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1 MB:fs:vl/ Troop Start Up A quick-reference guide for becoming a troop leader

2 WELCOME! We re excited you ve decided to become a Girl Scout Troop Leader. This guide is intended to help you get started with your new Girl Scout troop. Read on for great tips, resources, and information to help you on your journey. We re glad you re here. Table of contents Steps to Get Started... 1 Becoming a Volunteer... 2 Volunteer Learning... 3 Volunteer Toolkit... 4 The Sample Troop Year... 5 The Caregiver Meeting Troop Meetings Troop Safety Troop Checking Account Procedures Troop Finances Earning and Learning Resources for the Troop Leader Girl Scout Forms Ways Adults Can Help Service Unit Support OUR MISSION: Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. OUR COUNCIL GOALS: Girls will understand themselves and their values, and use their knowledge and skills to explore the world. Girls will care about, inspire and team with others locally and globally. Girls will act to make the world a better place. GIRL SCOUT PROMISE On my honor, I will try: To serve God and my country, To help people at all times, And to live by the Girl Scout Law. GIRL SCOUT LAW I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.

3 1. Complete your registration and background check Steps to Get Started Go to gswo.org and click My GS. My GS Select your volunteer opportunity online. Receive with link to complete criminal background check online. Receive welcome letter via . Keep copy for your records. 2. Start required Volunteer Learning (pg. 3) Girl Scouting 101 a 45 minute self-paced online learning course created by GSUSA that covers the basics of Girl Scouting including the Girl Scout Leadership Experience resources and grade-level characteristics. Troop Start Up learn the ins and outs of getting your troop started, including troop meeting basics, parent involvement, and managing troop finances. Both courses and resources are available on our website or as an in-person class. For more information go to gswo.org/learning. 3. Log on to Volunteer Toolkit (pg. 4) This is a primary resource to help leaders plan meetings with girls in grades K-5. Visit gswo.org and click on the My GS tab! 4. Hold your caregiver meeting (pg. 6) Meeting Place: Date: Time: My GS 5. Prepare for troop meetings (pg. 7-9) Set your meeting place and time. Request a copy of the Certificate of Liability for your meeting space, if needed. Complete the Certificate of Insurance request form on the council website gswo.org/formsanddocs. Review the parts of a troop meeting. Review troop meeting safety information. 6. Set up a troop checking account (pg ) All troop funds must be placed in a checking account. For more information on establishing one, see page Get to know your resources (pg. 14) Troop Start Up Volunteer Essentials Safety Activity Checkpoints: gswo.org/safety Program Events Guide Journey books and The Girl s Guides to Girl Scouting Girl Scout Cookie and Fall Program GSWO Blog: gswoblog.org Girl Scouts of Western Ohio website: gswo.org GSUSA s website: gsusa.org 8. Attend service unit meeting and connect with other volunteers (pg. 16) Your neighborhood service unit will be the best source of information for you as a new leader. At the service unit meetings, you will meet experienced leaders, who will be able to answer your questions about activities, money-earning, bridging and much more. You will also meet other new leaders. NOTE: Once approved, you will be authorized to receive a list of girls interested in your troop. If there are fewer than 12 girls interested, we will consider the troop open to accepting new girls unless you notify us otherwise. This will give as many girls as possible access to Girl Scouts. 1

