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 partner directly with girls; an invitation to play a critical role in their lives; a chance to watch them blossom under your direction! You also want to be someone who enjoys the activities you’ll be embarking on with the girls—whether you’re a camp volunteer, working with girls who are traveling, or partnering with girls on a short-term series that interests you.
As a Girl Scout volunteer, you serve as a partner and role model to girls. You’ll also work closely with a co-volunteer, because two adults 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 at no time is a girl to be alone with only one volunteer. Remember to also check the adult-to-girl ratios in the “Safety-Wise” chapter.
Your responsibilities as a Girl Scout volunteer include:
- 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.
- Debriefing and helping girls discuss and reflect on their activity learnings.
- 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, or any other method you choose.
- Ensuring your troop is registered and has at least 5 girls.
- Organizing paperwork, such as permission slips.
- Communicating effectively and delivering clear, organized, and vibrant presentations or information to an individual or the troop.
- Overseeing any funds the girls raise with honesty, integrity, and careful record-keeping.
- Completing and submitting the financial records (Troop Financial Report) to the Girl Scout Center
- Maintaining a close connection to your volunteer support team.
- Facilitating a safe experience for every girl.
Your Support Team
In your role as a Girl Scout volunteer, you may team up with co-volunteer(s), parents/guardians, members of the community, service team and council staff members, as well as others who have expressed interest in working alongside you.
Your support team may help by:
- Filling in for you (if appointment and training requirements are met)
- Arranging meeting places
- Being responsible for communicating with girls and parents/guardians
- Locating adults with special skills to facilitate a specialized meeting
- Assisting with trips and chaperoning
- Managing group records
- Planning and managing troop resources, snacks, etc.
If you have a large support team, the first thing you’ll want to do is meet with this group and discuss what brought you to Girl Scouts, review your strengths and skills, and talk about how you would like to work together as a team. Also discuss:
- When important milestones will happen (when Girl Scout Cookie sales will happen, when a troop will take field trips, when a travel group will make its trip, when an event will happen, what the starting and ending dates for a series or for camp will be) and how long the planning process will take
- When and where to meet as a group, 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 service unit volunteer support team, who can help you observe a meeting, assign a mentor or 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.