Q & A
Q: How can I be sure that Girl Scouting is a good match with our family’s values, heritage or traditions?
A: The Girl Scout Mission – building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place -- guided by the Girl Scout Promise and Law is what defines the Girl Scout Movement. The Girl Scout Law clearly spells out our values: honesty, fairness, friendship, consideration, caring for others, courage, strength, responsibility, and respect, both for oneself and for authority. We regard these values, as we have for nearly a century, as a solid basis for a life of leadership, integrity and service.
The Girl Scouts has always been, and remains, an organization with a deep spiritual commitment. It also has a deep and very longstanding commitment to inclusiveness. We welcome and embrace girls of every race, ethnicity, level of ability and religion. The Constitution of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America is very specific on this point:
- The motivating force in Girl Scouting is spiritual. The ways in which members identify and fulfill their spiritual beliefs are personal and private.
- The Girl Scout Movement is open to all girls and adults who accept the Girl Scout Promise and Law and meet membership requirements.
Girls have and will continue to have the greatest influence of all over the Girl Scout Movement. Because of that, our mission remains clear and focused. Girls continue to be the determining factor to new program materials, events and opportunities in Girl Scouts.
Q: Of all the activities available to my child, why should Girl Scouting come first?
A: The leadership opportunities and skills your girl develops in Girl Scouting will serve her well in all current extracurricular activities and relationships as well as many future aspects of her life.
- Coordinating, motivating and delegating tasks among project teams
- Opening their minds to new experiences and ideas
- Promoting cooperation and resolving conflicts
- Appreciating diversity in a multicultural world
- Becoming resourceful problem-solvers
- Expanding creativity and developing positive ways in which to express themselves
- Developing a strong sense of self
- Gaining practical and healthy life skills
- Being mentored by positive adult role models
- Setting goals and learning to plan for the future
- Enjoying a sense of independence
- Feeling connected to their communities – locally, regionally, nationally, and globally
Girl Scouts provides girls with the leading edge to:
Lead with Courage when speaking out on issues they care about and taking active roles in groups or in their communities
Lead with Confidence when making the most of their strengths and feeling empowered to make a difference in their lives and beyond
Lead with Character when acting with integrity and compassion, making decisions that promote the well-being of themselves and others
… so that they can truly make the world a better place.
Q: At what age can my daughter join Girl Scouting?
How can a girl be a member of Girl Scouting?
A. Girl Scouting offers several “pathways” in which girls and adults can participate:
- Troop – Meeting regularly in their community with the same group of girls and adults on a year-round basis.
- Events – Different girls and episodic volunteers at one-day programs sponsored locally or even over a series of days statewide or nationally.
- Series – Girls and volunteers attend multiple sessions to explore common goals or interests.
- Camp – Girls attend day or resident camp programs to meet new friends, learn new skills over a series of days or even weeks!
- Travel – Regional, national or international trips are available to girls and travel chaperons, guides or host volunteers.
Some girls participate in one pathway, while others may select any combination of the five. We refer to girls who participate in Girl Scouting without being in as Indie Girls (short for Individually Registered Girls.) An Indie Girl can participate at any grade level. No matter how she becomes involved in Girl Scouting, three keys to leadership development are incorporated into every aspect of the Girl Scout experience – through girl-led, cooperative and learning-by-doing activities – which makes every pathway FUN!
Q: Camping is DEFINITELY NOT our thing. Can my daughter and I join Girl Scouts even if we’re not “outdoorsy”?
A: Yes! Camping is just one of five different pathways; and while developing an appreciation for nature and the environment is a big focus of the Girl Scout program, you and your daughter can learn many ways to take action in protecting the planet – right within your own community!
Q: What does it cost to join?
A. Annual membership dues are $15; and most troops charge minimal dues per girl for materials and activities in the meeting place. Typically, parents or guardians also pay for a girls’ uniform (components) or insignia, Journey books or handbooks, and Girl Scout pathway opportunities that a girl wants to do in addition to troop planned and budgeted activities. Troop families often provide refreshments or transportation.
Girl Scout Cookie Program and MagNut Program are designed to allow each troop to raise the monies they need to pay for field trips, events, troop camping, ceremonies, workshops, service projects, etc. These experiences provide girls with valuable budgeting, money-handling and goal setting skills too.
Scholarships are available so that every girl can benefit from the Girl Scout experience.
Q: My daughter’s schedule doesn’t permit her to belong to a troop. Can she still earn badges or awards?
A: Yes! We refer to girls who participate in Girl Scouting without being in as Indie Girls (short for Individually Registered Girls.) An Indie Girl can participate at any grade level and participate in any of our pathways. Our Girl Scout Gold Award Committee can also help mentor her, monitor her success, and provide her with the advice she needs to receive the highest award in Girl Scouting.
Q: I want my child to have the very best Girl Scout experience. How can I help make this possible?
A: If your daughter is registered with a Girl Scout troop, plan on being an active troop committee member and providing your Girl Scout leaders with all the help they need to succeed. Just as two heads are better than one, 10 hands are better than two! Be the advocate for your troop, and ask all parents to contribute their time or participate in every way possible. The more talent you can pool together – the greater your child’s experience will be. Be sure to thank your daughter's leader. (It will mean the world to her!) If your daughter is an Indie Girl, take time with her to plan the events and workshops available in S’more that are best suited to her interests, goals and abilities. You can both also become involved at the service unit (local) – planning or participating in special events in which girls in troops and girls registered individually can have fun together.
Finally, keep current on council publications so that your child can pinarticipate in ways that are fun and meaningful to her, and provide her with all the benefits that Girl Scouts has to offer. All registered households receive S’more magazine twice a year, and you can also sign up for @aGirl, our online newsletter. Combined with the GSWPA Web site – this is your way to get the latest information.
Q: Who can be a Girl Scout volunteer?
A: Girl Scout volunteers are 18 years and older who can be a positive adult role model to girls, and who accept the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Girl Scout volunteers can be moms, dads, grandparents and even grown-up siblings of Girl Scouts OR they can be friends and neighbors who have no children. They can be retired adults, young professionals, and college students. Today’s girl needs the time, resources, and commitment of a community of volunteers to help pave her way. All Girl Scout volunteers who serve in leadership capacities, handle money or manage finances or provide supervision to girls (other than their own child) at overnight or travel events are required to complete the Volunteer Application.
Q: I want my daughter to participate in activities that ensure eligibility for college scholarships. What can Girl Scouting do?
A: Girl Scouting is recognized by colleges and universities nationwide as an exceptional extracurricular activity for young women. We provide unique leadership opportunities that fulfill many graduation and scholarship requirements, and our Web site provides a link to scholarship opportunities for girls who take advantage of the many initiatives available to them in Girl Scouting. As a Girl Scout, your daughter may perform hours of worthwhile service to her community, participate in the Girl Congress of GSUSA or Governor’s Conference for Women or serve as a council delegate. She can complete Program Aide training, serve as a Counselor-in-Training or "Volunteer-in-Training"::/girls/awards/pa-cit-vit/ at one of our local camps or earn her Bronze and Silver Award. More importantly, Girl Scouts provides her with the skills and the network of role models she needs to be successful in all of these endeavors.