Thursday, May 28, 2020

Message from CEO - May 28



Dear Girl Scouts,

As we move into the summer months, we have received questions from many of you regarding the timing and feasibility of a phased return to in-person programming at Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. On Friday, June 5, we will issue detailed guidelines and a timeline for resuming in-person Girl Scout troop meetings/gatherings and beyond the troop activities.

As we have done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we will use the latest public health data and recommended best practices from the CDC, the GA Department of Public Health and Girl Scouts of the USA to guide our decisions. The health and safety of our Girl Scouts, families, volunteers and staff remain our highest priority.

We are extending our restrictions for no in-person meetings or activities until our guidelines are released on June 5. We appreciate your patience and hope that you will continue to take advantage of our Girl Scouting from Home resources, which include badge activities by program level, resources for troops to meet virtually, and live weekly programs.

Please continue to check our blog and website for additional updates and if you have questions you can contact us at helpline@gsgatl.org or 800-771-1139.

On behalf of all of us at Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, stay safe and well, and take comfort in knowing that even when we are apart, our sisterhood binds us together.

Yours in Girl Scouting,









Amy S. Dosik
CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta

Monday, May 4, 2020

Message from CEO - May 4



Dear Girl Scouts,

The health and safety of our Girl Scouts, families, volunteers and staff is always our highest priority. After much consideration of the public health data on COVID-19 and its spread in our community, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all 2020 summer camp programs through August 9. This cancelation applies to our Council-run camps (Meriwether, Misty Mountain and Timber Ridge), as well as Service Unit Day Camps. We know that this news is disappointing to our campers and families, and we appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate these unprecedented times.

We continue to monitor the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in our state. We have reviewed guidance from medical experts, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), the Georgia Department of Public Health, the CDC and the American Camp Association. Although the pandemic is a constantly evolving situation, the information shows our community is not at the point of recovery, and gathering large groups of campers and staff presents too great a risk of further community transmission.

While in-person programs cannot take place, we hope that you have taken advantage of Girl Scouting from Home resources, which include badge activities by program level, resources for troops to meet virtually, and live weekly program.

We recognize the disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly trying. Your Girl Scout has experienced many disappointments during this difficult time, from school closings to the cancelation of fun plans like parties and vacations. We encourage you to use the resources Girl Scouts is providing through our Raising Awesome Girls series to talk with her about how she’s feeling.

If you have questions about camp cancelations or other programs, please check out our Frequently Asked Questions or reach out to camp@gsgatl.org or call our Help Line at 800-771-1139. Please continue to check our blog and website for additional updates.

On behalf of all of us at Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, stay safe and well, and take comfort in knowing that even when we are apart, our sisterhood binds us together.

Yours in Girl Scouting,









Amy S. Dosik
CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta

Monday, April 27, 2020

Message from Outdoor Programs – Monday, April 27

Summer Camp Update

The safety of our campers and staff is our highest priority, and we have been closely monitoring the effect that COVID-19 could have on our Council led resident and day camps at Meriwether, Misty Mountain and Timber Ridge. We remain keenly aware of the concerns related to health and safety and the potential risks associated with bringing girls together at camp.

In response to the current pandemic the Council has decided to pause, pivot and prepare for this summer.

We are pausing the start of summer camp and have cancelled sleep-away and day camps through June 20. This allows us time to provide adequate training to our staff and prepare the facilities after the shelter in place order is lifted.

We are pivoting by combining the remaining sleep-away camp sessions to one location, Camp Misty Mountain. Day camp will continue to be offered at Camp Timber Ridge but campers currently registered for sleep-away camp at Camp Meriwether or Timber Ridge will be offered the opportunity to be integrated into the Camp Misty Mountain sessions where possible. In the interim, registration will be temporarily closed until May 15 as we update the sessions to allow for currently registered campers affected to make changes. In addition, we will be offering virtual programming for the first three weeks of summer.

We are preparing for our summer camp programs by continuing to monitor healthcare recommendations. We are developing cleaning, safety and health protocols as well as reformatting our program to minimize contact and provide for adequate distancing to protect the health of our girls and staff. The CDC is providing guidance for safe operation specific to the camp environment.

