soon, Later: Three corners of the room are designated "Now, Soon, or Later". As each idea is said, have girls run to the area that corresponds with how they feel.
              • Pep ‘N Flash: Ideas are written down on separate index cards and passed out evenly to the girls. Each girl reads a card, all girls say Yea or Boo. If there are any Boos, the card is put in the center of the circle. Keep going around until the only cards left are the ones without any Boos. Narrow choices from there by having everyone only vote three times, etc.
              • Spectrum: Have a line with one end for "My favorite idea ever" and the other end for "I’m not interested". For each idea, have the girls arrange themselves on the line according to their feelings.
              • Stickers: Write the ideas on a large piece of paper. Have each girl place a sticker next to the ones she likes. Or, give each girl a specific number of stickers—e.g. "you can only vote five times."

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              Troop Government

              Many troops employ a democratic system of governance so that all members have the opportunity to express their interests and feelings and share in the planning and coordination of activities. Girls partner with you and other adults, and you facilitate, act as a sounding board, and ask and answer questions. Girls from Daisies through Ambassadors will gain confidence and leadership skills when given the opportunity to lead their activities, learn cooperatively as a group, and learn by doing instead of by observing.

              Girls may choose any form of troop government (or combination) that works for them. They may need to experiment with different things until the troop is running the way they would like it to. The aim is to find a way for every girl to express her ideas and be part of the decisions. The following are some traditions troops have used for girl-led governance, but these are just examples. Journeys offer examples of team decision-making too. View the Troop Government Resources for more details.

              Brownie Ring Daisy Circle/Brownie Ring: While sitting in a circle, girls create a formal group decision-making body. The circle is an organized time for girls to express their ideas and talk about activities they enjoy, and you play an active role in facilitating discussion and helping them plan. Girls often vote to finalize decisions. If girls are talking over each other, consider passing an object like a talking stick that entitles one girl to speak at a time.

              Patrol System


              Court of Honor

              Junior/Cadette/Senior/Ambassador Patrol or Team System: In this system, large troops divide into small groups, with every member playing a role. Teams of four to six girls are recommended so that each girl gets a chance to participate and express her opinions. Patrols may be organized by interests or activities that feed into a take-action project, with each team taking responsibility for some part of the total project, and girls may even enjoy coming up with names for their teams.
              Patrol leaders meet with adults periodically in what is called a Court of Honor, where patrol leaders bring forward the ideas and plans their patrols are working on.

              Executive Board Junior/Cadette/Senior/Ambassador Executive Board: In the executive board system (also called steering committee), one leadership team makes decisions for the entire troop. This is similar to student government systems that girls may be familiar with. The boards’ (elected officers) responsibility is to plan activities and assign jobs based on interests and needs, and the rest of the troop decides how to pass their ideas and suggestions to the executive board throughout the year. The executive board usually has a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer and holds its own meetings to discuss troop matters. Limit the length of time each girl serves on the executive board so all troop members can participate during the year.
              Town Meeting Junior/Cadette/Senior/Ambassador Town Meeting: Under the town meeting system, business is discussed and decisions are made at meetings attended by all the girls in the troop. As in the patrol and executive board systems, everyone gets the chance to participate in decision-making and leadership. Your role is to act as a moderator, who makes sure everyone gets a chance to talk and that all ideas are considered.

              Committee

              Task Group

              Task Groups/Committees: Small groups are formed for specific tasks. Task groups may be used to investigate information on a particular question, plan and/or carry out parts of a troop project, or carry out routine and/or special tasks.

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              PREVENTING & MANAGING CONFLICT

              Conflicts and disagreements are an inevitable part of life, and when handled constructively can actually enhance communication and relationships. At the very least, Girl Scouts are expected to practice self-control and diplomacy so that conflicts do not erupt into regrettable incidents. Shouting, verbal abuse, or physical confrontations are never warranted and cannot be tolerated in the Girl Scout environment.

              When a conflict arises between girls or a girl and a volunteer, get those involved to sit down together and talk calmly and in a nonjudgmental manner. (Each party may need some time—a few days or a week—to calm down before being able to do this.) Although talking in this way can be uncomfortable and difficult, it does lay the groundwork for working well together in the future. Whatever you do, do not spread your complaint around to others—that won’t help the situation and causes only embarrassment and anger.

              If a conflict persists, be sure you explain the matter to your volunteer support team. If the supervisor cannot resolve the issues satisfactorily (or if the problem involves the supervisor), the issue can be taken to the next level of supervision and, ultimately, contact your council if you need extra help.

              Preventing Problems

              The easiest way to deal with conflicts is to prevent them from happening! In Girl Scouting, we use many techniques to accomplish this:

              • Team Agreements (Ground Rules): It’s a good idea to have the group establish expectations and agree on consequences at the very beginning. The team agreement can be revisited throughout the year to see if it needs any adjustment.
                • Girls should be involved in making them.
                • Rules/consequences should be settled in advance at a calm time.
                • Girls and adults must agree to them (some rules are non-negotiable, especially those relating to safety).
                • It's a good idea to post the rules at meetings as a reminder to all.
                • It's a good idea to relate rules to the Girl Scout Promise and Law.
              • kaper chartUse Kaper Charts: This allows for a fair way to divide up chores, avoids the appearance of playing favorites or having the leader’s daughter get stuck with more than her share, and also gives a way to mix up the girls to help them get to know each other better. You can make kaper charts in a variety of ways. You can also use kaper charts to rotate tasks for individual girls or to rotate adult responsibilities (and even schedule breaks).
              • Teambuilding Activities and Games: Ensuring that the girls have an opportunity to get to know each other is important. This can be done by providing opportunities to work in small groups and pairs, rotating them frequently. Cooperative games can also help the girls in your troop ’be a sister to every Girl Scout’.
              • Changing Activities Frequently: Changing activities often can help a variety of problems. Girls, especially young ones, have short attention spans. Savvy adults know that if girls start picking at each other or having problems getting along, that is time to pull out something new to do and possibly change the groups around.
              • Split the girls up into groups for activities: This allows the opportunity to put girls together who potentially might be good friends (great idea for shyer girls or if you have a girl or girls who don't yet have friends in the troop), separate girls who are having interpersonal difficulties before the problem escalates, and allows girls the opportunity to get to know all of the girls, rather than always sticking with those one or two "best friends".
              • Do It/Did It: Start with two cans and all girls’ names (on popsicle sticks) in the Do It can. Draw a name from the can when you need a line leader, the person to be "It" in a game, or the person who gets to do the special thing that everyone wants to do. Put that person’s name in the Did It can. Start over when everyone has had a turn. (Can also use slips of paper in a bag).
              • Program Resources: The adult Journey guides have lots of ideas for how to do activities. There are also fun badges in the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting that foster teambuilding and developing inclusive behavior and empathy in girls.
              • Talking Sign: When a girl wishes to speak during a discussion, she taps her raised index and middle fingers (two fingers) in front of her on the floor or
                on the table.
              • Talking Stick: Have a special stick (could be broomstick size or smaller, could decorate) or other item and the only person who can talk is the one holding it. During certain types of discussions the discussion leader (could be a girl) holds on to the other end and does not let go so she can get it back when needed to hand it to another person. 
              Positive Reinforcement Techniques
              • CFL (Caught Following the Law) Stickers: (Could print CFL with a smiley face on computer return address labels). Walk around during the meeting and stick on those who are ’caught’ following the Girl Scout Law. Don’t use them at every meeting and the girls will never know when they will get one.

              • Marble Jar: You will need a small jar and some marbles or some other small objects to fill the jar. You can pre-determine reasons objects are placed in the jar, e.g. everyone turning in permission slips on time, bringing asked for materials, etc. You place objects into the jar for these rewards, and you take objects out of the jar for misbehavior. When the jar is full, they receive a reward: a party, field trip, etc.
              • Quiet Sign Leader: (or anyone who wishes to get the group’s attention) quietly raises right hand. The girls should learn that they then also raise their hands, and "when your hand goes up, your mouth goes shut."

              Managing Problems

              If an activity is not going well, it's a great idea to stop and have the group talk about it. Would the group like to take a break? Adjust the activity? Stop the activity and do something else? Did the girls choose this activity? Is it turning out as well as they thought it would? This is a great opportunity to let the girls make some girl-led decisions about what should happen next.

              Sometimes it is a good idea for adults to step back and ask themselves whether it really is a problem for the girls to be giggling while doing an activity, being noisy, taking creative license on a project, taking "too long", or not participating in a planned project. Is it really bothering anyone besides you? Do they really need to finish it at all? Girl Scouting is supposed to be fun, and should feel more relaxed than school.

              Consequences for Negative Behavior

              Discuss the following ideas with the girls when they are creating their Team Agreement to see if they are interested in trying any of them. 

              • Doghouse: Have a small dog figurine, make a doghouse out of a small box. As long as girls are doing well at meeting the dog stays out of the doghouse to enjoy their activities. When the girls are not following rules, become too loud, etc. the dog retreats to his doghouse to get away. The dog usually will retreat into his house for 5 minutes before he peeks out to check on the girls.
              • Blue Spot: The "Blue Spot" can be just a blue piece of construction paper. If someone is breaking a rule or is overly disruptive, the leader (without stopping the activity, and usually without a word) calmly hands the Blue Spot to the girl. She would then take the Blue Spot to a designated place away from everyone and sit until she felt ready to rejoin the group (or a specified few minutes). Occasionally, you may ask if a girl feels like she needs the blue spot and let her make the decision herself.
              • Situation Jar: Ask each girl to write some "unacceptable situations" on slips of paper. Discuss these situations together as a troop, and after each has been discussed, place the slip into the jar. When the troop is satisfied that they have thought of all the situations they can, they then all agree to avoid these situations. Situations can be added as the year progresses and as they arise. You might ask: "Is this a situation for our jar?" and then write it on a slip of paper and add it to the jar. You might have an individual girl go to the jar, write the situation and add it to the jar. This accomplishes two things: it makes her aware of the situation, and also gives her a chance to remove herself from the situation and creates a "time out" (a time to refocus).
              • Three Strikes: A strike is represented by a ticket. If a girl is breaking the rules, etc., just quietly go over to her with no comment, and place a ticket in front of her. Continue what you are doing. If she continues, place a second ticket in front of her. If it is necessary to place the third and final ticket, she is then instructed to call for a ride home.
              If a girl is acting out, or if girls are having interpersonal difficulties, if possible the adult volunteer team to take a moment to privately discuss how best to handle the situation. Here are a few reminders:

              • Whenever possible handle issues privately with girls. Each girl must always be treated with respect. Often, behavior problems or acting out may be a result of difficult situations in a girl’s life or simply a bad day.
              • Keep your cool! If you find yourself tempted to act or speak in anger, have one of the other adults handle the situation. 
              • In conflicts, both sides of the story or issue must be heard.
              • Girls should talk about their feelings and differences and resolve their own problems as much as possible.
              • Avoid calling undue attention to the girl(s) involved. If possible, don’t stop the activity or what you’re doing, and instead have one of the adults speak privately with those involved. 
              • Never discuss one girl with another (especially with your own daughter) or with another adult who is not part of the leadership team. Issues and conflicts must be kept confidential.
              • Program resources can be used to promote conflict resolution and active listening. Use the values in the Girl Scout Promise and Law as behavioral guidelines.
              • Involve a girl's parents or guardians in problem-solving. They may be able to help give ideas for effective strategies, or may be able to help you understand a girl's personality or temperament better, or if there may be any issues that might be contributing to the situation.
              • Consult with local volunteers (remember to protect confidentiality) or council staff for creative ideas or solutions.

              Be aware that acting out or other inappropriate behavior can be a symptom of emotional or physical child abuse.

              Volunteers are not "mandatory reporters" under California law, but should consider themselves morally responsible to report any suspected child abuse. Note that you do not have to be convinced that abuse is definitely occurring—if the thought crosses your mind and you think there is a possibility that it could be true, then this means that you suspect abuse.

              If you suspect child abuse, contact a council staff member for assistance. Staff members are mandated reporters, and have been trained in reporting suspected child abuse.

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              SAMPLE TROOP YEAR

              Here is just one example of how you and the girls could set up your troop year.

              • Hold a parent/guardian meeting.
              • Open a checking account.
              • Register all the girls in the troop.
              • Meet together for the first time, allowing the girls to decide how they can learn each others’ names and find out more about each other.
              • Kick off a leadership Journey with the opening ceremony recommended in the first sample session, or a trip or special event that fits the theme. Have the girls brainstorm and plan any trip or event.
              • Enjoy the full Journey, including its take-action project.
              • Along the way, add in related badge activities that girls will enjoy and that will give them a well-rounded year.
              • Have the girls plan, budget for, and "earn and learn" in the Girl Scout Cookie Program.
              • Help girls plan a field trip or other travel opportunity.
              • Encourage girls to plan a culminating ceremony for the Journey, including awards presentations, using ideas in the Journey girls’ book and/or adult guide.
              • Pre-register girls for next year.
              • Camp out!
              • Participate in a council-wide event with girls from around your region.
              • Have the girls plan and hold a bridging ceremony for girls continuing on to the next Girl Scout grade level.

              Reengaging Girls

              The end of the troop year doesn’t have to be the end of a girls’ time with Girl Scouting, or the end of your time with girls. Some girls may no longer have time for a full-year commitment and will be unsure what’s next for them. Others won’t be able to imagine their lives without this same group of girls. Here’s how you can best reengage your troop:

              • Some girls may want other options besides troops. That’s okay—Girl Scouts offers many ways to participate. Talk to girls about day and residence camp, travel opportunities, STEM and robotics offerings, and events your GSNorCal may offer. Older girls, especially, enjoy these shorter-term, flexible ways to be Girl Scouts.
              • Some girls will be excited to bridge to the next grade level in Girl Scouting, and will look to you for guidance on how to hold a bridging ceremony. Even if you’re not sure of your continued participation with Girl Scouts (and we hope you will find lots of exciting ways to be involved, even if leading a troop no longer fits your life), be sure to capture their excitement and work with them to a plan a meaningful bridging ceremony.
              • If you plan to stay with this troop, but some girls are bridging to the next grade level, talk to your VDM or MM about helping them decide how they’d like to continue in Girl Scouting—perhaps in programs like STEM, events, or travel!
              • Talk to girls about earning their Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, or Gold Awards, which are opportunities for them to make a dramatic difference in their communities—and to have plenty to brag about with college admissions officers, too.
              And what about you? If you want to stay with this troop, start working with them to plan their group activities next year. And if you’re a little worn out but are interested in staying with Girl Scouts in other, flexible ways, be sure to let your VDM or MM know how you’d like to be a part of girls’ lives in the future. Are you ready to volunteer at camp? Help organize a program series or event? Take a trip? The possibilities are endless.

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              FRIENDS & FAMILY NETWORK (ADULTS)

              Forming Your Friends & Family Network

              You’ll want to involve other adults in the troop. Most parents and guardians are helpful and supportive and sincerely appreciate your time and effort on behalf of their daughters. And you almost always have the same goal, which is to make Girl Scouting an enriching experience for their girls. Encourage them to check out www.GirlScouts4girls.org to find out how to expand their roles as advocates for their daughters.

              In addition to the parents/guardians, think about the people you know whom you admire, who can connect with girls, who are dependable and responsible, and who realistically have time to spend volunteering. Consider business associates, neighbors, former classmates, friends, and so on. If you have trouble finding reliable, quality volunteers to assist, talk to your volunteer support team for advice and support.  And feel free to use the sample welcome letter and friends/family checklist in the Girl Scout Daisy, Brownie, and Junior leadership Journeys to assist you in expanding your troop’s adult network.

              As part of the Basic Troop Leader training required for new leaders, you will take a short module called "Getting Adults to Help" found in the New Troop Leader section for each program level. training.gsnorcal.org

              Troop Leaders are responsible for ensuring that all adult volunteer helpers are adult member-volunteers, which means they have current membership and current and approved electronic background check on file with GSNorCal. Troop volunteers must complete required training(s) for their role on the Volunteer Learning Portal. Please notify volunteers helping your troop about these requirements. Be sure every volunteer reviews and follows the Girl Scout Safety Guidelines [SAFETY-WISE: Girl Scout Safety Guidelines]. 

              Set up positions that work for you, and draw on other volunteers who possess skill sets that you may lack. When you’re ready to invite parents, neighbors, friends, colleagues, and other respected adults to work with you, send them a letter and invite them to their first troop committee meeting.

              Your troop committee members might help by:

              • Helping at troop meetings
              • Filling in for you
              • Arranging meeting places
              • Being responsible for communicating with girls and parents/guardians
              • Locating adults with expertise on a topic of special interest to girls
              • Assisting with trips and chaperoning
              • Managing troop records

              Sample Positions

              A troop committee may be made up of general members or may include specific positions. The following positions have online training modules available:
              training.gsnorcal.org

              Fall Product or Cookie Manager: Manages all aspects of Girl Scout Fall Product Program or Cookie Program activities.

              Troop Treasurer: Someone to keep track of the money and financial records.

              Trip & Outdoor Advisor: The volunteer you’d look to whenever you need to transport girls for any reason; this person would have volunteers available to drive and chaperone.

              Troop Driver: Someone to drive on occasional outings or trips.

              Troop Helper/Chaperone:  Attends all meetings with girls (or rotates with other adults) and plans meeting activities with girls and other adults.

              Troop/Group First Aider:  Holds current first aid and CPR certification, accompanies the troop when a first aider is required, knows how to use the Safety Activity Checkpoints, and helps to train girls in safe ways to plan their activities.

              Troop Camping Certified Adult: Assumes responsibility for camping activities, trains and prepares girls in camping skills. Attends camping trip.

              Backpacking Certified Adult: (Juniors and older) Assumes responsibility for training and preparing girls for their backpacking experience. Attends backpacking trip.

              Bronze Award Advisor: (Junior troops) Assumes responsibility for Bronze Award activities, trains girls in guidelines, and helps them through the process.

              Silver Award Advisor: (Cadette troops) Assumes responsibility for Silver Award activities, trains girls in guidelines, and helps them through the process.

              Gold Award Advisor: (Senior/Ambassador troops) Assumes responsibility for Gold Award activities, trains girls in guidelines, and helps them through the process.

              STEM Advisor:  Become empowered to facilitate Girl Scout STEM programs – Learn about the GSUSA STEM Badges and advise/organize girls with STEM activities.


