Girl Scout Myths, Debunked – Part 2

Get to Know the Safety Activity Checkpoints, Trip & Activity Request Form and Supplemental Insurance Purchase

On Friday, we brought you Girl Scout Myths, Debunked – Part 1. It was full of information for caregivers and volunteers, setting the record straight on some old and false information that has been floating around! In part 2 of this blog series, we’re debunking myths that are more relevant to troop leaders around policies and procedures!

This post references the Safety Activity Checkpoints. When preparing for any activity with girls, always begin with the Safety Activity Checkpoints (SACs) written specifically for that particular activity. If SACs do not exist for an activity you and your Girl Scouts are interested in, don’t worry. We are here to help you navigate. You can connect with your Troop Support Manager or email us at customercare@gsksmo.org.

Myth: Troops can only camp at Girl Scout properties.
Truth: Camping is a great Girl Scout tradition and one of the very first activities that Girl Scouts’ founder Juliette Gordon Low encouraged for girls! Girl Scouts can camp at any public* area following Camping SACs! Just make sure you complete a Trip & Activity Request 6 weeks prior to your overnight camping experience at a non-council property. There are so many amazing places for camping in and around our council. Reserve America is a great resource for planning camping locations!

*GSKSMO recommends that GS meetings and troop activities take place in public areas. Overnights are never approved on private property like individual’s basements, backyards or open fields.

 Myth: Daisies can’t go camping.
Truth: A Daisy troop may participate in an occasional overnight camping experience. Daisies who have completed kindergarten may independently participate at day camp and in resident camp experiences lasting up to three nights. Daisies who have completed first grade may independently participate in resident camp experiences lasting four or more nights. Just make sure you’re following all Camping SACs and complete the necessary paperwork letting GSKSMO know and you’re good to go!

Myth: We need insurance for everyone attending an event and it can be purchased the day of the event.
Truth: Every registered girl and adult is covered under a Girl Scout insurance plan. Additional insurance must be purchased for all non-registered person(s) attending GS events. To purchase additional insurance, complete and submit this form with the appropriate fee at least 2 weeks before the event date. Forms can be submitted by mail, fax or email to ProgramApprovals@gsksmo.org.

Myth: You need council approval for any activity you do with your Troop or Service Unit.
Truth: You only need council approval for high risk activities, discussions of sensitive topics, day trips outside the council boundaries and overnights at non-council properties. To obtain approval submit an Activity & Trip Application according to the following schedule:

  • High-Risk/Sensitive Topics/Day Trips outside council boundaries OR overnights of 1-2 nights not at a council-property– 6 weeks in advance or prior to any fundraising.
  • Extended Travel (3 or more nights) – 6 months or prior to any fundraising.
  • International Trips – 1 year in advance or prior to any fundraising.

Remember that Girl Scouting is girl-led, but as the troop leader or volunteer you’re there to help make sure that girls (and adults) are following safety procedures. Communicate with council and parents. Inform your Girl Scout council and girls’ parents/guardians about the activity, including details about safety precautions and any appropriate clothing or supplies that may be necessary. Follow GSKSMO procedures for activity approval, certificates of insurance, and guidelines about girls’ general health examinations. Make arrangements in advance for all transportation and confirm plans before departure and arrange for transportation and adult supervision.

If you ever have questions about following Safety Activity Checkpoints or proper procedures, please email programs@gsksmo.org.