We regret this interruption to a core tradition of Girl Scouting and pledge to do all we can to ensure that our outdoor program offerings remain available to girls and their families.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Message from CEO - March 18



Dear Girl Scouts,

As we navigate the uncharted waters of school closings, parents and caregivers working from home, event cancelations, and social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19, I wanted to reach out to each of you with a message of support. Our first priority at Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta is to focus on how we can support each of you – our girls, families, and volunteers – in the days and weeks ahead. This message shares how we’re working to keep you both safe and engaged in Girl Scouting as our ability to meet in person is limited. It also provides answers to many of your questions on what to expect in the weeks ahead.

During the next several weeks, I will be communicating with you more often via e-mail and through our blog as guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Georgia Department of Public Health, school districts and other government agencies changes and evolves. Please share this information with others in your troop, service unit or community who may not have access to email and any members of the community who may benefit from the resources that Girl Scouts is providing.

  • Council Events: In light of current federal guidance discouraging gatherings of ten or more people, all in-person council events through mid-May are postponed or cancelled. This includes all camp events, cookie program events, and the council Annual Meeting.
    • For camp events, refunds will be issued to your group in the same form as your original payment. Camporees cancelled during this time will be given first priority to reschedule for the fall.
    • The Smiles4Military event for April 18 is cancelled, and participating girls will be mailed their recognition certificate and reward.
    • The Cookie CEO event at the GA Aquarium will be rescheduled for a later date.
    • The council Annual Meeting tentatively will be rescheduled for August 20, pending the availability of The Home Depot Store Support Center.
  • Troop Meetings & Volunteer Events: For the safety of our community, we are requiring in-person troop meetings, service unit events and other volunteer-led meetings to be cancelled through mid-May.
  • Girl Scout Activities This Week: While your troop may not be able to meet in person, we encourage troops to use free videoconferencing technology like Skype or Facetime to have a virtual troop meeting. Troop leaders can take advantage of meeting guides and other program content on the Volunteer Toolkit to simplify meeting planning.
  • Volunteer Opportunities: Girl Scouts are a force for good in helping to make our community a better place. Each week, we will highlight a different way that members of our Girl Scout movement can safely serve the community. Look for opportunities beginning in Monday’s GS News.
  • Virtual Girl Scout Programming: We are working together with Girl Scouts of the USA and our sister councils throughout the country to provide virtual Girl Scout program opportunities through an online platform that will launch the week of March 23. The platform will provide videos, program content, and resources to do activities remotely.
  • Cookie Program: While booth sales are postponed, we encourage all girls and troops with remaining cookie inventory to use Digital Cookie to sell inventory for contact-less porch delivery or delayed in person delivery when social distancing ends. We will be communicating additional Digital Cookie opportunities to members later this week after details are finalized.
  • Spring Renewal: Early-bird membership renewal, previously scheduled to begin April 1, 2020, will be delayed until further notice. Girl and adult members who wish to renew their memberships for 2021, and new members who are interested in our new member deal may still register beginning on April 1 through our Website.
  • Share Your Stories: While you are missing your regular Girl Scout activities and friends, we hope you’ll use social media to share the creative ways you’re engaging with your Girl Scout troop and community during this time. Tag us @GirlScoutsATL or use the hashtag #GirlScoutStrong.
  • Helpline: Our helpline is open! You may still contact us with questions or concerns during regular business hours at helpline@gsgatl.org or 800-771-1139.
While the weeks ahead will be challenging, I know that you, our Girl Scouts, will rise to the occasion to meet these challenges head on. As we come together in virtual troop meetings and in service to our Greater Atlanta community, I believe that we, as a Girl Scout movement, will emerge from the pandemic having shown the world our power to be a force for good unrivaled by any other organization. It is more important than ever that we endeavor to live by our promise and law, and be a sister to every Girl Scout. Please continue to reach out and let us know how we can support you, and thank you for keeping your Girl Scout spirit going during these challenging times.

