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Troop Finances

How do girls become financially empowered women? Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE), that’s how! Your Girl Scout troop should plan and finance its own activities, and you’ll coach your girls as they earn and manage troop funds. Troop activities are powered by proceeds earned through council-sponsored product program activities (such as the Girl Scout Cookie Program), group money-earning activities (council approved, of course!), and any dues your troop may charge. 

With your guidance, girls will learn key money skills that will serve them throughout their lives.

Establishing a Troop Account

No matter how much your troop plans on saving or spending, you’ll need a safe place to deposit your troop dues, product sale proceeds, and other funds. If you’ve stepped up to lead an existing troop, you may inherit a checking account, but with a new troop, you’ll want to open a new bank account. 

Here are a few helpful tips: 

  • Submit a bank letter request. 
  • Be sure to find a bank that has free checking and low fees.
  • Designate a “troop treasurer,” that is, one person who is responsible for troop funds and for keeping a daily account of expenditures. 
  • Ensure your account comes with a debit card that you can use during activities or trips. These transactions are easier to track at the end of the year.
  • Be prepared like a Girl Scout, and make sure another troop volunteer has accessible a debit card for the troop account in case the main card is lost.
  • Handle a lost troop debit card the same way you would a personal debit card: cancel it immediately.
  • Keep troop funds in the bank before an activity or trip, and pay for as many items as possible in advance of your departure.

Follow your council’s financial policies and procedures for setting up an account. Most council-sponsored product program activities have specific banking and tracking procedures. 

Troop Disbanding and Unused Troop Funds

When a troop disbands, any unused Girl Scout money left in the account becomes the property of the council. Troop funds are not the property of any individual girl. Before disbanding, ask your girls how they want to pay it forward: they may decide to donate any unused funds to their service unit, to another troop, or to pay for girl activities. Girl activities can include purchasing materials to support another organization through Take Action projects. 

Closing the Troop Account

When closing a troop account, be sure all checks and other debits have cleared the account before you close it. Remember, you may have to close the account in person. Turn remaining funds over to a council staff member.

GS-TOP Troop and Service Unit Annual Financials Reports
June 15, 2020, is the deadline for submitting troop and service unit annual financial reports, which are conveniently located in the "Finance" tab of the Volunteer Toolkit.

Please do NOT send your full bank account number or routing number through the VTK, as it's an unsecured line. Before you attach your latest bank statement to the Annual Financial Report, black out the routing number and account number, leaving the last four digits of the account number visible. 

If you have any questions or need assistance call Customer Care at 800.582.7272 or email customercare@gs-top.org.

Money-Earning Basics for Troops

Troops flex their financial muscles in two distinct ways: 

  • The Girl Scout Cookie Program and other product programs of Girl Scout–authorized products (such as magazines or nuts and candy), organized by your council. All girl members are eligible to participate in two council-sponsored product program activities each year with volunteer supervision: the cookie program and the Fall Product Program. Please remember, volunteers and Girl Scout council staff don’t sell cookies and other products—girls do. 
  • Group money-earning activities organized by the troop (not by the council) that are planned and carried out by girls (in partnership with volunteers) and that earn money for the group. 

    Troop Money Earning Project Application

Participation Guidance
Girls’ participation in both council-sponsored product program activities and group money-earning projects is based upon the following:

  • Voluntary participation
  • Written permission of each girl’s parent or guardian
  • An understanding of (and ability to explain clearly to others) why the money is needed
  • An understanding that money earning should not exceed what the group needs to support its program activities
  • Observance of local ordinances related to involvement of children in money-earning activities as well as health and safety laws
  • Vigilance in protecting the personal safety of each girl 
  • Arrangements for safeguarding the money

Additional Guidelines
Keep these specific guidelines—some of which are required by the Internal Revenue Service—in mind to ensure that sales are conducted with legal and financial integrity. 

  • All recognitions earned by girls through the product program activities must support Girl Scout program experiences (such as camp, travel, and program events, but not scholarships or financial credits toward outside organizations).
  • Recognitions are based on sales ranges set by councils and may not be based on a dollar-per-dollar calculation.
  • Troops are encouraged to participate in council product programs as their primary money-earning activity; any group money earning shouldn’t compete with the Girl Scout Cookie Program or other council product programs.
  • Obtain written approval from your council before a group money-earning event; most councils ask that you submit a request for approval. 
  • Girl Scouts discourages the use of games of chance. Any activity which could be considered a game of chance (raffles, contests, bingo) must be approved by the local Girl Scout council and be conducted in compliance with all local and state laws. 
  • Girl Scouts’ Blue Book policy forbids girls from the direct solicitation of cash. Girls can collect partial payment toward the purchase of a package of Girl Scout Cookies and other Girl Scout–authorized products through participation in council-approved product sale donation programs.
  • Girl Scouts forbids product demonstration parties where the use of the Girl Scout trademark increases revenue for another business, such as in-home product parties. Any business using the Girl Scout trademark or other Girl Scout intellectual property must seek authorization from GSUSA.
  • Group money-earning activities need to be suited to the ages and abilities of the girls and consistent with the principles of the GSLE.
  • Money earned is for Girl Scout activities and is not to be retained by individuals. Girls can, however, be awarded recognitions and/or may earn credits from their Girl Scout product programs. Funds acquired through group money-earning projects must be reported and accounted for by the group according to council procedures. 

Sample Money-Earning Activities
Collections/Drives

  • Cell phones for refurbishment
  • Used ink cartridges turned in for money
  • Christmas tree recycling

Service(s)

  • Dog/car washes
  • Service-a-thon (people sponsor a girl doing service and funds go to support a trip or other activity)
  • Babysitting for holiday (New Year’s Eve) or council events
  • Raking leaves, weeding, cutting grass, shoveling snow, walking pets
  • Cooking class or other specialty class
  • Gift wrapping for tips at local stores during holiday season

The Girl Scout Cookie Program and other council-sponsored product programs are designed to unleash the entrepreneurial potential in your girls. From there, your troop may decide to earn additional funds on its own. 

Fundraising Definitions and Guidelines

No troop, individual, or service unit may solicit funds without prior approval from the Development Office. All gifts over $100 require processing through the Development Office to ensure donor receives proper receipting and recognition per IRS guidelines.

Sponsorship: A financial donation from a business, corporation, individual, or foundation to fund the event or program purpose. Any sponsorship above $100 to a troop or service unit must be receipted by the council . In exchange, the sponsor receives a benefit such as publicity or recognition, tickets or special seating, or program responsibilities. Benefits are defined and agreed upon in advance of the contribution. Any financial sponsorship of a troop, service unit, or council activity must be receipted. IRS substantiation rules apply.

