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Frequently Asked Questions

We get it, you want to have all the facts and to make sure that Girl Scouts is right for your family. Explore our frequently asked questions below, fill out the form below to get connected to local staff in your area, or call us at 800-447-4475 ext. 3093⁠—we're here to help! 

Becoming a Member

How do I join Girl Scouts?

To start the join process, register online!

When can my girl join? What's the best time to join?

Girls in grades K–12 can join as Girl Scouts at any time. Learn more about what girls do at each level of our program grade levels.

You can join Girl Scouts at any time! If you plan to participate in Girl Scouts as part of a volunteer-led troop, you can check the troop’s description in the Troop Catalog before you join (some troops do not meet during the summer). Girls also participate throughout the year by attending events and going to summer camp .

When and how do I renew my membership?

Each Girl Scout program year runs from October 1 through September 30 and memberships are renewed annually. Membership expires September 30 and members are encouraged to renew their membership during Early Bird season in the spring—and get in on exciting perks like a patch and rocker.

To renew your membership, log in to your member community (MyGS) and select "renew” next to the roles you would like to continue for the next membership year.

What is a Lifetime Membership and how do I get one?

Stay connected and support the largest leadership development organization for girls in the world! Join as a lifetime member today, and make an enduring pledge to believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™.

Lifetime membership is available to any individual who accepts the principles and beliefs of the Girl Scout Movement, pays the one-time lifetime membership fee, and is 18 years of age or older.

Learn more and join as a Lifetime Member.

What is the Troop Catalog?

The Troop Catalog is similar to an online shopping catalog. The Troop Catalog shows you which Girl Scout troops have openings for girls and for volunteers.

For girls, you'll find troop openings based on your girl's grade level and the zip code you enter. If you have a specific troop in mind but are not seeing it within the catalog, you can select “Unsure” which will allow you to type the troop number or other identifying information into a text box. 

Be sure to review the troop description to decide if the troop is a good fit for you and your girl, including the day/time/location of troop meetings. Also note that troops listed as “serving” a specific school may be limited to girls from that school. 

For adults, you'll find volunteer opportunities near you. You'll also be able to register as a volunteer with your girl's troop, if applicable.

What is a Welcome Troop?

Welcome Troops are starter troops that serve a specific community and are a great way to get started with Girl Scouts!

These troops are run by experienced volunteers who work to help a group of new members form a troop in their community during a series of six introductory meetings for parents/caregivers and girls.


Cost and Financial Aid

What does it cost to be a Girl Scout member?

Membership Cost 
(valid October 1, 2022–September 30, 2023)
Girl Membership: $40
Adult Membership: $25

For those joining between April 1 and July 31, we offer an Extended Year membership. It costs $10 more for a girl and adult but the membership covers the rest of this membership year plus the next.

Nationally, Girl Scout Daisy (grades K–1) and Brownie (grades 2–3) parents report spending an average of $130 per year. There is financial aid available, and many troops cover costs with their earnings from the Fall Product and Girl Scout Cookie Programs.

Do I qualify for financial aid? How do I apply?

Girl Scouts is open to all girls and adults, regardless of their income. We make funds available to support girls with their membership dues and uniforms. We also offer financial aid for adult membership dues and background checks. No income verification required.

Learn more about how to request financial aid!


About the Girl Scout Program

What will my girl learn? What is the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE)?

Girl Scouts is the best girl leadership program in the world. Our program centers on what we call the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, or GSLE—a collection of engaging, challenging, and fun activities like earning badges, going on awesome trips, selling cookies, exploring science, getting outdoors, and doing community service projects.

At Girl Scouts, she’ll get to lead her own adventure and team up with other girls in an all-girl environment to choose the exciting, hands-on activities that interest her most. Along the way, she’ll gain important skills in four areas that form the foundation of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience:

The Result? A Lifetime of Leadership! In fact, being a Girl Scout helps girls thrive in five key ways. As a Girl Scout, she:

  • Develops a strong sense of self
  • Displays positive values
  • Seeks challenges and learns from setbacks
  • Forms and maintains healthy relationships
  • Learns to identify and solve problems in her community
Is my girl safe in Girl Scouts?

