Health and Safety

Knowing How Many Volunteers You Need
Girl Scouts adult-to-girl ratios show the minimum number of adults needed to supervise a specific number of girls. These supervision ratios were devised to ensure the safety and health of girls—for example, if one adult has to respond to an emergency, a second adult is always on hand for the rest of the girls. It may take you a minute to get used to the layout of this chart, but once you start to use it, you’ll find the chart extremely helpful.
Group Meetings ​Events, Travel, Camping ​
​Two unrelated adults (at least one of whom is female) for this number of girls: ​Plus one additional adult for each additional number of this many girls: ​Two unrealted adults(at least one of whom is female) for this number of girls: ​Plus one additional adult for each additional number of this many girls:
​Girl Scout Daisies (K-Grade1) 12​ ​6 ​6 ​4
​Girl Scout Brownies (grads 2-3) ​20 ​8 ​12 ​6
​Girl Scout Juniors (grades 4-5) ​25 ​10 ​16 ​8
​Girl Scout Cadettes (grades 6-8) ​25 ​12 ​20 ​10
​Girl Scout Seniors (grades 9-10) ​30 ​15 ​24 ​12
​Girl Scout Ambassadors (grades 11-12) ​30 ​15 ​24 ​12
 
Here are some examples: If you have a group meeting with 17 Daisies, you need three non-related adults (in other words, not your sister, spouse, parent, or child), at least one of whom is female. (If this isn’t making sense to you, follow the chart…you need two adults for 12 Daisies and one more adult for up to six more girls. You have 17, so you need three adults.) If, however, you have 17 Cadettes attending a group meeting, you need only two non-related adults, at least one of which is female (because, on the chart, two adults can manage up to 25 Cadettes). 

In addition to the adult-to-girl ratio chart, please remember that adult volunteers must be at least 18 years old (or at the age of majority defined by the state if it is older than 18). 

Health Histories (Including Examinations and Immunizations)
Health histories must be complete or updated annually.  Troop leaders are responsible for maintaining these records throughout the year and should always have health histories with them when working with girls.  This includes meetings, trips, and other outings.  Please keep in mind that information from a health examination is confidential and may be shared only with people who must know this information (such as the girl herself, her parent/guardian, and a health practitioner).  HIPPA laws require that confidentiality be maintained at all times.  

For various reasons, some parents/guardians may object to immunizations or medical examinations. Councils must attempt to make provisions for these girls to attend Girl Scout functions in a way that accommodates these concerns.
It is important for you to also be aware of any medications a girl may take or allergies she may have. 
  • Medication, including over-the-counter products, must never be dispensed without prior written permission from a girl’s custodial parent or guardian. (Your council can provide this form.) Some girls may need to carry and administer their own medications, such as bronchial inhalers, an EpiPen, or diabetes medication. 
  • Common food allergies include dairy products, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, and seafood. This means that, before serving any food (such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cookies, or chips), ask whether anyone is allergic to peanuts, dairy products, or wheat! Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies should be aware of their allergies, but double-checking with their parents/guardians is always a good idea.

Communicable Diseases
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio is committed to providing a safe, secure, environment in which girls and adults can interact. Girl Scouts of Western Ohio is further committed to protecting the girl or adult suffering from chronic illness or communicable disease, as well as protecting the other girls with whom they interact.

Girl Scouts of Western Ohio restricts services to those with communicable diseases only to the extent that is specifically recommended by the county health department or that the individual displays behavior that puts others at risk.

Head Lice
Head lice are one health and safety issue that is more prominent in the spring and summer.  Head lice are tiny insects that live on the heads of humans; they are hard to see, lay eggs (called nits) and feed on human blood.   Head Lice CAN transfer from one person to another.  Because of that, any girl or adult with head lice SHOULD NOT attend any Girl Scout events until the issue has been resolved.   

Prevention
In order to prevent the transferring of head lice; teach your troop that they should not share items such as:
Hair brushes and combs
Hair clips and hair bands
Hats and clothes 
Pillows

Screening and Treatment: 
If lice are present in the school district, troop leaders may want to conduct head checks before troop trips and overnights.  Leaders can also work with parents to educate them on how to screen for lice before sending their girls to a Girl Scout activity.  If leaders or other troop volunteers are doing the screening they should screen all girls.  Please assure privacy on the issue making sure to, above all else, the girls’ health and wellbeing are being protected.   Visit www.cdc.gov for more information about lice screening and treatment.  

