Volunteer Cookie Cupboard/Jar Resources

**Please note: This post contains resources for the volunteers who are running the Volunteer Cookie Cupboards and Jars during the 2017 Cookie Program. If you are not helping run a cupboard or jar, you can ignore this content.**

Resources for Volunteers Running Cookie Cupboards and Jars

Printable Tools for Troops

Let Your Voice Be Heard: Apply to Be an Annual Meeting Delegate!

Do you want to learn more about how the council is run? Would you like to have the chance to vote on council business for the upcoming year? Every year, Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa holds an Annual Meeting to bring together delegates from across the council, board members, and staff to do just that!

The 2017 Annual Meeting will be held on April 18, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. via a teleconference. Any member 14 years of age or older is welcome to apply to be an official voting delegate, but all members are invited to attend the meeting. Delegates and visitors alike will be able to access the meeting from their own homes, and will not need to travel!

At the Annual Meeting, delegates:

1 Elect officers, board members at large, members of the Board Development Committee; and this year, the delegates and alternates to the National Convention.

2 Consider any proposed amendments to the bylaws.

3 Provide input on key issues affecting the Council and the Movement.

4 Consider any other business appropriate to come before the corporation in accordance with the process established by the board of directors.

It’s very important to us that every service unit and community can have their voices be heard in these decisions!

Interested in participating in this unique opportunity? Start the process of applying to be a delegate by contacting their Service Unit Manager.

We will be emailing delegate materials in early March, so make that call today!

Have any questions, or not sure who to contact? Email us at info@gsiowa.org.

 

February 2017: Checklist for Success

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

Need to download a copy of the February Checklist? Click here!


February At-a-Glance

  • February 1: The 2017 Cookie Program Begins! Order-Taking starts now.
  • February 8: Live announcement of Winter Membership Drive winners on Facebook at approx. 11am
  • February 10: Booth sales start for the Cookie Program.
  • February 27: Registration deadline for Girl Scout Day at the Capitol.

Upcoming – For Girls, Troops, and Families

Winter Events

Troops and Girl Scout families can view and register for events around the council from the Events Calendar on our website. You can also find program kits and field trips online!
Be sure to check out upcoming programs near you:

  • Girl Scout Day at the Capitol – Get a behind-the-scenes look at how our state government works on Monday, March 13! (Registration Deadline: 2/27/17)
  • FIRST LEGO League (Jr. FLL) (ages 6 – 10) – Let her inner innovator shine! Jr. FLL features a real-world challenge to be solved by research, critical thinking, construction, teamwork, and imagination. Teams use LEGO® bricks to build a model with a motorized part and develop a coordinating poster to illustrate their journey. We still have the opportunity to sponsor a few more teams for the 2016-2017 season. Email info@gsiowa.org to learn more!

Volunteer Resources

Girl Scout Week Program Kit

  • Girl Scout Week, celebrated March 12 – 18 this year, is fast approaching! To make it easier to plan your festivities in honor of Girl Scouts’ 105th birthday, we’ve put together a Program Kit (also featured in the program/camp book)! Check out the kit (and lots more) on our website.

Last Chance to Nominate Amazing Volunteers!

The Volunteer Toolkit – What GSGI Volunteers Think!

  • The Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) is a tool, accessible through the MyGS login on our homepage, that allows volunteers to plan your year, customize meetings, communicate with families, and so much more! The volunteers of Troop 00980, who are navigating their first year as leaders, have this to say about the VTK:

“Having no knowledge of what should/should not happen in meetings, this has served to give ideas and direction for our meetings.  It’s easy to go in, see what is there, and change what we want without having to start from scratch.  Having the resources, printouts, etc. right there without having to search is great too.  It’s a customizable road map which is especially nice since we are a new troop with new leaders.”

Circle of Excellence

  • Registration is opening soon for our big Circle of Excellence celebration on April 22 in Ames! Dr. Nancy Franz will be our keynote speaker, and the event will be FREE for all current Girl Scout members (girls and adults) – please note that registration is still required once it has opened. Check out more information on our website.

Building Girl Scouts

Winners Announced Live – Winter Membership Drive

  • On February 8 at 11:00 a.m., we’ll draw the winners of our Winter Membership Drive contest gift cards, live on our Facebook page!

Your Girl Scout Shop

Your Cookie Booth Gear!

  • We’ve got yard signs, car magnets, balloons, tablecloths, and more in the council shops to help your troop bling their booth! Stop by today.

Cookie Carts

  • Special “cookie carts” will be available in shops in early February. Limited quantities available – stop by as soon as you can in February!

National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend Patch

  • Is your troop or service unit doing something special to celebrate National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend (February 24-26)? Bring in a photo of your festivities (on your phone is fine) to any GSGI shop from February 27 – March 5 and you’ll receive a free National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend patch for all participating girls!

Girl Scout Q&A

 Q: Why does (Girl Scout name) have an asterisk next to her name in SNAP+? 

A: Girls with asterisks next to their names have a financial restriction with the council.  Please note that these girls may participate in the Cookie Program through booth sales, and by accessing COCOdirect to send e-mails to family and friends to purchase cookies. However, they are not able to handle product or money directly.  You may Transfer cookies to these girls as long as they are for booth sales and not direct sales.

Q: I have a girl showing in SNAP+ who is not selling cookies with my troop.  Can she be removed?

A:  Girls who are active members of the troop but are not participating in the Cookie Program can remain listed in SNAP+.  Girls without any cookies transferred to them in SNAP+ will not impact your troop’s PGA or incentives earned.  If a girl is no longer actively involved with your troop and is not supposed to appear on your MyGS Troop Roster, email us at info@gsiowa.org and we will be sure to place her appropriately.

Q: Where can I access helpful information for the Cookie Program?

A:  Be sure that you’re subscribed to our Shout Out! Newsletters – you can find a list of links to previous Shout Outs! and a link to the subscription form on the Bridge. You can also find a complete roundup of resources at gsgibridge.com/cookieprogram.

Get Ready, Get Set – Get Trained!

*This post is part of our new “onboarding” section for brand new Girl Scout volunteers! If you’re a current volunteer, you can still feel free to browse for a refresher.

We are so excited to offer online training opportunities for volunteers! Here’s why you should be excited too:

  1. Do it on your time! Whether you have free time at night or early in the morning, these new trainings will be accessible 24/7.
  2. Train in easily-digestible pieces! You don’t have to do any of the trainings in one sitting. Have 20 minutes free each evening? No problem! You can stop and start your course wherever you would like.
  3. Review information whenever you want! After you finish the course, you can return to review information weeks or months later for a quick refresher.
  4. Train from home. Now there’s no need to go out after relaxing at home. You can’t beat training while rocking some cozy pajamas!

Excited and ready to get started? 

Here’s how you can create an account in the Volunteer Learning Portal and enroll in a course! 

1. Go to training.girlscoutsiowa.org. On the left-hand side of the screen, click “Create New Account.”

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2. Complete the information as listed. Please use the same e-mail address which you used to register your membership for Girl Scouts.

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3. Check your e-mail account for an e-mail titled “Girl Scouts Iowa Virtual Troop: account confirmation” from Admin User (info@brightcoreconsulting.com). Click the link in the e-mail to confirm your new account!

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4. Click the title of the course you wish to take.

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5. Click the “Enroll me” button on the bottom of the page.

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You’re all set! View the training in chunks as it fits your schedule, and as always – email us at info@gsiowa.org or give us a call at 800-342-8389 if you have any questions.

MyGS: What is It? What Can I Do There?

*This post is part of our new “onboarding” section for brand new Girl Scout volunteers! If you’re a current volunteer, you can still feel free to browse for a refresher.

It’s easier than ever to manage your troop online through the My GS portal – from planning your meetings, to updating contact information, to registering for each new and exciting year.

What is My GS?

My GS is a renewal and volunteer resource tool built into one login. It houses:

  • Member Profile – Your member profile gives you the power to update family information, add additional volunteer roles during the year, and renew each girl, adult, family, or troop!
  • Volunteer Toolkit – This powerful toolkit lets you update your troop’s information, plan your entire year, and communicate with families.

It’s easy to access these great resources in one place!

Where is My GS located on our website?

You can find My GS within the green selection bar of our website, highlighted in yellow font.  Select which tool you’d like to use, and log in.

If you’re a first-time user or have forgotten your login, simply click “Forgot your password” in the login screen, and watch for an e-mail from gsusacustomercare@gsusa.org.

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Who has access to the Volunteer Toolkit?

  • Troop Leader access: Troop Leaders have the ability to view and edit troop info, year plans, and more! This access is given to all those designated as “Troop Leader” for that troop, with a current membership & eligible background check.
  • Parent/Guardian access: One parent/guardian per family has access to the VTK too, but only to view the schedule and information.

Want more information on the Volunteer Toolkit? Head over to our Volunteer Toolkit Guide!

Who has access to Member Profile?

The primary parent/guardian for each family has access to the Member Profile. Our system can also support access for multiple volunteers in a household, if additional roles need to be added.

How can I add additional volunteer roles to myself?

Select the “Add Role” button on the main page of Member Profile as circled below. You will search for your troop or service unit to locate your associated volunteer position(s) and click “Next.” It will return you to your home (Membership) page & show your current membership with the additional role(s).

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Need any help? Give us a call at 800-342-8389, or email us at info@gsiowa.org!

So You’re a New Girl Scout Leader! Here’s Your Checklist for a Great Start

*This post is part of our new “onboarding” section for brand new Girl Scout volunteers! If you’re a current volunteer, you can still feel free to browse for a refresher.

We’re so excited that you’ve decided to start your Girl Scout volunteer journey, and we want to make the process as easy as possible.