4 Becoming a Volunteer Girl Scout leaders and volunteers are responsible for the care and custody of the girls in their troop. We are committed to providing a safe, high-quality program for all girls involved. Volunteers working directly with girls must meet the following requirements: Select and register for the most appropriate role. (See below for descriptions.) Complete the registration and approval process, including a criminal background check and the welcome video. View volunteer opportunities, apply, and register at gswo.org. Once you have become registered and approved, you will receive a welcome . This signifies that you are an official Girl Scout volunteer and may begin working with girls. See below for descriptions of troop leadership roles. Troop Leadership Roles Troop Leader All troops must have at least two leaders to begin meeting. At least one leader must be in attendance anytime the troop is meeting or attending an activity. Troop Assistant Assistants count towards girl/adult ratio. Troops should always be accompanied by two adults, either two troop leaders or a troop leader and a troop assistant. See more about girl/adult ratios in Volunteer Essentials. Troop Helper Helpers do not count toward girl/adult ratio and cannot act in any supervisory capacity (cannot drive or manage troop finances). The primary leaders of the girls who plan meetings, ensure everyone s safety and well-being, and manage the troop s business. Generally assist the leader or handle specific tasks such as managing participation in a product sale, acting as troop treasurer and signer on the bank account, or a driver/chaperone on field trips. Family members of girls in the troop who want to occasionally help out at meetings by planning and facilitating activities, organizing a troop newsletter or social media site, coordinating snacks, etc. Caregiver s Role in the Troop All caregivers, parents, and guardians are encouraged to play an active role with their daughter s troop! If they will be working directly with the girls they need to complete the approval process and register in one of the roles (leader, assistant, helper) listed on the chart above. See page 7 for a list of other ways caregivers can get involved with the troop, and use The Ways Adults Can Help to gather the contact information you need to get started. 2

5 Volunteer Learning Volunteer Learning Opportunities Certain positions and activities require the completion of specific learning opportunities. The charts below will help you to understand what is required and what is recommended to create a safe and enriching experience for both you and the girls. Remember, all of these learning opportunities should be completed by a registered and approved Troop Leader or Troop Assistant. Access volunteer learning at gswo.org/learning. Volunteer Learning Opportunities by Position and Role KEY: Learning Opportunities Required Recommended Girl Scouting 101 Troop Start-up Guide Troop Leader Position Troop Assistant Troop leaders and assistants who are moving up a grade level can refer back to the Ages and Stages videos in Girl Scouting 101 to get information on their new grade level. KEY: Learning Opportunities Required Troop Financial Mgmt. Cookie Sale/Fall Product Training Transporting Girls Signer on bank account Role Supervising at a cookie booth Cookie Sale and/or Fall Product Sale Manager Driver on field trips How do I complete it? Online through interactive videos and/or PDF packets. Contact your regional Girl Scout Service Center if you need help accessing the online content. In-person learning sessions. These can be offered at service unit and circle meetings, at the Regional Girl Scout Service Centers, or one on one with an experienced volunteer. Registration for these sessions at the Regional Girl Scout Service Centers can be found by accessing ebiz on our website. How do I keep track of it all? Troop leaders and assistants are asked to use the Volunteer Learning Completion Record to track their learning completion. What is ebiz? ebiz is the system that is used to register for program or learning events. The link to ebiz can be found on the top right-hand corner of our website. 3

6 The Volunteer Toolkit Volunteer Toolkit The Girl Scout Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) is a comprehensive digital tool accessible on your computer, smartphone, and/or tablet. It is the primary support resource for troop leaders who work with grades K 5 troops. For volunteers, this resource will replace the adult leaders guide for Journeys and the Girl s Guide to Girl Scouting. Girls will still use the girl books to enhance their experience and serve as a memento of their great memories. What will I find in the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK)? You will find five tabs to help make managing your troop simpler. My Troop This tab allows you to manage your troop contacts, renew membership and communicate with caregivers and parents. This tab allows you to broadly manage your troop year based on what girls want to do. When you log into VTK for the first time, you will see three year plan options for your girls to choose from including one Girl Scout Badge year and two Girl Scout Journey year plans based on the It s Your Story Tell It Journey and the It s Your Planet Love It Journey. The first two meetings of each of these year plans will help you decide in partnership with the girls, which of the three year plans they would like to use based on their interests. This tab will also allow you to set your meeting calendar including meeting locations, date and time. In this tab, you will view meeting details including activity descriptions, meeting aids, materials lists and more. Here you can also customize activities, delete activities that your girls wouldn t enjoy and replacing them with new activities. You can easily create your own activity or replace it with an activity from within the toolkit. Here you can find additional resources to support the activities that your girls choose to do. Here you will find the Safety Activity Checkpoints, all meeting aids, and other helpful resources. You can easily add the meeting aids to a specific meeting in your year plan. Finances The finances tab will make it easy to share troop financial information with caregivers and monitor finances throughout the year. You will still have to submit your troop bank statement to the council if you do not bank at one of the identified banks. (PNC or 5/3 Bank). 4

7 Sample Troop Year The Volunteer Toolkit will show you year plan options. This sample troop year shows ideas for trips, traditions and activities that you can add to customize based on the interests of the girls in your troop. Each troop is different since the plans, activities, money earning (and more) should be planned by the girls! Fall (September November) Spring (March May) Caregiver meeting with an investiture/rededication ceremony. This is a great way to share Girl Scout traditions with parents and other caregivers and get them engaged as a volunteer. Regular troop meetings (weekly, bimonthly, or monthly depending on girl schedules), that focus on plans for the year such as: Choose a Journey to use and badges the girls would like to earn. Identify trips to make their Journey and badge work come to life. Implement a service project based on their new skills. Register to attend community and councilsponsored Girl Scout events. Refer to The Girl s Guide to Girl Scouting for badge information or individual books for information on Journeys. Fall Product Sale is a great way to earn startup funds for your troop and build valuable skills. Continue with regular troop meetings Girl Scout Week Celebrated each March, starting with Girl Scout Sunday and ending with Girl Scout Sabbath on a Saturday. It always includes the Girl Scout birthday (when Juliette Gordon Low officially registered the first troop) on March 12. Girl Scout Sunday and Girl Scout Sabbath Provides an opportunity to attend a place of worship and be recognized as Girl Scouts. Ask your service unit Girl Scout Leadership chair for more information. Court of Awards Ceremony Celebrate awards with a girl-designed ceremony. (Some leaders prefer to give awards as the girls earn them.) Ending the troop year with a gathering is a great way to reengage parents and share the girls successes. Renewal Late spring is a great time register for the coming year. There are often incentives associated with early registration. Winter (December February) Summer (June August) Submit your Troop Financial Report by July 31. Continue regular troop meetings implementing the girl-led plans. Participate in Girl Scout World Thinking Day on February 22. Girls honor our sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts by taking time to give thanks for their international friendships and remember that GSUSA is a part of a global community. Visit girlscouts.org/worldthinkingday. Participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program. It s a great way to earn money and develop financial skills. Here are a few key things: Each troop must have an approved, trained and registered troop cookie manager Order taking: early January Cookie delivery: late February Booth sales: March Refer to the Earning and Learning Sample Meetings on our website. Register for Summer Camp! There are lots of ways that girls experience the fun of camp including: day and resident camp (girls attend alone or with a buddy), Troop Adventure Camp (girls attend with their troop), or other one day opportunities. For more info, visit gswo.org/camp in January. Take a break! Many troops take the summer off, but that doesn t mean you have to! Take advantage of the time off of school to go on trips. As girls get older, summer is often the perfect time for them to participate in short-term Girl Scout opportunities. Get connected again in July August so girls can work troop meetings into their busy schedules. Attend Camp! Girls can attend summer camp as a troop, on their own, or with a friend! 5

8 Caregiver Meeting The Caregiver Meeting Having a caregiver meeting is paramount to your success in leading the troop. It is a great opportunity to ask parents and other guardians for their support throughout the troop year. Suggested Supplies: Sample meeting agenda (next page) Contact list for interested girls Ways Adults Can Help (back of packet) Membership forms (for those who do not have internet/online access) Financial Assistance form List of meeting dates (if known) Your Family Guide to Girl Scouts (provided by the service unit or regional Girl Scout Service Center) Getting Caregivers Involved! Benefits of Caregiver Engagement: Caregivers know their children better than anyone else. They can provide insight and will be helpful when it comes to planning and problem solving. Involving caregivers allows them to see how their daughter benefits from the program while keeping the girls interested in the troop and its activities. Caregivers can ease the workload of troop leadership. One of the top reasons why people do not volunteer is because no one asked them. Ask them to be involved. Caregivers benefit from their involvement they become closer to their daughter, develop an extended social network, and can actively contribute to the community. Caregivers may have expertise, experience, or skills to share with the girls. Form a Troop Committee Be Direct! Ask caregivers for their help and have them join the committee. (Think of it like a PTA for your troop.) Use The Ways Adults Can Help form, found in the back of this packet, to identify each parent s interest in helping. Assign specific responsibilities to the committee and individual caregivers. 6

9 Sample Agenda for Caregiver Meeting (30 45 minutes) Welcome and Introductions Introduce yourself and any other Girl Scout adults present. Have participants introduce themselves and share if they have any Girl Scout experience. Explain to caregivers the process of becoming a leader and that two leaders are required for each troop. Explain that the troop leader s role is to work with the girls, but it is the girls troop. The troop will do activities based on what the girls choose. Explain the mission and how we engage girls in discovering self, connecting with others, and taking action to make the world a better place. Registration Each girl must be registered to participate. Give instructions for caregivers to register girls on our website. Caregivers must complete the approval process and register as a leader, assistant, or helper if they will be helping with the troop on a regular basis. Explain that a $15 Girl Scout registration fee, (which is paid to Girl Scouts of the USA), covers each girl in Girl Scout activity insurance. Share that financial assistance is available for the membership fee, if needed. Health Information and Release Form Ask each adult to complete a Health Information and Release form for their girl. This allows her to be treated if anything should happen. It also lets you know if they have any allergies. This form is very important and must be returned to you by the first meeting. It can be downloaded from our website. Caregiver Expectations Troops need them! Even with a troop leadership team in place, caregivers can still play a role and are important for the success of a troop. Ask for help transporting girls on trips (requires approved and registered volunteer), bringing snacks, sharing special talents, or attending troop meetings. Let them know the troop cannot meet unless you have the appropriate number of adults in attendance (refer to Volunteer Essentials). Ask for a volunteer to be the Girl Scout Cookie Program Manager (requires an approved and registered volunteer). Communication and Meeting Dates Meetings days, times, and locations are determined by the leader who works with all of the caregivers to find a good time for everyone. There is no set requirement as to when or how frequently troops meet. In most cases, troops meet twice a month for one to two hours. Ask the adults to review the phone/ list to ensure their information is correct. This list is for Girl Scout purposes only and should not be given to anyone outside of the troop or group. Decide on method of communication with parents ( , phone, text, Facebook group, etc.) that works best for most. Program Information Troops are girl-led and activities they do depend on what they decide collectively. This could range from earning badges, to Journeys, to field trips, to community service projects. Let adults know troop activities are supported through troop dues and money earning activities. Explain what troop dues are and agree on an amount and when girls will pay them (every meeting, once a month, or once a year). Inform caregivers that while it is not mandatory for girls to have an individual copy of The Girl s Guide to Girl Scouting, it is a valuable resource for both girls and their caregivers. Uniforms are also optional. The official Girl Scout insignia is the Girl Scout pin, which most troops provide to girls. Use this meeting to decide if, how, and when uniforms will be purchased. Closing Thank caregivers for coming. Collect the Health Information and Release form and Ways Adults Can Help form. Ask if there are any questions. 7

10 Troop Meeting Time and Location Troop Meetings Together, you ll determine your meeting time and location. Consider the girls in your troop: Do they all attend the same school? What is the most central or convenient location for all? What is the best time of day for the meeting for both girls, co-leaders, and parent support? Where to meet can be a bit trickier than when. A meeting place needs to provide a safe, clean, and secure environment that allows for the participation of all girls. Consider meeting rooms at schools, houses of worship, libraries, community buildings, childcare facilities, and local businesses. For teens, rotating meetings at coffee houses, bookstores, and other places girls enjoy spending time is an option. Below are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a location: Safety - Safe, secure, clean, properly heated and cooled, free from hazards with all exits clearly marked Cost - Free to use Availability - Available at the time and date of your meetings Facilities - Sanitary and accessible restrooms Accessible - Accommodate girls with disabilities and their caregivers Certificate of Insurance When reserving troop meeting space volunteers may be asked to provide a certificate of insurance to verify Girl Scout liability insurance coverage. You may submit the Request for Certificate of Insurance online form found on the council website at gswo.org/insurancerequest. Certificates will be mailed or faxed within two weeks directly to the location. The Volunteer Toolkit makes caregiver communication easier than ever! The My Troop tab in the toolkit will have all of the contact information for the caregivers and you can them right from there! Caregivers will also have a view that allows them to see meeting dates and plans. 8