At Girls Scouts, girl safety is our top priority. Here are just a few of the ways we ensure girls stay safe:

Volunteer Background Checks

All new volunteers are required to complete a background check and current volunteers are required to complete a background check every three years. Learn more about background checks, and the requirements needed for volunteers to pass checks.

Safety Activity Checkpoints

We know that activities are more fun when everyone feels safe! To ensure this, volunteers are trained to follow our Safety Activity Checkpoints while planning and participating in troop activities.

Insurance

All registered Girl Scouts receive basic accident insurance coverage for Girl Scout activities through national membership dues. This insurance covers up to $100 in medical expenses regardless of other coverage. Additional expenses are only covered if personal family insurance does not cover them.

Race, Gender, Abilities, and Spirituality—is Girl Scouts inclusive?

Diversity and inclusion have been core values of Girl Scouts since its founding in 1912. We provide a safe and welcoming space for girls of all abilitiesall races and ethnicities, from all religious backgrounds and spiritual beliefs—all in a girl-only environment with no economic barriers. 

GSNorCal and Girl Scouts of the USA value diversity in all its forms and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, alienage or national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, age, disability, gender, marital status, familial status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identification, genetic information, public assistance, local human rights commission activity, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws.

What is the Girl Scout Promise, Law and Take Action Pledge?
  • The Girl Scout Promise and Law are long standing traditions of the Girl Scout movement, and aligns with our organization’s principles and values. Although we ask that girls and adult volunteers accept the Promise and Law when becoming a member, reciting the Girl Scout Promise and Law at troop meetings and troop activities are not a requirement of Girl Scouts. Troops who choose to recite the Girl Scout Promise and Law regularly are welcome to omit or substitute their own wording for “God.” We support both secular and nonsecular language so that girls feel more welcome at Girl Scouts. Example alternatives are:

 
“...To serve my country.”

“...To serve my community and my country.” 

“...To serve my faith and my country.”

“...To serve my world and my country.” 

“...To serve mother earth and my country.”

 

Girls and troops who prefer not to recite the Girl Scout Promise and Law, may choose to recite our Take Action Pledge. The Girl Scout Take Action Pledge is based on our organization’s mission statement. Girls and troops are also welcome to recite the Take Action Pledge in addition to the Promise and Law:

 

On my honor, I will do my best to:

Live with courage, confidence and character  

and make the world a better place.


About Troops

When/how often do troops typically meet?

The time commitment and meeting schedule for Girl Scouts can vary depending on the troop volunteers and activities girls are interested in doing. Each Girl Scout troop sets their own meeting schedule and may have meetings once per week, bi-weekly, or a mix of meetings and field trips throughout the year.

Most troops meet once a month throughout the school year, and some choose to go camping or do activities over the summer.

Who leads the troop?

Trained Volunteers

Most troops are led by a group of parents of girls in the troop (like you!). Girl Scout troop leaders are volunteers who give their time so girls can have a quality experience in Girl Scouts. Without the many wonderful volunteers, the program would not be available to girls. You can be assured that qualified, responsible people are leading your girl’s troop!

Join Your Girl's Troop as a Volunteer

When you register your girl for Girl Scouts, don't forget to join her troop as a volunteer Troop Helper, or Troop Leader Assistant!

It’s simple to become a volunteer! During the registration process, you’ll be able to search by zip code and select your volunteer opportunity. Then you’ll need to complete a background check and any appropriate training for your volunteer position. You can start this process at the same time you register your girl!

Start Your Own Troop

Our girls rely on dedicated volunteers, like you, to lead our troops! Learn more about How to Start a Troop.

 


Parents, Guardians, and Volunteers

What is expected of me as a parent/guardian of a Girl Scout?

Take an Active Role

As a Girl Scout parent, you’ll want to take an active role in your daughter’s Girl Scout experience. You can help with refreshments or transportation or assist with troop meetings. Ask your girl’s troop leaders how you can best assist the troop.

