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CEO Update - GSNorCal cookie entrepreneurs, Camp News, World Thinking Day, and More

CEO Update February 2021

I am happy to see longer days, warming weather, and vaccinations happening for our friends, loved ones, and community members who are in priority groups. Thank you for continuing to support our council’s commitment to prioritize physical and mental health and safety for our members and our communities. Please know, we are reviewing our guidelines for in-person troop meetings in light of updates to state guidelines for youth sports and school cohorts, and will provide an update during the week of March 1.

This update includes news about:

  • GSNorCal cookie entrepreneurs
  • Camp news: Skylark Ranch update and summer camp
  • World Thinking Day, February 22, and Nobel Peace Prize nomination for WAGGS
  • Virtual program highlights: Lead the Way and Discoveree
  • Black History Month --   spotlight on GSNorCal alumnae and Girl Scout history
  • Supporting girls’ mental health and well-being April 17: Save the date for 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting
  • GSNorCal Giving Circle expands to San Mateo County

GSNorCal cookie entrepreneurs are making the most of our COVID-safe Cookie Program.

Our girls are discovering new ways to promote and deliver cookies, and parents and volunteers are helping girls meet this moment. Thank you. This year in-person, public booths are allowed ONLY in counties that are in the yellow or orange tiers under the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy. As of today, 18 of our 19 GSNorCal counties are in either the purple or red “widespread” or “substantial” transmission tiers, so no in-person, public booths are allowed in these counties. Only Trinity County is in the orange tier.

Where to find cookies for digital purchase and contactless delivery. If you have not yet supported a cookie entrepreneur, or want cookies for your freezer, you can connect with an entrepreneur in your area via our council’s cookie locator, Please note that entrepreneurs should not be crossing county borders to sell cookies unless they're completing contactless delivery drop-offs.

Almost 4,000 cookie entrepreneurs are participating in so far. Our cookie locator rotates girls in each zip code through the site. It’s simple for your girl to opt in, just fill out a short form

Congratulations to our six entrepreneurs selected in a random drawing from girls who opted in to our locator by February 7th. I look forward to meeting with each girl and hearing all about their cookie marketing plans, ideas for Girl Scouts, and questions for me!

  • Daisy: Samantha F., Troop 33787, Oakley 
  • Brownie: Georgia M., Troop 70185, Gridley 
  • Junior: Rylee T., Troop 90022, Ferndale 
  • Cadette: Mia M., Troop 30825, Danville 
  • Senior: Niyoshi M., Troop 60676, San Jose 
  • Ambassador: Julia N., Troop 31313, Brentwood 

Sunday Grub-Hub Deliveries. If you live in Eureka, Fairfield, Redding, San Jose, or Santa Rosa, you can order Girl Scout cookies on Sundays via the Grub-Hub app! Older girl troops and interest groups are staffing the outdoor, contactless fulfillment locations.  

Cookies in the news. We’ve had some great press in all areas of the council, getting the word out that Girl Scouts cookie entrepreneurs go-getting, innovating, taking risks, and leading the way! More than ever, we needed to pull together to bring joy to our communities through the Cookie Program. Check out a few of the articles where are girls are shining! 

It’s never too late for girls to participate! The cookie program ends March 14, and girls can launch their digital cookie pages any time. There is no need to have cookies in hand: girls can sell cookies for direct ship only, from the warehouse. Any girl interested in joining the program and launching her own e-commerce page, can learn more here at our Cookie Program Resources page.

Camp news: Skylark Ranch update and summer camp.

Skylark Ranch update. The redwood trees are “fuzzing-out,” the forest continues to recover, and so far, Skylark Ranch, which burned August 18 in the CZU Lightning Fire, has not suffered major slides or erosion.

We now have reports from our forester, road engineers, and debris removal experts, and the well is pumping water again (shown below, October 9, 2020, and re-built, 4 months later February, 12, 2021). We are now ready to open a dedicated Skylark Ranch Recovery Fund.

My father used to say: 

“One need not know the ultimate destination to take a step in the right direction.”

That is a good description of where we are in our Skylark Ranch planning. We know that removing debris and hazard trees and repairing infrastructure are steps in the right direction. As we continue to learn more about the forest recovery, permitting, and costs of re-building, we will continue to imagine and create our “ultimate destination.”

Skylark Ranch needs your support, and if you would like to help us “take a step in the right direction,” you can donate to our newly established Skylark Ranch Recovery Fund.

If you prefer to speak with a member of our fund development team, please reach out to Lillian Samuel at

Summer camp.

  • Summer Camp Adventure Pods. Camp registration opened February 1 for council-run resident camps at Bothin, Sugar Pine, and Hidden Falls. We are following recommended guidelines for COVID-safe camps, with longer 2- and 3-week sessions, and a smaller number of campers on site with consistent camper pods. Camp sessions are filling fast - you can learn more or register for our next camp info night on March 8!
  • Volunteer-run camps. Most of our volunteer-run camps are still in planning phases, and waiting to see what might be possible this summer for in-person and virtual programming. As information is finalized, we will post it here. Please check periodically for the most up-to-date info!

World Thinking Day, February 22 and Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

WAGGS, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, is the world’s largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women, representing 10 million girls and young women from 150 countries. All Girl Scouts are members of this global sisterhood. Each year, on February 22, we celebrate World Thinking Day, a day of international friendship.

