As a volunteer, you’ll work with at least one other adult because two adults must be present at all times when working with girls (and at least one of those adults must be female and not related to the other adult). Adults who spend 3+ sessions with girls, handle group funds, drive on behalf of the troop, or attend an overnight activity are expected to become an approved volunteer.
Get started at www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org. Volunteers are required to register as an adult member of Girl Scouts ($25), and authorize a background check through our trusted vendor, Verified Volunteers. (The cost of the background check process will vary based on the costs passed along from the number of counties and states where the potential volunteer has lived for the past seven years and based on the number of aliases. The minimum cost will be $21. These steps are all completed online. (Paper forms for membership are also available at www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/forms, and may be delivered to any office location. The Criminal Background Check must be completed online.)
We’ll contact you to welcome you as a new volunteer and help you get started during this process. Financial assistance for the background check or membership is available for families or individuals in need. Note: Background checks may take up to 2 weeks.
Sharing your unique gifts
No matter how you volunteer with Girl Scouts, your investment of time and energy will pay back tenfold. With your help, girls will be able to identify issues they care about and work with one another to resolve them. Your interests and life experiences make you the perfect person to be a new kind of partner for girls, someone who creates a safe environment where they can work together and each girl feels free to work toward her highest aspirations. Have no doubt: You, and nearly one million other volunteers like you, are helping girls make a lasting impact on the world.
Understanding your role as a Girl Scout volunteer
Your most important role as a Girl Scout volunteer is to be excited about everything this opportunity affords you: a chance to help girls succeed, play a critical role in their lives, and watch them blossom! You also want to be someone who enjoys the activities you’ll be embarking on with the girls—whether you’re volunteering at a camp, working with girls who are traveling, or partnering with girls on a short-term series or a topic that interests them.
As a Girl Scout volunteer, you’ll serve as a partner and role model to girls. You’ll also work closely with a co-volunteer, because two volunteers must be present at all times when working with girls, and at least one of those volunteers must be female and not related to the other adult. This is an important distinction that bears repeating: Men can serve as troop volunteers, but an adult female who is not related to the other volunteer must be present at all times, and only in cases of emergency is a girl to be alone with only one volunteer. Remember to also check the volunteer-to-girl ratios in the “Safety-Wise” chapter of this handbook.
In More than ‘Smores: Success and Surprises in Girl Scouts Outdoor Experiences, the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) has described the role of Adult Volunteers:
“Because everything girls do outdoors in Girl Scouts must be supported by an adult, these results speak indirectly to adult volunteers and their preparation. To get girls outdoors more regularly, Girl Scouts need adult volunteers who encourage and promote outdoor experiences. Communicating to volunteers and parents that casual outdoor experiences are effective ways of giving girls opportunities to build competencies and try new things may be the key to opening the gateway for all Girl Scouts to participate in the outdoors on a more regular basis.” (2014, p.27)
In addition to working with girls in troops and programs, volunteers are needed to support each other and council staff. We can help you find the right volunteer fit!
- Training other volunteers
- Helping to recruit new Girl Scouts
- Participating as a member of the Membership Connection Committee
- Sharing Girl Scout stories as a Media Messenger
- Assisting with fund development events and networking
- Getting involved in your local service unit, directly supporting other adult volunteers
Your other responsibilities as a Girl Scout volunteer include:
- Accepting the Girl Scout Promise and Law
- Understanding the Three Keys to Leadership that are the basis of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience: Discover, Connect, and Take Action
- Sharing your knowledge, experience, and skills with a positive and flexible approach
- Working in a partnership with girls so that their activities are girl-led, allow them to learn by doing, and allow for cooperative (group) learning; you’ll also partner with other volunteers and council staff for support and guidance
- Organizing fun, interactive, girl-led activities that address relevant issues and match girls’ interests and needs
- Providing guidance and information regarding Girl Scout group meetings with girls’ parents or guardians on a regular and ongoing basis through a variety of tools, including email, phone calls, newsletters, blogs, other forms of social media, and any other method you choose
- Processing and completing registration forms and other paperwork, such as permission slips
- Communicating effectively and delivering clear, organized, and vibrant presentations or information to an individual or the group
- Overseeing with honesty, integrity, and careful record-keeping the funds that girls earn
- Maintaining a close connection to your volunteer support team as well as your council
- Facilitating a safe experience for every girl
Your Volunteer Support Team
In your role as a Girl Scout volunteer, you’ll team up with co-volunteers, parents/caregivers, members of the community, council staff, and others who have expressed interest in working alongside you. It’s important to work closely alongside the caregivers in your troop to involve them in volunteerism and leadership as well. The adult guide of each Journey gives you tips and guidance for creating a friends-and-family network to support you all along the way. View the GSCO Family Guide for more on how to involve caregivers.
The other volunteers on your support team may help by:
- Filling in for you
- Arranging meeting places
- Being responsible for communicating with girls and parents/guardians
- Locating volunteers with special skills to facilitate a specialized meeting
- Assisting with trips and chaperoning
- Building girls outdoor skills and experiences
- Managing group records
If you have a large support team, the first thing you’ll want to do is meet with this group and discuss what brought each of you to Girl Scouts, review your strengths and skills, and talk about how you would like to work together as a team. You might also discuss:
- When important milestones will happen (Girl Scout Cookie Program activities, Fall Program, field trips, travel plans, events, dates for other opportunities) and how long the planning process will take
- When and where to meet as a group of volunteers, if necessary
- Whether, when, where, and how often to hold parent/guardian meetings
- Whether an advance trip to a destination, event site, or camp needs to happen
Remember to call on your regional Volunteer Support Specialist. This person can help you observe a meeting, assign you a buddy, help with registration forms, assist you with opening a bank account, plan your first meeting, and so on. Also plan to attend service unit meetings—usually held several times throughout the year—that provide excellent opportunities to learn from other volunteers.
All primary contacts for households are invited to join the Girl Scout Member Community (Member Profile on the website). When first joining Girl Scouts you will receive an email inviting you to set up your login and password from email@example.com. Troop Leadership Team members will also have access to the Volunteer Toolkit in myGS in order to access troop resources and plan for the year!
Taking advantage of learning opportunities
Girl Scouts strives to provide you with the necessary information to successfully manage your group of girls and to let you know how and where you can get additional information on certain topics when you want to learn more. Volunteer learning is offered in a variety of ways to best meet your unique learning styles: written resources, face-to-face learning, webinars and eLearning classes. Additional resources and classes are being developed as well. In-person volunteer training class listings can be found at girlscoutsofcolorado.org/events.
Learn about Girl Scouts online
Online classes and Volunteer Essentials are designed to support your experience as a volunteer, and to give you all of the information you need to start working with girls. They’re always available; think of them as references you can use whenever you need them. Access online volunteer training on our e-learning platform at http://gscoblog.org/online-learning/.
You can view the class modules and download or print the resources included on the class pages.
Below is a list of trainings we offer, both in-person and online:
Get started as a new troop volunteer
Girl Scouting 101: Online. Get to know what Girl Scouts is all about, in an informative, online orientation.
Nuts and Bolts: Online. Required for troop leadership team, recommended for troop support volunteers. This class covers the information you need to start your troop, involve families in support of the girls in your troop, and manage the group successfully going forward.
Daisy/Brownie 101, Junior 101, Older Girl 101, Multi-level 101: In person with online options. . Required for troop leadership team. Program level 101 classes include information about badges and Journey program content, tips on what to expect and how to work with girls in your troop, what girl-led means at every level of Girl Scouts, how to engage parents/caregivers in supporting the troop, and ways to make your group’s Girl Scout experience meaningful and fun.
Traveling with girls
Overnight Trips: Online. Required before planning an overnight trip. Your girls are on the go and ready for adventure! In Overnight Trips, information is shared about the steps of planning an overnight trip, how to include girls in the planning process, and how to communicate plans with families, along with safety guidelines and a starter guide of places to go around Colorado.
Cooking and Camping: In person. Required before cooking outdoors and/or camping. You want to have safe, organized, fun, and memorable camping trips with your girls – this class will prepare you to teach the girls in your troop outdoor skills. Prerequisite: Overnight Trips. Materials Fee: $10.
Extended Trips: Online. Required before planning a trip of 3 nights or more. The girls in your troop have progressed from their first outings and field trips, have had shorter overnight adventures and camp-outs, and now they’re ready for the next step: an extended backpacking trip, a cross-country road trip, or a stay at one of the Girl Scout/WAGGGS World Centers. Extended trips will help you to prepare the girls for the extensive planning process and all the rest that’s involved in making the trip a safe and memorable one. Prerequisite: Overnight Trips.
Supporting your Girl Scout community
Service Unit Team Training: In person. Ready for the next challenge? Supporting other Girl Scout volunteers in your community by joining the service unit team is a rewarding experience and a way for you to share your experience and expertise.
Recruiter Training: In person. Who’s our best resource for spreading the good Girl Scout news and keeping us growing? You are! Learn how to fast track new girls and volunteers in your community and practice your best “G.I.R.L.” pitch.
Train the Trainer: In person. Are you ready to give back to your Girl Scout community in a big way? Join us as a volunteer trainer and help support other volunteers!
Program Aide Train the Trainer: In person. We rely on Program Aide trainers to provide meaningful and fun development for Cadettes who want to lead younger girls.
Power Up Train the Trainer: In person. Make an impact in your community! Learn to teach other adults and older girls how to lead Power Up anti-bullying workshops. Read more about Power Up here.
Day Camp Director 101: In person. Girls can’t wait to get outdoors and have fun together -do you have what it takes to build a Volunteer Camp team and plan an amazing summer experience for girls?
Training events, such as Leadership Summits and Super Saturdays, are great ways to get the essential, required training you need and the enrichment classes you want to expand your Girl Scout skills. You’ll have the opportunity to connect with other volunteers at these in-person training events too, and share ideas, resources, and support.
Whatever your volunteer position, your hard work means the world to girls, to your council staff, and to Girl Scouts of the USA. We’re calling on all members of society to help girls reach their full potential, and you’ve answered that call. So thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.
Just as you’ll receive support throughout your volunteering experience, when you reach the end of the term you signed up for, you’ll talk with your support team about the positive parts of your experience, as well as the challenges you faced, and discuss whether you want to return to this position or try something new. The end of your troop year, camp season, overseas trip, or series/event session is just the beginning of your next adventure with Girl Scouting!
Volunteer Appreciation Week – a special week in April — is set aside especially for you. Girl Scouts pay tribute to the volunteers who help make the world a better place. The week centers on the long-standing National Girl Scout Leaders’ Day (April 22).
You can help recognize an outstanding volunteer by nominating them for a Girl Scout Volunteer Recognition Award. For more information on the nomination process for these awards, check out the Volunteer Recognition Guide.
Nominations are due on or before March 31 of each year.