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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Girl Scouts River Valleys

Recent Developments

See All Cookie Updates

Updated as of March 26, 8:00 am (CST)

Message from Our CEO


Dear Girl Scout volunteers, members, and supporters,

We are navigating an unprecedented time, and we face so many uncertainties during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite all the challenges we are faced with, we know we are truly stronger together. I am continually amazed by the power of the Girl Scout community and the talent, persistence, creativity, and adaptability we all bring to this situation.

Girl Scouts may look different than it did a few short weeks ago but make no mistake: Girl Scouts is not cancelled. Girls and families need the support, consistency, and community Girl Scouts River Valleys can provide, now more than ever. This week, we are excited to be rolling out new virtual opportunities:

Virtual Girl Scout Programs have begun!

We’re excited to launch our first live Girl Scout virtual programs this week! We’ll be hosting virtual Girl Scout programing for all program grade levels on Facebook Live and through Zoom. All programs will be listed on our Events page on our website. Girls can earn all or part of a badge or Journey during a program and then purchase badges and have them shipped to their home (for free!).

We’ll be regularly publishing program content on the In the Loop blog. Recent posts include Tune in to GIRL Talk: 3 Must Listen to Episodes; Fighting Xenophobia and Racism During COVID-19; and Get Outside and Feel Better During COVID-19.

We also created a Girl Scouts at Home webpage that includes a full list of ways to participate in Girl Scouts during this time, including information and links on virtual programs, online badge-earning resources, virtual troop meeting resources – all gathering in one convenient place and organized by program grade level.

Girls and families aren’t the only ones we are helping to connect virtually. We are also working to engage with our Service Unit Volunteers by hosting an Online Meetup scheduled for Tuesday, March 31. Watch for an invitation.

Looking Ahead

There is nothing we take more seriously than the safety and well-being of our members and the community. We will follow all applicable Centers for Disease Control, state, and city recommendations for social distancing and, the shelter-in-place orders in Minnesota and Wisconsin. We do not have a clear picture of what the days and weeks to come will look like, but we know the following measures will need to continue to be in place, until further notice:

  • Girl Scouts River Valleys shops, service centers, and camps remain closed to visitors.
  • All in-person Girl Scout activities are suspended. This includes any in-person cookie sales. Girls can still participate in online sales.
  • Service units and troops are encouraged to be meet virtually but should not participate in any face-to-face events or meetings.

In addition:

We are cancelling all in-person, council-sponsored program events and facility rentals through April 30. We will also be cancelling the spring recruitment events scheduled for April and May. Those impacted by these cancellations will receive an email with additional details about their full refund for any payments made.

2020 Summer Camp Update

We know that many families are looking ahead to summer plans and may be wondering how COVID-19 could impact our ability to run our camp programming. The safety of our campers and staff is our highest priority, and we are closely monitoring the effect that COVID-19 could have on council-led resident, troop, family, and day camps. We are continuing to plan for camp so that we are prepared and ready to welcome campers should we be able to run camp (while also planning for other contingencies). In the event that camp will need to be cancelled, registrants will be notified and will receive refunds.

Cookies for a Cause

I’m excited to share that we kicked off the new Cookies for a Cause program this week! Through Cookies for a Cause, individuals or businesses can make an online cookie purchase and Girl Scouts River Valleys will deliver those cookies to the organizations on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. Proceeds will help our girls to reach their cookie goals and fund Girl Scouts River Valleys’ financial assistance program so we can bring the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to all girls. You can help support this program by helping get the word out (check out this fun new email signature image) or by purchasing cookies. More to come on this innovative new way to get cookies where they are needed most and to help girls reach their goals.

While much is uncertain, we know one thing for sure – Girl Scouts will always be a force for good and a place where girls can find support, resources, and a community ready to champion her.

Yours in Girl Scouting,
Tish Bolger
Chief Executive Officer

Navy blue rectangle Cookies for a Cause Email Signature Image with text, Be a force for good. Ask me how you Girl Scout Cookie purchase can make a difference.

 

All Updates by Category

Cookies

Updated as of March 26, 8:00 am (CST)

Dear Cookie Volunteer,

Due to the shelter-in-place orders announced today in Minnesota and earlier this week in Wisconsin, all in-person activities related to the Girl Scout Cookie Program are canceled, effective immediately.

  • No donation cookie deliveries or any remaining girl cookie deliveries (including porch drops for orders previously taken) may be made.
  • No additional cookie booths (either troop or council-arranged) will be allowed.
  • No door-to-door or any other face-to-face selling is allowed.

The cookie program will end April 12. Until this date, girls may sell cookies through Smart Cookies for Direct Ship. This is the only selling option allowed.

We will keep Cookies for a Cause running until April 26 so that people may contribute cookies to COVID-19 heroes. Troops will receive proceeds from this program and all council proceeds will be used to increase our financial assistance budget.

We know this is a huge disappointment for many of our troops and girls who have worked so hard to reach their goals. Unfortunately, this has been an unprecedented cookie program season for all of us.

We are working on all the instructions for completing the program, finishing up Smart Cookies data entry, banking options, and the return process, which will occur either after the shelter-in-place order has ended, or using an approved process that fits within state guidelines. We will send those to you as we can (we are aiming to have as many details as possible in this week’s Cookie Press which will deliver on Friday, March 27). We appreciate your patience as the situation is extremely fluid.

Thank you for being Girl Scouts and for giving so much of your time and energy to ensure opportunities for girls.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Susan Andersson
Director of Product Program

Jen Thorson
Chief Operating Officer


  • Cookie booths, door-to-door sales, workplace sales, mobile booths, “lemonade stands” and any other in-person activities are canceled.
  • Online sales are allowed.
  • All returns will be accepted.
  • The cookie program will end on April 12.

These measures are in effect until further notice. We will provide more details as they are available. Our staff will be working remotely, and available to answer your calls and questions. You can reach us at 800-845-0787 or girlscouts@girlscoutsrv.org.

Q. What are ways girls can sell online and use social media? Have the rules changed this year?

Girl Scouts of the USA sets these rules, and they did update them for the 2020 program.

This year, girls have the ability to share their Smart Cookies link to people beyond their friends and families. Our resources for cookie sellers page has lots of helpful hints and tips.

Here’s the short version of the updated rules:

Girls may conduct Cookie Program sales activities online using the baker-provided online system – that’s Smart Cookies, and there’s lots of online and social options in that platform.

Girls are allowed to market their Cookie Program activities on social media. The keyword here is girls. This is a girl program and girls should be doing this, not parents. Girls and parents should review and sign the Girl Scout Internet Safety Pledge and Supplemental Safety Tips for Online Marketing before they market on social media.

Girls must never post their last name, address, phone number, or email address on social media, or those of any other girl.

Links to a girl’s online sales page must not be posted on resale or marketplace type sites, such as Craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Amazon.

Does this mean that girls can advertise on Facebook and Nextdoor? Yes it does. But take all the above steps first, and make sure it’s not a “resale or marketplace” site.

Read the whole policy here.

Events
  • All in-person council-sponsored program events scheduled through April 30th are cancelled.
  • Find a listing of upcoming virtual events on our Events Page. Be sure to check this list regularly as we continue to add more virtual events.
  • We have transformed our 2020 Women of Distinction fundraiser into a virtual event. More information coming soon.

We will provide more details as they are available. Our staff will be working remotely, and available to answer your calls and questions. You can reach us at 800-845-0787 or girlscouts@girlscoutsrv.org.

Service Unit and Troop Activities
  • In-person troop meetings, service unit events, and service unit meetings are suspended or should transition to virtual meetings.
  • Visit our Girl Scouts At Home page for tips, resources and activities for holding a virtual troop meeting.

These measures are in effect until further notice. We will provide more details as they are available. Our staff will be working remotely, and available to answer your calls and questions. You can reach us at 800-845-0787 or girlscouts@girlscoutsrv.org.

General Travel

Avoiding non-essential airline travel is one step that we can all take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many businesses and nonprofit organizations, including Girl Scouts of the USA and our local council, have restricted airline business travel for employees in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Facilities

The following closures are in effect until further notice:

  • The Girl Scout Shops are closed.
  • Our service centers and camps are closed to visitors.
  • Facility rentals scheduled through April 30th are cancelled.

We will provide more details as they are available. Our staff will be working remotely, and available to answer your calls and questions. You can reach us at 800-845-0787 or girlscouts@girlscoutsrv.org.

Highest Awards

Proposal deadlines for 8th and 12th graders have been extended from May 1st, 2020 to August 1st, 2020. Final Report deadlines for 5th, 8th and 12th graders have been extended from September 30th, 2020 to December 31st, 2020.

Previous Updates

Updated as of March 15, 8:00 pm (CST)

As you know, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts on our community are changing constantly, sometimes by the hour. Our council team has been engaged constantly in monitoring the situation and planning our response. I have news to share with you.

State officials in both Minnesota and Wisconsin have closed schools and introduced other community containment measures in the last few days and hours. In response, and out of our concern for the safety of our members and our duty to our communities, Girl Scouts will also take additional precautionary measures.

In addition to the cancellation of Girl Scout activities we announced Friday, troop meetings and Service Unit events are now also canceled, as are any in-person cookie program activities. As of Monday, March 16:

  • Troop meetings are suspended or transition to virtual meetings.
  • Service Unit events are suspended.
  • Service Unit volunteer meetings are suspended and should transition to virtual meetings or conference calls.
  • Council-sponsored programs are canceled.
  • Cookie booths, door-to-door sales, workplace sales, mobile booths, “lemonade stands” and any other in-person activities are canceled; online sales are allowed and returns will be accepted.
  • The Girl Scout Shops are closed.
  • Facility rentals are canceled.
  • Our service centers and camps are closed to visitors.

These measures are in effect until March 30 and/or further notice. There is nothing we take more seriously than the safety and well-being of our members and the community. An additional email about the Cookie Program will follow this one and be sent to all volunteers in a cookie role. Our staff will also be working remotely, and available to answer your calls and questions. You can reach us at 800-845-0787 or girlscouts@girlscoutsrv.org.

In all parts of our lives right now, there are many unanswered questions and significant ambiguity. We are disappointed, sad, and maybe a little frightened. Girl Scouts is here with you, leading as we have always done, as a force for good in the world. We can be an inspiration to others as we all live through this difficult time, and we can be sisters to every Girl Scout – especially those who are hardest hit by the disruptions of this pandemic, and our Asian American friends and colleagues unfairly treated and targeted by xenophobia and racism.

I’m incredibly proud to be a Girl Scout and of our Movement. I know we will find ways to continue to stay connected, participate, and contribute, as we do the right thing for our community and our country. We will be Girl Scouts and we will help and lead. I appreciate your partnership, support, and membership in the only movement in the world that is by girls, for girls, and includes all girls.

Yours in Girl Scouting,
Tish Bolger
Chief Executive Officer


Updated as of March 15, 1:30 pm (CST)

This situation changes rapidly, from day to day or hour to hour. There are significant developments in the Minnesota and Wisconsin state-level responses that we are assessing, as well as guidance from Girl Scouts of the USA regarding programs and in-person troop and other events. We will continue to update you via this page, email, and social channels as we are able.

Throughout our history, Girl Scouts have played an important role in helping to keep our country safe. The work of today’s Girl Scouts is just as essential. Girl Scouts can continue to demonstrate leadership in the fight against coronavirus in many ways, such learning about how coronavirus is spread and sharing that information with others and demonstrating leadership and flexibility by adapting their troop and Service Unit activities to meet these unprecedented times. We can all be a force for good by confronting misinformation about Asian Americans, who increasingly have been the targets of racist attacks and discrimination based on misinformation around the COVID-19 virus.

Please continue to check this page for the latest information.


Updated as of March 14, 3:45 pm (CST)

Yesterday an email was sent out to all recipients of the Cookie Press. Due to a strain on the system which sends these emails, we are aware that not everyone received this email, it was sent again today using a different email tool. You can also find it in the Cookies section. We apologize that some people did not receive this message and for any confusion or uncertainty that this created.

Updated as of March 13, 5:00 pm (CST)


At Girl Scouts, there is nothing we take more seriously than the safety and well-being of our members and the community. As novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be of growing concern in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, Girl Scouts River Valleys is regularly monitoring information from the Centers for Disease Control, local state departments of health, school districts, and other partners.

This afternoon, Minnesota state officials announced new measures to control the spread of COVID-19. While much remains unknown regarding how COVID-19 will evolve locally, we do know the best preventative measures we can take are to maximize individual health practices and to engage in social distancing by reducing social interactions and contact with others.

Therefore, Girl Scouts River Valleys will cancel all activities beginning tomorrow, March 14, until March 30. This means:

  • Council-sponsored programs are canceled beginning tomorrow, March 14, through March 30, including the Day at the Capitol, which was scheduled for Monday, March 16.
  • Facility rentals beginning on Monday, March 16 will be canceled through March 30.
  • Girl Scouts River Valleys will issue refunds for program events and facility rentals, but please be patient due to the volume of processing.
  • Cookie booth activities are suspended, and cookie cupboards are closed. There is significant additional detail about the impacts to the cookie program, which are detailed in the cookies section.
  • The Girl Scout Shops will be closed Saturday, March 14, through March 30.

Service units and troops have the option to continue to hold their meetings or events. However, we recommend cancelling or postponing events that would be difficult to adapt to the Minnesota Department of Health guidelines. A reminder that if you are ill or believe you have been exposed to a contagious disease like coronavirus, do not attend Girl Scout or other public events.

I know you will have a lot of questions, there are a lot of details to share, and the situation changes quickly. We have created this page on our website where we will post the most up-to-date information as we receive it. Please check this page and bookmark it to review often. We will do our best to get as much information to you as quickly as possible.

We will continue work on plans that allow us to continue to support and offer the Girl Scouts experience to our members, and we know cancellations and disruptions of service are disappointing. The safety of girls and the community is our first priority.

Throughout our history, Girl Scouts have played an important role in helping to keep our country safe. 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 hand washing 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.

On behalf of the Girl Scout movement, I want to thank each of you for being part of our collective action to prevent the spread of coronavirus. We will continue to keep you updated.

Thanks for your understanding.

Yours in Girl Scouting,
Tish Bolger
Chief Executive Officer

 

Additional Support

Be a Source of Comfort and Calm

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.

Thank you for your help in keeping Girl Scouts a safe, fun space for everyone! If you have questions about how the coronavirus may impact Girl Scout activities, please contact us.

Be Prepared and Minimize Risk

The CDC has shared the following things you can do to minimize your risk of contracting any virus:

  • Stay home when you are not feeling well.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Girl Scouts are a Force for Good

Girl Scouts is leading as we have always done, as a force for good in the world. We can be an inspiration to others as we all live through this difficult time, and we can be sisters to every Girl Scout—especially those who are hardest hit by the disruptions of this pandemic, and our Asian American friends and colleagues unfairly treated and targeted by xenophobia and racism.

We will find ways to continue to stay connected, participate, and contribute, as we do the right thing for our community and our country. We will be Girl Scouts and we will help and lead. You should be proud of your membership in the only movement in the world that is by girls, for girls, and includes all girls.