Our 2021 World Thinking Day theme is  peacebuilding, and WAGGS has created a global “Stand Together for Peace” activity pack and badge.

In other important global news, the Guiding and Scouting movement, represented by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize!

The nominator explained: “At a time when our world is threatened by so many international challenges, be [it] climate, wars or the pandemics, we need a counterweight to egoism and nationalism. We need to offer young people a chance to rally around a set of common values and the belief in service, not only to one’s own community, but to international society.”

Virtual program highlights: Lead the Way and Discoveree.

Neither cold, nor rain, nor pandemic, will stand in the way of these two important winter events! Congratulations to the girls and volunteers who created vibrant, fun, shared experiences in a virtual space.

Lead the Way. 125 high school girls from all areas of the council participated our annual, girl-led, weekend-long leadership conference (held via Zoom Friday, February 5 through Sunday afternoon, February 7). This year’s tagline was “She has power in her words and strength in her mind,” and the workshops focused on mental health and social justice. You can see that focus in the participant feedback.

“I learned the ways I’m feeling are normal and it’s okay to reach out for help and set boundaries.”

“I was inspired to make a start to more of my personal goals that I feel have almost been put off by Covid, but it’s important to challenge myself to continue forward even in times of uncertainty.”

Congratulations to Anneke Nijmeijer and Aarushi Wadhwa, the Girl Co-Chairs of the 25-girl- strong 2021 Lead the Way Planning Committee, and to all of the girls, volunteers and speakers who contributed to the success of this year’s event. 96% of the girls who attended said they would do so again! Great job creating our first-ever virtual Lead the Way and thank you for providing inspiration and support for so many girls.

Discoveree. Over 200 volunteers joined this year’s learning fair, with 28 workshops, over Zoom. These thank you posts from volunteers to the Discoveree Facebook page capture the range of learning opportunities for volunteers, including volunteers from other councils! We are so very fortunate to have dedicated volunteers and staff who figured out how to keep Discoveree going during a pandemic.

Black History Month – spotlight on GSNorCal alumnae and Girl Scout History.

February is Black History Month: a time to learn about and celebrate the achievements of Black Americans. Thank you to our sister council, Girl Scout of Greater Los Angeles, for their article celebrating leaders who, through the years, have paved the way for Girl Scouts of color. And thank you to the powerful Black Alumnae who are leading the way in our Northern California communities, including:

  • Renel Brooks-Moon, the San Francisco Giant’s public address announcer since 2000. Ms. Brooks-Moon, brought fun and passion to her role as Mistress of Ceremonies at our September 2020 For the Girls fundraiser. In December, the San Francisco Chronicle profiled her contributions as an activist for racial justice

  • Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State and Director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, shown here in 2014 with Sheryl Sandberg and our then GSUSA CEO, Anna Maria Chavez.

  • Jasmine Johnson, who earned her Gold Award with her Get Moving Fitness Campaign for Oakland Schools, U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, and Diana Bell, who served two terms as our council’s Board President. We took this picture on September 22, 2014, following Jasmine’s interview with Representative Lee at our Alameda office for Girl Scouts’ Portraits in Leadership series.

Their short conversation is great to share with your troops. Representative Lee discussed how being a Brownie and Girl Scout prepared her for her role in Congress and also offers advice to girls who might want to enter politics!

Supporting girls’ mental health and well-being.

We know a lot of our girls and families are struggling with the stress, uncertainty, and isolation of this time. The experiences we provide for girls in Girl Scouts are one way we can support girls’ positive mental health and resilience. Research about helping kids respond to and recover from a crisis stresses the importance of nurturing resilience through:

  • Connection
  • Routine
  • Belonging
  • Expression
  • Participation
  • Empowerment

Our Girl Scout troops, camps, and virtual and hybrid programs provide these “resilience elements” for girls (and adults), even when they are happening via Zoom. In a time where usual avenues of social support and mental wellness are unavailable, positive structured screen time can have an important impact on girl health and development. Research shows what we are doing is helping girls respond to and recover from this crisis.

April 17: Save the Date for Virtual Annual Meeting

At this year’s Annual Meeting (April 17, 10 AM to 12:30 PM), members will provide guidance to the Board during a girl-led discussion about priorities for older girls, and Voting Members will vote on a Bylaws amendment to shift National Delegate terms and elect the Board slate. Further details and registration information will be sent to delegates and available on our website soon.

GSNorCal’s Giving Circles are Expanding!

We are excited to announce that in January a dedicated group of volunteers launched the San Mateo County Giving Circle, building upon the momentum and success of our Santa Clara County Giving Circle. Our Giving Circles are networks of Girl Scout alums and volunteers who share a passion for making Girl Scouts accessible to girls living in low-income communities. The Giving Circles have already given over $118,000 in support of girls by pooling membership donations and awarding grants to Girl Scouts of Northern California’s programs and projects. Now that’s impact!  Learn more and become a Giving Circle member by visiting Interested in starting a Giving Circle? Contact Sarah Rothstein, Director of Donor Relations at 510-562-1502 or at

I appreciate each of you for all that you are doing to build tomorrow’s leaders and to support today’s girls and families. We are in this together.

Yours in Girl Scouting,