Member Essentials – 11/24/20

Dear GSWNY Members,

On Monday, November 23, 2020, parts of Monroe and Erie Counties were placed into the orange zone.

As we communicated with members last week, any county placed into the orange or red zone will need to suspend in-person Girl Scout programs and meetings. 

All Girl Scout in-person programs and meetings in Monroe and Erie Counties are suspended Tuesday, 11-24-20 until further notice. This includes girls and adults residing in Monroe and Erie Counties, and any in-person program or meeting taking place in Monroe or Erie Counties.

Parts of Niagara County were placed into the yellow zone last week.

NYS stated they will reassess in 14 days. We are awaiting additional details, along with monitoring the situation throughout our nine counties. We will provide updates as relevant.

Please see the guidelines and FAQs, released 11/17/20 that have further details about the yellow, orange, and red zone restrictions and how they affect Girl Scout programming.

The health and safety of our girls, volunteers, families, and staff are of the utmost importance. We know girls may be disappointed about in-person programs being suspended. There are many ways to participate in Girl Scouts from home including virtual and at-home meetings and activities, badge in the box, etc. 

If we can be of any assistance to help volunteers and girls switch to at-home activities, please contact Customer Care customercare@gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410.

Thank you for all that you do to follow the safety guidelines.



Please see the important announcements below and for questions, please contact Customer Care customercare@gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410. In an emergency, please call 1-800-882-9268.


Create moments of joy this holiday season!
We’re opening our online Cookie Program Saturday, December 5th, which means you can get Girl Scout cookies in time for the holidays!



While social distancing measures may continue to keep families and friends apart, cookie customers will be able to stay connected this season through a gift box option that ships directly to their family and friends via the Smart Cookie online platform.

All cookies will be available for $5 a package.

Consumers will delight in knowing their cookie purchase is an investment in girl leadership in WNY. With every sale, the Girl Scout Cookie Program teaches girls to think like entrepreneurs as they run their small businesses and learn lifelong skills, like goal setting, people skills, and decision—making, which are imperative for any leadership role.

GSWNY is holding a Girl Scout Cookie training for troops!

REGISTER FOR DECEMBER 1 COOKIE TRAINING


Grow Your Girl Crew is happening now! 

We challenge YOU to get out there and Grow Your Girl Crew because what’s better than making new friends? How about making new friends AND winning amazing prizes! From Oct. 22, 2020 to Jan. 31, 2021, we want you to invite your friends and grow your girl crew!

From patches with charms to Air Pods, we have prizes to give you when you have new girls join. All you have to do is invite them, make sure they register, and then you win! We have three tiers of rewards available for you to win. 

Visit gswny.org/join to read more about the campaign and how you can win. We’re also going live Dec. 10 to show you the prizes in real life. You can join us on Instagram or Facebook.


Cyber Monday Week Sale! Exclusive Preview!

From Monday, November 30, to Friday, December 4, we are offering all PLUSH for only $9.95!



Every Girl Scout wants to hang out with the cutest plush around! These huggable plush buddies have a rainbow pattern with “Girl Scouts” embroidery and are perfect to fill every girl’s stocking.

Plush includes: Sloth, Monkey, Narwhal, Lion and Unicorn.

ORDER ONLINE

Please note, that the GSWNY council will be closed starting at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25. All Curbside Orders received via email after this date will be responded to starting Monday, November 30.

Still collecting cash and checks?

Now you can collect money online at zero cost to your troop. Create a collection page in minutes and share your link. All payments and information are tracked automatically and can be exported to Excel for easy reviewing.

Cheddar Up is the easiest way to collect money and forms online!

  • It’s a digital payment and tracking tool
  • December 2020, coleaders will receive an invitation from Cheddar Up to open an account. Friendlysupport@cheddarup.com  – Please check your junk email too!
  • Accept payments for registration, uniforms, camporee, field trips, etc.
  • No additional charge to the troop. A flat .45 fee to the payee – which costs less than a stamp! The troop does have the option to absorb this cost.
  • Cheddar Up provides all the training the Troop Treasurer will need.
  • Click this link for Cheddar Up FAQs

Watch for your email invite from Cheddar Up!


VS 2.0 System Upgrade Updates

Starting November 18 at 11:59 PM EST, Girl Scouts began system-wide updates that will temporarily pause access to myGS including your member profile and the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for approximately 2-3 weeks. Please watch for an email from Girl Scouts in early December announcing the debut of our refreshed member account management system as well as updated login information and instructions for accessing your account.

During system downtime: To continue the fun with your Girl Scout(s) during this time, visit our national Girl Scouts at Home page  here for badge and Journey activities, service projects, patches, and event recordings that you can use either in-person or virtually. Visit our GSWNY Troop Leader Blueprint for additional resources here . You can also visit the Girl Scout Shop for printed or downloadable program materials by badge and Journey.

Thank you for your patience while we work to enhance your Girl Scout member experience.

Pop-Up Message: After Login to myGS or VTK – example can be seen in the image to the right.

Given the momentary system updates, if a member or non-member has any trouble joining or renewing their membership online, please use this special digital form here and a Customer Care representative will be in touch or call 1-888-837-6410. Thank you.


Girl Scouting at Home

Looking for ways to stay involved with Girl Scouts? Check out our Girl Scouting at Home page today! New resources are added regularly. 

VISIT GIRL SCOUTING AT HOME PAGE


Looking for more options? Head to girlscouts.org for even more at-home opportunities for your Girl Scout.


Girl Scouts Doing Good Things

Troop 60516 made Thanksgiving cards for a senior care center.

We are #GirlScoutStrong! Looking forward to talking to you next Tuesday! In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Customer Care customercare@gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410. In an emergency, please call 1-800-882-9268.

Important COVID-19 Update 11-18-2020

Dear Girl Scout Members,

Today, Erie County was placed into the orange zone with school closings beginning Monday, November 23.

As we communicated with members yesterday, any county placed into the orange or red zone will need to suspend in-person Girl Scout programs and meetings. 

All Girl Scout in-person programs and meetings in Erie County will be suspended in line with school guidelines, beginning Monday 11-23-20 until further notice.  This includes girls and adults residing in Erie county, and any in-person program or meeting taking place in Erie County.

Parts of Niagara County were placed into the yellow zone today. GSWNY in-person activities are already following yellow zone guidelines effective 11-10-20 so there is no additional change.

Please see the guidelines and  FAQs, released 11/17/20 that have further details about the yellow, orange and red zone restrictions and how they affect Girl Scout programming.

The health and safety of our girls, volunteers, families, and staff are of the utmost importance. We know girls may be disappointed about in-person programs being suspended. There are many ways to participate in Girl Scouts from home including virtual and at-home meetings and activities, badge in the box, etc. 

If we can be of any assistance to help volunteers and girls switch to at-home activities, please contact Customer Care customercare@gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410.

Thank you for all that you do to follow the safety guidelines.

Alison Wilcox
CEO, Girl Scouts of Western New York
 


COVID-19 Related Update from Member Essentials 11/17/20 

Dear GSWNY Members,
The safety of our members is our first priority and given COVID-19 that means following GSWNY’s Updated 11-17-20  safety guidelines and FAQs , washing hands, wearing masks, social distancing, and staying home when needed.

NYS is following a microcluster strategy which means regions within NY may be placed in a yellow, orange, or red zone if they have a high number of COVID-19 cases. Currently, Erie and Monroe counties have been placed in the yellow zone. GSWNY applied the yellow zone restrictions across all 9 county areas last week and will continue for the time being. This affected GSWNY’s gathering size only, and changed from a maximum of 50 people permitted to 25.

Girl Scouts strive to always be prepared. If any county is placed in the orange or red zone, that county will need to suspend in-person programming per NYS guidelines. Orange or red zone restrictions will be handled county by county, and will not be applied across the council, unless NYS advises otherwise.

We recommend you to be ready for the possibility that Erie County will be placed into the orange or red zone. It is also possible that any county could be placed into one of these zones in the future depending on COVID-19 rates.

As a reminder, GSWNY will give full refunds for any in-person program or property rental for GSWNY events, activities, and properties

Curbside retail and product program delivery will still be permitted in the orange zone. Troop leaders and volunteers may still arrange contact-less delivery and pick up of supplies with families in the orange zone. We do not yet have enough information to determine additional impacts of the red zone and are monitoring guidance from NYS. 

In-person programs and events can be a wonderful outlet for our girls when permitted by NYS, however, they are always optional. There are many ways to participate in GS 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.

If a county is placed in an orange or red zone, and we need to suspend in-person programs, GSWNY will notify all members by email, on our social media pages, update our blog, and website. 

Please see the important announcements below and for questions, please contact Customer Care customercare@gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410. In an emergency, please call 1-800-882-9268.

Again, please see our updated COVID-19 guidance with  updated FAQs.

Thank you for your flexibility and your dedication to ensuring safety standards.

Be safe and stay well. 

Alison Wilcox
CEO, Girl Scouts of Western New York

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Customer Care at 1-888-837-6410 or customercare@gswny.org.

Family Pumpkin Carving Contest 2020

Congratulations to our 2020 Family Pumpkin Carving Contest winners and thank you to everyone who submitted their photos. Keep an eye out in the mail for your prize and we hope you had a safe and happy Halloween!

Girl Winners:

1st Place – Maddie Backus

2nd Place – Shelby Reisenweber

3rd Place – Cyrene Blackley – Hieroglyphics for “Be at Peace”

Honorable Mention to Troop 61018 from East Rochester for their full troop pumpkin carvings photo submission.

Adult Winners:

1st Place – Adam Reisenweber

2nd Place – Kristyn Wind

3rd Place – Bree Kramer

Honorable Mention to Kathy Reisenweber for her Make New Friends painted pumpkin.

Reminder that our Fall Nature Photo Contest is still going. We are looking for the Best of these three categories for both Adults and Girls with $15 Gift Cards to our GSWNY Shops to the winners. All submissions due to outdoor@gswny.org by November 30. Good Luck and Have Fun!

  • Best Family Nature Selfie/Portrait
  • Best Fall Foliage
  • Best Fall Composition

Grow Your Girl Crew: Invite girls to join Girl Scouts and win prizes!

Referral form for members: https://bit.ly/growyourcrew2020

Now more than ever, you need friends to share and create memories with, through in-person and virtual events. We challenge YOU to get out there and Grow Your Girl Crew because what’s better than making new friends?

Invite your friends, classmates, teammates, club mates, and every girl in between to join Girl Scouts now through January 31, 2021. And you know the cool part? Not only can they get to be a part of the Girl Scouting fun, there are prizes for you, too! (keep scrolling to see what they are!)

Follow these three steps:

  1. Invite girls you know in Western New York to join Girl Scouts! (we know you may have friends and family around the country, but this is all about building your local crew)
  2. Fill out this form to tell us who you invited to join.
  3. Win prizes when they join Girl Scouts! (prizes pictured below)

It’s that simple – tell your other girls about Girl Scouts, let us know who you invited, and then when they join, you get prizes? What are they, exactly? Keep reading!

We have three tiers of prizes you can win, as well as prizes for the two girls who have the most new girls join!

Tier 1: Refer one girl who joins

Receive a Grow Your Girl Crew patch and 2021 trefoil charm for the patch

Tier 2: Refer three girls who join

Receive a Grow Your Girl Crew patch, 2021 trefoil charm, heart charm, and your choice of a large bow OR bucket hat

Tier 3: Refer five girls who join

Receive a Grow Your Girl Crew patch, 2021 trefoil charm, heart charm, rainbow charm, your choice of a large bow OR bucket hat, and a GSWNY crewneck sweatshirt

BONUS: The top 2 girls who refer and have the most girls join will win their choice of Air Pods or a $100 gift card

Adults, we have a prize for you, too! Refer one person who joins as an adult volunteer and you’ll receive a GSWNY crewneck sweatshirt and they’ll get a GSWNY mask. Fill out the same form for girls to enter today.

