All About Troop and Service Unit Activities!

In addition to Girl Scout troop meetings, we know troops and service units love to get together for special activities! Here’s your handy guide to planning adventures for your group:

Planning an outing with your troop or service unit?

If you’re planning an event that falls into one of these categories, an application for activity approval is required before you start your journey:

  • Your troop or group will be away for one or more nights.
  • You’ll be riding horses.
  • You’ll be doing water activities, or swimming at a location without a staff lifeguard. 

If your trip doesn’t fall into any of these categories, be sure to still follow steps 1 through 3 to plan your activity or event!

  1. First, download the Event/Activity/Trip Checklist for all of your planning steps. Whether you’re going on an afternoon outing or a week-long camping trip, this document will explain everything you need to do, including any forms that need to be turned in to the council.
  2. Be sure to check Safety Activity Checkpoints for all activities — this document will help you gather the resources and permissions you need to have a safe and fun event.
  3. Remember to get parent permission for all participants whenever you plan an event, activity or trip!
  4. Turn in any required forms:
  5. For activities lasting 3 nights or more, or where non-Girl Scout members will be participating, submit the Plan 2 Enrollment Form for additional insurance.
    • The fine print: All Girl Scout members are covered under Girl Scout activity insurance. 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.

Is your service unit or troop planning a fun event that you would like to invite all Girl Scouts to attend?

  • Submit the Event Listing Request Form eight weeks prior to your event to have it listed on our online calendar and open for online registration.
  • Girls will be able to use 2015 Munch Money and 2016 Cookie Dough for troop and service unit events that are open to members from across the council!

Looking for something special for your troop to do?

  • Check out our Field Trips! We’ve set up opportunities with organizations across the council that will provide a special experience for your troop or group! Contact field trip sites directly to arrange a visit.

November 2015: Checklist for Success

Need a refresher from last month? Check out the October Checklist, which includes tips on MyGS and the Volunteer Toolkit!

Need a printable version of the November Checklist? Download one here!

Opportunity Catalog

With our new online registration system and the Girl Scout Opportunity Catalog, a new Girl Scout can see what troops are available in her area. Not only that, but her family can see when those troops meet, and register immediately into an available opening!

We need your help to make the Opportunity Catalog a success!

  • Talk about the Opportunity Catalog with other leaders – this system is a huge improvement over waiting to place girls in troops after their registration forms are entered and processed!
  • Provide updated information for all troops in your service unit. Leaders can submit the Troop Catalog Update Form with details and the maximum number of spots available.
  • If troop meeting places and times are still being established, that’s okay! We can put a nearby location and a note that times are subject to change. The more information available for new parents and families, the more girls have a chance to participate!

We believe that the Opportunity Catalog system will make it easier for troop and service unit volunteers to spend less time on paperwork, and more time having fun with girls!

The Bridge

The Bridge is a website specifically made for GSGI volunteers. We’ve listened to your feedback and created The Bridge as your one-stop volunteer site, where we will be posting several stories per month to help you have the best Girl Scout year ever!

Want to subscribe to receive posts in your email so you don’t miss out on information? Just click on “Follow” in the bottom right hand corner at gsgibridge.com!

Leader Trainings

Volunteer trainings are designed to give you helpful tools to make the most out of your volunteer experience! To make things more exciting, we’re in the process of moving some of our trainings online, so you can complete them from the comfort of your home. Check out a snapshot of the most essential trainings:

  • New Leader Orientation – New leaders are invited to this training after completing their registration and background check. Contact us at (800) 342-8389 or info@gsiowa.org to schedule yours!
  • Managing Troops and Groups – You can access this training, which gives you the basics of running your troop, anytime online. Find out more and access the training on our website!
  • Leading Your Level – Online course coming soon! To schedule an in-person session in your service unit, please email your request to info@gsiowa.org.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to attend SciGirls Training at the Science Center of Iowa on November 14. You don’t have to be an expert scientist to do fun and educational activities relating to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) with your Girl Scouts. Join us for this great hands-on “SciGirls” training to learn how easy it can be! Limited spots available: register online now!

Finish Your Product Program Strong!

Fall Product Reminders

  • Troop Final Report Envelopes (which include all of your troop’s Magazine Paper Forms and ReachOut Booklets) are due to your Service Unit Product Chair.
  • Product delivery to service units: November 12-20
  • The ACH Sweep will withdraw the amount due to the council on November 10 – make sure your bank account details are listed in Nut.E!

Plan Ahead for the Cookie Program

  • Check out details about Service Unit or Troop Cookie Rallies on our website. A Cookie Rally allows girls to participate in activities that will help them become successful sellers during the Cookie Program each year!
  • Register by November 30 for your samples and recognition items be sent to you by your rally date. Please note that patches and product samples will not be provided unless 3 or more troops participate together.

November To-Dos

  • Invite a friend to join Girl Scouts and you both win! When you invite a friend to start a new Girl Scout Troop, you’re giving even more girls the opportunity to be their best selves. Plus, if you invite them to start a troop this month you’ll both receive awesome rewards!
    Find your friend and head over to www.girlscouts.org/inviteafriend to get started!
  • Submit your 2015-2016 Volunteer Agreements.
  • Plan meetings and events for the year – leaders can do this through the Volunteer Toolkit!
  • Is your service unit or troop planning a fun event that you would like to invite all girls to attend? Submit the Event Listing form and your event can be listed on the online calendar and open for online registration. Girls will be able to use 2015 Munch Money and 2016 Cookie Dough for troop and service unit events that are open to members from across the council!
  • Are there open volunteer positions in your service unit? Talk to your support teams about recruitment help!
  • 2016 Destinations application materials are due on November 1! Refer to our Girl Scouts Destinations 2016 – Application Instructions for details.
  • Check out the list of Field Trips you can do with your troop or service unit at your convenience!

