2014-2015 Thank you for your interest in volunteering with Girl Scouts. Following is an overview of the steps to starting a troop.
History and Structure
Juliette Gordon Low founded girl Scouts in 1912. Today it is the world’s preeminent organization dedicated solely to girls, where, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build character and skills for success in the real world. The Decatur Service Unit is under the umbrella of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Council (GSGATL). The Council serves approximately 41,000 girls and consists of 34 counties divided into 5 regions. Within each region are groupings called service units. Decatur Service Unit serves volunteers within the City of Decatur and Avondale Estates.
Who Can Join Girl Scouts
Any girl from kindergarten through 12th grade can join Girl Scouts. Adults may join as volunteers in a variety of positions. All members share the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Each member agrees to pay the annual national membership dues of $15. Girls are grouped by these grade levels:
It is recommended that all troops have at least one parent for each scout registered as a volunteer (Volunteer Application) with an approved background check. The VA/BC is accessed at the Council website www.gsgatl.org/for-volunteers/volunteer/Pages/Volunteer-Application.aspx. Two adults will serve in the troop leader and co-leader positions and the others will be adult volunteers with a responsibility assigned within the troop (i.e., cookie chair, treasurer, first aider, camping parent, etc.)
National Registration – Girl Scouts of the USA
All adult and girl members must complete the National Registration process. This is done by accessing the eBiz registration module from the GSGATL website, www.gsgatl.org, establishing an account/profile and paying the $15 annual membership fee with a debit/credit card. It is recommended that adults complete National Registration after their VA/BC is approved. *Please see the Troop Organizer for specifics on registering girls and receiving a Troop Number. Contact TOdecatur@gmail.com.
Once there is a leader (01) and co-leader (02) who have their VA/BC approved and the National Registration completed, a new troop number can be requested by the Troop Organizer. Send an email with the leader and co-leader names, addresses, phone numbers and emails to TOdecatur@gmail.com.
Contacting Families/Enrolling Girls
The service unit maintains a list of girls interested in joining a troop. Families may be contacted after the VA/BC and National Registration process is completed by the leader/co-leaders. Please contact the Troop Organizer at TOdecatur@gmail.com if you have additional girls interested in joining.
Troop Meeting Locations
Most troops meet twice a month at a time that is mutually convenient for the adult volunteers and girls. Meetings may be held at a specific home (the meeting cannot change locations without a permission slip for each time the location changes) or if available a school, church or other public area. Possibilities within Decatur include: The Oakhurst Garden, Decatur Presbyterian Church, Decatur First United Methodist Church, Saint Thomas More, the Decatur Recreation Center, Columbia Presbyterian Church. Most City of Decatur Schools will NOT allow meetings on property, however, many of the private schools will depending on the time of day. Check with your administration for details.
The Council offers a full description of each position’s responsibilities and training available under the For Volunteers tab. Many classes can be taken on-line and most are free of cost.
Adults working with children are required by the State of Georgia to have Mandated Reporter training which is available at www.prosolutionstraining.com. Once completed, please email a copy of your certificate to email@example.com so that it is added to your record.
Once a troop has $100, a troop number, 01 and 02 leaders and a treasurer, they should open a checking account (personal and troop funds should not be comingled). Fidelity Bank offers free checking to non-profits and will provide you with a debit card as well. Please be sure that the treasurer has completed Money Management training online. Two signatures will be needed on the account.
Each troop is financially self-sufficient and determines its own financial needs and contributions. All dues and monies earned by the troop belong to the troop and not the individual girls. All checks received by the troop are to be made payable to the Girl Scout troop, not GSGATL. Twice a year the treasurer should prepare a Troop Finance Report (see forms on DecaturGirlScouts.org website) to share with the girls and parents. A Troop Finance Report and copy of the latest bank statement is due to the Service Unit Finance Chair by June 15th each year. More information about troop finance is available in the Money Management Course and the Volunteer Essentials manual.
Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta will provide two money-earning opportunities for troops – the Treats & Keeps Sale Activity (Sept-Dec) and the Girl Scout Cookie Sale (Jan-Mar). Both activities are designed to give girls valuable learning experiences, allow troops to earn funds and financially support our local Girl Scout Council. If a troop wishes to have additional fund-raisers they must first participate in these two council sponsored activities and have participated in the Annual Fund. Please consult the Volunteer Essentials for acceptable fund raising activities. In most cases, the troop will be asked to submit a Money Earning Application (available under forms at DecaturGirlScouts.org) to the SU Finance Chair.
The Annual Fund should be considered part of the joining fee for girls. The recommended breakdown is:
$15 National Registration Fee
$50 GSGATL Annual Fund (which is tax deductable) and supports programming
Girls are required to wear the appropriate girl level tunic/sash/vest over a white shirt with khaki shorts/pants/skort when they represent the Girl Scout Movement. Wearing the uniform gives the girls a sense of identity and a place to display their awards, badges and event patches. These items may be purchased in the Badge & Sash stores or online at the council website. See the council website for store locations and hours. (www.gsgatl.org)
Please visit our Service Unit website at DecaturGirlScouts.org for additional information. If you have questions regarding the Service Unit, please send them to SUDdecatur@gmail.com. If you have questions regarding forming a new troop, please send them to TOdecatur@gmail.com.
Our Service Unit Meetings
The service unit holds monthly meetings with troop volunteers to share information, plan activities, provide feedback and generally support troops in any way possible. All adult volunteers are invited to participate, particularly troop leaders and co-leaders. The service unit team also plans and hosts special events and training for adult volunteers and troops throughout the year. Meetings are held: