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Below you'll find all of our COVID-19 Communications.

April 1, 2020

April 1, 2020 - Volunteer Newsletter

Please note that this month’s volunteer newsletter is being sent to all our members. While not every news item will apply to you, given our current circumstances, we wanted to make sure our crucial communications are reaching all members multiple ways.

Message from Karmen Lemke, CEO

Before you dive into the content of this month’s volunteer newsletter, I want you to know how much you are all appreciated. We always marvel at the contributions of our volunteers and families but now, more than ever, we are inspired, moved, and grateful for our volunteers and the girls and families they support. 

We’ve all had to quickly shift from being parents and professionals to also being homeschool teachers, counselors, activities directors and a myriad of many new roles as we all stay isolated in our homes to comply with Federal and State health & safety guidelines. These new roles, in addition to our roles as Girl Scout Volunteers, can bring new anxieties and stresses as well. I urge you to remember to breathe. Even if you feel you are falling short in some ways, the reality is, you are doing great. The moments of realness and vulnerability matter just as much as those moments when something goes off without a hitch.

Much has been said about how Girl Scouts are made for this moment. And we are. You are. You are our adaptable, enduring, kind, and creative leaders. You are setting examples for your community, your girls and even yourselves. You didn’t know what you were capable of. But guess what? We did. And we love you for it. Happy Volunteer Appreciation Month.

All Things Cookie Related

BIG NEWS! In light of the continuing social distancing and desire to keep everyone safe at home, we’re extending the Girl Scout Cookie Program to May 31! We imagine you have a lot of questions about what this means. Good news? We have the answers. CHECK THEM OUT NOW >>>

Still have questions? You can always reach out to info@gsnwgl.org and we’ll get you the answers you need.

Of all the questions we are getting, the Cookie Program is where you want the most information and where we’ve had to make the biggest adjustments. There’s a lot to follow, so we’ve created an updated FAQ.   CHECK IT OUT NOW >>>

New Resources for Online Troops & More

Girl Scouts @ Home
During this unprecedented time Girl Scouts is here for you! We have a lot of new resources to share! Whether you’re looking for something to do individually with your girl or ways for your troop to connect. We have some amazing ideas to beat boredom, do some good, learn something new and have fun!

SPOTLIGHT: Virtual Troop Meeting Guides
Hosting a virtual troop meeting doesn’t have to be a scary thing. We have amazing resources to get you started AND earning awards. You can find these on Girl Scouts @ Home!

We know it is hard to balance for your families and connecting with your troop – share with us how you’re staying connected. We want to celebrate all that you do - share your story now!

How to Get Online with Your Troop
The Girl Scouts @ Home page has a great overview of all the resources you need to get online with your troop – what you do online is up to you! You can use the resources listed above or just have a simple chat session. No pressure, just a way to have some fun and help get through this together!

Super Troop Spotlight

According to girl and parent feedback, the most successful Girl Scout troops have lots of variety in their Girl Scout experience! You can still aspire to be a Super Troop when you’re hanging out at home! Here’s an idea…

One STEM Activity

STEM is one of Girl Scouting’s program foundations and an amazing way to explore new things with your girls. As we work through these trying times you can do STEM activities online! You can have a Netflix or Facebook watch party and learn something new and then discuss it together!

We have some great resources for when you're meeting in person again too!
One STEM Activity - Think Like a Citizen Scientist

Here’s everything you need to know to be a Super Troop.

Early Registration – S’more Great Adventures

Yup, there’s still Early Registration. But, this year we are doing a whole new kind of Early Registration! This year’s theme S’more Adventure will have you voting on a sweet s’mores themed patch AND the ability to get cool early registration t-shirt at a low cost for your girls and (if you get 100% participation for your troop) free for you! LEARN MORE >>>

Bridging and Awards Extensions

Recognizing that school, youth activities, and community gatherings have been suspended, and that we are navigating a period of rapid change, GSUSA is offering a three-month extension from September 30 to December 31, 2020, to provide flexibility for Girl Scout Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors earning Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards. This is particularly relevant for fifth grade Juniors, eighth grade Cadettes, and twelfth grade Ambassadors who will bridge to the next program age level officially on September 30, 2020 and typically would be no longer eligible to earn the Bronze, Silver or Gold Award, respectively.

We are also postponing all of Girl Scouts of Distinction Events to August/September 2020. You'll hear more from your regional team!

Things to Remember

  • Events have been cancelled through April 30 – check the calendar for more information about rescheduling information.
  • All offices and shops are closed. Our online retail shop is open 24/7.
March 20, 2020

March 20, 2020 Update

Thank you for your continued patience during this unprecedented and stressful time. We know there is a lot of challenges and uncertainty right now, both at home and at work. We have been working hard to get you answers to many of the questions you have about Council operations and programs. We want to make sure your role as a volunteer with us is not adding additional stress during this time, and we also want to make sure we are thinking things through carefully and giving you accurate information.

