Chapter 4 - girlscoutsnorcal.COM

Chapter 4: Safety-Wise
Ensuring the health and safety of girls in Girl Scouting is a
cornerstone of the Girl Scout Movement. This includes
developing safety consciousness in both girls and adults, as
well as training staff, volunteers, and girls to ensure proper
supervision, planning to prevent accidents and incidents, and
maintenance of program resources.
How are safety guidelines set?
The safety of our members is our highest priority. Protecting
the adults’ and the council’s legal interests is also a high
Restrictions on Girl Scout activities are generally set by
GSUSA in partnership with our insurance company. Activities
that are not allowed by GSNorCal are the activities which are
not covered under Girl Scout insurance. These activities are
deemed by the insurance company to carry an inherent level
of risk that they are not willing to assume.
Everyone bears responsibility for safety: the council, the
group leadership, the parents/guardians of the girls and the
girls themselves. The point of all safety resources produced
by Girl Scouts of the USA and GSNorCal is to establish a
sound program experience that will protect and maintain the
well-being of every Girl Scout, and protect the legal interests
of the adults.
Activities that require prior written permission from the
council are those that have additional laws, certifications or
other guidelines which must be followed in order to be
covered by our insurance. Our Risk Management & Travel
staff will assist you in meeting those guidelines.
“It’s Not A Girl Scout Event” – Not A
Good Idea!
GSNorCal believes that most volunteers would rather focus
their time on having fun with the girls doing Girl Scout
activities, rather than in spending time researching legal texts
to ensure that they are following local and state laws and
working with the insurance company to make sure that they
will be covered.
Occasionally, a Girl Scout volunteer, in an effort to support
the girls in the activities they would like to participate in, will
decide to tell the girls and families that they will do the
activity “as friends, and not as a Girl Scout troop” rather than
find an approved vendor or modify the activity in order to
comply with safety guidelines. Then the girls in the active
troop/group, supervised by the Girl Scout volunteers, engage
in the activity together, and the supervising adults choose
not to follow a guideline established in the Council Resource
Guide: Volunteer Essentials or in a Safety Activity
GSNorCal’s approach is for staff and interested volunteers to
monitor laws and guidelines so that you don’t have to! When
we must place restrictions on certain activities, there is lots
of discussion and research to make sure there isn’t another
solution. Guidelines found here in this booklet and on our
forms is a result of that work.
This could jeopardize the girls' safety and also puts both the
council and the volunteer(s) at legal risk, because courts may
look beyond the words to the actions (the girls in the troop/
group, supervised by the Girl Scout volunteers, engaged in
the activity together). It may also expose the volunteer to
some personal liability if there is an accident, injury or liability
that might have been avoided had the volunteer followed Girl
Scout safety guidelines. Also, it is important to note that Girl
Scout insurance does not cover participants in non-Girl
Scout events.
Activities that are not allowed are not
covered by Girl Scout insurance.
Restrictions on activities are set to
ensure the girls’ safety, protect the
council’s and adult volunteers’ legal
interests, or both.
Why so many forms?
Nearly every form is designed to do at least one of two things:
All forms can be found on
the council website:
To act as a checklist to inform you of certain legal or
procedural requirements so you don’t have to memorize
them, and/or
Communicate needed information to the service unit or
council. Often, this information is needed to support
you, (i.e. legal or insurance information) so that you don’t
have to think about it again—submit the form and your
part is done!
Check the Forms Index at the end of this booklet for
information about when specific forms are required.
Girl Scouts of Northern California
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
Girl Scout Safety Guidelines
Every adult in Girl Scouting is
responsible for the physical and
emotional safety of girls, and we all
demonstrate that by agreeing to follow
these guidelines at all times.
1. Follow the Safety Activity
Instructions for staying safe while
participating in activities are detailed in
the Safety Activity Checkpoints,
available on
safety. Read the checkpoints, follow
them, and share them with other
volunteers, parents, and girls before
engaging in activities with girls.
2. Arrange for proper adult
supervision of girls.
Your group must have at least two
unrelated, approved adult volunteers
present at all times, plus additional
adult volunteers as necessary,
depending on the size of the group and
the ages and abilities of girls. Adult
volunteers must be at least 18 years
old and must have completed the
adult screening process and have
taken the appropriate adult learning
courses before volunteering. One lead
volunteer in every group must be
female. In addition, GSNorCal expects
volunteers to be fully capable of
performing their duties. Volunteers are
not permitted to use or be under the
influence of any substance which may
impair their physical and/or mental
skills at any time when they are
supervising girls as part of the adult-togirl minimums, even if girls are not in
the same room or are sleeping,
including alcohol or prescription
medications, medical marijuana, or
illegal drugs.
3. Get parent/guardian permission.
When an activity takes place that is
outside the normal time and place,
advise each parent/guardian of the
details of the activity and obtain
permission for girls to participate.
4. Report abuse.
Sexual advances, improper touching,
and sexual activity of any kind with girl
members are forbidden. Physical,
verbal, and emotional abuse of girls is
also forbidden. Follow GSNorCal’s
guidelines on page 78 for reporting
concerns about abuse or neglect that
may be occurring inside or outside of
Girl Scouting.
Girl Scouts of Northern California
5. Be prepared for emergencies.
Work with girls and other adults to
establish and practice procedures for
emergencies related to weather, fire,
lost girls/adults, and site security.
Always keep handy a well-stocked firstaid kit, girl health history forms, and
contact information for girls’ families.
6. Travel safely.
When transporting girls to planned Girl
Scout field trips and other activities
that are outside the normal time and
place, every driver must be an
approved adult volunteer and have a
good driving record, a valid license, and
a registered/insured vehicle. Insist that
everyone is in a legal seat and wears
her seat belt at all times, and adhere to
state laws regarding booster seats and
requirements for children in rear seats.
7. Ensure safe overnight outings.
Prepare girls to be away from home by
involving them in planning, so they
know what to expect. Avoid having
men sleep in the same space as girls
and women. During family or parentdaughter overnights, one family unit
may sleep in the same sleeping
quarters in program areas. When
parents are staffing events, daughters
should remain in quarters with other
girls rather than in staff areas.
8.Role--model the right behavior.
Never use illegal drugs. Don’t consume
alcohol, smoke, or use foul language in
the presence of girls. Alcohol is not
permitted at an event where the main
objective is girl program. If girls are
present where alcohol is served at an
adult-only event (sponsored and run
by adults), they must be supervised by
an adult who is not consuming alcohol
who is responsible for the girls' safety
and well-being. (If alcohol is being
served at a Girl Scout event, the
participants will not be covered b y Girl
Scout insurance unless prior approval
has been obtained from the insurance
carrier.) Do not carry ammunition or
firearms in the presence of girls unless
given special permission by GSNorCal
for group marksmanship activities.
9. Create an emotionally safe space.
Adults are responsible for making Girl
Scouting a place where girls are as safe
emotionally as they are physically.
Protect the emotional safety of girls by
creating a team agreement and
coaching girls to honor it. Agreements
typically encourage behaviors like
respecting a diversity of feelings and
opinions; resolving conflicts
constructively; and avoiding physical
and verbal bullying, clique behavior,
and discrimination.
10. Ensure that no girl is treated
Girl Scouts welcomes all members,
regardless of race, ethnicity,
background, disability, family
structure, religious beliefs, and
socioeconomic status or sexual
orientation. When scheduling, helping
plan, and carrying out activities,
carefully consider the needs of all girls
involved, including school schedules,
family needs, financial constraints,
religious holidays, and the accessibility
of appropriate transportation and
meeting places.
11. Promote online safety.
Instruct girls never to put their full
names or contact information online,
engage in virtual conversation with
strangers, or arrange in-person
meetings with online contacts. On
group websites or Facebook groups,
publish girls’ first names only and never
divulge their contact information.
Teach girls the Girl Scout Online Safety
internet_safety_pledge.asp and have
them commit to it.
12. Keep girls safe during moneymoney earning activities.
Girl Scout cookies and other councilsponsored product sales are an
integral part of the program. During Girl
Scout product sales, you are
responsible for the safety of girls,
money, and products. In addition, a
wide variety of organizations, causes,
and fundraisers may appeal to Girl
Scouts to be their labor force. When
representing Girl Scouts, girls cannot
participate in money-earning activities
that represent partisan politics or that
are not Girl Scout–approved product
sales and efforts.
