Girl Scouts love to get out and do fun things! Leaders are encouraged to find new adventures for the girls as they grow and achieve new levels of interest. There are many places to get ideas, we have lots of ideas on this website in our resources section and on our Leaders Share forum but our best resource is each other. You’ll meet other leaders at the monthly service unit leader meetings. We also have a service unit team member dedicated to helping leaders plan and implement new adventures. Her name is Consuelo Quintanar and she’s our Activity Consultant. She can help with ideas and advice, and she’s the one who signs your Activity Approval form.
Summary of Changes
New Safety Page Navigation. The resources at www.sdgirlscouts.org/safety contain all the elements of Volunteer Essentials Ch 4: Safety-Wise in a more navigable, digestible format. Check it out! Here’s an outline of the sub-pages:
· Responsibility of the Volunteer
· Preparing for Activities: adult/girl ratios, transporting girls, driver checklist, finding an expert/insurance certs, activities not permitted, responsibility of parents and guardians, and responsibility of girls
· Required Forms and Approval (www.sdgirlscouts.org/approval ) – more about that below!
· Preparing for Emergencies: first aid/CPR, first aid kits, health histories, activity insurance/enrollment, developing a safety management plan, emergency procedures, and reporting accidents or abuse
· Safety Activity Checkpoints Matrix, which leads to SACs.
· Product Sales Safety
· Online Safety
New Health History and Annual Permission form. You read that right! This form consolidates the Girl Health History form, Permission to Give Over-the-Counter Medications, and Permission Slip (for routine activities), plus elements of the Parent/Guardian Info Sheet. Check out the AC Self-Study Guide and the notes in the Powerpoint slides for details. Key points:
· Must be completed for all girls, annually
· Parents may choose to give annual permission for routine events, troop money-earning activities like booth sales, and photo release. Parents may also opt NOT to give any of those permissions, and the leader must honor that.
· Routine events = events that don’t require approval (see the matrix)
· If a parent does not grant annual permission for routine events, the leader must provide a Trip or Event Permission form for each outing. Other parents may still grant annual permission.
· Leaders must tell parents event details via an agreed-upon communication method, such as email, Volunteer Toolkit, etc.
· Parents can change their elections by notifying the leader in writing
· Parents give the form to the leader, it is never submitted to the AC or council
· Fillable PDF
Trip or Event Permission form. Very similar to the existing Permission Form. Used when?
· Higher risk activities are involved, aka activities that require approval
· A parent declines annual permission (that’s their prerogative)
· A leader opts to get specific permission for every trip or event (that’s her prerogative!)
Remember: a word version exists so that leaders can customize the form by adding additional details BUT no details of the form may be deleted. Non-customizable, fillable PDF, too.
Family Information sheet. Replaces Parent/Guardian Info Sheet, which was redundant to several forms. The Family Info sheet is more about engagement in the troop, rather than procedural. It now includes a “Meet My Girl” section to help leaders get to know the girls in their troop. The front half of the form should be completed each year, “Meet My Girl” is optional after the first year.
Activity Approval form. Front side has just a few changes:
· Contracts over $500 naming Girl Scouts no longer require council approval. Volunteers should continue to use good judgment and seek advice when appropriate.
· Affirmation that drivers/chaperones will be background-checked GS members (initialed by leader near bottom of form)
But the back side is totally different…a new matrix will help leaders find what training and paperwork is needed, at a glance! Of course, there will still be questions…that’s why troop leaders and SU volunteers have an Activity Consultant as a guide, and Sandy at council to help!
Notification and Approval System. This is big, too!!
· Leader steps recap:
o Go to www.sdgirlscouts.org/approval, where common forms and a guide are posted
o Enter basic information, like SU name, event date/time, activity type(s), number of girls/adults, etc.
o Share transportation arrangements and other details
o Note whether they’re using the Annual Permission form or a Trip or Event Permission form (or a combination because some parents haven’t provided annual permission). If the latter, they will be able to upload a sample form right then.
o Answer whether any activities require approval (and be prompted to upload an Activity Approval form, if needed)
o Get an email receipt confirming submission; wait for AC response
AC steps recap:
o Receive an email notification with all details and links to uploaded forms
o Review submitted info
o Respond by forwarding notification email to the leader, along with your message, such as:
§ For activities that don’t require approval: “Thanks, have a great time!”
§ For activities that do require approval, and the event is approved: “You’re approved, have fun”
§ …And so forth…
Timeline: Council training classes will incorporate new info in May. Old forms will be retired from the website in September; all will be expected to use new forms and processes on or before 10/1/17.
Volunteer Toolkit: Cool new outdoor options are built into existing meeting plans in VTK. Other new tools are live, too. Look for the little tree icon
Safety Activity Checkpoints
The safety activity checkpoints – one for each type of activity – are on council’s website. Look up just the one you need or browse around, it’s up to you, you click on the activity on this matrix.. They’re current, they’re easy to read, and they’re easy to get to. These checkpoints replace the SafetyWise book. They are also conveniently linked to from the NEW Activity Approval
Activity Approval Form
Activity approvals are needed for sleeping, climbing, and water activities, among others. See the form for a list of the activities that require this form. Complete the form, attach the permission slip and roster of who’s attending, and send it to our Activity Consultant for approval. Note: When you fill in the form, be sure to list the trained adults – we can’t approve it without this information!
A permission form needs to be signed by the parent of each girl participating in any event that’s outside of the regular meeting place and time. This includes troop field trips, service unit events, and council events.
A copy of the permission form (no parent signatures, just the one with the event data) also needs to go to the Activity Consultant. Even if an activity approval form is not required, it is still important for the troop to submit the permission form so ACs can track progression.
You are covered by Girl Scout insurance, paid for by your yearly dues, when you are at your meeting site and when you are away from your meeting site and have sent a permission slip out to your parents and the activity consultant. Some events need extra insurance like trips and events that might have unregistered girls or parents attending. Usually your activity consultant will remind you about that but you can look it up on the council website on the insurance page. Here you’ll find a link to the forms that help you order the insurance online at a low daily price from Mutual of Omaha, the girl scout insurance company.
Permission to Give Medications
This form is handy to have parents fill out at the beginning of the year. It allows you to use sunscreen on one of the girls and to give out common over the counter medicines that might be in your first aid kit. I always take it on field trips, overnights and trips.
Here’s a form that you should have in your first aid kit! If you ever have an accident during a troop or service unit event that you’re running that might involve a visit to a doctor or dentist or emergency room you should fill out this form. Also if property gets damaged when you’re on Girl Scout property or a vendor’s property that needs to be repaired. I make sure I have one at every event and camp trip I run as well as for regular troop activities. It goes back to Sandy Sultz and helps the girl’s parents get reimbursed for billable medical expenses related to the accident and helps us fix things that are broken.
Anyone driving Girl Scouts on a field trip is required to become a registered member. This risk management step has been put in place to ensure all drivers are aware of the policies and procedures of Girl Scouts, can adhere to the Girl Scout Promise and Law, and are covered under basic insurance in case an accident were to occur when they were participating in a Girl Scout event. They must have car insurance, as their car insurance is their primary liability in case of an accident.
Each driver should complete the Transporting Girl Scouts form. The leader of the activity keeps these on-hand in case of emergency.
Because of where we live, we’re in the water a lot! Here’s some information about how to do water activities within Girl Scouts guidelines: