Coronavirus Updates
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Coronavirus Updates: Working Together to Keep Our GSNorCal Community Healthy

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Updated as of July 31 at 2:00 PM (PST)

Can my troop/service unit meet in-person?

NOT YET. At this time, our rule remains: NO in-person troop or service unit activities. Girl Scout households may meet for outdoor Girl Scout activities, provided the household follows all GSNorCal COVID-19 guidelines. The key is that households are staying together.

What can Girl Scouts do now?

  • You may participate in Girl Scout activities as a household: You may plan family days at parks and other outdoor areas with safety protocols in place, just as GSNorCal is doing for Family Days at Camp.
  • You may participate in online programs and other hands-on and self-guided activities, such as Summer of SisterhoodTajar’s Treehouse, and all the other online activities and resources available through GSNorCal and GSUSA.
  • You may connect via video conference. We know how much we all miss getting together in person, but video chat can help us all stay connected and support each other without risking our community health. Remember, Zoom is free for up to 40 minutes. You can learn more about virtual platforms for troops and/or attend one of our troop leader virtual meeting training sessions. Upcoming trainings are August 8 and August 20.
  • Girls can get started on Silver and Gold Award Projects. We’ve seen a big increase in middle and high school Girl Scouts who are getting a jump start on their award projects. 
  • You may begin planning ahead for your post-COVID troop trip or high-adventure activities. Start by submitting a Trip or High-Adventure Approval Form. By the time you can participate in your adventure, all the details will already be taken care of. 

When can we start meeting in-person?

The state monitors COVID-19 in each county and maintains a “Monitoring List.” As of Friday, July 17, the state ordered all counties on the Monitoring List to switch to virtual school only. GSNorCal will use the state Monitoring List and county authorizations for school re-opening as the first step in determining whether in-person troop and service unit activities may resume.

  • If your county is not on the state Monitoring List, then once schools in your county have opened for in-person learning and have demonstrated that they can safely remain open for in-person learning for at least two weeks, GSNorCal will permit in-person troop and service unit meetings, activities and trips in your county so long as the volunteer confirms that their proposed meeting, activity, or trip complies with all other state and county requirements as explained in the GSNorCal COVID-19 Guidelines.
  • If your county is on (or is moved to) the state Monitoring List, NO in person troop or service unit activities or travel are permitted. In-person Girl Scout meetings, activities, and trips in these counties will only be permitted once your county is removed from the state Monitoring List and your county schools have demonstrated that they can safely remain open for in-person learning for at least 2 weeks.

You can track your county’s progress on the state Monitoring List.

COVID-19 Checklists

As Girl Scouts, we have a responsibility to do our part to reduce community spread of COVID-19 and help our girls get back to critical activities, like school. In the spirit of adapting Girl Scouts to our new normal, we need your support keeping girls safe and healthy as they engage in the fun and valuable Girl Scout experiences they deserve.

To help facilitate this process and build this important new life skill for girls and adults, we’ve developed COVID-19 Checklists for parents and caregiverstroop leaders, and service unit volunteers. These checklists are designed to walk you through the decision-making process for when and how you can host troop activities while following all applicable health and safety guidelines for your county, which for any Girl Scout activity is Stage 3 or better.

You’ll need to monitor information for your counties and local communities to know what stage of reopening your county is in. As long as local public health requirements are met, it is up to you and your fellow caregivers and volunteers whether you feel safe hosting and participating in any in-person troop activity.

Adult Meetings (Council & Service Unit)

In accordance with current state guidelines, if your county is not on the state Monitoring List, then once schools in your county have opened for in-person learning and have demonstrated that they can safely remain open for in-person learning for at least two weeks, GSNorCal will permit in-person troop and service unit meetings, activities and trips in your county so long as the volunteer confirms that their proposed meeting, activity, or trip complies with all other state and county requirements as explained in the GSNorCal COVID-19 Guidelines.

Cookie Program Rewards

April 17, 2020

We hope that you and your family are staying safe, healthy, and connected to your Girl Scout community from home. 

