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Adventure Ahead!

Girl Scout volunteers are community-builders, champions of fun, and role models for what it means to lead with your heart. And because of your support, Girl Scouts of all ages are emboldened to chase their dreams and make a positive impact in their communities and across the globe. Your mentorship and encouragement are powerful and make a difference—and your girls will carry that support throughout their lives. Thank you for all you do.

This guide is designed to support busy troop volunteers on the go. You can easily find what you need to get started on your Girl Scout journey and search for answers throughout the troop year.

Get started by browsing through these sections: 

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Whatever your volunteer position, your hard work means girls will embark on new adventures, make friendships that last a lifetime, and deepen their connection to their community and the world. 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!

New troop leader? We’ve got you covered. Check out the New Leader’s Guide to Success, a resource designed especially for you! Plus, council staff and volunteer coaches are ready to help throughout your first year and beyond!

Check out our Homepage. 

Email Customer Care.

Find your Support Specialist. Your Support Specialist is available to assist you. They are your partners on this journey.

 

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

 
Volunteer Policies

Volunteers should familiarize themselves with those GSUSA and council policies and practices that guide and protect their status as Girl Scout volunteers. The policies listed below pertain to all volunteers regardless of position or role.

Adopted by board of directors on 10/4/08

Revised by board of directors on 2/10/11; 1/26/2013; 2/6/2014; 8/5/2021

Affirmative Action for Volunteers

There shall be no discrimination against an otherwise qualified adult volunteer by reason of disability or on the basis of age. Furthermore, there shall be no discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, sex, creed, national origin, or socioeconomic status. In addition, to ensure full equality of opportunity in all operations and activities of the organization, affirmative action policies and procedures shall be utilized in the recruitment, selection, training, placement, and recognition of volunteers.  Special emphasis shall be placed upon securing representation of underrepresented population groups. 

—Blue Book of Basic Documents 2012, p. 23

Membership Registration

All girls and adults participating in the Girl Scout Movement shall be registered as members with Girl Scouts of the United States of America and individually pay the annual membership dues, except those adults who are lifetime members or who are working in a temporary advisory or consultative capacity. 

—Blue Book of Basic Documents 2012, pp. 22

Recruitment

The recruitment process consists of a number of methods to attract qualified volunteers who will be matched to appropriate open or newly created positions. Written position descriptions that define specific responsibilities and clarify expectations will be completed prior to recruitment and used in the search. Each volunteer will also be required to complete an application, provide references, sign agreements, and in some cases, undergo a background check, prior to selection.

Selection

Each volunteer is selected on the basis of ability to perform the volunteer position, volunteer and council need, ability and willingness to attend training, and qualifications for membership in the Girl Scout Movement. There shall be no discrimination against an otherwise qualified adult volunteer by reason of disability or on the basis of age. Furthermore, there shall be no discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, sex, creed, national origin, religion, citizenship, ancestry, marital status, veteran status, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics protected by federal, state, or local law. Volunteers will receive some type of face-to-face interview prior to selection.

Membership

All volunteers participating in the Girl Scout Movement shall meet GSUSA membership standards, be registered through the council as members of the Girl Scout Movement, and shall agree to abide by the policies and principles of GSUSA and the Girl Scout council.

Placement

To provide equal opportunities to all individuals, every volunteer is placed on the basis of qualifications, willingness to perform the duties of the position, and willingness to take the required training. Every attempt will be made to place volunteers in positions that meet both their needs and the needs of the council. In instances where this is not possible, the needs of the council will take precedence over the needs of the individual. Individuals not placed in a position for which they applied may be recommended for other positions, and they may request reassignment.

Appointment

Operational volunteers shall be appointed for a term not to exceed one year. (See "Reappointment" for additional information.)

Training

All volunteers will receive basic training for their position and will also be required to complete additional training that is designated as mandatory for the position within a specified time frame. Training will ensure that each volunteer has the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in her or his work.

Orientation

Each volunteer is provided with an overview of the Girl Scout purpose and organization, local council information, and the support systems available to help them in their work. Orientation is provided online via an online platform provided by the Council. For those who prefer it, orientation can also be completed in a one-on-one or group setting (by request).

Advantages

Advantages to volunteers include support in their position, training, and other learning opportunities. Volunteers are encouraged to enhance and develop their skills while serving with the council. As appropriate, the council will assist volunteers in broadening their skills through assignment to new volunteer positions involving additional and/or greater responsibilities. Other advantages for volunteers include council publications; tools for recording volunteer experience; references upon request; liability insurance; and supplementary accident insurance, as part of national and/or council membership.

Performance Appraisal

Each volunteer shall be provided with the opportunity for a periodic performance appraisal and evaluation. The performance appraisal should include both a review of the volunteer’s performance of position responsibilities and a discussion of any suggestions that the volunteer may have concerning the position or project with which the volunteer is connected. The performance appraisal session should also be utilized as an opportunity to ascertain the mutual interest of the council and volunteer in the volunteer’s continued service in her or his position. It shall be the responsibility of each staff person in a supporting relationship with a volunteer to schedule and conduct the performance appraisal. 

The position description and standards of performance for a volunteer position should form the basis of the performance appraisal. A confidential written record should be kept of each appraisal session. 

Standards of performance shall be established for each volunteer position. These standards should list the responsibilities of the position, measurable indicators of whether responsibilities were accomplished, and appropriate timelines for accomplishment of responsibilities. Creation of these standards will be a joint function of staff and the volunteer assigned to the position, and a copy of the standards should be provided to the volunteer along with a copy of the position description at the beginning of her or his assignment.

Reappointment

Prior to the completion of her or his term, each volunteer who is to be reappointed to the same position or rotated to a different position may receive confirmation of such reappointment or rotation. Reappointment is based on past performance, adherence to council and GSUSA policies and standards, support of the Girl Scout purpose, values, and council goals, as well as positive relationships with the community, parents, other volunteers, and employed staff. There will be mutual acceptance of position accountabilities, expectations, and time commitments.

Uniforms

A uniform is not required for participation in Girl Scouting. Purchase of a uniform is at the volunteer’s expense and is encouraged. Volunteers are encouraged to wear the Girl Scout Membership Pin when they are not in uniform.

Conflict Resolution/Dispute

The conflict resolution process is based on the fundamental values of respect for the individual and fairness. The policy exists so members of the organization can air their grievances and have avenues to solving them. All volunteers may use the conflict resolution procedure. Every volunteer may expect a fair resolution of her or his dispute without fear of jeopardizing her or his volunteer status. Informal counseling by volunteer and staff personnel is the first step in resolving a situation involving a conflict or dispute. The initiation of the conflict resolution procedure, however, will not restrict the council from taking immediate and appropriate action with respect to the volunteer. The procedure is as follows: 

 

Step 1. If an informal resolution is not possible and a further hearing is desired, the person filing the complaint must do so in writing, citing the issue. The signed and dated document must be specifically titled “Conflict Resolution/Dispute Request,” identify the person with whom the conflict is registered, and cite the policy or procedure that has allegedly been misapplied. A copy should be sent to the identified person’s supervisor. Within ten (10) working days, the supervisor will call a conference of all parties involved in the dispute and attempt to resolve the conflict. A written summary of the conference will be distributed to all parties. 

Step 2. If the volunteer is not satisfied with the disposition of the conflict resolution, the council staff member or the council staff member’s supervisor will meet with the volunteer within ten (10) working days following her or his initial conference. 

Step 3. In the event that the dispute is not resolved in Step 2, the staff member prepares a written report on the situation, including recommendations, and sends a copy to the Chief Executive Officer. 

Or 

Step 4. The Chief Executive Officer will appoint a dispute/complaint resolution review team. (The review team will be comprised of a management representative, an employee not involved in the conflict resolution process, and a council volunteer selected by the complainant.) The dispute review team will review the documentation on file and meet with the individuals involved. The review team may seek additional information, if necessary, to aid it in making a final decision. The team will provide the Chief Executive Officer with a written report of its findings and recommendations within ten (10) working days of the review hearing. Copies will also be issued to the volunteer and immediate supervisor. 

If the recommended resolution is not acceptable to the volunteer or any of the supervisors involved, a request to submit the recommended resolution to the Chief Executive Officer for a final and binding decision will be made. The Chief Executive Officer may exercise the following: 

1. Accept the Dispute Resolution Team’s recommended solution. 

2. Provide an alternative final and binding decision.  

This is the council’s final decision. It is the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer to implement the decision.

