What Do Girl Scouts Do?
The Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a model which engages girls in discovering themselves, connecting with others, and taking action to make the world a better place. For each of these three “keys,” there are 5 leadership outcomes that have been nationally developed for girls. In Girl Scouting, it’s not just “what girls do” (activities), but “how” (processes) that when used together, impact girls. Girl Led, Cooperative Learning, and Learning by Doing ensures the quality and promotes the fun and friendship so integral to Girl Scouting. For an overview, you can access an introductory web video with information on the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and other materials to download at http://girlscouts.org/gsle/ . At the end of this FAQ’s resource, you will also find a brief summary of the keys, outcomes and processes of the model.
In short, based on expert research and developed through years of experience, the Girl Scout program provides engaging and worthwhile activities that respond to the needs of today’s girls, with flexibility that respects their busy lives—and yours! Girl Scouts do almost anything girls like to do!
How does Girl Scouts work?
WAGGGS stands for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and has 136 member countries including the United States. Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. oversees Girl Scouting across the country by dividing it into various jurisdictions called councils. Each Girl Scout Council is responsible for providing the Girl Scout program within its jurisdiction. Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York (GSNENY) is one of approximately 120 councils. Recently, nationwide, Girl Scouts councils underwent a realignment process and Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York was one of the ten “early adopters” councils establishing best practices for other councils who will be realigning within the next 3-5 years.
Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York was created from the union of four Girl Scout Councils (Hudson Valley, Mohawk Pathways, Adirondack and North Country) and now serves over 12,000 girls in Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Greene, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Montgomery, Hamilton, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington Counties and a portion of St. Lawrence County. The council employs a staff located at Council Service Centers in Albany, Plattsburgh, and Queensbury to provide support, programs and training to members.
The council is divided into Service Units. Each Service Unit is managed by a group of volunteers called a Service Team. The Service Team is headed by a volunteer Service Unit Manager who oversees the troops in that Service Unit. Service Units are most often divided by schools. The Service Team provides support, structure and program to volunteers working directly with girls in their area.
Will my daughter work on try-its/badges like I did as a girl?
A Girl Scout journey represents a new way that girls can experience Girl Scouting. It is a fun and challenging experience spread over a series of sessions (usually 6-8 but with the potential to last far longer). The journey, which follows a designated theme, has a clear starting point (an invitation to explore and take action) and a definite ending point (opportunities to enjoy closure through reflections, rewards, and celebration). Along the way, girls are following a purposeful trail that allows them to have fun, get wiser, and experience all the joys of being a traveler (meeting new people, exploring new tastes and cultures, gathering keepsakes, making memories) while being able to carry this all in one “suitcase”–their journey book!
No matter how much time girls spend on a journey, the whole is always greater than any single part. So when a Girl Scout journey comes to a close, girls and their adult guides truly feel a sense of accomplishment.
Does my Girl Scout need books?
Girl Scouts recommends having books because they were designed to enhance the experience—a lot of the information needed to participate fully is included in the books.
Where can I get the books? How much do they cost?
You can buy Journey materials (i.e.books and awards) through your local Girl Scout council. The three Service Centers of Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York are equipped with many books, videos, games, program kits, etc. for you to borrow. Staff at all of our Service centers is available from 8:30 to 4:30 to answer any questions or to take an order. The Albany Service Center also includes a Girl Scout store where you can purchase uniforms, books, patches, badges and anything else you may need. You can also purchase items using our Mail Order Form and our online store by clicking “shop” located on the side navigation of our site. You may also download our order form and fax it to the attention of Merchandise Orders at 518-489-8065. By placing an order through a Council Service Center, you ensure that all proceeds directly benefit local girls!
Sometimes, groups use their funds to purchase books for members, or girls who have moved up in grade-level pass their books down to younger members. Ask your local library if they have copies on hand that can be checked out.
All grade-level girl books cost $7.00. The adult sets, consisting of a girl book packaged with the adult guide, are $15.00. Girl Scouts of the USA is aware of the importance of being cost-conscious and has worked to provide excellent value. It is ideal for every girl to have her own book to fully experience the journey.
How can I help my Girl Scout with her experience, including the Girl Scout Gold Award®, Silver Award®, Bronze Award®, etc.?
