Welcome Back to a New Girl Scout Year + Important Guidelines Update

Dear Girl Scout members,

Welcome back to a new Girl Scout year!

As I settle back into the new school year and membership year, as a mom, wife, community member, and your GSWNY CEO, I reflect on what has been a challenging year and an inspiring year.

I think about how you are all doing and faring during this time. I hope for your health, your safety, your stability and your connections with others. I hope that all of our Girl Scouts are adjusting, and they know that they have caring Girl Scout sisters and mentors in their corner.

I also hope that much like it is for me, that Girl Scouting has been one of the pieces in your life this year that has helped you to connect, gain support, and be inspired and uplifted by the courage and brightness of our girls. 

I’ve shared in the past that I emigrated to WNY from Canada–this coming weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, and will also be nearly 7 months since the border was closed due to the pandemic, and more than that since I have been able to see my family. As this weekend approaches, I miss them dearly. My husband and son here in WNY, my Girl Scout team and friends, and the mission of Girl Scouting are all gifts that help me keep my spirits up in these times.

I thank you, our members, for all that you do to help Girl Scouting remain strong. When you see the pictures of girls smiling with their friends, in person or virtually, or pictures of girls helping in their community, you can see the power of the Girl Scout sisterhood. Girl Scouting is not just what we do, it’s who we are.

In this time of uncertainty, our mission remains as relevant as ever as girls’ needs are changing daily. 

With changes in school, we are concerned that students may fall behind. We worry how self-isolating and social distancing may impact girls’ need to connect and their interaction with their friends. Families are dealing with the financial impact of this pandemic and stress on our personal wellbeing. 

Our girls need us more than ever, and our world needs Girl Scouts more than ever. 

I thank all volunteers, girls and families who renewed for the new membership year. Please know that you are giving to girls at a time when they need you the most. 

For anyone who has not yet renewed, I have heard some discussions about “waiting for Girl Scouts to come back.” I want to make sure you know that Girl Scouts has never left, we are still here, and we are always evolving. Girl Scouts continues to change over time, to meet the ever changing needs of girls, and that is a great thing. 

Your membership makes us stronger, and makes our girls stronger. Being active in Girl Scouts responds to those critical concerns on everyone’s mind. Girl Scouts can help mitigate learning loss. Girl Scouts supports girls’ mental health. Girl Scouts promotes equity and civic education.
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I could easily say “please renew for me”, but it isn’t for me. It is for the girls. Across our WNY region, there are thousands of girls who need opportunities to realize their potential. And Girl Scouts offers those opportunities.

Our staff and volunteers have been working hard to keep adjusting our program to meet safety guidelines, and to lead fun and meaningful programs that meet what girls need most today. We have many ways to participate that can fit you and your family best, there is no right or wrong amount to participate, and we will keep sharing resources weekly in Member Essentials and our upcoming monthly Family Newsletter for you.

I’m so proud of Girl Scouts of Western New York as a council, and our strong network of over 19,000 members – adults and girls – dedicated to our important mission: building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. I’m also proud of how we have all stuck together through this pandemic and challenging time in our community and world.

In closing, thank you to all of our volunteers for your dedication to ensuring safety standards. The safety of our girls, volunteers, members, families, and staff is our #1 priority. Virtual and at-home programming remains the safest way to participate, and there is no requirement to meet in person – any in-person meetings or activities are optional. Please review the Updated Guidelines here and FAQs here for volunteers and members who plan to meet or participate in-person.

I am hopeful and excited for what is ahead of us. I challenge anyone still waiting to renew today. And I look forward to another great Girl Scouting year!

Thank you for all you do,

Alison Wilcox, GSWNY CEO

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