              The following positions are also suggested but do not have official training available:

              Snack Coordinator: Develops schedule for snack responsibilities and communicates schedule to families.

              Craft Coordinator: Plans and coordinates a few craft projects for certain meetings and collects supplies for a troop craft box.

              Communication Coordinator: Phones families as necessary in the event of meeting changes or last-minute announcements and develops phone tree for use when troop is on outings.

              Sibling Baby-sitter: Watch children during the meetings so other parents can get involved.

              Photographer/Historian: Keeps all photos and activity records on file for the year. Creates a scrapbook for the troop and shares pictures with families. Updates troop website if available.

              Troop Registrar: Keeps track of member information, ensures that all girls have completed registration and adult volunteers are member-volunteers with current and approved electronic background check on file with GSNorCal. They will create a troop roster, maintain a contact list and keep track of the troop records.

              Asking for Help - Best Practices

              Remember that not everyone will be able to help out in equal ways—some families may have stressors, such as money challenges, illness, or other problems that they may not feel comfortable sharing. Their daughters need Girl Scouting even more than the other girls!

              Open and regular communication is the best way to gain support from parents/guardians. Here are some ideas for successfully recruiting parent/guardian help:

              • Online trainings are available for each position. Ask an interested parent to check out the modules for positions they might be interested in.
              • Hold a parent meeting to let everyone get to know each other and learn about the girls’ plans.
              • Call parents of new girls to introduce yourself and welcome them.
              • Send a parent interest survey to find out what the parents’ interests and talents are.
              • Invite the parents to attend troop/group meetings.
              • Invite parents to special troop ceremonies.
              • Plan something special: family picnic, Me and My Guy activity, etc., to invite the families to.
              • Ask for help personally—sending a general plea in a newsletter or via email doesn’t always work.
              • Make yourself available after meetings to greet and chat with the parents—let them get to know you, and take the time to get to know them.
              • Establish good communication: newsletters, e-group, parent meetings, etc.  The more families know about the girls’ plans, the more likely they are to offer to help. 
              • Do activities that involve family interaction: e.g. girls develop family safety plans.
              • Ask parents to drive for field trips.
              • Give sufficient notice; be specific about what you’re asking for.
              • Encourage parents to reach out to other adults; bring in resources.
              • Recognize and thank parents for their contributions. Here are a few ideas for expressing thanks:
                • Have the girls make thank you cards.
                • Have the girls make small thank you gifts.
                • Remember to acknowledge contributions in newsletters or electronic communications.

              Cash or Gift Card Thank You Gifts

              According to the U.S. Department of Labor, volunteers are individuals who perform service for nonprofit organizations without promise, expectation, or receipt of compensation. Offering stipends or other compensation to volunteers may inadvertently convert a "volunteer" into an "employee." Volunteers who receive stipends must be treated the same as paid staff and payroll tax contributions must be withheld from their pay; this goes for in-kind benefits as well (they must be assigned fair market value). Volunteer recognition gifts of limited value (e.g., logo shirt, plaque), fortunately, are considered a "de minimus benefit" and are not taxed. However, cash, a gift certificate or a similar item that can easily exchange for cash is treated as compensation.

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              First Parent/Guardian/Caregiver Meeting

              A parent/guardian meeting, or a meeting of your friends-and-family network (as encouraged in many of the leadership Journeys), is a chance for you to get to know the families of the girls in your group.

              Take the "Meeting With Parents/Guardians" course under the New Troop Leader section of each program level. The course will walk you through the suggested agenda and there are many handouts for you to give the families. training.gsnorcal.org

              Before the meeting, be sure you and/or your co-volunteers have done the following:

              Planning for the Meeting

              • For younger girls, arranged for a parent, another volunteer, or a group of older girls to do activities with the girls in your group while you talk with their parents/guardians (if girls will attend the meeting, too)
              • Practiced a discussion on the following:
                - Girl Scout Mission, Promise, and Law
                - Benefits of Girl Scouting for their daughters, including how the GSLE is a world-class system for developing girl leaders
                -  All the fun the girls are going to have
                -  Expectations for girls and their parents/guardians
                -  Ideas of how parents and other guardians can participate in and enrich their daughters’ Girl Scout experiences
              • Determined when product sales (including Girl Scout cookie activities) will happen in your council; parents/guardians will absolutely want to know
              • Determined what information parents should bring to the meeting
              • Used the Friends and Family pages provided in the adult guides for many of the Journeys, or created your own one-page information sheet with
                - Contact information for you and co-volunteers and helpers
                - The day and time of each meeting
                - Location of and directions to the meeting place
                - What to bring with them
                - Information on how to get Journey resources—books, awards, and keepsakes—and other merchandise like sashes, vests, T-shirts, and so on)
              • Gathered or created supplies, including:
                - A sign-in sheet
                - An information sheet
                - Permission forms for parents/guardians (also available from GSNorCal)
                - Health history forms (as required by GSNorCal)
                - GSUSA registration forms
              • Prepared yourself to ask parents and guardians for help, being as specific as you can about the kind of help you will need (the Journey’s Friends and Family pages will come in handy here)
              • Decide on the date, location, and time of the meeting, and publicized to everyone

              Sample Agenda

              You’re free to structure your parent/guardian meetings in whatever way works for you, but the following structure works for many new volunteers.

              Why Girl Scouts?

              • As the girls and adults arrive, ask them to sign in. If the girls’ parents/guardians haven’t already registered them online, you’ll want to email or hand out information so they can do so. If possible, bring an internet enabled laptop or tablet so that people could register at the meeting. You may also want to email or hand out a brief information sheet before or at this meeting.
              • Welcome the girls and adults, introduce yourself and other co-volunteers or helpers.
              • Have adults and girls introduce themselves, discuss whether anyone in their families has been a Girl Scout, and talk about what Girl Scouting means to them. Welcome everyone, regardless of experience, and let them know they will be learning about Girl Scouts today. (If you’re new to Girl Scouting, don't worry - just let everyone know you'll be learning about Girl Scouting together!

              If Girls Are Present

              Ask the girls to go with the adult or teen in charge of their activity and begin the discussion.