Support Activities

Along with troop activities, your active role can include supporting product programs like the Fall Product Program and the Cookie Program. Support your girl, her troop, and the council by learning about the sale and following all guidelines and procedures.

Respect the Troop Leaders’ Time

Girl Scouts would not be what it is if it weren’t for our dedicated volunteers. Troop leaders are not responsible for girls beyond the time of the actual Girl Scout activity. Please respect the troop leader’s time by having a responsible person drop off your girl at the appropriate time and pick her up immediately after the activity.

Should I become a volunteer? What skills/time are required?

There are many ways to volunteer for Girl Scouts—from occasional troop volunteers (who assist leaders), to service unit volunteers, to troop leaders—you’re sure to find a role that suits your interests, skills, and schedule. Each volunteer role has unique opportunities!

It’s easy to become a volunteer! During the registration process, you’ll be able to search by zip code and select your volunteer opportunity. Then you’ll need to complete a background check and any appropriate training for your volunteer position. You can start this process at the same time you register your girl!


Advocacy Alliances

Is Girl Scouts NorCal a Member of Alliance for Girls?

Yes! Girl Scouts of Northern California became an active member of the Alliance for Girls in 2019, the largest regional alliance of girl-serving organizations and leaders in the country. Alliance for Girls’ mission is to mobilize girls’ champions to address barriers facing girls, create conditions for their success, and advance systemic change to achieve equity. 

As a member of Alliance for Girls, GSNorCal receives access to training, resources, and data on key issues affecting the lives of girls and young women both locally and nationwide. GSNorCal staff also participates in discussions facilitated by the Alliance for Girls to develop allyship with other girl-serving organizations dedicated to helping girls and young women reach their full potential in all facets of their lives. As one of the leading organizations empowering girls, GSNorCal values having a seat at the table where organizations and advocacy groups can openly share challenges, successes, and discuss topics that affect girls’ lives.

What is Wagggs (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts)?

Girls Scouts of the USA is a member organization of WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts). WAGGGS comprises 145 member organizations that promote mutual understanding and cross-cultural opportunities for girls around the world.  Girl Scouts of the USA is one of the 145 member organizations.

Each member organization creates its own programs and pursues advocacy efforts based on the needs and issues affecting girls in its individual country. GSUSA does not always take the same positions or endorse the same programs as WAGGGS. GSUSA's relationship with WAGGGS is akin to the United States' relationship with the United Nations (UN). The United States may not agree with every position the UN takes, but values having a seat at the table. 


Nurturing Diversity, Equity Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB)

When did Girl Scouts NorCal start focusing on DEIB?

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 DEIB trainings for Girl Scouts volunteers, scheduled to be released in Fall 2022. 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.  

What is Antiracism?
  • Volunteering with Girl Scouts of Northern California is a commitment to antiracism, which means to proactively work towards dismantling racist views, cultures, and systemic practices that have historically oppressed, and continue to prevent Black People, Indigenous People and People of Color (BIPOC) from participating, prospering, and reaching their full potential in our society. 
     
    The murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and countless Black lives reaffirmed that racism is not a thing of our past. The real and violent consequences of racism are felt every day, particularly by BIPOC (Black People, Indigenous People and People of Color). Systemic racism affects everyone and requires care and commitment to dismantle. If you are someone who is not open to actively doing antiracism work, our organization is not a good fit for you. We ask staff and volunteers to commit to practicing antiracism with us by following our GSNorCal Culture Code for Equity and Belonging:

 

At GSNorCal, we are part of a movement to build equity, inclusion, diversity and belonging. We work to end all forms of oppression, starting with racism. As a leader, that means I… 

 

DISCOVER myself in a racist and unjust world 

• I understand our world was built on structural racism. 

• I recognize there are intersections between racism and all forms of oppression. 

• I acknowledge that white people benefit from unearned privileges based on skin color.  

• I honor the legacy of Freedom Fighters who came before me. 

• I learn key terms to empower myself as a student of social justice. 

 

CONNECT with my heart wide-open 

• I value relationships with people who are different from me. 

• I know hurting hurts, even if I didn’t mean to do it. 

• I believe you if you tell me you've been harmed.  

