GSNorCal Volunteer Essentials
QUICK LINKS TO CHAPTERS: TABLE OF CONTENTS | NAVIGATION | QUICK START GUIDE| ABOUT GSNorCal | VOLUNTEERING | GIRL SCOUT PROGRAM | GIRLS & ADULTS | SAFETY-WISE | MONEY | BIENVENIDO (en Español) | GLOSSARY |
Girl Scouts of Northern California council serves approximately 41,060 girls and 29,000 adult members in 19 counties in Northern California which include: Alameda, Butte, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, and Trinity Counties. Each county is further divided into service units, smaller geographic regions in which our communities participate in Girl Scouting together. GSNorCal is the fourth largest council in the country, and we are viewed as leaders by other councils.
Volunteers are welcome to visit whichever office, service center, or retail store is most convenient to them. Staff are assigned to work in offices according to the regional area they serve, but staff members in any office are eager to assist you.
All offices, service centers, and shops are closed on Thursdays. If you need to meet with a staff person on a Thursday, please make an appointment with them.
Please visit the GSNorCal website for hours for all offices, service centers, and stores: www.GSNorCal.org
We have 83 local service units to serve our 19 counties. Service units are led by local volunteers who will be able to assist and support you. Contact Member Services to find out which service unit you belong to. 1-800-447-4475 ext. 0 or info@GirlScoutsNorCal.org
Visit: www.GirlScoutsNorCal.org for office and service center hours.
Field based staff are located throughout Northern California.
Contact Member Services to find out which Volunteer Development Manager serves your area.
800-447-4475 Ext 0, or info@GirlScoutsNorCal.org
Retail Store Locations www.girlscoutshop.com/NORTHERN-CALIFORNIA-COUNCIL
(Scroll to the right if entire table doesn't display on your screen)
Greater Bay Area
North Central Area
North Coast Area
Alameda Office &
Chico Office &
Santa Rosa Office & Store
Eureka Office & Store
San Jose Office &
Redding Office & Store
Girl Scout stores offer more than just Girl Scout handbooks and clothing; they offer the latest information about what’s going on in Girl Scouting, from resource materials to membership and council news. With stores in San Jose, Alameda, Santa Rosa, Chico, Eureka, and Redding, it’s easy to get what you need at your local Girl Scout shop! You can also order uniforms, supplies, GSNorCal T-shirts, sweatshirts, patches, pins and more by mail or through our online store.
Order by Mail, Email, Fax or Phone:
Girl Scouts of Northern California Council Shop
1650 Harbor Bay Pkwy Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94502-3013
Phone: (800) 447-4475 ext. 7090
FAX: (510) 633-7925
Discover the fun of camping, overnights, or other group activities with your friends! Girl Scout groups can enjoy special and affordable getaways at one of the eight council camps located throughout northern California. Experience the adventure of cooking out, sleeping in a cabin or tent, gazing at the stars or learning about nature. Each council site offers something unique, from old growth redwoods and the Pacific coast to trails that have sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay!
Visit www.GSNorCal.org/property-rental for a rental directory, more information on rental sites and a link to online reservations.
Each rental property has a webpage with a summary of facilities, pricing, camp map, links to local attractions and a slide show featuring facilities, trails and landscape.
Reservations can be made online, by fax or by mail. Reservations cannot be taken over the phone. Mailed and faxed reservations may take two to three weeks to process.
Fees are based on a tiered system:
- GSNorCal groups
- Other non-profit groups (including out-of-council Girl Scouts)
Questions? info@GirlScoutsNorCal.org or call (800) 447-4475 ext. 0
GSNorCal Property Overview
|Site||Check In time||Check Out Time|
|Bothin, Butano Creek, Hidden Falls, Skylark Ranch||4:00 p.m.||2:00 p.m.|
A Girl's Place, Arequipa, Cordelia, Hayward Cabin, Ida Smith, Rainbow's End, Twin Canyons
|10:00 a.m.||4:00 p.m.|
A Girl's Place, Arequipa, Cordelia, Hayward Cabin, Ida Smith, Lou Henry Hoover, (Saturday only), Rainbow's End, Twin Canyons
|5:00 p.m.||9:30 a.m.|
Lou Henry Hoover
(Friday and Saturday night rentals listed above)
|Friday night 6:00 p.m.
Saturday Day 10:00 a.m.
Sunday Day 10:00 a.m.
Reservation Opening Dates/Process
|Reservation Date||Opening Date||User Group||Process|
|Now - Dec 31, 2016||Open||All||Online and Offline|
Jan 1, 2017 - Dec 31, 2017
|Sept 1, 2016||All||Online and Offline|
Jan 1, 2018 - Dec 31, 2018
|Aug 1, 2017||Service Unit and Volunteer-Run Camps renting entire site||Service Unit Property Reservation Request Online Form|
Ropes Course Rentals
We offer different options for groups to choose from when renting the ropes course at either Camp Bothin or Skylark Ranch. Unique opportunities are available to build teamwork with your group, develop climbing skills, participate in an individual challenge, and more through this ultimate high adventure activity!
Dynamic Course: High Elements Participant is attached to a dynamic rope that passes through a pulley or karabiner above them and is kept tensioned by a belayer or belay team. Participants must be in 4th grade or higher.
Challenge Course: Low Elements An element for which safety is achieved through safe and effective spotting. Participants must be in 2nd grade or higher.
Static Course: Participant attaches themselves to various anchor points. This involves the use of a pair of karabiners, attached to the climbers harness with loops of webbing. Participants must be in 4th grade or higher.
Zip Line: Girls will develop courage and confidence in participants as they climb through the cargo nets and descend the zip line through the trees. Participants must be in 4th grade or higher.
Property Reservation FAQs
Q. Must I rent an entire site?
A. Smaller groups can plan their own special trips by renting unit areas within the larger site, and service units and large groups may rent entire campsites for their events.
Q. May we exceed the stated capacities for sites?
A. No. Day use and overnight capacities at each site are based on several factors, including American Camping Association safety standards and may not be exceeded.
Q. How will I know if my reservation has been accepted?
A. Online reservations are confirmed at the time of reservation. Paper reservations are sent a confirmation within 5 business days if the site is available, or you will be informed that the site is not available for the dates requested.
Girl Scouts of Northern California offers a variety of publications to inform girls, adults, volunteers, donors, funders, staff, and community partners of our program events, membership plans, and council business. The following is a listing of council publications:
- CampRocks! Camp Brochure for council-run camps. Information about these and volunteer-run camps also can be found at www.CampRocks.org
- Volunteer Essentials This online guide is a great resource for all questions related to Girl Scouting. We call it the encyclopedia to Girl Scout volunteering. The guide is fully digital, searchable and printable and can be found at ve.girlscoutsnorcal.org.
- GSNorCal Annual Report Mailed and/or emailed to all donors and available on our council website
- GSNorCal websites
- Inspire Donor newsletter mailed to all donors
- The Trailhead GSNorCal's official troop leader and volunteer support blog. From quick and easy tips to fun and creative activity ideas, the Trailhead will provide you with exciting new content every Tuesday and Thursday that will help you on your leadership journey.
- Program and Event Guide The activity guide for girls grades K-12 listing program events throughout the council https://www.gsnorcal.org/content/dam/girlscouts-gsnorcal/documents/programs/PEG-2017.pdf
- Update from Marina* The electronic message from our council CEO, Marina Park, is sent to all registered adults and girls in grades 6-12. www.GSNorCal.org/subscribe
*To subscribe or unsubscribe from GSNorCal electronic mailings www.GSNorCal.org/subscribe
Volunteers and employees are expected to report serious concerns. Concerns may include:
- Suspected fraud or questionable or improper accounting
- Abuse or misuse of the GSNorCal’s resources or assets
- Dishonest actions or deeds, including theft
- Suspected conflict of interest
- Experienced or awareness of harassment or discrimination of any kind
- Safety concerns, including child endangerment
- Violations or suspected violations of the Council’s policies
- Illegal activity
We promote direct “open door” communications with our volunteers, parents/caregivers and staff. Volunteers' Concerns or suspected violations can be reported directly to her/his Council representative, the Chief Mission Delivery Officer or the CEO.
If you are not sure who to report to or want to report anonymously, call our confidential third party automated telephone service, available 24/7:
TellGirlScoutsNorCal@getintouch.com (877) 767-7781
Handling of Concerns
All reports received will be treated seriously and investigated to the extent possible to determine the facts and circumstances. GSNorCal will contact the individual within five business days, if possible. It will not be possible to acknowledge receipt of anonymously submitted concerns. Actions taken by the Council will include follow-up with the complainant for complete closure.
Our GSNorCal staff are extremely dedicated and committed to making Girl Scouting available to all girls in our nineteen counties. Staff provide services to members and perform council support roles.
First Point of Contact: Member Services Department
For questions and assistance, please contact our Member Services Department. All calls and emails are tracked to ensure a world class level of customer service.
1 (800) 447-4475 ext. 0
Much of our staff spends a great deal of time “in the field” away from their email or phones. Each Member Services Specialist has information at their fingertips via an extensive solutions database. In the unlikely event they are not able to answer your question, they will forward your inquiry to a staff person who can. Help is also available in Spanish.
Our friendly Member Services staff can help you with your needs and questions including:
- Any questions about Girl Scout Programming
- Adult screening process or status
- Online membership registration and renewal
- Troop Banking
- Program and Event Guide: program event information and registration
- Camp information and registration
- Property information and reservations
- Online and In-person adult learning course information and registration
Finance: Responsible for paying the bills and keeping track of our income, as well as managing the reporting process for grant projects.
Fund Development: Responsible for soliciting grants and individual gifts. If you plan to solicit donations of goods, services, or funds, you should check with our Fund Development Department before doing so. They can assist you with solicitation and/or acknowledgement letters and ensure that donations are tax deductible for your donors.
