side menu icon

Service Unit Volunteers

Welcome to the great adventure that is Girl Scouting! Thanks to volunteers and mentors like you, generations of girls have learned to be leaders in their own lives and in the world. Have no doubt: you, and nearly a million other volunteers like you, are helping girls make a lasting impact on the world. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts! 

Thank you for volunteering in your Service Unit! We have everything organized and available to support you. Log into your MyGS account and select gsLearn on the left side to enter our online learning platform.

Required trainings for each Service Unit position are listed in the position descriptions below. These trainings are available to all, on demand. We also host live trainings throughout the year that are announced via email and the Service Unit Manager Monthly Meetings.

Service Unit Planning Guides

Service Unit Year at a Glance

This calendar is a guide to how service units should be taking action during the Girl Scout year. While not all items in the calendar are required, they are highly recommended to provide a full, enriching experience for girls in the area. 

Service Unit Year at a Glance

Healthy Service Units

Healthy Service Units

Each service unit is different and evolves over time as leadership changes. Periodically, it's worth taking the time to regroup as a service unit leadership team to ensure you're moving forward and on the same page.

To become a happy and healthy service unit, here are some tips that will help you focus your efforts to make the most impact for volunteers and troops in your area.

Define Your Main Purpose

Why does a service unit exist? What are the main benefits of meeting monthly with volunteers in your area? These are excellent questions to ask at your next meeting. Then listen to the answers and tailor your year plan to match.

Curious about what the most common answers are? In a recent study by Girl Scouts of the USA, these are the top three services that a service unit provides:

  1. Organizing events that troop leaders can take back to their troops.
  2. Support for troop leaders, troop managers, and the girls surrounding the product programs.
  3. Facilitating a safe space for sharing of ideas and networking.

Characteristics of a Healthy Service Unit

Once you have your purpose, it's time to get to work! A healthy service unit:

  • Uses various communication methods to ensure volunteers are engaged in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and that diverse viewpoints are expressed and valued.
  • Talks about council goals and priorities and how they are achieved within troop, group, and service unit activities. These goals may include membership numbers for girls and adults, camp participation, Family Giving participation, Spring renewal, etc.
  • Promotes participation in the Fall Product and Cookie Programs.
  • Supports and develops troop leaders and recognizes volunteer contributions and efforts. This includes offering learning opportunities and volunteer appreciation at the service unit level.
  • Involves girls in the planning, implementing, and evaluating of service unit activities. Make sure you debrief with your girls after a service unit event!
  • Develops networks within their community to open up additional opportunities for girls and volunteers.

Now that you know some ways to build (or maintain) a healthy service unit, consider the group of dedicated volunteers who attend your service unit meetings. What areas above does your service unit do well? What areas could use some extra focus or support? Make a plan, make some changes, and help the Girl Scout volunteers in your area thrive!

Volunteer Relationship Management

Managing relationships is important in resolving and avoiding conflicts. Use these tools to help you navigate difficult conversations.

Successful Service Unit Meetings

Much of the success of a service unit meeting depends on the facilitator. Please review our Successful Service Unit Meetings document for further information and guidance.

Volunteer Retention

Retention Strategies

Once you recruit girls and volunteers, it’s important to retain both groups!  Retention happens when leaders and girls are:

  • Engaged in activities
  • Able to explore new skills and interests 
  • Able to develop leadership skills
  • Feel valued
  • Are supported

How can you help? Work closely with your Service Unit Team, GSEP staff, troops, and leaders to:  

  • Ensure your Service Unit hosts events for all grade levels
  • Include girl planning in all Service Unit events
  • Communicate timely information about upcoming Service Unit and Council events and activities

Listed below are some Retention Strategies:

Council-Wide Spring Registration Retention

The Spring Membership Campaign period gives current Girl Scouts the opportunity to renew their membership for the upcoming Girl Scout year (October 1 through September 30).  GSEP offers incentives for girls who renew their membership during this time. 

Retention of Girls Bridging to the Next Age Level

Invite parents to have an opportunity to see their daughters as they bridge from one grade level to the next.  This is an opportunity to share what Girl Scouts will offer the girls over the next few years. This strategy is especially important if the Service Unit notices a decreased retention of girls at a specific grade level.

Lapsed Member Event

This strategy is held to re-engage prior members by reminding them of the Girl Scout’s mission, vision, and purpose in hopes of them renewing their membership. This event would be advertised to anyone who has not renewed membership from the last two years. This event should focus on ways to re-engage. 

Lifetime Mailing

Send an email to members of your Service Unit who are lifetime members to encourage them to remain actively involved in the Girl Scout program.  Give them specific examples of areas your Service Unit could use their help, experience, and leadership.  Many times, Girl Scout Alumnae would love to get involved again, but without an active daughter, they just don’t know how.


Volunteer Recruitment

Recruitment is what drives our membership and ensures that girls have access to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Find information about recruitment below.

What is Recruitment?

Flyers and Social Media Toolkit

Activities and Safety

Volunteer Essentials

Volunteer Essentials is designed to support busy volunteers on the go. You can easily find what you need to get started on your Girl Scout journey and search for answers throughout the troop year

Safety Activity Checkpoints

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, 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 chart that 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
Certificate of Insurance Information
Certificate of Insurance 101
Trip Guide and Forms

To help you plan and approve trips, GSEP has created a Trip Guide. Troop Trip Training is available at any time through gsLearn. Log into your MyGS account and click gsLearn on the left side. From there, you can search “Troop Trip” in the Content section.

Service Unit Roles and Agreement Forms

Service Unit Manager
Service Unit Registrar
Service Unit Volunteer Recognition Coordinator
Service Unit Community Recruiter
Service Unit Delegate/Alternate Delegate
Service Unit Event Coordinator
Service Unit New Leader Mentor
Service Unit School/Site Coordinator
Service Unit Treasurer
Service Unit Trip Coordinator
Service Unit Cookie Manager
Your time to shine? Now! Volunteer Today and Save.
Your time to shine? Now! Volunteer Today and Save.