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Volunteer Personnel Policies

Harassment
The council is committed to an environment and climate in which relationships are characterized by dignity, respect, courtesy, and equitable treatment. It is the policy of the organization to provide all volunteers and paid staff with an environment free from all forms of unlawful or unwelcome harassment, including implied or expressed forms of sexual harassment.
 
It is against the organization’s policies for any volunteer, male or female, to sexually harass another volunteer, or paid staff, or Girl Scout member of the same or opposite sex.
 
Any volunteer, who feels that she/he has been subjected to harassment of any type, whether by another volunteer, council staff member, or any agent of the organization, should promptly report the incident to the director of regional services or another staff member. Upon receiving such a complaint, this staff member must report the matter to the community engagement team leader or other appropriate staff member. The community engagement team leader/other staff member will take appropriate measures to resolve or correct the situation in an expeditious manner.

Smoking
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio is a smoke-free environment. The use of tobacco products where girls are present is not permitted.

There will be no smoking in any council buildings or vehicles; including all sites and vehicles, owned, leased and/or operated by Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. There will be designated smoking areas at all council properties.

Alcohol and Drug Use
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio is committed to maintaining an environment free from alcohol and drugs. The use of alcohol is not permitted on Girl Scout property, or at any Girl Scout function involving girls, except specific, pre-approved occasions.

Persons under the influence of controlled substances or alcohol, or in possession of same, are prohibited from participation in any Girl Scout activity or event.

 

Financial Concerns

Any volunteer that is “past due” in payment to the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio for the product sale or cookie sale, failure to pay for an event or from one or more bounced checks totalling $500 or more, will not be eligible to serve in an appointed volunteer position for 1 year from the date the debt is paid in full. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to contact the council office and request a review of his/her volunteer eligibility status.
 
Additional restrictions or actions may be applied for specific circumstances; the volunteer will be notified in writing of any restrictions or actions taken against them.
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio reserves the right to seek collection assistance for funds that are not paid as requested by the council.

Electronic Communication Policy
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio recognizes that the Internet provides unique opportunities to participate in interactive discussions and share information using a wide variety of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs. However, use of social media also presents certain risks and carries with it certain responsibilities. To assist volunteers in making responsible decisions about their use of social media, we have established these guidelines for appropriate use of social media. Generally, the same laws, professional expectation and guidelines for interacting with employees, volunteers and members apply online as in other communications media and face-to-face situations. Ultimately, volunteers are personally responsible for what they post online.
 
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio guidelines are as follows:
  • Be respectful in all communications and blogs related to or referencing the organization, its members and/or other staff and volunteers.
  • Always be fair and courteous when speaking about Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, its employees, volunteers and members, whether by name or implication.
  • Avoid posting statements, photographs, video or audio that reasonably could be viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening, or intimidating; that disparages parents, members, volunteers or employees; or that might constitute harassment or bullying. Examples of inappropriate postings include, but are not limited to, offensive posts meant to intentionally harm someone’s reputation; posts that could contribute to a hostile environment on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion, or any other characteristic protected by law or council policy; and threats of violence or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct.
  • Do not post pictures or names of any Girl Scout girls, volunteers or parents, nor may they post comments or descriptions about any specific Girl Scouts.
  • Making representations on behalf of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio without prior permission is prohibited. If volunteers identify themselves as a volunteer of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, they should make clear that the views are their own and do not necessarily reflect Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s views.
  • Do not link web pages or blogs to any site or blog that does not meet these requirements.
  • Misappropriating the Girl Scout trademark and committing any other acts in violation of any local, state or federal law is prohibited.
Although volunteers develop trusting relationships with Girl Scout girls and adults as part of their volunteer role, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio does not allow the exchange of electronic communication between volunteers and girls, except related to official Girl Scout activities or business.
 
In addition, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio does not encourage or condone the exchange of information through electronic communication between Girl Scout girls and former volunteers, even after the volunteer has completed their assignment by the council.
 
Nothing in this policy shall limit volunteers’ rights to engage in free and open discussion and exchange of concerns related to their roles as Girl Scout volunteers and members.
 
Problem Solving & Conflict Resolution
Principles to Be Used in Problem Solving
Leaders may encounter difficult and complex situations involving the girls in their troop/group. There are often no easy answers in these situations, but the following principles guide our actions:
 
  1. Our focus is always on what is good for all of the girls involved. To the greatest extent possible, we seek a solution that supports all of the girls in the troop, including the girl(s) who are involved in the difficult situation or issue.
  2. When we don’t know the facts, we rely on the decisions of the authorities to guide our actions.  
  3. We communicate with parents, as partners in our work with their daughters, sharing any facts that we have about the situation, but never speculating, spreading rumors or “taking sides” in conflicts about which we have no facts.  
  4. We maintain the greatest confidentiality possible in all family matters, while minimizing risk to girls and the troop.  This is especially critical in matters that involve girls’ personal experiences or their physical/medical or psychological history or status.
  5. In no circumstances is a girl removed from a troop without working with the girls, parents, and Girl Scout staff to find a solution that best supports all of the girls in the troop – including the girl in question.  The decision to remove a girl from the troop is generally communicated by the Girl Scout office, to communicate Girl Scout guidelines surrounding the situation, maintain objectivity, and protect the Girl Scout leader from being seen as taking a personally-motivated action.
It is Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s policy to resolve volunteer conflicts in an equitable manner consistent with the council policies and practices. It is further the policy to encourage problem solving by the parties most directly involved in a situation whenever possible.
 
