The differences between human beings.
Psychological, physical, and social differences that occur among any and all individuals; including but not limited to race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, age, gender, sexual orientation, mental and physical ability, and learning styles.
Diversity asks “Who is in the room? What perspectives are missing?”
Ensuring everyone gets what they need.
The guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.
Equity asks “Have we removed barriers that have prevented people from feeling they belong in the space? Does everyone have what they need to fully participate?”
We welcome, support and honor all the parts of you.
The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate and bring their full, authentic selves to work. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in the words/actions/ thoughts of all people.
Inclusion asks “Is this environment safe for everyone to feel they belong? Has everyone been heard and listened to?”
We belong to ourselves. We belong to each other.
True belonging is the practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone. It’s being part of something bigger but also having the courage to stand alone and to belong to yourself above all else.
Belonging asks “Does everyone feel accepted even when we do not always agree? Can everyone share their differences openly, without judgment or defensiveness, while focusing on our connections?”
Alongside Girl Scouts USA and Councils across the country, GSNorcal is reshaping our policies + practices to align with antiracist values. All our staff and volunteers receive DEIB training through the following resources created by GSNorCal:
In 2016, Girl Scouts of Northern California began our journey to work towards becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization where girls, their families, and all Girl Scouts feel they belong. Research conducted by third-party consultants identified that Girl Scouts of Northern California was not serving girls in low-income communities equitably. In this process of assessing where we were falling short in our outreach, opportunities, and support for all girls, we committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) as part of our organization’s core values.
Starting in 2018, we received the generous support of the Packard Foundation to participate in the “Equity Action Network,” an 18 month-long learning cohort of 10 nonprofit organizations seeking to advance racial equity through their work, facilitated by PolicyLink. In 2019, Girl Scouts of Northern California made it mandatory for staff and board members to participate in DEIB trainings, led by our consultants at Hella Social Impact . In 2020, our Board adopted and approved Girl Scouts of Northern California’s Culture Code for Equity & Belonging and our Volunteer Policy for Building an Equitable Community. In 2021, a volunteer Courage Cohort was launched to test and develop a pilot DEIB training for a small group of Girl Scouts volunteers. This cohort of volunteers trained with our equity consultants for 8 months, learning together and forming a think tank to develop further training that all volunteers could access. As a result, we launched the Culture Code Lab for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in 2023. This interactive on-line course is a chance for every GSNorcal to deepen their understanding of systems of oppression in order to help build the antiracist future our Scouts deserve.
We are committed to the life-long learning journey to be antiracist, and to nurture belonging for BIPOC (Black People, Indigenous People and People of Color), LGBTQIA+ identified, gender diverse, disabled, and/or neurodiverse girls, volunteers, and families.
Learn more about what our GSNorCal members say about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in Girl Scouting.
Girl Scouts of Northern California’s Volunteer Policy for Building Equitable Community states that "our Girl Scout Program is for any girl-identified youth, including cisgender girls and transgender girls. Each child and family is in charge of how they identify and their gender identity may change over time. For example, if a girl who has previously been a Girl Scout begins to identify as male gendered, gender non-conforming, gender creative or non-binary, they will continue to be welcomed at Girl Scouts...A person's gender identity (how they express and identify) and sexual orientation (who they love) are two different things and are never up for debate. This means we never force anyone to disclose or discuss these parts of their identity."
GSNorCal is proactively working towards understanding and educating ourselves on the inclusion of gender-expansive and non-binary scouts, including individuals who are transfeminine (those who present as "feminine" and do not necessarily identify as female or girl). Currently, any young person interested in becoming a new member who identifies as girl (regardless of what gender they were assigned to at birth), is welcome to participate in Girl Scouts.
Because each child and family is in charge of how they identify and their gender identity may change over time:
Please view Human Rights Campaign's Glossary of Terms as reference for gender identity and sexual orientation terms and definitions
We celebrate, welcome and affirm people living with disabilities and/or neurodivergence (such as people with learning differences, autism, or mental health factors). We strive to make our programs accessible for kids and families with disabilities and/or neurodivergence. We work with troop leaders to identify accommodations that can be made in order to meet the needs of every girl, focusing on their strengths, gifts and assets. Troop leaders must be thoughtful to meet each child’s needs without excluding or stigmatizing anyone for their difference.