11 Troop Meetings The Girl Scout Meeting Each Girl Scout meeting provides an opportunity to explore new worlds and learn new skills. The Volunteer Toolkit provides editable year plans so you can customize your year and the activities in each meeting with your girls. The key is flexibility based on the needs and interests of the girls. You may have a meeting that consists of one activity and then your next meeting may have three activities. The Volunteer Toolkit has the Girl Scout Journeys and the badges built right into it for troops in kindergarten through fifth grade. The meetings inside each year plan are based on research, tradition, and knowledge of what works with girls. This model is meant to create a natural flow for the meetings and provide a balanced diet of fun, learning, responsibility, and accomplishment. If you use a basic agenda for each meeting, the girls will feel comfortable because of the predictability of what will be included in each meeting. That predictability puts them at ease as they attempt new activities. The constantly changing nature of the activities and your response to their interests will prevent the girls from becoming bored. Start-up Activity This is the wait around period before the meeting officially begins. This is a time to chat with and greet all of the girls and parents. Since you will be talking and setting up, the girls should have an easy, self-directed activity to engage their attention. Opening A repetitive format for opening every meeting is a way of providing comfort and familiarity for the girls. The opening allows girls to know the meeting is officially starting and to focus and prepare for the rest of the meeting. Many troops start by reciting the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Tip: Making an agenda on a piece of poster board can help the girls know what to expect. As the girls progress, they can be in charge of preparing the agenda. Business Meeting This is a time for special announcements, dues, attendance, making plans, kaper assignments, voting, deciding on activities and other troop business. This section of the meeting is very important for the girls because they learn how to lead, influence others and communicate feelings and opinions. Little by little, allow the girls to take responsibility for more of the business of the troop. Depending on how much you have to discuss, this section could be done as part of your opening. Activities During this section of the Girl Scout meeting, girls get a chance to build skills, try new things, explore their interests and work cooperatively with others. As the girls progress, you will begin to get insight into their interests. Make sure that you are always asking for their ideas and input. You will also pick up good ideas from other leaders when you attend the monthly service unit meetings. Clean-up Clean-up is important because it teaches the girls about sharing responsibility, allows them to face the consequences of making a mess and helps emphasize good stewardship. You can reinforce the practice of leave things better than you found them. You may decide to have snacks earlier in the meeting or during this time. Closing This is a time when you can emphasize the accomplishments of the meeting, remind the girls what is coming up, focus on personal goals, help girls feel part of a tradition, and end on a calm and positive note. Many troops like to close the meeting with a traditional Friendship Circle, where the girls stand close together and hold hands with their arms crossed right over left. Find more detailed information including meeting plans and year plans for leaders of girls in grades K-5 in the Volunteer Toolkit located in the My GS tab on the website. 9

12 The safety and well-being of girl and adult members is our highest priority. As a volunteer, it is imperative to know and understand the safety policies and procedures in place, where to look, or who to ask for more information when necessary. Listed below are some of the main resources where safety policies are listed: Volunteer Essentials - A guide to all the policies and procedures including safety. A print copy is provided to every troop each year. Safety Activity Checkpoints - Activity specific safety guidelines for activities including camping, participating in a parade, and even the fall product program participation. Girl Scouts of Western Ohio website - Check out gswo.org for more information. General Safety Guidelines Keep caregivers informed! Communicate regularly about troop meetings and activities. Use permission slips anytime the troop is doing anything out of the ordinary. Girls are never alone! Girls should always use the buddy system and be accompanied by two approved adults at all times. Adults are never alone! Adults should never be alone with girls. At least one troop leader and either another troop leader or a troop assistant should be present any time girls are together. Know your surroundings! This goes for both the regular meeting place and when venturing out with the troop and applies to both people and places. Assess any risks that might be present and take appropriate action. Follow all safety policies and procedures as outlined in Volunteer Essentials! Contact a member of your support team or Customer Care with any questions you may have. Staying Safe at Your Regular Meeting Space With specific polices related to field trips and overnights, it s easy to overlook safety practices and policies for the regular meeting space. Follow the guidelines below to make regular meetings just as safe! Follow all safety guidelines at the meeting location including fire escape plans, use of equipment, etc. Be prepared! Have a first aid kit, non-emergency number of local law enforcement, and charged cell phone on hand, just in case you need it. Ensure proper adult supervision at all times during the meeting and at pick-up and drop-off times. Only registered and approved troop leaders, troop assistants, or troop helpers should be regularly attending meetings or working directly with girls. Be aware of risks in the community and communicate these risks to your troop volunteer team and caregivers. When a registered sex offender is found to reside in the area of a troop s meeting space, there is specific protocol to follow, (in partnership with council staff), so all volunteers and caregivers know what to do to ensure the safety of the girls. See Volunteer Essentials for more information. 10

