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

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Message from CEO

Dear Girl Scout members, families, volunteers, staff and supporters,

Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta is continually monitoring the status of COVID-19, also called novel coronavirus, with the health and safety of our movement firmly in mind. We will follow the guidance of the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Georgia State Department of Health and County Departments of Health as we evaluate conditions, make decisions and provide updated information to you regarding COVID-19 and our council’s response.

Overnight, the news media reported that there are two cases of COVID-19 in the State of Georgia. However, the virus is not widespread in our community, and there are no known cases among our members. For the time being, Girl Scout troop meetings, service unit events, camp programs, trainings and other council-sponsored programs are continuing without interruption. We are actively planning for contingencies and for additional precautionary measures, given the spread of the virus elsewhere. We will continue to update you via e-mail and on our website www.girlscoutsatl.org as developments occur.

Here are the current steps we are taking to keep you safe:

  1. Prevention: Each of us has a role to play in limiting the spread of COVID-19 by practicing good hygiene and engaging in other preventive practices. We strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself with the CDC guidelines on how to limit the spread of the virus, which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html and another valuable resource is the Georgia Department of Public Health: https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus
  2. International travel restrictions: At the present time, no international trips for girls, volunteers or staff are being approved by our council. We are working to postpone trips for groups that have previously approved trips to Italy, as current CDC guidelines are to avoid all non-essential travel to this country at the present time.
  3. Voluntary self-quarantine: If you or a member of your household have returned from travel to China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, or Iran in the last 14 days, we ask that you self-isolate and DO NOT attend any Girl Scout meeting, program or event until 14 days have passed since your return date. This includes all individuals within the household, including children, with or without symptoms.
  4. Reporting hotline: If you become aware of a Girl Scout, family member, volunteer, or staff member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, we ask that you notify our helpline at helpline@gsgatl.org or 800-771-1139 so that we can timely alert any exposed individuals and further limit the spread of the virus within our state.

At Girl Scouts, your safety is our #1 priority. Thank you for being a part of our movement’s efforts to ensure that the spread of the virus in our state is contained.

Yours in Girl Scouting,








Amy S. Dosik
CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Message from CEO

Dear Girl Scout Supporters and Friends,

Late yesterday, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This action has led to confusion and, in some cases, misinformation about the effects of this decision on the Girl Scout movement. I am writing to you today to address some common questions we’ve been hearing and share information that may be helpful to you in answering questions from members of the general public.
  • First and foremost, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and BSA are two unrelated, legally separate organizations that have been entirely separate for their more than 100-year history. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts do not share membership, programs, finances or risk management practices.
  • The BSA bankruptcy filing in no way affects Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta (GSGATL), GSUSA or our members. Locally and nationally, Girl Scouts is fiscally strong and has the financial resources to continue to carry out our programs for future generations of girls.
  • Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts have not merged and have no plans to do so. In October 2017, BSA made the decision to admit girls as members. In some instances, this has led to confusion among parents or members of the general public, who mistakenly believe that there is only one “scouting” organization. GSUSA and BSA remain two legally separate organizations.
  • At Girl Scouts, the physical and emotional safety of girls has always been our highest priority. We have a strong risk management culture that requires a comprehensive criminal background check for every adult volunteer. Girl Scouting uses the buddy system and requires at least two unrelated adults to be present at troop meetings and other girl events to ensure no girl is ever alone with an adult member.
As this announcement places scouting in the national news spotlight, I hope you’ll take this opportunity to share why Girl Scouts is the best leadership organization for girls with the members of your network. Here is some good news I hope you’ll share:
  • There is only one Girl Scouts, and we’re proud of our 50 million living alumnae who include 90% of female astronauts, 80% of female tech executives, 69% of female US Senators, every female US Secretary of State, the CEOs of IBM and YouTube, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and celebrities including Taylor Swift, Serena and Venus Williams and Barbara Walters.
  • The Girl Scout movement is 2.5 million members strong, with 1.7 million girls and 750,00 adult volunteers who continue our 108-year history of building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.
  • The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest entrepreneurship program for girls in the world! More than 50% of female business owners got their first business experience as Girl Scouts.
  • The Girl Scout Leadership Experience equips girls with the confidence and competence they need to succeed in the classroom, in careers and in community life. Girls learn leadership through programming in STEM, outdoor education, entrepreneurship and life skills that is girl-led, cooperative and hands-on.
I hope that you will share this information with people in your network who may have questions about what BSA bankruptcy filing means for the Girl Scouts. Please feel free to reach out to our helpline at 800-771-1139 or helpline@gsgatl.org with other questions or concerns you may have about this development. Thank you for all you do to support our 36,000 Girl Scouts in Greater Atlanta.

Yours in Girl Scouting,








Amy S. Dosik
CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is bigger and bolder than ever before!


The Girl Scout Cookie Program is bigger and bolder than ever before. Take a walk on the wild side as you take on your courageous Girl Scout Cookie adventure. This year’s theme is Go for Bold.

Go for Bold encourages every girl to find her version of bold, whether it’s being creative with a booth design or shining as a leader who is determined to achieve big goals.

When girls participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, they are doing so much more than selling delicious treats. They’re building essential skills like goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.

Cookie season kicks off in January, and we know you want your girls to feel prepared and confident as they set out to reach their goals.
Troop Co-leaders
If you are a troop co-leader leader, you should have received an invitation for Cookie Training from your Service Unit (if you haven’t received this yet, contact your service unit cookie manager, if you don’t know who that is, contact us and we can assist you).

Download the December Playbook for your step by step checklist to get organized for January.
Caregivers
If you are a caregiver, be a champion for your Girl Scout. Talk to your troop leader to sign up for the 2019 Girl Scout Cookie Program, or contact the Customer Care Team for more information at 800-771-1139 or email helpline@gsgatl.org

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Message from the CEO on Immigration Policy

Dear Girl Scouts,

“Right is right, even if no one else does it.” This is one of my favorite Juliette Gordon Low quotes, and one I return to frequently as I think about how to navigate some of the more difficult issues that affect us as a Girl Scout Movement. Many of us have been following with alarm the news around the current administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy that has separated more than 2,300 children from their parents. Throughout Greater Atlanta, I’ve heard from troop leaders, Service Unit Directors and parents asking where Girl Scouts stands on the administration’s current immigration enforcement policies and expressing concern about the distress that the news has caused for our girls, who wonder whether they, too, could be separated from their parents.

Girl Scouts recently joined together with 14 of the nation’s largest and most influential human service nonprofits in calling on the current administration to halt its “zero tolerance” immigration policy. Together with our peer organizations, we have asked the administration to immediately stop this wrong and immoral policy and to take immediate steps to restore connections between separated family members. Girl Scouts stands in solidarity with our four former first ladies and honorary National Girl Scout Presidents, all of whom have spoken out on this humanitarian crisis.

As a nonprofit organization, Girl Scouts is nonpartisan and always will be a place that is welcoming for all members – regardless of political affiliation, immigration status, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or gender. But we remain firmly grounded in our values, as embodied in the Girl Scout Promise and Law, and will take a stand when we see injustice in the world. For our members who are moved to action by this issue, I encourage you to use our G.I.R.L. Agenda toolkits, which offer activities and resources to help girls lead positive change through civic action. We have also published a new Raising Awesome Girls blog post offering parents and caregivers tips to address this difficult and frightening issue with their girls.

Thank you for all you do for Girl Scouts, and for translating our values into action as we help lead our girls though challenging times.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Amy Dosik