Cookie reward items below are on their way to Service Unit Cookie Managers by mid-May:

  • Apple Air Pods (800+)
  • Polaroid Pops (1100+)
  • Hoverboards (1100+)
  • DJI drones (3000+) will be mailed directly to the girls who earned them.
  • 1000+ acrylic awards are delayed as our usual local vendor is closed during shelter in place
  • Reward Cards are still in process. More info to come about those soon.

With the April 14 update and press conference from CA Governor Newsom regarding the six key indicators to modifying our stay at home order, we are sadly announcing that we are cancelling our 600+ Cookie Club Celebration, our 800+ Water Experiences, and our 1500+ Disneyland planned for 2020.   At this time, we are not cancelling the October 2500+ Fleet Week Lunch Cruise. Girls who reached the 2000+ Meet Marina experiences will be contacted this week with a virtual connection opportunity, and we are committed to rescheduling smaller events with Marina when able to do so. Please click here for more information on the Governor’s update.

"The prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity, and we get to a vaccine. So large-scale events that bring in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of strangers all together across every conceivable difference, health and otherwise, is not in the cards based upon our current guidelines and current expectations," Newsom said.

We remain committed to providing a way to celebrate girl achievements and are emailing impacted girls directly.

600+ Cookie Club: We will be providing a one-of-a-kind 600+ Cookie Club Kit that includes a personalized hoodie, a Santa Cruz beach blanket, a 2020 Cookie Program stainless water bottle, and a Hershey’s S’mores Kit for families to set up their own S’mores Station – PLUS a $50 Reward Card.  We’re excited to see #gsnorcalentrepreneur family pictures cuddled up outside in the backyard noshing on homemade S’mores.

800+ Water Adventures: Girls now have the option of choosing one option below by April 23. We expect the Air Pods 2 choice to be shipped to Service Unit Cookie Managers by mid-May. 

  1. Apple Air Pods 2 
  2. $100 GSNorCal Reward Card
  3. $100 GSUSA online store gift card for girlscoutshop.com  

1500+ Disneyland to the Max: We are celebrating girls by sending a personalized Mickey Mouse necklace to commemorate their 2020 Cookie Program achievement. Girls also have a choice of one of the following options by April 23.

  1. Your 3 Park Hopper passes valid for our summer 2021 Cookie Program Reward Experience (date and details TBD)
  2. $250 GSNorCal Reward Card
  3. $250 GSUSA online store gift card for girlscoutshop.com  

From our cookie family to yours, we are so impressed by your accomplishments. We certainly join in your disappointment but do hope that having the option to choose a replacement reward or use your passes next summer—if Disneyland is open for business—will make things a little bit sweeter. Congratulations again!

Council Programs & Property Reservations

We cannot accept new property reservations until the state has issued guidelines for Stage 3 re-opening, including for community centers, public pools, playgrounds, and picnic areas. We need to better understand restrictions on size, use of common areas, day use vs. overnight use, distancing requirements, cleaning requirements, etc. before re-opening our reservation system.

Every Saturday and Sunday now through September 27, 2020: Some of our camps are available for Girl Scout families to enjoy a day of hiking, exploring, or just enjoying being out in nature. See Family Days at Camp for more information.

Graduating Ambassadors

Graduating Ambassadors are eligible to extend their end-of-year plans and Reward Card/troop fund usage for planned activities that were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Troops with graduating Ambassadors who were planning end-of-school-year or summer activities, projects, travel, etc.—and are not able to complete these activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic—are eligible to extend their timelines, and the associated spending of troop funds, for participating in these activities.

These troops will be allowed to extend their plans for a full membership year (September 30, 2020 through October 1, 2021) by meeting the following criteria:

  • All participating graduates must be registered as adult members for the 2020–21 membership year no later than October 1, 2020. Registration may be paid using troop funds or Product Program Reward Cards.
  • A completed Ambassador Plan Delay Notification Form must be submitted no later than October 1, 2020 (please submit, even if you do not have an exact date for rescheduling).
  • Troop funds should continue to be managed through the existing troop bank account.
  • All Girl Scout activities/trips must comply with current CDC, federal, state, and local government agencies.

Troop Finance Reports (TFRs) should be submitted as usual before May 31, 2020.  If the troop’s ending balance is more than $500, please indicate what the girls’ plans are for use of these funds. Make sure to include any overview of the trips, events, activities, etc., that are being rescheduled.

If your troop has continuing girl members, the troop and bank account will continue as usual. Graduating girls will participate as adult members.

Key Dates

  • May 15, 2020: MY20 Troop Finance Reports due
  • October 1, 2020: Graduating girls must register as adult members for MY21
  • October 1, 2020: Ambassador Plan Delay Notification Form is due
  • October 1, 2020: Troop bank accounts will close for Ambassador troops who are not rescheduling trips, events, activities, etc.
  • October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021: Rescheduled trips, events, and activities can be take place

Please refer any questions to info@gsnorcal.org.

Guidance for Cancelling Service Unit/Troop Events

In response to recent state and local government announcements regarding extending Shelter-in-Place, school closures, and social distancing, GSNorCal is directing that all service unit and troop events and programming be cancelled until your county enters Stage 3 of reopening.

  • This guidance may be considered in evaluating options for all events, small and large, including Camporees, overnights, skills days, social, or troop gatherings (e.g. troop leaders and daughters), ceremonies such as Bridging or Year-End/Court of Award ceremonies, participation in community events (parades).
  • If you have questions or would like to discuss your options, please do not hesitate to contact Mary-Jane Strom at mstrom@gsnorcal.org.

Indicators that your event needs to be cancelled or postponed:

  • Your county has not yet entered Stage 3 of reopening
  • Your county still has a mandatory Shelter-In-Place order
  • Your local school district is still closed
  • Non-essential businesses in your area are still closed, either by order or voluntarily
  • Health care emergency systems are overwhelmed
  • Decline in rate of transmission generally, but curve is not flattened enough in your local area so hospital and medical care is still challenged or at risk in your area
  • Testing is still limited to only high-risk individuals
  • Attendance is not limited to a small, controlled geographic region, whose COVID-19 status is known
  • Media attention re: severe illness / death being seen in younger patients
  • Parent & volunteer comfort, based on feedback from your local Girl Scout community or families

Indicators that you can keep planning for a successful event:

  • Shelter-in-place has been lifted for your area several weeks before
  • Social distancing and other community restrictions or recommendations have been lifted
  • Restrictions on event and gatherings have been lifted
  • Schools are back in session
  • Local businesses have reopened and are experiencing positive results
  • Local community spaces (performance centers, playgrounds, parks, trails, city or county buildings, etc.) are open
  • Reported declines in rate of reported new cases (e.g. effective flattening of curve) or other positive news on local spread and risk
  • Effective testing, quarantine, and health care systems are in place and available to everyone in your community

Ways to substitue with a virtual event:

  • Find inspiration for badges and activities at Girl Scouts at Home: www.gsnorcal.org/at-home
  • GSNorCal LIVE!: Our Facebook group filled with ots of ideas for crafts, activities, etc.
  • Review outcomes of event and consider how you could accomplish at some of those through a virtual event. For examples, a My Buddy and Me Dance meant to give girls time with a caring family member could happen on Zoom with plans for all to keep theme, send people a playlist, and set up Zoom so everyone sending video of themselves dancing at home.
  • Review what preparations girls have done to date in anticipation of the event. How can that work be continued virtually so girls feel some sense of accomplishment and evidence of their contribution? For example, girls who were going to do workshop on outdoor cooking for a camporee could put together a cookbook to send to all registered troops and offer individual videos of them each preparing a favorite recipe at home, camping-style outside.
  • For Camporees, consider what badges were you going to do. You could provide directions on how to do most of the elements at home, end the day with a virtual campfire on Zoom, and include an option for people to share what they did.
  • With community service projects, what can individuals do at home to make a difference? For example, girls could collect supplies to deliver, offer items needed in their communities, or do crafts for delivery later.
  • If you can’t do the event virtually, what could you do virtually that would provide service, fun, or community to the girls in your group? Be flexible and creative to provide awesome Girl Scout experience!

