If you’ve been with the Girl Scout organization for a while, you’re no stranger to the strength of service units. As the backbone of our councils, service units bring experience, knowledge, connections, and so much more to the communities and volunteers they serve. You might be new to the world of Girl Scouts and if you haven’t had a chance to check out one of their meetings or meet with your service unit volunteers, you may be wondering, “What is a service unit?”
We’re here to break down service units to give you a better idea of what they do and the incredible way they support Girl Scouts!
What are Service Units?
A service unit is a team of dedicated volunteers working together in their communities to support Girl Scouts. Service Units are led by experienced individuals who support and serve girls, troops, and volunteers. They are organized by geographic area and are usually defined by a cluster of schools. Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast has 26 different service units!
The service unit, or SU as it is referred to by many, is an essential support system that organizes trainings, mentorships, girl programs, and membership support that are not only crucial for volunteers and troop leaders but also Girl Scout families. Your service unit is your connection to your Girl Scout council and GSUSA as a whole. If the Girl Scout troop is the nuclear unit, think of your service unit as your extended family!
At Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast
Our council stretches far along the beautiful coast of central California, spanning six different counties and creating a multitude of service units! In case you were curious, the service units in our council serve the following areas:
- Santa Cruz: Santa Cruz/Aptos, Watsonville, Santa Cruz/Silicon Valley/San Lorenzo Valley
- San Benito: Hollister
- Monterey: Soledad/King City/Greenfield, Seaside/Marina, Monterey, Salinas
- San Luis Obispo: Paso Robles, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, Grover Beach
- Santa Barbara: Vandenberg Air Force Base, Lompoc, Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara
- Ventura: Ventura, Santa Paula, Oxnard, Camarillo, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Westlake Village, Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks
What do they do?
Service Units have the information and support you need to feel confident as a Girl Scout volunteer or parent. They generally hold regular meetings where they share information about upcoming events and new information from Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast and GSUSA. It is important that there be a representative from each troop at these meetings to receive updates and ask any questions they may have.
This team of volunteers provides support to troop leaders, shares ideas and resources, and facilitates training. They also often organize their own events such as community-wide service projects, camps, celebrations, and ceremonies where Girl Scouts can come together and meet other girls from their area.
What kind of roles are there?
Within service units, there are all kinds of volunteer roles to fill. All service units are led by a Service Unit Manager/Co-Manager and their team. Each team is made up of experienced volunteers who specialize in a specific area of support. These roles include Treasurer, Secretary, Registrar, Membership Recruiter, Event Coordinator, Cupboard Manager, Booth Coordinator, Product Program Coordinator, New Leader Mentor, PR Coordinator, Day Camp Director, and more! Every role serves its own unique purpose in ensuring that Girl Scouts have the best experience possible, troop leaders feel supported, and our council runs smoothly!
Why are they important?
Aside from keeping up with important GSUSA and council updates, there are so many benefits that come with regularly connecting with your service unit. Especially if you are a newer troop leader, it’s an incredible opportunity to ask questions and seek advice from experienced volunteers who have been in your shoes (and just about every situation imaginable). From helpful tips on best practices to guidance on rules and requirements, there is a wealth of Girl Scout knowledge right at your fingertips!
You can also learn about upcoming events and activities that are exclusive to your area, without having to search out the information on your own. During Product Programs, service units are your place to go to stay updated, organize, and share ideas. If you are a younger troop seeking help with a Journey or badge requirement, it’s a great chance to connect with the leader of older Girl Scouts who may even be looking for mentoring opportunities.
Finally, service units prevent an incredible opportunity for volunteers to make new friends (it’s not just for girls!). Not only are you surrounded by a group of like-minded individuals who share your passion for Girl Scouts, but getting to know the volunteers in your service unit will connect you to a wider world of sisterhood. After all, we only grow stronger in numbers!
We hope that all of our volunteers take the time to get to know their service units. These dedicated members of our organization are always willing to lend a helping hand, and without them, none of our work would be possible.
Interested in learning more about Girl Scouts and the exciting opportunities to get involved? Visit here.