Reminder: All girls and adults must join Girl Scouts in Western New York in order for you to qualify for the prizes.

You can enter up to five names at a time using the form. If you invite more friends, simply fill out the form again. Have you told someone to register for Girl Scouts? We will check the names regularly to see if they have joined, and if they do, you qualify for great prizes!

Questions? Reach out to us any time at 1-888-837-6410 or join.us@gswny.org

Member Prizes

This patch with the trefoil charm will be sent to all girls who have at least one friend they invite join Girl Scouts! The heart charm will be sent in addition to the patch and trefoil if you invite three people who join, and the rainbow charm will be sent with the other two charms and patch if you invite five girls who join. 

If you invite three girls and the join Girl Scouts, you have your choice of a GSWNY bucket hat or a large bow.

If five girls you invite join Girl Scouts, you get a GSWNY crewneck. Adults, you receive a crewneck if someone you invite registers as an adult volunteer. 

The top 2 (two) girls who invite the most friends who join will either win a pair of Air Pods or $100 gift card (their choice).

Verify your SAGE points have been loaded

Hello Girl Scout families,

SAGE points are being loaded in October. If you don’t see your points by Monday, November 9, please contact Customer Care at 1-888-837-6410 or customercare@gswny.org.

It’s time to verify that you SAGE points have been loaded into your SAGE accounts.  See below for instructions on how to verify your points.  After checking your SAGE accounts, if you do not see this year’s points, please contact our Customer Care team at 1-888-837-6410 or via email at CustomerCare@gswny.org ASAP. 

The deadline to reconcile SAGE accounts is 11/30/2020. After that date, no changes can be made to accounts.

To check your Girl Scouts points:

Girl Scout Parents:

  • Log into your SAGE account
  • Next to your child’s name you should see the “Available Actions” column 
    • Choose “Select an Action”
    • Choose “View Student’s Statement”
    • Then click “GO”. 
  • You should see the words “Student Account Statement for…” at the top
  • Below that are the dates that your Girl Scout earned points-dates will vary for each family, but you should see something to effect of:
Date SAGE Points are appliedDescriptionTransaction AmountAccount Balance
9/30/2020 (this will be  the date your SAGE account was opened)Tuition Rewards Student Registration Bonus (this is a one-time bonus for opening your SAGE account)500500
10/20/2020Girl Scouts of Western New York Tuition Rewards 2,5003,500

Student’s Total Available Tuition Rewards 3,000

If you do not see this year’s points, please contact our Customer Care team at 1-888-837-6410 or via email at CustomerCare@gswny.org ASAP.

The deadline to reconcile SAGE accounts is 11/30/2020.  After that date, no changes can be made to accounts.

************************************************

To check your Girl Scouts points:

Girl Scout Leaders/Service Unit Managers/Lifetime Members/Staff:

  • Log into your SAGE account
  • Click on the “Your Rewards” tab
  • You should see the words “Your Rewards Statement ” at the top
  • Below that are the dates that you earned SAGE points-dates will vary for each person, but you should see something to effect of:
Date SAGE Points are appliedDescriptionTransaction AmountAccount Balance
9/30/2020 (this will be  the date your SAGE account was opened)Tuition Rewards Student Registration Bonus (this is a one-time bonus for opening your SAGE account)500500
10/20/2020Girl Scouts of Western New York Tuition Rewards 2,5003,500

Your Total Available Tuition Rewards 3,000

************************************************

If you do not see this year’s points, please contact our Customer Care team at 1-888-837-6410 or via email at CustomerCare@gswny.org ASAP.

The deadline to reconcile SAGE accounts is 11/30/2020. 

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.
​​​​​​​
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

IMPORTANT: Your Girl Scout Member Account – More Features & More Fun!

Your Girl Scout Member Account

More Features. More Fun!
Please review and update your household email address prior to Go-Live.

(Unique Email Slide Deck Here)

Later this fall, Girl Scouts of Western New York will debut a refreshed member account management system designed with you in mind. Cleaner views, more features and functions, and enhanced search options will make it easier for you to find more fun for your Girl Scout!

In the new platform, all parents/caregivers must have a unique email address to identify them in the new environment. In our current system, many parents/caregivers are sharing one email address to access their family’s Girl Scout account. To ensure a smooth transition for your family, and to avoid the need to ask for assistance later, we’re encouraging all members to take a moment to review and prepare your household for our fresh new environment by following these 3 steps:

1. Log in to your MyGS login page account.
2. Review the email addresses for your household, are the parents/caregivers in your household using the same email address? If yes, complete the next step.
3. Provide a new email address for the secondary caregiver.

You’re all set! Thank you for your help in ensuring a smooth transition for your family to Girl Scouts’ refreshed member account platform.

Look for a brief introduction to the new features you’ll find when accessing your Girl Scout account coming later this fall. We think you’re going to like it!

Thank you for all you do!

Thank you,
Girl Scouts of Western New York

Questions? Contact Customer Care at 1-888-837-6410 or customercare@gswny.org

Upcoming SPCA programming for Girl Scouts!

The SPCA Serving Erie County  offers a variety of virtual programming for Girl Scouts.  Watch for live virtual badge workshops for individual Girl Scouts listed on our GSWNY Events calendar such as:

In-person and/or virtual tours and patch programs (fee based & on demand) for Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors also available.  Your troop can complete simple activities in your virtual troop meetings or individual scouts and then invite the SPCA Serving Erie County to your troop meeting for a virtual field trip and animal meet and greet.  Suggestions for which activities work best virtually are made for each age group below.

Please see www.yourspca.org, email KatherineG@yourspca.org or call (716) 875-7360×234 for more information or to set up a program.

Cost:  $50 per troop for a 30-minute virtual tour and animal encounter.  Patches cost $2 per participant and will be mailed to the troop leader following completion of the evaluation form.  Programs are available Monday-Saturday afternoons and evenings.

Begin setting up your virtual or in-person field trips at:  https://forms.gle/vC6SSzsLRixJoNuV8 

The SPCA Serving Erie County is not affiliated financially in any way with any other animal agency, including the Niagara County SPCA, the ASPCA, or any other humane society or animal welfare group. Our protocols, policies, and procedures are unique to this organization, a completely independent humane society that does not receive any city, county, state, or federal tax dollars. The important programs and services of the SPCA Serving Erie County are possible only due to the caring people and organizations that support us.

Only two weeks left in On-Time Renewal!

Photo taken in February 2020

Whatever the upcoming year has in store—she’ll get the tools she needs to learn new skills and grow now and in the future as Girl Scouts evolves to meet her needs. From home and online (and for as long as it’s needed), we’re here to help your girl reach her potential.

By renewing her membership and giving your girl another year in Girl Scouts, she will boost her confidence, improve her outdoor skills, and prepare her to be a champion for the environment—yes, even through virtual events!

Our membership year ends Wednesday, September 30, which means our On-Time Renewal campaign is ending in just two weeks. That means only 14 days left to qualify for our amazing incentives, include gift cards, troop incentives, and SAGE Tuition Rewards Points.

RENEW TODAY

Every Wednesday (only THREE left!), we’re giving away two $50 gift cards for either Target or Amazon – one for renewed girls and one for renewed co-leaders. On top of that, you have another chance to win one of two $300 gift cards – one for renewed girls and one for renewed co-leaders. All you have to do is renew today!

GSWNY Zoom/Video Backgrounds

With back-to-school season, we thought it might be fun to create some versatile new Zoom backgrounds for adults and girls to enjoy!

To save any of these images:

  • From your computer, right-click and “Save image as” then choose where you want to save it on your computer. Most people find it easiest to save it to their desktop so they don’t lose it.
  • From your phone, hold your finger on the image until additional options pop up. Depending on the type of phone you have, you can save to Camera Roll or open in a new window and save that image to your phone’s photos.

For instructions on how to use Zoom backgrounds, please read this page directly from Zoom. Adding a virtual background in Zoom or other video conferencing apps is fun and easy! Not only can you share your Girl Scout pride, but it allows you to be online a little more safely as people won’t be able to see your home.