13 Troop Checking Account Procedures Any troop or group that is managing money (earning, receiving, and spending) is required to maintain an active account at one of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio s identified banking institutions: Please contact your regional Girl Scout Service Center to discuss options regarding other approved banking institutions if PNC or Fifth Third are not accessible to you. Girl Scout troop accounts require at least two signers, a troop leader and either a troop leader or troop assistant. Only troop leaders and troop assistants are approved to handle troop funds. When Within 30 days of troop formation Two approved troop leaders Minimum number of girls registered Before any troop money is received, earned, or spent Prior to receiving Girl Scout Cookie or Fall Product selling materials Note: One signer must receive bank statements or have access to online banking while another holds checkbook/debit card. How Coordinate schedules so that all signers can go to the bank together. Take it to the bank! o All signers must bring: A copy of their Girl Scouts of Western Ohio welcome Two additional forms of ID o Provide bank with Troop Checking Account Procedures forms (gswo.org/formsanddocs). Troop Bank Account Request Signature Card Preferred Bank Letters Complete and submit initial troop financial report. o Please submit within 7 business days of opening account. Always remember that troop funds belong to the girls and that parents should be provided with troop financial information upon request. Girls should play an active role in the managing of troop funds according to their grade-level. All troop signers should complete the troop financial management learning available at gswo.org/learning. Troop financial reports are to be completed and submitted yearly on July 31. Girl Scouts of Western Ohio may close troop accounts after an extended period of inactivity. 11

14 Troop Finances Ins and Outs of Managing the Troop Finances Managing your troop checking account and finances is not unlike managing your own personal checking account. Your troop will have income (from dues, money-earning activities, and fall product and cookie program) and expenses (program fees, supplies, food, and event costs). The best way to keep track of this is through your troop bank account. Document the income and expenses as they happen. Below are a few simple tips to help you successfully manage the ins and outs of the troop account. Income (Ins) As money comes into the troop, be sure to do the following: Deposit all troop funds into the troop bank account in a timely manner. Document the income in the deposit/credit column of the checkbook ledger. Be sure to write a description of the income in the description column of the checkbook and the date of the deposit. Keep all bank receipts and any other income receipts with troop financial records. When bank statements are received, check the statement against your documented income on the checkbook ledger and the receipts in the envelope. Expenses (Outs) Record your expenses in a similar way as your income: Document expenses on the payment/debit line in the checkbook. Be sure to write a description of the expense in the description column. Label all receipts from any expenses. For example, if you bought markers for the troop to use during meetings, label the receipt, troop supplies. If you went camping and have a receipt for food, label it camping food. When bank statements are received, check the statement against the expenses recorded in the checkbook and the receipts in the envelope. Organizing for Success The following tips will help you successfully complete the troop finance report: Get organized from the start. Have one file/envelope for expenses and one for income. (See examples below.) Review the Troop Financial Report Form at the beginning of the Girl Scout troop year. Financial Organization Ideas Organize with an envelope Take an envelope and write Troop Income on the front of it. Put all bank receipts and any other income receipts in this envelope. Label a second envelope with Troop Expense on the front of it. Put all expense receipts in this envelope. or Organize with an accordion folder Label the tab with a month of the year. Place each month s receipts in the corresponding slot, (e.g. All May receipts go in May s slot in the accordion folder). Follow the steps above for documenting. 12

