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Safety

The emotional and physical safety and well-being of Girl Scouts is our top priority. Safety Activity Checkpoints outlines the Safety Standards and Guidelines used in Girl Scouting, which apply to all Girl Scout activities.

For current COVID-19 guidelines, check your local council’s version of Safety Activity Checkpoints.

All volunteers should review the Safety Activity Checkpoints manual when planning activities with girls in order to manage safety and risk in Girl Scout-sanctioned activities.

In Safety Activity Checkpoints, you’ll find:

  • Girl Scout Activity Safety Standards and Guidelines with requirements for adult supervision, permission slips, preparation, field trips and overnight trips, and other vital information             
  • Activities that are not permitted by Girl Scouts of the USA and actions that girls and volunteers should not take
  • Policies surrounding chartered aircraft trips and aviation
  • First-aid and overall health information you’ll need from the girls
  • Standards for well-being and inclusivity, including working with Girl Scouts with disabilities and ensuring emotional safety          
  • A breakdown of specific activities—such as camping, internet use, and water sports—and their individual safety checkpoints

Following the Safety Standards and Guidelines is an Activity-at-a-Glance chart which details two critical points to keep in mind:

  • Age-appropriate activities and participation by grade level
  • Whether prior approval from your council is required before girls participate in a specific activity

From camping weekends to cookie booths, adult volunteers must always be present to ensure their girls have fun and stay safe, no matter their grade level.

Not sure just how many adults you’ll need for your activity? The following chart breaks down the minimum number of volunteers needed to supervise a specific number of girls; councils may also establish maximums due to size or cost restrictions, so be sure to check with them as you plan your activity. 


Going Places with Girl Scouts

Please check our up-to-date COVID-19 guidelines for Girl Scout troops and groups before planning in-person activities.

Ready for some adventure? Camping, overnights, and excursions are some of the most memorable experiences in Girl Scouting. Check out the Going Places with Girl Scouts Overview.

What Approvals Do I Need?

Use our Emergency Action Plan worksheet to help safely plan activities with Girl Scouts, including identifying, mitigating, and responding to emergencies.

For each Girl Scout attending an activity, volunteers should have an Annual Permission Form and an Activity Permission Form.

For the group, a GSEMA Safety Approval Form and/or other Safety Activity Checkpoints may need to be satisfied. Please be sure to check the requirements for your planned activities and contact our customer care team for help or with any questions.

If guests are participating, request Non-Member Insurance coverage from GSEMA.

What Training Do I Need?

Many activities require additional safety or outdoor skills training in order to keep Girl Scouts safe and provide them with the best possible experiences. Details for required and enrichment safety courses are listed below.

Going Places with Girl Scouts

This comprehensive, 3-part series supports volunteers with progressing from local field trips to international travel with a group of Girl Scouts. It’s the starting point for all Girl Scout groups, who are ready to explore together, from Daisies visiting the local park to Juniors sleeping over at a museum to Ambassadors trekking internationally, and everything in between. Complete this training online via gsLearn (coming soon!).

First Aid/CPR

GSEMA volunteers needing first aid training may either take a GSEMA-hosted course or submit qualifying licensure/certifications for reciprocity.

GSEMA offers MEDIC First Aid and CPR as a blended, two-part course: an online program, and a hands-on skills session with an instructor. Both portions must be completed for certification. Certification is valid for two years, and the course fee ($75) includes a take-home resource book, keychain CPR mask, and certification card. Volunteers whose certification is about to expire or has expired within 30 days of a listed session, may take a Recertification course. Training scholarships are available for all first aid training sessions with GSEMA. Find a session and register.

If you are a medical professional or have other first aid and CPR certification from a certifying body outside of GSEMA, you may be able to submit your licensure or certification for reciprocity.

For first aid/CPR courses not hosted by GSEMA, we strongly recommend obtaining pre-approval by emailing us to ensure the courses meet our safety requirements. Courses must:

  • Be provided by an approved, accredited organization
  • Include basic first aid
  • Include CPR/AED training covering adult, child, and infant
  • Include live instruction, either:
    • As an in-person course, OR
    • As a live instructor-led online session that includes hands-on practice and evaluation using a manikin
Wilderness and Advanced First Aid

Become a Wilderness First Aid volunteer capable of taking girls 30 minutes or more away from medical care with this 16-hour course. MEDIC First Aid/CPR or other first-aider qualifying training is required as a prerequisite for Wilderness First Aid. Full and partial financial assistance is available. Offered each fall and spring, register here.

For Advanced First Aid, GSEMA accepts valid licensure as a Massachusetts physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, paramedic, military medic, athletic trainer, and emergency medical technician (EMT), as qualifying certification as these professions have a reasonable expectation of emergency care. Submit your valid license/registry number, including expiration date, to customercare@gsema.org

Outdoor Basics, Cooking and Camping

For outdoor experiences and troop camping training requirements, see the Troop Camping page. Start your journey today with Outdoor Basics Online in gsLearn, then continue with cooking and camping in-person sessions.

Youth Mental Health First Aid

Youth Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour program that introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health challenges in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge. This course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions and provide initial help; and connect young people to professional peer, social, and self-help care. This course provides useful information for adults working with Girl Scouts at every age level, but is particularly helpful for those working with Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors. Financial assistance is available. Register.


Child Abuse Prevention and Reporting

Per our Volunteer Policies and Procedures, GSEMA “supports and maintains environments that are free of child abuse, including but not limited to sexual abuse, and neglect. Child abuse and neglect are defined as any recent act or failure to act which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”

Procedure for Reporting Child Abuse

If the child is in immediate harm, call 911 and follow emergency procedures on the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts Emergency Procedures card (GSEMA Emergency Number: 1-800-348-7788).

If the child is not in immediate harm, document the information as thoroughly as possible on the Child Abuse Incident Report Form and submit within 24 hours of the suspected or reported abuse.

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