              About Girl Scouts

              Discuss the information you prepared for this meeting:

              • All the fun girls are going to have!
              • When and where the group will meet
              • The Girl Scout Mission, Promise, and Law
              • The Girl Scout program, especially what the GSLE is and what the program does for their daughters
              • When Girl Scout cookies (and other products) will go on sale and how participation in product sales teaches life skills and helps fund group activities
              • How you plan to keep in touch with parents/guardians (Facebook page or group, Twitter, email, text messaging, a phone tree, or flyers the girls take home are just some ideas)
              • Some examples of activities the girls might choose. Adults brainstorm their ideas. Explain that girl planning and decision-making is an important part of Girl Scouting—so all of these ideas will be discussed with the girls before finalizing the calendar.

              How Much Does It Cost?

              • The cost of membership, including the annual GSUSA dues, the $15 Council Service Fee (for girls, not adult members), and any resources parents/guardians will need to buy (such as a girl’s book for a Journey). Adult volunteers will pay the annual GSUSA dues plus their adult screening fees.
              • Discuss the availability of financial aid and how the Girl Scout Cookie Program and other product sales generate funds for the group treasury
              • Download the Uniform Cost Sheet from the Volunteer Learning Portal, if the girls want to wear uniforms
              • Discuss whether dues or start-up contributions will be collected. Care should be taken to establish an amount that is affordable for all families. GSNorCal recommends $25-$35. Additional funds can be earned through participating in the product program. 
              • That families can also make donations to GSNorCal - and why they might want to do that!

              Asking Adults to Help

              That you are looking for additional volunteers, and explain which areas you are looking (be as specific as possible!) Use downloads from the Volunteer Learning Portal:

              • Sign up sheet
              • Parent Interest Survey
              • Discuss adult training responsibilities

              Health and Safety Guidelines

              • Girl Health History Forms needed for all girls
              • Annual Permission Form—an Activity Permission Form will always used for activities outside the group’s usual meeting time and/or place and the importance of completing and returning it
              • Supervision and driving guidelines for meetings and trips, Troop Driver Form, proof of insurance and license number for drivers
              • Show a few Safety Activity Checkpoints

              Registration (including adult screening) is required for any adults who will volunteer with the troop and/or attend an overnight event, including adults who will be supervising girls in the minimum Adult-to-Girl ratio, driving girls, working with money or Girl Scout products, or working with the girls' or other adults' personal information.

              Closing the Meeting

              Collect any forms. Remind the group of the next meeting (if you’ll have one) and thank everyone for attending. Hold the next meeting when it makes sense for you and your co-volunteers—that may be in two months if face-to-face meetings are best, or not at all if you’re diligent about keeping in touch with parents/guardians via Facebook, Twitter, text messages, email, phone calls, or some other form of communication.

              After the Meeting
              After the meeting, follow up with any parents/guardians who did not attend to connect them with the group, inform them of decisions, and discuss how they can best help the girls.

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              Working With Parents/Guardians/Caregivers

              Using “I” Statements
              Perhaps the most important tip for communicating with parents/guardians is for you to use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. “I” statements tell, which are detailed in the aMAZE Journey for Girl scout Cadettes, tell someone what you need from her or him, while “you” statements may make the person feel defensive.

              Here are some examples of "you" statements 

              Now look at "I" statements
              "Your daughter just isn't responsible."  "I'd really like to help your daughter learn to take on more responsibility." 
              "You're not doing your share."  "I'd appreciate it if you could help me with registration." 

              If you need help with specific scenarios involving parents/guardians, try the following:

              If a parent or guardian... 

              You can say...
              Is uninvolved and asks how she can help but seems to have no idea of how to follow through or take leadership of even the smallest activity  “I do need your help. Here are some written guidelines on how to prepare for our camping trip.”
              Constantly talks about all the ways you could make the group better“I need your leadership. Project ideas you would like to develop and lead can fit in well with our plan. Please put your ideas in writing, and perhaps
              I can help you carry them out.” 
              Tells you things like, “Denise’s mother is on welfare, and Denise really doesn’t belong
              in this group
              “I need your sensitivity. Girl Scouting is for all girls, and by teaching your daughter to be sensitive to others’ feelings you help teach the whole group sensitivity.”
              Shifts parental responsibilities to you and is so busy with her own life that she allows no time to help  “I love volunteering for Girl Scouts and want to make a difference. If you could take a few moments from your busy schedule to let me know what you value about what we’re doing, I’d appreciate it. It would keep me going for another year.”

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              ADDITIONAL RESOURCES


              Raising Awesome Girls From the time she came into your life, you've only wanted the best for your daughter. You want to see her feel happy and loved, be confident, make new friends, stay healthy, excel in school, and eventually rise up the ranks in a career she finds fulfilling. But you also want your girl to be independent, grow into her own person with her own unique strengths and beliefs, and to learn to use her voice. And all of that? Well, it can be overwhelming at times to say the least. That's why we're happy to share straightforward, realistic, and proven parenting advice on everything and anything you might deal with when raising girls. From when to get a family pet and how to help her make new friends to more serious issues like bullying, discussions about current events, and school struggles, we've got you covered. Hand-in-hand, we can take the guesswork out of parenting and bring the fun back in. For the full list of articles, visit: http://www.girlscouts.org/en/raising-girls.html 

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              Enlaces a los capítulos: TABLE OF CONTENTS | NAVIGATION | QUICK START GUIDE| ABOUT GSNorCal | VOLUNTEERING | GIRL SCOUT PROGRAM | GIRLS & ADULTS | SAFETY-WISE | MONEY | BIENVENIDO (en Español) | GLOSSARY |

              Enlaces a los capítulos BIENVENIDO el tema: Convertirse en un Voluntario | Adulto Proyección | Lista de Verificación de Tropa/Grupo de Girl Scouts Nueva | El Formulario | Otros Recursos |


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              Bienvenidos nuevos líderes de tropa a Girl Scouts del Norte de California. ¡Muchas gracias por ofrecerse como voluntarios para Girl Scouts!

              Cuando no puedes esperar más hasta la próxima aventura, puedes lograr cualquier cosa. En Girl Scouts siempre estamos contando las horas hasta la próxima aventura en la que iremos juntas. Quizás sea algo artístico, algún experimento o un proyecto para hacer tu comunidad mejor. Sea lo que sea con nosotros harás un montón de nuevas amigas y vivirás muchas experiencias que te enseñaran lo excitante que es el mundo y lo extraordinaria que eres, una y otra vez.

