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Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about Girl Scouts? Check out the answer to the most frequently asked questions below.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

When can my girl start Girl Scouts?

Girls in grades K-12 can register for Girl Scouts at any time! Girls in pre-K, who will be starting kindergarten in the fall, can register as early as the summer before they start kindergarten. 

Join Girl Scouts >>

What is GSOSW’s tax ID?

Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington's (GSOSW) tax ID number is 93-0399051. 

What are Girl Scout Juliettes?

Juliettes are busy, independent, self-confident girls and young women who want to be a part of something larger – Girl Scouts! – and want to participate when they can and however they want! They are Girl Scouts who are not officially affiliated with a Troop and customize their whole Girl Scout experience, finding badges and activities that match their unique interests.

Girl Scout Troops are just one way to be a part of Girl Scouts, but it’s not the only way! With the guidance of an adult member, Juliettes participate in a way that fits their schedule! And, if your Girl Scout’s troop disbands, or there aren’t any open troops in your area, Girl Scout Juliettes is a great opportunity to continue or start the Girl Scout journey!

How do I use Program Credits (Cookie/Nut Credit) to purchase items from the GSOSW shop?

Program credits (i.e. Cookie Credit, Pathway cards, Nut Credit, etc.) can only be accepted through email or phone at (503) 977-6802, and in GSOSW shops when they reopen. They are not accepted online.

Will Girl Scouts table or participate in our school or local, famly-friendly event (fun run, back-to-school night, school fair, flag ceremony, parade, etc)?

If you have an event that you would like Girl Scouts to attend, please send the following information to our customer care email, answers@girlscoutsosw.org.

  • Your name and contact information
  • Information about the event that includes...
    • Even name
    • Type of event
    • Event location
    • Event date(s)
    • And any other information you might want troops to know.

This will then be sent to troops near your area and they will get in contact if they are interested in! 


MEMBERSHIP REGISTRATION

Can I register for Girl Scouts by phone/paper?

Online registration is the quickest and fastest way to register for Girl Scouts! If you do not have the ability to go online, or need assistance, you can reach out to our staff by calling (503) 977-6800. 

Can I get a membership fee refunded?

Girl Scout membership registration is non-refundable and non-transferable. Annual membership fees go directly to our national organization, GSUSA. 

Registered members have active memberships through the end of the current membership year (the membership year runs October 1 to September 30). Active members can attend and participate in camps, events, and activities. To see what kind of great events are happening in your area in the coming months, please check out the Activities Page

How do I and/or my girl join/register for Girl Scouts?

You can join today online or over the phone by reaching out to our customer care team at (503) 977-6800. Staff can also answer any questions you might have about joining over the phone and help process membership payments of $25.00. 

How do I renew my/my girl’s annual membership?

You can renew online through your My GS portal or over the phone. 

To Renew through My GS, please follow these steps:

  • Login to your My GS Member Profile.
  • Once you log in, click on the MEMBERSHIP tab. 
  • If there are two active years (usually Spring/Summer), make sure you switch to drop down to NEXT YEAR or you’ll only see CURRENT YEAR information.
  • Choose which memberships you’d like to renew and press CONTINUE. 

You can find more information, including step-by-step instructions, about renewing on the Renew Your Membership page. 

If you’re having trouble with your renewal (for example, if you cannot renew into the troop you’ve been a part of or it’s showing as pending), please reach out to our customer care team at (503) 977-6800 for assistance.

How do I purchase a Lifetime Membership?

There are a few ways to purchase a Lifetime Membership! The fastest and easiest is to visit GSUSA’s Lifetime Membership page. There you can find more information about who is eligible and the benefits, along with steps to become a Lifetime Member. 

If your graduating girl is wanting to use Program Credit (Cookie/Nut Credit) towards her Lifetime Membership, please send the Program Credit card number, girl’s name, girl’s email address (unique to her, must not be connected to any other account) and if she is interested in volunteering to answers@girlscoutsosw.org with the subject “Lifetime Membership for Graduating Girl”. A GSOSW staff member will reach out to help you with that.

Can I use Program Credits (Cookie/Nut Credit) to pay for a girl’s Girl Scout membership renewal?

Absolutely! Here's how you can do that.

Login to your My GS Member Profile.

  • On the MEMBERSHIP tab, find the memberships you would like to renew (if it’s between years – usually in the spring and summer – make sure the drop down is set to NEXT YEAR, not CURRENT YEAR). 
  • Click CONTINUE and follow the process until you get to the payment screen.
  • On the payment screen, select Financial Assistance/Aid and finish.

The membership will list as “Pending FA”. From here, staff will review whether you have Program Credits (Cookie/Nut Credit) available and will reach out to confirm that you would like to use them. Once you confirm, staff will take care of the rest of the renewal process.

Can I use Program Credits (Cookie/Nut Credit) to pay for my adult Girl Scout membership renewal?

Program Credits can only be used to pay for a girl’s Girl Scout membership renewal.


PARENTS, GUARDIANS, AND VOLUNTEERS

How do I request a background check?

The first step for any prospective Girl Scout volunteer is to register as a member of Girl Scouts for the current membership year. Once a new member completes their registration into a volunteer role, they will automatically receive an email from GSOSW’s secure background check provider, Asurint. Asurint’s email will contain an individualized link to complete and safely submit a background check application.

IF you require a background check to volunteer with Girl Scouts, or to participate in a program, and have no automatically received Asurint’s communication, please contact bgcheck@girlscoutsosw.org to request assistance.

Do I need to upload any documents during the background check process?

No! You may see fields to upload documents, but you will never need to upload them to complete a background check with GSOSW. Please disregard those parts of the background check.

Why is my background check telling me my birthday is wrong?

Sometimes birthdays can be entered in the system incorrectly. All information (including names and birth dates) must be accurate for the background check to work. If you need to update your birthdate, name, or any other information for the background check (we can change it back after the background check comes in, if, for example, you do not go by your birth name), please reach out to answers@girlscoutsosw.org

Why do I need a membership to volunteer?

All troop volunteers at Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington must be registered members of GSUSA for the current membership year and have successfully completed a criminal background check.

With an active Girl Scout membership, all troop volunteers are also covered by insurance in the event of an accident occurring during a Girl Scout activity. Additionally, our council covers all background check costs for all volunteers.

Most importantly, by becoming a member of Girl Scouts, volunteers like you join a global movement focused on building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place!

Can parents attend troop meetings?

Per Page 5 of GSOSW’s Council Volunteer Policies and Procedures in Volunteer Essentials, if an adult will have direct contact with girls then they must be a registered member of GSUSA for the current membership year and have successfully completed a criminal background check. Exceptions to this would be an individual who meets all of the requirements under either of the below.

An individual who:

  • Serves as a onetime advisor or consultant, e.g. a speaker or presenter,
  • Is never left alone with girl(s), AND
  • Is not counted when considering girl/adult ratio.

A parent or guardian who:

  • Attends a group family function, e.g. court of awards, family picnic, etc. AND
  • Is not counted when considering girl/adult ratio.

This is both to ensure the safety of girls in the troop and to foster a girl’s independence in the spirit of Girl Scouts. 

How do I reset my My GS account password?

Go to the Forgot Your Password? page through the My GS login screen. Then type in your username, this is usually your email address. Press Continue.

You’ll receive an email with a link to create a new password and login. 

If you don’t remember your username, or don’t receive a password email, please contact us at answers@girlscoutsosw.org


COST AND FINANCIAL AID

I already have a background check with another volunteer organization. Can I submit that report to GSOSW instead?

Unfortunately, GSOSW is unable to utilize background checks from other organizations because GSOSW has set its own criteria for determining volunteer eligibility which may differ from what is included in outside reports. 

How much does Girl Scout membership cost? Are there troop dues?

Girl Scouts annual membership registration fee is $25.00. Financial assistance is available for all brand new girl and adult volunteers. Collecting troop dues, separate from annual membership fees, is up to the discretion of each individual Girl Scout troop. Many troops do collect dues at the start of their first year, and sometimes annually, to help support the troop’s activities. 

Can adults get financial assistance for membership?

Effective October 1st, 2019, financial assistance for membership registration is available for any new (first-time) adult members in need.

  • Families in need may request financial assistance for membership registration at the payment screen during online registration.
  • Financial assistance is limited to available funds and is provided solely at the discretion of Girl Scouts of Oregon and SW Washington.
  • Financial assistance may not be granted retroactively within a membership year, and is not available for adult memberships purchased with the extended-year membership option.

Financial assistance is not available for adult renewal.

Please note: Girl Scout troops are encouraged to budget troop funds to cover their members’ renewal registrations as part of the troop’s annual financial planning, including the renewal of active adult volunteers.