Outright Gifts of Cash: On occasion, outright gifts are given to the council, service unit, or a troop. Any gift of $100 or more must be received and receipted by the council. The gift may be directed for a special purpose or may be undesignated (e.g., Financial Assistance, Troop Travel, or Awards projects are examples of gifts designated for a special purpose). Donors are likely to be disappointed if the council does not provide the required acknowledgement. We must fulfill our obligations under law and to ensure good stewardship practices. Specific IRS rules apply for receipting such gifts.

Restricted Donations: All restricted donations, regardless of amount, must be directed to the council. This practice will allow the council to maintain records of all restricted gifts and ensure donor intent and to provide the proper acknowledgement for substantiation purposes. By and large, the council does not encourage restricted donations to specific troops but will discuss opportunities that support a specific need that may impact our mission.

Volunteer Matching Grants: Many employers provide matching grants for service or may match an outright donation to the council by an adult volunteer. The council must follow IRS rules and standards and where such matching funds from corporations are sought (by adult volunteers), we must be able to certify that volunteer hours have been provided and funds used for Girl Scout activities. If you have access to a program through your place of work, contact the council Development Department to make sure that we have developed a plan to meet these standards and your desire to give to the council.

Volunteer Out-of-Pocket Expense: Volunteers who are claiming a charitable deduction for their out-of-pocket-expenses will need to substantiate the amounts to the IRS and obtain from the council a written acknowledgement describing the items, as well as a statement that no goods or services were provided in return for the costs incurred. If you decide to claim these expenses as a charitable deduction, forms are provided for you. Please contact the council if you have any questions.

In Kind (or non-cash donations): There are special requirements for certain gifts, including vehicles, clothing, and other property. In most cases, friends and family donate items for garage programs, yard programs, or programs just to help the troop and do not intend to obtain a donation form – and that’s perfectly ok. However, a gift from a corporation or business that is not cash but a service or product may want a receipt. Work with the council Development Department for these situations should they become part of your plan.

Private Benefit: According to the IRS, generally, where certain individuals benefit from gifts made to Girl Scouting, the determination of whether such gifts are deductible is based on whether the council has full control of the donated funds and discretion as to their use, so as to ensure that they will be used to carry out the organization’s functions and purposes. This can be an uncomfortable situation for a donor and the council if not enforced properly. An IRS tax deduction may be disallowed where the gift appears to be primarily for the benefit of a single individual.

The council must ensure compliance with IRS regulations and thereby will not accept donations where a gift appears to be primarily for the benefit of a single individual. Please contact the council Development Department to be sure that every measure is taken to uphold the law and the intent of the donor.

Please check council policies to be sure that you know and understand your responsibilities to uphold the council’s legal obligations for donations. GS-TOP upholds the ethical practices of fundraising and adheres to a strict code of conduct and the Donor Bill of Rights.

As you can see, accepting charitable contributions is complicated. Council staff is here to assist you in whatever way possible so be sure to check with the Development Staff before accepting any contributions.

Help Your Troop Reach its Financial Goals

We get it—there’s something exciting about opening that first case of Girl Scout cookies.  However, before your girls take part in all the cookie program fun, it’s important they have a clear plan and purpose for their product-sale activities. As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to facilitate girl-led financial planning, which may include the following steps for the girls:

  1. Set goals for money-earning activities. What do girls hope to accomplish through this activity? In addition to earning money, what skills do they hope to build? What leadership opportunities present themselves?

  2. Create a budget. Use a budget worksheet that includes both expenses (the cost of supplies, admission to events, travel, and so on) and available income (the group’s account balance, projected cookie proceeds, and so on).

  3. Determine how much the group needs to earn. Subtract expenses from available income to determine how much money your group needs to earn.

  4. Make a plan. The group can brainstorm and make decisions about its financial plans. Will cookie and other product sales—if approached proactively and energetically—earn enough money to meet the group’s goals? If not, which group money-earning activities might offset the difference? Will more than one group money-earning activity be necessary to achieve the group’s financial goals? In this planning stage, engage the girls through the Girl Scout processes (girl-led, learning by doing, and cooperative learning) and consider the value of any potential activity. Have them weigh feasibility, implementation, and safety factors. 

  5. Write it out. Once the group has decided on its financial plan, describe it in writing. If the plan involves a group money-earning activity, fill out an application for approval from your council and submit it along with the budget worksheet the girls created. 

Remember: It’s great for girls to have opportunities, like the Girl Scout Cookie Program, to earn funds that help them fulfill their goals as part of the GSLE. As a volunteer, try to help girls balance the money-earning they do with opportunities to enjoy other activities that have less emphasis on earning and spending money. Take Action projects, for example, may not always require girls to spend a lot of money!

Financial Management and Product Program Abilities by Grade Level

As with other Girl Scout activities, girls build their financial and sales savvy as they get older. Every girl will be different, but here you’ll find some examples of the abilities and opportunities for progression of girls at each grade level.

Girl Scout Daisies 
The group volunteer handles money, keeps financial records, and does all group budgeting.
Parents/guardians may decide they will contribute to the cost of activities.
Girls can participate in Girl Scout cookie activities and other council-sponsored product sales.
Daisies are always paired with a volunteer when selling anything. Girls do the asking and deliver the product, but volunteers handle the money and keep the girls secure.
Girls should be given the opportunity to practice identifying money and counting back change with an adult during each transaction.
Girl Scout Brownies
The group volunteer handles money, keeps financial records, and shares some of the group-budgeting responsibilities.
Girls discuss the cost of activities (supplies, fees, transportation, rentals, and so on) with guidance from their volunteer(s).
Girls set goals for and participate in council-sponsored product sales.
Girls may decide to pay dues to contribute to the cost of activities.
Girl Scout Juniors 
The group volunteer retains overall responsibility for long-term budgeting and record-keeping, but shares or delegates all other financial responsibilities.
Girls set goals for and participate in council-sponsored product sales.
Girls decide on group dues, if any. Dues are collected by girls and recorded by a group treasurer (selected by the girls).
Girls budget for the short-term needs of the group, on the basis of plans and income from the group dues.
Girls budget for more long-term activities, such as overnight trips, group camping, and special events. 
Girls budget for Take Action projects, including the Girl Scout Bronze Award, if they are pursuing it.
Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors 
Girls estimate costs based on plans.
Girls determine the amount of group dues (if any) and the scope of money-earning projects.
Girls set goals for and participate in council-sponsored product sales.
Girls carry out budgeting, planning, and group money-earning projects.
Girls budget for extended travel, Take Action projects, and leadership projects.
Girls may be involved in seeking donations for Take Action projects, with council approval.
Girls keep their own financial records and give reports to parents and group volunteers.
Girls budget for Take Action projects, including the Girl Scout Silver or Gold Awards, if they are pursuing them.
Working with Sponsors and Other Organizations

Every girl deserves an empowering leadership experience like Girl Scouts and local sponsors can help councils make that vision a reality. Community organizations, businesses, religious organizations, and individuals may be sponsors and may provide group meeting places, volunteer their time, offer in-kind donations, provide activity materials, or loan equipment. Encourage your girls to celebrate a sponsor’s contribution to the troop by sending thank-you cards, inviting the sponsor to a meeting or ceremony, or working together on a Take Action project.