              Para obtener más información sobre Girl Scouts:

              http://training.girlscoutsnorcal.org/course/view.php?id=185 

              http://www.girlscouts.org/espanol/

              Para obtener más información acerca del programa de galletas de Girl Scouts:

              http://training.girlscoutsnorcal.org/course/view.php?id=188

              ¡La familia juega un rol sumamente importante! 

              Tú puedes contribuir a la red de más de 800,000 adultos ayudando de muchas maneras y Girl Scouts no podría existir sin las voluntarias que nos ayudan a servir a nuestras niñas. Muchas de nuestras voluntarias Latinas se unen a Girl Scouts, porque es el lugar ideal para vivir experiencias inolvidables junto a sus hijas mientras les enseñan, escuchan, inspiran y procuran su seguridad. Al mismo tiempo, estas mamas desarrollan habilidades de liderazgo que tienen un impacto positive en sus propias vidas, sus familias y sus comunidades. 


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              CONVERTIRSE EN UN
              VOLUNTARIO EN GSNorCal

              Ser Voluntario para las Girl Scouts será una de las cosas más satisfactorias y gratificantes que tendrá que hacer. No importa cuál sea su papel, el lugar para comenzar es con los cinco pasos a continuación:

               volunteer icon

              Formulario de Interés para Voluntarios

              Complete el Formulario de Interés de Voluntarios. Vaya a www.GSNorCal.org y apriete el botón en Volunteer.

               select icon

              Seleccione su función

              Busque en el catálogo de Oportunidades (opportunity)y seleccione la oportunidad que sea adecuada para usted. 

              Seleccione Inseguro si usted no encuentra lo que está buscando o desea ayuda adicional. 

              Si desea obtener más información sobre los diferentes roles, inicie sesión en nuestro Portal de Voluntarios de Aprendizaje en training.GirlScoutsNorCal.org

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              Proyección adulto

              Introduzca su información requerida en el sistema seguro. Toda la información que usted proporcione será tratada de manera confidencial.

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              Vídeo de bienvenida

              Vea el video de bienvenida de cuatro minutos para una introducción y una vision general sobre las Girl Scouts.

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              Cursos para Adultos

              Apriete el botón en el Portal de Aprendizaje voluntario en su función para llevar a los módulos diseñados sólo para usted. training.GirlScoutsNorCal.org


              Formulario de Interés de Voluntarios
              Cuando se completa el voluntario Formulario de interés, deberás proporcionar tu información de contacto básica.

              Seleccione su Función

              Que va bien:

              1. Entre en el número de la tropa que le han dado.  A continuación, elige tu papel. 

                • Troop Cookie Manager (Gerente de la galleta)
                • Troop Fall Product Manager (Gerente de la venta de otoño)
                • Troop Friends and Family Network (Red familia y amigos)
                  Seleccione esta opción si no está seguro
                • Troop Leader (Líder de la tropa)
                • Unsure (No elija esta opción si quiere ayudar)
              2. Buscar la oportunidad catálogo para encontrar una tropa.

              Preguntas Frecuentes de Inscripción 

              ¿Quién debe registrarse?
              mom and girl at computerTodas las niñas y los adultos miembros que trabajarán directamente con/ supervisar las niñas como parte del radio de adulto a chica o conducen las niñas, trabajan con dinero o productos, trabajan con niñas o con información personal de otros adultos, o asisten a una actividad durante la noche (incluyendo el campamento de la familia o un evento de padre/hija), deben registrarse cada año.

              Miembros adultos registrados están cubiertos automáticamente con el Seguro de Accidentes en Actividades de las Girl Scouts por todo el año de membresía (Plan 1). Se recomienda que todos los adultos que van a participar en cualquier reunión o actividades se registren. Si un adulto no es un miembro registrado y va a asistir a una excursión entonces, la tropa/grupo debe adquirir un seguro adicional para cada evento en el que los adultos no registrados o niños (incluyendo hermanos) estén presentes.

              ¿Pueden los adultos o niños no registrados (Adicionales), asistir a las reuniones o eventos?
              Sí. Si un adulto asiste a una reunión o actividad como (por ejemplo, miembro orador invitado o audiencia), visitante y no está proporcionando supervisión en el radio de proporciones de adultos y niñas, no necesitan estar registrados. Esta persona no estará cubierto por el seguro de Girl Scouts, y esto debe quedar claro para ellos. Lo mismo puede decirse de los niños (hermanos o amigos) que asisten a una actividad en calidad de visitante no participantes (como un miembro de la audiencia en una ceremonia.) Si el niño va a ser incluido en cualquier actividad, debe hacerse la compra de seguro adicional
              Es la responsabilidad del equipo de voluntarios adultos de cualquier tropa/grupo el asegurarse de que todos los adultos o los niños que participan en actividades de Girl Scouts (incluyendo hermanos) son:
              • Miembros registrados para que automáticamente sean cubiertos bajo el Seguro de Accidentes en Actividad de Girl Scouts.
              • O bien, los hijos no registrados o adultos que participan en la reunion o actividad están cubiertos con la compra de seguros de actividad adicional (información sobre la compra de este seguro a un precio razonable se encuentra en este folleto).

              ¿Puede un adulto no registrado asistir a un evento o actividad durante la noche?
              No. Todos los adultos que asisten a un evento o actividad durante la noche deben registrarse y completar una verificación de antecedentes.

              ¿Con qué frecuencia tengo que registrarme??
              Los voluntarios adultos deben registrarse cada año, o puede llegar a ser un miembro vitalicio. Niñas miembros también deben registrarse cada año. Los miembros registrados están cubiertos por el seguro de Girl Scout y pueden servir como voluntaries de Girl Scouts.

              ¿Qué pasa si cambio mi nombre o información de contacto?
              En caso de comenzar a usar un apellido con guion, cambie su apellido, o cambio su información de contacto, es necesario notifi car al concilio. Para cambios de nombre, por favor escribe a info@girlscoutsnorcal.org Para cambiar su información de contacto, por favor, ingrese a su cuenta de miembro en la comunidad www.GSNorCal.org/myGS o envíe email a info@girlscoutsnorcal.org

              ¿Qué pasa si no tengo una computadora (o teléfono inteligente o tableta) y no puedo registrar en línea? 
              Si usted va a necesitar para completer su registro mediante formularios de papel, los formularios de afiliación para niñas y adultos se encuentran aquí en www.GSNorCal.org/forms (búsqueda usando ‘membrecía’) junto con el formulario adicional necesario para el proceso de registro de papel (Resumen Registro Tropa). He tenido una verificación de antecedentes realizado por otra organización.