Ways to lower risk at in-person events:

  • Have people bring their own food to your event and do not serve communal foods
  • If you offer shared equipment, make sure you can clean the equipment between use and have the supplies to do the necessary cleaning
  • Change activities so that they don't require shared equipment
  • Turn overnights into a day activity only
  • If overnight, provide sleeping arrangements by family and don't have communal sleeping locations
  • Be sure that you have plenty of handwashing stations both in and outside of bathrooms all around the event
  • Communicate to all that are attending that if the individual or someone in the individual’s household is feeling ill, none of them should attend

Best Practices for Cancelling Events

  • Determine whether you can postpone and reschedule the event or need to cancel it. This decision will depend on your event, it’s current date, your groups’ needs and your capacity to reschedule. 
  • Inform all registered attendees as soon as possible of your intention to cancel or reschedule. You do not need to announce the reschedule date at this time if you don’t have the date/location secured yet. With so many things uncertain, people will understand and appreciate that you need time to finalize any future plans.
  • We recommend that you inform registrants of your intention and that you will follow up with additional information about new dates and/or plans for refunds as soon as possible. Again, ask for their understanding and flexibility as you need time to manage this situation.
  • Contact your registered attendees via email and announce on your groups’ communication and social media platform if available.
  • If your event was scheduled at a GSNorCal property your reservation has already been cancelled and a refund is being processed. You will receive a full refund for your reservation. Please allow at least four weeks due to the high volume of cancellations. If you are interested in finding a new date or location to reschedule your event, please visit the website or email us at info@gsnorcal.org
  • If your event was scheduled at an outside property, contact them as soon as possible to request a refund or reschedule. Most vendors have been very cooperative in giving refunds. If you need support in working with a vendor, please contact us at info@gsnorcal.org.
  • Issue refunds as needed per your usual practices. If you need to issue refunds and have any concerns or questions, please contact us at info@gsnorcal.org.

Insurance and Event Notification Forms

If you have submitted a Service Unit Event Notification Form and/or arranged insurance for your event, please send an email to travel@gsnorcal.org to notify us of your change. Please do not submit a new Event Notification Form. 

Your email should include:

  • Old event date 
  • Your decision to either CANCEL or POSTPONE/RESCHEDULE
  • New event date, if you know it 
  • Name of the event
  • Service unit # of troop # hosting the event
  • Event/activity planner’s email address and mobile phone number
  • Where the event was scheduled to be held 

Event Insurance

If you have the postpone an event, we will arrange for the transfer of additional insurance to the new date/location when we receive your email.

Insurance that was purchased for a series of service unit or troop meetings or events will stay in place ready for meetings or events resume.

If you have any immediate questions specifically about insurance, please contact insurance@gsnorcal.org

Other Cancellation Concerns

If you have any program management questions please contact us at info@gsnorcal.org. We are ready to assist you with your concerns including on the following topics:

  • Cancellation notification language 
  • Thinking through what to do with supplies, food, patches, etc. already purchased
  • How to keep people excited about the event if you reschedule 

Hosting Virtual Meetings

We have created detailed instructions for hosting virtual meetings, which you can find on our Girl Scouts at Home page at www.gsnorcal.org/at-home

Golden Gate Bridging

Per the San Francisco public health mandate issued Friday, March 13, 2020, which calls for all large events to be cancelled through April 30, we’re regretful to announce that we have cancelled Golden Gate Bridging (GGB).

We understand this is a disappointment for all of our sisters who planned, saved, and worked hard to be able to participate in this event. We are disappointed as well, but know that this is the right thing to do in the time of a national health crisis.

We have heard from many of you, asking to postpone GGB until fall. Unfortunately, permitting of this level is issued almost a full year in advance from multiple local, state, and federal government agencies. During these uncertain times, we don't believe postponement will be possible. We will, however, let you know by September 2020 what our plans are for GGB in 2021.

Currently, we are focused on making sure everyone who registered for GGB receives a 100% refund of all registration and lunch fees. The following FAQ has answers to the most pressing questions you may have today:

  • How and when will we get a 100% refund for our registration fees and lunches?  Our Member Services team will issue an automatic refund for registration and lunches. If you already received a 50% refund, we will refund the balance.  Please do NOT request a refund for registration fees and lunches, as it will be automatic.  Please also be patient, as we estimate it may take up to 4 weeks to issue all refunds. This is a big event, and we are working through challenging times with cancellations of all events and property reservations, in addition to GGB.

