Your 2017-18 Early Bird Renewal Guide

It is almost Early Bird time! Your Girl Scout troop can get a head-start for another great year by renewing your Girl Scout membership for 2017-18 starting April 15. Girls and adults can earn special incentives through Early Bird registration. Why wait?

Early Bird Dates: April 15 – June 30, 2017

Why Early Bird?zombies

  • Exclusive Event! We’ll be hosting super-fun zombie-themed events all across the council this summer – FREE for girls who register during Early Bird!
  • Exclusive T-Shirt! Girls and adults who register for the awesome zombie events will be able to order an exclusive zombie t-shirt for $5. EarlyBirdPatch
  • Patches! Every girl who registers during Early Bird gets a cool custom patch.
  • Get $25 for 5! Your troop will get $5 off the adult registration for up to five adult volunteers.
  • Service Unit Fun! If your service unit renews 50% of your Girl Scouts (girl members only) during Early Bird, the service unit will get a $25 gift card to use on something fun for an event!

Early Bird Checklist

  • This year it’s super easy to Early Bird – simply renew the returning girl and adult members in your troop for the 2017-18 year! Membership fees for 2017-18 are $25.

Ready to Get Started?

Check out our handy step-by-step guides, based on how you would like to renew your troop:

We’ve even made a handy fillable flyer you can use to let your troop families know what your Early Bird plans are!

Other Year-End Wrap-Up

As many troops start planning Bridging Ceremonies and Court of Awards events, it’s also a great time to wrap-up a few administrative items that will set you up for success in the fall:

  • Troop Finance Report (Due 6/30/17) – We’ve simplified the Troop Finance Report so it’s easy for troops to report on their finances (we’re required by the IRS to make sure we keep proper records of funds on file).
  • Service Unit Finance Report (Due 6/30/17) – Service Unit Managers: we’ve also created a simple form for reporting on the finances of the service unit bank account!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Why are Girl Scout membership dues increasing to $25?

A: As the first and largest girl-led organization in the world, we continue to evolve our unique leadership program and implement new technologies and ways of work to enhance the Girl Scout experience for girls, volunteers, and parents. To ensure we have the resources to support this work, the National Board of Girl Scouts of the USA has made a decision to increase the annual membership fee to $25, starting October 1, 2017, for both girl and adult members.

Every dollar of membership dues is sent to Girl Scouts of the USA to cover the cost of fundamental services supporting the Girl Scout Movement including: accident insurance for members participating in approved Girl Scout activities, research, resources, training, and services to councils. You can find more information on the fee change in GSUSA’s Membership FAQ.

Q: What if I renew during Early Bird but can’t make it to one of the zombie events. Can I still get an exclusive t-shirt?

A: We will have additional shirts available (while supplies last) for members who renew during Early Bird to purchase for $5 if they cannot attend one of the events.

Q: What is required to qualify for the Early Bird incentives?

A: All girls registered by June 30 for the 2017-18 year qualify for the Early Bird incentives, including the free patch and exclusive event! For the $25 for 5 Adult incentive, troops must also submit the annual Troop Finance Report on time.

Q: What are the different ways that I can renew my troop?

A: There are a few different ways that your troop can renew during Early Bird:

Q: If girls in my troop renew through Early Bird, how will they register for their exclusive event?

A: Once girls have renewed through Early Bird, they can register for the exclusive Zombie Event in their area! While registering, just make sure that they select the “Free – Early Bird Renewal” price level or the “$5 Early Bird Renewal with exclusive t-shirt” price level.

Q: How do we get the “$25 for 5” to use for adult renewal?

A: Troops will be reimbursed after paying the full membership dues amount. Troops must complete the annual Troop Finance Report (on time) before reimbursement.

Q: How will we know if our service unit reaches the 50% renewal mark to earn the gift card? 

A: We’ll track service unit Early Bird participation, and reach out to Service Unit Managers once their service unit reaches 50% girl renewal. Participation numbers will be tracked as of April 1, 2017.

Q: How can we get the word out to our troop families what our Early Bird renewal plans are?

A: We’ve made a fillable flyer that prints two-per-page! You can type the info your troop families need about Early Bird, print them, and hand them out at your next meeting.

Have any other questions? Give us a call at 800-342-8389, or email us at info@gsiowa.org— we’re here to help!

April 2017: Your Checklist for Success

Need a refresher from last month? Check out the March Checklist!

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


April At-a-Glance

  • April 4: Final auto-withdrawal for the 2017 Cookie Program takes place.
  • April 11: Deadline to register for Circle of Excellence.
  • Mid-April: Early Bird Renewal Kicks Off.
  • April 21: Deadline to sign up for Junior FIRST LEGO League.
  • April 22: Circle of Excellence.
  • April 22-29: Money Smart Week.
  • April 29: Tent Set-Up Day at Camp Tanglefoot.

Upcoming – For Girls, Troops, and Families

Spring 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:

Outdoor Skills Videos

Here are some great outdoor skills videos to help your troop get ready to go outdoors this spring!


Volunteer Resources

Early Bird Renewal is Coming!

  • In mid-April, Early Bird membership renewal will kick-off! From an exclusive event and free t-shirt for girls who renew their membership during Early Bird, to troop and service unit incentives, there’s a whole lot to get excited about. Keep an eye on The Bridge and the April Volunteer Newsletter for more information!

National Girl Scout Convention – G.I.R.L. 2017

  • Every 3 years, Girl Scouts of the USA holds a Triennial business meeting.  This year the business meeting will be in Columbus, Ohio, and will be followed by the interactive activities in an event called G.I.R.L. 2017.  It is a one-of-a-kind gathering of girls and women from around the world. Girl Scouts is taking the lead by working with high school girls across the nation to plan the multi-day event for all girls and those who care about them. The event will bring together more than 10,000 people—Girl Scout members, supporters, speakers, entertainers, and exhibitors—to inspire girls to get active in their communities and build a better world.
  • Check out all the news at the G.I.R.L. 2017 website – from here you can see what is being planned and register for the event. Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors can also register to join the council on a travel opportunity to the event! You can take a look at the 2014 National Convention in Salt Lake City in 2014 here on YouTube!

Volunteer Recognitions at Circle of Excellence

  • We are thrilled to report that more than 70 volunteers were nominated to receive special recognition this year!  Many of these will be awarded at the Circle of Excellence event on April 22 in Ames.  It is exciting to see peers nominating each other for their dedication! Registration is open now for Circle of Excellence – the event will be FREE for all current Girl Scout members (girls and adults), and $15 per non-member – please note that registration is still required for all, even if you do not need to pay a registration fee. Register now on our website Event List! (Registration Closes April 11.)

Share Your Year-End Celebrations With Us!

  • The Cookie Program has flown by, and that means that troops and service units will soon be planning end-of-year celebrations. We would love to celebrate your accomplishments with you and your girls! Please share with us the date, time, & location of your service unit Court of Awards, Bridging Ceremony, or end-of-year event by emailing info@gsiowa.org. We can’t wait to hear from you! Please let us know if you have any additional end-of-year questions. Thank you for all that you do!

Girl Scout Q&A

Q:When will our troop’s final auto-withdrawal for cookies be taken out of the troop bank account?

A: The final auto-withdrawal will take place on April 4, 2017. Troop proceeds will remain in your troop bank account.

Q: When will my troop receive our cookie Recognition Orders?

A: Troop Product Managers will receive Recognition Orders from your Service Unit Product Chair by the end of April.  Cookie Dough will be sent to each family directly.

Q: What can Cookie Dough & Munch Money be used towards?

You can find the new Cookie Dough, Munch Money, & Program Credit Policy on the website and in the Cookie Program post on the Bridge!