15 s Important Dates school year October 9-28 October 21-November 3 November January 8 February 5 February 6-March 27 February 26 March 4 March 27 April 4 Dayton, Lima, Toledo fall sale order taking Cincinnati fall sale order taking Fall product delivery Initial cookie order taking begins Initial cookie order taking ends Girls can continue to take orders Cookie delivery begins Booth sales begin Booth sales end Cookie sale ends 13

16 Your Resources Primary Resources for the Troop Leader The following resources are available online on the council website or from your service unit. Volunteer Essentials Volunteer Essentials is the primary resource for all volunteers. It provides information about our council, the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, council policies, volunteer personnel policies, financial procedures, volunteer staff structure, service unit structure, emergency procedures and much more. Volunteer Toolkit The Girl Scout Volunteer Toolkit is a comprehensive digital tool accessible on your computer, smartphone and/or tablet through the My GS tab on our website. The volunteer toolkit is the primary support resource for troop leaders who work with K 5th grade troops. For volunteers, this resource will replace the adult leaders guide for Journeys and the Girl s Guide to Girl Scouting while girls will still use the girl books to enhance their experience and serve as a memento of their great memories in Girl Scouting. Girl Scouts of Western Ohio Website gswo.org Offers information about programs, learning opportunities, events and product sales scheduled throughout the council. The website is updated regularly to provide the latest information to Girl Scout volunteers. Program Events Guide -- gswo.org/events Program Events Guide is a publication that outlines a variety of council- and community-sponsored programs available to girls. It also includes guidelines and reservation procedures for use of council properties and copies of council forms used by troop leaders. Events can also be found on our website events page. Safety Activity Checkpoints -- gswo.org/safety When preparing for any activity with girls, always begin by reviewing the Safety Activity Checkpoints written about that particular activity. Safety Activity Checkpoints can be found on the council website. GSWO Blog - gswoblog.org This is a great way to get new ideas for troop activities, read success stories, and get new resources. This blog is designed to help leaders bring the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to life in their troop! Girl Scout Leadership Journeys Girl Scout Leadership Journeys is a program resource that helps girls explore a theme through a sequence of fun and challenging experiences. Journeys also help girls to develop leadership skills, explore their interests, try new things, meet different people and make the world a better place. There are three journey series available for all grade levels: It s Your World Change It!, It s Your Planet Love It!, and It s Your Story Tell It! More information can be found at gswo.org/journeys. The Girl s Guides to Girl Scouting Each grade level has a Girl s Guide to Girl Scouting, which is the official handbook for all Girl Scouts. The guide includes three sections: Grade Level Handbook, Requirements for Grade Level Badges and My Girl Scouts, a section for girls to document their experiences that includes pages to scrapbook, draw, journal or save special moments. The link below will provide additional information, as well as a colorful handout, that shows how the Girl Scout Journeys and The Girl s Guide to Girl Scouting work together. This is a great resource to share with parents. GSWO Volunteer Facebook Group Search GSWO Volunteer Support in Facebook to find our closed group and request to join. This is a great place to get fast answers and feedback from both staff and other volunteers! Girl Scouts of the USA Website gsusa.org The national Girl Scouts website provides information about Girl Scout programs, including the Girl Scout Journeys and other helpful resources addressing issues that girls and volunteers face in today s world. 14

17 Forms Forms for New Troops The following are primary forms that new troops will use to get started and have a successful troop year. Access forms at gswo.org/formsanddocs. Form Name Purpose Who Completes/Uses the form Volunteer Learning Completion Record An official record that troop leaders can use to keep track of their volunteer learning. It is the troop leaders responsibility to maintain records of volunteer learning for their troop. Troop leaders and troop assistants Health Information and Release Form Ways Adults Can Help Request for Certificate of Insurance Permission Slip Troop Leader for Account Opening Procedures Troop/Group Bank Account Request and Signature Card Tax Exempt/Tax ID Form Troop Financial Report An updated record of a girl's past and present health status (for example, of allergies, chronic illnesses and injuries), which her Caregiver completes for Girl Scouts. The organization requires a health history for participation in physically demanding activities, such as water sports, horseback riding or skiing. Every troop needs both leaders and other volunteers to ensure success. This form can be used to recruit adults (beyond leadership) to help with troop activities. A form that shows venues hosting troops the level of liability insurance that Girl Scouts of Western Ohio holds. May be requested by your troop meeting place. When doing activities beyond the troop meeting, Caregiver permission is required. This form allows you to communicate to Caregivers the key information about the activity and receive permission from them to involve their daughter. An that needs to be presented along with the welcome letter you received from us to the branch of the approved bank you have chosen for your troop account. (This cannot be found on the forms page, it will be ed directly to you.) A forms that troop leader and designated approved and actively registered adult will complete and give to the bank when opening the troop bank account. Required by the bank and shows the designated approved and actively registered adults (must have two) who are recognized by the bank and have authority over the troop funds. A certificate that will exempt the troop from paying state sales tax when purchasing supplies. Must be presented at the time of purchase. All troops are required to complete and submit this form and a copy of their bank statement within 30 days of opening their new Girl Scout account. Additionally, every troop with a bank account must complete the Troop Financial Report by July 31 every year. A Caregiver of each girl in the troop. Caregivers/any volunteer interested in helping the troop The troop leader requests the form on our website. Troop leader or assistant provides to Caregivers who complete and return it prior to trip or activity. Sent by Girl Scouts of Western Ohio to all approved troop leaders and troop assistants. At least two approved troop leaders or assistants. Retailer and volunteer making the purchase Troop leader or troop assistant who serves as signer on troop checking account. 15

18 Ways Adults Can Help Girl Scout Troops need adults to help them be successful! Not sure how you can help? Be a TROOP LEADER! Plan and run meetings. Ensure safety and well-being of the girls. Gain valuable skills to help the girls grow. Training and support provided. Be a TROOP ASSISTANT! Support the leaders by helping out in general or with specific tasks like: o Treasurer o Troop Cookie Manager or Fall Sale Manager o Troop trip support Training and support provided. Be a TROOP HELPER! Help plan badge activities or field trips. Teach the girls a specific skill. Coordinate snacks. Any adult working with the girls must complete the volunteer application process, which includes a criminal background check, and register as a Girl Scout adult in one of the above roles. If you are interested in supporting a troop, please complete the form below and return to your troop leader or your Girl Scout contact. Adult Name: Phone Number: Address: Girl s Name: 16

19 Service Unit Support Service Unit Support Girl Scouts of Western Ohio is divided into 97 geographic areas called service units. Your service unit consists of girls and adults from your neighborhood and surrounding schools. It s led by volunteers who support local leaders like you in executing the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Service units ensure messages and activities of the service unit reflect the Girl Scout Mission and council goals, volunteers are engaged in developing plans that meet their needs and interests, and volunteers receive ongoing coaching and education that equip them to be successful in their role. You are a member of the following Service Unit: Service Unit Name: Service Unit #: Monthly Meeting Day: Location: Time: Service Teams A service team is a group of administrative volunteer staff appointed by regional staff and the service unit chair to support the delivery of services in the service unit. Service Team Position Service Unit Chair Ensures the service team is functioning, supporting new and existing volunteers in all pathways. The chair guides the team by sharing information provided by the Girl Scout council and facilitating service unit meetings. Recruitment Chair Extends membership within the service unit s geographic area (recruits girls and adults to Girl Scouting), organizes troops/groups and places adults in volunteer positions within the service unit. Data Chair Manages and communicates service unit data to volunteers. Girl Scout Leadership Experience Chair Facilitates retention of volunteers and girls by ensuring adult readiness, clear and timely communication and support to the Girl Scout Program. Product Sales Chair Coordinates the fall product sale and cookie program; adheres to procedures and timelines; coordinates troop cookie managers with problem solving. Name of Volunteer (in Your Service Unit) Volunteer Contact Information Staff Support The council includes both volunteer and professional staff who provide support to service units and volunteers. Regional service centers are open from 8:30 a.m. 5:30 p.m., Monday Friday, with extended evening hours till 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Please call

20 18

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