Yours in Girl Scouting,









Amy S. Dosik
CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Message from CEO - March 12



Dear Girl Scouts,
In the past 24 hours, the World Health Organization has declared coronavirus a global pandemic, and it has become apparent that there is community transmission in the state of Georgia. As Girl Scouts, we have an obligation to our community to do all that we can to limit the spread of coronavirus, even if we as individuals are not at risk of serious illness. In response to these changing circumstances, we are taking the following steps:

·       All camps are closed through March 31, 2020. We will issue refunds to all individuals and groups scheduled to attend programs and events through this date.
·       All council-sponsored girl and volunteer programs, trainings and events are cancelled through March 31, 2020. We will issue refunds to all individuals and groups scheduled to attend programs, trainings and events through this date.
·       We strongly recommend cancelling all troop meetings, service unit events and other volunteer-led programs through March 31, 2020.
·       We are implementing a contingency plan for the Girl Scout Cookie Program that will extend the time when booth sales can take place to allow troops to sell their remaining inventory.
o     Troops that wish to pick up additional cookies to fulfill existing orders can do so through the end of the day Friday, March 13, 2020.
o     We strongly recommend that troops cancel booth sales previously scheduled for this weekend and through March 31, 2020.
o     We will issue a separate communication specific to the Cookie Program with more details on changes to the program. 
·       No trips will be approved through March 31, 2020.
·       All council staff are being instructed to work from home through March 31, 2020, except for staff needed to perform essential council functions. These staff will be scheduled on a staggered basis to limit potential contact.
·       Badge & Sash stores are closed through March 31, 2020. Please shop online for any merchandise you need and receive free shipping with the code FREESHIP-GSGATL-320.
·       Our helpline is open! You may still contact us with questions or concerns during regular helpline hours at helpline@gsgatl.org or 800-771-1139.


Thank you for doing your part to limit community transmission of coronavirus in Georgia. We will emerge stronger because of our collective action.


Yours in Girl Scouting,








Amy S. Dosik
CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Message from CEO - March 11




Dear Girl Scouts,

At Girl Scouts, our motto is “be prepared.” The COVID-19 (aka coronavirus) protocols at our council are changing rapidly in response to available information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), city and county health authorities, school districts and other partners. We are working hard to ensure that our decisions and guidance reflect Girl Scouts’ commitment to prevent the spread of coronavirus in our community. I am reaching out today to update you on actions we are taking in response to CDC and other public health guidance, as well as in response to feedback and concerns we are hearing from you: our members, families, volunteers, staff, donors, supporters, and friends.

Guidance for every Girl Scout
We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of coronavirus in our community. In the spirit of the Girl Scout promise and law, we ask every member of our movement to do their part:  
  • Follow CDC hygiene best practices that include regular hand washing for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face, and covering your cough or sneeze.
  • Use non-contact forms of greeting instead of physical contact such as shaking hands.
  • Keep at least 3 feet of distance between individuals at meetings and events whenever possible.
  • Do not attend Girl Scout or other public events if you are ill or believe you have been exposed to a contagious disease like coronavirus.
  • Consult your healthcare provider if you (or a member of your family) is at risk for serious illness from COVID-19 before attending a Girl Scout or other public event. Most children and adults under 60 are not at risk of serious illness from coronavirus. However, adults over 60 and those with a compromised immune system or an underlying health condition may be at greater risk.
  • Report suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus among Girl Scouts, family members, staff or volunteers by calling our helpline at 1-800-771-1139 or emailing helpline@gsgatl.org so that we may coordinate with public health officials to notify any persons who may have been exposed.
  • Use the resources on our Raising Awesome Girls site with girls who may have questions or concerns about coronavirus.

Girl Scout troop meetings and trainings
Most Girl Scout events are like school events, and we generally will follow school district guidance around school closures and activity restrictions. The CDC and GDPH have not recommended school closures or widespread activity restrictions in our area. At present, girls and volunteers can continue to participate in most Girl Scout events and activities such as troop meetings and local field trips. They can continue to take part in council-sponsored trainings such as Safe Sitter Babysitter Training and New Leader Orientation. Based upon the guidance above, we ask that individuals who are ill or at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 infection not attend council events, meetings or trainings unless cleared by a physician.   

Camp events
Based upon current guidance from the American Camp Association, CDC and GDPH, troop camping, camporees and council-sponsored events at our camp properties are continuing during March. Our camp team is following heightened disinfection protocols at all camp properties. This includes deep cleaning all cabins and other buildings between groups; providing disinfecting wipes to groups to wipe down doorknobs, light switches and other frequently touched surfaces in their cabins during their stay; providing hand sanitation stations throughout camp; and changes to food service such as the use of disposable paper products at all meals. Camp staff are being trained on how to implement protocols to limit the spread of communicable disease at camp.

Individuals and groups with camping reservations in March have the option of coming to camp as scheduled, postponing their event to a later date (based on availability) or cancelling their reservation for a refund. For camp reservations in April and beyond, we will update you on cancellation and/or postponement options at least two weeks prior to your event. Based upon the guidance above, we ask that individuals who are ill or at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 infection not attend camp events unless cleared by a physician.    
   
Large council gatherings
In response to recent CDC guidance that recommends adjusting or postponing large school gatherings, we have made the decision to postpone all large council events through March 31. This impacts Sleepover Under the Stars, previously scheduled for March 21, 2020 at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds. This event has been rescheduled to November 14, 2020, and attendees have the option of attending the rescheduled event or cancelling and requesting a refund. The Second Century Circle Breakfast scheduled for March 24, 2020 has also been postponed. For large events taking place in April and beyond, decisions to postpone or cancel any events will be made at least two weeks prior to the event. For Girl Scout events managed by outside vendors (i.e., Girl Scout Day at Six Flags) please check with the vendors directly regarding cancellations or refunds.

International travel
The CDC continues to update recommendations to avoid international travel to certain regions, including China, Korea, Iran, Italy, Hong Kong and Japan. The CDC also recommends avoiding cruise ship travel worldwide, particularly for vulnerable populations. Because the path of coronavirus infection remains uncertain, no international travel, including cruises, will be approved for Girl Scout groups through June 30, 2020. Groups with existing international travel reservations have been informed that these trips are no longer approved by Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. Groups who choose to travel without council authorization will not be covered by Girl Scouts’ insurance and travel at their own risk.

Domestic travel
Avoiding domestic, non-essential airline travel is one step that we can all take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many businesses and nonprofit organizations, including Girl Scouts of the USA and our local council, have restricted airline business travel for employees in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In line with this guidance, no trips requiring domestic plane travel will be approved for Girl Scout groups through June 30, 2020. For domestic travel by car or train outside of our council jurisdiction, approvals will be made on a case-by-case basis through June 30, 2020. Groups who choose to travel without council authorization will not be covered by Girl Scouts’ insurance and travel at their own risk.

Other things to know
  • All Badge & Sash stores remain open on a regular schedule.
  • The Girl Scout Cookie Program will continue as planned, and cookie cupboards remain open through Saturday, March 14, 2020.
  • Girl Scout staff who are ill are being told not to report to work. We are expanding work from home options and more flexible use of sick days and other paid time off where possible.
  • Check the council calendar for updates to other activities and events.

Girl Scouts as a force for good
Throughout our history, Girl Scouts have played an important role in helping to keep our country safe. The 1947 Girl Scout Handbook explains: "A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency." During World War II, Girl Scouts tended victory gardens, sold war bonds and collected scrap metal. The work of today’s Girl Scouts is just as essential. Girl Scouts can continue to demonstrate leadership in the fight against coronavirus by teaching proper handwashing and other hygiene practices to their peers. They can learn about how coronavirus is spread and how to protect themselves and share this information with others. Girl Scouts can be a force for good by confronting misinformation about Asian-Americans, who increasingly have been the targets of racist attacks and discrimination.    


On behalf of the Girl Scout movement, I want to thank each of you for being part of our collective action to prevent the spread of coronavirus. We will continue to update you on this blog and on the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta’s website


Yours in Girl Scouting,








Amy S. Dosik
CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta