Remember that every council has slightly different rules and regulations, and everything you read online that is general for all of USA should always be double checked with your local council rules and regulations.
Training is council specific. You’ll have to contact them to find out exactly what they require and need.
One document all councils should have is “Volunteer Essentials”. It is a long document, but is very essential to have at the very least perused. Find out what is in there, read the vital chapters, and reference it often. GSUSA does not have a national level one. Go to your council website and search “Volunteer Essentials” to find it. A few council examples can be found on an internet search.
Most Councils will require 2 things before you have your first meeting:
- Basic Leader Training
- First Aid/CPR Training
After the basic training, there will probably be additional training you can opt to take. It will depend on your goals as a troop and what you want to do. You do not need these right away, but it is good to be aware of them.
- Level Training
- Some councils have level specific training which many find helpful when figuring out how to lead a new developmental stage their girls are going through and navigate the new options in badges and activities that are open to that level of girls.
- Overnight Training
- Whether it’s a living room sleepover, a campout, or a fun overnight event (like a zoo, aquarium, or museum) – most councils require specific training and paperwork before a troop can spend the night somewhere.
- Camp Training – Using a Fire
- Some councils have this training in with the Overnight Training. Some have it separate as not all troops want to build a fire and cook on it. But if you want to do fire building (at camp or just at a meeting), most councils will require you to have had a Camp Training certificate.
- Specialty Training
- Archery, Canoe/Kayaking, Swimming (Life Guard), or Rifle Shooting Range Training are all examples of specialty training. Most councils require an adult with a certificate in one of these before you can do the activity. Sometimes this will be a professional at a company you go to for these events. Sometimes a council run camp will have a trained adult. Sometimes you can hire someone, but still must check if their credentials meet council guidelines. Sometimes you must get the training yourself (through your council or at a council allowed company.)
For Basic Leader Training, that could be in person, but usually is a virtual training program. Most councils use the gsLearn system. This can be accessed using the MyGS account. (See Registration for steps to access MyGS).
- Click the gsLearn option on the left hand menu in MyGS to access gsLearn.
- In gsLearn, use the information obtained by your council to search and find the training they require.
- Note – You can search “Foundations” to see the three videos GSUSA has made for brand new leaders. Even if it isn’t required by your council, it might help to be more familiar with GSUSA. It gives a lot of basics that many experienced leaders take for granted.
A leader does not have to be the First Aid/CPR adult in the troop, but it helps. Most councils require some adult to be on site for every meeting and event that has training for simple medical emergencies. Double check with your council on what is required.
Each council has different requirements on who can provide adequate First Aid/CPR Training. They may limit which companies your certificate can come from. Most will require an in-person training to ensure the adults taking the course have practiced on a dummy and not just gotten the information from reading or watching the course online.
There are cases where professional nurses still had to complete a CPR course as the local council did not accept their nursing certification. Usually, councils will accept a Registered Nurse or EMS certification in place of a First Aid/CPR certification. Be patient and contact council to find out exactly what paperwork they need from your medical profession to clear the First Aid/CPR certificate.