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Coronavirus Updates: Working Together to Keep Our GSCSNJ Community Healthy

COVID-19 News Image

Updated as of March 23, 4:50 PM (EST)

At Girl Scouts, there is nothing we take more seriously than the safety and well-being of our members. As novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be of growing concern in New Jersey, Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey (GSCSNJ) will take all possible and appropriate measures to ensure girls continue to have a safe, fun, one-of-a-kind experience at Girl Scouts.

Our current decisions, based on public health, CDC, and local school district guidelines, are summarized below. If you have specific questions about any of these programs, events, or meetings, please email: customercare@gscsnj.org.

As the Governor’s order does not have a definitive timeframe, all GSCSNJ activities, programs, and property reservations are canceled/postponed for the immediate term ~ which we estimate to be at least the next 45 days.

Messages from CEO, Ginny Marino
Posted March 23, 4:50 PM (EST)

Like all of you, all of us at the Girl Scouts of Central & Southern NJ are doing our best during these challenging times. There is nothing we take more seriously than the safety and well-being of our members, and as COVID-19 continues to be of growing concern in New Jersey and across our nation, Girl Scouts will take all possible and appropriate measures to ensure girls continue to have a safe, fun, one-of-a-kind experience at Girl Scouts. Our GSCSNJ team continues to work remotely, and we are here to answer any questions or help you as related to your Girl Scout experience (Reach us at customercare@gscsnj.org OR 856-795-1560).

  • Given Governor Murphy’s stay-at-home order on March 21, all GSCSNJ physical locations - our offices, stores, service centers, and camps - will remain closed until such time as we are permitted to re-open. As the Governor’s order does not have a definitive timeframe, all GSCSNJ activities, programs, and property reservations are canceled/postponed for the immediate term ~ which we estimate to be at least the next 45 days. As government restrictions and timeframes change and we can safely gather again, we will make announcements regarding Girl Scout activities. We remain optimistic about summer programming and the summer camp season! Troops and Service Units are also required to cancel/postpone any events scheduled for the near term, and to heed the Governor’s order and convene only virtually until such time as the stay-at-home order is lifted.
  • Our Girl Awards Celebration has been postponed from May 17 to July 12. More details will be forthcoming, and we’re looking forward to celebrating with our Gold Award Girl Scouts before many of them head off to college in the Fall.

Girl Scouts of the USA has developed a helpful resource for How to Talk to Your Girl About Coronavirus to help minimize stress and worry in your Girl Scout’s life and give her a sense of calm and control. Throughout our history, we have played an important role in helping to keep our country safe. The 1947 Girl Scout Handbook explains: "A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency." During World War II, Girl Scouts tended victory gardens, sold war bonds, and collected scrap metal. The work of today’s Girl Scouts is just as essential.

Girl Scouts can continue to demonstrate leadership in the fight against coronavirus by teaching proper handwashing and other hygiene practices to their peers. They can learn about how coronavirus is spread and how to protect themselves and share this information with others. Girl Scouts can be a force for good by confronting misinformation about Asian-Americans, who increasingly have been the targets of racist attacks and discrimination in many communities.

As we take this situation day by day, it’s helpful to remember that our future leaders, our Girl Scouts, are learning from us and getting ready to do the work of our future. 

Please be safe and take care of yourselves and your families.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Ginny Marino

Chief Executive Officer

Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey

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Posted March 14, 6:06 PM (EST)

Dear Girl Scouts,

Like you, all of us at GSCSNJ have been actively monitoring COVID-19; our hearts go out to all the families across our globe who have been directly affected. It is times like these that reinforce our Girl Scout Law - to be courageous and strong, respectful and caring, sisters to every Girl Scout, and neighbors to all.

We have been actively monitoring the rapidly evolving situation via the CDC and New Jersey State and Local actions over this past week. Given school closings announced yesterday and in order to ensure the health and welfare of our members and employees:

  • All GSCSNJ programs and events (including partner events and school-based programming) from Monday, March 16 through Sunday, April 5, are canceled.  Full refunds will be issued as soon as possible, and you will receive them no later than April 1. We will continue to monitor this crisis as it evolves and communicate any future cancellations as soon as possible. We are actively working to reschedule some of these programs for later in the calendar year, so be on the lookout for new dates coming soon!
  • We advise that all Service Units and Troops suspend meetings for at least the next 10 days, and consider postponing any large Service Unit gatherings that are planned through mid-April.   Currently, within our region, there is a wide variety of timelines for school closures/advisories for suspension of social interaction. We trust that all of our members will make prudent decisions for themselves and their families. This is a time when virtual meetings and working on badges at home can be great distractions for leaders and girls. GSUSA has also produced a terrific resource, How to Talk with your Kids About Coronavirus, to help us support our girls during this time.
  • As the final digital week of our Cookie program officially concludes tomorrow, March 15, the final ACH will take place as scheduled on March 27.  Please use the Collection Problem Report form as you have been doing all cookie season should your Troop/Service Unit have any challenges with this, and please communicate with Customer Care should you have any additional questions regarding the wrap-up of the Cookie Program.
  • Celebrate! (our annual volunteer recognition event) scheduled for April 18 has been postponed until November 15. Given that this is a large event that typically draws nearly 300 people, we are proactively rescheduling this event. Currently, it is the only 250+ event on the GSCSNJ event calendar for April. Again, you will be notified should any other events beyond April 5 be cancelled.
  • In order to provide for social distancing and allow our employees to care for their own families, all GSCSNJ Service Centers, Offices, Camps, and Juliette's Closet locations will be closed from noon on Monday, March 16 through Sunday, March 29.  Like several school districts in our region, we are hopeful to be open again on March 30. While our physical locations will be closed, all GSCSNJ employees will be working remotely during this period, so feel free to call or email us as you customarily do (856-795-1560 OR customercare@gscsnj.org). We pledge to respond to you as soon as possible and appreciate your patience as we adapt to this new way of work.

As we innovate and do our best to lessen disruption, please know that supporting you and our girls is our number one priority. No one leads alone, and when we come together to support each other, our sisterhood thrives. Together we will do our best to navigate through this period and make our girls' world a better place.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Ginny Marino

Chief Executive Officer

Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey

(COMING SOON!) Virtual Programming

We know that this is a challenging time for Girl Scouts—staying home from school away from friends is a significant change in their routine that can make them feel disconnected. At Girl Scouts, we are fortunate to be able to continue offering the same quality programming to girls, volunteers, and families virtually for at-home enrichment experiences. The unique and far-reaching Girl Scout sisterhood experience will help us stay connected during these unprecedented times.

Girl Scouts at Home offers families everywhere new badge activities, programs, and resources for girls and families to engage with from home regularly. Plus, we will be hosting live Virtual Programming Monday - Friday!

All digital materials and Virtual Programming are available to the public—no Girl Scout membership necessary
Council Programs & Property Reservations

In accordance with the latest CDC guidance, all council-run events and property reservations are canceled/postponed for the immediate term ~ which we estimate to be at least the next 45 days.

We will issue refunds starting Monday, March 16 (due to a higher volume of requests, refunds could take up to 4 weeks to return to your account). 

Guidance for Canceling Events

Here is our suggested course of action for any volunteers who are currently managing events and need this information:

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 GSCSNJ property your reservation has already been canceled 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 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.
  • Issue refunds as needed per your usual practices. If you need to issue refunds and have any concerns or questions, please contact us at customercare@gscsnj.org.
Offices & Shops

Shops: Our retail shops will be closed to in-person visitors beginning Monday, March 16. Our online shop remains open for business, with some limitations.

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 is still working remotely and here to support you! Contact us at 856-795-1560 or email customercare@gscsnj.org.

Summer Camp

At our council-run Summer Camps (Camp "Sacy" Sacajawea, Camp Inawendiwin, and Camp Oak Spring), we are gearing up for summer camps and will be following all CDC and American Camping Association guidelines.

In the meantime, we encourage you to look at our camp options with your girls and dream about future fun at summer camp at campforgirls.org!

Girl Scouts at Home (NEW Virtual Programs)
Girl Scouts at Home logo

We know that this is a challenging time for Girl Scouts—staying home from school away from friends is a significant change in their routine that can make them feel disconnected. At Girl Scouts, we are fortunate to be able to continue offering the same quality programming to girls, volunteers, and families virtually for at-home enrichment experiences.

The unique and far-reaching Girl Scout sisterhood experience will help us stay connected during these unprecedented times.

GSCSNJ is proud to offer new badge activities, virtual programs, and resources for girls and families to engage with from home regularly. 

 

View Girl Scouts at Home Resources >>

 
 
All materials and live programming is available to the public.  No Girl Scout membership necessary!
 

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 customercare@gscsnj.org or 856-795-1560—we're here for you.

Be a Source of Comfort and Calm for Girls

Throughout our history, Girl Scouts have played an important role in helping to keep our country safe. The 1947 Girl Scout Handbook explains: "A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency." During World War II, Girl Scouts tended victory gardens, sold war bonds, and collected scrap metal. The work of today’s Girl Scouts is just as essential.

Girl Scouts can continue to demonstrate leadership in the fight against coronavirus by teaching proper handwashing and other hygiene practices to their peers. They can learn about how coronavirus is spread and how to protect themselves and share this information with others. Girl Scouts can be a force for good by confronting misinformation about Asian-Americans, who increasingly have been the targets of racist attacks and discrimination. 

Talking to Your Girl about COVID-19