• I can tolerate feeling uncomfortable while I learn. 

• I take the risk and have courageous conversations. 

 

TAKE ACTION to make the world better for all people. 

• I center and nurture the leadership of people of color. 

• I listen and take in feedback as a gift 

• I speak up about racism and all forms of oppression.  

• I work to change policies to be racially equitable. 

• I take responsibility for things I say and do.

 

Please view resources about belonging by the Othering & Belonging Institute, University of CA, Berkeley. Please view key terms on the Racial Equity Tools Glossary and their list of resources for learning.

How is Girl Scouts Norcal currently supporting youth who identify beyond the gender binary?

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:

  • Only parents/legal guardians may request to have youth names or gender markers updated. It is possible that the young person may not be “out” to their parents or legal guardians, and making changes without permission may be damaging to their family dynamics. 

  • If the young person has not yet “come out” to the other members in the troop, practice introducing yourself to your troop with your name and your pronouns (she/her, he/him, they/theirs, or other preferred pronouns). Let the troop know that sharing pronouns is an option, and not a requirement.

  • Troop leaders are encouraged to utilize the “nickname” field on MyGS so that youth can be called by their chosen, preferred name. This is respectful in any situation, regardless of how the young person identifies. It is best practice to have legal names listed in MyGS.

  • As of today, there are only 3 gender options to choose from on MyGS ("Female", "Male", and "I choose not to share"). As a Council, we are aware that these are not inclusive choices for families with gender non-conforming, gender creative or non-binary members. Due to system limitations and while we continue to work towards a more inclusive approach, we currently recommend selecting the gender on MyGS that the young person was assigned to at birth, or to select “I choose not to share” until more inclusive choices become available.

Please view Human Rights Campaign's Glossary of Terms as reference for gender identity and sexual orientation terms and definitions: https://www.hrc.org/resources/glossary-of-terms
 

How does Girl Scouts NorCal support people living with disabilities and/or neurodivergence?
  • 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.

 

Does Girl Scouts NorCal welcome LGBTQIA+ identified youth and families?
  • 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
 

Does Girl Scouts welcome trans-identified 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. 
     

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.


Nonpartisanship and Community Topics (DEIB)

Is Girl Scouts a nonpartisan organization?

Girl Scouts of Northern California is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. This means that Girl Scouts has not, and does not, endorse political candidates and is not affiliated with any political parties or groups.

 

As a girl-led organization, Girl Scouts of Northern California’s council leadership is actively discussing what it means to be a nonpolitical organization, which is defined in the Mirriam-Webster dictionary as “not influenced by or concerned with political considerations or issues." As our organization continues to evolve in order to build girls of courage, confidence, and character to make the world a better place, our girls tell us that active participation in our communities, our schools, and our government is more important now than ever. Girls want to be active participants and leaders on issues that matter to girls, including: environmental justice, racial justice and equity, gender equality, equitable healthcare, LGBTQIA+ rights, housing advocacy, disability rights, and more. Just because political parties have taken stands on these issues, does not mean these are “political issues.” In Girl Scouts, these are girls’ issues, and we are champions of girls’ rights to learn, be heard, and take action. 

 

Girl Scouts of Northern California’s priority is centering the girls’ experience and what is important to them with supportive adults’ guidance. Through Take Action Projects, Girl Scouts may choose to advocate and speak out on a particular community issue or topic. Examples may include advocating for ballot initiatives that fund education or that supports unhoused individuals, or working with their city council representatives to advocate for community safety. It is up to the Girl Scout and their parent/caregiver to identify topics they choose to take action on.

 

Girl Scouts of Northern California will not tolerate hate, racial prejudice, or oppressive and bullying behaviors towards individuals or groups of people. When a Girl Scout is ready to lead, advocate and speak out on topics that are important to them, we encourage supportive adults to review the Girl Scouts Community Values section with their Girl Scout, which is located in our Volunteer Policy for Building Equitable Community for All.

Does Girl Scouts have a partnership with Planned Parenthood?

Girl Scouts of USA and Girl Scouts of Northern California does not have a partnership with Planned Parenthood. We are aware that materials have been distributed by a group behind MyGirlScoutCouncil.com falsely stating that our organization has direct partnerships with Planned Parenthood and other reproductive rights organizations over the years. 

 

Girl Scouts of USA and Girl Scouts of Northern California does not develop or co-develop advocacy materials on reproductive health for women and girls. We are committed to help Girl Scouts develop self-confidence and decision-making skills that will support them in making their own healthy choices in all areas of their lives. We encourage parents and caregivers to have loving, trusting, and non-judgmental discussions with their children about their reproductive health, about consent, and the social impact on women and girls. 

 

Please see ETR’s Youth Curricula on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

Please see the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s article on Consent at Every Age: Strategies for educators on how to talk to your students about respecting one another’s boundaries – from preschool to high school.

Are the Radical Monarchs affiliated with Girl Scouts?

Girl Scouts of USA and Girl Scouts of Northern California are not affiliated with The Radical Monarchs (formerly The Radical Brownies), who are fiscally sponsored by Community Initiatives, and headquartered in Oakland, CA.  Girl Scouts of USA partnered with The Radical Monarchs to update their name to eliminate any confusion on the use of “Brownies” shortly after their founding.

 

Girl Scouts of Northern California is in support of all girl-led and girl-serving organizations, such as The Radical Monarchs, who empower girls to develop their social consciousness, nurtures diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, and leads positive change in our society. 

 

Girl Scouts of Northern California respects and honors the work of The Radical Monarchs. We are not competing organizations. We believe that there is ample room to support girls to make the world a better place for all.

 

Is Girl Scouts of the USA and Boy Scouts of America the same organization?

Girl Scouts of the USA and Boy Scouts of America were founded and incorporated separately, and have existed as two completely separate and distinct organizations for more than a century. This has not changed.  Girl Scouts is proud of its more than 100 years of dedicated and expert service to girls in an environment that is girl-centric, supportive of girls’ positive development, and—above all—safe. We cannot comment or speculate on the actions of another organization.

Girl Scouts of the USA took legal action to protect the Girl Scout mission and brand and prevent confusion about the difference between Girl Scouts’ and Boy Scouts’ programs for girls.  Girl Scouts will vigorously and continuously fight for girls and will defend Girl Scouts against unethical marketing tactics by Boy Scouts that are intended to confuse and mislead families. We have no comment on the litigation or any actions pertaining to the Boy Scouts of America.

Is Girl Scouts National Headquarters located in Trump Tower?

Girl Scout of the USA’s National Headquarters is not located at 40 Wall Street, nor in any property owned by the Trump Organization.  Girl Scouts of Greater New York, one of 111 Girl Scout councils throughout the country, occupies a space at 40 Wall Street in New York, NY.  Girl Scouts of Greater New York and Girl Scouts of Northern California operate within a federated model and are independent non-profit organizations. Under this model, each of our 111 Girl Scout councils have their own CEO and Board of Directors who oversees each council.


Pandemic & Natural Disaster Recovery

What is Girl Scouts NorCal's Guidelines during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Our goal as Girl Scouts is to model leadership by prioritizing the health and safety of our members and communities, keeping kids in school, and reducing community spread of COVID-19, an extremely contagious virus that spreads easily in the community.

 

Girl Scouts of Northern California follows public health guidance and requirements regarding vaccination, masking, testing, distancing, and quarantining, referred to as “COVID Mitigation Layers”. We support troop leaders, event directors, and camp directors to use their judgment to establish even greater protection than GSNorCal’s requirements based on planned activities or current local conditions.

Staff members are required to follow Cal OSHA requirements, as well as state and county guidelines. This means they may be masking at times when it may seem unnecessary to do so, however, please understand these guidelines may vary for them.

 

It is important to note that if individuals are feeling ill, they should stay away from in-person meetings or gatherings. Please review additional details and Girl Scouts of Northern California’s current COVID-19 Guidelines at norcal.gs/COVID-19 .

Why did Girl Scouts NorCal reduce their staff during the pandemic?