For information on working with a sponsor, consult your council; they can give you guidance on the availability of sponsors, recruiting guidelines, and any council policies or practices that must be followed. Your council may already have relationships with certain organizations, or may know of some reasons not to collaborate with certain organizations.

Contact GS-TOP Customer Care at 800.582-7272 or customercare@gs-top.org for more information.

Important guidelines when approaching money earning with other organizations

When collaborating with any other organization, keep these additional guidelines in mind: 

Avoid fundraising for other organizations: Girl Scouts are not allowed to solicit money on behalf of another organization when identifying ourselves as Girl Scouts (such as wearing a uniform, a sash or vest, official pins, and so on). This includes participating in a walkathon or telethon while in uniform. However, you and your group can support another organization through take-action projects. Girl Scouts as individuals are able to participate in whatever events they choose, as long as they’re not wearing anything that officially identifies them as “Girl Scouts.” 

Steer clear of political fundraisers: When in an official Girl Scout capacity or in any way identifying yourselves as Girl Scouts, your group may not participate (directly or indirectly) in any political campaign or work on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for public office. Letter-writing campaigns are not allowed, nor is participating in a political rally, circulating a petition, or carrying a political banner. 

Be respectful when collaborating with religious organizations: Girl Scout groups must respect the opinions and practices of religious partners, but no girl should be required to take part in any religious observance or practice of the sponsoring group. 

Avoid selling or endorsing commercial products: “Commercial products” is any product sold at a retail location. Since 1939, girls and volunteers have not been allowed to endorse, provide a testimonial for, or sell such products.

Policies, Permissions, and Insurance
Activity Accident Insurance and Reports
Activity Accident Insurance for Troop Activities

All girls and adults who are registered members of Girl Scouts of the USA are covered by the Basic Girl Scout Activity Plan for all approved Girl Scout activities except for overnights of more than two nights.

This insurance is designed to help meet the costs of medical care for accidents occurring during the normal supervised activities of the Girl Scout program. It should not diminish the need for family health insurance or replace the benefits available under a family medical plan. Girl Scout insurance pays the first $130 of covered expenses. Any subsequent bills for the same accident will be payable by this coverage only for an expense which is not compensable under another insurance policy or service contract or not covered under a contract with a health maintenance organization, preferred provider organization or prepaid health care program.

Optional Plans are available for purchase through the Council. Council policy requires the purchase of this additional coverage for a troop trip of more than two nights.

The coverage includes:

  • Accident insurance for non-member participants (except tagalongs) in any approved Girl Scout activity OR for accident only coverage of member participants for a troop trip of more than two nights – Plan 2: $0.11/day/person. This plan is recommended to cover non-members attending troop activities or Service Unit, regional or Council events.
  • Accident and illness coverage for members/non-members (except tagalongs) – Plan 3E: $0.29/per day/person. This plan is recommended for a trip of more than two nights OR if your troop will be far enough away from home that a parent cannot be called to meet you at the doctor’s office or hospital in an emergency.

See the Activity Accident Insurance brochure in the Troop Registration packet, or request one from your local council office, for additional details on coverage.

If you have questions about coverage, or if you need to purchase Optional Plan insurance, call any council office.

Troop Insurance Packet

Each troop is provided with current information on the insurance coverage and forms for filing insurance claims. A new leader receives the insurance packet in the New Member Orientation Packet. In the packet are follow-up information pieces to give to the parent of the injured girl or to the injured adult, in case an insurance claim is filed. This will help them to work with the council office to expedite the claim.

Additional insurance forms are available at any council office.

Accident/Incident Report

The Accident/Incident Report form is a Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains, Inc. risk management tool used to report any accident/incident, whether it is physical, mental or emotional in nature. The intent of this form is to document circumstances, witnesses and any actions in situations that result in or nearly result in injury or danger to individuals or are potentially harmful to girl and adult members. This form is not intended to establish blame; it is for reporting facts. This form may be submitted by any adult associated with GS-TOP. All Accident/ Incident Reports should be submitted to the designated staff person responsible for the activity where the accident or incident occurred. Staff members will take appropriate action. Accident/ Incident Report forms are available at any council office.

Events/Meeting Potential Liability Insurance Needs

Some sites or vendors may require your troop to provide a Certificate of Insurance as evidence that the council has liability insurance coverage. If required, call Cliff Wilson, Controller, at 817-735-5309.

Emergency Plan for Girl Scout Troops
“BE PREPARED,” the Girl Scout motto, is the key to handling emergencies if they arise. Whenever an outing with your troop is planned, be sure to take with you:

  • Signed parent permission forms which include where parents can be reached in case of emergency
  • Phone number for troop’s emergency contact back home
  • Telephone numbers for local police, fire department, and ambulance service. Where available, call 911.
  • Directions to the nearest hospital or medical facility
  • Girl Scout insurance forms and Accident/Incident Report forms
  • The wallet-size “Emergency Plan for Girl Scout Troops”. Check in the VTK or website forms. Remember to check Safety Activity Checkpoints for suggestions concerning the specific activity planned. This document is in the Volunteer Tool Kit under Resources.

Serious Accident, Emergency, or Fatality Procedures
In the event of a serious accident, emergency, or fatality, the person in charge at the scene needs to:

  • Give priority attention to providing all possible care for the injured. Do not move victim unless it is necessary for safety reasons.
  • Secure ambulance, doctor, police and others as appropriate.
  • While help is being summoned, take care of injuries requiring immediate first aid.
  • Notify the troop’s emergency contact who will notify all parents.
  • In the event of a fatality, always notify police. Retain a responsible adult at the scene of the accident or emergency. See that no disturbance of victim or surroundings is permitted until police have assumed authority.
  • Call the local Service Unit Manager to report a minor emergency or occurrence and to secure additional assistance.
  • In the case of an automobile accident of any kind, be sure to notify police to obtain a police report even if there are no injuries. This is also important for any rental vehicles.
  • Call the council’s emergency phone number to secure assistance from the council only if reporting a very serious accident or fatality.

Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains Emergency Cell Phone: 682-551-0281

DO NOT MAKE ANY STATEMENTS to media representatives. Assure them that they will get current information by calling the council.

Do not sign any statements or accident reports except by request from:

  • A Police Officer
  • Personal insurance company or attorney
  • Girl Scout insurance company or attorney 
Frequently Asked Questions about Insurance
  • Q: What is the purpose of the plan?
    A: To assure that every registered Girl Scout is automatically covered by accident insurance during normal supervised program activities (except those events lasting more than two nights). Coverage is automatic for all girls and adults upon registration in the Girl Scout Movement.
  • Q: If a member is injured while individually practicing skills for a badge or learning a sport, such as individual roller skating or horseback riding, is she covered?
    A: No. These are individual activities conducted outside of the troop and not under the direct supervision of troop leadership.
  • Q: Are fund-raising drives and money-earning events covered?
    A: Yes, if the activities are Council approved and properly supervised.
  • Q: Is traveling to and from a troop meeting covered?
    A: Yes. The insurance includes travel directly to and from troop meetings.
  • Q: Are program events (including camping) of two consecutive nights or less covered by the Basic Plan?
    A: Yes. All registered members participating in approved, supervised program/camping events lasting two nights or less are covered.
  • Q: Is it possible to insure an event that lasts four or five nights?
    A: Yes, an Optional Plan of activity insurance would need to be arranged through GS-TOP to cover the entire event. Contact your area office, describe the event, indicate inclusive dates, and the number of girls and adults participating.
  • Q: Would coverage be provided for a member who became ill during an approved activity?
    A: No. Sickness is not covered. Only medical expense arising out of an accident during an approved, supervised activity is covered. However, sickness caused by an accident such as a poisonous snake or insect bite, would be covered.
  • Q: Are non-registered parents, troop consultants or other persons assisting the leader covered?
    A: No. Only registered girl and adult members are covered.
  • Q: Are “tagalongs” (brothers, sisters, friends) covered?
    A: No. For example, a registered Girl Scout Daisy tagging along with the parent who is leading a Cadette troop activity has no coverage for the Cadette activity. Conversely, if the “tagalong” is a registered Girl Scout member of a different troop and is participating in the event, there is coverage. Additionally, a registered Girl Scout Cadette assisting (i.e. participating) at a Daisy meeting (activity) also has coverage. 
Council Policies and Standards

(Approved by the Board of Directors on April 14, 2012)

By the terms of its charter, Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains, Inc. and all its members are required to adhere to the policies of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. as stated in Volunteer Essentials and are guided by the standards of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. as stated in Volunteer Essentials and Safety Activity Checkpoints.

A policy is an established, binding course of action to be followed. A policy states what must be done and is binding on those whom it affects. Policies are established by the Board of Directors and remain in force until specifically repealed or revised.

A standard is an established level of quality or achievement for measuring and judging a council’s performance in delivering Girl Scout program to girls. Council standards are established by the Board of Directors and remain in force until specifically repealed or revised.

I. Adult Leadership Roles

Policy: All adult volunteers, except those adults working as temporary advisors or consultants, shall be registered members of the Girl Scout Movement and shall individually pay the applicable membership dues.

Policy: At least two (2) adults are required to register as the leadership team with each group and be present at every group meeting and activity. At least one of the registered adults must be female, not related to the other registered adults, and must be present at every group meeting and activity.

Standard: Girl Scout groups should have an active committee of registered adult members who provide support and continuity to the group.

II. Camping

Policy: At least one person involved in a group’s outdoor fire-building, cooking, and/or overnight activities must have completed the appropriate learning opportunity provided by the Council or another approved organization.

III. Child Abuse

Policy: Any act of child abuse and/or neglect or sexual exploitation that includes, but is not limited to, physical, sexual or emotional abuse and/or neglect by any volunteer, male or female, against any girl member is prohibited.

Policy: Volunteers shall report any good faith suspicion or belief of child abuse, neglect, or sexual exploitation. This reporting responsibility is personal to the volunteer and may not be abdicated to someone else.

In Texas, such reports must be made to state or local law enforcement authorities or to the Texas Abuse Hotline (1-800-252-5400 or www.txabusehotline.org). In Oklahoma, reports must be made to local law enforcement or to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (1-800-522-3511 or www.okdhs.org). A volunteer making such a report must also notify the Council.

If the conduct occurred during a Girl Scout activity, the volunteer must immediately notify the Council and file an incident report.

IV. First Aid

Policy: A currently certified First Aider must be present at every group meeting and activity.

V. Harassment

Policy: 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, ethnicity, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability or genetic information. Any act of harassment by any volunteer, male or female, against another volunteer, employee, or girl member of the same or opposite sex is prohibited.

Any volunteer who feels that she/he has been subjected to conduct prohibited by this policy must immediately report the incident to the volunteer supervisor or an employed staff member and must complete an incident report.

VI. Insurance Coverage

Policy: All girls and adults who are registered members are covered by the Basic Girl Scout Activity Plan (accident insurance only) for all approved Girl Scout activities, except for overnights of more than two nights, or three nights if one of the days is an official federal holiday.

  • For a trip lasting more than two nights, or three nights if one of the days is an official federal holiday, a group must purchase, through the Council, additional accident or accident/illness insurance.
  • For any activity at the council, regional or Service Unit level, accident coverage must be purchased through the Council for non‐member participants.
VII. Medication

Policy: Prescriptions and/or over the counter medications must be in the original container, carefully labeled with the girl’s name and dosage, and must be accompanied by written instruction from a custodial parent, legal guardian or a physician.

Policy: Prescriptions and/or over the counter medications will be administered to a girl by, or in the presence of, the responsible adult and only with written permission from, and in accordance with, the written instructions of a custodial parent, legal guardian or a physician.

Standard: Some individual girls may carry and administer their own medications, which must be administered in the presence of the responsible adult as per the written instruction of a custodial parent, legal guardian or a physician.

Policy: The responsible adult must document each dose of medication administered, showing the child’s name, the name of the medicine, date, time, and amount administered, as well as the name of the person administering the medication. The record must be kept at least one year.

VIII. Membership/Group Organization

Policy: Membership shall be extended to all girls, grades K-12, regardless of socio-economic status, racial, ethnic, cultural or religious background or disability.

Policy: To register a group, there must be at least 5 girls registering from more than one family. Exceptions may be made in extenuating circumstances due to the girl population of the area. This decision will be made by the CEO or designee.

Standard: Girls participate in groupings large enough to provide girl-led, hands-on, and cooperative learning experiences and small enough to allow for the development of the individual girls. It is recommended that the group sizes be as follows:

  • Daisy Girl Scouts                          5-15 girls
  • Brownie Girl Scouts                      10-25 girls
  • Junior Girl Scouts                         10-30 girls
  • Cadette Girl Scouts                      5-30 girls
  • Senior Girl Scouts                         5-30 girls
  • Ambassador Girl Scouts              5-30 girls
IX. Money‐Earning/Money Management

Policy: All money-earning activities, other than Council-sponsored product programs, must be approved in writing by authorized council personnel.

Policy: Money raised through money-earning activities must be used to benefit the group. Keeping individual accounts for each girl is not allowed.

Standard: Group money‐earning activities must not conflict with United Way campaigns.

Policy: Groups must have a bank account.

Policy: Group bank accounts must have at least two (2) authorized signers, not from the same family, who are registered Girl Scout adults, and be held in the name of Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains, Inc., Group # ______.

Policy: Multi-grade-level groups will have only one bank account.

Policy: All charges incurred by the group bank account are the responsibility of the signers on the account, not the Council.

Policy: With the exception of non-edible items made by the girls, only Council-sponsored products may be sold. Demonstration parties for a product or business, raffles, items for resale, and edible products are not permitted to be sold.

Policy: Council-sponsored products may not be sold on the Internet.

Policy: Groups must participate in the Council cookie program each year before asking for approval for additional money-earning projects, except in the case of a new group registering after the cookie program has ended.

Policy: No group money‐earning activity will be conducted during Council-sponsored product programs.

Policy: Individually registered girl members who participate in Council-sponsored Product Programs are eligible for individual girl recognitions but are not eligible for monetary rewards.

Policy: All money and other assets raised, earned, or received in the name of and for the benefit of Girl Scouting must be authorized by the Council and used for the purposes of Girl Scouting. Such monies and other assets become the property of the Council and are not the property of individual girls, groups, Service Units or regions.

Policy: All donations of $100.00 or more intended for specific groups or Service Units must be made to the Council. Such donations will be documented; then the total donation will be disbursed to the designated group or Service Unit as donor-restricted funds.

Policy: Each group and Service Unit must submit an Annual Financial Report showing income, expenses, name of the bank, account number, and year-end balance. The balance should not exceed $1000, with the exception of funds intended for a long-term project or trip. A copy of the most current bank statement must be attached to the Annual Financial Report.

Policy: If a Service Unit has accumulated funds, a bank account must be established and be held in the name of “Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains, Inc., (name of service unit)”.

Policy: Service Unit bank accounts must have at least two (2) authorized signers, not from the same family, who are registered Girl Scout adults.

Standard: The Service Unit team decides on the use of funds in order to benefit all girls in the Service Unit and must follow Council procedures for the use of Service Unit monies.

Policy: Program supplies, the Annual Financial Report, the final bank statement, and a check for the final balance from retired groups must be turned over to authorized council personnel within two weeks of a leader’s resignation.

X. Overnight Trips

Policy: Trips overnight, or longer, to a site other than a Council facility, the group’s regular meeting place, or the home of an adult registered with the group, must be approved in writing by authorized Council personnel.

Policy: Safety Activity Checkpoints for all trip activities must be followed.

XI. Parental Permission

Policy: Each girl must have written permission from a custodial parent or legal guardian to join Girl Scouting.

Policy: Each girl must have written permission from a custodial parent or legal guardian to participate in an activity away from the group’s regular meeting place.

Policy: Each girl must have written permission from a custodial parent or legal guardian to participate in group money‐earning activities, including Council‐sponsored product programs.

Policy: Each girl must have written permission from a custodial parent or legal guardian to participate in any discussion or activity dealing with topics that are likely to be considered sensitive. Sufficient formation regarding these discussions or activities must be made available to the custodial parent or legal guardian so they can make an informed decision about the child’s participation.

XII. Program Events

Policy: All girl program events must be approved in writing by authorized council personnel and must follow Council procedures.

Policy: The Event Coordinator for girl program events is responsible for collecting fees, paying expenses, and submitting required reports.

XIII. Properties
Firearms

Policy: Firearms and other weapons, hunting, and fireworks are not permitted on any Council property except as expressly authorized in writing by the CEO or designee.

New Physical Assets

Policy: Building structures of any kind, or other permanent features, which are proposed to be installed at, or on, any Council property must be in keeping with the current plan for that property and must be approved by the Board of Directors.

Smoking

Policy: Smoking and the use of other tobacco products are only permitted outside buildings in designated smoking areas.

Standard: Adults are strongly discouraged from smoking or using other tobacco products in the presence of girls.

Standard: Registered adult members should not smoke in the presence of girls.

Use/Care of Facilities

Policy: Groups using Council facilities such as Scout Houses, camps, or offices, or council equipment, are responsible for their proper care and will be held financially accountable for loss, damage, repair, and replacement.

Policy: The meeting rooms and activity areas of the Council’s offices are intended to provide readily available meeting areas for Council business such as Board meetings, committee meetings, adult learning opportunities, Council‐sponsored program events, staff meetings, etc. The CEO or designee has the authority to make temporary exceptions for other uses.

Policy: Use of Council facilities by outside organizations must be approved in writing by the CEO or designee.

Retaliation

Policy: Retaliation against a volunteer for a good-faith report of a policy violation is prohibited.

XIV. Transportation

Policy: Individuals operating motor vehicles transporting girls must be at least 21 years of age and be properly licensed for the vehicles.

Policy: A motor vehicle used for transporting girls and/or Girl Scout equipment, or being used to conduct Girl Scout business, must be properly registered and the driver must be insured in accordance with applicable state law.

Policy: Vehicles must be used for their intended purpose. Trucks and other similar type vehicles must not be used to transport people in the area designed for cargo.

Policy: The number of passengers must not exceed the intended passenger limits of the vehicle.

Passengers must have and use their own individual seat belt. Applicable state statues regarding child safety seats must be followed.

Policy: Use of 15 passenger vans to transport girls is not permitted.

Policy: Drivers must put safety first whenever driving. While driving, drivers should not make/receive cell phone calls unless using a hands free device. Drivers are prohibited from using other cell phone features including text messaging, browsing the Internet, reading or sending emails, and playing games.

XV. Volunteer Management
Discrimination Prohibited

Policy: There shall be no discrimination in the recruitment, selection, placement, appointment, learning opportunity, retention, and recognition of adult volunteers on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, disability, age, or national origin.

Selection and Appointment

Policy: Every adult volunteer shall be selected and appointed on the basis of interest, ability to perform the position, willingness to participate in adult learning, and any other factors deemed appropriate by the Council. Appointment shall be made by authorized Council personnel.

Standard: Reasonable efforts 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.

Application

Policy: Each applicant for a volunteer position is required to complete an application form, and authorize a Background check. The applicant will be interviewed before an appointment is made.