COOKIE UPDATES

We know that our Girl Scouts and Troops have a desire to be successful in meeting their cookie goals and we want to make sure you have every opportunity for success. We also want to keep you safe and healthy. So, we have been working on ways to reduce any financial hardships your troop might incur as a result of this year’s Cookie Program while acting in accordance with local and federal health agency best practices during this pandemic. Safety and success--these two factors are driving the decisions we make. Below is an update on the progress we are making, as well as some of the decisions we have made. 

  • ONLINE COOKIE SALES: The cookie program has moved to a completely online format and has been extended through Sunday, April 5. Public, face-to-face sales - Keep Goal-ing, booth sales, and walkabouts - are all suspended. 
    • Girls should sell online through SmartCookies. When selling online, girls should approach people and businesses directly, not through sites like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, or Craigslist. As with all cookie sales, online sales should be led by the girls. You can find more information on selling cookies online.
  • DIRECT SHIP & SHARE: Direct ship and Cookie Share are great options to continue working towards troop and girl goals. You can also call or email businesses to “buy out” troop inventory for you to donate later or for businesses to use/give away. Quick reminder, businesses cannot resell cookies. Be considerate when contacting businesses; many local businesses are also struggling.
  • Assuming the current situation has improved, we hope to hold a cookie booth blowout week in mid-May. Troops could use any remaining inventory that they have or can check out cookies from cupboards. 
  • We plan on accepting cookie returns from troops if needed once the national and state emergencies have ended. We will keep you informed as things progress. 
  • Rewards would be calculated on any inventory as we close out the cookie program the week of April 6. Please do not distribute inventory in Smart Cookies that you plan on returning to our Council.
  • Reminder from our previous communication: The initial withdrawal will take place on Tuesday, March 24 for 50% of current balance due. Email the Product Program team at info@gsnwgl.org with any questions you may have. 
  • The final withdrawal date will take place no earlier than Friday, April 24. As always, there will be opportunities to adjust your payment amount. 

PROGRAM, EVENT & TRAINING UPDATES

In our last communication, we reported that troop and service area meetings and events were suspended through April 6. With more information coming out each day, we add to that message that these activities are suspended through the duration of the public health emergency. You might notice the Council programs are canceled through the end of May. This is for our own planning as we manage the changing circumstances and the uncertainty of how long this public health emergency will last.

  • All Girl Scouts of Distinction events are being rescheduled for later this summer or early fall so long as the situation allows.
  • Any online volunteer trainings already scheduled will continue. 
  • Please note, depending on how you registered, you will be contacted about options for refunds or donations. Programs registration that was handled outside our Council will receive information directly from those partnering organizations. We ask for your continued patience as we process this increased volume of refunds.

eTROOP & ONLINE RESOURCES

Beginning the week of March 23, Membership Engagement staff will contact all members with options for eTroop participation and other fun, online ways to engage and stay active with Girl Scouts! Stay tuned!

RETAIL

Brick and mortar locations remain closed however GSUSA has now waived shipping costs for ALL online orders. Shop online ANYTIME!

CAMP

No changes have been made to scheduled camp programming at this time. 

PROPERTY RESERVATIONS

If you have an existing property reservation through April 30, please expect a call from our Council.

REMINDERS

While our buildings are not open. We are here for you. All staff are working on ways to help ease your challenges in this difficult time, whether that be creative ways to connect remotely with others or ways to support your troops to be successful at the end of the cookie program. If you have any questions or concerns not addressed here, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at any time info@gsnwgl.org.

Thank you. We just can’t say it enough. Thank you for your patience and for giving us time to discuss and vet all our options and make the best decisions for Girl Scout members and our communities. It’s times like these, we’re reminded that we are Girl Scout strong!


 

March 15, 2020

March 15, 2020 Update

Dear Girl Scout Families,

Once again, the COVID-19 situation has shifted. On Friday, Wisconsin joined Michigan in the decision to close all public and private K-12 schools at least through April 6. We know this brings new, difficult challenges for our Girl Scout families and staff. We are engaged in creative options to help keep your girls connected to their Girl Scout sisters and look forward to sharing more later this week. 

For now, out of caution and with the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local health departments, the following changes have been made to our programming and social gathering recommendations.

Cookie Booth Sales: Effective immediately cookie booth sales are suspended until social distancing recommendations are lifted. Please see our prior post for information on canceling cookie booths and our amended payment schedule. Our product team will continue to brainstorm ways to help you meet your goals and we will communicate those in the weeks to come. If you have questions or concerns, please email info@gsnwgl.org and a product sales staff member will be assigned to contact you.

Troop Meetings, Troop and Service Area events, Troop trips, and Troop travel: Effective immediately all troop meetings, trips, travel, and service area events should be ceased or canceled at least until April 6. These include any planned gatherings and activities where several Girl Scouts and volunteers would be present. While we understand the desire to gather in small groups, the best thing we can all do to protect the vulnerable in our lives is to avoid social contact beyond what is necessary. This date may be extended based on school closings and recommendations of state health agencies. Our team is working on creative ways to help you and your girls connect online to help maintain the connection to the sisterhood of Girl Scouts!

Council Events: Effective immediately all Council events through April 6 are canceled. All registered attendees will receive an email with details. Continue to check our website, as we anticipate more cancellations will happen.

Leadership Conference & Annual Meeting: In the interest of safety and in accordance with CDC guidelines we’ve made the decision to cancel the 2020 Leadership Conference. The Annual Meeting will be shifted to an online event and we will share that information later for anyone who would like to join in. All Leadership Conference attendees will receive an email with cancellation details.

Property Reservations: We will not be accepting reservations at this time. If you have an existing reservation through April, please expect a call from our Council.

GSNWGL Retail Shops & Business Offices: We have made the decision to close retail shops and business offices effective Monday, March 16 until further notice.

Retail: Any families or volunteers in need of an immediate order are encouraged to call their local Girl Scout shop or our Customer Care team at 888.747.6945. We will work with customers on a case-by-case basis to find the best way to handle delivery of your order. As always, we’re extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve you and for your support of Girl Scouting. For all your Girl Scout needs, you can find us from the comfort of your home at girlscoutshop.com

Business Offices: We are still operational with staff continuing to serve you; however, we are closed to visitors at this time.


Camp Programming: At this time, camp will continue as planned, however as time passes and the situation evolves, we will continue to use local health departments and the CDC as our guide in making decisions to keep campers safe and healthy.

ADDITIONAL SAFETY MEASURES
Stay home if you are sick or experiencing symptoms of the flu such as fever, cough, or respiratory distress.

Follow all CDC-recommended guidelines including frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

BE A SOURCE OF CALM FOR GIRLS
Use this helpful resource How to Talk to Your Girl About Coronavirus from Girl Scouts to help minimize her stress and worry.

The Girl Scout Law requires us to be courageous and strong. While this is a challenging moment for our country and our world, it is an opportunity for us to model strength and courage for our girls as we navigate this situation together. Thank you for your continued support and commitment to the Girl Scout mission.

Please consult our website for timely updates on COVID-19 and GSNWGL. If you have questions or concerns, contact us at info@gsnwgl.org

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Karmen Lemke
CEO, Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes


 

March 13, 2020

March 13, 2020 Update

We join other businesses and organizations in our efforts to keep employees, members, volunteers, and others healthy and safe and reduce the spread of the virus during the COVID-19 pandemic. As such we are making some changes to our upcoming programming and events. Please note that this is a quickly evolving situation and our response will continue to be as nimble as possible based on the latest health and safety recommendations of the Wisconsin and Michigan Department of Health & Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control.

Cookie Booths: Troops are not required to hold booth sales during this state/national emergency. Decisions to cancel or continue with troop booth sales are up to each individual troop. We have determined the following additional schedule adjustments to address concerns about troop inventory.

  • Additional cookie booth weekends will be permitted (and encouraged) after the state/national emergency has been lifted. Details will be communicated to our members at that time.

The ACH withdrawal scheduled for March 24 will continue as scheduled. If you have concerns about this, please contact customer care. The final withdrawal which was scheduled for April 10 will not be withdrawn earlier than April 24th. We will contact our members with the final date as soon as the situation resolves.

GSNWGL Events: Per Wisconsin Governor Evers’ declaration of a state public health emergency we will be evaluating all events currently scheduled for 250 people in Wisconsin, and events of 100 or more in Michigan per Governor Whitmer’s recommendations. We will make a final decision early next week about specific events that meet these threshold guidelines, but it is likely that these events may be canceled. Please note that this is a quickly evolving situation and we will communicate any changes to our recommendations daily.

Partnership Events: If program partners cancel scheduled events, we will, of course, comply and alert registered attendees.

Troop Events: As long as schools remain open and in session, Reaching Out programs and Troop Meetings will continue to take place. If individual Troop Leaders decide not to hold meetings or schools close Troop Leaders should contact their members & families directly.

We appreciate your patience during this unusual time and know that anxieties are high. We hope you and your families continue to stay safe and healthy.