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Chapter 6.3: Council Volunteer Procedures

Benefits to Volunteers (Non-financial)

Benefits to volunteers include skill-building, adult learning opportunities, support, Girl Scouts of the USA and GS-TOP publications, tools for recording volunteer experience, references upon request, recognitions, an annual performance review, and supplementary accident insurance, as part of GSUSA membership.

The definitions of a policy and a standard are found at the beginning of the section “Council Policies and Standards”. All members are required to adhere to the policies of GSUSA and GS-TOP. 

Selection

Every adult volunteer shall be selected and appointed on the basis of interest, ability to perform the position, and willingness to participate in training.

The applicant completes a volunteer application, and is interviewed.  The interview may be formal or informal. The interviewer:

    a. explains service responsibilities

    b. explains volunteer structure

    c. explains term of service

    d. completes Interview Report form

A service description will be provided for each operational volunteer position, outlining the purpose, accountability, principal duties, and term of service of the position. If mutually agreeable, the applicant signs the appropriate service description/agreement.

Child Abuse

Reports may be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week; you may remain anonymous when reporting. Most important is to give enough information that the matter can be investigated. Also notify the council that a report has been made. If the incident occurred during a Girl Scout activity, complete an Incident Report and submit it to your local council office immediately.

The law requires any person who believes that a child is being abused, neglected, or exploited to report the circumstances to law enforcement, the Texas Abuse Hotline or the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.  A person making a report is immune from civil or criminal liability, and the name of the person making the report is kept confidential. Any person suspecting abuse and not reporting it can be held liable for a Class B misdemeanor.  Time frames for investigating reports are based on severity of the allegations.

Child Protective Services staff consider the following factors in determining whether the situation involves substantial risk of harm to a child:

• Extent and severity of the injury

• Location of the injury on the child’s body

• The child’s age

• The child’s physical condition, psychological state, and level of maturity and development

• The child’s capacity for self protection

• Frequency and duration of the same behavior or similar incidents

• Previous history of abuse or neglect

• How the injury occurred or was inflicted

Harassment

The appropriate employed staff member will take appropriate measures to resolve or correct the situation in an expeditious manner.

Criminal Background Checks/Contest of Criminal History Report/Duty to Report

Criminal background checks are conducted immediately when a volunteer application is received in any council office. When a record of criminal history is received on a volunteer applicant, the appropriate employed staff member reviews the record. If the history contains any of the crimes listed in the criminal background checks policy, the applicant will not be accepted. A rejection or suspension letter is sent to the applicant with a copy to the individual to whom the applicant would have been accountable, and the appropriate staff member.  The letter informs the volunteer of the contest of criminal history report process.

If an applicant corrects their criminal history report, the individual submits a certified copy of the corrected criminal history report to GS-TOP.  All costs associated with an appeal of the criminal history report provided to GS-TOP shall be borne by the individual.  Further, it is the responsibility of the individual contesting the report, not GS-TOP to take all action necessary to contest or correct the criminal history report. Notwithstanding an individual’s contest of information contained in the criminal history report, GS-TOP is entitled to and shall rely upon the information contained in the criminal history report until such time as a corrected criminal history report has been provided. GS-TOP does not control the information that is contained in criminal history reports, and GS-TOP shall have no liability to any person for the information contained in such reports or for its actions taken in reliance upon such reports.

When a volunteer or staff member responsible for volunteer selection, placement, and appointment has concerns about the suitability of an applicant, the individual consults with the appropriate employed staff member in order for a final decision to be made regarding selection.  This consultation takes place prior to communicating with the volunteer applicant. 

Adult Learning Opportunities

Adult Learning Opportunities are provided for operational positions in Girl Scouting.  They must be taken within a designated period of time after appointment.  They are available online, by home study, or in a classroom setting. To register, see the Adult Learning Opportunities Calendar in The Spirit e-newsletter, visit our website at www.gs-top.org and under the home section, pull down for Volunteers and then click on Adult Learning Opportunity, or contact the Volunteer Specialist in any GS-TOP office for more information regarding adult learning opportunities.  To maximize the girls’ experience in the troop, Troop Committee members are encouraged to take New Member Orientation and Leadership Essentials/Journey training.

Recognition

Recognition of outstanding service includes recognition of adults with 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, etc. years of membership or volunteer service.  Request forms for membership numerals/years of service pins are available at any GS-TOP office and on the website. 

Refer to the GS-TOP Recognition Plan and nomination forms available at any GS-TOP office and on the website. The GS-TOP Recognition Plan is a valuable component of the volunteer management system. It offers intangible and tangible awards. Tangible awards are offered with criteria and requirements, nomination forms, and step-by-step guidelines. The plan includes awards for significant service by individuals and teams, as well as recognitions that can be earned by completing relevant requirements.

Performance Review/Re-appointment

1.  Appointer conducts a performance review with volunteer prior to the end of the term of service of the position.  The review may be verbal or written.  Performance review forms are available for this purpose and can be obtained on the council website or at any GS-TOP office. 

2.  If re-appointment is mutually agreed upon, the volunteer signs the appropriate position description/agreement.

3.  The volunteer completes additional training and/or an annual update if required for the position.

4.  A re-appointment letter will be provided by the person authorized to make the appointment.

5.  Appointer sends the performance review to the Volunteer Specialist at the appropriate council office.

Conflict Resolution

Operational volunteers should bring to the attention of those with whom they work any problems or grievances they have. A grievance arises when an individual feels that policies, standards, or procedures as related to her/his position in Girl Scouting are not being properly administered.