Background Checks

Policy: If an applicant or current volunteer has been a party to any misdemeanor or felony criminal matter (other than a minor traffic safety violation for which no arrest was made) in which he/she was convicted, served probation, participated in deferred adjudication or other program to avoid a conviction, or made restitution or participated in pre-trial diversion or other program to avoid prosecution, the following shall apply:

  1. For crimes against children, offenses against persons, offenses against the family, crimes involving weapons, arson, any violent crime or drug‐related offense other than as provided in Section 2, that person will not be allowed to serve in any capacity.
  2. For a first offense DWI, DUI or possession of marijuana under two ounces, if it has been five years or more since the date of disposition, then the decision whether to allow service shall be within the absolute and exclusive discretion of the Chief Executive Officer or designee. If there is more than one offense, that person shall not be allowed to serve in any capacity. 
  3. For theft, fraud, and forgery offenses greater than $500.00, if it has been less than 5 years since the date of the disposition, that person will not be allowed to serve in any capacity. 
  4. For any other criminal offense, regardless of whether it is classified as a felony or as a misdemeanor, except traffic violations classified as Class C misdemeanors, that person shall have his or her case reviewed by the Council on a case‐by‐case basis. The decision whether to allow service shall be within the absolute and exclusive discretion of the Chief Executive Officer or designee. 
  5. If charges are pending related to any criminal offense other than traffic violations classified as Class C misdemeanors, involvement with the Council as a volunteer will not be allowed or will be temporarily suspended pending disposition of the case.
Contest of Background Check Report

Policy: Any applicant or volunteer who disputes and desires to contest information that appears on the background report provided to the Council is responsible for taking any action necessary to contest or correct the report. Until such time as a revised report acceptable to the Council has been provided, the individual will not be allowed to volunteer. The council shall have no liability to any person for the information contained in such reports or for its actions taken in reliance upon such reports.

Continued Service/Background Checks

Policy: Each volunteer, as a condition of continued service, consents to a periodic review of his or her background. Upon request by the Council, a volunteer shall give written authorization for a background check.

Duty to Report

Policy: Volunteers must immediately notify the Council if they are arrested, charged, indicted, convicted, receive deferred adjudication, or plead nolo contendere to any misdemeanor or felony other than traffic violations classified as Class C misdemeanors. Involvement with the Council as a volunteer will not be allowed or will be temporarily suspended pending disposition.

Learning Opportunities

Policy: Volunteers must complete an orientation pertinent to their position.

Policy: Each new leader/advisor and at least one assistant leader/advisor are required to complete an orientation before meeting with the group for the first time.

Policy: Each group must have volunteers designated to complete additional learning opportunities as required for certain activities. These learning opportunities may include, but are not limited to, First Aid/CPR, product programs, outdoor activities, water‐related activities, and high‐risk activities.

Standard: At least one adult member of the group is highly encouraged to complete a Leadership

Essentials/Journey learning opportunity.

Policy: Adult learning opportunities and an annual update are required for the following volunteer

positions: Adult Learning Facilitators, Day/Twilight Camp Directors, Product Programs Managers, Service Unit Managers, Service Team Members, and Event Coordinators.

Recognition

Policy: Outstanding service to Girl Scouting will be recognized by the Council.

Feedback

Policy: Operational volunteers are to receive on‐going feedback concerning job performance based upon the position description.

Performance Review

Policy: A performance review is to be conducted for every operational volunteer. Verbal or written reviews may be used.

Reappointment

Policy: After completion of a satisfactory performance review and mutual acceptance of position accountabilities, expectations, and a time commitment, each operational volunteer shall receive confirmation of re‐appointment to his or her position. Confirmation can be verbal or written.

Conflict Resolution

Policy: The council will maintain conflict resolution procedures for volunteers.

Resignation

Policy: Any volunteer may resign from her or his position upon written notification to the person to whom the volunteer is accountable. Volunteers are encouraged to provide as much advance notice as possible.

Release

Policy: The council may release a volunteer for any reason from her or his position including but not limited to restructuring of volunteer positions, the elimination of the volunteer position in which a person serves, the inability or failure to complete the requirements of the position, the refusal to comply with council or Girl Scouts of the USA policies, the refusal to support the mission and values of the organization and the council goals, or for any other reason deemed to be in the Council’s best interest.

Policy: Adults engaging in the following behaviors will be released from acting in an official Girl Scout capacity:

  • Possession, program or use of illegal drugs
  • Drinking or being under the influence of alcohol during Girl Scout activities where girls are present
  • Misuse of any prescribed or over‐the‐counter drugs at any Girl Scout activity
  • Child abuse and/or neglect
  • Possession of firearms, other weapons, or ammunition during Girl Scout activities
  • Misuse of council monies which include, but are not limited to, group funds, Girl Scout product programs receipts, program event fees, or Service Unit funds
XVI. Water-Related/Other High Risk Activities

Policy: Water-related activities and other high-risk activities must be conducted in accordance with the most current edition of Safety Activity Checkpoints. Before planning or engaging in activities not listed in Safety Activity Checkpoints, written council approval must be obtained.

Council Volunteer Procedures
Benefits to Volunteers (Non-financial)

Benefits to volunteers include skill-building, adult learning opportunities, support, Girl Scouts of the USA and GS-TOP publications, tools for recording volunteer experience, references upon request, recognitions, an annual performance review, and supplementary accident insurance, as part of GSUSA membership.

The definitions of a policy and a standard are found at the beginning of the section “Council Policies and Standards”. All members are required to adhere to the policies of GSUSA and GS-TOP.

Selection

Every adult volunteer shall be selected and appointed on the basis of interest, ability to perform the position, and willingness to participate in training.

The applicant completes a volunteer application, and is interviewed. The interview may be formal or informal. The interviewer:

  • explains service responsibilities
  • explains volunteer structure
  • explains term of service
  • completes Interview Report form

A service description will be provided for each operational volunteer position, outlining the purpose, accountability, principal duties, and term of service of the position. If mutually agreeable, the applicant signs the appropriate service description/agreement.

Child Abuse

Reports may be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week; you may remain anonymous when reporting. Most important is to give enough information that the matter can be investigated. Also notify the council that a report has been made. If the incident occurred during a Girl Scout activity, complete an Incident Report and submit it to your local council office immediately.

The law requires any person who believes that a child is being abused, neglected, or exploited to report the circumstances to law enforcement, the Texas Abuse Hotline or the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. A person making a report is immune from civil or criminal liability, and the name of the person making the report is kept confidential. Any person suspecting abuse and not reporting it can be held liable for a Class B misdemeanor. Time frames for investigating reports are based on severity of the allegations.