  • What about our reservations to stay at GSNorCal properties and camps during GGB?  We will cancel and refund 100% of ALL GSNorCal owned property reservations for GGB weekend. 

  • How do we get refunds of our airfare, hotel deposits, etc. Unfortunately, we cannot help you with non GSNorCal out-of-pocket costs. We understand the hardship. It is impacting all of us. Please reach out to your carrier to discuss your options.

  • I purchased some GGB registrations from another troop or individual, not directly from GSNorCal. How do I get my refund?  To expedite refunds, we are issuing all refunds to the original purchaser. We hope everyone will operate from a place of honesty and kindness. We will issue the refund to the individual who purchased the original event registration. You should reach out to your seller to arrange to receive the refund. If the seller refuses to issue the refund to you, please send an email to registration@gsnorcal.org letting us know your name, the seller's name (and Girl Scout council, if you know it), and the number of registrations. We will try to the best of our ability to work with the seller and their council to ensure that we all live by the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

  • What about 2021—will you extend GGB to this years' participants?  At this time, we don't know, and it will be some time before we can answer that question.  Every year, the GGB event dates and number of participants are subject to the permits that government agencies issue. We will let you know when we have time and more information from the government agencies we work with. This will likely be some time from now. 

  • What about the GGB t-shirts and sweatshirts we purchased from GSNorCal?  We will honor our 60-day refund policy.  Please note: our offices are closed to the public and all staff are working from home, including our retail shop staff, which may delay your refund. Your patience is requested. Consider checking with your girls, as they might want to keep their apparel.

If you have any additional questions, please email registration@gsnorcal.org and our Member Services team will get back to you as soon as possible with answers.

As Girl Scouts, we strive to do the right thing, even when it can be hard. We admire the effort and hard work our girls, parents, and volunteers have invested in GGB—our hope is that, by cancelling this event, we can all do our part to prevent the spread of a devastating disease and protect our families and communities to the best of our ability. 

In Girl Scouting, 

Marina H. Park, CEO
Mary-Jane Strom, Senior Director, Program and Outdoor Program

Highest Awards

The deadline for GSNorCal Highest Award applicants (Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Girl Scouts) whose original deadline was September 30, 2020, has been extended to September 30, 2021.

Updated March 31

GSNorCal is offering a special extension of one membership year to girls who are currently approaching their deadlines and unable to proceed as planned due to the impact of COVID-19. This applies to 5th grade Juniors, 8th grade Cadettes, and 12th grade Ambassadors who will officially complete their program level on September 30, 2020, and would typically no longer be eligible to earn the Bronze, Silver or Gold Award, respectively.



Girl Scouts Eligible for Deadline Extension

New Deadline

Award Requirements

Other Changes

Gold Award

12th grade girls currently in-progress with an original deadline of September 30, 2020, or their 18th birthday

9/30/2021

Same as before, please refer to Gold Award page

Reward Card Conversions for the Gold Award will still be available throughout this extension

Silver Award

Teams containing (or individual) 8th graders with an original deadline of September 30, 2020

9/30/2021

Same as before, please refer to Silver Award page

Reward Card Conversions for the Silver Award will still be available throughout this extension

Bronze Award

Teams containing (or individual) 5th graders with an original deadline of September 30, 2020

9/30/2021

Same as before, please refer to Bronze Award page

Reward Card Conversions are not currently available at this level

 
The intention of this deadline extension is to respond to the needs of our Girl Scouts and communities during this unprecedented situation given the uncertain circumstances we are all working with. GSNorCal staff, some of whom earned their Highest Awards, recognize that some girls may be facing having to start over completely, and that pivoting in this way takes time. Dealing with uncertainty can also be very challenging, and we know that some girls may be feeling very impacted by the stress of the situation. It is okay to need a break.

We encourage girls first and foremost to take care of themselves and stay safe. Follow the safety guidelines set for your community, and prioritize your health and the health of those around you.

To learn more about how girls can engage with their projects during shelter-in-place, and more specifics about how this will impact girls at each program level, please visit the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award webpages. We hope that this deadline extension and solutions-oriented framework will help girls move forward with their Highest Awards intentionally and without undue stress.