Problem-solving steps:

When a disagreement arises, the volunteer is responsible for meeting with the parent, volunteer or staff member involved in the situation to resolve the problem.

Suggested problem-solving steps:

  • Start with a focus on how the situation affects the girls.
  • Each person states their concern and allows the other person to restate to ensure she/he understands the  concern or has a different perspective.
  • Both parties will try to reach an understanding of the other’s perspective.
  • Identify options for a middle ground or mutually saftisfactory solution.
  • Discuss ideas for resolving the situation, so that both parties’ needs are met.
  • Agree on a solution.
  • Set a time period for testing the solution and touch base at the end of that time to discuss effectiveness of solution.

 

If the volunteers are not able to reach a satisfactory solution, the following steps should be taken:

  • Meet with the next level manager, often the service unit chair or Girl Scout Leadership Experience chair to resolve the problem.
  • If the problem is still not resolved, the service unit chair will involve the community engagment team and/or other designated staff member.
  • If the problem still remains, it will be discussed with the director of regional services or other designated staff member.
  • Issues that cannot be resolved at the regional level may be forwarded to the CEO or her designee for additional guidance. The decision of the CEO is final.
Using “I” Statements
Perhaps the most important tip for communicating with parents/guardians is for you to use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. “I” statements, which are detailed in the aMAZE Journey for Girl Scout Cadettes, tell someone what you need from her or him, while “you” statements may make the person feel defensive.
 
Here are some examples of “you” statements:
  • “Your daughter just isn’t responsible.”
  • “You’re not doing your share.”
 

Now look at “I” statements:

  • “I’d like to help your daughter learn to take more responsibility.”
  • “I’d really appreciate your help with registration.”
 
If you need help with specific scenarios involving parents/guardians, try the following:
​If a Parent or Guardian... ​You Can Say...
​Is uninvolved and asks how she can help but seems to have no idea of how to follow through or take leadership of even the smallest activity. ​ “I do need your help. Here are some written guidelines on how to prepare for our camping trip.”
​Constantly talks about all the ways you could make the group better. ​ “I need your leadership. Project ideas you would like to develop and lead can fit in well with our plan. Please put your ideas in writing, and perhaps I can help you carry them out.”
​Tells you things like, “Denise’s mother is on welfare, and Denise really doesn’t belong in this group.”  ​“I need your sensitivity. Girl Scouting is for all girls, and by teaching your daughter to be sensitive to others’ feelings you help teach the whole group sensitivity.”
​Shifts parental responsibilities to you and is so busy with her own life that she allows no time to help.  ​“I love volunteering for Girl Scouts and want to make a difference. If you could take a few moments from your busy schedule to let me know what you value about what we’re doing, I’d appreciate it. It would keep me going for another year.”
 
 
Corrective Action
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio hopes that volunteer staff will act in an appropriate manner at all times while participating in a Girl Scout capacity. However, at times it is necessary to use corrective action in order to maintain a positive, safe environment for girls and to protect the assets of girls, Girl Scout groups and the council.
 
Objectionable or unsatisfactory conduct will not be permitted and may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination, depending on the severity of the violation. When possible, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio will work with the volunteer to establish actions to correct the situation. Serious violations may involve immediate suspension or release from the volunteer position.
 
Some types of serious offenses that can result in immediate suspension and/or termination include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Indecency of speech or action such as fighting, destruction of property, or willfully or repeatedly disregarding Girl Scouts of Western Ohio or Girl Scouts of the USA’s policies or procedures.
  • Dishonesty, including but not limited to, reporting such things as quality or quantity of production, falsification of time schedules, expense reports or any other council records.
  • Possession or use of illegal drugs or other controlled substances.
  • Possession of weapons or other dangerous objects on council premises or while performing council activities.
  • The unauthorized possession or use of alcohol on council premises or while performing council activities or other use of alcohol that the council determines is inconsistent with its policies or otherwise inappropriate.
  • Refusal to permit council management to examine any council property or personal property while on council premises.
  • Failure to maintain proper quantity and quality standard of work performance.
  • Theft, destruction or unauthorized use of troop, service unit or council property.
  • Misuse or misconduct of Girl Scout funds (troop, service unit, product sale, etc.).
  • Child abuse or failure to report suspected child abuse incidents immediately.
  • Negligence or failure to maintain a safe environment for girls.
Volunteer Resignation & Release 
 
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio or the volunteer may initiate the termination of appointment. A volunteer may be released from an appointed position because of the inability or failure to complete the requirements of the position, including training and background check, failure to abide by GSUSA or Girl Scouts of Western Ohio policies or standards, misuse or mis-management of Girl Scout funds, or failure to accept and foster the mission and goals of the organization. Volunteers may still be a registered member of Girl Scout of the United States of America regardless of voluntary resignation or council termination.
 
No individual who has past due accounts or other outstanding debts with the council or a troop or group may serve in any appointed position. Volunteers must provide written or verbal notification of her/his resignation to a paid staff member. If a volunteer has been released by the council, the volunteer will be notified in writing.