Troop Meeting Space
Always choose a safe meeting space. Consider the age range and the type of activities you want to engage in when selecting a location or facility for your troop meetings. A meeting place needs to provide a safe, clean, and secure environment that allows for the participation of all Girl Scout members. You might consider rooms at schools, libraries, houses of worship, community buildings, childcare facilities, and local businesses for your meeting location. For teens, you can also rotate meetings at coffee shops, bookstores, and other places girls enjoy spending time. Below are a few points to keep in mind as you consider meeting locations:
- Accessibility. Be sure the space can accommodate Girl Scout members with disabilities, as well as parents with disabilities who may come to meetings.
- Allergen-free. Ensure pet dander, smoke, and other common allergens will not bother susceptible members during meetings.
- Availability. Be sure the space is available for the day and the entire length of time of your troop meetings.
- Communication friendly. Be sure your cell phone works in the meeting space or there is a land line for emergencies. Internet access is helpful.
- Cost. The space should be free to use. However, you may wish to develop a partnership with the facility and provide them community service (e.g., flower planting in the spring at the entrance, or a clean-up day for the grounds) or offer a donation toward maintenance or utilities.
- Facilities. Sanitary and accessible restrooms and toilets are critical.
- Resources. Determine what types of furnishings come with the room and ensure the lighting is adequate. A bonus would be a cubby or closet where you can store supplies.
- Safety. Ensure the space is safe, secure, clean, properly ventilated, heated (or cooled, depending on location), free from hazards, and has at least two exits that are well-marked and fully functional. Also check to be see if a first aid kit and equipment (e.g., portable defibrillator), smoke detectors, and a fire extinguisher are on site.
- Size. Make sure the space is large enough to accommodate the whole group and all planned activities.
Can we meet in a private home? Girl Scouts does not recommend holding troop meetings in private homes. If you are considering meeting in a private home, check with your council to make sure it is permitted based on their council policy. In addition to the above, remember to ensure these standards:
- Always obtain prior approval from your council.
- The private home must be the home of registered, council approved volunteer.
- Girl Scout members may not meet in a home where a registered sex offender resides.
- Some councils require membership and background checks for all adults living in the home. Contact your council for specific guidelines.
- Troop members need to be able to focus without disruptions from other household members.
- Animals should be kept in a place that is separate from the meeting space.
- Homeowners should consider any personal insurance implications. The homeowner should ask their personal homeowner’s insurance carrier if there are any insurance concerns with troop meetings in the home. Also, volunteers should confirm with the council that troop meetings in the home are covered by the council’s liability insurance carrier.
- Weapons must be out of view and in a locked space. Medication, cleaning products, or any poisonous substances must be stored in a secure space, out of sight, and preferably locked.