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
In Girl Scouting, the emotional and
physical safety and well-being of girls is
always a top priority! Here’s what you
need to know.
Knowing Your
You, the parents/guardians of the girls
in your group, and the girls themselves
share the responsibility for staying
safe. The next three sections flesh out
who’s responsible for what.
Responsibilities of
Parents and Guardians
• You want to engage each parent or
guardian to help you work toward
ensuring the health, safety, and well
-being of girls. Clearly communicate
to parents and guardians that they
are expected to:
• Provide permission for their
daughters to participate in Girl
Scouting as well as provide
additional consent for activities
that take place outside the
scheduled meeting place, involve
overnight travel, involve the use of
special equipment, and/or cover
sensitive issues.
• Make provisions for their daughters
to get to and from meeting places
or other designated sites in a safe
and timely manner and inform you
if someone other than the parent or
guardian will drop off or pick up the
• Provide their daughters with
appropriate clothing and
equipment for activities, or contact
you before the activity to find
sources for the necessary clothing
and equipment.
• Follow Girl Scout safety guidelines
and encourage their children to do
the same.
• Assist you in planning and carrying
out program activities as safely as
• Participate in parent/guardian
• Be aware of appropriate behavior
expected of their daughters as
determined by the council and you.
• Assist volunteers if their daughters
have special needs or abilities and
their help is solicited.
Responsibilities of Girls
Girls who learn about and practice safe
and healthy behaviors are likely to
establish lifelong habits of safety
consciousness. For that reason, each
Girl Scout is expected to:
• Assist you and other volunteers in
safety planning.
• Listen to and follow your
instructions and suggestions.
• Learn and practice safety skills.
• Learn to “think safety” at all times
and to be prepared.
• Identify and evaluate an unsafe
• Know how, when, and where to get
help when needed.
In addition, girls can be taught the
following skills over time to help them
to develop healthy habits for safety:
• Brainstorm possible hazards or
potential situations, and discuss
how each situation should be
• Agree to safe boundaries (where
they can and cannot go) and other
expectations for each activity.
• Older girls can be encouraged to
consult Safety Activity Checkpoints
when planning activities (but adults
still carry primary responsibility to
make sure these are followed).
Emergency Checklist: Consider these items when developing your emergency plan
Girls can and should help develop the
emergency plans. Younger girls could
brainstorm safety rules, and older girls
could develop the entire emergency
plan with adult guidance. Use this
checklist on the following page to
assist you.
Make sure all drivers and adults in
attendance understand the
GSNorCal emergency
management plan on page 91 and
specific procedures for this activity.
Ensure that all girls understand
expectations and rules—for
• Should they stay with a certain
• Where is it OK to go? With
• What should they do if they
become separated from the
• What are the bathroom
Girl Scouts of Northern California
All adults should have a copy of the
council Emergency Cards
(available on council website) and
troop emergency contact
Design a plan for managing
emergency situations,
situations defining
how each possible emergency
would be handled (by whom, who
would be notified—when and how)
including consideration of:
• Natural hazards (lake, cliffs,
• Natural disasters (earthquake,
storms, floods, fire, etc.)
Specific emergency plans for this
trip should include evacuation
plans in situations where girls
have been dropped off.
off This is
especially important if there are not
enough vehicles on site during the
event/activity to evacuate all
Establish a security plan,
plan adult
supervision, placement of adults
Establish an emergency
communication system.
system Who
should be notified in case of an
• Each program activity
• Injuries or medical
Establish an atat -home emergency
• Lost children
contact person as outlined in
STEP 3 on page 99.
• Strangers or intruders
Establish and communicate
emergency evacuation plan with
all participants. Let them know who
is in charge in these situations prior
to event. Should cars back into
parking spots? Where should
participants go?
Determine how parents will be
communicated with in the event
of an emergency.
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
Understanding How Many Volunteers You Need
membership year, beginning October
In addition to the adult-to-girl ratios,
please remember that adult
Girl Scout Adultvolunteers must be at least 18 years
Here are some examples:
to-Girl Ratios
old, and may not still be registered as
Girl Scout groups are large enough to
provide a cooperative learning
environment and small enough to allow
for development of individual girls. It is
recommended that group sizes, when
possible, are as follows:
• Girl Scout Daisies: 5–12 girls
• Girl Scout Brownies: 10–20 girls
• Girl Scout Juniors: 10–25 girls
• Girl Scout Cadettes: 5–25 girls
• Girl Scout Seniors: 5–30 girls
• Girl Scout Ambassadors: 5–30 girls
Girl Scouts’ adult-to-girl ratios show
the minimum number of adults
needed to supervise a specific number
of girls. (Sometimes the council or
service units may establish maximums
due to size or cost restrictions.) Adult
volunteers must be at least 18 years
These supervision ratios were devised
to ensure the safety and health of
girls—for example, if one adult has to
respond to an emergency, a second
adult is always on hand for the rest of
the girls. It may take you a minute to get
used to the layout of this chart, but
once you start to use it, you’ll find the
chart extremely helpful.
The Girl Scout grade level is
determined by the current
• If you’re meeting with 17 Daisies,
you need a minimum of three
adults, at least two of who are
unrelated (in other words, not your
sister, spouse, parent, or child),
and at least one of whom is
female. (If this isn’t making sense
to you, follow the chart: you need
two adults for 12 Daisies and one
more adult for up to six more girls.
You have 17, so you need three
girl members.
It is the responsibility of the troop/
group leader to:
• Make sure that there are always at
least the minimum number of
adults supervising the girls any
time they are participating in a Girl
Scout meeting or any kind of
• Ensure that all adults who are
providing supervision and are
counted in the Adult-to-Girl ratio
are registered members and have
completed the adult screening
process and are properly cleared.
• If, you have 17 Cadettes attending
a group meeting, you need a
minimum of two unrelated adults,
at least one of whom is female
(because, on the chart, two adults
can manage up to 25 Cadettes).
Remember that these ratios are
minimum numbers—for some
activities, it may be necessary to have
more adult supervision. In addition,
GSNorCal expects volunteers to be
fully capable of performing their
duties. Volunteers are not permitted to
use or be under the influence of any
substance, including alcohol or
prescription medications,
medical marijuana, or illegal drugs
which may impair their physical and/or
mental skills at any time when they are
supervising girls as part of the adult-togirl minimums even if girls are not in the
same room or are sleeping.
• Ensure that all adults who are
providing supervision and are
counted in the Adult-to-Girl ratio
are aware of which other adults are
providing supervision—at no time
should they allow an unscreened
(or otherwise unapproved parent
to substitute for their supervision
At least one adult
providing supervision
of the girls must be a
female adult who is
not related to the
other adults.
Girl Scout Adult-to-Girl Ratio Minimums
Group meetings:
Two unrelated adults
Plus one adult for
(at least one of whom
each additional
is female) for this
number of girls
number of girls
Girl Scout Daisies
(K– grade 1)
Girl Scout Brownies
(grades 2–
Girl Scout Juniors
(grades 4–
Girl Scout Cadettes
(grades 6–
Girl Scout Seniors
(grades 9–
Girl Scout
(grades 11–
Girl Scouts of Northern California
Events, travel, and camping:
Two unrelated adults (at Plus one adult for each
least one of whom is
additional number of
female) for each number girls
of girls
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
Planning Activities With Safety in Mind
Safety Activity Checkpoints guardians, and the girls themselves. The checkpoints are
formatted as checklists, so that you, your co-volunteers, and
the girls can check off that each step has been
When preparing for any
activity with girls, start by
reading the Girl Scout Safety
Activity Checkpoints for that
particular activity, which you
can find on GSNorCal’s
website at
In keeping with the three processes of the Girl Scout
Leadership Experience, be sure that:
• All activities are girl-led . Take into account the age and
abilities of the girls. Older girls can take the bulk of the
responsibility for carefully planning and executing
activities, while younger girls will require more of your
guidance but should still be deeply involved in making
decisions about their activities.
Each Safety Activity
• Offers you information
on where to do this
• Girls have the chance to learn cooperatively. Have the
girls teach each other new skills they may need for the
activities, rather than hearing all that from you.
