COVID-19 Information
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COVID-19 Important Updates & Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: May 18, 2020

At Girl Scouts, there is nothing we take more seriously than the safety and well-being of our girls, volunteers, and council staff. As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, and the recommendations of the Ohio Department of Health, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio is putting the following measures in place:

GSWO Offices & Shops

We remain operational to serve you! In compliance with Ohio and Indiana’s “Stay at Home” orders, staff continue to work — from home. Important times and dates to note:

  • Customer Care - We are answering your calls and emails Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • Council Offices & Shops – Our four service center buildings, including the shops, are closed through Sunday, May 31. Logistically, we cannot process online orders until the “Stay at Home” order is lifted.  

We will continue to monitor COVID-19 updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)the World Health Organization, and state and local public health departments. As always, check the CDC and your local health department’s website for the most up-to-date information.

Troop Meetings & Service Unit Events

Due to the uncertainty of community transmission levels and state and local health mandates in the coming months, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all program events through July 31 and cancel all of our 2020 summer camps.

Please note, this cancellation includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  • In-Person Troop Meetings
  • Service Unit Meetings & Events
  • Volunteer Appreciation Events
  • Council Events, including summer camp
  • Events at GSWO camp properties 
  • Troop trips and travel
Program & Summer Camp Updates

When situations change, Girl Scouts display their adaptability. Our program team is bringing Girl Scouts to your nearest device, with virtual programming and resources. Below is the latest—stay tuned for future new developments!

Summer Camp

Due to the uncertainty of community transmission levels and state and local health mandates in the coming months, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all of our 2020 summer camps. This includes resident camp, day camp, troop adventure camp, special summer events, and volunteer-led day camp.

Camp is about making new friends, holding hands while skipping to your next activity, sitting close around the campfire while singing your favorite Girl Scout songs, and getting packed like sardines into the dining hall for fun and food. These traditions contribute to the magic of camp—which will live on in our hearts until we can be together again!

Everyone who has already registered for camp will receive a full refund, including their deposit. Refunds will be made in the same format the payment was made. Due to the high volume of refunds, we appreciate your patience in allowing up to 45 days for processing.

If you paid with Digital Dough, we will send that portion of your refund to your Digital Dough account. You can check your Digital Dough balance at any time. If you have lost your Digital Dough number, please contact the Customer Care Team and they will be able to help.

We know this news will be disappointing to many Girl Scouts, and please know that we are just as disappointed as you are. We reviewed many possibilities and options before deciding to cancel. It is a hard decision, but it is the right decision for the safety of our Girl Scouts.

We look forward to the day when we'll meet around the campfire again!

Program Cancellations

Due to the uncertainty of community transmission levels and state and local health mandates in the coming months, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all program events through July 31 and cancel all of our 2020 summer camps. This includes resident camp, day camp, troop adventure camp, special summer events, and volunteer-led day camp. Refunds will be made in the same format the payment was made. Due to the high volume of refunds, we appreciate your patience in allowing up to 45 days for processing. Some refunds may be delayed until our offices reopen.

Please note, this cancellation includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  • In-Person Troop Meetings
  • Service Unit Meetings & Events 
  • Volunteer Appreciation Events
  • Council Events, including summer camp
  • Events at GSWO camp properties 
  • Troop trips and travel

Council Camp Properties

All Girl Scouts of Western Ohio camp properties will remain closed to Girl Scout members and the general public through July 31, 2020. Reservations through July 31 will be canceled automatically.

Pools at GSWO camp properties will remain closed for all of 2020.

Fall camp reservations, which were originally scheduled to open on Friday, May 1, have been delayed until Wednesday, July 1.


Resources to Support Virtual Troop and Girl Activities

Check out our Girl Scouts at Home page for free Video and Audio Conferencing and Online Collaboration Tools you can use to keep troop activities going, plus tips for conducting a virtual troop meeting. 

Virtual Program Opportunities
Join the program team live twice daily on Facebook!  You and your girl will have fun and earn badges during our virtual programs. Each activity is recorded and posted in the video section of our Facebook page, so you can view them later, too.


Silver and Bronze Celebrations

We are excited to celebrate ALL Highest Awards this year, but given the uncertainty of holding events in mid-May, we must postpone these events and look for another opportunity to recognize our 2020 class of Girl Scout changemakers. We will share revised plans when available.  


GSUSA Highest Awards Deadline Extension

Recognizing that many schools, youth activities and community gatherings have been suspended, and that we are navigating a period of rapid change, Girl Scouts is offering a three-month extension from September 30 to December 31 , 2020, to provide flexibility for Girl Scout Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors earning Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards. This is particularly relevant for 5th grade Juniors, 8th grade Cadettes, and 12th grade Ambassadors who will bridge to the next program age level officially on September 30, 2020, and typically would no longer be eligible to earn the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award, respectively.

Troop Travel

All troop travel has been canceled though July 31, 2020.

If you are an Ambassador troop who will be graduating (in full or in part) in 2020 and have trips and activities you have to cancel due to stay at home orders, we are allowing you to extend your plans for a full membership year (October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021) by meeting the following criteria:

  • All participating graduates must be registered as adults for the 2020-21 membership year by October 1, 2020. Note: registration may be paid using troop funds or Digital Dough.
  • This Ambassador Plan Delay Notification Form must be submitted no later than October 1, 2020 (even if you don't have all of the details of the rescheduled trip).
  • All Girl Scout activities and trips must comply with current CDC, federal, state, and local health guidelines.
  • Troop funds should continue to be managed through the existing troop bank account.
  • Troop Finance Reports should be submitted as usual before June 30, 2020.
  • If your troop has continuing girl members, the troop and bank account will continue as usual. Graduating girls will participate as adult members. 
  • No requests for extensions will be accepted after October 1, 2020.

Complete this form to the best of your ability, even if you do not yet have exact dates for the rescheduled trip or event.

National Council Session (NCS) and G.I.R.L. 2020

As we’ve continued to monitor public health experts’ recommendations and forecasts, it became clear that, because there are no widely accepted models that predict when it may be safe to hold large-scale, in-person events and when all restrictions on travel will be lifted, Girl Scouts could not hold our G.I.R.L. 2020/55th National Council Session in October as planned—we simply can’t guarantee the health and safety of participants.

Given all of this, the National Board held a special meeting on Tuesday, April 21, and voted to hold a one-time virtual session for our 55th National Council Session in October 2020. The board also voted to cancel G.I.R.L. 2020, including the Global Roundtable.

We are reimagining NCS in the innovative spirit of our quick Movement pivot due to current challenges toward a 100 percent virtual experience to continue delivering for girls.

Learn More »

Digital Dough

The expiration date on Digital Dough that was originally set for March 15, 2020 has been extended through August 31. This will allow families and troops to use Digital Dough for summer and fall activities, and also allow girls or troops to re-use any refunded Digital Dough resulting from program cancellations. Please allow up to 3 weeks for accounts to be updated before trying to access your Digital Dough. 

Digital Dough earned since the fall of 2019 will still have an expiration date of March 15, 2021.

Cookie Program Updates

Hear from Roni Luckenbill, CEO of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, as she shares important information about the 2020 Cookie Program!

Thank you for your incredible commitment to our girls during this crisis. We are sensitive to the challenges you face at home, work, and with your families.

With these challenges in mind, and continued challenges we face from this pandemic, we have made the decision to end the Cookie Program on Friday, April 24, 2020. We want to assure you, no troop will be penalized for any leftover inventory or face financial hardship if these extra cookies are due to the pandemic.

So what does that mean for your troop?

We are asking every Troop Cookie Manager to complete an online form choosing the scenario that best describes your troop’s intent as it relates to the Cookie Program. With this information we can help ensure our troops have all the resources they need and close out the Cookie Program without further delays.

  • Option 1: Ready to finish and no cookies left to sell
  • Option 2: Troop has cookies left to sell and is eager to do so
  • Option 3: Troop is done selling but has remaining inventory

Please complete the Cookie Closeout Survey by April 24 to select which option is best for your troop.  

If you want to continue, and girls in your troop have not yet reached their goals and still want to sell – we will support you and your troop in finding those opportunities. Details on how to sell virtually can be found below.

If your troop has extra cookies due to this pandemic, we ask that you donate the cookies to a worthy community organization of your choice, when it is safe to do so. Please document your donation for your records, and share photos of your service on the GSWO Facebook page.

Troops should make the decision best for them and their families, and we fully respect the choices that are made. No matter how you choose to move forward with your troop’s cookie program, no troop will be financially penalized for any leftover inventory due to COVID-19.

More detailed information will be shared with Troop Cookie Managers through eBudde and with Service Unit Cookie Coordinators, so please be on the lookout for next steps. Please read this information carefully; it is critical that each and every troop select an option and submit the online form, so we can best support you moving forward.

Thank you again. We are so inspired by all of you—our girls, volunteers and families—who are stepping up to make the world a better place and showing others what Girl Scouts is all about.


If you would like to continue selling Girl Scout Cookies...

Current promotions are outlined below. Please note that 40% of your troop's balance due will be withdrawn from your troop bank account on April 10. You will receive an email at the beginning of April with the total balance we will withdraw from your troop's bank account.

Business Bosses Supporting Cookie Bosses
Through media and individual outreach, we are actively seeking businesses who want to differentiate themselves by supporting local Girl Scouts. Businesses can sell (or donate) 4 or more cases of cookies on behalf of the troop.   

Troops can complete this form to request to be matched with a business. If you would like to invite one or more businesses in your community to participate, you can send them to our Business Bosses Supporting Cookie Bosses webpage, or share posts from our social media.

Virtual Cookie Booths
To facilitate online sales, we have temporarily relaxed the restriction on sharing cookie links on public pages. 

  • Permitted: Posts to Closed or Private Facebook Community Groups or other local community social media. 
  • Not Permitted: Posts to Public pages such as Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, or Amazon are still not allowed per safety guidelines.
  • Customers can purchase digitally and pay via Clover (or other methods) and arrange porch drop offs. 
  • Many troops have had success sharing videos of girls shown with their remaining inventory, creating cookie “Quarantine Survival Kits,” and inviting friends and neighbors to donate to Troop Gift of Caring. 

Eat. Share. Show Communities We Care.

You may have seen a promotion from GSUSA, our national organization, called “Eat. Share. Show Communities We Care.” We took the initiative to launch Business Bosses Supporting Cookie Bosses (for companies who want to purchase cookies) and the Cookie Relief Fund (for donors who want to support girls who lost sales) before the national campaign. Therefore, we are not participating in the national promotion. To help local Girl Scouts, please support and share one or both of these efforts.

Please know that we are continuing to work on other initiatives to ensure the disruption to the Girl Scout Cookie Program does not cause financial hardships for troops, volunteers, and/or families.

Early Bird Renewal

We are delaying the renewal timeline for Early Bird. The system will accept renewals beginning April 1 for anyone who wishes to do so, but we know that this is not families’ top priority.

For the time being, we will focus on supporting Girl Scout troops and families. We will determine when to roll out the renewal campaign based on the larger community environment.  

Volunteer Appreciation

We appreciate our volunteers! We want to communicate this — especially now! Unfortunately, we have to cancel our Volunteer Appreciation Events. We are working with our Volunteer Appreciation Teams to find new ways to show volunteers how valuable they are! Watch for more information.

Wellness Calls with Troop Leaders

Our Community Development Team members are reaching out to troop leaders with wellness calls. We want to help troops connect to resources and to hear their ideas on how we can help girls and volunteers stay connected with their troop and with our Girl Scout Community.

Local Health Department Information
Helpful Tips for Families

 

Thank you for exhibiting extraordinary Girl Scout spirit in these unprecedented times.

We are stronger together, and we know we will continue to do our best to support each other. Please stay healthy and help us make our communities safe for our girls, volunteers, and families.

For ideas on how to continue the Girl Scout Leadership Experience at home, visit gswo.org/athome.