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!

Join Us at an Early Bird Cafe Near You!

Troop Leaders, you’re invited to join us at an Early Bird Café near you!

These events are coming up around the council, where your friendly Troop Support Team will be available to help with your online troop renewals and your annual Troop Finance Report. 

Whether you are renewing all your troop members, or just want to ask some questions, we encourage you to stop by for some light snacks, conversation, and help with any questions you may have. You do not need to register for these events – feel free to choose the date and location that works for you.  All events are ‘Open House’ style, so you can drop in at any point.

At each event, we will have some computers available for you to use, but feel free to bring your own device such as your smartphone or tablet! We can collect your Troop Finance Report at that time as well, so please be sure to bring it with you, along with a copy of your most recent bank statement. You can find the online form on our website.

Want more information about Early Bird? Check out our handy Early Bird guide!

Find the Early Bird Café near you:

Council Bluffs Early Bird Café

  • Thursday, May 5 from 6 – 8 p.m.
  • Council Bluffs Leadership Center
  • 1860 Madison Avenue

Ankeny Early Bird Café

  • Monday, May 9 from 6 – 7 p.m.
  • Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
  • 517 SW Des Moines Street

Oskaloosa Early Bird Café

  • Wednesday, May 11 from 4 – 6 p.m.
  • Smokey Row Coffee Co., 109 S Market St

Panora Early Bird Café

  • Wednesday, May 11 from 5 – 7 p.m.
  • PJ’s Drive-In Diner, 600 E Main

Des Moines Area Early Bird S’mores Cookout

  • Thursday, May 12 from 3 – 7 p.m.
  • GSGI Des Moines Leadership Center, 10715 Hickman Road

Sioux City Early Bird Café

  • Thursday, May 12 from 6 – 8 p.m.
  • GSGI Sioux City Leadership Center, 1515 Zenith Drive

Storm Lake Early Bird Café

  • Tuesday, May 17 from 4 – 6 p.m.
  • Storm Lake Public Library, 609 Cayuga Street

LeMars Early Bird Café

  • Thursday, May 19 from 4 – 6 p.m.
  • Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor & Museum, 115 Central Avenue

Ames Early Bird Café

  • Thursday, May 19 from 4 – 6 p.m.
  • Ames Public Library, Danfoss Room, 515 Douglas Avenue

Algona Early Bird Café

  • Monday, May 23 from 4 – 6 p.m.
  • The Chocolate Season, 16 E State Street

Creston Early Bird Café

  • Wednesday, May 25 from 5 – 7 p.m.
  • Subway, 602 W Taylor Street

Greene Early Bird Café

  • Saturday, June 11 from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.
  • Black Sheep Coffee Baa, 109 S 2nd Street

Mason City Early Bird Café

  • Monday, June 20 from 4-6 p.m.
  • Mason City Leadership Center, 601 S Illinois Avenue

 

It’s Early Bird Time! Here’s Everything You Need to Know

It is Early Bird time! Your Girl Scout troop can get a head-start for another great year by renewing your Girl Scout membership for 2016-17 now. Girl and adults can earn special incentives through Early Bird registration. Why wait?shirt

Troop leaders who complete the Early Bird Checklist by June 30 will receive a hedgehog t-shirt – you will be able to pick size and delivery options.

Early Bird Checklist – to launch a fantastic 2016-17 year

  • Register at least 5 girls and 2 adults (new or returning members) for the upcoming year – membership fees for 2016-2017 are $15.
    • For each troop member, you will see an option for “Renew,” “Don’t Renew,” or “I’ll Decide Later.” If you are not sure, always use the “I’ll Decide Later” option. 
  • Submit your Troop Finance Report, with no outstanding troop debt.
    • The Troop/SU Finance report is required for all troops and service units, with a deadline of June 30.
  • Update troop information for the 2016-17 year.
  • Complete online trainings for troop leaders: Leading Your Level & Managing Troops and Groups (60-90 minutes each).
  • All renewing troop volunteers have completed the “Welcome” step in MyGS (5 minutes)
    • If you are a volunteer and haven’t yet completed this step, the Welcome video will be the first thing you see upon logging into MyGS.PATCH.png

All girls who are registered for the 2016-17 year by June 30 will receive a fun patch.

Please note that girls and adults who are receiving their 2016-17 membership through the Girl Scout Cookie Program will be renewed by May 1. As soon as registrations are entered, these members will show as “renewed” for the 2016-17 year.

How to Renew Your Troop or Family Members

Ready to renew? Here’s a breakdown of the most helpful tips and tricks for troops and families:

  1. For troop renewal, see the Troops tab in your MyGS. Change the drop-down to next year to show renewal options for the upcoming year.

  2. Print your own signature rosters to have parents/guardians indicate they would like to continue for next year. From the Troops tab, simply go to “Print” on your web browser. Keep your signature roster for your troop records.

  3. Important! Only use Don’t renew if you are 100% certain that a girl or volunteer is not renewing. If it is in question, use I’ll decide later.

  4. As you renew troop members, the green “Edit” button will allow you to update contact details for troop members. If a member requires a change in name, birth date, grade, or email, please contact us.

  5. Important! Request a valid email address for each member of your troop, and submit those details to info@gsiowa.org. If a leader’s email address is entered for everyone in the troop, it will impact your ability to log into MyGS. Members may choose whether or not they would like to receive Girl Scout emails.

  6. Anyone helping with troop meetings or outings should be registered with a volunteer role, and will receive a request to complete a background check. Ask your friends and family network to fill the roles of Troop Support Volunteer, Troop Cookie Manager, Troop Fall Product Manager, or Troop First Aid/CPR Support. And remember, at least two unrelated adults must be listed as Troop Leader with every troop. It takes many hands to run a successful Girl Scout troop, so don’t go it alone!

  7. Family Tip: Financial Aid for the $15 membership fee must be requested by the parent or guardian of a girl. If a girl needs to renew with financial aid, instruct her parent/guardian to log into their MyGS account.

  8. Leaders can ADD A NEW MEMBER TO TROOP! New adult volunteers will receive emails to complete the background check. For new girls, the leaders must receive parent permission before adding them to the troop.

  9. Leaders can now access troop renewals year-round!

  10. Family Tip: All parents also have a MyGS login, where they can renew, edit information, and find additional Girl Scout opportunities.

Now your troop is set for success, and can hit the ground running this fall! We can’t wait to hear all of the amazing things you’ll do next year.

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