• How to include girls with
• Girls learn by doing. If research or special equipment is
needed, they’ll learn better doing that research
themselves than by having you do the legwork and report
back to them. Even Daisies can do basic research and
give reports or do show-and-tell for each other.
Ambassadors may need you only for moral support as
they research, teach each other, and plan every detail of
their excursions.
• Where to find both basic and specialized gear required
for the activity
• How to prepare yourselves in advance of the activity
• What specific steps to follow on the day of the activity,
and so on.
In addition to reading these checkpoints yourself, you can
also email or print them for co-volunteers, parents/
Emergency Preparedness
Approaching Activities
As you know, emergencies can happen. Girls need to receive
proper instruction in how to care for themselves and others
in emergencies. They also need to learn the importance of
reporting any accidents, illnesses, or unusual behaviors
during Girl Scout activities to adults . To this end, you can
help girls:
How can you, as a Girl Scout volunteer, determine whether
an activity is safe and appropriate? Good judgment and
common sense often dictate the answer. What’s safe in one
circumstance may not be safe in another. An incoming
storm, for example, might force you to assess or discontinue
an activity. If you are uncertain about the safety of an activity,
call your council staff with full details and don’t proceed
without approval. Err on the side of caution and make the
safety of girls your most important consideration. Prior to any
activity, read the specific Safety Activity Checkpoints
available on the council website at related to any activity you plan to
do with girls.
• Know what to report. See the “Procedures for
Accidents” on page 91.
• Establish and practice procedures for weather
emergencies. Certain extreme-weather conditions may
occur in your area. Please consult with your council for
the most relevant information for you to share with girls.
If Safety Activity Checkpoints do not exist for an activity
you and the girls are interested in, check with your council
before making any definite plans with the girls. A few activities
are allowed only with written council pre-approval and only
for girls 12 and over, while some are off-limits completely
(listed on page 88).
• Establish and practice procedures for such
circumstances as fire evacuation, lost persons, and
buildingbuilding - security responses. Every girl and adult must
know how to act in these situations. For example, you
and the girls, with the help of a fire department
representative, should design a fire evacuation plan for
meeting places used by the group.
When planning activities with girls, note the abilities of each
girl and carefully consider the progression of skills from the
easiest part to the most difficult. Make sure the complexity of
the activity does not exceed girls’ individual skills—bear in
mind that skill levels decline when people are tired, hungry, or
under stress. Also use activities as opportunities for building
teamwork, which is one of the outcomes for the Connect key
in the GSLE.
• Assemble a wellwell - stocked first aid kit that is always
accessible. First aid administered in the first few
minutes can mean the difference between life and
death. In an emergency, secure professional medical
assistance as soon as possible, normally by calling 911.
Girl Scouts of Northern California
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
High-Adventure Activities (formerly called High-Risk)
Which activities are considered “high“highadventure”?
The Trip or High-Adventure
Activity Form must be used
whenever the girls participate
in any
high-adventure activity
OR a trip of any length.
The activities specified here as high-adventure activities, which is
not intended as an exhaustive list, are included because they fit
into one or both of the following categories:
1. The activity involves a reasonable expectation of physical risk to
the girls
2. The activity involves legal risk to the adult volunteers and/or the
council. These include situations where rider or other additional
insurance may be required, vendor or facility contracts may
need to be signed, adults must be certified in a specific skill, or
other specific critical guidelines must be followed to ensure the
Activities That Are Never Allowed
Activities: Written PrePre-Approval From
the Council Needed
Warning: The following activities are never allowed for any
Caution: You must get written prepre - approval from
GSNorCal Risk Management & Travel at
[email protected] for the following activities:
• Any trip that is three nights or more
• Land Sports: archery, backpacking, bicycling with vendorsupplied bicycles, “bounce houses”, caving, challenge/
ropes courses, climbing walls, firearms. gymnastics,
horseback riding, rock climbing, skateboarding at a
skateboard park, skiing, snowboarding, trapeze, vaulting
(on horseback) or when girls ages 12 and older (not allowed
for younger girls) will operate motorized vehicles, (driving
or riding all-terrain vehicles, motor bikes, and go-karts is
never allowed), or simulated skydiving and zero-gravity
If girls would like to trampoline at an indoor facility where
the trampolines are completely enclosed and go all the
way to the edge of the room with no exposed springs (i.e.
there is no possibility that girls could fall off of the
trampoline), this activity can be approved if the vendor is
on the approved vendor list.
Marksmanship activities require council permission, and
volunteers need to transport weapons separately from
girls. The minimum age for girls using firearms in highly
supervised activities is 12 years old.
• Water Activities: boating, canoeing, kayaking, rafting,
sailing, scuba, snorkeling, swimming, tubing, water skiing,
windsurfing, any type of trips on waterways that are highly
changeable or uncontrollable (Class V and higher
watercraft trips are never allowed), or when girls ages 12
and older (not allowed for younger girls) will operate
motorized watercraft.
• Any other activity which might be considered high risk
according to the definition above.
• Flying in noncommercial aircraft, such as small private
planes, helicopters, sailplanes, un-tethered hot-air balloons, or blimps requires council permission.
• Potentially uncontrolled free-falling (bungee jumping,
hang gliding, parachuting, and parasailing)
• Creating extreme variations of approved activities (such
as high-altitude climbing and aerial tricks on bicycles,
skis, snowboards, skateboards, water skis, and wakeboards, or stunt skiing)
• Jeep tours where participants will not be wearing seatbelts.
• Hunting
• Shooting a projectile at another person, such as paintball
• Riding all-terrain vehicles, motor bikes, or go-karts
• Taking watercraft trips in Class V or higher whitewater
• Riding motorized personal watercraft like jet-skis
In addition, there are some activities in which girls and volunteers may not engage when representing Girl Scouts. These
• Endorsement of commercial products or services
• Solicitation of financial contributions for purposes other
than Girl Scouting (any other organization)
• Participation in political campaigns or legislative activities, unless the legislative activity has been councilapproved.
What happened to
You’ll hear people mention that “you
need to follow Safety-Wise”. Content
from the first six chapters from that
book is included in this Council Resource
Guide—Volunteer Essentials, and
guidelines for specific activities are
found in the Safety Activity Checkpoints
found online at
Activities that are not allowed are not covered
by Girl Scout insurance. Restrictions on
activities are set to ensure the girls’ safety,
protect the council’s and adult volunteers’ legal
interests, or both.
Girl Scouts of Northern California
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
Permission Forms
a miscommunication with a family, which could result in a girl
being mistakenly left unsupervised or a parent not knowing
the whereabouts of their child, it is recommended that a
regular written permission form be used.
Use Permission Forms:
When girls will participate in any
Girl Scout activity at a different
time or different place than
regularly scheduled meetings.
Permission Forms (regular)
The regular Permission Form is used for any activities on a
different day/time or different location than regular troop/
group meetings when the Annual Permission form is not or
cannot be used.
Electronic Signatures
Every time a group meets at a time or location different from
the regular group meeting, you must use a permission form—
even if the girls are responsible for getting to that location on
their own. Permission forms give parents the “who, what,
when, where, and why,” so that they can decide whether their
daughter can participate in the trip or activity. A signed
permission form permits you to include the girl in the activity
and provides up-to-date emergency contact information.
Registered girl members of the current year, even if over age
18, are required to have parental/guardian permission forms.
We have two types of permission forms in GSNorCal:
Parent/guardian permission may be in the traditional paper
form, but increasingly, members may wish to use electronic
permission, which allows a much quicker return on
permission slips but also raises questions about electronic
signatures and scanned documents. In most cases, you do
not have to include any special language when using
electronic signatures in lieu of a handwritten signature. This is
because the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and
National Commerce Act (E-SIGN Act) accords electronic
records and electronic signatures the same legal status as
written records and handwritten signatures. Electronic
signatures include but are not limited to the following:
Annual Permission Forms
Girl Scouts of Northern California allows the use of the
Annual Permission Form to be used if the activity meets all of
the following criteria:
• Submission of an online survey through a click
• Submit buttons or checkboxes accompanied by
language to the effect of, “by clicking the button/
checking the box, I agree with these terms.”
