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Safety

Safety in Girl Scouting

In Girl Scouting, the emotional and physical safety and well-being of girls is our top priority. Safety Activity Checkpoints outlines the Safety Standards and Guidelines used in Girl Scouting, which apply to all Girl Scout activities. 

All volunteers should review the Safety Activity Checkpoints manual when planning activities with girls in order to manage safety and risk in Girl Scout-sanctioned activities. 

In Safety Activity Checkpoints, you’ll find:

  • Girl Scout Activity Safety Standards and Guidelines with requirements for adult supervision, permission slips, preparation, field trips and overnight trips, transporting girls, and other vital information 
  • Activities that are not permitted by GSUSA, and actions that girls and volunteers should not take
  • Policies surrounding chartered aircraft trips and aviation
  • First-aid and overall health information you’ll need from the girls
  • Standards for well-being and inclusivity, including working with girls with disabilities and ensuring emotional safety
  • A breakdown of specific activities—such as camping, internet use, and water sports—and their individual safety checkpoints 

Following the Safety Standards and Guidelines is an Activity-at-a-Glance chart which details two critical points to keep in mind:

  • Age-appropriate activities and participation by grade level
  • Whether prior approval from your council is required before girls participate in a specific activity

Using the Buddy System
The Buddy System is a safety practice in which two or three girls of approximately the same age and ability are grouped together to keep watch over each other.  Under the buddy system, each pair is responsible for staying with her buddy at all times, warning her buddy of danger, giving her buddy immediate assistance and calling for help or going for help when the situation warrants.  The buddy system does NOT relieve the leader of their responsibility for knowing the whereabouts of each member of the troop, but it does serve as an additional means of involving everyone in the group and having them share the responsibility.

Knowing How Many Volunteers You Need

From camping weekends to cookie booths, adult volunteers must always be present to ensure their girls have fun and stay safe, no matter their grade level. 

Not sure just how many adults you’ll need for your activity? The helpful chart below breaks down the minimum number of volunteers needed to supervise a specific number of girls; councils may also establish maximums due to size or cost restrictions, so be sure to check with them as you plan your activity. 

A Girl Scout Daisy troop may only participate in a volunteer-led overnight experience with a registered adult leader and one parent/guardian for each Girl Scout Daisy. Girls who have completed kindergarten may independently participate in Day Camp and Resident Camp experiences, lasting up to three nights. Girls who have completed first grade may independently participate in Resident Camp experiences lasting four or more nights.

Camping
At Girl Scouts we believe the value of the outdoor experience in a girl’s life is beyond measure. When a girl spends time in nature, she learns cooperation and team building as she develops the skills needed to grow into a leader of courage, confidence and character.

A camping experience of less than one week in duration that takes place within, or no more than 100 miles beyond Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri boundaries, is considered Troop Camping. If the trip is more than 100 miles beyond Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri boundaries, use the Troop Trip Application process.

Troops must obtain permission from the Camping Services department before camping on non-Council owned sites, except for overnight backyard camping. Backyard camping does not require a Troop Camp certification.

Application process for Troop Camping on non-Council owned sites:

  • Complete the Application for Camping on Non-Council owned sites and submit to the Director of Camping Services and Risk Management at Council at least one month prior to the date of departure
  • Troops camping on non-Council-owned property must have at least one registered, background checked and approved adult volunteer who is a licensed Troop Camper
  • A certified First Aider (a registered, approved adult volunteer certified in Adult and Child CPR/AED and Standard First Aid) must accompany the troop if the destination is less than 30 minutes away from EMS
  • For destinations where access to EMS is 30 minutes or more, an individual certified in Wilderness First Aid is required
  • Unless the troop is camping at a Missouri State Park, Girl Scouts must have a Certificate of Insurance (COI) on file for the property used for the activity. If the property used does not currently have a COI on file, please submit a copy when submitting the application for camping
  • Applications submitted to Council must be signed by the Neighborhood Manager
  • After the Camp Department has received your application, you will receive a Non-Council Owned Camp Approval Response indicating the status of the trip approval

To reserve a unit at one of Eastern Missouri’s camps, use the Council website and select the Camp tab from the homepage, then search under Troop Camp. You can search unit availability by the unit type or by the date you want to take your Troop Camping.

For overnight camping on Council-owned property, at least one registered, background checked and approved adult volunteer per unit must be a licensed Troop Camper. Another adult volunteer must be certified in Adult and Child CPR/AED and Standard First Aid when a camp supervisor is not on duty.

A Troop Camp license may be obtained by any registered, background checked and approved adult member of Girl Scouts who is 18 years or older and who successfully completes a Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri Troop Camp certification course.

Troops/groups using pressurized fuel for cooking must be accompanied by a First Aider. Pressurized heating stoves, grooming or other equipment may not be used.

All Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri camp properties are closed during Modern Firearms Deer Hunting Season and special managed hunts sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Outdoor program activities including camping on non-Girl Scout-owned property are restricted in areas that may be impacted by these hunts. Applications by troops for camping on non-Council-owned property during hunting season will be considered only if the site is in an area where these hunts do not take place.

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