Please reach out to the Awards team by contacting awards@gsnorcal.org with further questions or comments.

Troop & Service Unit Activities

In accordance with the latest State guidance,  if your county is not on the state Monitoring List, then once schools in your county have opened for in-person learning and have demonstrated that they can safely remain open for in-person learning for at least two weeks, GSNorCal will permit in-person troop and service unit meetings, activities and trips in your county so long as the volunteer confirms that their proposed meeting, activity, or trip complies with all other state and county requirements as explained in the GSNorCal COVID-19 Guidelines.

Join our new Facebook group, GSNorCal LIVE! (norcal.gs/live), or check out Girl Scout at Home (www.gsnorcal.org/at-home) where we're sharing virtual programs and events for your girls.

Offices & Shops

Shops: Starting July 6, our retail shops are open for curbside pick up! Safety is our highest priority for you and our staff, please follow our process for ordering and we'll provide you with all the information.

  1. Explore our GSNorCal Retail Catalog and/or our Online Store for merchandise.
  2. Fill out our online order form.
  3. Your local shop will contact you to confirm we have what you need and will accept your payment information over the phone.
  4. This team member will provide you with a pick up window and will email you any special safety instructions. Visit our Shop webpage for current hours. 
  5. Come visit us during your pick up window to grab your order for a completely contactless process.

Office Visitors: In accordance with CDC guidelines for workplace safety and current public health mandates, our offices is closed to all staff and visitors.

Our staff are still working remotely and here to support you! Contact us at 800-447-4475 or email info@gsnorcal.org.

Summer Camp

Updated May 15

Dear GSNorCal camper families,

The health and safety of our campers and families is our top and most important priority. It is with this in mind that we've come to the difficult decision to cancel all council-run resident camp programs scheduled at Camps Bothin, Hidden Falls, Skylark Ranch, and Sugar Pine for the summer of 2020. We know that this will be as disappointing for you and your camper as it is for all of us. We also know it's the right thing to do to keep everyone safe and well.

  • We will begin to process full refunds for all camp sessions mentioned above beginning next week.
  • If you ordered a camp care kit with your camp registration, this purchase will also be fully refunded.
  • All payments will be returned to the original payment method, with the exception of Cookie Program Reward Cards. If you used a Cookie Reward Card, we cannot refund the rewards to the original card so we will mail you a new card with the refunded amount.
  • You do not need to request any of these refunds, they will happen automatically.
  • Please understand this may take us up to four weeks to complete. If you have any questions please reach out to registration@gsnorcal.org.

Below, I've included a special video message from our camp staff. If you are able, please play and watch with your camper. We have been planning programming for this summer since last September and are heartbroken that we won’t get to provide it in the way we had planned.

But we just couldn’t let a summer go by without seeing our campers, so we hope you’ll join us at our all-new hybrid summer camp, Tajar's Treehouse!

tajars-treehouse-hero

Developed by our team of outdoor professionals, Tajar's Treehouse is a space for all of our camp sisters to connect, belong, and take action while we can't gather in person. The activities and resources will be facilitated by our expert staff and will include both on- and offline activities, age-based cabin groups, campfires, and activities that encourage girls to stay healthy, active, and outside at home.

Registration will open next week, so keep an eye on camp.gsnorcal.org/tajars-treehouse!

Girl Scouts are strong and resilient and our camping tradition is long. As soon as it is safe to gather around the campfire again, that’s where we’ll be. Until then, we will continue to keep our campers in our hearts and minds and plan for the many camp summers to come.

Mary-Jane Strom
Chief Program Officer
Girl Scouts of Northern California

If your camper is struggling with the news of her summer camp cancellation, we've compiled some tips to help your girl navigate the grieving process.

Please Note: All other in-person council, service unit, troop, and Cookie Program events are cancelled through June 1 at this time. You can find our latest updates at norcal.gs/COVID-19.


Thank you for your help in keeping Girl Scouts a safe, fun space for everyone! If you have questions about how novel coronavirus may impact Girl Scout activities, please contact us at info@gsnorcal.org or 800-447-4475—we're here for you.