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Volunteer Conference


The Volunteer Conference is an exciting, volunteer-centric extravaganza hosted every year and designed for Girl Scout volunteers. Attendees in 2019 got inspired and energized by Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Ph.D., GSUSA’s chief girl and family engagement officer, attended break-out sessions to learn new skills for themselves and their troop, and networked with other leaders in the Girl Scout community. Our community partners were also on-hand to showcase their program opportunities for girls, and Sunrise Valley took home the coveted Spirit Stick.

Check out photos from the day, and be sure to join us for this action-packed event in 2020!

Pricing and Registration

2019 pricing

  • $40 early-bird pricing (Monday, May 13–Sunday, June 30)
  • $50 beginning Sunday, June 30
  • Registration closes Sunday, July 21

2019 Session descriptions

Andrea Bastiani Archibald

Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Ph.D. and developmental psychologist, is the Chief Girl and Family Engagement Officer for Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA).  In this position, she helps develop and implement national strategic initiatives to effectively serve girls and their families. She serves as a national spokesperson on girls’ and women’s leadership development, parenting and family dynamics, cultural influences such as economics, social media and pop culture, gender issues, current events, and demographic shifts in the national girl population. 

In addition to her girl expertise from nearly a decade at GSUSA, Andrea speaks on the exclusive data generated by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), which she also oversees. The GSRI generates reports on different topics as they affect girl development and leadership, such as The Vote Is In: What Americans Say About the Importance of Girls’ IssuesThe Resilience Factor: A Key to Leadership in African American and Hispanic Girls, and our most recent State of Girls: Emerging Truths and Troubling Trends, a synthesis of data from national agencies reflecting changes in the overall health and well-being of girls in the U.S. 

Andrea’s interviews and insights have appeared in top-tier media including The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox News, CNN, NPR, AP, Fast Company, Parents Magazine, BuzzFeed and Mashable. She directs content and writes regularly for Raising Awesome Girls, a dedicated section for parents and families on Girl Scouts’ website.

Watch videos of Andrea:

Schedule of the Day

2019 Schedule:

8 a.m.  Registration Opens
9 a.m. Welcome Ceremony and Opening Remarks
Breakout Session A
Breakout Session B
12:45 p.m. Lunch
Breakout Session C
Breakout Session D
Networking and Light Snack
Spirit Stick and Closing Ceremony
5:30 p.m. Conference Ends

Available during the day:

  • Visit the mobile shop for special VC deals, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Visit with Community Partners
  • Network with other leaders
  • Cookie program preview area to learn what’s new
  • Check out Service Unit Team’s Spirit Stick Submissions (See the Spirit Stick drop-down below for more information.)
About the Spirit Stick

Congratulations to Sunrise Valley Service Unit for earning the Spirit Stick. They have proved they are G.I.R.L. enough to be its new guardians for the 2019-2020 membership year!

What is the Spirit Stick? The Spirit Stick was salvaged from Girl Scout mountain properties following the wild fires of 2003. It now serves as an award acknowledging the most spirited service unit attending our annual Volunteer Conference.

The winning service unit is invited to keep the Spirit Stick for a year to bring to Girl Scout events, mark it with their service unit name, add adornments, then return it next year to present to the next guardian!

How has your service unit community demonstrated the spirit of Girl Scouting through the year?

Of course, service unit members may adopt a theme, dress up, or trade SWAPS as in past years, if they like!

Volunteer judges will use a score card that includes:

  • How the service unit has been like a G.I.R.L. this year. (40 total points, 10 per letter)
    • G: What have they done as “Go Getters?”
    • I: What has been “Innovative?”
    • R: Have they taken “Risks?”
    • L: How have they shown community “Leadership?”
  • The rectangular tabletop display (in the hallway or lobby) showing the above and how the spirit of Girl Scouting has been demonstrated during the past year. Reserve your table now (deadline: Saturday, July 27). (15 points)
  • Team spirit at Volunteer Conference (through attire, theme, SWAPS, and respectful cheers). (15 points)

Judging will continue through most of the day. The Spirit Stick will be presented at the closing ceremony. Our hope is to give all service units the chance to shine and to inspire others with all the good work they do all year!

Tips for working with the new criteria
  • Use your tabletop display to show off how you’ve developed girl leaders, welcomed new members into your community, or tried new ways of doing things in your area. Inspire your Girl Scout sisters! (Note: A rectangular table in the hallway or lobby will be provided for your display. Please do not include display items on your round table in the ballroom.)
  • Enjoy making new friends and including others through the day at Volunteer Conference. SWAPs and fun themes are welcome. Please keep cheering respectful.
  • Collaborate with your service unit members to create a plan that represents your accomplishments and unique spin on G.I.R.L.!
  • At the event, show your inclusive spirit by asking attendees flying solo to join in conversation.
Parking and Directions

Groups of three or more arriving in the same car get free parking! Registered attendees will receive a link to a carpool parking voucher in their reminder email. No in-and-out privileges.

Driving South on Interstate 5

  • Take Front St. exit.
  • Continue on Front St. until you reach Harbor Drive; turn left.
  • Follow signage to parking entrance.

Driving West on Interstate 8

  • Take Highway 8 West to 163 South.
  • Follow into city (will turn into 10th Ave.)
  • Follow 10th Ave. to Market St.; turn right.
  • Take Market St. to Front St.; turn left.
  • Take Front St. to Harbor Drive; turn left.
  • Follow signage to parking entrance.

Driving North on Interstate 5

  • Take Cesar Chavez Pkwy. exit; turn left.
  • Follow Cesar Chavez Pkwy. to Harbor Drive; turn right.
  • Follow signage to parking entrance.

Driving West on 94

  • Take 94 West into the city.
  • 94 West will turn into "F" St.
  • Follow "F" St. to 8th Ave.
  • Take 8th Ave. to Market St.; turn right.
  • Take Market St. to Front St.; turn left.
  • Take Front St. to Harbor Drive; turn left.
  • Follow signage to parking entrance.

Download a printable PDF of these directions.


When is Volunteer Conference (VC)?

The Volunteer Conference will take place Saturday, Aug. 3 at the San Diego Convention Center. Check-in will begin at 8 a.m. and the day will end at 6 p.m.

When can I register?

Early bird registration will be available Monday, May 13-Sunday, June 30. Registration closes Sunday, July 21, 11:59 p.m. PST.         

What is the conference?

The conference includes a welcome learning session, two morning breakout sessions, and two afternoon breakout sessions. You can choose from more than 40 breakout options, touching on a variety of current, relevant topics. Find information, including detailed session descriptions, on our VC page.

How are my breakout sessions determined?

When you register, you will select your choices for Sessions A, B, C, and D (A and B sessions are in the morning, and C and D sessions are offered in the afternoon). Capacities are limited. The conference also includes a welcome and access to a variety of community partner booths, cookie preview area, and networking.

When will the community partner exhibitor booths be open?

We are proud to partner with hundreds of community agencies; over 30 will be on site at the conference. Exhibitors will be open and on display through Session C. You can also choose to visit the community partners during Session A, B, or C. Make that selection when you register. You will not be able to take a learning session during that time.

Will the Girl Scout store be available?

Yes, the Girl Scout San Diego store will be open—we’ll announce hours and location soon. There will be an assortment of sale items, new debuting items and much more. Stop by for exclusive VC deals!

What is the Spirit Stick criteria?

Criteria for earning the Spirit Stick have changed slightly for the 2019-20 membership year. Volunteer judges will look for how service unit teams have shown the spirit of Girl Scouting though the year, and the service unit’s embodiment of G.I.R.L. Service units are invited to share and inspire with a tabletop display of these successes. Check back for a copy of the scorecard soon!

Is there a theme for the day?

No. We encourage each service units to showcase its individual spirit.

What should I bring to the conference?

Consider bringing a training card if you want to keep records, a pen or other writing instrument, note pad, a reusable water bottle, and a phone or camera to capture the moments.

What are SWAPS?

Girl Scouts often make small tokens of friendship to exchange with the Girl Scouts they meet while traveling. These little gifts are called “SWAPS,” which stands for “Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.” Read more basic information on SWAPS.

Should I bring SWAPS to this year’s Volunteer Conference?

Exchanging SWAPS at VCC is a wonderful tradition. You are welcome to bring some and join the fun!

Where can I share photos on social media?

We encourage photo sharing! Girl Scouts San Diego is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest @sdgirlscouts. The hashtag especially for this event is #gssdvc. Other common hashtags for GSSD are #sdgirlscouts and #BestPlace4Girls. Please feel free to use the hashtags and mention @sdgirlscouts in your posts. 

What is the Product Program Preview?

The Product Program Preview area provides a sneak peek of the tasty fun in store for 2019-2020 product programs!  We'll share delicious program activity ideas, reveal the girl rewards lineups, and have product samples from both programs to fill your cravings. We can't wait to see you!

Last year (at the celebration only), there was a cart to purchase adult beverages. Will there be one this year?

Yes, there will be a cash only station at the Volunteer Conference.

Is VC held at the same venue every year?

Girl Scouts San Diego bids out the venue each year. We consider a minimum of three locations to ensure the best possible combination of service, accommodations and price.

Why the San Diego Convention Center?

This event just keeps growing—in attendees and in available workshops. The Convention Center has the space necessary for VC, and, more importantly, provides exceptional customer service to our deserving volunteers. The San Diego Convention Center is thrilled to hold this event at their venue for a fourth time in a row, and showed their support for Girl Scouts by accommodating our vision within our budget. 

Does the Convention Center provide the venue or food services free of charge?

No. The convention center has fees that are dependent on capacity. Girl Scouts San Diego supplements the cost of this event by covering 60-70 percent of the per person fee.

Where do I park?

The best way to get to this year’s VCC is to take the trolley! More information on taking the trolley, including stop info and how to purchase a ticket, can be found in our driving instruction sheet. If you decide to drive, we encourage you to carpool. GSSD will pay for your parking if you ride with 3 or more! The parking daily rate will range from $15-$25.

If I am being dropped off at the Convention Center, which lobby is closest to the Girl Scout activities?

The best drop-off location is located on the West side of the building, City Side (Harbor Drive) is Lobby B.

Which trolley exit do I take?

There are two trolley stops near the convention center; the closest one to Lobby B is called the “Convention Center” stop.

How much does VC cost for the attendee?

Early bird registration (Monday, May 13-Sunday, June 30): $40
Registration after Sunday, June 30: $50         

Why is there a fee?

Girl Scouts San Diego makes a conscious effort to provide an innovative, interactive, and informative Volunteer Conference while adhering to the constraints of a tight budget; please note that Girl Scouts San Diego does not profit financially from this event.

Is financial assistance available?

Financial assistance is available for those who qualify. Online registration for financial assistance is not available; use the printable form. When you register for the conference, you can check the box that reads, “I am requesting financial assistance. Include 50% of fee with registration.” If you have any questions regarding your registration, please contact Note: You can also use a portion of your troop funds to supplement some of the cost of attending the conference. Your girls will benefit from what you learn!

Where can I find more information?

You can visit our VC page for more information, as it develops. If you have any additional questions, you can email or call 619-610-0741.

Questions? Contact