Q: At what age can a girl join Girl Scouting?
A: Girl Scout membership is based on grade level rather than age: Daisy (grades K-1), Brownie (grades 2-3), Junior (grades 4-5), Cadette (grades 6-8), Senior (grades 9-10) or Ambassador (grades 11-12). Girls attending summer camps or programs are considered to be at the grade level they will be entering in the fall.
Q: How can a girl participate in Girl Scouting?
A. Girl Scouting offers several "pathways" in which girls and adults can participate. Some girls participate in one pathway, while others may select any combination of the four:
Q: My daughter’s schedule doesn’t permit her to belong to a troop. Can she still earn badges or awards?
A: Yes! In our council, Girl Scouts who don’t belong to a troop are Indie Girls (short for Individually Registered Girls.) An Indie Girl can participate at any grade level and in any of our pathways. If she’s an Ambassador, 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: What does it cost to join?
A. Annual membership dues are $25, 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.
The 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 also provide girls with five essential skills, like money handling and goal-setting.
Financial assistance is available so that every girl can benefit from the Girl Scout experience.
When it’s time to join or renew your Girl Scout membership, you may be wondering: What does this money pay for? Where does it go?
Every dollar of your $25 membership fee goes to Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA). Some of the things GSUSA provides include:
When any price increases—whether it’s your Girl Scout membership, a favorite magazine subscription, or your cable bill—it’s a good time to review the value you get versus the investment.
Girl Scouts remains an amazing value for girls and adults. Here’s why:
Girl Scouts can earn badges, join a troop, hike, camp, and participate in the entrepreneurial skill-building Cookie Program, as well as explore careers in science and technology, travel the world, and take on projects that transform their community.
Girl Scouts are more likely than non-Girl Scouts to:
Don’t forget, proceeds from MagNut and the Girl Scout Cookie Program can be used to pay for membership fees and financial assistance is available for girls who qualify.
Q: Who can be a Girl Scout volunteer?
A: Girl Scout volunteers are 18 years and older who can be positive adult role models to girls and who accept the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Today’s girl needs the time, resources, and commitment of a community of volunteers to help pave her way.
All Girl Scout volunteers who have direct contact with girls, 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 and pass a criminal background check and Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearances.
Q: How do I become a volunteer?
A: Visit the Volunteer page and fill out the simple online form. Once you submit the form, a staff member will get in touch with you to discuss the various volunteer options and how you'd like to participate.
After you've spoken with a staff member (or if you're a current volunteer renewing your volunteer application and background), you'll be directed to complete the screening process.
Q: What are the ways to camp at Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania camps?
A: Our council has four camps offering several different options, whether you want to camp overnight or just for the day—as an individual, with a troop, or as a family.
Q: Who can go to camp?
A: Girl Scouts is for every girl--and you don't even need to be part of a troop. Simply become an Individually Registered Girl Scout (we call them Indie Girls), and enjoy all of the activities, programs, and projects that make Girl Scouts so much fun--including camp!
Q: Who are the camp staff?
A: Camps are staffed with activity specialists, a cook, a healthcare manager, and specialty staff for the horse and adventure programs. These staff members are carefully selected for their skills, as well as how they work with children and adults. They participate in extensive training sessions where they earn appropriate certifications. At CORE Camp, troop or group leaders (or adult volunteers) assume responsibility for Girl Scouts' Safety Activity Checkpoint ratio and American Camping Association (ACA) standards. We provide lifeguards, National Rifle Association instructors, and boating instructors—depending on your camp's features. In addition, each camp has a resident camp ranger and there’s always a person at camp certified in CPR and First Aid.
Q. What sleeping arrangements and facilities are available at camp?
A: Each camp is different, but the three arrangements widely available are:
Our camp section has more details on the amenities at each property.
Q: Are visitors and phone calls permitted at camp?
A: For safety reasons, access to camp properties is limited when camp is in session. Mail from home is welcome and is delivered daily. Parents may leave mail at check-in for delivery during the session. (Please include the following information in all mail you send: session name, session date, and camper’s name.) In the event of any emergency or change in plans, please call the camp director. Camp phone numbers are provided with your confirmation materials, and camp directors contact parents in case of an emergency or illness. Please note: camp phones are limited to camp business only.
Q: What training is required of adult volunteers before taking girls to camp?
A: Volunteers accompanying girls to Troop or C.A.P. camping are required to complete Outdoor Skills Training and CPR/First Aid Training. See our Adult Training section for more information. Adults accompanying girls to CORE or Family camps are not required to have these trainings.
Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania and its baker, Little Brownie Bakers, condemn the use of child labor and any exploitation of workers. Our baker is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an organization striving to develop and enact proper practices to ensure an ethical supply chain. To be very clear, child labor has no place in Girl Scout Cookie production. Girl Scouts’ investment in the development of our world's youth must not be facilitated by the under-development of some.
These complex and hugely important issues require the cooperation of many parties to solve. GSUSA has and continues to work with bakers to increase the transparency, sustainability, and ethical behavior of our production lines and sourcing. If certain suppliers are not following ethical practices, we expect the bakers and RSPO to take action quickly to rectify those exceptions.
We’ve been assured by Little Brownie Bakers that they continue to work closely with RSPO and other organizations to ensure suppliers adhere to ethical business practices and human rights policies.
The world's food supply is intricately tied to the use of palm oil. Palm oil is an ingredient found in the majority of baked snacks sold in the United States. Responsible use of palm oil currently ensures the highest quality products and services as an alternative to trans-fat. Promoting proper manufacturing principles is the most responsible approach currently available until other alternatives can be developed that do not have other unintended, harmful impacts. More information on palm oil and other ingredients in Girl Scout Cookies is available from GSUSA and Little Brownie Bakers.
Palm Oil Resources for Girl Scouts
Please contact us at email@example.com or 800-248-3355 if you have additional questions.
Q: What is the MagNut Program?
A: The MagNut program, held in October/November, helps girls set and achieve goals at the beginning of the Girl Scout year by selling magazines, nuts, and candy.
Q: How do I order products from the MagNut program?
A: During the MagNut Program, contact a Girl Scout you know to place an order either via the paper form or online. If you don't know a Girl Scout, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Can a Girl Scout deliver my online order instead of paying for the shipping and handling?
A. Local customers can pay for their orders online and have them delivered by the Girl Scout. If the customer is not local, their order will be shipped. Shipping and handling will be added to the order for these customers.
Q: Are the same products offered on both the paper forms and online?
A: No. The online order form includes all 16 nut and candy items that are listed on the girl’s order taker, plus additional online exclusive products.
All magazines are available online only.
Q: Can a donation to Operation Sweet Appreciation be made online?
A: Yes. All donations for Operation Sweet Appreciation can be made through the girl or from gswpa.org.
Q: Do I pay the Girl Scout when I place my nuts and candy order?
A: When ordering in person, you do not pay until the Girl Scout delivers their order. Only online orders are paid when the order is placed.
Q: How can I make a donation to Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania?
A: There are many ways you can change the life of a girl by supporting Girl Scouting. See the Ways to Give page for more information.
Q: How do donations made to Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania benefit local girls?
A: Personal contributions are directly applied to the many critical resources that make Girl Scouting successful in 27 counties. While the Girl Scout Cookie Program helps to keep the cost of activities affordable, Girl Scouting needs financial support from donors to develop new curriculum, provide transportation, recruit volunteers, meet safety standards, and provide financial assistance so more girls can benefit from a quality Girl Scout Leadership Experience. When you make a donation, you can specify an area of need that you’d like your contribution to support. Learn more about what your donation can do.
Q. What is the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC)?
A: Any business that pays Pennsylvania taxes is qualified to receive tax credits for making contributions to educational improvement organizations or scholarship organizations, including Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania. The EITC program is unique to Pennsylvania, allowing businesses to make charitable donations based on the amount of PA state taxes they pay. In return, they receive a 75 percent tax credit when filing state taxes. For example, a $10,000 donation earns a $7,500 tax credit, plus it can be claimed as a donation on the federal tax return. A two-year $10,000 donation earns a 90 percent tax credit or $9,000 per year. Learn more about the EITC program.
Q: Does Girl Scouts have a relationship with Planned Parenthood?
A: No, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania and Girl Scouts of the USA do not have a relationship with Planned Parenthood.
Q: Does Girl Scouting support girls of all backgrounds and beliefs? How can I be sure that Girl Scouting is a good match with our family’s values, heritage, or traditions?
A: In Girl Scouts, we’ve always been, and remain, an organization with a deep spiritual commitment. We also have 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.
We encourage girls to develop connections to their own spiritual and religious beliefs by earning recognitions provided by their faith communities and by earning the My Promise, My Faith pin, which helps a girl deepen the connection between the Girl Scout Law and her faith. We support the right of faith leaders to verify that programming delivered to girls in their places of worship is consistent with their faith’s teachings. Learn more about Girl Scouts and faith.
You can also learn more about Girl Scouts' relationship with the Catholic Church and read the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s Catholic Committee on Scouting's statement about Girl Scouts.
Q: What is Girl Scouts' relationship with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS)?
A: The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) comprises 145 member organizations that promote mutual understanding and cross-cultural opportunities for girls around the world. Girl Scouts of the USA is one of the 145 member organizations.
Each member organization creates its own programs and pursues advocacy efforts based on the needs and issues affecting girls in its individual country. GSUSA does not always take the same positions or endorse the same programs as WAGGGS. GSUSA's relationship with WAGGGS is akin to the United States' relationship with the United Nations (UN). The United States may not agree with every position the UN takes, but values having a seat at the table.
Q: What actions is Girl Scouts of the USA taking to prevent child labor?
A: Girl Scouts of the USA and Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania do not support or endorse the use of child labor. To be very clear, child labor has no place in the production of Girl Scout Cookies. If certain suppliers are not following best practices, we expect our bakers and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), of which GSUSA is an affiliate member, to take action quickly to rectify those exceptions. Learn more.
Girl Scouts of the USA and RSPO have released a Sustainable Palm Oil Toolkit to help interested Girl Scouts dive deeper into the topic of palm oil and fully understand the issue.
The safety of our girls, volunteers, staff, and families is our top priority. Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania will continue to monitor CDC guidelines and reassess mask guidance if needed. Please take all reasonable precautions to limit potential exposure for girls, volunteers, staff, and families.
Masks are optional in council offices and shops, and at all Girl Scout activities, regardless of vaccination status. Physical distancing is still recommended when possible.
Troop travel and overnights: Troop day trips, overnights, out-of-state travel, and international travel are permitted at this time. All trips and activities must comply with the safety standards and guidelines outlined in Safety Activity Checkpoints.
If your troop is planning high-adventure activities, to travel more than 200 miles round-trip, or an overnight trip, you must complete a Trip and High Adventure Application for approval.
When planning an international trip, we recommend that volunteers use a council-approved travel agency such as EF Tours.
If you have any questions that are not addressed above, please contact us.