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Learn More About Girl Scouts

We get it, you want to have all the facts and to make sure that Girl Scouts is right for your family! Tune in to our Virtual Info Session above, request more information below, or take a look through our most Frequently Asked Questions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Explore our most frequently asked questions below. If you don't find the answer to your question, please contact Customer Care.

 

Joining Process

How do I join Girl Scouts?

To start the join process, register online!

When can my girl join? What's the best time to join?

Girls in grades K–12 can join as Girl Scouts at any time. Learn more about what girls do at each level of our program grade levels.

If you plan to participate in Girl Scouts as part of a troop, late summer or early fall is when most new troops begin to form—but you can join at any point during the year. Girls also participate throughout the year by attending events and going to summer camp.

What is a Lifetime Membership and how do I get one?

Stay connected and support the largest leadership development organization for girls in the world! Join as a lifetime member today, and make an enduring pledge to believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™.

Lifetime membership is available to any individual who accepts the principles and beliefs of the Girl Scout Movement, pays the one-time lifetime membership fee, and is 18 years of age or older.

Learn more and join as a Lifetime Member.

When and how do I renew my membership?

Each Girl Scout program year runs from October 1 through September 30 and memberships are renewed annually. Membership expires September 30 and members are encouraged to renew their membership during Early Bird season in the spring—and get in on exciting perks like a patch and exclusive Girl Scout gear.

To renew your membership, log in to your member community (MyGS) and select "renew” next to the roles you would like to continue for the next membership year.

How does my girl get matched up with a troop? What if I already have a troop in mind?

When you register your girl, you will have the option to search our Opportunity Catalog and find a troop that works for your family. Or, if you'd like to start a new troop in your community, that's an option, too!

If you don't see a troop that's right for you (or if you just don't know!) you will have the option to select “Unsure,” which will allow you to type comments into a text box. Then, one of our Placement Specialists will help find a troop that's a match for you and your girl. Troop matches are typically based on a girl's grade and community (neighborhood, school, etc.) as well as schedule preferences.

If you've already talked to the leader of a specific troop about joining, you will be able to search for that troop's number during your registration. If you are not able to find the troop, you can use the "Unsure" option as well, and simply write in the number of the troop you plan to join.

What is the Opportunity Catalog?

The Opportunity Catalog is similar to an online shopping catalog. The Opportunity Catalog shows you which Girl Scout troops have openings for girls and for volunteers.

For girls, you'll find troop openings based on your girl's grade level and the zip code you enter. If you have a specific troop in mind but are not seeing it within the catalog, you can select “Unsure” which will allow you to type the troop number or other identifying information into a text box. 

For adults, you'll find volunteer opportunities near you. You'll also be able to register as a volunteer with your girl's troop, if applicable.

 

Cost and Financial Assistance

What does it cost to be a Girl Scout member?

Girl Scout membership dues are $25 per year for girls and adults. Yearly memberships are valid October 1 (or the day you sign up) until September 30 each year. When you become a Girl Scout, you are part of Girl Scouts of the USA and are placed within your local council (Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona).

Girls who will enter kindergarten in the fall can officially join Girl Scouts starting April 1 with our Extended Year membership.  Extended year membership dues are $35 and are valid April 1 (or the day you sign up) until September 30 of the following year.

There is financial assistance available, and many troops cover costs with their earnings from the Fall Product and Girl Scout Cookie Programs.

Do I qualify for financial assistance? How do I apply?

Girl Scouts is open to all girls and adults, regardless of their income. As part of our dedication to investing in girls' leadership, our council makes funds available to support girls and adults who need financial assistance to become members. For more information and to apply, please see our financial aid page.

 

About the Girl Scout Program

What will my girl learn? What is the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE)?

Girl Scouts is the best girl leadership program in the world. Our program centers on what we call the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, or GSLE—a collection of engaging, challenging, and fun activities like earning badges, going on awesome trips, selling cookies, exploring science, getting outdoors, and doing community service projects.

At Girl Scouts, she’ll get to lead her own adventure and team up with other girls in an all-girl environment to choose the exciting, hands-on activities that interest her most. Along the way, she’ll gain important skills in four areas that form the foundation of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience:

The Result? A Lifetime of Leadership! In fact, being a Girl Scout helps girls thrive in five key ways. As a Girl Scout, she:

  • Develops a strong sense of self
  • Displays positive values
  • Seeks challenges and learns from setbacks
  • Forms and maintains healthy relationships
  • Learns to identify and solve problems in her community
Is my girl safe in Girl Scouts?