Child Protective Services staff consider the following factors in determining whether the situation involves substantial risk of harm to a child:

  • Extent and severity of the injury
  • Location of the injury on the child’s body
  • The child’s age
  • The child’s physical condition, psychological state, and level of maturity and development
  • The child’s capacity for self-protection
  • Frequency and duration of the same behavior or similar incidents
  • Previous history of abuse or neglect
  • How the injury occurred or was inflicted
Harassment

The appropriate employed staff member will take appropriate measures to resolve or correct the situation in an expeditious manner.

Background Checks/Contest of Criminal History Report/Duty to Report

Background checks are conducted immediately when a volunteer application is received in any council office. When a record of criminal history is received on a volunteer applicant, the appropriate employed staff member reviews the record. If the history contains any of the crimes listed in the background checks policy, the applicant will not be accepted. A rejection or suspension letter is sent to the applicant with a copy to the individual to whom the applicant would have been accountable, and the appropriate staff member. The letter informs the volunteer of the contest of criminal history report process.

If an applicant corrects their criminal history report, the individual submits a certified copy of the corrected criminal history report to GS-TOP. All costs associated with an appeal of the criminal history report provided to GS-TOP shall be borne by the individual. Further, it is the responsibility of the individual contesting the report, not GS-TOP, to take all action necessary to contest or correct the criminal history report. Notwithstanding an individual’s contest of information contained in the criminal history report, GS-TOP is entitled to and shall rely upon the information contained in the criminal history report until such time as a corrected criminal history report has been provided. GS-TOP does not control the information that is contained in criminal history reports, and GS-TOP shall have no liability to any person for the information contained in such reports or for its actions taken in reliance upon such reports.

When a volunteer or staff member responsible for volunteer selection, placement, and appointment has concerns about the suitability of an applicant, the individual consults with the appropriate employed staff member in order for a final decision to be made regarding selection. This consultation takes place prior to communicating with the volunteer applicant.

Adult Learning Opportunities

Adult Learning Opportunities are provided for operational positions in Girl Scouting. They must be taken within a designated period of time after appointment. They are available online, by home study, or in a classroom setting.

Get started by logging into MYGS and clicking on the gsLearn link or contact the Volunteer Specialist in any GS-TOP office for more information regarding adult learning opportunities.

To maximize the girls’ experience in the troop, Troop Committee members are encouraged to take New Member Orientation and Leadership Essentials/Journey training.

Recognition

Recognition of outstanding service includes recognition of adults with 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, etc. years of membership or volunteer service. Request forms for membership numerals/years of service pins are available at any GS-TOP office and on the website.

Refer to the GS-TOP Council Recognition Plan and nomination forms available at any GS-TOP office and on the website. The GS-TOP Council Recognition Plan is a valuable component of the volunteer management system. It offers intangible and tangible awards. Tangible awards are offered with criteria and requirements, nomination forms, and step-by-step guidelines. The plan includes awards for significant service by individuals and teams, as well as recognitions that can be earned by completing relevant requirements.

Performance Review/Re-appointment
  1. Appointer conducts a performance review with volunteer prior to the end of the term of service of the position. The review may be verbal or written. Performance review forms are available for this purpose and can be obtained on the council website or at any GS-TOP office.
  2. If re-appointment is mutually agreed upon, the volunteer signs the appropriate position description/agreement.
  3. The volunteer completes additional training and/or an annual update if required for the position.
  4. A re-appointment letter will be provided by the person authorized to make the appointment.
  5. Appointer sends the performance review to the Volunteer Specialist at the appropriate council office.
Conflict Resolution

Operational volunteers should bring to the attention of those with whom they work any problems or grievances they have. A grievance arises when an individual feels that policies, standards, or procedures as related to her/his position in Girl Scouting are not being properly administered.

Operational Volunteer to Operational Volunteer
  1. The most effective way of resolving conflict is by calm, open discussion between the persons involved. This discussion is always the first step in conflict resolution. If, for any reason, a conflict arises between individuals and it cannot be resolved through discussion with each other, the following steps will be followed until the conflict is resolved.
  2. If a solution is not rendered by Step #1, the person may call her/his supervisor to request a conference of the parties involved and the immediate supervisor.
  3. The person puts her/his grievance in writing, citing the policy, standard, or procedure that allegedly has been misinterpreted, misapplied, or violated. The signed and dated statement is sent to the person, against whom the grievance is registered, with a copy to the person’s supervisor. Within ten (10) days after the written statement is received, the immediate supervisor calls a conference of the parties involved. The purpose of the conference is to resolve the conflict. A written summary of the conference with agreements reached is distributed to the parties involved, with a copy sent to the next level of supervision.
  4. If a solution is not rendered by Step #2, the unresolved conflict may be taken to the next level of supervision. Involved parties and the immediate supervisor meet in conference with the next level of supervision. Before the conference the newly involved supervisor reviews all written documentation regarding the conflict. After the conference a written summary with agreements reached is distributed to all parties involved, their supervisors, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Council.
  5. If there is still a problem, or if the problem involves the supervisor, individuals may request a closed hearing with the appropriate council executive staff member(s). If this step is necessary, the Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Board should be informed. The Chief Executive Officer may choose to attend this conference.
  6. If a solution is still not rendered by Step #4, the Chief Executive Officer may appoint an ad hoc task group consisting of operational volunteers and employed staff to resolve the conflict.
  7. The duties of this group are to:
    1. Thoroughly investigate the problem.
    2. Meet and discuss solutions to the problem.
    3. Provide a written account of conclusions reached and solutions recommended.
    4. Distribute written recommendations to all appropriate persons, including the Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Board.

Decisions of this task group are final.

Operational Volunteer to Employed Staff
  1. The most effective way of resolving conflict is by calm, open discussion between volunteer and the employed staff member involved. This discussion is always the first step in conflict resolution.
  2. If a solution is not rendered through Step #1, the volunteer may report the complaint to the staff member’s supervisor. The employed staff member’s immediate supervisor calls a conference with the parties involved (volunteer and employed staff member). The purpose of the conference is to resolve the conflict. A written summary of the conference with agreements reached is distributed to the parties involved, with a copy sent to the next level of supervision.
  3. If a solution is not rendered by Step #2, the unresolved conflict may be taken to the next level of supervision. Involved parties and the immediate supervisor meet in conference with the next level of supervision. Before the conference the newly involved supervisor reviews all written documentation regarding the conflict. After the conference a written summary with agreements reached is distributed to all parties involved, their supervisors, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Council.
  4. If there is still a problem, or if the problem involves the supervisor, individuals may request a closed hearing with the appropriate council executive staff member(s). If this step is necessary, the Chief Executive Officer may choose to attend this conference.
  5. If a solution is still not rendered by Step #4, the Chief Executive Officer may appoint an ad hoc task group consisting of operational volunteers and employed staff to resolve the conflict. The duties of this group are to:
  6. Thoroughly investigate the problem.
  7. Meet and discuss solutions to the problem.
  8. Provide a written account of conclusions reached and solutions recommended.
  9. Distribute written recommendations to all appropriate persons, including the Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Board.

