September 2016: Your Checklist for Success

Need a refresher from last month? Check out the August Checklist.

Need to download and print a copy of the September Checklist? Click here!

September To-Dos

  • The Girl Scout year begins October 1 – have you and all troop members renewed your membership for 2016-17? 
  • Be sure to opt into your volunteer roles by completing your volunteer agreements! Click here for the links to fill out agreements Troop Leader, Troop Product Manager, Service Unit Manager, and Service Unit Product Chair.
  • Update your troop’s meeting information and open spots by submitting the Troop Catalog Update Form.
  • Remind girls and parents that Cookie Dough, Munch Money, and Juliette Program Credits from the 2015-2016 year expire on September 15, 2016.
  • Submit your Summer of Service project by September 30. 
  • Submit your annual Troop/Service Unit Finance Report if you haven’t already (PAST DUE).
  • Plan and host back-to-school registration nights for girls in your community.
  • Is your troop bridging to a new level? Remember to take Leading Your Level for the new year!

Upcoming – for Girls, Troops, and Families

  • Your troop can still make a difference in your community through the Summer of Service! Submit your project details by September 30.
  • View Events on our website to find tons of upcoming activities for Girl Scouts. You’ll find events for all ages, plus special discounts, and options for the whole family. Click an event from the list or calendar to find the green Register Now button. Register before September 15 to use Cookie Dough, Munch Money, or Juliette Credits from the 2015-16 year.
    • Psst…Keep an eye on your mailbox – members will be receiving the Fall Program Guide in the coming weeks!
  • Don’t miss out on these exciting programs:
    • September 17 – Tour De Lake – this bicycle cruise around Clear Lake is open to Girl Scouts, families, and the general public
    • September 24 – Gimme S’More Mud Run – take a challenge of our second annual muddy obstacle course at Camp Sacajawea. Open to Girl Scouts, families, and the general public.
    • November 25 – Disney on Ice – girls of all ages are invited to join us at Wells Fargo Arena for dinner and a show!
  • All girls have the opportunity to develop skills and earn rewards through the Fall Product Program from October 1 – 21. The Fall Product Program gives girls and troops the opportunity to sell magazine subscriptions and very popular nuts and candy in order to earn funds to help their troop kick off their year. This friends and family sale is conducted both face-to-face and online.

Volunteer Resources

  • Fall Product Program: Whether your troop has been rocking the Fall Product Program for years, or if you’re just getting started, we’ve got resources lined up to help you kick-off the year! Remember, each service unit will receive $10 per troop that participates in the Fall Product Program, and will receive an additional $10 if at least 1 Juliette Girl Scout participates!
  • Training Opportunities: Share ideas, get your questions answered, and meet your Girl Scout volunteer sisters by participating in these training opportunities for volunteers!

Girl Scout Q&A

What is the Opportunity Catalog?

  • The Opportunity Catalog, or Troop Catalog, is our online listing of available troops and volunteer positions open across the council. Each year, thousands of new girls join Girl Scouting, and we want to welcome every girl with open arms!
  • To update your troop’s information, please fill out the Troop Catalog Update Form with your troop’s meeting details and number of available spots. Leaders can also fill out this information through MyGS, on the “troop” tab.
  • Every time a new girl signs up for your troop, leaders will receive an email notification so that you can reach out to your new members.

August 2016: Your Checklist for Success

Need a refresher from last month? Check out the July Checklist.

Need to download and print a copy of the August Checklist? Click here!

–Remember, the Girl Scout year begins October 1 – be sure to renew your membership for 2016-17! Volunteers due for a new background check will receive an e-mail reminder with directions.–

Psst…Girls’ Cookie Dough, Munch Money, and Juliette Program Credits from the 2015-2016 year expire on September 15.

Summer of Service

Make a difference with the 2016 Summer of Service! Help show how Girl Scouts are changing the world, one community at a time, by tracking your troop’s service projects. 

Fall Product Program

Each year, troops and individual Girl Scouts are invited to participate in the Fall Product Program. This program gives Girl Scouts the opportunity to sell nuts, candy, and magazines to friends & family, to earn funds to customize their program! Your troop earns proceeds you can use to get the year started, and girls can earn individual Munch Money to use for programs, camp, items in the shop, and more.

  • Mark your calendars: Service Unit Product Chair (SUPC) training will be held on August 24. Register now! Details on troop training coming soon.
  • This year’s Fall Product Program will run from October 1 – 21, 2016.
  • BREAKING NEWS…. Each service unit will receive $10 per troop that participates in the Fall Product Program, and will receive an additional $10 if at least 1 Juliette Girl Scout participates.

Upcoming Programming

Check out these upcoming activities for Girl Scouts! Psst…girls can use their Cookie Dough and other program credits to sign up for future activities that occur past September 15, as long as registration is submitted before September 15, 2016.

  • September 17: Tour De Lake – this bicycle cruise around Clear Lake is open to Girl Scouts, families, and the general public
  • September 24: Gimme S’More Mud Run – Take a challenge of our second annual muddy obstacle course at Camp Sacajawea. Open to Girl Scouts, families, and the general public.
  • Find more events, plus program kits and field trips on our website.
  • Looking for fun outdoor activities to kick off your troop meetings? Download the new Art in the Outdoor badge sets for 99 cents each!

Just for Volunteers:

  • August 12-13: Grab some friends and head to Throwback Camp at Camp Sacajawea or Camp Tanglefoot – this event is just for women ages 21 and up. Register by August 8.
  • October 7-9: Annual Fall Leader Retreat at Camp Sacajawea. Details coming soon!
  • On your own time: Complete your online training, including Managing Troops & Groups and Leading Your Level.
  • Are you a new leader, or do you have new leaders joining your team? Register to take New Leader Orientation before working with girls.
  • Mark your calendar for our Circle of Creativity events, coming this fall! Circles are your opportunity to connect with other volunteers and GSGI staff to share ideas and learn from one another.

Gearing Up for Back-to-Troop

The beginning of the school year is one of the busiest times for Girl Scouts, with new members getting started, planning meetings for the year, and the Fall Product Program where troops can earn funds to get the year started! Here are a few tips to start your year smoothly:

  • Beat the rush by making sure your troop members are renewed for the 2016-17 year, and helping new girls and adults in your community get signed up! Leaders can renew girls AND add new girls through one easy online system – MyGS.
  • Has your service unit talked about a goal for girl and adult members? In order to help keep Girl Scouting available for all girls, please consider how your service unit can grow this year.

August To-Dos

  • Plan and host back-to-school registration nights for girls in your community.
  • Service unit teams, identify your Service Unit Fall Product Chair (SUPC), so we can help get those volunteers trained and ready!
  • Submit your Summer of Service project by September 30.
  • Submit your annual Troop/Service Unit Finance Report (PAST DUE)
  • Complete membership registrations for the 2016-17 year. Leaders and parents both have access to MyGS where you can register and pay the $15 membership dues by credit or debit card through our secure system.
  • Is your troop bridging to a new level? Remember to take Leading Your Level for the new program level.

Start Your Girl Scout Year Off Right at “Circle of Success!”

Can you believe it is almost time to start the next Girl Scout year? We want to help you have fun and start your year off right with our Circle of Success events, designed with you in mind! At these unique events, you’ll connect with your fellow Girl Scout leaders, hear from GSGI staff and share best practices with each other.

You’ll get the chance to customize your experience with 3 rounds of break-out sessions, each with options suiting almost any volunteer role (see below for more info). At Circle of Success, you can even experiment with new perspectives through hands-on activities – whether it’s trying out how to be an advocate, making a foil oven with the Ag Journey, or testing out your knowledge of where to find your best tools.

Locations are spread around the council – eight locations in all – so find the one nearest you today!

What types of sessions will be available? Here’s a roundup of the options you’ll have for your breakout session:

You Want Me to Look Where?

With all of the new technology, have you gotten frustrated on where your best resources or forms are? Or are you unfamiliar with how we share information with all volunteers? Do not fear – we want to help you succeed and start off on the right foot! In this session, we will show you the basics of several volunteer resources, such as The Bridge, Volunteer Toolkit, and much more. Best of all, we’ll have you learn through a fun, hands-on way with teamwork.

Kick Off the Year with Ceremonies and Traditions

Investiture, Rededication, and Juliette Gordon Low’s Birthday are just a few of the ceremonies and traditions we will experience.  Come prepared to share traditions and ceremonies that your troops have tested and recommend to others.

A Brilliant Start with the Fall Product Program

This session will introduce the Fall Product program, which gives troops and girls a great opportunity to earn funds to start their Girl Scout year! We’ll give an introduction to the program and review what’s new for the 2016 year! This session is for new and returning volunteers alike. (Note: This is not a full training on the program, simply a sneak peek.)

Building Better Product Programs

Product Volunteers know that running the largest program in the council is no easy task. We want to hear your thoughts, ideas and dreams on how we can help tailor the Cookie Program (and Fall Product too!) to better fit the needs of busy families and volunteers. (Note: This session is geared toward returning volunteers & parents.)

Delivering Fun with Purpose-Ag Journey and Outdoor Badges:

You don’t have to be an expert scientist or an agronomist to do fun and educational activities with your girls using the Ag-Journey!  This new supplemental curriculum to our “It’s Your Planet – Love It!” is an exciting way to help us bring new opportunities to girls across our council. Join our Ag-Journey gurus for some hands-on activities directly from the curriculum, discuss strategies to engage girls, and discover additional STEM resources to enhance their learning experiences! The Ag-Journey patch, along with a line-up of our Girls’ Choice badges, will also be on display for you to view. We’ll also have a list of ideas on what you and your girls can do to earn these badges so be prepared to channel your creative energy with us!

Growing the Movement through Recruitment

I volunteer…So can you!  Come and role-play how easy recruiting a new leader can be.  Be yourself.  Be a Girl Scout.  Visit our display table, and see innovative, fun resources and materials available for you to use at a recruitment event for girls and adults in every zip code.

Team Girl Scout!

You love your girls! You just wish their parents would return permission slips, arrive on time for meetings, and volunteer at cookie booths, too!  How can you get the entire family to be engaged, excited members of Team Girl Scout?  Our panel of experienced Girl Scout Leaders will answer questions and talk about how they keep their troops informed and involved.

Still need convincing? Here are three more great reasons to attend Circle of Success:

  1. Many opportunities for prizes and surprises.
  2. Connect with a new Girl Scout sister from outside of your community.
  3. Spark a new idea or two to incorporate with your troop.

We hope to see you at Circle of Success soon, and later this year at “Circle of Creativity” events to give you a mid-year boost!

July 2016: Your Checklist for Success

Need a refresher from last month? Check out the June Checklist. 

Need to download and print a copy of the July Checklist? Click here!

Annual Troop/Service Unit Finance Report – PAST DUE

Thank you to all of the troops and service units who submitted your annual Troop/Service Unit Finance Report by the June 30 deadline!

If you have not yet completed this required form, click here for an online or PDF version.

Need help? Email us at info@gsiowa.org, or give us a call at 800-342-8389.

Circle of Success

It’s almost time to start the next Girl Scout year! We want to help you have fun and start your year off right with our Circle of Success events. Connect with your fellow Girl Scout leaders, hear from GSGI staff and share best practices with each other!

