Planning Events Beyond the Troop


How To Plan

Your Girl Scout Gold Award Project Event

Dear Girl Scout,

Thank you for taking this training which will guide you in hosting a successful Girl Scout

Gold Award Project Event involving Girl Scouts or the general public. It will take about 60 minutes to complete this course.

Please do not publicize events until they are officially approved by your Girl Scout Gold

Award Committee Member. This is a person on the Gold Award Committee who is assigned to work with you after your project has been approved. They will make sure that all GSUSA and GSGATL policies are followed, especially in regards to safety and money management. They also will approve and sign your final report.

It is helpful, but not required, to have a copy of Volunteer Essentials available throughout this course and paper and a pen to take notes. A copy of Volunteer Essentials is available by clicking this link .

To get the most from this training, please take notes and use them as you begin planning your event. Read each slide, and consider how you will use the information with your team.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this e-learning module, you will be able to:


Demonstrate an understanding of risk management by using scenarios and stating appropriate responses.


Plan a timeline and develop an event action plan.


Explain how to develop a practical event budget.


Identify proper forms to be used for various types of events.


Describe how to create and implement event evaluations.

7 Planning Steps

Step 1 – Determine the purpose of the event

Think of a possible event and consider:

1) Its purpose

2) Desired results

3) Potential benefits

4) The need for the event in your community

If you get this part right, you will be able to make good decisions thereafter for the right venue, the right date, the right launch strategies and the right promotions. Make sure the purpose for the event is understood properly so that the time and expenses needed to properly stage, publicize and evaluate the event are justified and accepted.

Do you want to create awareness? Start a new program? Educate others? Give back to your community? Have fun?

Let’s get started so your event will be a success.

7 Planning Steps

Step 2 – Recruit Girl Scout Gold Award Project Advisor and girl team

You will be in the leadership role for your project. What kind of people would you ask to join your team?

Some answers might be:

People who will stick with you.

People who know something about the issue.

People who share your concern or desire to act.

People from the community, school, church – they don’t have to be Girl Scouts or even teens.

People with valuable skills and strengths to offer.

People who offer different points of view and ways of working can add value to your project.

You will need to recruit a Gold Award Project Advisor. This person is an expert in the field of the project. It may also be a person at the facility where the project is done. This person agrees to advise you on the topic of the Gold

Award Project. The girl chooses this person.

Don’t forget they must complete the

Girl Scout Gold Award Project

Advisor Agreement Form .

Your team can be made up of members of your own troop, girls who volunteered from other troops or your friends.

To be sure everyone contributes to the success of the event, every team member should have a specific responsibility. You may want to limit your team to four to six girls.

7 Planning Steps

The following descriptions are suggestions for how these positions can function for your team. Feel free to add, delete, change or combine positions so they work best for your group!

Event Coordinator (This is you!): This person makes sure everything for the event is running as intended, presides over committee meetings, reminds sub-committee chairs when deadlines are approaching and offers assistance when sub-committees run into obstacles meeting their deadlines or assigned tasks.

Communications: This person sets up the communication links among committee members. May also serve as the marketing director for the event (i.e., sends out notifications for the event, works with registration sub-committee to set up event posters, signage, etc.).

Programming: This person works with the program content of the event. Schedules speakers, presenters, etc.

Business Manager: This person oversees the registration process including sign-ups, deposits, payments, disbursement of funds for the event or overseeing that funds are sent where needed.

Personnel: This person oversees recruiting volunteers for all aspects of the event, determines job descriptions for volunteer positions and makes assignments of volunteers to fill those positions.

Supplies: This person is responsible for obtaining supplies needed for the successful completion of the event: office supplies, decorations, first aid kits, art supplies, etc.

7 Planning Steps

Other suggested positions may include, but are certainly not limited to:

Housing: This person oversees assigning sleeping arrangements for overnight events.

Decorations: This person oversees decorating for celebratory events.

Food: This person is responsible for the planning, purchasing, preparation, service, and cleanup of food served during the event.

Location: This person serves as the liaison between the event committee and the location for the event. Handles obtaining location contracts, payments, etc. for the event.

Traffic: This person determines the traffic flow for automobiles in a parking lot, as well as attendees through a facility during an event.

Training: If training is offered, this person serves as the liaison between the adult education team and the event to obtain trainers, facilities, and supplies for the event.

Registration: This person oversees the registration process on the day of the event and prepares the information packets and/or handouts for the participants. They will work directly with business manager, housing, and programming to include information pertinent to those areas of the event.

Recognitions: If awards are to be given during this event, this person oversees the nominations and approval process and obtaining the appropriate awards/recognitions for the recipients. Also handles thank-you gifts for presenters and special guests.

7 Planning Steps

Now Let’s go over your event related tasks

• Choosing the event’s theme and activities.

• Setting a date and finding a site for the event.

• Developing the event’s action plan (who, what, when, where, how, etc.) and timeline (when each job has to be completed).

• Budgeting (estimating income and expenses, comparison shopping, preparing final budget).

• Keeping up with forms and paperwork for the event (fliers, applications, confirmations, contracts, evaluations).

• Preparing for the event (doing all the things that need to be done to get ready for an event, including emergency procedures).

• Being part of the administrative staff at the event.

• Evaluation and follow-up.

Step 3 – Choose the event theme, name, time and place

Discuss, plan and list the following:

Agenda or itinerary

Dates and times


Qualifications or requirements for participation

Event name, theme and activities

Planning positions

Name, addresses, telephone numbers and email of contact people

7 Planning Steps

Welcoming Everyone to an Event

Consider how to accommodate a person attending your event who:

Uses a wheelchair

Uses a walker or crutches

Can’t see

Can’t hear

When planning your event especially when selecting sites and choosing activities

– it’s important to be sure everything is accessible. You might ask the girls, “If you broke your leg four days before the event, could you still come? How could we help you to participate?” Consider similar questions for girls with visual, hearing, movement or cognitive impairments, so they can participate in your event fully.

Focus On Ability is helpful in planning for individuals with disabilities, and it is available for check-out in the Resource

Center. If you need more information on adapting activities, please contact Margaret Paschal at (770) 702-9610 or


Living with a disability isn’t the only reason some girls and adults might not feel welcomed at an event.

When choosing the site, date and activities be sure to ask yourself questions like:

1) Can girls/adults of all religious, ethnic, racial, linguistic and economic groups participate?

2) Does your team represent the diversity in your Girl Scout community?

3) How can you be sure everyone feels welcomed? Who can you talk to or ask to be sure?


This is a chance to put the Girl Scout Law into action: “I will do my best to be friendly and helpful…considerate and caring…respect myself and others…and be a sister to every Girl Scout.”

Step 4 – List event budget and resources needed

Your event may incur costs. Make a list of everything you will need before, during and after the event. The list may include advice, supplies, equipment, activity ideas, a location, training, transportation, people, food, publicity, and work space.

Estimate the number of participants you will plan for. Set a preliminary budget and cost per person.

Will you need to charge participants to attend your event? Consider the following questions:

Will food/drinks be served? Is there a fee for using the location? Do I need to buy supplies or decorations? How much will it cost to advertise my event?

Allowing a small “cushion” is often helpful for incidental expenses. Use this opportunity to develop your fundraising skills.

You should not have any money left after the event, so budget carefully.

If you are asking for donations, contact Penny Anderson at

to obtain a template of a request letter. Do not create this letter yourself.

7 Planning Steps

Every event needs a budget, unless of course you have a generous benefactor who is willing to hand over a blank check. From birthday parties to corporate parties, a budget is one of the most important elements of your event planning. Here are some tips for planning a budget that will lead to a successful event.

Step 1. Write down every area that is going to need finances, such as supplies, food, etc. Think of everything, no matter how small. You can go back later and combine or delete these areas as you fine tune. Use an Excel spreadsheet or a similar program to create a budget. It helps to add the following headers:





Facility Fee Rentals (tables, dishes)

Presenter/Entertainer Fee

Audio/Visual Equipment

Advertising/Promotion Printing Postage




Security and Technicians



Total Expenses:


Ticket Sales

Food Sales

Vendor Fees

Event Sponsorship




Total Revenue:

Estimated Cost

Estimated Revenue

Actual Cost

Actual Revenue

Step 2. Now fill in each line item with an item description and a budget amount. Keep in mind food and drink are usually 30% of the overall costs. Consider the first pass as a "rough draft". You will probably make several adjustments to your budget along the way. Once you've completed a rough draft, be sure to save the document!


Event: Can You Dance?

Purpose: To collect 1,000 cans for Hosea Feed the Hungry Foundation and inform the community about food nutrition.

Date: 2/19/2011

Actual Cost Expense

Facility Fee Rentals (tables, dishes)

Presenter/Entertainer Fee

Audio/Visual Equipment

Advertising/Promotion Printing Postage




Security and Technicians

Other DJ


Total Expenses:


Ticket Sales

Food Sales

Vendor Fees

Event Sponsorship




Total Revenue:

Estimated Cost











Estimated Revenue

100 @ $5 each


Actual Revenue

Step 3. As your event plans progress, go back and update your spreadsheet so that you know exactly where you are in regard to your budget. Adding in actual costs can also help you adjust other items or categories. You may have budgeted $150 for Facility Fee Rentals, but in actuality, the facility was free – leaving you $150 to apply to another event item.

Make sure to check your Total. It's always great to be under budget for an event, but going over can be extremely stressful!

Step 4. Distributing an event budget to everyone involved keeps all parties on the same page. If you are planning an event such as a birthday party, your budget can show others how much funding is needed by each person to ensure your event goes on without a hitch!

7 Planning Steps

Step 5 – Develop a work schedule and timeline

You should create a realistic work plan. Put your list in order of priorities. You may want to assign your team members this task.

Use a timeline and mark specific deadlines.

One of the big responsibilities in planning an event is taking care of the required paperwork – in a timely manner!

In the same way you need to turn in homework and school projects on time for a good grade, you need to identify and reserve the proper resources. Identify ways to fund and publicize your event on time, in order for it to be a success.

The Beyond the Troop Event Application must be turned in to your service unit director two to three months before the event. Your Troop/Group Advisor can tell you who that is.

This gives both the membership specialist and GSGATL time to go over the application and work with you to correct any problems or challenges.

Your Gold Award Committee Member should help you complete your project application before you send it to your SUD.

Let’s take a look at a descriptive event timeline now.

Planning Your Event Timeline

Today is August 15 and you are meeting with your team and Gold Award Project Advisor, who are helping with the event. You want to have the event next year on April 23. Let’s observe how the committee plans backwards.

Planning Your Event Timeline

March 26

Q: If your event has a registration deadline of March 26, when do you need to publicize and give out the registration fliers?

A: At a local service unit meeting on February 10 .

Planning Your Event Timeline

February 10

Q: To be sure you have the fliers ready to hand out on February 10, when do they need to go to the printer?

A: On February 7 .

Planning Your Event Timeline

February 7

Q: To be have the fliers ready to be printed, when do they need to be designed, proofread and complete?

A: On February 6 .

Planning Your Event Timeline

February 6

Q: To have the flier ready by February 6, when does the team need to have all the event information completed and the flier designed?

A: Before the cookie program in January, about January 15 .

Planning Your Event Timeline

January 15

Q: To be ready to design the flier in January, when do you and your team need to decide on the theme, possible activities, location, day, date, time, cost, and who can attend?

A: Before Thanksgiving; about November 12 .

Planning Your Event Timeline

November 12

Q: To be ready for the November planning session, when does the team have to have its first meeting?

A: On October 15 or 22.

Planning Your Event Timeline

October 15

Q: To have the first meeting in October, when does your team need to be formed?

A: By October 1.

Planning Your Event Timeline

October 1

Q: To have your team formed by October 1, when should you start asking for help?

A: At the September Troop Meeting or Service Unit Meeting on September 8 .

Planning Your Event Timeline

September 8

It looks like it will take seven to eight months to plan the event. Start early and create a detailed timeline. Keep in mind that each event is different. Once you have a timeline, be sure to follow it.

Planning Your Event Timeline

Please Take Notes

We want your event to be successful.

Please check

to see if there are any GSGATL events or programs planned for the same day as your event.

Remember to check for holiday conflicts, local school calendar conflicts, and service unit and cluster conflicts.

7 Planning Steps

Step 6 – Enjoy the day of the event

When hosting an event, arrive early and make sure all your resources are in place.

Welcome participants, staff and resource people with a smile.

Your team can assist you with the logistics since they should be at their assigned areas in advance and ready to go.

Check with other team members periodically for any last-minute instructions or changes. Make sure someone is assigned to take photographs, video or notes so you will have a record of the day for evaluation and publicity purposes.

7 Planning Steps

Step 7 – Follow up and evaluate

Don’t forget to return or replace materials, distribute thank-you notes and letters, and evaluate the event. You may want to skip the evaluation step, but don’t. The evaluation process will provide information that can improve other events you will hold during your lifetime.

When the event is over, consider why it was held. What was the purpose of having that event in the first place?

What are you hoping the audience will do in response to the event? Even if the event is pure entertainment, you would probably like the audience to follow it up in some way. Should they urge their friends to seek out a future event like this? Should they change their lives because of this event?

When you evaluate, ask yourself:

How smoothly did the event go?

Were there aspects that did not go well?

What would you do differently next time?

Paperwork and Forms

One of the big responsibilities in planning an event is taking care of the required paperwork – in a timely manner!

The Beyond the Troop Event Application must be turned in to your service unit director three to four months before the event.

The service unit director reviews the form, checking to be sure that:

1) The information on the form is clearly written and easy to read, and that all questions have been filled in.

2) That you have completed the Planning Events for Girl Scouts workshop.

The service unit director sends tentative approval to you and forwards the application to the Girl Scout Service Center,

Mableton by mail, fax (770-702-9585), or e-mail to


The application is reviewed by the council risk manager and final approval is sent to you, along with information about non-member insurance. Please note that non-member insurance is purchased based on the information provided on the application.

You will also need signed Permission for a Girl Scout Activity forms and signed Adult and Minor Health History records for each girl.

Once final approval is granted, then you may begin to advertise for the event.

What forms do I need, for what situations?

If your event is for Girl Scouts only you will need the following signed forms:

Permission for a Girl Scout Activity

Adult and Minor Health History

If your event is for the General Public you will need the following signed forms:

For troops and individual Girl Scouts attending:

Permission for a Girl Scout Activity

Adult and Minor Health History

For non-Girl Scouts and Parents :

No forms needed. Parents must be on site to supervise their child. No drop-offs permitted.

Note: Additional insurance may be required for events with non-Girl Scouts in attendance. Sensitive

Issues form must be completed if the event topic is a sensitive issue.

Risk Management

Webster’s New World School and Office Dictionary defines the noun risk as “the chance of injury, damage, or loss.” Do we ever expose Girl Scouts to risk, or allow risk-taking by girls?

Yes, everything we do in life has an element of risk! But by following our motto, “Be Prepared”, we can manage the risk, plan ahead and take precautions that keep everyone as safe as possible. The key to being prepared is to know as much as possible in advance.

It is a good idea to chart your event activities, using these questions:

What could happen?

What are the potential problems?

What is the likelihood of a problem happening?

What is the potential seriousness if it does happen?

What are the likely causes of the problem?

What can be done to prevent the problem from happening?

What will be done if the problem occurs (emergency or crisis procedures)?

Places to look for guidelines in preventing problems include Volunteer Essentials and Guide for Camping . These publications have basic safety guidelines as well as activity safety checkpoints related to health, safety and security.

Emergency Procedures

Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Inc. has standing Emergency Procedures for six emergencies: fire; storm and tornado; accident and illness; persons lost, missing or runaway; missing person at lake (waterfront); and unauthorized person on site/intruder.

Have written procedures posted at event sites.

(Most sites have evacuation maps and fire extinguishers, check to be sure)

Have storm and fire drill planned and mention during the opening of your event.

FILL OUT YOUR EMERGENCY PLAN (on the back of event application).

If an accident or incident has occurred, you need to complete the Accident/Incident Report Form available on our Web site. Print a few of these forms to keep with you on the day of your event along with a first aid kit.

Accident/Incident Management guidelines are on pg. 20 of Guide for Camping available on our Web site.

Thank you for taking How to Plan Your Girl Scout Gold Award Project Event .

We hope that you have learned a lot and are now well equipped to present a successful event and Gold Award Project.

Always remember that you have team of support here to assist you during this journey:

Troop/Group Adult Volunteer (Troop Advisor)

Gold Award Project Advisor

Gold Award Committee Member

Team Members

Remember that events should not be advertised until they are officially approved.

In order to receive credit for this course:

1) Complete the evaluation and quiz at .

2) Please e-mail Katie Bower at

to let her know you have completed this course.