Q: Who can volunteer?
A: Membership is open to women and men 18 and over who accept the Girl Scout Promise and Law and pay the $15.00 registration fee.
Q: What is involved in the process of becoming a Girl Scout volunteer?
A: Potential volunteers can expect to receive the following:
- Rapid review of their application
- Copy of background check results
- Follow up phone call if you are a troop/group adviser/facilitator
- Appoint letter outlining volunteer role
- Follow-up support from staff and local volunteers
Q: What does Girl Scouts look for when interviewing volunteer candidates?
A: GSUSA and the Girl Scout Leadership Experience program offers girls a variety of opportunities to discover themselves, connect with others, and take action to make the world a better place. As such, we seek a variety of adults who will use their expertise, skills, interests, and life experience to shape fun and enriching leadership experiences for girls, and inspire girls to reach their personal best. Our goal is to match the right volunteers to the right positions, which increases girls’ and volunteers’ satisfaction with their Girl Scouting experience. Through Girl Scout Pathways—the ways that girls and adults participate in Girl Scouting—volunteers can shape their experience to fit their lifestyles. They can participate locally, regionally, nationally, and/or internationally, and can choose to work directly with girls or provide indirect service to girls on a short-term or long-term basis.
The proposed pathways for girls are:
- Camp: day or resident camps with a focus on the out-of-doors and/or environmental education
- Events: different events (e.g., career day)
- Series: a series of programs with the same group of girls relating to a specific theme or purpose (photography)
- Travel: plan, earn money, prepare, and participate in regional, national, and international trips
- Troops: a series of programs with the same group of girls over the course of an academic year
- Virtual: Coming Soon
Q: Do Girl Scouts run background checks on their volunteers?
A: Yes. Protecting the girls and young women in our charge as well as the Girl Scout Movement is top priority, and screenings and reference checks are integral parts of our due diligence process and risk management policy. Background screening is the process of authenticating the information supplied to a potential employer by an applicant on his or her resume, application and during interviews. At Girl Scouts, the screening of volunteers (and employees) includes references checks and criminal background checks, which are performed by independent, third-party, background-screening agencies.
Q: What happens when you select new volunteers?
A: If the background screenings results and review and are successful, Girl Scout – Dakota Horizons will notify volunteer candidates of their appointment in an official congratulatory letter sent by email or regular mail. In addition to the official notification, which confirms the volunteer position, the name of the volunteer’s contact person, and the next steps to take will be included.
Q: Will new Girl Scout Volunteers receive orientation?
A: Yes. The new national, Girl Scouting 101 is an exciting, educational presentation that welcomes all new Girl Scout volunteers to the organization. The orientation, which is also available in Spanish, takes approximately 45 minutes to complete, but can be stopped at any point and resumed later. It contains information on the history of the organization, the Girl Scout Leadership Experience program, and the Girl Scout Pathways for girls and adults. It ensures consistency of and solidifies the Girl Scout message and brand—one purpose, one movement.
Q: How will new volunteers be supported in their volunteer positions?
A: The Membership Specialist will meet regularly with the new volunteer to develop a close working relationship with her or him. The frequency will depend on the volunteer’s position or role (short or long term). The Membership Specialist will provide:
- Guidance and direction, as needed and requested
- Ongoing verbal feedback on role performance, competencies, strengths, and challenges
- Written review of the volunteer’s performance, using checklists and self-reviews
- Conflict mediation, as needed
- Arrangements for ongoing training, as needed
- Assistance with formulating personal development goals
- Recommendations for awards and recognitions
At the end of the year, the Membership Specialist explores the volunteer’s interests for the following year, and relays that information to the appropriate council staff and Volunteer Assistant.
Q: Are new volunteers trained for their volunteer positions?
A: Yes. Based on the volunteer’s placement, additional training may be necessary. If so, the council’s volunteer development staff/volunteer assistant will inform the new volunteer of the training/learning requirements, schedule, and location, and provide a choice of learning methods: online at any time (asynchronous), live (synchronous or real time), classroom, or self-taught. Evidence of satisfactory completion is forwarded to council staff/volunteer assistant, who will record the completion in the volunteer management database.
Q: Are volunteers recognized for their service?
A: Yes. Collectively, volunteers contribute thousands of service hours each year at every level and in a number of ways. For this reason, we believe that volunteer recognition or appreciation should happen periodically, not only at the end of each year. GSUSA and GSDH have recently reviewed the volunteer recognition/appreciation awards process to streamline and enhance it. Volunteers want to be acknowledged and rewarded for their contributions formally through GSUSA awards and informally throughout the year by girls, families, other volunteers and council staff.
Q: What happens when a volunteer’s term ends?
A: The decision to reassign the volunteer to the same or a different position, or to release a volunteer, is made by the volunteer development staff/volunteer assistant, after reviewing—with the volunteer and her or his Membership Specialist—the volunteer’s performance, interests, and training. The decision is provided verbally or in writing to the volunteer, and documented in the volunteer’s file alongside supporting rationale. Reassignment is particularly important for short-term volunteers because they may want to volunteer again in a year. Having the information readily available in the online-supported data management system, gives councils and GSUSA the ability to track volunteers throughout their time in Girl Scouting.