Organizational Development and Learning: Responsible for administering employment processes, including job posting, recruiting, and performance evaluation systems, as well as managing employee on-boarding and benefits. OD & L also addresses employee relations programs such as diversity, health and safety and employee policies and procedures. The e-learning team creates and maintains e-learning modules for volunteers and staff.
Marketing/Communications (MarComm): Responsible for recruitment of new members, as well as all interaction with print, radio, or television media. They also produce the Weekly News and other communication pieces. If you’ve been approached by the media, or would like to place articles in your local media, MarComm can help.
Our Mission Delivery departments work together to plan and determine how best to support our volunteers and provide the best service possible to each area.
Volunteer Experience: Responsible for retaining members and volunteer recognition. Your local Volunteer Development Manager (VDM) or Membership Manager (MM) can assist with many basic questions or can help you find who can. They support the volunteer teams that provide services to leaders and girls in local areas and attend Service Unit Team and Leader meetings.
Outdoor Program: Responsible for the summer council-run and volunteer-run Day and Resident Camps. If your service unit or region is interested in or is running a camp, Outdoor Program can assist and support you. They are also responsible for the operation of our ropes courses and school-year outdoor experience programming.
Product Sales: Responsible for our two largest girl programs, focused on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. The Product Sales Department supports volunteers and girls in achieving their goals through the Fall Sale and Cookie Sale programs.
Program: Responsible for ensuring that all girls in GSNorCal have the benefit of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). Program staff partner with service units to deliver program opportunities for girls, manage council-run events offered in the Program and Event Guide, oversee girl awards, run girl training courses and in-person adult learning courses, and supply Green by Nature (environmental) and Girls Go Tech (science, technology, engineering, & math) program boxes. Staff also serve girls directly through Discover Together (a program for girls in low-income communities), Got Choices (a program for girls involved with the juvenile justice system), and Daughters of Farm Workers (a program for girls and their families in migrant communities).
Property: Responsible for maintaining GSNorCal’s twenty-nine properties (offices, program centers, outdoor program centers, and camps). If you rent any of our camp properties, you will meet our friendly site managers.
Retail Stores: Responsible for running our retail stores in the Alameda, Chico, Eureka, Redding, San Jose, and Santa Rosa office locations. They also bring mini-stores to major events in the council. Shop online anytime: www.girlscoutshop.com/NORTHERN-CALIFORNIA-COUNCIL
Risk Management & Travel: Responsible for Risk Management, Insurance and the Travel Pathway. Can
assist you with trip approval process, travel questions,
high-adventure approved vendors, purchasing insurance
for non-members/members, Certificate of Insurance requests, rental vehicles, council sponsored trips and more.
Contact Insurance@GirlScoutsNorCal.org for any
insurance or policy questions.
Contact travel@GirlScoutsNorCal.org for travel questions.
How are decisions made?
Two categories of decisions are made in the Girl Scout organization - governance decisions and operational decisions. Both types of decisions are based on the belief that members should have a voice in major decisions that will have an effect on all or a large part of the membership.
Big picture decisions and direction
Carrying it out:
implementing decisions and direction
People in governance:
· Board of Directors
· National & Regional Delegates
· Members of the Board Development Committee
· Members of board committees and task groups
People in operations:
· Leaders and other volunteers working directly with girls
· Service unit team members and others working with operational adults
· Council staff
People in governance are concerned with:
· Setting policy and long-term direction (strategic goals)
· Establishing priorities
· Ensuring financial and organizational stability
People in operations are responsible for:
· Day to day management
· Implementation of policy
· Carrying out strategic goals
· Providing feedback to the governance arm on progress and future needs
Governance decisions are broad policy decisions made by the Board of Directors to provide stability within the council and to give direction for the way Girl Scouting is implemented in the council jurisdiction. Governance decisions relate to strategic planning, fund development, fiduciary oversight, selection and evaluation of the Chief Executive Officer, and organizational performance appraisal.
- Regional Delegates
Regional Delegates attend our council’s annual meeting, vote on any amendments to our Council Bylaws and elect the Board of Directors, Board Development Committee and National Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the National Council of GSUSA.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors are volunteers who are nominated by the Board Development Committee, a group of volunteers who take great care to make sure that the Board of Directors represent the council in terms of geographic representation, as well as demographically.
Regional Delegates Each of our fourteen regions may elect up to eight delegates, including at least two girl members aged 14 or older. Remaining nominees may be elected to serve as alternate delegates. Visit our Volunteer Learning Portal for information about the Delegate positions. Nominations are open each year in October. Visit the council website for more information about our Board of Directors and Regional and National Delegates. www.GSNorCal.org/en/our-council/leadership/board-ceo.html
Operational decisions relate to annual planning, budgeting, the selection, placement, and supervision of operational volunteers and staff, the development of systems to ensure the effective delivery of Girl Scout program to all girls within
the jurisdiction, oversight of fiscal and physical resources, and the implementation of policies and standards established by the Board of Directors.
Operational decisions are made by the Chief Executive Officer and are concerned with the organization and management of all operational work within the framework of the council’s goals. They are based on governance decisions made by the Board of Directors, as well as reflecting input from volunteers and staff who bring ideas from their experience.