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Volunteer Essentials

Welcome to the great adventure that is Girl Scouting! Thanks to volunteers and mentors like you, generations of girls have learned to be leaders in their own lives and in the world. Have no doubt: You, and nearly one million other volunteers like you, are helping girls make a lasting impact on the world.

This new digital edition of our Volunteer Essentials guide is designed to support busy troop leaders 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. 

Think of Volunteer Essentials as your encyclopedia to Girl Scout volunteering: it’s here when you need it, but there’s no need to read it all today.

Get started by browsing through these sections: 

VolunteerEssentials-Icons_GIrl Scout Experience
VolunteerEssentials-Icons_Troop Management
VolunteerEssentials-Icons_Engaging Girl & Families
VolunteerEssentials-Icons_Product Program
VolunteerEssentials-Icons_Troop Finances
VolunteerEssentials-Icons_Saftey
Your Role as a Volunteer

The Girl Scout Leadership Experience is based on three keys—discover, connect, and take action—but it’s not just for the girls! As a Girl Scout leader, you’ll embark on your own leadership journey as you help girls develop the vital leadership skills they’ll use to make the world a better place. The Girl Scout perspective on leadership is permeated with a few basic, but all-important, concepts.  

Leadership is teaching girls:

  • That they can do and be anything!  
  • That they are decision makers and should own their decisions.  
  • How to live the Girl Scout Law by modeling it for them.

As a leader, see yourself as a coach who:

  • Guides and instructs, not as a teacher with a canned lesson or activity or as someone who has to perform for the girls each week. 
  • Advises and discusses.  
  • Ensures each girl can carry out her responsibilities within the troop.  
  • Encourages girls to build their skills and their ethics.  
  • Gives more responsibilities to the girls as they grow and develop. 

It’s important to remember that: 

  • You cannot know everything that the girls might ever want to learn.
  • You’ll explore and learn alongside your girls and grow your confidence in the process.
  • You’re not expected to know everything about Girl Scouting, but you should know where to go for information—and to ask for help when you need it.

Your 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[Field] with a positive and flexible approach.
  • Working in a partnership with girls so that their activities are girl-led and that they learn by doing, individually and a group. You’ll also partner with other volunteers and council staff for support and guidance.  
  • Organizing fun, interactive, girl-led activities[Field] that address relevant issues and match girls’ interests and needs.
  • Providing guidance and information regarding Girl Scout group meetings with girls’ families 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[Field] 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 raise. 
  • Maintaining a close connection to your volunteer support team[Field] as well as your council.
  • Facilitating a safe experience for every girl.


Follow Girl Scout Safety Guidelines
Every adult in Girl Scouting is responsible for the physical and emotional safety of girls, and we all demonstrate that by agreeing to follow these guidelines at all times. 

  1. Follow the Safety Activity Checkpoints. Instructions for staying safe while participating in activities are detailed in the Safety Activity Checkpoints, available from your council. Read the checkpoints, follow them, and share them with other volunteers, parents, and girls before engaging in activities with girls.

  2. Arrange for proper adult supervision of girls. Your group must have at least two unrelated, approved adult volunteers present at all times, plus additional adult volunteers as necessary, depending on the size of the group and the ages and abilities of girls. Adult volunteers must be at least 18 years old and must be screened by your council before volunteering. One lead volunteer in every group must be female. See the girl/adult ratio chart to determine how many adult volunteers are needed to supervise girls by age level and activity.

  3. Get parent/guardian permission. Parent/guardian permission is required for participation in Girl Scout activities. A signed Girl General Permission/Health History must be signed annually by parents/guardians for each girl and kept on hand for all Girl Scout Troop activities. The Specific Event Permission form is required for any troop activity When a troop activity an activity takes place the normal meeting time and place that lasting longer than 4 hours, an activity is considered high risk or a topic is discussed that could be considered sensitive, advise each parent/guardian of the details of the activity and obtain permission for girls to participate using the Specific Event Permission Form. Additional parent/guardian permission is required for participation in Product Program Activities and other activities such as Summer Camp.

  4. Report abuse. Sexual advances, improper touching, and sexual activity of any kind with girl members are forbidden. Physical, verbal, and emotional abuse of girls is also forbidden.

    Our first and most important obligation to our girl members is to protect their health and safety. As persons responsible for the care of minors, Girl Scout Volunteers are mandatory reporters in the state of Arizona and required by law to report suspected child abuse.

    “A report of suspected child abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment is a responsible attempt to protect a child. Arizona law requires certain persons who suspect that a child has received non-accidental injury or has been neglected to report their concerns to DCS or local law enforcement (ARS §13-3620.A). YOU may be a child’s only advocate at the time you report the possibility of abuse or neglect. Children often tell a person with whom they feel safe about abuse or neglect. If a child tells you of such experiences, act to protect that child by calling the toll free 
    Arizona Child Abuse Hotline at 1-888-SOS-CHILD  (1-888-767-2445). 

  5. Be prepared for emergencies. Work with girls and other volunteers to establish and practice procedures for emergencies related to weather, fire, lost girls/volunteers, and site security. Always keep handy a well-stocked first-aid kit, girl health histories, and contact information for girls’ families.

  6. Travel safely. Follow Safety Activity Checkpoint Guidelines for safely transporting girls. When transporting girls to planned Girl Scout field trips and other activities that are outside the normal time and place, every driver must be an approved adult volunteer, over the age of 21 and have a good driving record, a valid license, and a registered/insured vehicle. Insist that everyone is in a legal seat and wears her seat belt at all times,  and adhere to state laws regarding booster seats and requirements for children in rear seats.

  7. Ensure safe overnight outings. Prepare girls to be away from home by involving them in planning, so they know what to expect. Avoid having men sleep in the same space as girls and women. During family or parent-daughter overnights, one family unit may sleep in the same sleeping quarters in program areas. When parents are staffing events, daughters should remain in quarters with other girls rather than in staff areas.

  8. Role-model the right behavior. Never use illegal drugs. Do not consume alcohol, smoke, vape or use foul language in the presence of girls. Do not carry ammunition or firearms in the presence of girls, unless given special permission by your council for target sport activities. Always obey the law, for example, by not talking on a phone or texting while driving.

  9. Create an emotionally safe space. Adults and volunteers are responsible for making Girl Scouting a place where girls are as safe emotionally as they are physically. Protect the emotional safety of girls by creating a team agreement and coaching girls to honor it. Agreements typically encourage behaviors like respecting a diversity of feelings and opinions; resolving conflicts constructively; and avoiding physical and verbal bullying, clique behavior, and discrimination.

  10. Ensure that no girl is treated differently. Girl Scouts welcomes all members, regardless of race, ethnicity, background, disability, family structure, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic status. When scheduling, helping plan, and carrying out activities, carefully consider the needs of all girls involved, including school schedules, family needs, financial constraints, religious holidays, and the accessibility of appropriate transportation and meeting places.

  11. Promote online safety. Instruct girls never to put their full names or contact information online, engage in virtual conversation with strangers.  Girls should never arrange in-person meetings with online contacts, other than to deliver cookies and only with the approval and accompaniment of a parent or designated adult.   On group websites, publish girls’ first names only and never divulge their contact information. Teach girls the Girl Scout Online Safety Pledge and have them commit to it.

  12. Keep girls safe during money-earning activities. Girl Scout cookies and other council-sponsored product programs are an integral part of the program. During Girl Scout product s, you are responsible for the safety of girls, money, and products. In addition, a wide variety of organizations, causes, and fundraisers may appeal to Girl Scouts to be their labor force. When representing Girl Scouts, girls cannot participate in money-earning activities that represent partisan politics or that are not Girl Scout–approved product program and efforts.


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!

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