At Girls Scouts, girl safety is our top priority. Here are just a few of the ways we ensure girls stay safe:

Volunteer Background Checks

All adults are required to complete a background check before being approved as a volunteer, and current volunteers are required to renew their background check every year.

Safety Activity Checkpoints

We know that activities are more fun when everyone feels safe! To ensure this, volunteers are trained to follow our Safety Activity Checkpoints while planning and participating in troop activities.

Insurance

All registered Girl Scouts receive basic accident insurance coverage for Girl Scout activities through national membership dues. 

Race, Gender, Abilities, and Spirituality—is Girl Scouts inclusive?

Diversity and inclusion have been core values of Girl Scouts since its founding in 1912. We provide a safe and welcoming space for girls of all abilities, all races and ethnicities, from all religious backgrounds and spiritual beliefs—all in a girl-only environment with no economic barriers. 

Girl Scouts  of Southern Arizona and Girl Scouts of the USA value diversity in all its forms and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws. At Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, we are committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for every girl and her family.

 

About Troops

When/how often do troops typically meet?

The time commitment and meeting schedule for Girl Scouts can vary depending on the troop volunteers and activities girls are interested in doing. Each Girl Scout troop sets their own meeting schedule and may have meetings once per week, bi-weekly, or a mix of meetings and field trips throughout the year. Most troops meet throughout the school year, and some choose to go camping or do activities over the summer.

Who leads the troop?

Trained Volunteers

Girl Scout troop leaders are volunteers who give their time so girls can have a quality experience in Girl Scouts. Without the many wonderful volunteers, the program would not be available to girls. You can be assured that qualified, responsible people are leading your girl’s troop.

Become a Volunteer

It’s easy to become a volunteer! During the registration process, you’ll be able to search by zip code and select your volunteer opportunity. Then you’ll need to complete a background check and any appropriate training for your volunteer position. You can start this process at the same time you register your girl!

 

Parents, Guardians, and Volunteers

What is expected of me as a parent/guardian of a Girl Scout?

Take an Active Role

As a Girl Scout parent, you’ll want to take an active role in your daughter’s Girl Scout experience. You can help with snacks or transportation or assist with troop meetings. Ask your girl’s troop leaders how you can best assist the troop!

Support Activities

Along with regular troop activities, your active role can also include supporting additional activities like troop travel, outdoor experiences, and the Cookie Program. Support your girl, her troop, and the council by learning about the Girl Scout experiences that most interest you, and following all guidelines and procedures.

Respect the Troop Leaders’ Time

Girl Scouts would not be what it is if it weren’t for our dedicated volunteers. Please respect the troop leaders' time by dropping off and picking up your girl at the appropriate time, and responding regularly and respectfully to troop communications.

Should I become a volunteer? What skills/time are required?

Yes! 95% of volunteers say they make girls’ lives better at Girl Scouts—and that makes them happy. There are many ways to volunteer for Girl Scouts, from episodic volunteers who support programs and events or share their areas of expertise with local troops, to area team volunteers, to troop support volunteers who assist troop leaders—you’re sure to find a role that suits your interests, skills, and schedule. Each volunteer role has unique opportunities!

It’s easy to become a volunteer! During the registration process, you’ll be able to search by zip code and select your volunteer opportunity. Then you’ll need to complete a background check and any appropriate training for your volunteer position. You can start this process at the same time you register your girl!

 

Social Issues

What is the Girl Scouts position regarding human sexuality, birth control, and abortion?

Girl Scouts does not take a position or develop materials on these issues. We feel our role is to help girls develop self-confidence and good decision-making skills that will help them make wise choices in all areas of their lives.

Parents or guardians make all decisions regarding program participation that may be of a sensitive nature. Consistent with that belief, GSUSA directs councils, including volunteer leaders, to get written parental permission for any locally planned program that could be considered sensitive.

Does Girl Scouts have a relationship with Planned Parenthood?

No, Girl Scouts does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood.

What is Girl Scouts' process for reviewing materials?

Girl Scouts constantly reviews our materials based on feedback and suggestions we receive from our members, and we update our materials on a regular basis. As a result of this process, upcoming reprints of Journeys materials will not include playwright Josefina Lopez or links to the Women's Media Center or Media Matters. Councils will be notified of changes that are made in the future, and information on changes will be posted on our corporate website. We also are making changes on our corporate website to ensure appropriateness of content.