Here is your new leader checklist – and you can download a handy printable version (with fillable areas for details like locations and dates) here if you like checking things off your to-do list as much as we do!

  1. Get started by joining now!

❒ Become a registered adult Girl Scout member.

❒ Complete the Verified Volunteers background check.

❒ Watch Welcome video & answer questions in MyGS.


  1. Schedule Orientation with our Troop Support team:

❒ Complete Troop Leader Orientation.

❒ Receive Daisy/Brownie Start-Up Funds if applicable new troop.


  1. Review and sign your Troop Volunteer Agreement.

     4. Get to know your resources:


     5. Complete your required training in-person or online through the Volunteer Training Portal.

❒ Managing Troops & Groups

❒ Leading Your Level (Part I and Level-Specific)


     6. Connect with your Service Unit Manager and other volunteers in your community.

❒ Find out the meeting schedule for your Service Unit.


     7. Meet with your troop volunteer(s):

❒ Troops must have 2 leaders/co-leaders (must be unrelated and one must be female).

❒ All volunteers must become registered adult Girl Scout members & complete the background check.

❒ Determine additional volunteer roles.

– Suggestions: Fall Product Manager, Cookie Manager, Troop Treasurer, Meeting Helper, Communications Coordinator, Chaperone

❒ Review Girls’ Guide to Girl Scouting, Journey books, & Volunteer Toolkit to brainstorm ideas.

❒ Review your list of registered girls by signing into MyGS – Volunteer Toolkit & clicking “My Troop” tab.

❒ Write a parent letter/email.


     8. Communicate with all troop families:

❒ Send parent letter/email about first meetings.

❒ Schedule and hold a Parent/Guardian Meeting.

❒ Determine troop dues (if any).

❒ Decide on Troop Meeting details.

– Helpful Hint: Schedule your troop meetings around your availability. As much as possible, take into account your family needs, holidays, and availability of meeting place.

– Troops meet at many locations, including schools, churches and local community centers.

❒ Submit your troop meeting information through the Troop Catalog Update Form.


     8. Begin using Volunteer Toolkit:

❒ Choose a year plan to customize.

❒ Set up your first few meetings.


     9. Hold your first Troop Meeting:

❒ Make sure all girl & adult registrations are completed – financial assistance is available.

❒ Confirm completed background checks by troop volunteers.

❒ Get parents active in troop volunteer roles.

❒ Discuss & brainstorm how the year ahead can look.

❒ See if older Girls Scouts are available to assist.


     10. Open a Girl Scout Bank Account:

❒ Contact bank in advance to confirm what additional items or paperwork are required to open account.

❒ Complete Troop & Service Unit Bank Account Form and follow instructions to submit.

Enjoy your volunteer adventure!

If you have any questions along the way, email us at info@gsiowa.org, or give us a call at 800-342-8389!

How to Hold a Fantastic First Parent Meeting!

*This post is part of our new “onboarding” section for brand new Girl Scout volunteers! If you’re a current volunteer, you can still feel free to browse for a refresher.

You’re registered, you’re trained, and now you’re ready to hold your first troop/parent meeting! We know it can be scary starting something new, so we’re here to help.

Here’s a sample agenda for the first time you meet with the parents/guardians of your excited new Girl Scouts – having things written out can help things go super smoothly.

You can download a printable version of the agenda, too!

Girl Scout Parent Meeting Agenda

Be sure to reserve meeting space; use your troop roster to invite all parents/guardians.

Welcome & Introductions:

  • Have each adult share their name and what they hope their daughter will get out of Girl Scouting.
  • Leader(s) also share what they hope the troop will gain from the year.

Brief Overview of Girl Scouts

  • Mission: To build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place
  • Girl led (decision-making and planning), Hands-on (active not passive), and Collaborative (girls feel safer to try new things in collaborative team-based environments)
  • Girl Scout of Greater Iowa is our local council – girlscoutsiowa.org

Girl Scout Troop Specifics

  • Meeting time, day frequency and locations
  • Finances
  • Dues (how much, how often)
  • Financial assistance available
  • Uniforms (will the girls wear a sash or vest, or choose for themselves?)
  • Participating in the fall product and cookie program – helps girls learn budgeting and business skills, plus helps the troop pay activities, costs for camps, training, and other resources.

We ❤ Our Troop Parents

  • Building a Troop Committee – Share the list of jobs, get volunteers to join in on the fun!
    • Adult membership registration (annual fee or lifetime membership) and background check required for all participating adults
  • Snack Coordination?
  • Troop Supply needs (wish list for a troop supply box)
  • Pick-up Etiquette – Please provide transportation to and from meetings in a timely manner (within 5-10 minutes after ending of meeting)

Forms & Actions to Take

Activities with Girls (if they are present) – If possible, bring an outside group in to help with girls while you’re meeting with parents!

  • Fun activities while adult meet
  • Brainstorming activity ideas

Reminder of next meeting date and goodbyes!