Is financial assistance available for my girl’s Girl Scout book and uniform?

Yes! GSOSW offers financial assistance for these items:

  • Uniform assistance: includes one tunic, sash, or vest, your troop numbers, a flag patch, and the council ID set.
  • Book assistance: includes the cost of up to 50% of the price of one grade level book.

This assistance is available one time only during a girl’s Girl Scout experience. Caregivers can request this assistance by completing the Book and Uniform Financial Assistance Request form. 

The Girl Scout must be registered for the current membership year before her caregiver submits the request form.


TROOPS AND GIRL SCOUT PROGRAM

How do I start a new Girl Scout troop?

You can find step-by-step instructions, information about the process, and more by going to GSOSW’S How to Start a Troop page. Once you’ve made your decision, you can fill out the Google form included under step one. 

How do I move a girl/adult into a different troop?

If you need assistance moving a girl into your troop, or My GS is not allowing the transfer, please reach out to our customer care team at answers@girlscoutsosw.org with the girl’s name and the troop number she is transferring to. This request should preferably come from a leader from the troop she is transferring to, this is to ensure the troop has given its permission and can support an addition to their troop!

I haven’t heard from a girl’s troop leader yet. What do I do?

We give troops one week (7 days) from the date the individual registered into the troop to reach out to new members! If you do not hear from your troop at all after seven days, please reach out to customer care at answers@girlscoutsosw.org

How do I find a new troop for my girl? We just moved!

To search for troops to join in your new community:

  • Login to your My GS account.
  • Click on the Membership tab.
  • Click on Add/Change Troops for your girl.
  • On the Ways to Participate page; click search.
  • For more options, you can expand your search radius, or delete your zip code.
  • • When you’ve found a troop that works for you, click the gray box to select it.
  • Once you’ve selected a troop, the page will refresh and you can click next.

Don’t see a troop with openings in your area? Consider starting a brand new troop

Not interested in starting a new troop? Become a Juliette Girl Scout with your girl! For this, you can choose the Individually Registered Member option on the Ways to Participate page.

If you'd like to join a troop eventually, let us know that you’d like to join a troop when a spot opens! For this, you can choose the Unsure option. When the page refreshes and you click next, a pop up window will ask you to explain. In this box, let us know “No troops have openings in my area, but I’d like to join an active troop when available.” A staff member will place you into a groups of girls in your community looking to join a troop! 

What do I do if I can’t find a troop for my girl?

Consider starting a brand new troop! If your area doesn’t have any troops in your girl’s grade level, or you are simply interested in starting a new troop, check out the How to Start a Troop page tp see if starting a new troop might be a good option for you.

Want to start the fun today? Become a Juliette Girl Scout! Juliettes are Girl Scouts who do all the things that Girl Scouts do, but without a troop. They can still attend events, do activities, earn badges, sell Cookies, and everything else! If this interests you, please reach out to answers@girlscoutsosw.org to request to become a Juliette Girl Scout.

 

Why are there inactive Girls/Adults on my roster? Can I remove those?

Due to My GS providing registration and renewal access for all members, the Troops tab may show inactive members for one full membership cycle after they’ve become inactive. We don’t have any control of this feature, unfortunately, but the system will automatically remove them from your Troops tab roster at the start of the next membership year.

However, you can get a more accurate roster for your troop, which only shows current and active members, by going to the My Troop tab in your Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). There will be a downloadable roster available there. 

Along with a clean roster, there are also many other features to VTK, such as tracking girl attendance and achievements, putting together lesson plans, creating and sharing meeting plans, etc. 

How do we split off from our current troop and start a new troop?

To begin the troop split process, please fill out and submit the Troop Split Request form. Once you’ve completed this form, GSOSW staff will contact you about next steps.

Why can’t people find my troop?/How can I find a specific troop?

To start, please be sure you are searching for “Troop #####” and not just the troop number on the Ways to Participate page. Next, try removing the grade of your girl, and the fully expand the miles radius. If you’re still unable to find the troop you’re looking for in the search results, the troop may be at capacity. 

If you’ve been invited to join a specific troop by the troop leaders, or you are a troop leader who wants to invite a girl to join your troop, here are directions to use for registration into that troop:

  • Select the box for Unsure in the search results.
  • When you press continue/next, a pop up window will open and ask why you’ve selected this option. 
  • In the text box of the pop up, please type “Troop Leader (Leader’s Name) approval to join Troop ____.”
  • Once you’ve completed registration, a support and onboarding specialist will be able to place the girl directly into the troop. 
What is additional insurance (Supplemental Activity or Event Insurance) and how do I get it?

Supplemental insurance covers anyone of similar/appropriate age who is participating in a Girl Scout activity, but is not a registered member of Girl Scouts. Volunteers are required to purchase supplemental insurance for those participants at meetings, events, and Girl Scout activities when they are the primary sponsor. When Girl Scouts are participating in someone else’s event (e.g. a school fair or community festival), we are not required to purchase supplemental insurance.

The key phrase for who is covered by supplemental insurance is “participating in a Girl Scout activity.” Tagalongs like small siblings, or parents who are waiting for an event to be over, are not covered.

You may bundle events to create efficiency tin making requests for supplemental insurance. For example, if you plan a program that occurs on four consecutive Tuesday afternoons, estimate the number of people expected at each event and submit one request that describes each separate activity. 

Supplemental insurance has a minimum charge of $5 to cover up to 45 people. If you expect more than 45 people, there is an small additional charge per person. Requests for this insurance must be made in writing at least seven (7) business days before the scheduled event. Send your requests to insurance@girlscoutsosw.org. You’ll want to include:

  • The date and time of the event.
  • The location of the event (include troop numbers and service units, if possible).
  • A brief description of the event.
  • An attendance estimate.
  • The name and contact information for the person in charge of the event and, if different, the name and contact information of the person who should receive the emailed certificate of insurance.

You will be contacted for payment before insurance is processed and you will receive a confirmation email once it has been processed. 


GIRL SCOUT COOKIE AND FALL PRODUCT PROGRAMS

Are the expiration dates on Program Credits (Pathway/Adventure Pass/Cookie Credit/Nut Credit) cards extended due to COVID-19?

The Product Program Department is providing extensions to the expiration dates of all cards that were set to expire on September 15th, 2020. These cards were issued during the 2018-19 Fall Product Program and Girl Scout Cookie Program. The new expiration date is December 31st, 2020. 

Pathway cards earned by girls participating at Juliettes do not expire as long as the girl is a registered member each year by January 1st. If you received a refund because a GSOSW event was cancelled, those credits are also available until December 31st, 2020. 

What do I do if the product I received is damaged or is bad quality?

We apologize that the condition was not as desired. All quality issues with products are handled directly through the manufacturer. We ask that you contact them directly at the customer service number listed on the package or below:

  • Cookies: Little Brownie Bakers (1-800-962-1718) 
  • Candies/Nuts: Ashdon Farms (1-800-274-3666)
How do I look up the balance of my Program Credits (Cookie/Nut Credit) card?

To check the balance on a Program Credits card, please visit the eCard Systems website. Once you validate the CAPTCHA, you should be able to put in your card number to see your current balance! 


PROPERTIES

Can I reserve a property for a wedding or other event even if I’m not a Girl Scout member?

Yes, with the exception of the Seaside Program Center, which is only available to Girl Scouts! Contact the site registrar to check availability, or to obtain a rental agreement, at property@girlscoutsosw.org or by phone at 503-977-6834. 

How do I reserve a property?
  1. Begin by reviewing our Guide to GSOSW Properties to choose which property is best suited to your needs.
  2. After choosing your desired property, Girl Scout members may check the password-protected property calendar to see open dates. Both members and non-members may also contact our site registrar for availability at property@girlscoutsosw.org , or by phone at 503-977-6834. 
  3. Confirm your request with the site registrar, then download and fill out the site agreement. Submit the agreement, along with the deposit, to the site registrar. Confirmation of your reservation will be emailed, along with rental information.

Non-members may obtain a rental agreement from the site registrar by email.

How do I cancel my property reservation?

Contact our site registrar at property@girlscoutsosw.org or by phone at 503-977-6834. Deposits are nonrefundable as stated on the rental agreement. All additional payments are nonrefundable if cancellation is made less than 30 days (for Girl Scouts) or 60-90 days (for non-members, depending on type of rental) prior to check-in date.

Do I have to rent the whole property or can I just rent part of it?

Girl Scout troops and service units may reserve all or part of a property; non-members must reserve the entire property to be in compliance with Girl Scout co-occupancy safety requirements. 

 

More Questions?

Please reach out to customer care at answers@girlscoutsosw.org or 800-338-5248, and a GSOSW staff member will be happy to assist you.