When touching a child for any reason, ensure that another adult is in clear view. Under no circumstances may an adult hit a child. When touching children, contact should generally be limited to the hand, shoulder, or upper back. Children should never be touched in a place normally covered by a bathing suit, unless for a clear medical necessity, and then only in the presence of another adult.
A hug should be given only in response to a request by a child or after asking permission. (For example, "You look like you could use a hug. Would you like one?")
An adult should never touch a child against her or his will, unless in the case of clear and present danger to the child. An adult should never touch a child against her or his discomfort, whether expressed verbally or non verbally.
The physical right to privacy of a child should be respected to the greatest extent possible, especially in activities and situations such as sleeping, changing of clothing, showering/bathing, and other bathroom activities.
Working with Parents and Guardians
Adults may not use abusive or derogatory language with a child. Adults should exercise good judgment in choosing the topics and language used with children. Under no circumstances, should the romantic/sexual life of an adult be shared with children. When an activity is planned on a topic of a sensitive or controversial nature, parents and the council paid staff are informed and (written) permission is received before proceeding. Adult volunteers may only communicate electronically with a Girl Scout once parental or guardian permission has been obtained.
Most parents and guardians are helpful and supportive and sincerely appreciate your time and effort on behalf of their daughters. And you almost always have the same goal, which is to make Girl Scouting an enriching experience for their girls. Encourage them to check out www.girlscouts4girls.org to find out how to expand their roles as advocates for their daughters.
Corporal Punishment Statement
Girl Scouting meets the mental health and educational needs of girls. Under no circumstances may an adult hit a child or cause a child physical discomfort as a form of discipline. It is completely impermissible to use any form of corporal punishment when acting in one’s capacity as a Girl Scout volunteer or paid staff member. Research indicates that a variety of positive and effective alternatives are available to maintain discipline, and that children can learn appropriate problem-solving behavior when provided with the necessary models.
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio provides training for all Girl Scout volunteer and paid staff members to learn the techniques for providing positive discipline measures for all children in their care.
Girl Release to Authorized Person
Girl Scout leaders and their designees shall release girls only to persons authorized by the parent or guardian. The troop/group leaders or co-leader will maintain the Girl Scout release information and will update information annually.
Planning Safe Program Activities
How can you, as a Girl Scout volunteer, determine whether an activity is safe and appropriate? Good judgment and common sense often dictate the answer. What is safe in one circumstance may not be safe in another. An incoming storm, for example, might force you to assess or discontinue an activity. If you are uncertain about the safety of an activity, call your council staff with full details and don’t proceed without approval. Err on the side of caution and make the safety of girls your most important consideration. Prior to any activity, read the specific Safety Activity Checkpoints (available on your council’s website or from your support team in some other format) related to any activity you plan to do with girls.
When planning activities with girls, note the abilities of each girl and carefully consider the progression of skills from the easiest part to the most difficult. Make sure the complexity of the activity does not exceed girls’ individual skills—bear in mind that skill levels decline when people are tired, hungry, or under stress. Also use activities as opportunities for building teamwork, which is one of the outcomes for the connect key in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.
Hosting a Girl-Led Event
If you’re working with girls who want to host an event--large or small—be sure girls are leading the event-planning, instead of sitting by passively while you or another adult plans the event. To get girls started, ask them to think about the following questions:
- What sort of event do we have in mind?
- Who is our intended audience? Does the audience have to be invited, or can anyone come?
- What’s our main topic or focus?
- What’s our objective—what do we hope to accomplish at the end of the day?
- Will one or more speakers need to be invited? If so, who? How do we find speakers?
- Where will the event take place?
- Is there a charge for this venue?
- Is the venue large enough to accommodate the audience?
- Do we have to obtain permission to use this venue? If so, from whom?
- Are there adequate facilities for the audience? If not, how much will extra portable toilets cost, and how many do we need?
- Is there adequate parking or a drop-off point for girls?
- Do we need tables? Chairs? Podiums? Microphones? Speakers?
- What sort of entertainment will we provide?
- Will we provide or sell refreshments? If so, what kinds?
- How many chaperones will we need? Who will we ask?
- What emergency care do we need to plan for? Is the event large enough that local police and fire departments need to be notified?
- Do we need to purchase additional insurance for non–Girl Scouts?
- How will we advertise the event?
- What decorations will we use?
- Will we charge for the event?
- Who will set up the event? Who will clean up after the event?
- How will we determine whether the event was a success?
Ideas for girl-led events with family, friends, and community experts are also available in the journey adult guides!