Thank you for being a Girl Scout volunteer. Have no doubt: you, and nearly one million other volunteers like you, are helping Girl Scouts make a lasting impact in their own lives and on the world.
Here you’ll find the tools and resources you’ll need to have an amazing Girl Scout experience while you and your Girl Scouts build courage, confidence, and character and make the world a better place.
Girl Scouts is girls-led! Working with girls of all ages can be both challenging and rewarding. Here are resources to help you work with your girls.
In addition to the Volunteer Basics Training Series, all troop co-leaders take grade-level training. This training helps create the ideal girl/adult partnership to ensure girls grow and take charge as much as is appropriate for their age and development.
Grade Level Essentials
Take your experience to the next level with gsLearn, our online training forum. You'll find great training and support resources like the Successful Leader Learning Series, Girl Scouts in the Outdoors, Facilitating Virtual Troop Meetings, and more!
To access gsLearn: click MYGS/VTK, log in to My Account, and click gsLearn on the left side of the screen.
Use our gsLearn Guide for more information.
The Volunteer Toolkit is a digital resource that supports troop leaders and co-leaders, making the process of running a troop easier and more efficient. You can access the VTK through myGS.
Traditions give Girl Scouts a sense of history—and inspire them to be the best they can be.
Sharing traditions with millions of Girl Scouts—and the huge network of Girl Scout alumnae who came before them—helps remind girls they belong to a big, powerful, and inclusive sisterhood.
Ceremonies help Girl Scouts mark special events throughout the year, such as bridging to another level, earning a National Leadership Journey award, or getting a Girl Scout pin.
Ceremonies can commemorate accomplishments or add something special to the beginning or end of a group's meeting. Girls can plan a ceremony around a theme, such as friendship or nature, and express themselves in words or song. Whatever its purpose, every Girl Scout ceremony helps girls share in Girl Scout history and traditions—and create their own special memories.
Girl Scout Sign: Hold the right hand up at shoulder height with the middle three fingers pointed to the sky and the thumb pressed down over the pinky finger. Make the Girl Scout sign while saying the Girl Scout Promise and the Girl Scout Law, and using the Girl Scout handshake.
Girl Scout Handshake: Shake left hands and make the Girl Scout sign with the right hand.
Quiet sign: The signal to be silent in a group. The person in charge raises their right hand high into the sky. All girls and adults raise their right hands, stop talking, and stay quiet.
Girl Scout Motto: Be prepared
Girl Scout Slogan: Do a good turn daily
Quip: “Girl Scouts leave a place better than they found it.”
Quip: “Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout!
The Buddy System: A safety practice to keep girls in pairs when they are outside of the troop meeting space. Trios are sometimes nicknamed a truddy, as in, “Girls, stay with your buddy, or stay with your truddy!
The friendship circle is often formed at the end of meetings or campfires as a closing ceremony. Everyone gathers in a circle where they cross their right arm over their left in front of them and hold hands with the people on either side.
Once everyone is silent, the leader starts the friendship squeeze which is gently passed from hand to hand. When the squeeze returns to the leader, she says ‘Goodnight Girl Scouts’ and the girls raise their arms over head and then turn the circle inside out.
Girls will often sing ‘Make New Friends’ before passing the hand squeeze.
Make New Friends
Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver, the other is gold.
A circle is round, it has no end.
That’s how long I want to be your friend.
Bridging is an important transition in a Girl Scout's life. It's a defining moment when a girl becomes aware of her achievements and is ready for new adventures and responsibilities. Celebrating this change should be fun, personalized, and memorable for everyone involved. And most of all, it should be designed by the girls in true partnership with adults.
Bridging ceremonies usually take place at the beginning or end of the Girl Scout year and can have three parts:
Each of the ceremony's parts offers plenty of room for the girls' creativity and individuality. The ceremony should always focus on paying tribute to Girl Scouts as they move forward.
See how Girl Scouts earn their Bridging Awards (PDF):
A flag ceremony honors the American flag as the symbol of our country and all the hopes, dreams, and people it represents. If your group includes girls from other countries, invite them to honor their flags too, and together conduct an international flag ceremony. Flag ceremonies may be used for:
Flag ceremonies may take place in meeting rooms, outdoor settings, large auditoriums, onstage, or even on horseback. The American flag is carried by a color guard for protection during a flag ceremony. All flag ceremonies share one thing—respect for the flag.
Keep it simple. Emphasis needs to be on respect for the flag rather than on the commands or techniques. Adults can ask girls these questions when planning:
The color bearer (or flag bearer) is the person who carries the flag. There is one color bearer for each flag used in the ceremony.
The color guard is a team that guards the flags. Any even number of guards may be used, but usually four or six girls are sufficient.
The Girl Scout in charge (or caller) is a designated Girl Scout who announces or calls each part of the ceremony.
"Girl Scouts, attention." Used to announce that the flag ceremony is to begin.
"Color guard, advance." Signals the color guard to advance with the flags or advance to pick up the flags.
"Color guard, post the colors." Directs the color guard to place the flag in flag standards or to attach the grommets to a flag pole rope.
"Color guard, honor your flag." Signals the color guard to salute the American flag.
"Please join us in saying the Pledge of Allegiance." Followed by an appropriate song, quotation, or poem, if so desired.
"Color guard, retire the colors." Prompts the color guard to remove the flag from standards or to lower the flag, detach it from the rope, and fold it prior to being dismissed.
"Color guard, dismissed." Prompts the color guard to leave in formation, with or without the flag.
"Girl Scouts, dismissed." Indicates girls may leave in formation or be at ease where they have been standing.
Display of the American flag is governed by law to ensure that it will be treated with the respect due the flag of a great nation. This is known as the United States Flag Code. Some of the rules most useful for Girl Scouts are:
Retiring a flag is a special ceremony that ends with burning the flag and disposing of the ashes in a respectful manner. For further information, check with council program staff.
The Girl Scout My Promise My Faith pin invites girls in grades K-12 to experience a faith journey through exploration of the Girl Scout Law and teachings from their faith. Girls may earn this national pin every year. There are five steps to earning this pin.
There are many Religious Recognitions that are created by faith communities for their members who are Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. provides a list of approved programs that allows the recognition insignia to be worn on the official uniform. Each religious organization develops and administers its own program. The girlscouts.org website provides a Religious Recognitions Chart which includes images of these emblems and contact information.