• Destination is located within one hour’s driving time (or
60 miles) of the regular meeting place
• A name typed by the sender at the end of an e-mail
• Does not exceed 6 hours
• Is not considered high-risk
Note that the use of this form does not release the adult
volunteers in the troop/group from the responsibility to
effectively communicate with every family regarding the
nature and logistics of the activity. If there is any possibility of
• Faxed signatures or other electronic transmission of a
document containing a handwritten signature
• A code or PIN (such as those used with ATM and credit
Accident/Injury and Incident Forms
Communicate with the GSNorCal
Risk Management & Travel within 24
hours in case of any accident, injury,
or incident.
Council staff are prepared
and eager to assist you
Accident/Injury Form: This form is to be used to report any accident/injury
occurring at a Girl Scouts of Northern California event/activity/meeting/campout/
field trip/etc.
Incident Form: Use this form to report any non-injury incident that occurs which
may result in future problems or other future repercussions for the people involved
or for Girl Scouts of Northern California. Incidents might include:
• A serious argument (may or may not escalate into verbal or physical threats)
In an emergency, follow the Council
Emergency Plan as outlined on page 91.
During office hours, phone your local
office. After hours, phone
1- 877877 - 636636 - 1912.
Girl Scouts of Northern California
• A physical altercation
• A non-injury incident of any sort where police are summoned
• Possible or threatened legal proceedings
• Possible or threatened adverse report(s) to the media
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
Health History Forms
Health History forms—which may
include a physician’s examination and
a list of immunizations—must be
collected and kept on hand by the
troop/group leader.
Girl Health History Forms:
Health History forms (which are also
available in Spanish) are available on
our council website:
Girl Health History Form (English)
For various reasons, some parents/
guardians may object to
immunizations or medical
examinations. Check with council staff
with concerns.
It is important for you to also be aware
of any medications a girl may take or
allergies she may have.
Medication, including over-thecounter products, must never be
dispensed without prior written
permission from a girl’s custodial
parent or guardian. Some girls may
need to carry and administer their own
medications, such as bronchial
inhalers, an EpiPen, or diabetes
Common food allergies include dairy
products, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts,
tree nuts, and seafood. This means
that, before serving any food (such as
peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,
cookies, or chips), ask whether anyone
is allergic to peanuts, dairy products, or
wheat. Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies
should be aware of their allergies, but
double-checking with their parents/
guardians is always a good idea.
Please keep in mind that information
from a health examination is
confidential and may be shared only
with people who must know this
information (such as the girl herself,
her parent/guardian, and a health
If an injury occurs, a copy of the Health
History Form must be submitted to the
council with the Accident/Injury Report
Consult page 121 regarding retention of
these forms.
Girl Scouts of Northern California
Use this form to retain girls' medical
history and receive permission from
parent/guardian for emergency medical
treatment. Must have on site whenever
girls are participating in any Girl Scout
activity (meeting or outing). Completed
annually, should be reviewed and initialed
within 2 months of any overnight activity.
Historia Salud Niña (Español)
Required for resident camp or trips lasting
three nights or more, or when girls will be
participating in physically demanding or
strenuous activities. A health examination
Girl Health History Form
(with Physical) (English)
Adult Health History Forms:
Adult Health History Form (English)
Required for adults attending overnight
Historia de Salud de Adulto (Español)
Adult Health History Form
(with Physical) (English)
Required for adults attending trips 3
nights or more, or when they participate in
strenuous or physically demanding
activities. A health examination within the
previous 24 months is required.
Health History Forms contain private health
information, and are subject to privacy laws.
The forms should be reviewed by the leader or
other responsible adult, and kept in a sealed
envelope to be accessed in case of an
emergency. Only those adults who have a
need to review the information should have
access to the forms.
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
Procedures for Accidents
Although you hope the worst never
happens, you must observe council
procedures for handling accidents and
fatalities. At the scene of an accident,
first provide all possible care for the
sick or injured person. Follow
established council procedures for
obtaining medical assistance and
immediately reporting the emergency.
To do this, you must always have the
names of parents/guardians, and
emergency services such as the police,
fire department, or hospital
emergency technicians and the
council emergency number of 1 -877877636636- 1912 on hand .
After receiving a report of an accident,
council staff will immediately arrange
for additional assistance at the scene,
if needed, and will notify parents/
guardians, as appropriate. If a child
needs emergency medical care as the
result of an accident or injury, first
contact emergency medical services,
and then follow council procedures for
accidents and incidents. Your
adherence to these procedures is
critical, especially with regard to
notifying parents or guardians. If the
media is involved, let councildesignated staff discuss the incident
with these representatives.
In the event of a fatality or other
serious accident, notify the police. A
responsible adult must remain at the
scene at all times. In the case of a
fatality, do not disturb the victim or
surroundings. Follow police
instructions. Do not share information
about the accident with anyone but
the police, your council, and, if
applicable, insurance representatives
or legal counsel.
Girl Scouts of Northern California
Emergency Management Plan
Emergency Number: 11-877877-636636- 1912
In line with recommendations from Girl Scouts of the USA, our council has
developed a plan and a team to help respond to any emergency needing the
attention of more than local troop or service unit personnel. Such emergencies are
incidents of a serious nature that occur during Girl Scout activities.
An emergency is defined as any of the following:
If you become aware of any incident related to the above:
Remain as calm as possible. Find out as much information as quickly as
possible about the situation.
Instruct someone to call 9-1-1 if needed. Obtain name and phone number of a
contact person (if not yourself).
Give priority attention to providing all possible care for the injured. Secure
emergency medical professionals, ambulance, and police as appropriate.
In the event of a fatality or other serious accident, notify the police. Retain a
responsible person at the scene. See that no disturbance of the victim or
surroundings is permitted until police have arrived.
Ascertain whether a parent has been notified — but if a serious injury or
fatality, get direction from council emergency contact before notifying
Notify the council of the emergency. During office hours, phone your nearest
council office. After hours, phone 1 - 877877- 636636-1912. The council answering
service will contact the appropriate council staff, who will evaluate the level of
additional council support required. Always be sure to leave a phone number
where you can be reached.
Carry the Media Information Form with you, and fill out as directed by the
Emergency Team member to give to the media. Refer all media inquiries
(press, radio, TV) to the council. Use the emergency number noted above and
either the council’s Communications Manager or an alternate council
spokesperson will respond to all media inquiries.
Complete Accident/Injury Report Form or Incident Report Form and send it to
Risk Management and Travel at the Alameda Office along with copies of the
Health History Form, membership registration form (if registered with offline
paper registration), and Permission Form within 24 hours of occurrence.
Media Information Form
In case of emergency, troop leaders
and event managers should always
carry a copy (multiple copies for a large
event) of the Media Information Form.
This form walks you through the
process of how to assist the media to
connect with a council spokesperson,
as well as give them instructions on
where they can go, who they can and
cannot talk to, etc. Form is available at
Girl Scouts of Northern California
A fatality or serious injury requiring urgent or emergency medical treatment
A traffic accident involving Girl Scouts during Girl Scout activities
An illness serious enough to require hospitalization
Any situation which involves law enforcement officers
Allegation of child molestation or rape
Lost participant
Allegation of tampering with products sold
Threat of legal action
Other occurrences that may have adverse media or legal implications
[email protected]
Be sensitive to the fact that those involved in a traumatic situation may need
further support. Contact your CDD/VDM (GSNorCal staff member) if
additional assistance is needed.
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
First Aiders and Experts
entire route and EMS (Emergency
First Aid/CPR
Medical System) is, at maximum, 30
Emergencies require prompt action
and quick judgment. For many
activities, Girl Scouts recommends
that at least one adult volunteer be
first aid/CPR-certified. For that reason,
if you have the opportunity to get
trained in council-approved first aid/
CPR, do it! You can take advantage of
first aid/CPR training offered by
chapters of the American Red Cross,
National Safety Council, Medic First
Aid, American Heart Association, or
other sponsoring organizations
approved by GSNorCal.
minutes away at all times. It is also
possible to hike more remotely with no
cell phone service at a place where
EMS would take more than 30 minutes
to arrive. It’s important that you or
another volunteer with your group has
the necessary medical experience
(including knowledge of evacuation
techniques) to ensure group safety.
Caution: First-aid/CPR training that is
available entirely online does not
satisfy Girl Scouts’ requirements. Such
courses do not offer enough
opportunities to practice and receive
feedback on your technique. If you’re
taking a course not offered by one of
the organizations listed in the previous
paragraph, or any course that has
online components, get approval from
your support team or council.
