Member Essentials

Member Essentials 1/4/21

Message from Alison Wilcox, CEO

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great holiday season full of time with family and loved ones. As we prepare for the year ahead, I have some important information to share.

COVID-19 Updates

I’m sure many of you have seen the headlines concerning the alarming increase in COVID cases across Western New York. It is critical that we continue to remain vigilant in our health and safety prevention efforts in Girl Scouting.

The safety of our girls, volunteers, members, families, and staff is our highest priority. As a reminder, 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. COVID-19 poses a serious health risk and so adhering to safety guidelines is critical for any in-person meetings or activities.

We recommend that volunteers always first decide if they are comfortable offering in-person GS activities for their troop before proceeding. Leaders should share GSWNY COVID-19 guidelines with troop families, and make a collaborative decision with families based on comfort level, accessibility and desired level of engagement.

Please note that the CDC advises that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Each family should evaluate and assess their risk in determining whether or not to participate in in-person Girl Scout activities.

GSWNY will continue to monitor public health guidance and are prepared to make changes to our safety guidance if needed.

GSWNY COVID-19 safety guidance that was issued September 1, 2021, remains aligned to public health guidance including wearing masks indoors and social distancing indoors, and there are no changes to GSWNY safety guidance for in-person activities at this time. Girl Scouts are always prepared, so please continue to follow the current GSWNY safety guidelines and be watchful for GSWNY communications in case we need to increase COVID-19 restrictions on in-person activities.

As a resource to our members, please know that the CDC and New York State encourage all eligible New Yorkers ages 5 and up to get the COVID-19 vaccine and for anyone previously vaccinated to get the booster at the applicable time. Please click here for more information. 

The omicron variant is new, and the CDC is still studying its effects and impact. The CDC advises vaccination, wearing masks, and COVID-19 testing to prevent spread of the omicron variant. Please click here for the latest information on the omicron variant.

As a reminder, GSWNY will give full refunds for any cancellation by you or GSWNY of an in-person program or property rental for council-sponsored GSWNY events, activities and properties during the pandemic.

For locations and vendors that you are working with directly, we recommend that you contact any troop meeting locations and program vendors in advance to ensure they are still open and allowing on-site activities.

In-person programs and events can be a wonderful outlet for our girls, however they are always optional. There are many ways to participate in Girl Scouts at home with virtual meetings, Badge in a Box, and at-home activities . At-home is the safest option. Always follow your own comfort level, and if you participate in person, please follow all safety guidelines to reduce the risk.

We are actively monitoring guidance from NYS and if there are any changes to GSWNY safety guidance, or if we need to suspend in-person activities in the future, GSWNY will notify all members by email and on our social media pages, and update our website.

Please feel free to contact us at or call 1-888-837-6410. In an emergency, please call 1-800-882-9268.

Thank you to all of our volunteers and members for your dedication to ensuring safety standards. Thank you for all you do!

Staffing Updates

We also have some exciting news to share involving leadership changes within our council.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Javeena A. Edwards as our new Chief Financial Officer . Javeena has over 15 years of experience within the accounting and finance field. Throughout her career, she has cultivated a diverse background of experience across industries such as banking, manufacturing, medical, and not-for-profit in the concentration of accounting/finance.

Aside from her professional career, she is a wife to a Buffalo firefighter (Tyrrell Edwards) and a mother of three beautiful children (Nysaiah 20, Janiya 10, and Taylor Joi 5). Javeena serves on several boards throughout the Buffalo area. Javeena was born and raised within the inner city of Buffalo, NY. Therefore, she has a strong connection and passion for ensuring the voices of underserved populations within the City of Buffalo are heard and their concerns are addressed.

Javeena has started her role and is succeeding Debra J. Whais, who will be retiring on January 31 after serving the council for more than 20 years. We thank Debra for her outstanding years of service to Girl Scouts of Western New York. Debra leaves an amazing legacy and we wish her well in her retirement.

Also joining our council is Juanita Washington as Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications . Juanita is a strategic thinker and proactive leader who has developed and implemented successful comprehensive communications and public relations strategies. She previously served as Director of Marketing and Communications for Jordan Health in Rochester, NY, and led the organization’s COVID communication initiatives throughout the pandemic.

Her experience spans over 15 years and includes media, corporate, and non-profit industries. She has developed communication strategies for various topics, including renewable and conventional energy technologies, capital projects, philanthropic efforts, and crisis communications.

Juanita and her husband are also the parents of five young boys. She will be located in the Rochester office and will assume responsibilities immediately.

Our council will benefit greatly from the experience and passion both women will bring to their new roles. Please help me welcome them to our Girl Scouts of Western New York family.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Alison Wilcox
Chief Executive Officer

Product Program

The initial order taking period for the Cookie Program begins this Saturday! Visit to learn more and get started!

Programs & Events

Explore the dramatic arts with these upcoming programs!

We have two exciting programs scheduled Saturday, January 22, for our Girl Scouts! The Amazing Acting Games for Brownies and Theatre 101 for Juniors and Cadettes programs are still taking registrations! Make sure you reserve your Girl Scout’s spot by January 14.

The NEW Girl Scout Resilient. Ready. Strong. program is here. Help your girl 💪🏽build her inner strength and resilience; 🧠learn science-backed, mood-boosting skills; and ✅earn a patch. 👉


Members who purchased tickets can either keep their tickets to use for the rescheduled games (TBD) or can receive a refund. They will also receive a 50% off voucher for another Beauts game. Members who bought tickets can contact Amy Budde at for more information. We are working to reschedule GSWNY Day and will provide more details as they become available.

Two New Multi-Level Cookie Badge in a Box!
It’s Girl Scout Cookie time and what better way to help girls set up and expand their cookie business than with the new Cookie Express and Cookie Boss Badge in a Box!

Cookie Express: Daisy, Brownie, Junior
Girls will earn the new Daisy My First Cookie Business, Brownie My Cookie Customers, or Junior My Cookie Team with activities including cookie charades, making finger puppets to practice your sales pitch, making a goal box and thank you cards!

Price: $5 per box
Cookie Boss: Cadette, Senior, Ambassador
Girls will earn the Cadette My Cookie Venture, Senior My Cookie Network, or Ambassador Cookie Influencer with activities including designing an order clipboard, creating a cookie goal tracker poster, developing a marketing campaign, and creating a customer database!

Price: $5 per box

There are a limited number of boxes available for curbside pickup or shipping (for an additional cost). Visit to learn more and order your Badge in a Box today!

Camp & Outdoors

View our Complete Guide to Getting Outdoors!
Find everything you need to know about getting outdoors with your troop or Girl Scout in our new guide! It breaks down the importance of getting outdoors and details all of the ways our Girl Scouts can get outside. Click here to view it now!


What’s your 2022 Girl Scout resolution or goal? Pop into our GSWNY shops and take a selfie telling us ! Or share it on social media or email it to so we can share it on social media throughout the month of January.

Get Connected to GSWNY

Catch up with past Member Essentials on our blog and make sure you join our Members Group on Facebook for the latest updates. 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at or 1-888-837-6410. In an emergency, please call 1-800-882-9268.

Renew | Girl Scouting at Home | Volunteer Resources | Work at GSWNY

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