Video series available via gsLearn
Your one-stop-shop for the most commonly used forms and key volunteer resources.
Getting Started as a Troop
COVID-19 Troop Guidelines
As of January 18, GSEMA members should follow the strictest COVID-19 guidelines among federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business, school, and workplace guidance, for mask wearing, vaccination requirements, gathering sizes, quarantine, testing, and other precautions.
When there is a known positive case of COVID-19 at an activity where Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts (GSEMA) members were participating, a GSEMA volunteer first aider, troop leader, or other event lead organizer should complete the GSEMA COVID-19 Incident Report.
Commitment to Health and Safety
At Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, the physical and emotional safety of our Girl Scouts, our families, our volunteers, and our staff is our highest priority. We are taking a responsible approach to creating environments that allow us to embody the Girl Scout Promise and Law, require us to be considerate and caring, courageous, and strong, responsible for what we say and do, respectful of ourselves and others, respectful of authority, and to act as a sister to every Girl Scout.
As part of our commitment to health and safety, COVID-19 vaccines are strongly recommended for all members who are eligible and able to receive the vaccine. GSEMA also recommends that all Girl Scouts wear masks while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. On GSEMA properties, all members and guests are required to wear a mask while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. (Masks may be removed while eating or sleeping. Volunteers must remind participants that 6+ feet of physical distance should always be maintained when masks are removed.)
GSEMA also recommends that Girl Scouts wear masks while outdoors when gathering in large groups (50+), especially those that include other groups, non-member family and friends, or the general public, such as during cookie booths.
COVID-19 Symptoms Screening
If a potential attendee has experienced any of the following symptoms within the last 24 hours, they should NOT attend in-person gatherings: fever (temperature of 100.0°F or above), felt feverish or had chills, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing, gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, nausea, vomiting), fatigue (fatigue alone should not exclude a member from participation), headache, new loss of smell/taste, new muscle aches.
Potential attendees should follow all applicable guidelines if they have been exposed to, tested positive for, or are awaiting test results for COVID-19. As a reminder, information about an individual’s COVID-19 test results and vaccination status are protected health information, as defined by federal HIPAA laws.
A list of all attendees and their contact information must always be kept in the event that it is needed for contact tracing. This includes anyone our members are interacting with for 15+ minutes.
When there is a known positive case of COVID-19 at an activity where GSEMA members were participating, a GSEMA volunteer first aider, troop leader, or other event lead organizer should complete the GSEMA COVID-19 Incident Report.
We recommend that Girl Scouts follow best practices outlined by the American Camp Association while carpooling, including limiting the number of occupants, wearing face masks, opening vehicle windows, and cleaning touch points frequently. While using public transit, Girl Scouts should follow all applicable COVID-19 regulations.
Meeting on Private Property
We understand that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on Girl Scouts' ability to gather in public spaces. GSEMA’s Meeting Place Policy, as detailed in Volunteer Policies and Procedures, allows exceptions for Girl Scouts to meet on private property on a limited basis. Review and complete the online application to request permission for Girl Scouts to meet outdoors and indoors, provided the space can reasonably accommodate the number of members meeting while following current local, state, and federal COVID-19 guidelines, on private property on a limited basis.
Use of backyard equipment (pools, outdoor cooking, play structures, or other equipment) requires additional council approval to ensure that Safety Activity Checkpoints are met. Please see our safety page for details. (Note: use of outdoor trampolines is not permitted, as defined on page 14 of the Safety
Activity Checkpoints.) Please review the Safety Activity Checkpoints and submit a Girl Scout Activity Form for high-risk activities.
After a successful summer and troop camp season and with GSEMA’s properties re-opening for encampments and troop camping activities, GSEMA has highlighted COVID-19 protection guidelines for Girl Scouts planning and participating in overnight activities. Please see our troop camping page for details. (Note: service units and troops who make property reservations will also receive a copy of this information in their confirmation packets.)
Troops may travel for day trips and overnights within Massachusetts and neighboring states. Troops must complete the appropriate troop travel paperwork, including either a Girl Scout Activity Form (1-2 nights) and Request to Travel (3+ nights).
Domestic air travel will be considered on a case by case basis using the Request to Travel form. International travel is not approved at this time due to guidance from GSUSA and the US Department of State.
If you have any questions or need help finding additional resources, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Navigating the World of Virtual Girl Scouting
Are you thinking about having your troop meet virtually this fall? Check out our Quick Start Guide for tips from GSEMA staff and other troop leaders who’ve had success running virtual meetings.
Ready to get started? You can use your preferred technology platform to run your virtual meeting, or request use of a GSEMA Zoom room for meetings longer than 40 minutes. No matter what you use, make sure you follow these basic safety guidelines.
- Review the Safety Activity Checkpoint for virtual meetings before hosting online gatherings with girls.
- Volunteer-to-girl safety ratios should always be followed. At least two approved volunteers should act as co-hosts within the meeting, so they can take turns presenting and doing technical support (such as monitoring the chat or helping girls troubleshoot their technology).
- Meeting links, IDs, and passwords should only be shared with registered meeting attendees.
- The waiting room is enabled for all meetings. Participants must wait for a host to begin a meeting.
- Participants should sign in with their first name and last initial only.
- All attendees are muted when entering the meeting, and video is off by default.
- Private chat is disabled. No links or files may be shared in the public meeting chat.
Looking for ideas on what to do during virtual meetings? Check out the next section below, Planning Troop Meetings!
Planning Troop Meetings
Sample year plans. Check out our sample year plans below for an overview of ways to combine GSEMA programs, national Girl Scout events, and troop-only activities for a fun Girl Scout experience, whether you're meeting in person or virtually!
Need more resources? Use the Troop Leader Blueprint to help keep your troop going strong with specially adapted badges, Journeys, and activities for virtual and safe in-person meetings, as well as current COVID-19 guidelines and resources. We’re here to support you as you help your troop thrive!
Start building your custom year plan today! You can use the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) to create your troop’s custom year plan, communicate with troop families, and make running a troop easier than ever. Log in now to get started, and check out our user guide for technical help.
Take 5 Podcast
Take 5 is a video and audio podcast series about all things Girl Scouts! Join your host, Lori, for a visit with GSEMA staff and volunteers at her virtual kitchen table to learn about Girl Scout programs, history, traditions, and current hot topics. Begun during the COVID-19 pandemic, this growing library is a testament to Girl Scout resilience and community building.
Annual Troop Checklists
Use our quick and easy Annual Troop Checklists below to help you remember important annual tasks for successfully wrapping up and beginning each troop year!
Complete these steps by June 30 each troop year.
- Renew yourself and your Girl Scouts during our Early Bird Renewal season to earn thank-you incentives!
- Submit your Annual Troop Financial Report.
- Celebrate your Girl Scouts and all that you have accomplished together as a troop this year with an end-of-year party or awards ceremony. Check with your local service unit to see if there’s a town-wide celebration.
- If your troop is bridging to the next level, check out the Girl Scout Bridging Guide for celebration ideas and awards to earn.
Fall Back-to-Troop Checklist
Consult this checlist when your troop is getting ready for the next troop year in September-October.
- Renew yourself and your troop, if you haven’t already; confirm volunteer-to-girl safety ratios; and ensure that volunteer background checks are up to date in My GS.
- Read the “Back to Troop” September edition of Troop Scoop, an email newsletter from your Volunteer Support Specialist, which includes important fall updates and announcements.
- Complete your annual Online Volunteer Agreement.
- Welcome new Girl Scouts to your troop by updating your troop's listing in the Opportunity Catalog.
- Confirm your troop's meeting location and, if needed, complete the annual Meeting on Private Property Application.
- Questions? Check Volunteer Essentials, your encyclopedia to Girl Scout volunteering, or Volunteer Policies and Procedures.
Training for Volunteers
GSEMA’s online learning platform, gsLearn (accessed via single sign-on through your My GS login), is continually updated with new volunteer trainings, documents, resources, videos, and more! Whether you’re a new or returning leader, a service unit team member, or a friends and family network volunteer, there’s something here for you.
First year as a leader? You should begin your learning with the Troop Pathway Orientation, the Essentials course for your program level (Daisy, Brownie, Junior, or Cadette), and Financing the Fun. After that, there are lots of courses to explore as your leadership adventure continues.
Second year and beyond? After completing your first year learning courses, you can explore opportunities for returning leaders like Step-Up trainings for bridging leaders (Daisy–Junior), Stress Management courses for every Girl Scout level, Overnight Orientation, Outdoor Basics, and so much more!
First Aid/CPR Trainings. Volunteers can sign up for First Aid/CPR trainings and/or recertification courses through our Program Catalog.
Need help? Contact Customer Care at email@example.com.
Fall Product and Cookie Programs
Beyond Troop Meetings
Monthly Emails to Volunteers
Troop Scoop (October 2021)
Troop Scoop (September 2021)
Troop Scoop (August 2021)
Troop Scoop (July 2021)
Troop Scoop (June 2021)
Troop Scoop (May 2021)
Troop Scoop (April 2021)
Troop Scoop (March 2021)
Troop Scoop (February 2021)
Troop Scoop (January 2021)
Troop Scoop (December 2020)
Troop Scoop (November 2020)
Need help? Contact Customer Care at firstname.lastname@example.org or
844-306-4736 (please leave a message).