As we approach our eleventh month of being in a new virtual world since COVID appeared, we know Girl Scouts don’t want to be limited on what they can do. We know Girl Scout leaders want to go on adventures with their troops, give high fives, be together in sharing circles, lean in to help a girl with a project, and hug hello! We know this is tiresome. But we want to remind you that it is still very important to follow the established guidelines. It’s still important to wear masks, stay six feet apart, and practice handwashing. Outdoor is still best. Virtual is still best.
As some schools go back to in-person learning and some people receive the vaccine, our GSNWGL COVID guidelines have not changed. We’ve had some isolated reports of people not following guidelines, and we want to remind everyone that it’s important to stick to the guidelines to keep our girls, volunteers, and communities healthy. We’ve also had many reports of socially distanced activities, creative online activities, and fun ways troops are teaching girls to stay safe. We’d like to thank everyone who has gone above and beyond to take on these extra steps. We appreciate everything you are doing to bring Girl Scouting to girls during this difficult time!
Troops and Service Areas are in a similar situation to ours. We’re trying to plan activities for spring and summer and trying to predict the future in this era of COVID-19.
Here’s what we can tell you:
- We anticipate that the current COVID guidelines will continue until the beginning of summer.
- We will continue to evaluate our guidelines regularly to determine if they should be adjusted.
- For council programming, we’re planning some limited in-person, outdoor, socially distanced activities for the spring.
- We are planning summer camp.
- We are optimistic, but we also know that it’s possible that conditions might cause us to postpone or cancel programming or summer camp.
We want to remind you of a few resources that are particularly helpful:
- GSNWGL Guidelines for In-Person Troop and Service Area Activities | It’s not just the guidelines, but great ideas for how you can engage your troop in simple ways that are online and socially distant.
- Get Outdoors with Your Troop | There are tons of ideas for how to have outdoor troop meetings - even in winter!
- GSNWGL In-Store Appointment Shopping Guidelines | If you need uniforms, badges, or anything from your local Girl Scout Shop, they’re ready and available to help!
What GSNWGL needs from you:
- Help to keep our girls and volunteers safe. When we put out guidelines, we are writing something to apply to such a wide variety of individuals and scenarios - islands, mountains, rural areas, and major metropolitan areas. What we need you to do is apply them to your area in a way that you are making good decisions. In an area with very few cases and girls in in-person school every day you might make a different decision about in-person activities than in a more metropolitan area where hospitals are issuing warnings that they are at capacity.
- When cities or county health departments in your area issue guidelines that are stricter than the Girl Scout guidelines, follow those!
- If you meet in person, stick to the guidelines. Take it seriously and ensure everyone wears masks. Use handwashing and hand sanitizer. Stay more than 6 feet apart. As a troop leader, plan for these things and be the person who ensures the guidelines are followed.
- Make the best decisions for your activities for your group. Outdoor is best. Virtual is best.
- We don’t want Girl Scout activities to be a place where girls get ill, or that contributes to community spread.
We know that what you are doing is important. Provided that we are safe, Girl Scouts is important for the girls of our communities. We’re getting girls together, whether virtually or in socially distanced in-person, to provide program, friendship, and access to adult mentors. Social and emotional health is so important right now and will continue to be important through the winter. The girls of our communities need us!
We know this is tiresome. We know this adds a layer of work. But we need to lead by example and be a part of the solution not contributing to the problems. Thank you. Thank you for everything you are doing for Girl Scouting, for your community, and for the girls.