It is important to note that our materials feature more than 200 women and girls from many walks of life who have worked to make a difference in the world, and while we may not agree with the opinion of everyone featured, we believe they embody the commitment to leadership that we strive to teach our girls.

Does Girl Scouting support families of faith?

Yes. Girl Scouting supports girls from all backgrounds and beliefs. While we are a secular organization that refrains from teaching religious or spiritual beliefs or practices, we believe that the motivating force in Girl Scouting is a spiritual one, and we greatly value our longstanding partnerships with religious organizations across many faiths that share the values of the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

We encourage girls to develop connections to their own spiritual and religious beliefs by earning recognitions provided by their faith communities and by earning the My Promise, My Faith pin, which helps a girl deepen the connection between the Girl Scout Law and her faith. We support the right of faith leaders to verify that program delivered to girls in their places of worship is consistent with their faith's teachings.

 

Cookies

Where does the money from my purchase of Girl Scout Cookies go?

When you buy delicious Girl Scout Cookies, you’re helping power new, unique, and amazing experiences for girls that broaden their worlds, teach them essential life skills, and prepare them for a lifetime of leadership.

The net proceeds from Girl Scout Cookie sales stay local with the originating council and troop to fund activities for girls year-round as well as impactful girl-led community projects. Each council determines its own revenue structure depending on how much it costs the council to buy cookies, the local retail price to sell cookies, and the amount of revenue shared with participating troops.

Cookie program revenue is a critical source of funding for Girl Scout councils to deliver essential programming to troops and is often what makes it possible to reach girls in underserved areas and maintain camps and properties.

Additionally, Girl Scout troops can pool their proceeds to pay for necessary supplies, activities, and group travel. Girl Scouts may not earn proceeds as individuals. However, Girl Scout councils offer a wide variety of recognition items, program- and store-related credits, and travel experiences that girls are eligible to earn individually based on their sales. All troop proceeds and other rewards earned through participation in the  Girl Scout Cookie Program must be used to enhance all girls’ Girl Scout experience.

Does any of the money from cookie sales go to GSUSA (the national Girl Scout organization)?

No. All Girl Scout Cookie sale proceeds stay local. GSUSA is paid a royalty by its licensed bakers to use Girl Scout trademarks based on gross annual sales. Girl Scout councils do not provide any portion of their cookie revenue to GSUSA, and no other revenue from cookie sales goes to GSUSA.

GSUSA approves all marketing and sales materials developed by the bakers. GSUSA also provides councils with coordination and training for media activities, safety standards for girls and volunteers, a world-renowned girl leadership program, and support during cookie season.

Does any part of Girl Scout Cookie Program revenue support organizations other than the local Girl Scout council?

After paying the bakers, the net proceeds from Girl Scout Cookie sales are retained by the originating council and troop to power amazing experiences for girls and impactful girl-led community projects. Girl Scout troops set goals for how to spend their proceeds on program-related activities, such as paying their own way to a community event or museum. Girl Scout troops may also choose to use proceeds to purchase materials for a project to benefit the community.

Girl Scout Cookies and cookie-inspired flavors can be found in some popular food items. Can any business use Girl Scout Cookies and cookie-inspired flavors in its products?

A restaurant or small business may use Girl Scout Cookies in its desserts, provided it buys the Girl Scout Cookies from a Girl Scout, but it cannot use the Girl Scout name or trademarks to brand and market the products. Prohibited uses are “Thin Mint Shake,” “Girl Scouts Cupcake,” “Thin Mint Cake,” and similar constructions. GSUSA has contractual relationships with select companies to include Girl Scout Cookies and cookie-inspired flavors in their products and to use the Girl Scout name and trademarks in conjunction with those products. These rights are granted under national licensing agreements, and GSUSA is the only entity that may enter into such an agreement. For more on rules and regulations pertaining to the Girl Scout brand, or to inquire about becoming a licensee, email permissions@girlscouts.org.

How does Girl Scouts keep girls safe as they sell cookies?

Girls’ safety and security is always our chief concern—and we have strict safety guidelines. Depending on their age, Girl Scouts must be accompanied or supervised by an adult when selling and delivering Girl Scout Cookies or use the buddy system when selling and delivering door-to-door. Adults must be present at all times during cookie booth sales. Girls participating in online marketing initiatives, including the Digital Cookie platform, must read, agree to, and abide by the Girl Scout Internet Safety Pledge together with their parents/guardians.

Can Girl Scouts donate cookies to military personnel or local charities?

