Frequently Asked Questions

Parents Frequently Asked Questions

What does the annual membership fee cover?


The $15.00 annual membership fee goes directly to Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and does not stay with Girl Scouts of Southeastern of Michigan. Troops based in schools or organizations may also collect dues to cover routine meeting expenses or program fees to support activities the girls choose to participate in.

What will my daughter need to begin her Girl Scouting experience?


GSSEM Starter Kits are a great value and have everything she will need to begin her Girl Scout experience. The Starter Kit includes a Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting, a Journey book, sash or vest, membership pins, and troop numbers. Starter kits are available at all GSSEM Council Shop locations or on our online shop.

Starter Kit pricing reflects a 15% discount on the regular price and includes a FREE bag with each Starter Kit purchase.

Are uniforms required in Girl Scouts?


Girl Scouts at each level have one required element (tunic, sash, or vest) for the display of official pins and awards, which will be required when girls participate in ceremonies or officially represent the movement (i.e., cookie booths, parades, media opportunities, etc.). While GSUSA has established an official full uniform for each grade level, this does not mean that a girl will be excluded from participation because of the inability to purchase a full uniform. Information on uniform components for each grade level is available on each of our girl pages on gssem.org.

How often should I expect my daughter’s troop or group to meet?


If your daughter is in a troop, supported by troop volunteers, which meets at a school or organization,  the meeting frequency depends on a variety of factors, including availability of the meeting place, and the schedules of the volunteers  and girls.  Members of the community troop are welcome to attend as many of the community or council-sponsored activities as they choose.

Does my daughter have to sell cookies?


The Girl Scout Cookie program is the largest girl-led business in the world. Through this program girls learn entrepreneurial and financial literacy skills including decision making, goal setting, money management, people skills and business ethics. In addition girls earn program credits, which they can use to pay for membership, program materials in the Council shop, or participation in GSSEM programs. However, girls and parents decide how they want to create their own Girl Scout experience and selling cookies is not required.

Who is leading my daughter’s troop/group? Will my daughter be safe?


Troop Leaders are appointed on an annual basis after completing training, both general and specific to the grade level of the girls they are leading. All Troop Leaders must pass a background check and are required to follow stringent rules governing safety and supervision. Leaders often have daughters of their own in the troop, and parents are also encouraged to become registered members of GSSEM and participate with troop activities.  Council-wide and community programs, which are available to all members, are delivered by Program Volunteers, who are screened, trained, and appointed.

Are there special awards or honors my daughter can earn in Girl Scouting?


The Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards play an important role in recognizing girls as they move forward through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. By earning these awards, girls experience long-term benefits which could include meeting college admission leadership requirements or scholarship opportunities.

The Bronze Award is a leadership quest for Girl Scout Juniors (girls in grades 4-5). The Silver Award is leadership exploration for Girl Scout Cadettes (girls in grades 6-8). The Silver Award is the second highest award in Girl Scouting and gives them the chance to show that they are leaders dedicated to improving their community. The Gold Award is a leadership adventure for Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors (girls in grades 9-12). The Gold Award is the highest and most prestigious award in Girl Scouting in which girls make a sustainable difference both locally and globally.

Does Girl Scouts have a particular religious affiliation?


Girl Scouts does not endorse or promote any particular philosophy or religious belief. We welcome girls from all backgrounds. Girls do have options to earn faith-based awards through the national Girl Scout My Promise, My Faith award, or P.R.A.Y., which administers faith-awards earned under the direction of the girl’s individual faith leader and parents. For more information about Girl Scouts faith awards, visit our Faith-Based Programs page.

My daughter has a disability. Will she be allowed to join Girl Scouts?


Girl Scouting does not discriminate on any basis, including disability. Girls of varying abilities enjoy participating in Girl Scouting and we have a long history of adapting activities for girls who have special needs, including those with physical or mental disabilities, and those who are chronically ill.

How do my daughter and I get started?


1.     Become a member of Girl Scouts. Registering you and your daughter online is
        fast and easy using GSUSA's online registration system. When you pay the
        annual membership fee of $15.00 per person, you are joining the premier
        leadership development organization for girls with over 3.2 million girls and
        women who are meeting friends, having fun, and make the world a better place.

2.     Purchase a starter kit for your daughter at our Council Shops or our online shop.

3.     Become a volunteer.
              •    Volunteering is easy with three simple steps:
              •    Complete a volunteer application and background screening
              •    Complete the required volunteer orientation available online, via
                   teleconference, or in person)
              •    Purchase your adult starter kit

4.     Join the fun!
              •    If you and your daughter have joined a Troop at a school or organization,
                   attend your first troop meeting.
              •    If you and your daughter are members of a Community Troop, check out
                   the Event Calendar to participate in upcoming programs and activities.

About the Girl Scout Entrepreneurial Program


The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led business in the world.  Nationally, our girls sell over $800 million in cookies each year while learning significant entrepreneurial and financial literacy skills. Each year, GSSEM supports two programs—the Fall Product Sale, which features candy, nuts and magazines in October/November, and the annual Cookie Program Sale in February/March. Through these programs, girls learn five critical life skills:   

  • Decision Making
  • Goal Setting
  • Money Management
  • People Skills
  • Business Ethics


Girls who participate in the product programs not only have fun and earn recognitions, they also learn how to be financially self-sufficient by earning money (or program credits) to pay for their ongoing annual membership, program materials, and participation in Girl Scout activities and programs.

For more information about the Fall Product and Cookie programs, visit our Cookies & More page.