Volunteer Orientation Handbook
Using the Safety Activity Checkpoints
When preparing for any activity with girls, start by reading the Girl Scout Safety Activity Checkpoints for that particular activity. You can find these at www.gsmanitou.org.
Each Safety Activity Checkpoint offers you information on where to do this activity, how to include girls with disabilities, where to find both basic and specialized gear required for the activity, how to prepare yourselves in advance of the activity and what specific steps to follow on the day of the activity.
In addition to reading these checkpoints yourself, you can e-mail or print them for troop advisors, parents/guardians, and the girls themselves. The checkpoints are formatted as checklists, so that the troop advisors, and the girls can check off each step that has been accomplished.
In keeping with the three processes of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, be sure that
If Safety Activity Checkpoints do not exist for an activity you and the girls are interested in, check with the Girl Scouts of Manitou Council before making any definite plans with the girls. A few activities are allowed only with written council pre-approval and only for girls 12 and over, while some are off-limits completely:
All activities are girl-led, taking into account the age and abilities of the girls. Older girls can take the bulk of the responsibility for carefully planning and executing activities, while younger girls will require more of your guidance but should still be deeply involved in making decisions about their activities.
- Girls have the chance to learn cooperatively, by having girls teach each other new skills they may need for activities, rather than hearing all that from you.
- Girls learn by doing. If research or special equipment is needed, they will learn better doing that research themselves than by having you do the legwork and report back to them. Even Daisies can do basic research and give reports or do show-and-tell for each other. And Ambassadors may need you only for moral support as they research, teach each other, and plan every detail of their excursions.
Caution: You must get written pre-approval from the Girl Scouts of Manitou Council for girls ages 12 and older who will operate motorized vehicles, such as go-carts and personal watercraft; use firearms; take trips on waterways that are highly changeable or uncontrollable; or fly in noncommercial aircraft, such as small private planes, helicopters, sailplanes, untethered hot-air balloons, and blimps.
- Warning: The following activities are never allowed for any girl: potentially uncontrolled free-falling (bungee jumping, hang gliding, parachuting, parasailing, and trampolining); creating extreme variations of approved activities (such as high-altitude climbing and aerial tricks on bicycles, skis, snowboards, skateboards, water-skis, and wakeboards); hunting or shooting a projectile at another person; riding all-terrain vehicles and motor bikes; taking watercraft trips in Class V or higher; and simulated skydiving and zero-gravity rooms.
One additional note: What may seem benign to one person could be a sensitive issue for another, so when you or the girls wish to participate in anything that could be considered controversial (health or education in human sexuality, advocacy projects, work with religious groups, or anything that could yield a political/social debate), put the topic on hold until you have obtained written parental permission, on forms available online at www.gsmanitou.org. Included on the permission form should be the topic of the activity, any specific content that might create controversy, and any action steps the girls are to do when the activity is complete. Be sure to have a form for each girl, and keep them on hand in case a problem arises. For non-Girl Scout activities, find out in advance from organizers or other volunteers who may be familiar with the content what will be presented, and complete a council approval application: trips and more, www.gsmanitou.org.
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