              Adulto Proyección

              ¿Quién debe someterse a las pruebas?

              Antes de que cualquier adulto (sin importar el estatus de ciudadanía) sea voluntario con GSNorCal él o ella debe completar una verificación de antecedents.

              Posibles Resultados de Proceso de Verificación de Antecedents

              En el momento de la verificación de antecedentes, los voluntaries serán elegible no elegibles para server como voluntarios de Girl Scouts, puedan server en cualquier posición de voluntarios.

              Si el concilio se da cuenta de omisiones o información incorrecta en los documentos o una condena posterior de un crimen, dependiendo de la gravedad del delito, el proceso puede ser revocado en cualquier momento y un voluntario puede ser removido de sus funciones hasta que se resuelva la situación.

              Cualquier voluntario de Girl Scouts que está acusado formalmente de, implicado en, o bajo investigación de las autoridades de cualquier delito será descalificado automáticamente (o delitos que podrían resultar en la descalificación a discreción del GSNorCal), no se le permitirá ser voluntario hasta la disposición de el cargo. Se seguirán los siguientes procedimientos. Un voluntario que esta acusado está obligado a:

              • Suspender todas las actividades de Girl Scouts y deberes hasta que el asunto se haya resuelto.
              • Devolver todo el dinero, materiales y registros a un representante designado por el concilio hasta que se resuelva el asunto.

              El acusado es considerado inocente hasta que se demuestre su culpabilidad.

              Confidencialidad

              Toda la información recibida en el proceso de selección de voluntaries será tratada de forma confidencial. Estado de clarificación del adulto (sea elegible o descalificado) será compartida solamente con el personal o voluntarios que trabajan directamente con la persona, solo cuando sea necesario. Las razones de una descalificación siempre serán confi denciales. Los informes sólo vienen a GSNorCal y no a otras agencias u organizaciones. La información es confidencial y no puede ser usada en su contra, solamente será para negar su solicitud para trabajar como voluntario. Girl Scouts del Norte de California no va a reportar cualquier información, incluyendo el estatus de ciudadanía, a las agencias gubernamentales. Las personas que no poseen documentos pueden estar preocupados por el proceso de selección. Pero no se requiere que los voluntarios sean los ciudadanos y el estado de ciudadanía / documentación no se considera en la selección de nuestros voluntarios. Requerimos a todos los voluntarios el completar una verificación de antecedentes. Creemos que todas nuestras niñas miembros merecen la misma protección, y una revisión de antecedentes se require de todos nuestros voluntarios.

              ¿Quién debe completar una verificación de antecedentes de este año?
              Se requiere que todos los nuevos voluntarios y cualquier voluntario quienes completaron la verificación de antecedentes electrónicos en 2013-2014 o antes de completer una verificación de antecedentes. Verificaciones de antecedents electrónicos deben repetirse cada tres años. No hay ninguna opción para la detección de huellas dactilares, sin embargo, los voluntarios que previamente completaron su revision de antecedentes por huellas digitales con GSNorCal no tienen que completer su programación de nuevo si no ha habido ningún lapso en la membresía.

              ¿Quién asegura la detección se ha completado?

              El equipo voluntario de adultos de la tropa o del grupo se asegurara de que los adultos están debidamente registrados y verificados. Puedes consultar la sección ‘Mi Tropa’ en el equipo (kit), de herramientas de voluntario en www.GSNorCal.org/myGS Muchos grupos piden a los adultos el registrarse y completar su programación cuando las niñas están registrándose como miembros para evitar la decepción (si tratan de completar su revision de antecedentes en el último minute antes de una determinada actividad y no pueden completar el proceso con la suficiente rapidez).

              El equipo voluntario de adultos también debe asegurarse de que las niñas son siempre supervisadas por un número adecuado de adultos registrados y examinados (número mínimo relación adulto-a-niña) [SAFETY-WISE: Adult-to-Girl Ratios]. Esos adultos supervisores de vigilancia deben ser conscientes de que otros adultos también están registrados y verificados y proporcionan supervision (y quienes no lo son). Visitantes adultos no verificados no se pueden contar en los radios mínimos de adultos y niñas para supervisión (página 89), ni deben estar presentes sin un número suficiente de adultos registrados y seleccionados que están supervisando las niñas. Adultos no registrados no pueden asistir a las actividades durante la noche.

              ¿Puedo pedir que la organización para compartir mis resultados con las Girl Scouts del Norte de California?
              La ley estatal prohíbe a las organizaciones el compartir información con otras agencias. Sin embargo, hay algunos vendedores de Verificación (incluyendo nuestro proveedor, Verificados voluntarios) que pueden compartir sus resultados de detección con multiples organizaciones con su autorización. Si usted cree que su verificación de antecedentes podría ser compartida, contáctenos en info@girlscoutsnorcal.org para obtener más ayuda.

              ¿Deben completar todos los conductores la verificación de adultos?
              Sí. Los conductores son los únicos adultos que nunca están a solas con las niñas. Registros de conducción son parte del proceso de selección, y es importante que se tome medidas para garantizar la seguridad de las niñas. Me gustaría terminar mi verificación de antecedentes mediante las huellas dactilares. El consejo ya no ofrece una opción de toma de huellas dactilares para la verificación de antecedentes, pero los que previamente han completado huellas digitales no tendrán expiración de tiempo de detección mientras no haya ningún lapso en la membresía. Tendremos un astrónomo venir a una reunión para hablar de las constelaciones.

              I’d like to complete my adult screening using fingerprinting.
              The council no longer offers a fingerprinting option for adult screenings, but those who previously completed fingerprinting will not have their screening expire as long as there has been no lapse in membership.

              Tendremos un astrónomo venir a una reunión para hablar de las constelaciones. ¿Debe esa persona se registre y se verifique?
              No. El número mínimo de adultos registrados y verificados debe estar presente en todo momento y proporcionará la supervisión de las niñas, mientras que el astrónomo se encuentre de visita.

              ¿Pueden visitar a los padres no verificados durante las reuniones o asistir a las excursiones con la tropa/grupo?
              Adultos no verificados no pueden asistir a las actividades durante la noche, pero siempre y cuando el número mínimo de adultos seleccionados proporcione la supervisión de las niñas en todo momento (y saben quiénes son los otros adultos seleccionados), es aceptable para las reuniones o viajes de un día tener adultos no verificados presentes como visitantes.

              ¿Hay personas que no pueden asistir a las actividades de Girl Scouts?
              Sí. Cualquiera que haya sido condenado por un crimen violento o delitos contra las personas

              Vídeo de Bienvenida

              Vea el video de bienvenida de cuatro minutos para una introducción y una vision general sobre las Girl Scouts. 


              Adult Learning Courses

              Lea estos documentos:

              Para obtener más información sobre Girl Scouts:

              Para obtener más información acerca del programa de galletas de Girl Scouts:

              Tomar otros adultos cursos en inglés: training.girlscoutsnorcal.org

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              LISTA de VERIFICACIÓN de TROPA de GIRL SCOUTS NUEVA


              voluntario icon


              1. Hazte un Voluntario


              computer and smart phone illustrations

              2. Conéctate Con GSNorCal

              Vaya al Portal de Aprendizaje Voluntario en su ordenador (computer), o en cualquier dispositivo inteligente (Smart Phone), y elija su entrenamiento correspondiente en la lista. www.GSNorCal.org ¡Todo lo que necesita está allí para usted!

              puzzle pieces

              3. Form Your Troop/Group

              Organice una reunión de padres o encuentre otra manera para que el grupo pueda comunicarse y tomar decisiones sobre cómo la tropa / grupo operará. 

              • Asegúrese de que las familias han registrado su niña (s) y que los adultos en sus red de amigos y familia están registrados y verifi cados. También se pueden añadir niñas y adultos nuevos durante el año.
              • Recluta a tus amigos en tu ed de amigos y familia, incluyendo asistentes o co-líderes, conductores, gerente de ventas de productos y tesorero (que también debe ser uno de los firmantes de la cuenta bancaria). Pídales que visiten el Portal del Entrenamiento de Aprendizaje de Voluntariado. www.GSNorCal.org por sus descripciones de puestos, los requisitos de capacitación y recursos. 
              • Haga planes con los padres para su primer encuentro con las niñas
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              4. Abra Una Cuenta Bancaria

              Módulo completo de aprendizaje para abrir su cuenta bancaria:training.GirlScoutsNorCal.org  

              Descarga los paquetes de Cuenta de Tropa / Grupo Banco en GSNorCal. org/forms y siga las instrucciones para abrir su cuenta bancaria. Su cuenta bancaria debe tener un mínimo de dos firmantes (puede añadir más adelante). Los firmantes deben estar registrados y verificados.

              Girl Scout briefcase

              5. Prepare Una Reunión Con Niñas

              Complete los Módulos de aprendizaje requeridos antes de reunirse con las chicas: training.GirlScoutsNorCal.org

              Utilice el Equipo (kit) de herramientas de Voluntarios para enviar un aviso de la reunión con las familias, establecer su calendario básico, descargar planes de reuniones, y realizar un seguimiento de sus finanzas. www.GSNorCal.org/MyGS


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              EL FORMULARIO


              Seguridad Primero

              Es importante leer y seguir las reglas de seguridad para asegurar la seguridad de todas las niñas. Asegúrese de completar las formas requeridas para permitir que cada Girl Scout participe en actividades, eventos, y juntas sanccionadas por Girl Scouts. Abajo puede ver los documentos más importantes de uso frecuente. 

              Membresía de Niñas

              Membresía para Adultos

              Resumen del Registro de Tropa

              Permiso Anual

              Permiso Paternal

              Registro de Historia de Salud de Su Niña

              Registro de historia de salud de adulto

              FORMULARIO DE RECLAMACIÓN

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              OTROS RECURSOS


              Recursos en Español

              Espanol Recursos

              ¡Disfruta un año divertido con Girl Scouts!

              Las Guías para Madres e hijas: ¡Las Girl Scouts Daisies Cultivan su Futuro!, ¡Las Girl Scouts Brownies Cambian el Mundo! y ¡Las Girls Scouts Juniors Apuntan a las Estrellas! están diseñados para iniciar a madres e hijas en Girl Scouts y facilitar un año divertido lleno de actividades. Hemos combinado toda la información para el adulto y la niña en un mismo libro para facilitar su uso y proveer una experiencia enriquecedora para ambas. girlscoutshop.com/NORTHERN-CALIFORNIA-COUNCIL 

              Conexiones: Brownie

              Conexiones: Juniors
              Conexiones: Cadette
              Conexiones: Senior

              Mi Promesa, Mi Fe
              Mi Promesa, Me Fe: Preguntas Frecuentes 
              Fu Fe y Girl Scouts: Hacer la Conexión Daisy, Brownie, Junior
              Fu Fe y Girl Scouts: Hacer la Conexión Cadette, Senior, Ambassador


              GS NorCal Información de venta de Productos 

              Este es un programa de las tropas y las niñas para ganar dinero. El programa también está diseñadopara enseñarles a las niñas a interactuar con los clientes, manejar el dinero y la ética. Las Girl Scouts han vendido galletas desde 1917 para apoyar a sus tropas. Este es el mayor programa de educación fi nanciera y es una tradición Americana. Las ganancias de las tropas es la porción de dinero resultado de las ventas que le quedan las tropas. Las tropas pueden utilizar este dinero para pagar sus actividades de Girl Scouts, uniformes, insignias, equipos y más. No hay costo para participar. Este es un programa donde las niñas pueden ganar dinero para sus tropas y reconocimientos para ellas. La tropa da las galletas a las niñas para venderlas en ciertas fechas. Ella le paga a la tropa por las galletas que venden. Si las galletas no son vendidas y se devuelven a tiempo, la familia no será responsible de pagar por ellas. Si no se devuelven a tiempo, la familia es responsable del pago.

              Para obtener más información acerca del programa de galletas de Girl Scouts:

              http://training.girlscoutsnorcal.org/course/view.php?id=188

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