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COVID-19

Handwashing

Updated September 10, 2020

We know our volunteers and girls are looking forward to engaging in person again, so we are excited to share how we can move ahead while keeping the safety of our volunteers and girls our priority.

For those who are ready to meet in-person, we have released guidelines for troops to meet in person outside and beginning September 15 in person inside. We are happy to provide these guidelines to allow troops to safely meet in person so they can get to doing what they do best.

Back To Troop Survey

Girl Scouts and troops are still encouraged to continue to connect through a variety of virtual programs offered locally, council-wide, and by GSUSA. Girl Scouts and their families may participate in events at our camp properties supervised by camp staff who have received special training and will be following procedures to reduce risk. Our retail stores will continue to offer curbside pickup and while our offices remain closed to visitors, our staff are available via customer care for any needs.

At Girl Scouts, the safety, and well-being of girls remains our top priority. Our committee of staff and volunteers continues to carefully consider CDC recommendations, state guidelines in NH and VT, and best practices from GSUSA, to adjust procedures and expectations for in-person activities.

We appreciate the efforts of all our members to stay home since mid-March to protect their communities. We have been so proud of the ways Girl Scouts have continued to make the world a better place during this pandemic.  

Please continue to check our website for the most up to date information on programs.  On May 15, we made a decision regarding our summer camp programs Please click HERE for more details. 


Patricia K. Mellor
Chief Executive Officer
Gold Award Girl Scout

COVID-19 FAQs

The safety and well-being of girls is our top priority. We’ve compiled a list of questions and answers to help address the questions we’ve been receiving. Clearly this is a fluid situation and we ask that you continue to check our website for updates as we follow the guidance of the CDC and both of our state governments. We are working diligently to make sure we are making the best decision for our girls, volunteers, families, and staff.



Tips for Staying Healthy
  • Wash hands frequently especially before eating or after sneezing, shaking hands, or having other bodily contact with another individual. Use soap and water for 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick - health officials call this “social distancing” and recommend staying about 3 feet away from someone who is sick.
  • Stay home from any activities when you are not feeling well.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, like your phone or computer.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing then throw the tissue in the trash, or as a last resort, cough into your elbow.
  • Get plenty of sleep, good nutrition, stress-relief, and exercise – a healthy body is the best defense against illness.
How to Talk to Your Girl About COVID-19

Here are some guidelines from GSUSA for talking to your girl about COVID-19:

Rule number one when it comes to emergencies? Stay calm. But with the new coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading rapidly around the globe—and everyone from news anchors to the couple next to you at the local pizzeria talking about worst-case scenarios—stress and worry can seem downright contagious.

Basically, your girl could likely use a sense of calm in her life right about now, and you can help.

In fact, having a conversation with her about coronavirus could be the most important thing you do with your girl all week. Depending on her age, simply asking what she’s heard about coronavirus and how she’s feeling about it not only helps ensure she’s getting correct information but also lets her know this topic isn’t off-limits and you’re there to support her and help her understand her emotions—whatever they may be.

Here are some basic dos and don’ts when it comes to handling this subject with care.

DO let her know that feelings of fear, sadness, anger, and even confusion are totally normal in times like these. Sometimes just knowing that it’s OK to talk about her feelings can give her a sense of calm.

DON’T lead into the conversation by asking if she’s scared or upset. If she’s not already feeling that way, there’s no need to suggest that she should!

DO answer her questions about things she’s observing—like face masks—in an age-appropriate and accurate way.

DON’T be afraid to admit you don’t have all the answers! Unless you’re a medical professional and highly versed in situations like these, chances are, you may not have all the facts. What you do have on your side? Experts who can help you and your daughter make sense of things. Turn to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other trusted resources, if ever you’re not sure about what you’re hearing in the news or what your girl is hearing on the playground.

DO give your girl the tools to stay as healthy as possible. According to the CDC, washing our hands properly, avoiding touching our faces, staying home when we’re sick, and covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue that gets thrown away immediately are all smart, simple things we can do to prevent the spread of not just coronavirus but also many other illnesses. Taking practical steps to protect herself can give your girl a sense of control in times when she might otherwise feel afraid.

DON’T turn a blind eye to stereotypes or generalizations that have been made about who “started” coronavirus or who might be most likely to have it. Sadly, in times of fear, people often look for someone to blame. Remind your girl that a person’s skin color, the language they speak, and the country their family comes from has nothing to do with the amount of respect and kindness they deserve in this world and that there is no type of person more likely to have or get the virus than others.

DO let her know that, as always, any and all personal contact she has with others should be governed by her own comfort level. For now, she’s unlikely to get sick from shaking hands with a neighbor or hugging a friend—especially if she’s regularly washing her hands—but she should know she can always choose to skip those gestures if they make her uncomfortable or worried for any reason. But if the illness becomes more widespread, you may want to talk to her about minimizing physical contact (like shaking hands or avoiding sharing snacks from the same container), according to CDC guidelines.

DON’T feed the culture of panic. Remember: your girl is taking her cues from you. If you’re staying on track, she’s more likely to as well. 

DO let her know that this is a conversation you can continue as the days and weeks go by. If she thinks of questions she forgot to ask, you’re here to help. And in the case that the situation with coronavirus changes and there’s different or more information that she should know, you’ll bring it to her.

DON’T forget the power of the basics. Doubling down on routines, including mealtimes, bedtime rituals, and quality family time, can go a long way in keeping her world as calm and steady as possible.