Be a sounding board for ideas and actions, but let her make decisions and take action on her own. Help her by encouraging her to do her best and providing an environment where she feels she can succeed. If she asks you to take a role in the project, you may do so, but only under her direction.
If my daughter is in a troop can she participate in council program even if the troop isn’t going?
Yes! Girls get to choose the way they participate in Girl Scout opportunities. Council sponsored programs are not only open to all current members but also to non-members as a way to join.
Why should I choose to send my child to a GSNENY summer camp?
Girl Scouts is the premier leadership organization for girls. Our staff is comprised of experienced, enthusiastic, talented and well trained young woman who are excellent role models for your child. We offer a variety of exciting traditional and non-traditional camp experiences. Our programs are easily affordable to give all girls an opportunity to attend.
How do I know if my daughter ready to go to camp?
Most girls are ready for overnight camp at the age of 8. Girls younger than that will benefit from a day camp experience. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine if your child is ready for a day or overnight camp experience.
- Does she indicate that she wants to go?
- Has she experienced a night away from home?
- Is she willing to try new things?
- Can she cope with the elements (woods, bugs, weather)?
- Does she follow directions well?
- Can she care for herself?
- Does she enjoy a wide variety of experiences?
If you answered “YES”, to most of these questions, then your daughter is readyfor an exciting Summer Camp Experience!
Does my daughter have to be a Girl Scout to attend camp?
All girls are welcome to attend. Girls who are not registered Girl Scouts need to indicate so, on the Camp Registration Form and pay a one time $12 Girl Scout Membership fee.
How can I register my girl for Girl Scout camp?
Contact your local Girl Scout council toll free 1 (888) 477-6369 or (518) 489-8110 and request the camp brochure. The brochure contains an application form to complete and submit to the council. Also ask the council about its registration deadlines.
How much does camp cost?
The cost of camp varies depending on whether it is a day camp or overnight camp program and lengths of stay. Day Camp ranges in cost from $150- $250 per week. Overnight Camp ranges in cost from $200-$950.
Is Financial Assistance available?
GSNENY has a limited amount of financial assistance funds. Financial assistance is available for any portion of the camp fees excluding a $25 deposit. This is done on a first come first serve basis, and is based on the individual needs of the girl. Assistance is limited to one camp session per child per summer camp season.
Can my daughter go with a friend?
Yes. If your daughter would like to attend camp with a friend, please write the friend’s name on the Camp Registration Form in the space provided. Campers will be placed together as long as they both have requested each other and they are enrolled in the same program.
Do camp counselors receive special training?
Camp staffs receive extensive training from their council before camp season starts. All local Girl Scout councils must follow Girl Scouts of the USA guidelines, as outlined in its safety publications, as well as comply with applicable state laws. Many Girl Scout camps are also accredited by the American Camp Association. The camps hire staff members based on their skills and job experience.
What are the living arrangements like?
Living arrangements at our Overnight Camp vary depending on the camp and its facilities. Campers will live in platform tents, lean-tos or cabin (Lake Clear only). Staff sleeps in near-by in tents or lean-tos or in cabins with the campers. Each living area has access to a shower house. Cabins have bathroom and shower facilities.
What is the food like?
At our Overnight Camps, meals are served in the dining hall. The camp menus are well balance and planned to appeal to children. Most meals are served family style. Food allergies and special dietary regimes (including vegetarian) should be noted on your child’s Health Form and are easily accommodated. At our Day Camps a daily snack is provided, you are asked to send your child with a lunch.
What if my daughter has special needs or medical concerns?
We will try to accommodate most special needs and medical concerns to the best of our ability. If you have questions regarding our ability to meet your child’s needs, please contact the Destination Learning Department at the Queensbury Service Center (518)792-0947.
Can my daughter call home while she is at camp?
We discourage campers from calling home during their stay at camp. It can be disruptive to programming and can cause homesickness. If you have any questions / concerns, or if an emergency arises, please feel free to call the camp. The Camp Director or Nurse will call you if your child is having difficulties at camp. Please do not send cell phones to camp with your child.
Can we visit camp?
We encourage parents and children to visit camp during our Open Houses. Visits from parents/guardians while camp is in session are discouraged; it can be disruptive to programming and can cause homesickness.
What if I still have question about sending my daughter to camp?
If you still have questions about sending your daughter to camp, please contact the Destination Learning Department at the Albany Service Center toll free 1 (888) 477-6369 or (518)489-8110.
Can my daughter go to camp if her troop doesn’t want to go?
Absolutely! We encourage any girl that is interested in the outdoor experience to attend camp.
What is family camp, and who is eligible to attend?
Family Camp is held on 4th of July weekend and is a time for Girl Scout families to go camping at one of our resident camps and enjoy the Adirondack Mountains, fresh air, a beautiful lake, fishing, boating, swimming, or hiking. One person in the family must be a registered member of GSUSA
Girl Scout Cookie® Activities
When will my daughter sell cookies?
The Product Sales department at Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York has two product sales programs each year – QSP/Be A Reader Program in the fall and the Girl Scout Cookie Program in the winter. Both programs help girls practice life skills like money management, goal setting and teamwork. They also learn how to plan, make decisions and the importance of good customer service.
Does my Girl Scout have to sell cookies?
Participation in this Girl Scout program activity is voluntary. However, girls tell us selling Girl Scout Cookies is fun. Girls practice life skills such as teamwork, money management, and entrepreneurship. This activity provides Girl Scout councils with revenue to support Girl Scouting in local communities, including a portion that goes back to the Girl Scout troop/group selling the cookies. Customers purchase great cookies and know they are supporting the girls in their area.
What role do I have in Girl Scout Cookie activities?
A parent/guardian can help her/his girl by:
- Giving permission for her to sell Girl Scout Cookies.
- Attending the cookie activity training for her troop/group.
- Helping her set and meet her personal goal(s) and her groups’ goals.
- Helping her observe all safety rules and guidelines outlined in materials sent home by the local Girl Scout council.
- Helping her understand that you will be working with her in a supportive role; adults, however, should not assume sole responsibility for selling cookies.
- Helping to network with colleagues so that she can contact co-workers and family members to purchase cookies.
- Providing transportation to cookie events or special sales areas, like those at the mall or outside a grocery store.
- Providing a safe place for the money collected, as well as frequent drop-offs of money to the cookie manager.
- Paying for any cookies eaten at home.
- Supporting the national Girl Scout policy that Girl Scout Cookies may not be sold on the Internet by anyone at any time.
Where does the money earned from Girl Scout Cookie sales go?
The best way to understand where the money goes is by picturing a cookie. A piece of the cookie goes to pay the baker for making the product. Another piece goes to the local Girl Scout council to support Girl Scouts in its area, and a third piece goes directly to the group selling the cookies.
How can my girl become a Girl Scout member?
She registers through her local Girl Scout council. You can call a GSNENY Service Center or attend a recruitment event at your area school. You will be contacted by a volunteer who will work to register your daughter and to link her to the appropriate volunteer based on how she would like to participate.
How much does it cost to be a Girl Scout?
Membership dues for all Girl Scouts are $12.00 annually. This entire amount goes to the national organization (GSUSA) and pays for accident insurance, program development and resources.
Troops may also charge dues. Each troop decides how much and how often troop dues are collected. This money stays with the troop to pay for program supplies, activities, trips, and recognitions.
Is there financial aid to help pay for uniforms, summer camp, or destinations?
Yes, In order to provide every girl within the Council jurisdiction the opportunity to be a Girl Scout, GSNENY has budgeted funding to assist girls who, without assistance, would be unable to participate in Girl Scouts or attend summer camp.
Assistance is available for: annual GSUSA membership dues, membership pins and sashes/Daisy tunics through the Membership Opportunity Fund
Girls may apply for assistance to attend camps through the Destination/Outdoor Opportunity Fund. Teens participating in destinations may apply for assistance through that same fund.
Some Service Units have money set aside for help with uniforms, supplies, trips, etc. This varies from area to area. Ask the volunteer who supports your daughters’ Girl Scout experience to see what is available in your area.
Can my girl become a Girl Scout without being part of a troop?