Girl Scouts of Northern California first went in to Shelter-in-Place due to COVID-19 on March 17, 2020 as required by the health orders that were placed in each of our Counties and underwent two staffing reductions and restructures between June 2020 – July 2021. We have had to make many difficult strategic decisions since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which negatively impacted our membership and significantly reduced almost all of Girl Scouts of Northern California’s revenue streams (in-person events and gatherings, product program, retail shops, program participation, property rentals, and membership dues). 

 

In order for GSNorCal to recover from our declined revenue, it was necessary to work towards streamlining business processes and minimize overhead, while maintaining a strong presence in the communities we serve. While the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic led us to experience a 22% reduction in our overall staff, and significant pay reductions for our CEO and executive leadership, we believe these changes were necessary for our long-term recovery and to reallocate resources to our highest priority – centering the girls and their Girl Scout experience.

 

GSNorCal will continue to operate on a deficit budget with plans in place to return to a sustainable and balanced budget by the end of fiscal year 2024 (September 30, 2024). 

Will Camp Skylark Ranch reopen after the CZU Lightening complex fire?

In August 2020, the CZU Lightening Complex Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains caused major damage to Camp Skylark Ranch. Most of the camper units and program areas were destroyed or heavily damaged, and many acres of the forest burned at high levels of severity.  Girl Scouts of Northern California has been working with foresters and experts in the recovery of Camp Skylark Ranch and the surrounding forest. Our Cookie Program and generous donations from our community will provide crucial support for the repairs and recovery of Camp Skylark Ranch. We currently do not have a timeline of when Camp Skylark Ranch will be reopened and is dependent upon a variety of criteria, including forest recovery, costs, and safety.

Girl Scouts of Northern California is committed to providing positive outdoor and camp experiences for girls, improving the condition of our camp properties, investing in local program centers, and developing both staff-led and volunteer-led programs that reach girls in all areas of our council. Cookie Program sales, camp registrations, property reservations, and donor fundraising campaigns support the operation and maintenance of our camp properties, and we continue to work diligently to find practical and financially realistic solutions to support and maintain our camps.


Girl Scout Branded Products

What is the Girl Scout Cookie Program?

When you purchase Girl Scout Cookies, you're supporting girls’ ability to learn, grow, and thrive through adventure. Running their very own Girl Scout Cookie business makes it all possible, from camping trips that teach them how to be resourceful, to STEM projects that inspire them to change the world, and epic treks that remind them they’re capable of anything. Girls gain experience and skills running their very own cookie business, working with others—and building a lifetime of confidence as she learns the five skills essential to leadership, success, and life:

  1. Goal setting

  2. Decision making

  3. Money management 

  4. People skills

  5. Business ethics

 
For more than 100 years, Girl Scouts and their enthusiastic supporters have helped ensure the success of the iconic annual cookie sale—and they’ve had fun, developed valuable life skills, and made their communities a better place every step of the way.

GSNorCal’s cookie sale season typically runs every spring. Exact dates and additional information are announced on www.ilovecookies.org. Please view our latest Cookie Sale FAQs for more information.

Questions about the Girl Scout Cookie Program Doordash Partnership 

Girl Scouts of Northern California (GSNorCal) understands the concerns and questions that many of our families, supporters, cookie customers, and broader community may have about the recent article and news broadcast that has been circulating in the last week. The caregiver and the Girl Scout in the article and news broadcast share their disappointment with this year’s cookie supply chain challenges, the competitiveness of the program, and a debate over the fairness of Girl Scouts of USA’s decision to limit this year’s participation in the DoorDash partnership to Girl Scout youth in fourth grade and above.

We appreciate those who have reached out to us directly for clarification, and would like to share facts about the Girl Scout Cookie Program and the DoorDash partnership:

· Currently, 14,500+ Girl Scout youth plus their caregivers are participating in the 2022 Cookie Program with the support of 7,400+ adult volunteers. 96% of the Girl Scout youth participating have created an online Digital Cookie Business to support reaching their goals despite the supply chain challenges for in-hand cookies.

· Participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program helps Girl Scout youth learn skills they need to become successful adults, contribute to their communities, and develop work and life skills long before they become adults. Girl Scouts who participate in the Cookie Program experience real-world opportunities to manage money, become ethical and reliable entrepreneurs, set goals, meet deadlines, work well with others, and understand customers.

· Girl Scout youth and their troops who choose to participate in the Cookie Program are asked, before the cookie season begins, to submit an order for the volume of cookie packages that they feel they can sell. Inventory planning and management to achieve goals is one of the many skills that Girl Scout youth learn through the Cookie Program. GSNorCal uses the total estimate to purchase the cookies directly from our baker before cookies are distributed.

· Girl Scout youth and their families are not required to purchase cookies upfront from GSNorCal in order to participate in the Cookie Program. GSNorCal distributes the cookies with the support of our volunteers and older Girl Scouts, and provides deadlines to all participants of when money from troops will be due. Deadlines are communicated before the season begins and designed to give troops ample time to sell cookies before any payment is due.

· This year’s Cookie Program has been met with supply chain challenges through our baker, and not all varieties have been as readily available as they have been in the past.

· Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) charters Girl Scout councils, such as GSNorCal, and develops national programs that benefit Girl Scout youth. This season is the first season that GSUSA has partnered with DoorDash as part of the Cookie Program’s age-progressive development for Girl Scout youth to expand their understanding of fast-paced logistics, scaling their business to meet customer demand, and ecommerce business ethics.

· The Girl Scout youth who choose to participate in the DoorDash program use their own cookie inventory. Similar to restaurants who must provide their own products and menu items, customers may purchase cookies through their DoorDash app if a troop is currently running a Girl Scout Cookie Store nearby that features their menu of available cookie varieties. DoorDash did not receive separate inventory in order to support local troops and GSNorCal did not invest in separate inventory to support DoorDash program participants.

· The DoorDash Girl Scout Cookie stores are operated by local GSNorCal troops with regional volunteer administration support, just as a typical cookie booth site is coordinated.

· DoorDash delivery fees and radius vary for customers based on the closest DoorDash Girl Scout store open at the time of the scheduled delivery.

As a girl-led organization, GSNorCal’s priority is centering the girls’ experience and what is important to them with supportive adults’ guidance. As stated in our Volunteer Policy for Building Equitable Community for All, we are committed to providing diverse, equitable and inclusive spaces where girls, volunteers and staff know they belong. We are committed to actively listening to our Girl Scout youth, volunteers, parents and caregivers and are willing to lean in to courageous conversations. We strive to work at the speed of trust in order to build and strengthen our relationships, and we take responsibility for what we say and do in order to minimize harm.

We will be reaching out to the caregiver and Girl Scout who provided their statements in the news to actively listen to their frustrations and concerns in this year’s Cookie Program. GSNorCal takes in feedback as a gift and we will solicit input from everyone (including the girls and volunteers who had the opportunity to participate in this year’s DoorDash program), when the season has ended after March 27.

Who makes decisions about Girl Scout licensed products?

Our national office, Girl Scouts of the USA, selects national partnership and licensing opportunities to support Girl Scouts. For any questions regarding GSUSA’s national partnerships and licensing, please contact  Girl Scouts of the USA.

How do I report unauthorized sales or use of the Girl Scouts of USA or Girl Scouts NorCal brand?

Through the years, there have been businesses who have used our trademark or name without permission (for example: marijuana varieties named after Girl Scouts or Girl Scout Cookies; or unauthorized sellers may try to sell Girl Scout branded items on EBay, etc.). If you have concerns about businesses or individuals who may be using the Girl Scouts or Girl Scouts of Northern California brand without permission, please reach out to our Marketing and Communications Department at social@gsnorcal.org, and we’ll be sure to refer the matter to our national organization.


Have questions or want info specific to your area?

Across Northern California from Gilroy to the Oregon border, we are starting troops, hosting free events to introduce new families to Girl Scouts, and are here to help you and your girl learn more about the Girl Scout experience. Complete the form below to connect with our local staff in your area, email us at info@gsnorcal.org, or call us at 800-447-4475, ext. 3093. We're here to help!

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