GSGWM Facilities and Staff

What are closures to physical locations?
Our offices and camp properties will be closed to visitors until further notice. This is a fluid situation and based on state guidelines that could change. As appropriate, our staff will continue to provide support to our membership from our offices or their homes.

What about the retail stores?
Our retail store locations are open for contactless-curbside pick-up and shipping orders. Click HERE for more information.

Will staff still be available?
Customer Care will be available to assist with any questions or concerns. They can be reached at 888-474-9686 or customercare@girlscoutsgwm.org. Our website will be updated with new information and resources as they become available. 

Alternatives to Troop Meetings

It is unfortunate that COVID-19 is interfering with Girl Scouts’ ability to meet and learn together. Thank you all for taking steps to ensure the safety of girls in this difficult time. While we cannot endorse or support specific online meeting tools for your use, we are aware of several tools troops and Service Units are using for virtual meetings. See below for a list of free and low-cost tools that could be useful to you. Additionally, we are offering several virtual troops and programs for girls to participate in (see our Virtual Troops and Programs page). We encourage troop leaders to look at these and alternative options and discuss with parents and girls to determine what the best solution is for your troop’s needs. Please make sure to review the Virtual Troop Meeting Safety Activity Checkpoint.

Video and Audio-Conferencing Tools with free versions 

While all of these options have a free version, please note you may be prompted to consider their upgraded versions for a subscription fee.

  • Zoom - FAQ
    • Note: Meetings durations maximum of 40 minutes in free version
    • GSUSA is making Zoom licenses available to volunteers for $36 per year.
  • Skype - Support
    • Note: Up to 10 participants free
  • Webex – Help Center
    • Note: Limited file and content sharing in free version

Chat and Collaboration Tools with free versions

Additional low-cost tools for collaboration and conferencing to consider if the above options do not meet your group's needs.

Programs

What are the current impacts on programs?
Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is providing virtual and in-person programming, including troop meetings Girls may participate in Girl Scout activities at home with their parents, through our Virtual Troops and Programs, or may decide to utilize online software to lead virtual meetings. A list of free and inexpensive services is available in the Alternatives to Troop Meetings tab.

What about programs and activities 12th grade Girl Scouts have had planned?
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of many programs and activities that 12th grade Girl Scouts had planned for spring/summer 2020: extended travel, bridging-to-adult ceremonies, camping, Gold Award projects, and other Girl Scout activities. In response to this current situation, Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains will allow a one-time extension for 12th graders to use money-earned funds to reschedule these cancelled activities into the next membership year. This policy will only remain in effect until August 31, 2021.

For more information, please refer to the Graduating Seniors Funds Extension Guidelines.

Will the suspension of Girl Scout activities get extended?
We are unable to make that decision at this point. We will be monitoring recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and State and National Health Departments. We will continue to update our membership as new information or decisions are made.

Camp

Summer camp is being reimagined!
Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains has been closely monitoring the recommendations and guidance from our state governments, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Camp Association, in order to determine our plans for this summer. We have considered many different scenarios for the operation of our camps prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of our campers and staff. Ultimately, our Board of Directors and staff came to the difficult decision that summer day and resident camp cannot not occur as planned and keep everyone safe. We know this decision will be disappointing to everyone who was looking forward to summer camp.  

We’re offering several options to enjoy camp
While we are unable to offer traditional day or resident camp programs at our camp sites, we are excited to offer several ways for girls and their families to engage with camp. We know that the summer camp experience is one that results in girls becoming more confident and courageous, giving girls many opportunities to challenge themselves as well as simply enjoy time outdoors, make lifelong friendships, and learn skills they’ll use all their lives. We look forward to providing those experiences this summer through:

  • Day Camp from Home: Enjoy a week of camp fun, including a drive-through Camp Open House at your day camp with a chance to see staff and pick up your camp packet with DIY backpack and craft kit. Then join us from home for daily one hour online sessions with camp staff on topics related to your camp theme.
  • Camp Farnsworth Virtual Campout: Including mailed camp kits with goodies and at home campout facilitated online by camp staff.
  • Family Evening Programs at camp: Bring your own dinner and join our camp staff for family activities on our camp properties. See website for details, dates and to register.
  • Family Weekend Camping: Camp in an Adirondack or lodge as a family and enjoy activities with our camp staff on property.

Please check back the week of May 18 for
registration for the new virtual programs.

For those who have already registered and paid for camp
Please let us know how you would like payments you have made to be handled. If you choose not to participate in the Day Camp From Home or Camp Farnsworth Virtual Campout, all registration fees will be refunded in full. If you choose to participate in these programs, we will refund your payment minus the $50 deposit. If you have used Girl Scout Cookie Dough, we will refund that as well. Families  choosing to transfer their funds to summer 2021 will need to let us know by May 29 or we will refund the full balance. Check your email for a message sent on May 15 for more detailed information. 

Cookies

The 2020 Girl Scout Cookie season has wrapped up for this year and is a year to remember! The season was hugely successful until COVID forced us all to make some very quick and fluid decisions in order to conclude the sale. Girls and their troops rallied to move their sale to a virtual program, overcame many challenges, made curbside or porch deliveries, and showed the world there isn't much to hold a Girl Scout back from reaching her goals.

How appropriate that the 2021 Girl Scout Cookie theme is "We've Got This!"

Thank you to every girl, parent, volunteer, and supporter who made it possible for girls to achieve their successes wtih this program.

 

STEM On-the-Go Van

Will the STEM On-the-Go van still come as scheduled?
STEM On-the-Go sessions are now being scheduled for safe and socially-distanced events. Click here for information on scheduling a program for your troop.