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Troop Basics

What will you do with your troop this year? How will you fund your fun? Is there additional training available? Is there a way to plan our year online?

These questions and more are answered below! This page is here to guide you to all the information you need to lead your troop with confidence.

Another great resource is our GSWNY Members Facebook Group. Here you'll find exclusive council updates as well as conversations with other leaders, both past and present!

Troop Leaders: Need to update your troop information? Click here to let us know your changes!

Volunteer Essentials

Volunteer Essentials is the primary GSUSA & GSWNY reference document to be consulted for general safety and planning guidelines. Among other topics, it contains a program overview, safe planning procedures and financial guidelines.

This includes all policies to ensure that your troop is functioning within our local and national guidelines. By agreeing to be a Girl Scout volunteer, you’re agreeing to follow the items laid out in this resource.

Please review our COVID-19 guidelines when planning in-person activities and meetings.


Troop Finance Forms
Financial Assistance
Fall Product Program


The Fall Product Program is great money earning activity that girls/troops can participate in to build their troop startup funds! Being a quick program, girls will have an opportunity to sell magazine subscriptions and delicious nuts and candy items to friends and family. 

Not only will troops earn proceeds; $1 for every nut and candy sold, and $3 for every magazine subscription, girls will earn really cool themed rewards too! Girls have an opportunity to sell nuts, and candy in-person, online or both! 

Magazine subscriptions can be purchased online and will be sent directly to the customer. Offering pre pay girl delivered and direct ship options, participating has never been easier.

Girl Scout Cookie Program

January - March

The cookie program is an exciting time of the year where girls venture into the entrepreneurial world to learn business and financial skills while running her cookie business. Girls and troops will “earn and learn” as they earn a minimum of $.75 per box of Girl Scout Cookies to do some pretty amazing things—whether it’s trying a new experience,  or supporting their local community. 

With the support of your Service Unit Manager and Product Program Manager, each troop will build a Cookie Team to ensure the program is fun, engaging, and successful! After attending a Troop Leader Cookie Training, as well as working with your Service Unit Product Program Manager throughout the cookie program, you’ll feel confident, eager and ready for your girls to crush their cookie goals.

Cheddar Up

Cheddar Up is a digital payment and tracking tool that will help your troop or service unit easily collect money online for Girl Scout activities or events.

Through our partnership with Cheddar Up, your troop or service unit bank account is linked with your Cheddar Up account so you can quickly accept online payments for expenses such as uniforms, supplies, badges, activities, outings, camp, Service Unit Campouts, or event registration.

For more information, view the Cheddar Up FAQs, or watch the video below.

What to Do With Your Troop

Programs and Events

Our Program and Events Calendar contains additional programs for girls and troops. Girls may register to attend on their own or with their troop. Learn more about GSWNY opportunities here.

Please note that GSWNY Council Sponsored Programs are NOT drop off programs unless specifically noted in the program description. A Troop Leader/Parent must remain on site with their girl(s) and follow all safety guidelines for field trips. 

Badges and Journeys
Programs on Demand

Program on Demand is a guide of organizations and businesses that offer opportunities for Girl Scouts in all nine Western New York counties. Many of the collaborators can work with you to tailor an activity by your girl’s interests and/or grade level. Learn about Programs on Demand more here.

Ceremonies and Traditions

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.

Click here to learn more about Girl Scout ceremonies and traditions.

Badge in a Box

Programs in a box are kits with everything you need to present and run a program, event, activity or badge with Girl Scouts. The kits have all the consumable and non-consumable resources, items, guides and support for the program. Learn more about programs in a box here. 

Highest Awards

Every Girl Scout goes above and beyond to make a difference in her community and the greater world. The skills and experiences she gains along the way set her up for special recognition through the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards. Learn more about these Highest Awards here.

Field Trips

Ask your girls if they’d like to go to the zoo, the park, or the museum! Field trips are a great way to coincide with and/or enhance the troop meeting experience. 

Parent/Guardian Permission Slip -  Special Events Form


Girl Scouts envision a world where girls and young women access nature as a foundation for learning, discovery and empowerment. We recognize outdoor/nature-based programs as resources for building life skills and teaching values of inclusion, confidence, empathy, innovation, and stewardship. These programs continue to establish a community of girls with the vibrancy and resiliency now, who will conserve their shared legacy with nature for generations to come. Click here to learn more about our Outdoor programs and Camp. 

Step by Step- Developing Outdoor Skills in Girls

Girl Scouting at Home

There are many ways girls can participate in Girl Scout activities, and earn awards, at home! Here are a few resources and ideas for Girl Scouts of all levels to help you get started.

GSWNY Program Resources

Our program resources show how your girl can engage with Girl Scout in many capacities, including community events, Badge in a Box, and more.

GSUSA: Girl Scouts at Home

Girl Scouts at Home represents a new way to participate in the Girl Scout experience—from virtually anywhere. GSUSA is making select Girl Scout program resources available to every girl, parent, caregiver, volunteer, and troop leader. Learn more here 

Year Plans
Bridging Guidelines


Grade-Level Training

Grade-Level Training

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.

Click here for more detailed instructions for accessing gsLearn.

Working with Girls

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.

First Aid and CPR Training

Each troop should have at least 1 adult with First Aid/CPR training for trips and certain troop activities. GSWNY works with EPIC Trainings to provide First Aid and CPR certification courses for our volunteers at a reduced cost.

Click here to schedule and registration information

An adult certified in First Aid/CPR is required if a troop leaves their meeting place and/or if an activity’s Safety Activity Checkpoint indicates a First Aider is required.  The following healthcare providers may also serve as first-aiders: physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, paramedic, military medic, and emergency medical technician.

With our partner agency, EPIC Trainings, Inc., we offer full day and blended learning classes.  These standard First Aid and CPR courses include adult and child CPR and basic first aid. Certification is valid for 2 years. 

Volunteer Toolkit

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.

Planning for Next Year

Spring Renewal

The Girl Scouting year runs October 1 to September 30. Starting April 1, members of our council are invited to renew their membership for the coming year. On top of your headstart toward another year of Girl Scouting, we offer other incentives for renewing early. 

Our signature perk is SAGE Tuition Rewards Points. This is a special benefit for girls and families who participate in our annual Girl Scout Membership Spring Renewal Campaign. After their first year of Girl Scouts, members can earn Tuition Reward Points when they renew their Girl Scout membership for the Girl Scout program year.  

The Tuition Rewards Points Program is a guaranteed tuition discount program collaborating with over 400 member private colleges and universities across the United States. Each Tuition Rewards Point equals $1.00 in tuition discounts. There are over 30 options in New York State.

Additionally, we give away patches, Best Year Ever Packs, gift cards, and much more. Check out our Renewal page in April to see what you can win when you renew.

On-Time Renewal

If you don't participate in Spring Renewal, we have On-Time Renewal that runs August through September. When a membership isn't renewed by October 1, it becomes a lapsed membership. You or your Girl Scout can still participate in the future, but you will just re-join instead of renewing. 

Similar to Spring Renewal, we offer amazing rewards and giveaways to our members who decide to come back during another year. Our Renewal page is updated in August with this information.

Marketing Materials

GSWNY Volunteer Quick Branding Guide - Marketing Tips for Success

When you're looking to host an event or recruit more girls, we have resources for you! Download a flyer below to edit and use today!

Looking for additional resources? Email for assistance.


If you have more questions, we're here for you! Contact Customer Care at 1-888-837-6410 or click here to email.