Your one-stop-shop for the most commonly asked questions and key volunteer resources.
Want to know what's new for the 2023-24 membership? Watch or read GSEMA's Council Updates!
A troop is a group of girls and adult mentors that meets regularly to share Girl Scout experiences.
Are you a new troop leader? Check out our Starting a Troop webpage dedicated to guiding you through the phases of starting and leading a new Girl Scout troop.
In accordance with Massachusetts State Law, and to ensure the safety of our Girl Scouts, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts enforces a safety policy for adults who work directly with Girl Scouts. All volunteers must register and complete a criminal background check using the CORI/SORI Acknowledgement Form. Volunteers who have not resided in Massachusetts for the past seven years must also complete a national online screening, which we will initiate with your consent. By law, a volunteer’s criminal background check expires after three (3) years.
How it Works:
How Do I Know if a Criminal Background Check is Current?
For All Volunteers:
All volunteers are able to see their own criminal background check expiration date through their My GS portal in the My Household tab, under “CBC expiration.” Please renew your background check before it expires by following the steps above.
For Troop Leaders:
Troop leaders are able to view criminal background check expiration dates for all volunteers in their troop through their My GS portal in the My Troop(s) tab, under “CBC expiration.”
Volunteers with an "Active" status have both a current membership and background check, and are cleared to volunteer. “Screening” indicates that a volunteer is registered, but that the criminal background check is not yet complete. “Inactive” and “Lapsed” indicate that the volunteer has not registered for the current membership year.
Troop leaders who have questions should contact Customer Care at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Service Unit Volunteers:
Appointed service unit leadership volunteers are not currently able to view criminal background check expiration dates on service unit rosters in Looker. Please encourage troop leaders to review their troops’ volunteers at least once per year.
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 New Leader 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 Going Places with Girl Scouts, Outdoor Basics, Stepping-Up for bridging leaders (Daisy–Junior), Stress Management courses for every Girl Scout level, and so much more!
First Aid/CPR Trainings. Volunteers can sign up for in-person First Aid/CPR certification and/or recertification courses, Youth Mental Health First Aid, and Wilderness First Aid through our Program Catalog.
Outdoor Skills. Ready for adventure? Learn more about Archery, Canoeing (Small Craft Safety), and other outdoor adventure facilitator opportunities on our Outdoor Adventures page.
Need help? Contact Customer Care at email@example.com.
Sample year plans. Check out our sample year plans for an overview of ways to help guide your Daisies, Brownies, or Juniors. Discover what Girl Scouting is all about, find simple ways to explore the outdoors, or improve your community with a service project.
Meeting on Private Property
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 Meeting Space Guidelines.
Use of backyard equipment (outdoor cooking, play structures, or other equipment) requires a GSEMA approved first aider and additional council approval is required for swimming pools and other high-risk activities 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 13 of the Safety Activity Checkpoints.)
Need more resources? Use the Troop Year Planner to help keep your troop going strong with specially adapted badges, Journeys, and activities for virtual and safe in-person meetings, as well as other 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.
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!
Fall Back-to-Troop Checklist
Consult this checlist when your troop is getting ready for the next troop year in September-October.
A troop bank account is the first step towards your girls reaching their financial goals!
Whether you are opening a new bank account, or are changing the information on an existing troop bank account, your first step is to submit a troop bank account request form. Once this form is submitted, please allow 2-4 weeks for GSEMA to process your request.
Girl Scout Troop Bank Accounts Overview
The process for opening, changing signers, and managing new Girl Scout troop bank accounts is detailed in GSEMA’s Volunteer Essentials and summarized below.
GSEMA requires two (2) non-related registered volunteer members of Girl Scouts who do not reside at the same address and who have a current, eligible Criminal Background Check (CORI/SORI) to be the authorized signers on the troop’s bank account.
Please see Volunteer Essentials: Troop Finances for additional information about troop money management best practices and your financial responsibilities.
What is the Opportunity Catalog?
The Opportunity Catalog is an online listing of troops—some with space available, and others that are new troop opportunities for girls and/or volunteers. It enables caregivers to search by zip code to find local troops, making it easier and quicker for their girls to begin their leadership journey. Caregivers also will be able to sign up for available volunteer opportunities as they register their girl(s). This means more girls and adults participating in Girl Scouting!
How does the Opportunity Catalog work?
Troop leaders welcoming more girls into their troop will submit their information to be included in the online Opportunity Catalog using this online form. If you need to update your listing at any time, log into your My GS account, select "My Troops", and click on your troop number. Select "Meeting Details" at the top of the screen, and click on “Edit Meeting Details”.
Tell us how many available spaces you have in your troop (we encourage a minimum troop size of 12 girls), and when and where your troop meets, and we’ll add it to the online catalog so girls and potential volunteers can be matched with your opportunities.
Your service unit team and volunteer support specialist will provide any guidance you need as you welcome new girls and volunteers into your troop.
If your family is new to Girl Scouts, please provide contact information on our girl registration webpage to view troop options in the Opportunity Catalog.
How does it work?
Fill out this online form to let us know you have room in your troop. We will use your response to add your troop to the Opportunity Catalog. When the troop is added to the Opportunity Catalog, caregivers will be able to select the troop as part of the registration process. You would receive an automated notification when a new girl chooses your troop! Once your troop is full, your troop will no longer appear in the catalog.
Need help? Contact Customer Care at firstname.lastname@example.org or 844-306-4736 (please leave a message).