Recognition

The council’s formal recognition system will be consistent with the GSUSA publication Adult Recognitions in Girl Scouting (Cat. No. 26-458).

Release

Either the council or the volunteer may initiate a release from a position. A volunteer is requested to give as much notice as possible when resigning. A minimum of two weeks is requested. 

Situations may arise that make it necessary to release an individual from a position. The council may release an individual because of, among other things, restructuring of positions, elimination of the volunteer position in which the individual serves, the volunteer’s inability or failure to complete the requirements of the position, or the refusal to comply with council or Girl Scouts of the USA policies. Release from the position does not cancel membership with Girl Scouts of the USA unless it is determined that she or he is unable to meet the membership requirement.

Harassment

The council is committed to an environment and climate in which relationships are characterized by dignity, respect, courtesy, and equitable treatment. It is the policy of the organization to provide all volunteers with an environment free from all forms of unlawful or unwelcome harassment, including implied or expressed forms of sexual harassment. 

The council expressly prohibits any form of harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, marital status, citizenship, ancestry, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.  The council reserves the right to refuse membership endorsement or reappointment, and to dismiss or suspend from affiliation with the council any volunteer who, in conducting Girl Scout program, harasses another volunteer, employee, or Girl Scout member.

Any volunteer who feels that she or he has been subjected to harassment of any type, whether by another volunteer, council staff member, or any agent of the organization, should promptly report the incident to a supervisor or to the Chief Executive Officer. The supervisor, upon receiving such a complaint, must report the matter to the Chief Executive Officer who will conduct an investigation and, depending on the findings, take appropriate corrective actions.

Sexual Harassment

It is against the council’s policies for any individual, male or female, to sexually harass another volunteer, employee, or Girl Scout member of the same or opposite sex. The council reserves the right to refuse membership endorsement or reappointment, and to dismiss or suspend from affiliation with the council any volunteer who, in conducting Girl Scout program, sexually harasses another volunteer, employee, or Girl Scout member of the same or opposite sex. 

Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual acts or favors, abusing the dignity of another through insulting or degrading sexual remarks or conduct and threats or suggestions that a volunteer’s status is conditioned upon toleration of or acquiescence to sexual advances. Some examples of sexual harassment that could create a hostile work environment include telling of sexual jokes or stories; the presence of sexually explicit photographs or other materials; touching of another person’s clothing, hair or body; making sexual comments about another person’s body; making sexual comments or innuendoes; asking personal questions about another person’s social or sexual life; staring; leering; and making sexual gestures. Any volunteer who feels that she or he has been sexually harassed should promptly report such behavior to a supervisor or the Chief Executive Officer. Upon receiving a complaint, a supervisor will report the matter to the Chief Executive Officer. The Chief Executive Officer will conduct an investigation and, depending on the findings, take appropriate corrective action.

Child Abuse

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

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

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

Retaliation against anyone who reports an incident or cooperates in an investigation conducted will not be tolerated. 

Confidentiality

Volunteers are not permitted to use, for personal advantage or for the advantage of any private business or other business organizations, Confidential Information acquired during the course of her or his assignment. 

Confidential Information includes any information relating to volunteers, members, or staff that includes any of the following: 

• Addresses

• Telephone numbers

• Social Security Numbers

• Rosters

• Mailing Lists

• E-mail Lists

• Telephone Directories

• Other non-public personal information

• Other materials provided by Girl Scouts or this Council

Each volunteer must:

• Store and keep safe any Confidential Information in a secure location.

• Use the Confidential Information only for the purposes for which it is provided.

• Gain permission from Council Staff before sharing any Confidential Information.

• Promptly report and disclose any potential conflicts or violations of the GSLPG Confidentiality of Information Policy.

• Promptly report any possible data breach.

Pluralism and Diversity

Girl Scout councils and USA Girl Scouts Overseas committees shall be responsible for seeing that membership is reflective of the pluralistic nature of their populations and that membership is extended to all girls in all population segments and geographic areas in their jurisdictions. A girl who meets or can meet membership requirements shall not be denied admission or access to Girl Scout program because of race, color, ethnicity, creed, national origin, socioeconomic status, or disability. Reasonable accommodations shall be made for girls with disabilities to ensure that girls have access to activities. Blue Book, 2021, P22

Bylaws

View the Bylaws HERE.