Decisions of this task group are final.

Resignation
  1. Reason(s) for desiring to resign should be discussed immediately with the person to whom the volunteer is accountable prior to a final decision.
  2. Upon reaching a decision, operational volunteers who wish to resign their positions must submit written notification to the person to whom they are accountable as far in advance as possible.
  3. Resignation submitted will be acknowledged in writing by the immediate supervisor.
Release

In any organization, situations may arise which make it necessary to consider releasing an individual from a position. At such times, considerable emotion can be aroused. An action to release a volunteer, therefore, should receive careful and detailed consideration for the possible implications and consequences for both the individual and the council.

As part of this procedure a designated council representative should ascertain the facts. That representative will inform the appropriate council executive staff member when release is being considered. The executive staff member will consult with any others necessary including the council’s legal counsel.

1. Ascertain the facts.

  • Take no action on the basis of unsubstantiated information. Decisions with regard to the quality of position performance should be reached on the basis of a thorough review of the work, after consultation with the individual.
  • Involve as few people as possible in the fact-gathering and decision-making process. Careful, objective documentation should be made of interviews, action recommended, and results.

2. Discuss the situation with the individual concerned. It is important to have one other responsible person present during the discussion to help avoid the possibility of misunderstanding or misquoting.

Explain why the performance is unsatisfactory. Every effort should be made either to assist the individual in improving her/his performance or, if possible, to place her/him in another position better suited to her/his qualifications which will offer satisfaction.

3. When the facts indicate that separation is necessary, give the individual an opportunity to resign or withdraw voluntarily and with dignity. Depending upon the circumstances, the person may be permitted to continue in her/his position until a final decision is reached. Give the individual careful and frequent help during this period. Release from a position does not cancel membership in the Movement.

4. If the individual is to be released, the documentation of facts gathered and the action taken should be reviewed by the council’s legal counsel prior to formal release. All documentation should be filed with the council office.

Being a Health and Safety Role Model

See  Safety Activity Checkpoints

Adult volunteers should model behavior that shows respect for local, state, and federal laws and ordinances; policies and standards of GSUSA and GS-TOP. When acting in an official Girl Scout capacity in the presence of girls, adult volunteers should model the behavior that shows respect for the health and welfare of girls. Part of being an effective and responsible Girl Scout adult volunteer includes being a health and safety role model. Girls learn about health and safety directly and indirectly from the adults around them, and especially from their leaders. 

Permissions, Contracts, and Leasing Vehicles

Following policies and standards is an important responsibility for adults in Girl Scouting. When followed carefully, the council’s policies and standards protect you and the girls both in a physical and a legal sense.

Parental/Legal Guardian Permissions

Permissions are a tool for communicating with parents. A signed permission says that parents have been informed and that they give permission for their daughter to participate in an activity. Parental permission is necessary for the following:

  • Becoming a member of Girl Scouting
  • An activity away from the troop meeting place; this form also contains permission for leaders or council representatives to give girls medication and to seek medical treatment in case of emergency.
  • For participation in troop money-earning projects, including the Fall Product Program and the Cookie Program
  • For activities that involve sensitive topics.
  • For activities that present high risk to girls or for an activity not listed in Safety Activity Checkpoints for which council permission has been obtained.

The troop leader should keep on file all permission forms for one year after each activity.

If an insurance claim is made, the permission form for that activity should be submitted with the insurance claim form to the council office.

Activity Information/Permission forms and High-Risk Activity Information/Permission forms are available from www.gs-top.org/forms or any GS-TOP office.

Council Permissions

Because of their nature, some activities require council permission. Those activities require parent permission, as well. A further discussion of some of these activities and procedures for applying for permission may be found in other areas of Volunteer Essentials and in the Council publication “Trail Guide” which is in Volunteer Tool Kit under Resources as well as posted on the Council web site.

Applications for council permission are available from www.gs-top.org or any GS-TOP office. Applications should be submitted to the appropriate staff member at any council office.

Council permission is necessary for the following:

  • All overnight trips which are not at the troop’s regular meeting place, at the home of a registered troop adult or at a council facility. See policy for Overnight Trips.
  • Money-earning projects, except Girl Scout fall product and cookie programs. See policy for Money-Earning/Money Management.
  • Activities not listed in Safety Activity Checkpoints and activities which present high risk to girls. See policy for Water-Related/Other High-Risk Activities.
  • Activities that involve sensitive topics.
  • Activities which require a contract to be signed. (See below.)
  • Activities which require a waiver or release from liability to be signed. (See below.)
Contracts and Waivers

Sometimes troops want to participate in activities that involve a service by a business or another organization. Because providing services to minors is a legal risk, these businesses may want you to sign a contract. Many times these contracts contain a “waiver” or “release from liability.” Girl Scout leaders cannot sign contracts.

Only the council is a legal entity with the right to sign contracts. The Chief Executive Officer of GS-TOP is authorized to sign contracts related to the use of a service or a site.

Check with the service provider to see if they will accept our parental permission form in place of a waiver.

Leaders cannot sign any document waiving the legal rights of girls. Only parents can sign such waivers. However, parents are strongly advised against signing away their legal rights.

Please submit a copy of the contract or waiver to the staff member responsible for the area of work. Allow two weeks to process and approve the contract.

Leasing Vehicles

Girl Scout leaders ARE permitted to sign contracts to lease vehicles. Procedures regarding vehicle leasing are a part of the Trip Packet and are on the “If You Lease a Vehicle” flyer.

Transportation for Troop Trips

Rental of 15 passenger vans is not permitted. Ask the leasing/rental companies for the 12 passenger version instead. 12 passenger vans are easier to pack and less likely to be overloaded. Always put the luggage in the van in such a way that the weight is distributed evenly and the passengers are arranged to help with that as well. If your troop is renting vehicles for trips, be sure to check your personal insurance coverage to make sure it covers leased vehicles for both property damage and liability. If not, you must purchase that coverage from the rental company. If you lease a vehicle, you must have at least a million dollars’ worth of liability insurance. For questions about vehicle leasing, please contact a staff Girl Experience Specialist. It is also a good practice to check your own coverage for adequate liability limits when traveling with more than just your family members in the vehicles.

Forms for the permissions above are available at any council office and on the website.

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

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
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