Access to EMS
Minimum Level of
First Aid Required
Less than 30
First Aid/CPR
More than 30
Wilderness First
Aid (WFA) or
Wilderness First
Responder (WFR)*
First Aiders
A first aider is an adult volunteer who
has taken Girl Scout–approved first aid
and CPR training that includes specific
instructions for child CPR. The
following healthcare providers may
also serve as first-aiders: physician,
physician’s assistant, nurse
practitioner, registered nurse, licensed
practical nurse, paramedic, military
medic, and emergency medical
technician. If you have the opportunity
to be fully trained in council-approved
first-aid/CPR, do it. Doing so may make
your activity planning go a little more
smoothly. The Safety Activity
Checkpoints always tell you when a
first aider needs to be present for
troop/group events or activities.
Activities can take place in a variety of
locations, which is why first-aid
requirements are based on the
remoteness of the activity—as noted in
the Safety Activity Checkpoints for
that activity. For example, it’s possible
to do a two-mile hike that has cell
phone reception and service along the
Girl Scouts of Northern California
The levels of first aid required for any
activity take into account both how
much danger is involved and how
remote the area is from emergency
medical services.
*Although a WFR is not required, it is
strongly recommended when traveling with
groups in areas that are greater than 30
minutes from EMS.
It is important to understand the
differences between a first-aid course
and a wilderness-rated course.
Although standard first-aid training
provides basic incident response,
wilderness-rated courses include
training on remote-assessment skills,
as well as the emergency first-aid
response, including evacuation
techniques, to use when EMS is not
readily available.
The presence of a first-aider is
required at resident camp. For large
events, there should be one first-aider
for every 200 participants. For
traveling or station events where there
is a considerable distance between
stations, event organizers should
consider having first aiders with each
Adults serving as Girl Scout First aiders for
Girl Scout activities and events must have
a current CPR/First Aid Certification AND
have competed the online Girl Scout First
Aider course, which will familiarize them
with their responsibilities as a Girl Scout
First Aider and will cover treatment protocols, procedures for emergencies, forms
and record-keeping.
First Aid Kit
Make sure a general first aid kit is
available at your group meeting place
and accompanies girls on any activity
(including transportation to and from
the activity). Please be aware that you
may need to provide this kit if one is
not available at your meeting place.
You can purchase a Girl Scout first aid
kit, you can buy a commercial kit, or
you and the girls can assemble a kit
yourselves. American Red Cross offers
a list of potential items in its Anatomy
of a First Aid Kit on their website. (Note
that the Red Cross suggested list
includes aspirin, which you will not be
at liberty to give to girls without direct
parent/guardian permission.) You can
also customize a kit to cover your
specific needs, including flares,
treatments for frostbite or snake bites,
and the like.
In addition to standard materials, all
first aid kits should contain your
council office telephone numbers
(available at the beginning of this
booklet) and emergency telephone
number 1 - 877877- 636636-1912, as well as
contact information for parents/
guardians, and emergency services
such as the police, fire department, or
hospital emergency technicians. Girl
Scout activity insurance forms, parent
permission forms, and health history
forms should be included as well.
Always have a well-stocked first
aid kit at every Girl Scout
meeting, activity, or trip. Drivers
of each car should also have a
first aid kit.
First Aiders must take the
online Girl Scout First Aider
course, and must obtain the
most updated version of the
GSNorCal Health & Safety Plan
for Activities and Events
(available on the council website) before each event.
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
The Safety Activity Checkpoints for most activities require
having an expert on hand to help girls learn an activity. Please
remember that all experts must be approved by GSNorCal
Risk Management & Travel staff. To make it a bit easier,
GSNorCal maintains lists of local experts (such as sailing
instructors) and facilities (such as roller skating rinks) that
have already approved. If your expert or venue is not on the
approved list, you can work with GSNorCal’s Risk
Management & Travel staff to have them included on the list.
It is usually a relatively simple process to have an expert or
facility placed on the approved vendor list. Some things to
keep in mind:
to teach the girls particular skills. This will enrich their
experience (and yours!). Research performed by the Girl
Scout Research Institute has shown that girls really
appreciate the opportunity to learn from experts whenever
Does the person have documented training and
experience? She or he should have documented
experience for the activity in question, such as course
completion certificates or cards, records of previous
training to instruct the activity, and letters of reference.
• What does she or he need to be able to do? This
person should have the knowledge and experience to
make appropriate judgments concerning participants,
equipment, facilities, safety considerations, supervision,
and procedures for the activity. At the very least, he or
she should be able to give clear instructions to girls and
adults, troubleshoot unexpected scenarios, and
respond appropriately in an emergency.
Even when not required to have an expert instruct the girls
for a specific activity for safety reasons, it is always a great
idea to use your personal and troop networks to find experts
Safety Activity Checkpoints list:
If a First Aider is required
(specifying the level of
certification and specific skills
and experience needed)
If certified experts must be
present (such as lifeguards,
archery instructors, etc.)
Safety for Events
Are you planning events and activities
for your service unit or the council?
The Event Manager course is required
for volunteers running events where
this person is responsible for the
planning and implementation of the
event and for the well-being of the
participants. The course is available in
person and online formats.
The participant notebook for the
course is designed as a checklist, and
outlines the safety, financial, and other
guidelines for events in GSNorCal.
Event Managers are responsible for
following all guidelines and procedures
covered in the Event Manager course.
For large events, there should be one
first-aider for every 200 participants.
For traveling or station events where
there is a considerable distance
between stations, event organizers
should consider having first aiders with
each group.
Information about the Event Manager
course can be found here:
Overnight Activities
Screening Requirements
To clarify:
Any adult who will attend an overnight activity must have
completed the volunteer screening process.
A troop leader, her mother, and another unrelated female
adult could sleep in a dormitory style room with more than
one girl in the group.
Adult Sleeping Arrangements
Generally, adults should not be sleeping in tents or the same
area such as a hotel room with the girls. If the girls are not
ready to be sleeping without an adult in their tents, shelters,
or hotel rooms, it is recommended that the group plan a
simpler trip with indoor dormitory-style sleeping.
One adult should not sleep in a tent or a hotel room with girls
unless they are her/his own daughters. If an adult must sleep
in the same area with girls, there must be more than one
unrelated adult with the group of girls.
Specific Rules Regarding Men & Boys
If adults will be sleeping in the same area with the girls, more
than one unrelated adult should be sleeping with more than
one unrelated girl. No adult should be alone with any girl,
unless she is her or his own child.
Girl Scouts of Northern California
For overnight events, men and boys sleep in separate areas
and have separate facilities or separate times for bathroom
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
Girl Scout Activity Insurance
If any unregistered adults or children will participate in
(attend) any Girl Scout activity, additional insurance must be
purchased. This insurance is very reasonably priced, but it
would be a lot easier to register those adults who will
volunteer more than once or twice.
Every registered Girl Scout and registered adult member in
the Girl Scout movement is automatically covered under the
basic plan upon registration. The entire premium cost for
this protection is borne by Girl Scouts of the USA. The basic
plan is effective during the fiscal year (October to the
following October). Up to 14 months of insurance coverage is
provided for new members who register in the month of
August. This insurance provides up to a specified maximum
for medical expenses incurred as a result of an accident
while a member is participating in an approved, supervised
Girl Scout activity, after the individual’s primary insurance
pays out. This is one reason that all adults and girls should be
registered members. Non-registered parents, friends,
siblings, and other persons are not covered by basic
This insurance coverage is not intended to diminish the need
for or replace family health insurance. When $130 in benefits
have been paid for covered accident medical or dental
expense, any subsequent benefits will be payable only for
expenses incurred that aren’t compensable under another
insurance policy. If there is no family insurance or healthcare
program, a specified maximum of medical benefits is
An optional plan of activity insurance is available for Girl
Scouts taking extended trips and for non-members who
participate in age-appropriate Girl Scout activities. These
plans are secondary insurance a council may offer to cover
participants taking part in any GSNorCal approved,
supervised Girl Scout activity. Optional insurance coverage is
available for any Girl Scout activity that involves non-Girl
Scouts or lasts three nights or more.