In the rare occasion that a troop leader is not able to meet the needs of a Girl Scout in their troop, they should contact their Service Unit Leader (LSM) for further guidance, and the LSM may reach out to GSNorCal staff for support. A support plan may be coordinated to include added parent/caregiver support, or structural changes to group activities. Every possible effort should be made to keep each Girl Scout who wants to participate in the group. We must guard against the hurt and stigmatization of not being included.
In the event that a Girl Scout’s needs are unable to be met by both the troop and the Service Unit, the Girl Scout’s parent or caregiver should reach out to a GSNorCal staff member. GSNorCal staff will work with the Girl Scout and family to find an alternative troop, or they may choose to continue to participate in Girl Scouts as an Independently Registered Girl (IRG), also known as a “Juliette”.
Please see Stanford University’s Disability Language Guide.
Please see Buzzfeed’s guidance on 8 Ways To Be An Ally To The Disability Community.
Please see the CDC’s guidance on how to Become a Disability A.L.L.Y. in Your Community and Promote Inclusion for All.
Yes! Girl Scouts of Northern California welcomes and celebrates young people and adults who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Agender, Two-Spirited, and more (LGBTQIA+).
A person’s gender identity (how they express and identify) and sexual orientation (who they love) are two different things and are never up for debate. This means we never force anyone to disclose or discuss these parts of their identity. At the same time, we make room for children, adults and families to have the choice and opportunity to share their full selves with pride. LGBTQIA+ identified youth in our programs are to receive equal access and opportunity to participate in every way without being stigmatized or othered.
In the event that a Girl Scout does not feel included in their troop, the Girl Scout’s parent or caregiver should reach out to a GSNorCal staff member. GSNorCal staff will work with the Girl Scout and family to find a troop that welcomes and celebrates their identity, or they may choose to continue to participate in Girl Scouts as an Independently Registered Girl (IRG), also known as a “Juliette”.
Please see PFLAG’s online webinars and training tools for how to Start Your Ally Journey for LGBTQIA+ community members and loved ones.
Please see Human Rights Campaign’s Direct Online and Phone Support Services for LGBTQ Youth.
Yes! Girl Scouts of Northern California is proactively working towards understanding and educating ourselves on how to be good allies for our trans-identified Girl Scouts. We welcome transgender youth who are active Girl Scouts to participate in all program activities, including overnight camps/trips. Please consider the following when planning an inclusive environment for transgender Girl Scouts:
Physical and emotional safety is a top priority for overnight camps/trips, and we are committed to never using safety as a reason to harm, police, or “out” a transgender person’s identity.
For sleeping arrangements at Girl Scouts camp, transgender campers should sleep in the same cabin as their identified gender. If they are willing and open to discuss, it is okay to ask if they have specific privacy needs (use of restrooms, changing room, etc.). Be willing to accommodate requests if possible, and be honest if accommodations are not possible.
If the transgender camper is willing and open about their identity, it is okay to ask them questions about how the staff/troop can be more inclusive while they are participating at camp or the overnight trip.
It is never okay to ask invasive or personal questions about any camper or volunteer’s gender identity (what their name was at birth unless it is absolutely necessary for legal paperwork, what gender they were assigned to at birth, about their transition or surgeries, or about their personal relationships).
Always refer to the young person by their chosen, preferred name. This is respectful in any situation, regardless of how the young person identifies.
Girl Scouts of Northern California’s council-run resident camps also adhere to GSNorCal’s Policy for Building Equitable Community for All, and our Camp team have created their very own Camp Culture Code to ensure our diverse staff and campers are entering an environment of inclusivity and support. All members of the camp community are part of GSNorCal’s commitment to inclusive and engaging experiences for Girl Scouts and their adult allies. You can read more about the Camp Culture Code and how GSNorCal camps support environments of belonging on Camp Rocks.
Please see ACA (American Camp Association)’s guidance on Summer Camp for All: Serving the Needs of Trans Campers.
Please see Transequality.org’s guidance on Transgender People in Your Life: A Guide to Being a Good Ally.
Girl Scouts Northern California is committed to helping all girls and volunteers participate in Girl Scouting. We offer financial assistance to new and existing members. Financial aid can help cover the cost of membership, uniforms, and Girl Scout events.
Learn more about Financial aid and how to apply.