Operational Volunteer to Operational Volunteer

1. The most effective way of resolving conflict is by calm, open discussion between the persons involved. This discussion is always the first step in conflict resolution. If, for any reason, a conflict arises between individuals and it cannot be resolved through discussion with each other, the following steps will be followed until the conflict is resolved.

2.  If a solution is not rendered by Step #1, the person may call her/his supervisor to request a conference of the parties involved and the immediate supervisor.

     The person puts her/his grievance in writing, citing the policy, standard, or procedure that allegedly has been misinterpreted, misapplied, or violated. The signed and dated statement is sent to the person, against whom the grievance is registered, with a copy to the person’s supervisor. Within ten (10) days after the written statement is received, the immediate supervisor calls a conference of the parties involved. The purpose of the conference is to resolve the conflict. A written summary of the conference with agreements reached is distributed to the parties involved, with a copy sent to the next level of supervision.

3.  If a solution is not rendered by Step #2, the unresolved conflict may be taken to the next level of supervision. Involved parties and the immediate supervisor meet in conference with the next level of supervision. Before the conference the newly involved supervisor reviews all written documentation regarding the conflict. After the conference a written summary with agreements reached is distributed to all parties involved, their supervisors, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Council.

4.  If there is still a problem, or if the problem involves the supervisor, individuals may request a closed hearing with the appropriate council executive staff member(s). If this step is necessary, the Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Board should be informed. The Chief Executive Officer may choose to attend this conference.

5.  If a solution is still not rendered by Step #4, the Chief Executive Officer may appoint an ad hoc task group consisting of operational volunteers and employed staff to resolve the conflict.

The duties of this group are to:

a. Thoroughly investigate the problem.

b. Meet and discuss solutions to the problem.

c. Provide a written account of conclusions reached and solutions recommended.

d. Distribute written recommendations to all appropriate persons, including the Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Board.

Decisions of this task group are final.

Operational Volunteer to Employed Staff

1. The most effective way of resolving conflict is by calm, open discussion between volunteer and the employed staff member involved. This discussion is always the first step in conflict resolution.

2.  If a solution is not rendered through Step #1, the volunteer may report the complaint to the staff member’s supervisor. The employed staff member’s immediate supervisor calls a conference with the parties involved (volunteer and employed staff member). The purpose of the conference is to resolve the conflict. A written summary of the conference with agreements reached is distributed to the parties involved, with a copy sent to the next level of supervision.

3.  If a solution is not rendered by Step #2, the unresolved conflict may be taken to the next level of supervision. Involved parties and the immediate supervisor meet in conference with the next level of supervision. Before the conference the newly involved supervisor reviews all written documentation regarding the conflict. After the conference a written summary with agreements reached is distributed to all parties involved, their supervisors, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Council.

4.  If there is still a problem, or if the problem involves the supervisor, individuals may request a closed hearing with the appropriate council executive staff member(s). If this step is necessary, the Chief Executive Officer may choose to attend this conference.

5.  If a solution is still not rendered by Step #4, the Chief Executive Officer may appoint an ad hoc task group consisting of operational volunteers and employed staff to resolve the conflict.

     The duties of this group are to:

a.      Thoroughly investigate the problem.

b.      Meet and discuss solutions to the problem.

c.      Provide a written account of conclusions reached and solutions recommended.

d.      Distribute written recommendations to all appropriate persons, including the Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Board.

Decisions of this task group are final.

Resignation

1.  Reason(s) for desiring to resign should be discussed immediately with the person to whom the volunteer is accountable prior to a final decision.

2.  Upon reaching a decision, operational volunteers who wish to resign their positions must submit written notification to the person to whom they are accountable as far in advance as possible.

3.  Resignation submitted will be acknowledged in writing by the immediate supervisor.

Release

In any organization, situations may arise which make it necessary to consider releasing an individual from a position.  At such times, considerable emotion can be aroused. An action to release a volunteer, therefore, should receive careful and detailed consideration for the possible implications and consequences for both the individual and the council.

As part of this procedure a designated council representative should ascertain the facts. That representative will inform the appropriate council executive staff member when release is being considered. The executive staff member will consult with any others necessary including the council’s legal counsel.

1.      Ascertain the facts.

Take no action on the basis of unsubstantiated information. Decisions with regard to the quality of position performance should be reached on the basis of a thorough review of the work, after consultation with the individual.

Involve as few people as possible in the fact-gathering and decision-making process. Careful, objective documentation should be made of interviews, action recommended, and results.

2.      Discuss the situation with the individual concerned. It is important to have one other

responsible person present during the discussion to help avoid the possibility of misunderstanding or misquoting.

Explain why the performance is unsatisfactory. Every effort should be made either to assist the individual in improving her/his performance or, if possible, to place her/him in another position better suited to her/his qualifications which will offer satisfaction.

3.      When the facts indicate that separation is necessary, give the individual an opportunity

to resign or withdraw voluntarily and with dignity. Depending upon the circumstances, the person

may be permitted to continue in her/his position until a final decision is reached. Give the individual careful and frequent help during this period. Release from a position does not cancel membership in the Movement.

4.      If the individual is to be released, the documentation of facts gathered and the action

taken should be reviewed by the council’s legal counsel prior to formal release. All documentation should be filed with the council office.

Being a Health and Safety Role Model

See Safety Activity Checkpoints

Adult volunteers should model behavior that shows respect for local, state, and federal laws and ordinances; policies and standards of GSUSA and GS-TOP.  When acting in an official Girl Scout capacity in the presence of girls, adult volunteers should model the behavior that shows respect for the health and welfare of girls.  Part of being an effective and responsible Girl Scout adult volunteer includes being a health and safety role model. Girls learn about health and safety directly and indirectly from the adults around them, and especially from their leaders.