Who is SpiralScouts right for?
SpiralScouts is open to any family who is looking for a scouting experience, who wants to have fun and adventure! As a SpiralScout, we grow, learn and share through our various activities which lead us towards achieving badges and awards that we proudly display on our uniforms. A SpiralScouts Charter combines all genders, age levels, and is all-inclusive.
Who can be a SpiralScouts Leader?
Any adult from a family who is looking to bring a unique scouting experience to their family and/or community. A SpiralScouts Leader must complete a training process, must be an adult over the age of 18, and must be willing to act professionally as representative of their SSI Charter and SpiralScouts International as a whole to the public. A SpiralScouts Leader agrees with and understands the philosophy and mission of our organization.
What is a Charter?
A SpiralScouts Charter is the term we use to identify our groups. There are two kinds of Charters: a Circle and a Hearth.
What is the difference between a Circle and a Hearth?
A Circle is a multi-family Charter. It includes two or more families with children between the ages of 3-18 years and a minimum of two Registered Adults.
A Hearth is a single-family Charter. It includes the (child)ren between the ages of 3-18 years and their legal guardian(s).
Can I have different age levels in my SpiralScouts Charter?
YES! Within one Circle or Hearth you can have any number of Scouts who fit into any of our four program levels:
- RainDrops (3 to 5 yrs.)
- FireFlies (6 to 9 yrs.)
- SpiralScouts (10 to 13 yrs.)
- PathFinders (14 to 18 yrs.)
*Ages are general guidelines.
What are the ways that I can get involved with a SpiralScouts Circle (multi-family) Charter?
Firstly, you can check out our Circle Locator to see if there is a Circle in your area:
Ask to find out how you can help their existing Circle and to see if there is an opening for your family to join.
If there is no available Circle in your area and you want to create a SpiralScouts Circle for your community then there are two ways parents can get involved:
- Become a trained Leader
- Become a trained Volunteer to help the Circle with various tasks
- Be a parent volunteer where you can help out the Circle in a limited capacity
Adults who want to be either a Leader or Volunteer are called Registered Adults (RA). They must officially register with SpiralScouts International, complete background checks, and go through our training process. Adults that want to volunteer without registering can not be on the bank account or count towards the Adult:Scout ratio and cannot be left alone with the Scouts. Not sure which role you’d like to do? Read below!
Can you explain the different roles an adult can take for a Charter?
As you set up your Charter this is a very important consideration! We welcome volunteers in many capacities since we know the challenges of leading a Charter. It is also the best way to build your support system which prevents burn-out and ensures that your Charter will last for years to come!
An SSI Registered Adult (RA) is an adult who has been registered and trained with the SSI organization. An RA can hold two positions within a Circle or Hearth: Leader or Volunteer.
- ONLY Registered Adults can be included in the mandatory Adult:Scout ratio. (See below question.)
- ALL Registered Adults (Leaders AND Volunteers) must complete the RA Training, registration process, and background check.
Role of the Leader:
You are the Leader of your Charter in their scouting journey ~ a rewarding and fulfilling position! SSI Leaders are the head organizers of the Charter, and are the decision-makers for the Charter as a whole. Leaders are the one ultimately responsible for the Charter.
- A Leader is considered a Registered Adult (RA).
- Leaders are included in the mandatory Adult:Scout ratio. (See below.)
- A Leader can be any adult over the age of 18.
- A Leader must complete the RA Training and background check.
- Leaders plan meetings, trips, activities, events, etc.
- Leaders are responsible for completing all paperwork for the Charter.
- Leaders can be named on the bank account for your Charter and act as treasurer. (More information on how to open a Charter bank account will be discussed during your RA Training.)
- You can choose one Leader to be the Charter Contact who will keep in contact with HQ.
- A Circle requires a minimum of two Leaders – preferably one male and one female.
- A Hearth only requires one Leader and does not have to complete the background check.
Role of the Volunteer:
This is a really fantastic way to be involved in your Charter and a very important and much-needed role. SSI Volunteers are usually parents of a Scout.
- A Volunteer is considered a Registered Adult (RA).
- Volunteers are included in the mandatory Adult:Scout ratio. (See question below.)
- A Volunteer must be over the age of 18.
- A Volunteer must complete the RA Training and background check.
- A Volunteer can act as treasurer and can be named on the bank account for your Charter. (More information on how to open a Charter bank account will be discussed during your RA Training.)
- Volunteers will be assigned tasks (by the Leaders) to help with projects such as monthly reports, helping with planning meetings, activities, events, trips, etc.
- Volunteers can do everything a Leader can do, except they are not ultimately responsible for the Charter.
- Volunteers are NOT Leaders and are NOT the main contact with SSI HQ.
Role of parent volunteers:
Any parent who does not want to be a Registered Adult through SSI is still encouraged to help in many different ways! Having parent volunteers can help lessen the workload for the Leader.
- A parent volunteer can help with organizing field trips, find sponsors, help with fundraising goals, find meeting location and other various tasks to be assigned by the Leader.
- A parent volunteer is NOT considered in the Adult:Scout ratio.
