Coronavirus Update 3-17-20

Dear Girl Scout Volunteers and Families,

Girl Scouts of Western New York continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 updates. View past communications:

At Girl Scouts, the safety and wellbeing of our girls, volunteers, council staff and families are our top priority and we all have a responsibility in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

This is an unprecedented and challenging time for all. Please know we are here to serve you as best we can. Our community needs Girl Scouts more than ever. 

We promised you an update on Tuesday, March 17 so this communication is to give you the latest information. Information is rapidly evolving and we will follow up later this week as more details around Girl Scout programming and the cookie program are finalized in guidance with our public health officials and Girl Scouts of the USA.

Following the guidance of our New York State and local county public health officials, Girl Scouts of Western New York announced on Sunday, March 15 that we formally suspended all Girl Scouting activities until at least April 1, but we are now announcing that all in-person programs, events and property rentals must be cancelled or postponed through at least April 30. In-person troop meetings and cookie booths are suspended through April 1 and this date will continue to be re-evaluated following public health guidance for the safety of our girls and community. No in-person Girl Scout activities will resume until it has been deemed safe by our public health officials to do so. All cancelled council-sponsored activities will provide full refunds within the next 30 days. STEM-a-palooza will be rescheduled in November – more details will be shared when they are available.

We are committed to serving our girls through virtual programming options that we will present to you starting next week. Girls home from school closures will need engaging activities for their development. We are also working closely with Girl Scouts of the USA and our baker for solutions to help troops who have been impacted by cookie booth cancellations. We have solutions for girls to still participate in the cookie program online and through virtual cookie booths. Many troops are already doing so, and we will share resources for you on our volunteer webinars on Wednesday, and in another communication Thursday of this week. As communicated earlier, our cookie program has been extended until April 26 with final payment by April 28 and we will continue to re-evaluate and communicate.  

We also wanted to update you with what additional steps Girl Scouts of Western New York is taking to combat the spread of COVID-19. Our offices have been closed to the public as of Monday, March 16, however our staff remain employed to serve our members. The majority of our staff are working from home, with very few staff members performing limited administrative office functions on Thursdays, following all safety protocols, cleaning procedures and social distancing.

This week the best way to reach our team is through email at customercare@gswny.org

  • Starting Monday, March 24 our staff will be available by phone at 1-888-837-6410 Monday through Thursday from 9am-11am, and 2pm-4pm, and Fridays, 9am-11am, and you can always contact us through email at: customercare@gswny.org.

We understand that you may be looking for activities to keep your Girl Scout engaged while she is home. We are working on resources to support you and your Girl Scout(s), which will be available on www.gswny.org in the coming days. In the meantime, we encourage you to check out resources on Raising Awesome Girls, our Badge Explorer, and the Resources Tab on the Volunteer Toolkit for programs you can adapt to continue the Girl Scout program while she may be home.

Volunteers are invited to attend our webinars. We will still hold two virtual information sessions, for service unit team members and troop leaders on March 18, to update everyone on the situation. Details may be found on our website.

We know this is a challenging time for Girl Scouts everywhere! I echo what our national CEO Sylvia Acevedo shared on the Girl Scout blog this morning. We will get through this as we always do – as one Movement, united in our mission of serving girls and we’re here to help. Thank you for your continued patience as we navigate these unchartered waters together. We are stronger together!

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Alison Wilcox CEO, Girl Scouts of Western New York

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