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2019 Volunteer Conference

Stay tuned for 2020 Big Volunteer Conference information, coming early 2020!

2018 BIG Volunteer Conference

Saturday, August 3, 2019

The Falls Event Center

Elk Grove, California

Spend the day learning, leading and coming together as volunteers for GSHCC’s Big Volunteer Conference. This second annual conference will feature inspiring speakers, breakout sessions with opportunities to expand your personal development and improve your Girl Scout expertise, along with fun networking opportunities and a community partner expo.

Looking for resources from the 2019 Big Volunteer Conference? Workshop materials can be found in the event Dropbox folder.

General Schedule & Pricing


Take advantage of early bird pricing when registration opens in May -    tickets are just $35 per person. In June the ticket price will increase to $45 per person .

This is an adults-only event. ALL attendees must be registered adult members of Girl Scouts.


Breakout Sessions

We are excited to present the following break-out sessions at this year’s volunteer conference.  Unless otherwise noted each session will last 60 minutes long. Registered participants need to complete the 2019 Big Volunteer Conference: Customize Your Day! form to select their sessions. Workshop selections are on a first, come first served basis. No workshop reassignments will be made after you've submitted your selections.

Cooperative Learning: Environmental Stewardship (Skills)
Girl Scouts have always had a special relationship with the outdoors and making the world a better place.  During this workshop, try a variety of games and activities to introduce girls to the Leave No Trace principles and how they can minimize their impact on the natural world.  The activities presented will partner with the Environmental Stewardship badge series. This workshop is recommended for new leaders and troops that are just starting to enjoy outdoor experiences.

Cooperative Learning: STEM (Skills)
Are you a troop leader looking to include more STEM and Maker activities with your troop? Come learn about what the Mobile STEM Center + MakerSpace offers for the new STEM Badges and get hands-on experience with a Maker activity to take back to your troop. Information will be provided on how to complete a STEM Badge and how to gain confidence and skills to facilitate STEM and Maker activities with your troops. This workshop is recommended for leaders interested in completing STEM activities with their troop.

Cooperative Learning: Team Building Games (Skills)
As Girl Scouts, we often work in teams to accomplish badges, Journeys and other awards. Whether you are starting a new troop, or welcoming new girls into an established troop, games can be a great way to get to know each other, discover team strengths and challenges and build trust. During this workshop, you will learn several easy to facilitate team building games you can use with your Girl Scout troop or volunteer teams. This workshop is recommended for new leaders, leaders looking to increase team building within their troop, and service team members.

Customizing Your Journey (Presentation)
Don’t be afraid of Journeys! Now’s your chance to learn about how you can tailor Journeys for your troop. This workshop is designed to give you the tools and confidence to plan a Journey that is customized to your Girl Scouts!  Yes, the Journey books are a helpful tool to get you started, but in true Girl Scout form we encourage leaders to put in their special touches to the Journey and to have it be girl-led--often this means deviating from the activity plans laid out for you. Spend an hour learning about the tips and tricks, the must do’s, activity examples and the places for creativity when planning your next Journey. This workshop is recommended for leaders of all levels, interested in completing Journeys with their troops.

Engaging Families (Panel)
Getting parents involved with the Girl Scout troop benefits girls, leaders, and families. Leaders with involved troop parents can better meet the needs of girls and their families and can often accomplish more during the year. During this workshop, a panel of volunteers will share their tips and tricks for getting and keeping families involved in Girl Scouts, how to handle difficult conversations with parents, and answer your questions. This workshop is recommended for new leaders and leaders looking for more parent involvement in their troop.

Girl-Led Leadership (Panel)
The backbone of the Girl Scout experience is Girl-Led Leadership. This important process is not always easy to implement. During this session, a panel of girls, volunteers and staff will discuss the successes and challenges they have had promoting girl-led leadership, share tips and tricks, and answer your questions. This workshop is recommended for new leaders and leaders transitioning from Juniors to Cadettes.

Group Management for Grades K-5 (Presentation)
Are you drained and frustrated at the end of your meetings? Not sure how to keep girls focused and engaged? Managing a group of younger girls can be tough. Join us for this session to talk through your real-life scenarios and explore different techniques that can help you gain control and manage your group, while still maintaining a positive girl-led environment. This workshop is recommended for new leaders and leaders looking for facilitation tips with their troops.

Group Management for Grades 6-12 (Presentation)
Do you sometimes have trouble connecting with your girls? Are devices taking over your meeting? Managing a group of middle and high school girls comes with its unique set of challenges. Join us for this session to talk through your real-life scenarios and explore different techniques that can help you gain control and manage your group, while still maintaining a positive girl-led environment. This workshop is recommended for leaders of Cadette, Senior and Ambassador troops.

Inclusion and Belonging for All Girls: Leveraging Our Diversity (Presentation)
Research shows that human beings have unconscious attitudes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions towards others based on dimensions of diversity such as race, gender, and age. In this workshop, you’ll participate in activities to recognize your unconscious biases and learn key strategies to create a program that is inclusive and provides equitable experiences for all girls. This workshop is recommended for leaders of all experience levels. Please note: This is a two-hour workshop and will take up the last two workshop slots of the conference.

Leadership Lessons from the Brownie Handbook (Presentation)
Many years ago, two little girls became Brownies. Dr. Randy Roberts joined Troop 93 in New York, and Dr. Linda E. Farley joined Troop 289 in California. Their lives were different in many ways, but they shared a love of their time as Girl Scouts and both grew up to live the leadership lessons of their Girl Scouting experiences.  As students of leadership and leaders in their organizations, Linda and Randy value the lessons they learned and have developed a fun interactive workshop based on the Brownie Handbook to share those lessons with other emerging and experienced leaders: building collaborative work environments, serving your community, and the magic of teamwork are just a few of the values and ideas they’ll explore. Join in and find out how the Brownie Handbook can guide even the most complex leadership decisions. This workshop is recommended for service team members and leaders of all experience levels.  Please note: This workshop will last 80 minutes, if you select this workshop you will miss one meet-up opportunity.

Learning by Doing: Girl Scout Traditions (Skills)
As Girl Scouts, we know there is so much more to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience than earning badges and selling cookies. Try some traditional games and songs and participate in a special rededication ceremony as you explore the foundation of the Girl Scout movement, its history and traditions, and how to connect your girls to the Girl Scout Sisterhood. This workshop is recommended for new leaders and leaders looking to add traditional elements to their troop.

Learning by Doing: Outdoor Skills (Skills)
Camping and outdoor adventures can be one of the most memorable parts of the Girl Scout experience.  Practicing outdoor skills can be a great way to build a girl’s confidence and can also teach the value of practice, learning from mistakes and more. Brush up on your knots, knives and solar cooking skills, while picking up some great tricks for helping girls connect the skills they learn through Girl Scouts to other life experiences. This workshop is recommended for leaders who want to gain or improve outdoor skills.

Managing Up, Down, & Across: A Deeper Dive (Presentation)
Success in our professional, and personal, lives entails effectively managing relationships up, down, and across. Join our keynote speaker, Mary Abbajay, to learn about the significant role that personality preferences and communication styles play in these relationships. Working successfully with colleagues, volunteers and parents require developing self-awareness of how we, as individuals, impact others—both positively and negatively. It also requires the ability to understand and adapt to communication and collaboration styles of those who are different than us. In this highly interactive, eye-opening, and fun workshop, participants explore their own personalities and learn strategies to interact successfully with those who are different—up, down, and across our organizations, Girl Scout troops and more. This workshop is recommended for leaders of all experience levels and service team members.

Problem-Solving for Stronger Troops (Presentation)
Effective conflict management is an essential skill for every leader and aspiring leader. This workshop will equip you to identify issues within your troop and successfully navigate challenging conversations with parents, girls, and other leaders when emotions run high and positive outcomes are critical. You’ll learn new skills needed to assess and address issues from all sides, understand different personal styles, and implement a proven problem-solving approach to find workable resolutions that strengthen relationships and results. This workshop is recommended for leaders of all experience levels and service team members.

Relationship Building (Presentation)
The foundation of personal and professional success lies in understanding others and realizing the impact of your behavior and actions have on the people around you. The Relationship Building workshop will help you increase understanding and communication to build stronger, more successful relationships. You will participate in activities and discussions on various behaviors and situations to better prepare you for this next year of Girl Scouting. This workshop was a favorite of 2018 Big Volunteer Conference attendees and is recommended for leaders of all experience levels.

Supporting Girls with Special Needs* (Presentation)
Girl Scouts is a leadership experience for all girls! As troop leaders, you will often work with girls of varying needs. This workshop will help leaders and helpers of troops with girls who have special needs feel more confident in being able to serve all girls in their troop. (Objective is to raise the confidence and comfort levels of these volunteers.)

*For the purpose of this workshop, “Special Needs” is defined as any condition or diagnosis that requires special accommodations to achieve goals and participate in activities, beyond the expected assistance required by most neuro-typical or typically-developing girls.

Travel (Presentation)
Do you have a troop who wants to travel? Are they ready for the next adventure? Do you feel unsure or overwhelmed by the idea of how to budget, plan, and organize a trip? In this workshop, you will hear from two expert troop travelers on the ins and outs of traveling with girls. They will share budgeting techniques, how to make the trip girl-led, and how to make it an enjoyable experience for all. Pack your bags because after this workshop you will be ready to go take on the next adventure with your girls! This workshop is recommended for leaders interested in troop travel opportunities.

Keynote Speaker

Introducing the 2019 keynote speaker Mary Abbajay 


Mary Abbajay, author of the best-selling book  Managing Up: How to Move Up, Win at Work, and Succeed with Any Type of Boss is the President & CEO of Careerstone Group, LLC, a full service, woman-owned, organizational and leadership development consultancy that delivers leading-edge talent and organizational development solutions. In her keynote address, Managing Up, Down, and Across: Partnering for Success, Mary will share her experience and tips for establishing robust, productive working relationships leading to success at work, in our personal lives, and with our Girl Scout troops, volunteers and parents. We can’t wait to welcome Girl Scout alumna, Mary Abbajay, to GSHCC!

Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for some basic FAQs. Check back often as information will be added as it becomes available.  

What is the Big Volunteer Conference?                                                                The 2019 Big Volunteer Conference is just for YOU – our dedicated volunteers! Spend a day learning, leading, and coming together as volunteers for Girl Scouts at our second annual Big Volunteer Conference. This year's conference will feature more inspiring speakers, breakout sessions and opportunities to expand your personal development and your Girl Scout expertise.

When and where is the Big Volunteer Conference?
The 2019 Big Volunteer Conference will be on Saturday, August 3, at The Falls Event Center in Elk Grove, California. Plan to spend the full day with us - a detailed schedule will be shared once registration opens in May.

Who is invited to attend?
The 2019 Big Volunteer Conference is only open to Girl Scout adult volunteers who provide direct support to girls and/or other adult volunteers (i.e. leaders, other troop volunteers, Service Unit Team members, Trainers, episodic volunteers, etc.). All volunteers must be registered members. If you have volunteered in another capacity with Girl Scouts but are not a registered member, you can become a member here.

As much as we love to see our girls at events, the session material is geared toward volunteer learning and we will not be offering programming or care for children of any age

If you have questions that cannot be answered by using these FAQs, please contact Customer Care at or 916.452.9181.