Yes! Girls may participate in a council-approved "Gift of Caring" or “Cookie Share” program that allows girls to collect donations of cookies for military personnel or local charities. 

What happens to the leftover cookies at the end of the cookie sale?

To ensure freshness, Girl Scouts only sell cookies produced for the current season. Therefore, if a council or troop has cookies left at the end of the sale, GSUSA encourages it to work with local food pantries and other charitable organizations to distribute cookies as a special treat for people seeking food relief services. GSUSA works with our licensed bakers to ensure that they too have an annual plan for responsibly managing leftover cookie inventory. 

 

Can Girl Scouts who aren’t in a troop participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program?

Yes! To do so, registered Girl Scouts must abide by guidelines published by GSUSA and GSSOAZ and be supervised by a council-trained adult.

Who can sell Girl Scout Cookies?

All registered girl members of Girl Scouts may participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Although parents and Girl Scout adults may assist, girls make the sale, set learning and sales goals, learn to think like entrepreneurs, and gain five essential skills that are part of the program.

Participation in the Girl Scout Cookie Program is voluntary and requires written permission from a parent or guardian. The experience helps girls learn essential life skills while powering amazing troop experiences for girls year-round.

We caution against purchasing Girl Scout Cookies for sale online at auction, community list sites, or sites such as eBay and Amazon, because GSSOAZ, and our licensed cookie bakers cannot guarantee the freshness or integrity of these cookies. In many instances, these cookies are expired or are using Girl Scout intellectual property without our authorization. Further, purchasing cookies in this way does not support Girl Scouts participating in the cookie program. 

What are “specialty ingredients”?

“Specialty ingredients” mean the product contains no artificial colors or flavors and is free of preservatives—this is indicated on the ingredients label. 

What options are available for Girl Scout Cookie customers who have food allergies?

Note that only those allergens explicitly named in the statements are in the cookies. Visit the Meet the Cookies page of our website for more information.

Are there gluten-free Girl Scout Cookies?

Yes. Responding to an important consumer trend, Girl Scouts in select areas will be selling either the Caramel Chocolate Chip or Toffee-tastic® Girl Scout Cookies, which are both gluten-free. Please contact your local Girl Scout council about availability. For more information, visit the Meet the Cookies page of our website.

Do you offer cookies made with vegan ingredients?

Yes. For more information, visit the Meet the Cookies section of our website.

Are Girl Scout Cookies "sustainable"?

Sustainability refers to social, environmental, and economic factors that an organization addresses to provide value not only to consumers but also to the world. GSUSA is proud of the initiatives its licensed bakers report on annually that speak to their corporate sustainability and social responsibility. The Girl Scout commitment to make the world a better place is a tenet GSUSA and its licensed bakers take seriously.

Can I buy Girl Scout Cookies online?

Yes, if you know a Girl Scout who is participating in the Digital Cookie® platform. Our Digital Cookie platform keeps girls front and center as we move beyond the booth and offer a convenient way for consumers to buy cookies online and support girls at the same time!

Depending on the council, girls will either use a personalized cookie website, mobile app, ecard, or direct link to ask their customers to make a Digital Cookie purchase. To find out if the Digital Cookie platform is available in your area, visit www.girlscouts.org/digitalcookie. If you know a Girl Scout, tell her you're interested in becoming a Digital Cookie customer—and she’ll take it from there!

Only registered Girl Scouts can sell Girl Scout Cookies. We caution against purchases of Girl Scout Cookies found for sale online at auction, community list sites, or sites such as eBay and Amazon, because GSUSA, your local Girl Scout council, and our licensed cookie bakers cannot guarantee the freshness or integrity of these cookies. In many instances, these cookies are actually expired, or the sellers are using Girl Scout intellectual property without our authorization. Further, purchasing cookies in this way does not support Girl Scouts participating in the cookie program.

How is the Girl Scout Cookie Program valuable to girls?

When you buy Girl Scout Cookies, you power amazing experiences and life-changing opportunities for girls year-round—from trips to our nation's capital to community projects to outdoor adventures. The more cookies you buy, the more you help Girl Scouts build essential skills as they begin to think like entrepreneurs and learn to take the lead, both now and in the future. Girls gain these skills from working with others, setting goals, and interacting directly with you, the cookie customer! It's about the experience of running her very own cookie business, gaining five essential skills (goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics) as she learns to think like an entrepreneur.

 

Questions? Our experts are here to help! Just call 520-327-2288 or email us at customercare@girlscoutssoaz.org.

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