Action Steps if Lice Are Found
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio uses the same broad standards that school districts use when girls attend Girl Scout events or activities including:
  • If a girl has active lice, they will be sent home and treated before returning to the troop meeting.  
  • If a girl has nits only, the child is allowed to say for the remainder of the troop meeting but the girls must be treated for lice and lice free before attending another session.  
  • During overnight events, girls will be sent home with nits and eggs and cannot return until treated.  
         
 Parent Notification
All parents of girls in the troop should receive notification letting them know that nits or lice were found on a member of the troop and action taken by the troop leader.  Care should be taken not to single out any girl.  Parents of girls found carrying lice or nits should be notified about what was found and recommended action.  Refer parents to the CDC or other local health department for support.  They should also be notified that if nits or lice are found at the next troop meeting, their daughter will be sent home.  

Bed Bugs
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s highest concern is always for the health, safety and well-being of our members and families.  With the increased media attention that the pest known as a “bed bug” has been receiving, plus its increase in population in the state of Ohio, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio has implemented the following procedures at all camp facilities.  These practices should be implemented when participating in any Girl Scout trips or overnights with girls. 
 
Bed bug Procedures For Home, Trips and Overnights:
(Leaders, please share this information with your families prior to a trip or overnight)
We are asking that you do your part in bed bug prevention not only for our facilities, but for your homes, cars, and our communities.  We are asking you to follow these universal precautions:
  • If you suspect you’ve been in contact with bed bugs, dry all clothing and bedding in a dryer at high heat for 30 minutes prior to a trip or overnight.  This would kill any bed bugs that may be present.  Place clothes and bedding directly into a large garbage bag after heating.  Twist the top closed, loop the twisted length over and secure with a tie, rubber band or string.
  • Once you’ve placed items in large garbage bags and secured them, label the bags with masking tape with girls’s name. 
  • During trips or overnights, girls will keep their belongings in the garbage bags to minimize the possibility of hitch-hiker bed bugs.

Learn more about bed bugs at the following links: www.centralohiobedbugs.org

 
Sleeping Arrangements
On trips where male volunteers are part of the group, it is not appropriate for them to sleep in the same space as girl members.  Men may participate only if separate sleeping quarters and bathrooms are available for their use.  In some circumstances, such as a museum or mall overnight with hundreds of girls, this type of accommodation may not be possible.  If this is the case, men do not supervise girls in sleeping area of the event, and the adult-volunteer-to-girl ratio is adjusted accordingly.  Always avoid having men sleep in the same area as girls and women, but during family or parent-daughter overnights, on family unit may sleep in the same quarters in program areas.  
Always ensure the following:
  • Each participant has her own bed.  Parent/guardian permission must be obtained if girls are to share a bed.
  • Girls and adults do not share a bed.
  • It is not mandatory that an adult sleep in the sleeping area (tent, cabin, or designated area) with the girls, but if an adult female does share the sleeping area, there should always be two unrelated adult females present.  

Possession of Fire Arms or Weapons
No person will use or possess firearms on council-owned or operated properties (including vehicles) while involved in Girl Scout related activities, except law enforcement officers acting in an official capacity. 
 
Although the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio respects individual’s right to carry a concealed weapon pursuant to Ohio’s Carry and Conceal Law, it is the policy of the council that no member, participant, guest, or any other individual shall have the right to carry, conceal, or possess any gun, knife, or any other kind of weaponry while involved in or present at any Girl Scout activity. 
 
Marksmanship
Marksmanship activities require council permission, and volunteers need to transport weapons separately from girls.  The minimum age for girls using firearms in highly supervised activities is 12 years old. Troop must get permission from the council offices and from parents before allowing any girl to participate  in an activity involving firearms.
 
Fireworks
No person will use or possess or use fireworks on council-owned or operated properties or while involved in Girl Scout related activities.