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.
The one thing you need to be aware of is that GSUSA is a National Organization that runs by Councils. You pay your registration fee to the national organization, but you are registered with the Council you live in. If you move to another Council, the Council must transfer your registration to the new Council.
- The first step to registering is to find your council using the GSUSA Council Finder.
- Once you find your council, go to your council’s website. The GSUSA Council Finder should give you a link or you can find it under The Badge Archive’s GSUSA Council Resources.
- On the website look for a “My Account”, “MyGS”, or “Sign In” links. These will sign you into the MyGS system, which should be used nationwide. If your council does not, you will need to contact your council for instructions on how to register.
- If you have already registered your child, you will use the email address you registered your child with to log in.
- If you have never signed in before, just state “Forgot Password” and you will be given a way to log in for the first time and set a password up. As long as you or your child is registered, you have a MyGS account set to the email used during registration.
- If you have not registered yourself or your child, you need to use the “Don’t have an account? Sign up now” option provided on the log-in pop up window. Note – creating an account does not register you officially, you still need to pay the GSUSA registration fee to complete registration.
- When you are logged in to the MyGS, make sure you are looking at the “My Household” page. The menu options are on the left hand side. If you see no menu options, click the “My Account” button located on the top menu bar.
- If your name is not on the account, but only your child is listed, scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Register a new household member” to register yourself.
- If your name is on the account, as you created a new account just now, look on the right hand side of your name and find the “Purchase Registration” link.
- If you do not have a Troop Number already assigned, just scroll to the bottom of the Troop Search page and click the “Search” button without filling in anything. Then scroll to the bottom of the options given and click “Apply to Participate without a Troop” option.
- If you clicked the “Purchase Registration” link, you may not have to go through the Troop search page.
- At the Add Membership you just fill in your information and complete the check out process.
- You do have to click the “Submit Member Details” after filling them out.
- Click “Review Cart” to continue.
- Look on the right-hand side to click a checkbox that says you will uphold the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Once done, it allows you to continue to checkout.\
- Pay the fee.
- Note – the national GSUSA registration fee is $25 to pay for the Oct 1st – Sept. 30th year. Some councils will have a higher fee than the $25. You can contact your council to find out why.
- If you are joining in the spring, there are sometimes Early Bird Registration discounts that gives you registration from the day you register to Sept. 30th of the following year (typically for $35). If you are making a new troop in the fall and want to meet before Oct. 1st – you must pay that additional fee. Without registration you are not covered by the council insurance program. If you want to save the $10, simply register for the upcoming year and wait to hold your first meeting until after Oct. 1st.
Congrats! You’re registered. Now you need to make sure you get a Background Check completed too.
Unfortunately, each council has their own way of doing background checks. Some are free, some are not. Each council varies and you must either talk to your community/service unit leadership team or contact your council directly to ask how it works if the registration process does not describe it.
Do all adults need to be registered and a background checked?
Again, it varies by council. You’ll want to ask them directly for guidance before the First Meeting to make sure you can answer those questions to parents.
Adults Who Stay at Meetings
Most councils require anyone over 18 that will stay at a Girl Scout event (including troop meetings) to be registered and background checked, even if they are simply sitting in the back of the room during the whole meeting. Some allow adults not participating to hang out, if they don’t interact with the children. Check with your council before your first troop meeting so you can make clear expectations to the adults if they can hang out of if it needs to be strictly drop-off and pick-up.
Anyone that volunteers to help with children are typically required by all councils to be registered and background checked. If a parent wants to help out (but not lead), most councils will require them to be registered and background checked. A few councils do not require it. Contact your council to find out before your first meeting.
Adults Who Handle Money
Any role dealing with money often requires the adult to be registered and background checked. Cookie Managers, Treasurers that are on the bank account, and some councils even require whatever parent that is handling the money at cookie booths to be registered and background checked. Again, check with your council.
Guest Speakers usually do not have to be registered and background checked. Some councils require you to buy extra insurance for the non-registered adult attending your meeting, some do not. Always check with your council before inviting a guest speaker to know what their rules are.
Field Trip Chaperones
If the Field Trip is to a private location (no public beyond your troop allowed) usually the accompanying adults need to be registered and background checked. Again, you have to double check with your council to make sure that is the case.
If the Field Trip is to a public location, you will have a lot of parents claim they can go without being registered and background checked, using the large number of adults in the area that are clearly not registered and background checked. Make sure you check with your council to find out. Usually if the adult is there to help supervise the group, they need to be registered and background checked. Some councils just require extra insurance. Some councils only require the minimum adult/child safety ratios to be registered and background checked and give a pass to any extra adults attending.
Note – GSCTX has an excellent “Self-Study” Chaperone PDF that we recommend using for first time chaperones. While some of the information might be council specific, most of it is general and applies to most councils. Read through it yourself before using it with your adults.
GSUSA pushes for the campouts to be troop members and minimal adults required only. This fosters independence and growth. But that doesn’t fit all troops and families. Some like to go on campouts where every child has an accompanied adults or allow families to participate. General rule of thumb all councils usually have, anyone 18 and over attending an overnight needs to be registered and background checked. Some allow for extra insurance only under certain conditions. Verify with council what they will require before suggesting a family campout so you can answer all those questions.
Note – All councils have specific training for overnights that needs to be taken – contact your council to find out what they require. Some have additional training if you want to have a fire at your campout, regardless of if you spend night or not.
Participating in Other Councils
Many Councils allow you to sign up for their events without being directly registered with their council. This helps if you are traveling and want to participate in a Girl Scout event in a different Council, want to try resident summer camp in a different Council, or have relatives your child stays with during the summer, but your child still wants to do Girl Scout things.
Councils Who Only Allow Local Registration Participants
If the Council does not allow you to participate without being registered in their council – you need dual registration in two Councils. This means you would have to pay a new GSUSA membership fee for the same child using a different email address. An account cannot be in 2 Council’s systems at the same time.
If you chose to transfer your child’s account to the new council and then transfer it back after the end of the summer, be aware that the transfer can take a few weeks to process, and sometimes they do it as soon as you request it, well ahead of the time you might plan for it to be done which then cancels an event you registered for. The extra $25 registration fee might be worth skipping the headache of transferring.
If you have a split household in your troop and both parents want their child to be active in Girl Scouts – be aware that there may be legalities a Leader may not be aware of. While it is possible the parents can have 2 separate accounts in some cases (especially if the parents live in different councils), have the parents work this out directly with council – do not be the middle man.