- A parent volunteer can NOT be left alone with any Scout other than their own children.
- A parent volunteer can NOT be named on the bank account for the Charter or be named Treasurer.
- A parent volunteer is NOT ultimately responsible for the Charter.
- A parent volunteer is NOT a Registered Adult (RA).
What is the minimum number of people we need to get started?
Hearth requirements: Only one parent needs to act as the leader, also known as Hearth Keeper.
Circle requirements: You MUST have a minimum of two leaders, preferably one male and one female. Most importantly, you MUST meet the required ratio of Registered Adult (RA) to children (Scouts) at all times. Required ratios of adults to children of different ages are:
- RainDrops and FireFlies must have a minimum of two RAs for 10 or fewer children, and an additional RA for every 5 additional children.
- SpiralScouts must have a minimum of two RAs for 14 or fewer children, with an additional RA for every 7 additional children.
- PathFinders must have a minimum of two RAs for 24 or fewer children, and an additional RA for every 12 additional children.
What do I need to do to charter a Hearth or a Circle?
The first step is to register as a ProtoCharter. A ProtoCharter (PC) is what an interested family/group is called during their chartering process which means they are working towards becoming a Hearth or a Circle. The person who registers as a ProtoCharter is called the ProtoCharter (PC) Organizer. Only ONE person from your group will register using the ProtoCharter Application link and this same one person is then identified as the PC Organizer.
Chartering a Circle:
Soon after registering as a ProtoCharter, the PC Organizer (you) will be given instructions to start your PC Training which gives you a basic outline of what is required to organize, start and lead a Charter. Rest assured! The PC Training is also where most questions are answered to help you determine if, when, and how to proceed. *ONLY the PC Organizer will complete the PC Training. You do not have to have your whole “team” in place in order to start the PC Training. The PC Training generally takes about 1-3 hours to complete and you can start and stop along the way.
After you have completed the PC Training you will be given a link to order the PC Packet which gives you detailed instructions on how to send in your complete Charter application which will include: RA registrations, background check and a head-shot photo, Scout registrations and registration fees.
Chartering a Hearth:
Chartering a Hearth is identical to chartering a Circle, except that only one leader is required and there is no background check necessary.
I’m a little nervous about starting! What if I change my mind?
We understand the excitement and anticipation that leads up to starting something new! We also understand that you might still have a lot of questions. Registering as a ProtoCharter is FREE and does not cost you anything other than your time and willingness to better understand the philosophy and mission of SpiralScouts International.
The purpose of the PC Training is to make sure that the PC Organizer (you) understands everything that is involved in organizing and leading a SpiralScouts Charter smoothly and by the specific standards set forth by SSI. After completing your PC Training you will be able to better determine if you’d like to move forward with the next step. Starting your own SpiralScouts Charter is an exciting journey and we want to assure you that you’ll receive all the support you need to successfully bring SpiralScouts into your family’s life and into the lives of your community.
When you are ready to register as a ProtoCharter, start here:
How long does it take to charter a Circle/Hearth?
If all the paperwork is completed correctly AND all of your RAs complete the background checks and training in a timely fashion, then it generally takes 4-6 weeks to become an official SSI Charter. Most everything can be completed electronically. If sending through the post office, we suggest sending your charter application packet via priority mail to ensure timely arrival.
What offices/roles are needed in a new Circle?
For a Circle, you MUST have two Leaders, preferably one male and one female. Many Circles develop a support committee, whose members come from the parents of children in the group, the community at large, and/or your sponsors.
What fees are involved?
Once you complete your PC Training and have decided that you’d like to move forward, you will need to purchase a ProtoCharter Packet which further explains our step-by-step chartering process.
- PC Packets are $5 and are electronically sent.
- Circle Charter fees are $50, then renewable annually for $30.
- Hearth Charter fees are $25, then renewable annually for $20.
- Scout memberships are $25, then renewable annually for $15.
- Registered Adult memberships are $25, then renewable annually for $15.
- Background checks for US members are $10, to be renewed every 3 years. Overseas checks vary by country.
*Not included in the above cost list is the cost of uniforms. During your training you will learn about your various options for choosing and finding your uniforms. You may also find more information here about the SSI uniforms:
What other information can I get before I start a Circle or Hearth?
Our website is full of information! Take a look around to see if this organization is right for you. If you still have questions that are not answered on our website –
- Go to our Circle Locator to reach out to other Circle Leaders or Hearth Keepers in your area – https://www.spiralscouts.org/circle-locator/
- Contact the Tribal Coordinator of your state – https://www.spiralscouts.org/circle-locator/tribal-coordinators/
- Or if your state does not currently have a Tribal Coordinator, contact the Tribal Director at TribalDirector@SpiralScouts.org
However, we are quite certain that all of your questions will be answered once you begin your ProtoCharter Training! Additionally, by becoming a ProtoCharter you gain access to our online community where other PC Organizers like yourself are mentored by our New Charters Coordinator and several other established leaders to answer any questions you may have.
To start your exciting SpiralScouts journey, register here: