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!

Apply To Be a Delegate at the 2017 National Convention!


We want YOU to represent Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa at G.I.R.L. 2017 – the triennial national Girl Scout convention!

This one-of-a-kind gathering will take place in Columbus, Ohio on October 3 – 8, 2017, with the business meeting between all of the delegates happening October 4-6.

We’re taking applications now through March 17 for volunteers (as well as Girl Scouts ages 14 and up) who would be interested in representing our council as a delegate! If you’re selected as a council delegate, all of your basic travel costs will be covered by Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa!

We hope you’ll consider applying to join us for a week of inspiration and helping the Girl Scout movement grow and evolve!

Here’s a full position description, for a full look at the duties that National Convention Delegates agree to perform. And be sure to check out GSUSA’s convention webpage for more details on this great event!

Excited? Apply today to be a National Convention Delegate! 


March 2017: Your Checklist for Success

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

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

March At-a-Glance

  • March 2: First auto-withdrawal for the 2017 Cookie Program takes place.
  • March 11: First Aid/CPR Training in Ankeny.
  • March 12: Order-Taking ends for the 2017 Cookie Program.
  • March 19: COCOdirect and booth sales end for the 2017 Cookie Program.

Upcoming – For Girls, Troops, and Families

Claim Her Spot for the Best Summer Ever – For Only $35!

  • Did you know? You don’t have to pay your Girl Scout’s full camp session fee all at once! Only the $35 deposit is due at the time you register, and then you can pay the rest later (and apply the Cookie Dough your Girl Scout earns this year). Check out the awesome sessions at Camp Sacajawea and Camp Tanglefoot, and register today!

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:

  • Camp Cookout – Join us March 25 to learn all about cooking over a campfire at the Des Moines Leadership Center (grades 2-5).
  • Backpacking Adventure – Girls in grades 4-12 can join us April 13-15 for a backpacking trip in the Loess Hills!
  • Red Cross Babysitting Class – Cadettes and older can gain valuable training to be a safe, reliable babysitter through the Red Cross! The cost (for supplies) is $25/girl; maximum participants is 12. If your troop or service unit is interested in hosting a class, email info@gsiowa.org with the following info: leader name, email address, city, # of girls, potential dates (supply two), potential location.

Volunteer Resources

Wells Fargo Community Service Grant

  • Thanks to Wells Fargo, Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa troops have the opportunity to receive grant funding ($100 – $500) for service projects in local communities. Find out more information on what projects qualify and how to apply on our website at girlscoutsiowa.org/wellsfargo!

Circle of Excellence Registration is OPEN!

  • Registration is open now 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), 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!

First-Aid/CPR Classes

  • Need to complete your first aid/CPR training? We have a few scheduled trainings coming up across the council (first aid/CPR training will also be available at the Fall Leader Retreat – see below for more info).

Indoor Trampoline Parks and Safety

  • With the council’s express permission, indoor trampoline parks are one of only two freefall activities not prohibited by Girl Scouts. An indoor trampoline park is an enclosed gymnasium-like space consisting of many connected trampolines used to turn an entire room into a massive trampoline. Indoor trampoline courts, because they are contained, low-impact, and adjustable to size and skill-level of participants, is one of two freefall activities not prohibited by Girl Scouts. Indoor Trampoline Parks have padded walls, soft (may be foam pits) landing areas and staff trained to watch for possible unsafe behavior. Indoor trampolining is not recommended for Girl Scout Daisies.
  • Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa has only approved the following indoor trampoline parks to date.  If you have a park in your area please let us know so we can verify they meet the safety standards.  Be sure that each family has signed a specific release form for the facility for each of your girls.  If you have any questions please contact your Troop Support Manager.
    • Sky Zone Trampoline Park, 1300 SE Gateway Dr. #103, Grimes, IA 50111
    • Get Air Des Moines, 3799 86th St, Urbandale, IA 50322

Save the Date for the Fall Leader Retreat

  • The 2017 Fall Leader Retreat will take place October 20-22 at beautiful Camp Sacajawea in Boone! Keep an eye out for more information, including details on which volunteer training will be offered, daily schedules, and more.

Girl Scout Week

Girl Scout Q&A

 Q: Can I get gluten free Trios through my Planned Order in Snap+?

A: Trios will not be available through the Planned Order process to pick up at cupboards. If a troop would like Trios they will need to get them from a troop who does have them and do a Troop-to-Troop Transfer. We encourage troops to network amongst one another as well as check out the Facebook groups which may be available for leaders to access in their respective areas.  Troops who are picking up Planned Orders at a cupboard may also ask the cupboard manager if they have any Trios from any exchanges, and if the cupboard does the troop is welcome to them. However, inventory is not guaranteed and they will be given on a first-come, first-served basis; we are unable to hold Trios for any troops.

Q: How much will be withdrawn from my troop bank account during the first Cookie Program auto-withdrawal on March 2?

A: On February 23, the Troop Product Manager will receive an email detailing the amount that will be withdrawn on March 2. This total is calculated by $1/package received by the troop through February 18. For the second auto-withdrawal on April 4, the remaining balance due will be withdrawn.

Q: How can I get in touch with local leaders to exchange cookies?

A: Check out our region-based Facebook cookie exchange notes! You can post in the comments with what you have or are looking for, and then exchange contact information with each other via private message. Check out the exchange note nearest you:

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.”


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


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!


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


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

training 5.jpg

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.