Coming Soon

  • Service Unit Manager Training – Service Unit Managers, look for an email with details. Have you confirmed your position as Service Unit Manager?
  • Cookie Trainings will be held in December. Keep an eye on the Shout Outs for more information!

5 Tips to Finish Your Fall Product Program Strong!

We’re just over halfway through the 2015 Fall Product Program — isn’t it crazy how time flies? Here are our top 5 tips for finishing strong with your troop!

1. Make sure you’ve entered your troop bank account information in Nut.E! This year, rather than filling out ACH Forms with troop bank information, you can easily enter the details online into Nut.E. 

online2. There’s still time to encourage girls to set up their online stores. Girls can send emails to their customers, near and far. It’s easier than ever to reach out to a grandmother who lives out of state, or a busy family friend who’s easier to reach online! Here’s a helpful video tutorial on how to set up your store.

Psst…Did you know that online orders ship 72 hours after they’re placed? Customers can get their items even faster than a traditional Fall Product order!

3. Here’s another great way to help girls meet their goals: encourage them to approach businesses with the corporate gift items. Girls can use their online store and business card to allow businesses to purchase great staff gifts for the holidays!

4. Need a refresher in using the Nut.E system before it’s time to submit orders and recognitions? Check out this handy Nut.E Training for Troops for all the information you’ll need.

5. Encourage girls and families to use social media responsibly. You can share our official social media policy during the Product Programs with families:

In the digital age, the Internet and social media provide great opportunities for girls to develop new business skills. Through the Product Programs, we hope to empower girls to learn how to be good businesswomen, and how to use resources relevant to their grade-level. We support girls 13 and older in utilizing online tools to promote their sales on their personal pages, to their friends and family.

While we support girls using social media to have a greater reach amongst the network of people they know, Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa does not promote the marketing of Product Programs on Facebook groups that promote buy, sell or trading activities. These pages, like sites such as Craigslist, are uncontrolled, which presents a unique set of safety and privacy concerns. The top priority of the Girl Scout Product Programs is to make sure the girls learn the five skills while having fun and being safe.

While GSGI does not support utilizing buy, sell or trade pages for Product Program use, social media pages are private property. Parents/guardians are responsible for the safety of their Girl Scout’s information, and must use their best discretion when posting or sending private messages to customers seeking product.

The Cookie Program teaches girls five essential skills, and one of them is business ethics. As a Girl Scout Volunteer/Parent, you are working on your honor to teach girls to be honest, trustworthy, and reliable and to abide the rules of the Cookie Program.

We’re so excited to see Girl Scouts reach new heights in this year’s Product Program! If you have other tips to share with your fellow volunteers, feel free to post them in the comments.

Have any questions about these Fall Product tips, or need help navigating the program? We’re here to help! Give us a call at 800-342-8389, or email us at info@gsiowa.org.

Your Online Accounts – MyGS and Doubleknot Event Registration

It’s easier than ever to manage your troop online, from memberships to programs, with the launch of new systems like MyGS and Doubleknot. If these terms are new to you, check out our handy guide below for more information on how they can help you maximize your troop year!

Your MyGS Account

What is MyGS?

MyGS is an online system that will give you the ability to view and renew memberships for your household and troop, and will also let you use the Volunteer Toolkit to plan your year! It’s easy to access these great resources in one place.

How do I access MyGS?

  • Click on the yellow MyGS tab located on the top right corner on the website, and select Member profile from the drop down menu.
  • If you’re a first-time user or have forgotten your login, select forgot password to generate a temporary password that will be sent to your email address.
    • Your username should be the email address you used during your registration.
    • If you have recently changed your email address, please contact us at 800-342-8389 or info@gsiowa.org prior to requesting a new password.

What can I do in MyGS?

MyGS gives troop leaders the ability to do lots of convenient troop management in one place. Here’s a sneak peek of some of the things you can do for your troop in MyGS:

  • View a roster of all troop members. Psst…if your troop is not showing the correct grade level, fill out the Troop Catalog Update Form!
  • Send emails directly to families in your troop — what a great way to stay organized!
  • Customize and track events, meetings, and activities in the Volunteer Toolkit.

What’s the Volunteer Toolkit?

Want more information on this great resource? Check out our Volunteer Resources page and watch the preview videos!

Your Doubleknot Account

What is Doubleknot?

Doubleknot is a convenient online registration system for Girl Scout events. No more waiting to hear if your registration went through — Doubleknot offers immediate confirmations and automatically keeps track of how many spots are left in each program.

How do I access Doubleknot?

  • It’s easy! Find the program or event you’d like to register for on our online Event List — if the program requires registration, just click “Register Now” and you’ll be directed to the event on Doubleknot.
  • During your registration process the first time, you’ll create a Doubleknot account to register family members and troop members for events. Your Doubleknot login is not the same as your MyGS login, and will be created separately (but feel free to use the same username and password). When you register for events in the future, simply login using this information!
  • Want to pay for your program using Cookie Dough, Munch Money or Juliette Program Credits? Select “Gift Certificate” and enter your card information for any of these Product Program proceeds.
  • Have a question on event registration? We’re here to help! Email us at registration@gsiowa.org for assistance.

We hope that these systems help streamline the Girl Scout year for you, our awesome volunteers! If you have any questions or want more information, give us a call on the Girl Scout Hotline at 800-342-8389, or email us at info@gsiowa.org. Happy clicking!