There are many ways girls can take part in Girl Scouting. Depending on their free time and interests, they can register individually, for camp, as part of an interest group, or join a troop. If a girl registers individually, she may want to take part in one or two group events, like camp or a council-wide event.
Where does the troop meet? How often?
Troops typically meet at schools, churches, libraries, etc; they typically meet once a week, every other week, sometimes once a month. This depends on the volunteers that will be working with your daughters’ troop, their availability and community resources available.
What are the age levels?
Daisy is K-1st grade
Brownie is 2nd – 3rd grade
Junior is 4th – 5th grade
Cadette is 6th – 8th grade
Senior is 9th – 10th grade
Ambassador is 11th – 12th grade
How old do you have to be to become a Girl Scout?
Girls can register as Girl Scouts from Kindergarten though 12th Grade..
How do I re-register my girl if we are moving within the United States?
Call your current council staff members and tell them where you will be living, and they will help connect you with the local council nearest your new home. You can also call Girl Scouts of the USA at (800) GSUSA 4 U, or use the Girl Scout Council Finder to locate the council in the area where you’ll be moving.
Our family is moving overseas. How do I find a new troop for my girl?
Call USA Girl Scouts Overseas at (800) 247-8319 or (212) 852-8618 or send an email to email@example.com.
What Do Parents Do?
You’ll be surprised at how flexible Girl Scouting is today. You can choose how little or how much time and energy you can give—an hour, a day, or maybe just a “thank you” to the volunteer(s) that help support your daughters’ experience.
From being the “head cheerleader” who encourages and supports her daughter in Girl Scouting, to accompanying the girls on a field trip to a local museum, to helping raise funds for international travel, you can use your unique skills and explore your interests. Here are a few of the many ways you can support your Girl Scout:
- Suggest a fun day trip
- Set up a phone tree
- Coordinate transportation for an outing
- Be a guest speaker
- Teach girls a new skill
- Design a troop photo album or scrapbook
- Join girls on a field trip
- Learn first aid at a Girl Scout council sponsored training session so that you can support girls on their outings
- Become an advocate in your community for Girl Scouting
- Tell your girl you’re proud of her
What can I do to help the adult volunteer working with the girls directly?
Talk with your girl’s adult volunteer and see what type of help she needs. Extra adults are always needed for trips and special events, as well as for Girl Scout Cookie activities.
How can I become a Girl Scout volunteer?
Contact your local Girl Scout Council. They’ll happily talk with you about volunteering.
Do I have to buy a uniform for my Girl Scout?
Girl Scouts at each level have one required element (Tunic, Sash or Vest) for the display of official pins and awards which will be required when girls participate in ceremonies or officially represent the Girl Scout Movement.
For girls in grades Kindergarten through 12th, the unifying look includes wearing a choice of a tunic, vest, sash for displaying official pins and awards, combined with their own solid white shirts and khaki pants or skirts. Girl Scouts in high school can also wear a scarf that unites their look with the sisterhood of Girl Scouts around the world. Girl Scouts at the Daisy and Brownie levels will continue to have a full uniform ensemble available.
Where do I place pins and badges on the uniform?
See the Where to Place Insignia on a Girl Scout Uniform in Girl Scout Central under Program on the national website (www.girlscouts.org). A couple of hints:
- Some insignia come in iron-on format, but not all. Check and see before you iron them—non-iron-on awards will melt if they are ironed.
- The insignia tab is a great tool. Membership pins can be placed onto it and then be removed easily when the uniform needs to be cleaned.
Where do I buy uniform pieces? How much does it cost?
You can purchase uniform pieces through your local Girl Scout council. Staff at all of our Service centers is available from 8:30 to 4:30 to answer any questions or to take an order. The Albany Service Center also includes a Girl Scout store where you can purchase uniforms, patches, badges and anything else you may need. You can also purchase items using our Mail Order Form and our online store by going on our website at www.gsneny.org. You may also download our order form and fax it to the attention of Merchandise Orders at 518-489-8065. By placing an order through a Council Service Center, you ensure that all proceeds directly benefit local girls!
The cost varies depending on whether you purchase a tunic, vest or sash and also on size. The cost ranges from $5.25 to $20.50.
Which Council staff members can answer my questions? How do I contact them?
Please refer to the Staff Contact List.