Girl Scouts has never been just about the badges. Or just the troop meetings. It’s always been about the girls. That’s why we are shifting our lens in the year ahead to see things through their eyes.
Girls need Girl Scouts. They need to feel connected, valued, empowered, challenged, and heard. That is what will get us through the coming months. While we certainly do not have a crystal ball, we do have each other. We urge you to say “yes” to renewing for the 2020-21 membership year so we can strive to ensure that no girl feels left out or alone.
Here’s what we are recommending as a reasonable approach to honor our commitment to girls:
- Meet in small groups outside (using the guidelines below) into the fall. Then shift into virtual space during the colder months.
- Right-size everyone’s expectations. Use your time together to connect, socialize and do something fun together. Laugh, explore something new.
- Complement your scaled-back troop meetings by directing girls and families to sign up for any of the council-led virtual programs and outdoor opportunities. Read about upcoming fall programs on our blog!
- Ask recently graduated Girl Scout alums and experienced volunteers to be guest moderators. Remember, if the girls are laughing and talking, the experience is a success in their eyes!
- Not sure how to lead a virtual troop meeting? We can help! Read our blog for advice from a troop leader.
- Use the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). More resources have been added to make delivering a virtual badge-earning experience easier. Spend less time planning.
- Focus on a year of giving service to others. Plan to use your troop cookie proceeds to fund acts of kindness that benefit those who need food, books, pet supplies, notes of encouragement, and so much more.
- Be creative, flexible, kind, relaxed, and innovative.
Revised Guidelines for Small Outdoor Gatherings and Troop Meetings
- In-person gathering is entirely voluntary. Masks MUST be worn.
- UPDATED: Small groups of 15 or less girls plus 2 unrelated adults (following girl-to-adult ratios in Volunteer Essentials) may gather, providing that all safety precautions are observed, including the mandatory wearing of masks.
- Those who elect to attend an in-person meeting must review and sign our statement to be retained by the troop leader. Download the agreement »
- Guidelines will apply to all GSGCNWI members, regardless of state residency.
- Gatherings may take place only in the outdoors with space for social distancing. We encourage troops to meet outdoors into the fall, and to consider outdoor hikes and other adventures outdoors even in the winter months.
- Please review the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advisory for adults 65 years of age and older and those with underlying medical conditions before voluntarily deciding to participate in any in-person gathering.
Tips for In-Person Meetings
Troop leader Missie, of Troop 60775 from Flossmoor, IL, shared some very helpful advice for anyone considering in-person meetings in the future:
- Only meet in outdoor spaces, and focus on activities that take girls outside, like geocaching or hiking. She says these girls are dedicated— as long as there’s no lightning and thunder, they’ll show up!
- Space out the girls on sit-upons, and make sure everyone wears a mask and has hand sanitizer handy.
- Consider providing the girls with activity kits to make sure no supplies are shared between them.
- Stay updated with your local government’s guidance, check the CDC for pertinent information, and always reiterate safety.
- If you or the girls aren’t ready to meet, there is nothing wrong with that! Keep reaching out to the girls so they know you are present and available. Gauge their comfort levels!
Thanks to Missie and the girls for sharing their story with us!
Despite the restrictions, Girl Scouts are still having fun, staying connected, and making memories, online and in-person. Now that you can meet in-person with up to 17 people, here are 5 ideas for outdoor activities:
- Masking up and exploring natural areas around you is a perfect way to get moving and get some fresh air with the girls!
- Host a socially distanced-movie night by setting up a projector, and have girls bring their own pillows and blankets to sit on and spread out!
- Interested in giving back to the community? Consider hosting a mask or food bank drive to provide resources to those who need it!
- Once the weather gets colder, the outdoor fun doesn’t have to stop! Winter hikes and other snowy activities are a great plan for girls interested in adventuring through the colder months.
- Sidewalk painting, geocaching, bird-watching, badge activities: the list goes on! As long as girls wear masks and distance at least six feet apart, go ahead and get creative with your meetings!
Now that in-person meetings are starting up, what do you plan to do with your troop? Let us know! Share with us on social media (we’re @GirlScoutsGCNWI on all platforms), on Facebook, or share your story on our website!
Should any conditions change, these sets of guidelines will be adjusted to reflect new information or changes noted by federal or state health agencies. All current guidelines will be posted and updated as necessary on our website, and alerts will be sent to member families via email.
Don’t forget to Renew!
When 90% of the girls in your troop renew by August 31 your troop will automatically receive a free Zoom account and a $20 eGift card for the Girl Scouts GCNWI online shop when the new membership year begins in October!