Monday, February 15, 2010

Volunteer Essentials

Rolling out the new Volunteer Essentials document has been an interesting process with so many people collaborating to make it something that is useful and accessible for every member! Volunteer Services, Membership, Programs, Product Sales and Registration have all had a hand in the content of this unique resource. The Communications Department has been instrumental in getting it posted to the Web site as a PDF, then as searchable text on the Web site itself. But most importantly the feedback from the volunteers that have seen it and will be using it has been invaluable. They gave us editing tips. They gave us content feedback; they have tweaked a good document and made it better.
“Volunteer Essentials is a resource for volunteers serving in any pathway, and can also be used for volunteers who do not work directly with girls. It offers information about Girl Scouts as a movement and a tradition, asks volunteers to assess their skills and competencies, discusses the GSLE and journeys, highlights other program offerings, shares information about healthy development in girls, instructs volunteers in how to keep girls safe, gives information on taking trips and hosting events, and tells volunteers how to help girls manage group finances, including details on Girl Scout Cookie sales.” -Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA)

In an effort to make Girl Scouting consistent across the country and serve all the girls and volunteers, GSUSA created Volunteer Essentials. They noticed that many councils had created their own "operating manuals" (ours was called Directions). They varied from council to council and covered many different topics so that if you moved form Texas to Washington or even just New York to New Jersey, you weren’t necessarily getting the same information or training. GSUSA decided that in order to be consistent they needed a nationally consistent module that would address the main points and still be somewhat customizable. There are, after all, differences geographically and culturally that may have to be addressed.

The finished product accomplishes just that! It is succinct without being to brief it is thorough without belaboring the point! I am pleased with it and I hope to see it serve as a resource that every volunteer will refer to often and use as needed!

Check out Volunteer Essentials now.

-Heather Givens

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