Fall Product Program

Each year, troops and individual Girl Scouts are invited to participate in the Fall Product Program, which gives Girl Scouts the opportunity to sell nuts, candy, and magazines to friends & family. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Troops earn proceeds they can use to get the year started, and girls can earn individual Munch Money, which can be used for programs, camp, items in the shop, and more!
  • This year’s Fall Product Program will run from October 1 – 21 (training information coming soon).
  • We are looking to identify the Service Unit Fall Product Chair (SUPC) in each service unit. If you are interested in helping leaders in your area have a great Fall Product Program to start off the year, please let us know!

Summer of Service

Make a difference with the 2016 Summer of Service! Help show how Girl Scouts are changing the world, one community at a time, by tracking your troop’s service projects.

Register for Fall Activities

Don’t forget that girls’ Cookie Dough, Munch Money, and Juliette Program Credits from the 2015-2016 year expire on September 15, 2016!

  • Programs are fun, AND they’re the perfect way to spend extra credits from Product Programs. We have exciting activities all across the council this fall — keep an eye on our event list for the latest information. New events are added frequently!
  • Psst…girls can use their credits to sign up for future activities that occur past September 15, as long as registration is submitted before the expiration date.

Summer Clearance Sale

Another great way for girls to spend their remaining Cookie Dough and Munch Money is at the Girl Scout Shop! Now through July 18, you can find some of the lowest prices of the year during our Semi-Annual Clearance.

Visit our online store and use the promo code “CLEARANCE” to get another 50% off clearance items through July 18!

July To-Dos

  • Start planning back-to-school registration nights for girls in your community.
  • Service unit teams, identify your Service Unit Fall Product Chair (SUPC), so we can help get those volunteers trained and ready!
  • Remind parents that Cookie Dough, Munch Money, and Juliette Program Credits expire September 15!
  • Submit your Summer of Service project by September 30.

Art in the Outdoors – Download Your Badge Sets!

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Last year, GSUSA released its first-ever Girls’ Choice badges to provide girls with beneficial experiences and enhance the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). This was the first time girls had the opportunity to vote on a range of badge topics and designs.

For the second year in a row, the Girls’ Choice badge theme is focused on the outdoors. The new “Art in the Outdoors” badges will inspire Girl Scouts to explore the art that exists all around them through fun activities like making “galaxy shirts” inspired by the night sky or filming an environmental documentary.

The badges and booklets are now available in the Girl Scout Online Store!

Don’t delay: You can download digital versions of the “Art in the Outdoors” badge requirement booklets for free in June. (Printed badge requirements do cost $2.50 each, but these are in-stock and available for purchase in the online store as well).

The digital downloads—for both Year 1 and Year 2 of Girls’ Choice— cost 99 cents, and the printed badge requirements cost $2.50 each.

Be sure to check out these fun new badges — selected by girls across the country — and get your booklets today by clicking on the badge requirements for your troop’s grade level!

June 2016: Your Checklist for Success

Need a refresher from last month? Check out the May Checklist. 

Need to download and print a copy of the June Checklist? Click here!

Early Bird Renewal

  • It’s not too late to renew your troop and complete the Early Bird checklist for 2016-2017 Girl Scout year!
  • Participating leaders earn an adorable hedgehog t-shirt and all girls will receive a fun patch.
  • Check out the easy troop renewal steps in our Early Bird Guide on The Bridge!

Troop/SU Finance Reports

  • The Troop/Service Unit Finance Report, submitted along with a copy of your most recent bank statement, is required for all troops and service units, with a deadline of June 30.
  • Gather the following to get started:
    • Troop or Service Unit Bank Statement.
    • Last year’s finance report with beginning balance July 1, 2015 (if applicable).
    • Receipts & check book ledger.
    • Details on any troop income, including troop dues, membership fees, donations, or money earning projects.
    • Product Program information:
      • Troop’s total funds collected during Fall Product Program – available from NutE T2 report.
      • Troop’s total amount withdrawn for Fall Product Program – by ACH sweeps.
      • Troop’s total funds collected during Cookie program – available from SNAP Troop Balance Summary.
      • Troop’s total amount withdrawn for Cookie program – by ACH sweeps
      • Details on any girl shortages from product program.
    • Hint: you cannot save the online form and go back to it, so be sure to maintain a copy of all your information, in case you have any technical issues with the online form.

