Opportunity Catalog FAQ’s
What is the Opportunity Catalog?
Opportunity Catalog in an online listing of opportunities
for girl and adult members.
It’s a lot like shopping online, something we’ve all done at some
point, right? The
Opportunity Catalog makes it easier for parents and
caregivers to search for troop openings by zip code. It also makes it
easier for troop leaders to advertise ways for family members to get
involved in their troop. Troop leaders will receive an instant email
notification (with contact information) when a new member joins the
troop or a parent or caregiver expresses interest in volunteering.
How does the Opportunity Catalog work?
Opportunity Catalog is easy to use!
First, troops decide how many girls they would like to have in the
troop. Then, we subtract the total number of girls currently in the
troop from that number to determine the “girl vacancies.” So, let’s
say a troop’s desired number of girls is (12), and currently there are
(10) girls in the troop. That means there are (2) girl vacancies in
the troop. Those two girl vacancies go on the
Opportunity Catalog so that a parent or caregiver who is
looking for a troop can see that there is space in the troop and can
then select that vacancy online in the
It looks like this:
How do I know if a new girl joins my troop?
Great question! When a new girl joins a troop, the leader will get
an email notification.
This email will prompt the leader to reach out and welcome the new
Girl Scout to the troop. This connection is really important because
it’s warm, and friendly, and gives the leader an opportunity to share
important next steps, including meeting dates, times and location.
How do I add a girl to my troop?
If you would like to invite a friend to join the troop (girl or
adult volunteer), just have them visit gsneo.org and
click on “Join Today” or “Volunteer Now.”
The process will walk them right through becoming a member,
completing the background check (for volunteers), and selecting the
appropriate troop and/or volunteer opportunity. To make it easy for
them to find your troop on the
Opportunity Catalog make sure they have the troop number
(all 5 digits), you might also mention that there is no space
between the letters and numbers when they are looking for the troop
(Ex: Troop12345). As long as there are vacancies in the troop, the new
members will find them in the
Opportunity Catalog and can easily join.
What information will be included in my Opportunity Catalog listing?
Since girls and volunteers will be looking for troops in their
areas, the listing will include when and where your troop meets, the
troop number, and troop age/grade level. We never list the exact
location of a troop meeting, but do give a general sense of the
location to help families select a troop that works best for their
schedules and locations. If you meet at a person’s house or other
private location, you may choose to identify a nearby intersection or
landmark. You can also write a troop description, which allows you to
share the interests and passions of your troop (such as camp or
community service projects) so that girls with common interests can
join! Pretty cool … right?
What if I don’t know the new girl who joins our troop? What about
Oh yeah, this is a perhaps the best part – you know, make new
friends, and all that!
Since the system is searchable by zip code, we expect that most
parents will enroll their daughter in the area where they live or near
the school she attends. Because parents will select troops whose
meeting dates and times fit their schedules, our hope is that more
parents will also choose to volunteer. For new volunteers that are not
parents, they have already gone through the background screening
process. We also encourage you to reach out to the new volunteer to
discuss his or her new role before the first meeting.
Please let your Community Membership Executive (CME) know if you
have specific concerns.
I’m considering advertising in the Opportunity Catalog; what
is the recommended troop size?
We recommend 12 girls per troop to provide a diverse, interactive
experience for the girls.
When and how do I submit information so my troop can be included in
the Opportunity Catalog?
Fill out the Troop Changes form
to provide us with your troop size, meeting information,
and location. We’ll add your troop to the
Opportunity Catalog – and simply resubmit the same form
if you need to update your listing. Please allow one week for
processing. For immediate updates contact GSNEO Customer Care at
1-800-852-4474, your CME, or CustomerCare@GSNEO.org.
What am I committing to by adding my troop to the Opportunity Catalog?
The goal of the
Opportunity Catalog is to help more girls who want to be
in a Girl Scout troop find one. Because Girl Scouts is inclusive of
all girls, once you commit to opening your troop up to new girls and
volunteers, your troop must accept the new girl(s) who enroll until
you reach the capacity you have selected for your troop.
What if I have an opening mid-year?
Opportunity Catalog is updated regularly, so please let
us know whenever you have changes to your meeting location or troop availability.
What if I don’t know whether or not my girls are returning in the fall?
We understand that figuring out the intentions of every girl in the
spring is hard work, but think about it this way: If a girl’s
membership is renewed in the spring, and she then decides not to
return to the troop, she is still a Girl Scout! Being a Girl Scout has
many benefits. She has access to discounted tickets and community
events, she’ll get the GSNEO e-news and information about
council-sponsored programs, and she can even work on her highest
awards as an individually registered member.
It’s a best practice for the girls to decide and budget for a
portion of their product sales proceeds to cover the annual membership
fee for all the girls, and even the required volunteers. This
methodology promotes financial independence; after all, the annual
membership dues are a required expense.
What happens if girls don’t renew by September 30?
First, renewal is an important annual task that needs to be
completed in the spring, preferably in April. Second, if the members
of your troop participated in the product sale(s), they have most
likely earned the funds needed to renew their membership for the next
year. Please consider renewing girls who are undecided. Oftentimes,
girls will return after a busy fall season of extracurricular activities.
If any of the existing members do not renew by September 30, their
spots will be opened up to anyone looking for a troop in your area.
For example: if the troops desired number of girls is (12), and the
troop has (12) but (2) girls don’t renew before September 30, then the
troop will have (2) girl vacancies on the
Opportunity Catalog beginning October 1.
But don’t despair – any girls who are currently in the troop can
renew well into the new membership year. Please encourage them to
complete their registration before other girls fill their spots.
Returning girls have until March 1 to renew to the troop, even if
there are no spots available. This is a consideration for the troop
leadership team. If lapsed girls return after October 1, they may
overfill the troop. Here’s the solution…
don’t let any members lapse!
Can I opt out of the Opportunity Catalog?
Admittedly, this question is a tough one because it indicates there
may be fears or concerns about this new process. Our hope is to help
you overcome those concerns, so let us know more about how you’re
feeling and we’ll talk about it! The short answer though, is no – all
girls and volunteers join and find their troop or volunteer role
Opportunity Catalog. So, if you’re open to new members
you can’t “opt out” of the
When we explore this question with volunteers, we hear that troop
leaders are afraid to display opportunities because they want to use
discretion about who they let in the troop. We hear this comment a
lot, so we know that this is a real concern, but here’s the thing:
Girl Scouting is open to all girls. We really shouldn’t pick and
choose who gets to be in a troop – it’s just not what we stand for. We
know that sometimes the reason for wanting to “screen” girls is
because of another underlying issue; perhaps it’s known that the girl
exhibits behavioral issues at school or the family doesn’t have the
best reputation in the community. Sometimes it’s because the troop is
affiliated with a particular organization and wishes for its members
to belong to the affiliate (this happens a lot in church affiliated
troops). Let’s team up on these things – you’re not in this alone. For
every fear, we have a story of hope; a girl who finally finds a place
where she has a sense of belonging and is accepted, a family that fits
in for the first time. It’s what we’re about; friendly, helpful,
considerate, caring – a safe place, for all girls – we know you agree.
Are there any changes in the immediate future?
Yes, yes, yes…The CEI system and its processes are evolving every
day – improvements are the constant change.
Our intention is that every change leads to improvement. We expect
that sometime in the next calendar year K-5 troops will be able to
update their own troop information via the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK).
When that happens we won’t need the Troop Changes form anymore. You’ll
be able to update your desired number of girls and the troop meeting
time, place, etc… at least that’s our expectation today – the future
is yet to be seen!