Review the information about activity insurance on our
council website: or contact
the Risk Management & Travel Assistant in the Alameda
office: [email protected]
[email protected]
Ordering Event Insurance:
Troop Leaders (or other registered adults in charge of an
event) may order insurance by following the instructions on
our website: Please take the
time to become familiar with the council instructions
BEFORE you try to order insurance. Please note: All
enrollment forms may be printed from the GSNorCal
website. They may NOT be transmitted directly to the
insurance company - they must be sent (with a check) to the
Alameda office for approval/signature. Please e-mail the Risk
Management & Travel Assistant if you have any questions at
[email protected]
All requests must be received 2 weeks/10 workdays prior to
the first day of your event. If you make a late request to the
council, you will be asked to prepare the enrollment form and
forward it with your check to the Risk Management & Travel
Assistant in the Alameda Office in time for verification,
signature and mailing.
Will unregistered people (adults or children) be participating in your activity?
If ANY person—girl, sibling, adult or anyone who is not currently registered as a Girl Scout member will participate at your
meeting, trip, or any other Girl Scout gathering, you will need to purchase additional insurance to cover this person or people.
If an adult will participate other than as a visiting speaker or presenter or audience member, or unregistered children (siblings
or friends) will participate in any way other than as an audience member, the additional insurance is necessary. This insurance
is very reasonably priced, and the process is easy. Contact the Risk Management & Travel Assistant in the Alameda office
[email protected] Note that if an adult will supervise girls, she/he must register and complete adult screening.
PLAN 1 Accident Insurance
Automatic coverage for registered members for Girl Scout event which does not exceed
To cover participants who are NOT registered Girl Scouts and/or
PLAN 2 Accident Insurance
Girl Scouts participating in an event lasting MORE than 3 nights or more. Example: If your
troop is planning a trip to Disneyland, California for 5 days and 4 nights, you will need to
purchase insurance for all of the registered members for the full 5 days because the trip is
PLAN 3E Accident and Sickness
PLAN 3P Accident and Sickness
This plan is recommended for trips out of state or for any other trip where sickness could
For groups with one or more participants who do not have personal family insurance (or
where personal insurance may not be honored).
PLAN 3PI Accident and Sickness
Insurance for International Trips
For any Girl Scout group planning a trip out of the country. It should be purchased in the
planning stages of the trip, after it has been approved by the council, due to certain pretrip benefits. Call the council office to obtain detailed information on how to purchase
Accident and Sickness Insurance
for Girl Guides/Girl Scouts
To be purchased by groups who are hosting Girl Guides/Girl Scouts visiting the USA.
Girl Scouts of Northern California
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
Transporting Girls
Private Transportation
A Girl Scout trip is an opportunity for girls to have fun, to
experience adventure, and to enrich their ongoing Girl Scout
program. Sometimes a trip is the culmination of a
progression of activities that the girls are already engaged in.
Private transportation includes private passenger vehicles,
rental cars, privately owned or rented recreational vehicles
and campers, chartered buses, chartered boats, and
chartered flights. Each driver of motorized private
transportation must be at least 21 years old and hold a valid
operator’s license appropriate t the vehicle—state laws must
be followed even if they are more stringent than the
guidelines here.
A trip is defined as any time a group has an activity at a
location other than the regularly scheduled meeting place. If
the group will start and end at the regular meeting location,
but will walk to a local park or other destination, this activity is
not defined as a trip.
Safety Activity Checkpoints and the guidelines in this booklet
should be consulted when planning a trip of any length. Care
should be taken to determine if troops are ready to
participate in troop/group travel and trips. Safety and money
-earning procedures are also available in this resource.
It is the responsibility of the troop/group leader to ensure
that drivers have a valid driver’s license and proof of
insurance. Use the Troop Driver Form, available on the
council website.
Transporting Girls
When driving a vehicle to transport Girl Scouts, take the
following precautions and ask any other drivers to do that
same. Each driver of motorized private transportation must:
How parents decide to transport girls between their homes
and Girl Scout meeting places is each parent’s individual
decision and responsibility. For planned Girl Scout field trips
and other activities—outside the normal time and place—in
which a group will be transported in private vehicles:
• Be at least 21 years old. Girls may not transport other
girls. It may be assumed that Girl Scout activities begin
when custody of the participant takes place. To be
specific, if travel is part of the activity, girls may not
transport other girls.
Every driver must be an approved adult volunteer at least
21 years old, and have a good driving record, a valid
license, and a registered/insured vehicle.
• Hold a valid driver’s/operator’s license appropriate to the
vehicle being driven. For example, anyone who is driving
a vehicle with 12 passengers must also possesses a Class
B driver’s license.
Girls never drive other girls.
If a group is traveling in one vehicle, there must be at least
two unrelated, approved adult volunteers in the vehicle ,
one of which is female, and the girl-volunteer ratios on
page 16 must be followed.
• Carry the minimum insurance required by the California
Responsibility Law.
• Must be registered members and complete the adult
screening process established by the council.
If a group is traveling in more than one vehicle, the entire
group must consist of at least two unrelated, approved
adult volunteers, one of whom is female, and the girlvolunteer ratios on page 16 must be followed. Care should
be taken so that a single car (with a single adult driver) is
not separated from the group for an extended length of
• A male volunteer may act as a driver, but must never
have one girl in the car alone, except for his own
• Keep directions and a road map in the car, along with a
first aid kit and a flashlight.
• Check your lights, signals, tires, windshield wipers, horns,
and fluid levels before each trip and check them
periodically on long trips.
California Car Seat Laws
Current laws regarding car safety seats for children must be
followed. Children must be in a belt-positioning booster seat
until they are at least 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall. In
addition, children under 12 must be in a rear seat (may not
ride in a front seat because of air bags).
• Keep all necessary papers up to date, such as your
driver’s license, vehicle registration, any state or local
inspections, insurance coverage, and the like.
• Wear your seat belt at all times, and insist that all
passengers do the same. Keep girls under 12 in the back
GSNorCal encourages groups to transport girls in familysized vehicles which are familiar to the drivers. Vans carrying
up to 10 people are acceptable. Vans designed to carry
twelve passengers may be used upon special approval if all
drivers have current Class B licenses. Vans designed to carry
15 or more passengers are not approved to transport Girl
Scouts in our council.
Girl Scouts of Northern California
• Never transport girls in flatbed or panel trucks, in the bed
of a pickup, or in a camper-trailer. Girls must always wear
seatbelts and be in a seat intended for passengers.
• Follow all established rules of the road in California
(following the speed limit, keeping a two car length
between you and the car ahead of you, not talking or
texting on a cell phone or other personal electronic
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
devices, not using ear buds or headphones, driving with
your headlights on, and so on.
Management & Travel in the Alameda office. An
Authorization to Rent Vehicles form (available on the council
website) must be completed and sent to the Risk
Management & Travel Assistant in the Alameda office with
your Trip or High-Adventure Activity Form at least four weeks
before the trip or event.
• Avoid driving for extended periods at night, when tired, or
taking medication that makes you drowsy.
• Plan rest stops every few hours. If driving with others,
prearrange stopping places along the way. When
planning longer trips, arrange for relief drivers.
If GSNorCal has given permission to use a rented car, read all
rental agreements to be sure you comply with their terms
and avoid surprises. Note the minimum age of drivers (often
25), as well as the maximum age (often under 70). Be sure
the car is adequately insured, knowing who is responsible for
damage to or the loss of the vehicle itself. Also, ensure you
have a good paper trail. Keep the GS insurance card in the
vehicle at all times.
• Never travel in caravans (having drivers follow behind
one another). This can result in an increased chance of
accidents if drivers hurry through a light to stay together,
or make unsafe lane changes to follow. Instead, every
driver should know where they are going and where any
rest stops will be taken.
Rented or Chartered
Commercial Buses
Groups wishing to lease commercial buses must also have
permission from the GSNorCal Risk Management and Travel
Team. Companies must:
Even though written agreements are always required when
renting or chartering, you are not authorized to sign an
agreement or contract—even if there is no cost associated
with the rental. Such an agreement must instead be signed
by the council staff person designated by GSNorCal. (See
contracts page 119).
• Be approved by the GSNorCal Program Department
• Must carry a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance
• Must provide a copy of their last CHP safety inspection
• Drivers must be approved by the state to carry children
Rental Vehicles
• Show that their drivers are part of the statewide program
that monitors driving records.
When rental vehicles of any kind are to be used by Girl
Scouts, permission must be obtained from the Risk
Trip Folders
Drivers or chaperones should carry a trip folder on any trip in case of
any accident or other emergency, along with a first aid kit.
Permission Forms
for the trip for the
girls with that
chaperone or
Troop 12345
Sample Front Cover
• Accident/Injury Report Form
• Incident Report Form
• Mutual of Omaha Claim Form
and brochure
• Media Information Form
Please return to
the troop at the
end of the trip
Driving Directions
and/or map
Including cell phones
of all drivers on trip and
contact information
for parents of girls in
the car.
Health History forms for
the girls in that car in a
sealed envelope to be
opened only in the case
of emergency
(information shared only
on an as needed basis)
Tickets or passes,
money for bridge
tolls or to pay for
girls’ expenses
Girl Scouts of Northern California
phone #s
1-877877-636636- 1912
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
Trip Checklist:
Use this checklist and the supporting information on the next few pages to plan your trips.
Step 1: Planning
Follow Safety Activity Checkpoints and safety guidelines in this booklet including adult to girl ratios on page 86
Money-Earning, if applicable
Logistics (Contracts, Drivers—screening and Troop Driver Form, and Insurance)
Step 2: Communicate With Parents: Permission Forms
Permission Forms must always be used when:
• Activities are held in a different place than regularly scheduled meetings OR
• Activities are held on a different day or time than regularly scheduled meetings OR
• Activities are considered high risk
For any of the above, one of the following types of forms must be used (see page 89):
Annual Permission Form OR
Permission Form (regular)
Note: if the activity involves issues of a sensitive or controversial nature, the
Sensitive Issues Permission Form should also be used. See page 74.
Step 3: Communicate with Service Unit, Emergency Contact Person, and Council:
Service Unit activities (Service Units file one form with
GSNorCal for the whole group if the event lasts three
nights or more or involves any high-adventure activities)
Council sponsored activities in the Program and Event
Guide (PEG)
Activities where girls walk or ride their own bicycles as
part of their regularly scheduled meetings
Trip or HighHigh-Adventure Activity Form used as a planning tool,
give copy to group emergency contact person, make sure
service unit has troop/group emergency contact information
Form recommended as a planning tool, but not required to
submit to the service unit
Trips that are located within 60 miles from the regular
meeting place, AND are less than 6 hours in duration,
AND are NOT high-adventure
Trip farther than 60 miles from the regular meeting place
OR longer than 6 hours in duration, but NOT highadventure
Trips of three nights or more
Trip or HighHigh-Adventure Activity Form submitted to service
unit, give copy to group emergency contact person
Submit to service unit at least 2 weeks prior to the activity
Service unit approves trip
Trip or HighHigh-Adventure Activity Form submitted to service
unit, give copy to group emergency contact person
Submit initial form with service unit at least 6 months-1 year
prior to the activity
Form will be forwarded to the council for approval
Final form submitted with the council at least 4 weeks prior
to the activity
Trips involving air travel
High-Adventure activity
Trip or HighHigh-Adventure Activity Form submitted to service
unit, give copy to group emergency contact
International Trip
Submit to service unit at least 1 year prior to the activity and
again with final information 2 months prior
Form will be forwarded to the council for approval
Step 4: Go on trip—
trip — have fun!
Bring Permission, Health History Forms, first aid kit (Health History with Physical Exam form for trips of 3 nights or more)
Follow safety guidelines in this booklet and in the Safety Activity Checkpoints
Trip Folders for all drivers/adult chaperones
Emergency Plans and Emergency Cards
Girl Scouts of Northern California
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
STEP 1: Planning
• Check the activity checkpoints for ALL activities the girls
will be participating in and establish adult supervision
• Brainstorm safety rules and precautions with girls such
as establishing boundaries, use of buddy system, etc.
Girl Scout trips should be affordable to all the girls in the
troop/group. The girls should be involved in all financial
decisions. Parental support is essential. Discuss travel plans,
budgeting and money-earning projects with families before
finalizing plans.
• Make sure all girls and adults understand rules and
expectations for the trip.
MoneyMoney-Earning , if applicable
Not all trips involve money-earning projects, but if yours
When creating the budget, be sure to calculate all costs,
which may include event registration, admission, postage,
duplication of materials, transportation, parking, gas,
insurance, lodging, food, and souvenirs. Indicate the amount
paid by the troop and the amount paid by each girl.
• GSUSA and GSNorCal policies and guidelines must be
followed. Everyone must understand that the money
earned by the troop does not belong to the individual
girls. If a girl cannot go on the trip, she forfeits any
portion of the trip funds she helped to earn, and all
money is kept in troop funds. The girls in the troop/group
should decide (preferably very early in the planning
process) how that money should be spent.
All troop money belongs to the troop/group, not individuals,
so everyone should understand that under no
circumstances would an individual take any portion of the
money with her to use for non-Girl Scout purposes. The IRS
has issued an advisory that non-profit organizations may
NOT track individual “trip accounts”. Per the IRS, “a section
501(c)(3) organization must not be organized or operated for
the benefit of private interests. No part of the net earnings of
a section 501(c)(3) organization may inure to the benefit of
any private shareholder or individual.” The IRS took the
position that using the money raised in various fundraising
activities to further the Scouting program was in accordance
with their exempt purpose, but the creation of a reserve fund
for individual girls within a troop (i.e. earmarked accounts) is
not allowed.
• The troop/group must submit a Money-Earning
Application before the project and Evaluation Form
afterwards to their CDD/VDM (GSNorCal staff member).
Contracts or Signed Agreements:
All contracts or signed agreements must be signed by a
council staff member. Troops and service units are not legal
entities, and may not legally enter into contracts. Please
allow at least two weeks prior to the date you need the signed
agreement. See page 119 for further information.
Everyone must understand that if they leave the troop that
the money is not their personal property (the money is there
for girls to use for their Girl Scouting activities). It’s also very
important to remember that since the money belongs to the
troop/group, the adults should not be making the decisions
about how it is spent. It’s important that the girls make the
decisions. If they’re ready for a trip, they’re ready for this
responsibility, too.
All drivers must:
• Be registered members
• Complete the adult screening requirements.
• Turn in completed Troop Driver Information Form to
Troop Leader. This form should be reviewed and
updated on an ongoing basis to verify that each driver
has a current driver’s license and sufficient insurance.
Girls should attempt to decide how different possible
situations will be handled ahead of time, including:
• Shall the group pay all or any part of the costs for adult
advisors to attend the trip? (Note that it would not be
acceptable to use troop funds to pay for “extra” adults
who were not needed as part of the adult-to-girl ratios.)
As with any Girl Scout activity, if any unregistered adults or
children (including siblings) will participate in the trip,
additional insurance must be purchased. (Page 94)
• What percentage of money should be held to cover
regular troop/group expenses?
• Not all families can afford to spend the same amount for
activities. Will there be some money set aside for
scholarships? How could a confidential system be set in
place to allow girls to apply for the funds?
STEP 2: Parent Permission
• How should it be handled if a new girl joins the troop
sometime before the trip?
Use either the Annual or Regular Permission forms as
outlined on page 89. If the activity will also involve issues of a
sensitive or controversial nature, the Sensitive Issues
Permission Form should also be used. See page 74.
Follow Safety Guidelines
• Follow minimum adult to girl ratios for events, outing and
trips on page 86.
Girl Scouts of Northern California
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
STEP 3: Trip or
Activity Form
Communicate your plans
While permission forms are used to
communicate with parents, it is also
necessary to communicate with your
troop emergency contact person for
each trip, and with your service unit for
some trips. For certain trips, your
service unit will also contact the
council on your behalf.
Troop/Group Emergency
Contact Person
A troop/group emergency contact
person must be established for every
trip. Your service unit leadership must
be given contact information for your
troop/group’s emergency contact
person in case there are any problems
or emergencies that arise on any trip
(particularly day trips where the Trip or
High-Adventure Activity Form does
not need to be turned in).
The troop/group emergency contact
person must be a person who will NOT
attend the trip, and should know:
• Which girls and adults are present
on the trip
• Where the troop is going
• Dates and times of the trip
• Where and when the group will
• Contact information for the adults
present on the trip
• Contact information for service
unit leadership
• Contact information for all families
• How to activate the council’s
emergency plans
The troop/group should always
have an at-home emergency
contact person when on an
outing. This person can
coordinate communication in
case of an emergency or
unforeseen circumstances.
Girl Scouts of Northern California
The Trip or High-Adventure Activity
Form must be used for any outings,
OR high-adventure activities.
Trip OR HighHigh-Adventure
Activity Form
The Trip or High-Adventure Activity
Form should be used for every trip or
outing as a planning tool, and must be
turned in to your service unit for some
trips. The form is designed to help
busy volunteers make sure that safety
guidelines are followed to ensure a
safe and fun activity.
The Trip or High-Adventure Activity
Form is used as a planning tool and
may also be used to communicate with
the emergency contact person before
the trip, but does not need to be
turned in to the service unit for the
following activities:
• Service unit activities (but the
event committee should get
approval from the council for any
high-adventure activities, or
events lasting three nights or
• Council sponsored activities in the
Program and Event Guide (PEG)
• Activities where girls walk or ride
their own bicycles as part of their
regularly scheduled meetings
• Trips that are located within one
hour driving time or 60 miles from
the regular meeting place, and are
less than 6 hours in duration, and
are not high-adventure
For all trips that do not meet one of the
above criteria, the Trip or HighAdventure Activity Form must be
turned in to your service unit (the
service unit will sometimes forward the
form to the council). When the form
does need to be submitted to your
service unit, be sure to turn it in as early
as possible, and at least 2 weeks, four
weeks, or 1 year in advance as
indicated on page 97 and on the form.
See page 88 for an explanation of highadventure activities, and page 100 for
further information about the approval
Although outings and trips take
a lot of planning and
coordination, the rewards are
great—in addition to being fun,
they offer the girls the
opportunity to learn life skills
and gain independence. It’s
important to involve them in
the planning and preparation,
even at young ages.
STEP 4: Go on
your trip and
have fun!
Bring forms and first aid
• Permission Forms (Annual or
• Health History Forms (if trip is
three nights or more or for
organized competitive sports, the
Health History must include a
physical). See page 90.
Follow All Safety
Follow all guidelines in this booklet, as
well as the Safety Activity Guidelines
for each activity you will participate in.
Trip Folders for All
All drivers or adult chaperones should
carry a folder containing permission
forms and Health History forms (in a
sealed envelope) for all girls they are
responsible for, driving directions/
maps, itinerary information, and
Troop 12345
or council
card. Sample
Please return to
trip folder is
the troop at the
shown on
end of the trip
page 96.
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
Approval Process: Approved Vendor List
For trips of three nights or more,
involving air travel, high-adventure
activities, OR international trips, your
service unit will forward your Trip or
High-Adventure Activity Form to the
Risk Management & Travel Assistant in
the Alameda office for approval.
For the safety of our members, the
council must approve sites and
vendors for these activities before a
troop uses the site or vendor for a
troop or service unit event. This
procedure is designed to ensure a safe
experience for our girls, as well as to
protect the legal interests of the adult
volunteers and the council.
A list of currently approved vendors
and facilities can be found on the
council website at
GSNC_Approved_Vendors.pdf or
contact the Risk Management & Travel
Assistant in the Alameda office:
[email protected]
These approved facilities/vendors
have met the safety and insurance
guidelines for Girl Scouts of Northern
Adding Vendors to the Approved
Vendor List
Troops are NOT limited to the facilities
and vendors on the approved vendor
list. If you find a site or vendor that you
would like to use, we will work with
them to place them on the approved
The Program and Event
Guide (PEG) Activity
Guide lists lots of
opportunities for girls of
all ages.
vendor list. For a facility or vendor to
be listed as an “approved vendor”, they
must meet the safety and insurance
guidelines for GSNorCal, which include
the following:
• Comply with all guidelines listed in
the Safety Activity Checkpoints for
the given activity and all other
safety guidelines within this
• Facilities and vendors must supply
GSNorCal with an annual
Certificate of Liability for one
million dollars or more, naming Girl
Scouts of Northern California as
additionally insured. See page 67.
• Girl Scouts of Northern California
will list the site or vendor as
additionally insured on the annual
GSNorCal Certificate of Liability
If you would like to have a vendor or
facility approved for your troop or
group’s use, please forward the
following information to the Risk
Management & Travel Assistant:
[email protected]
• Your contact information
• Contact information for the
vendor or facility , including phone
• Possible dates for the trip/activity
• Explanation of proposed activities
Once we receive this information, we
will work with the facility/vendor to
become an approved vendor for your
activity. If you wish to be involved in
the process (vendors can sometimes
be a little quicker to supply the needed
information when they are working
directly with their customer), please let
us know and we’ll supply you with the
information you need. Please allow as
much time as possible (at least two
months) for approving a new facility or
If a facility/vendor refuses to follow the
safety and insurance guidelines for Girl
Scouts of Northern California then we
will not be able to endorse this facility/
vendor on our Approved Vendor List or
approve trips/activities using this
For the approved vendor list and more
information on the trip approval
process, visit our website at
The Approved Vendor List is updated
monthly. Approved vendors are
subject to change.
The Approved Vendor
List can be found here:
Trip or High-Adventure Activity
Approval for Service Units
If your service unit will hold an event for 3 nights or more, or a high-adventure
activity (see page 88) you must submit a Trip or High-Adventure Activity Form on
behalf of all those attending the event.
Event Emergency Form
for Service Units
In Case of Emergency
Council staff are prepared to assist
you through an emergency. Follow the
council emergency plan outlined on
page 91 and call 1 -877877- 636636- 1912
Girl Scouts of Northern California
For any service unit level event, please also submit the requested information
about your event here:
Council staff will be more able to assist you in an emergency, assist parents/
guardians who may need important information (such as where and when to pick
their daughter up) or answer questions that come to the council about your event.
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014
Setting Up a Group
Groups whose girls meet age criteria
(13 years or older) and have parental
permission may set up a group website
or a Facebook group. It can be a
fantastic way for girls to share
information, market Girl Scout
products, and talk about their Take
Action projects.
Before you and the girls design a
website, do remember that the web is
an open forum for anyone, including
potential predators. Documented
instances of cyberstalkers make it
imperative that any information that
could jeopardize the safety and
security of girls and adults is not
disclosed on a website. Please adhere
to these guidelines to ensure the girls’
• Use girls’ first names only.
• Never post girls’ addresses, phone
numbers, or email addresses.
• Never, ever, ever post addresses of
group meeting places or dates and
times of meetings, events, or trips!
(An adult volunteer who wishes to
communicate upcoming events
with families of girls should use
email instead of posting details on a
website, unless that site is password
protected or is a closed/secret
Facebook group.)
• Always have a parent’s or guardian’s
signature on a photo release form
(or the Annual Permission Form)
before using pictures of girls on a
• Make yours a static site that does
not allow outsiders to post
messages to the site, or make sure
all postings (such as message
boards or guest books) have adult
oversight and are screened prior to
posting live.
• Don’t violate copyright law by using
designs, text from magazines or
books, poetry, music, lyrics, videos,
graphics, or trademarked symbols
without specific permission from
the copyright or trademark holder
(and, generally, this permission is
pretty tough to get!). Girl Scout
trademarks (such as the trefoil
shape, Girl Scout pins, and badges
and patches) can be used only in
accordance with guidelines for their
use. (The Girl Scout trefoil, for
example, may not be animated or
used as wallpaper for a website.)
Check with your council’s website
for complete graphics guidelines
and approvals.
Internet safety information and
guidance can be found here; -safety/
In addition to great resources for girls,
there is plenty of advice for adults on
how to monitor your child’s online use,
family internet safety tips, how to tell
which sites are safe and reliable for
teens, safe texting, IMing, and gaming,
and more.
Girls under age 13
may not use
social networks
in Girl Scouting
Safety Process
Follow Girl Scout Safety Guidelines on page 84.
Ensure that girls are supervised according to the
Adult-to-Girl ratio minimums on page 86 at all
Consult the Safety Activity Checkpoints for every
activity the girls do on the council website at
Use required forms as the safety tools they are
intended to be.
Follow additional guidelines found in this booklet.
Girl Scouts of Northern California
Council Resource Guide Volunteer Essentials 2013-2014