Summer of Service

The Girl Scout fun does not have to stop over the summer! Summer of Service is an initiative to encourage and recognize community service hours completed by Greater Iowa Girl Scouts.

Any projects completed June 1 – September 30, 2016 count toward Summer of Service — check out this Bridge post for more details.

Camp Registration

  • For even more Girl Scout fun this summer, please remind your troop families about summer camp opportunities!
  • To view camp offerings, visit our online Events Calendar or Event List.
  • Hint: from the calendar, click on the event once to see a snapshot, and then click the event title to open the event page. Every event page has a green “Register Now” button that directs you to the registration system
  • Girls can use their Cookie Dough, Munch Money, and Juliette Program Credits for summer camp and other programs — it’s a great way to use these funds before they expire September 15, 2016!
  • Families new to Girl Scout camp may have lots of questions! All of the information on camps can be found here, and we’re happy to answer questions at info@gsiowa.org.

Fall Volunteer Retreat Save-the-Date

Mark your calendars! This year’s fall volunteer retreat dates have been finalized. Keep an eye out for more information on the training sessions you can take at this special weekend at camp with your fellow volunteers!

Details: October 7-9, 2016 at Camp Sacajawea near Boone, Iowa.

Where To Find the Information You Need

Once of the primary questions we receive from leaders, new and experienced, is “How do I find out the information that I need to know about Girl Scouts?” Here’s a list of ways to get caught up on the latest communications from GSGI:

  • Subscribe to The Bridge (go to gsgibridge.com) and click “Follow” to receive every new Bridge post in your email inbox.
  • Head to the Volunteer Learning Portal to catch up on the online training options. We recommend these great (and convenient) trainings for new and returning leaders
  • Find the Circle of Success happening near you in July or August – more details to come soon! These sessions will be held across the council to help you jump-start the membership year and connect with other Girl Scout leaders.

June To-Dos

Summer of Service: Let’s Work Together!

What is Summer of Service?

Girl Scouts have rich a tradition of giving back to their communities through thoughtful, lasting service projects. Summer of Service is an initiative to encourage and recognize community service hours completed by our GSGI Girl Scouts this summer (there’s even a cool free patch). We are especially interested in encouraging projects which focus on community gardening and support of food assistance programs!

When is Summer of Service?

All summer long! Any projects completed June 1 – September 30, 2016 count toward Summer of Service.

How do I get involved?

We, along with our friends at DuPont Pioneer, are encouraging girls to examine food and environmental needs in their communities! Troops and individual girls can start by completing the AgJourney, available at your local leadership center (for details and to request a kit, check out our Program Kits page).

Next, girls can take the information they’ve learned about careers in agriculture to come up with a service activity to do in their community.

However, any summer service projects that are completed by Girl Scouts will count toward the Summer of Service project. We want to hear about what girls are doing to make the world a better place!

Why is Summer of Service great for girls?

Girl Scout activities during the summer keep girls excited about returning in the fall, and also allow them to explore whole new areas of interest. This is an opportunity for girls to put their values into action and discover how they can change the world through food, science, conservation– maybe even turning it into a career someday!

We did a Summer of Service project! What next?

Share your story with us! Use the Summer of Service Form on our website to share your awesome projects (and don’t forget to take some photos to share, too).

Then, shout it from the rooftops — post about your project on social media with the hashtag #gsgiserves to spread the word about what Girl Scouts are doing!

To thank you for your troop or service unit’s time and impact, we’ll even send you a Summer of Service fun patch!

Have any questions? Email us at info@gsiowa.org, or give us a call at 800-342-8389.

We can’t wait to hear all of the amazing things Girl Scouts accomplish this summer!