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It’s Time to Go Back to Troop!

In challenging times, our Girl Scout grit shines brightest. That’s why we’re prepared to be a source of comfort, familiarity, and consistency for you and your girl now – when you need it most.

As we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic together, we’re working hard to ensure your girl has access to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience she knows and loves. And as things continue to change, we’ll continue to adapt to meet her needs.

Many of the things she was looking forward to are canceled right now, but Girl Scouts is still happening. From home and online, for as long as she needs to, your girl can:

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Keep her Girl Scout adventure going and stay connected while earning badges through online activities with the new Girl Scouts at Home

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Participate in live virtual events and safe service projects that keep her engaged and inspired

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Gain tangible, innovative problem-solving and life skills

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Grow confidence in her outdoor skills and learn how to be a champion for the environment

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Expand her imagination through hands-on STEM activities

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She may even be able to return to in-person troop meetings (see more details below).

The best part is that every experience and skill we can offer her right now will help her continue to be successful at school and in life, and when it’s time for us all to come together again. Whenever you’re ready to renew your Girl Scout membership, we’ll be here for you.

On Time Registration and Renewal

On Time Registration and Renewal ends on September 30!

Why is this so important? It’s the last day for troop co-leaders to renew current troop members to ensure their girls get placed back in the same troop. Any girl not renewed by the start of the 2020-2021 membership year on October 1, 2020 will be automatically removed from the troop roster and will be in jeopardy for losing her spot. After that, only the girls’ parents will have access in the system for renewal and will need to get the girl placed back in her troop.

Co-leaders and Parents: Click on “MY GS” in the menu above to get started!

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Need help logging into MY GS? Contact Member Support by email or call 800.695.6690.

Membership Renewal FAQs

Why should I renew my membership early?

No chasing down registrations in the fall! We all know how busy fall gets with a new school year, fall sports, and getting back into the swing of things. Why not make it easier on yourself and have your Girl Scout troop all ready to go?

Keep girls in your troop! Any girl not renewed by the start of the 2020-2021 membership year on October 1 will be automatically removed from the troop roster and will be in jeopardy for losing her spot. After that, only the girls’ parents will have access in the system for renewal and will need to get the girl placed back in her troop.

Access to the Volunteer Toolkit! The Volunteer Toolkit is a handy online resource that helps with meeting planning, badge requirements, and organizing the troop year. Troops can begin planning their next Girl Scout year starting early August.

How do I renew/register for 2020-2021?

New to Girl Scouts? Just click here!

Returning to Girl Scouts? Click on “MY GS” in the menu above to access the new registration system and get started!

  • Here’s a step-by-step guide for TROOPS that will walk you through the new online registration system.
  • Here’s a step-by-step guide for FAMILIES that will walk you through the new online registration system.

Need help logging into MY GS? Contact Member Support by email or call 800.695.6690.

Who can renew a girl’s membership?

Parents/guardians will have access to register and/or renew their family members. Co-leaders will have access to renew current troop members.

What if I have trouble registering or renewing?

Our Member Support Team is available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (Central Time). Contact them via email or by phone at 402.558.8189 or 800.695.6690.

How much are membership fees for 2020-2021?

Membership fees are $25 per person/girl.

Who pays for a girl’s membership?

Many troops use proceeds from the Cookie Program or Fall Product Program for membership renewals. Check with your troop co-leader! Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

Is financial aid available?

Yes! We are committed to ensuring that all girls who want to participate in Girl Scouting have the opportunity to do so. Financial aid is available for those who qualify for items such as national or troop dues, uniform pieces, books, programs, camps, or trips.

 

Resuming In-Person Troop and Group Meetings

Beginning in July 2020, some in-person Girl Scout activities, service unit activities, and troop meetings are permitted to resume, providing Spirit of Nebraska guidelines are followed. Volunteers must review the guidelines below that acknowledge the need to take all reasonable precautions to limit potential exposure of the COVID-19 virus to girls, volunteers, and families.

When deciding whether to host an in-person meeting, please consider the makeup and size of your troop or group, including possible attendees and their families, and their comfort level with in-person activities. All members of the troop leadership team or service unit leadership team must be in agreement and willing to adhere to Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska (GSSN) guidelines before resuming in-person meetings. We want to do our best to make sure all Girl Scouts, volunteers, and families feel included and safe throughout their Girl Scout experience and troops/groups should not proceed with in-person activities that are not inclusive of all members of the troop or group.

Consider any recent updates from the state, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and local officials before you meet. As updates happen, these GSSN guidelines may change as well. Continue to monitor GSSN publications and the website, and check in with your local Troop Support Specialist if you have questions.

Use the following questions and reminders to decide when and how to return to troop activities.

Troop Meeting Space

Outdoor spaces where social distancing can be easily maintained are strongly recommended for meetings. Get advance permission from the property owner or the jurisdiction that provides the location.

For meetings held at public facilities, contact the facility ahead of time and ask:

  • Is the space cleaned, and touch surfaces (e.g. tabletops, light switches, chairs) sanitized, at least daily?
  • Who else uses the space (how often, what size groups)?
  • Is the space cleaned between groups?
  • What type of faucets and soap dispensers are available in the restroom (sensory or manual)?

Then, consider whether you can supplement any practices that are less ideal. For example, if you will arrive after another group, plan to bring sanitizing wipes to clean the space for your troop. Another example, if faucets are manual, show girls how to shut them off with a paper towel. Use paper towels to turn doorknobs whenever possible.

Schools or churches may not permit outside groups on premises, so always check ahead of time.

Troops should not meet in the home of a volunteer troop/group member.

Troop Meeting Size

Meetings and Girl Scout activities should not exceed more than 25 participants, including girls, parents, and volunteers. However, check your local restrictions for small gatherings. If more restrictive, follow the local limits.

If you have a large troop, stay connected while you wait until it is safe for everyone to gather. Large troops are wonderful, so stay together! Some ideas:

  • Host virtual troop meetings (see below).
  • Gather up in smaller groups—such as age-level groups, patrols, or groups of girls with a specific badge they want to work on.
Activity Supplies and Snacks

Ensure adequate supplies to minimize sharing of high touch materials to the extent possible. Have each girl bring her own supplies, or limit the use of supplies to one small group at a time and disinfect them between use.

Food and snacks should not be shared between non-household members at this time.

Transportation

Individual parents and guardians should drop off and pick up their own girls from meetings. Carpooling and public transportation should be avoided to maintain social distancing.

Virtual Meetings

Virtual troop meetings and service unit meetings are still strongly encouraged. Safety Activity Checkpoints for virtual meetings and the Internet Safety Pledge are available to ensure the safety and well-being of girls and volunteers.

Meeting options need to be flexible due to the fluid nature of COVID-19 risk and the needs and interests of girls and families. You may need to offer a virtual option so some families can remotely join a meeting if they are unable to attend in person.

If you need assistance staying connected with troop members during this time, contact your Troop Support Specialist.

Other helpful resources can be found under Volunteer Resources on our Girl Scouts at Home webpage.

Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation

Follow the resources developed by credible public health sources such as CDC or your local public health department. Share these with girls and volunteers and ensure they are practiced during in-person meetings and activities. Place signs in the meeting or activity space to remind girls and volunteers to engage in actions that help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Print resources may be found here. Notice language should include:

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, and then wash or sanitize your 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 available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash hands if you touch these areas.
  • Volunteers, girls, and parents should be reminded to take temperatures prior to group interaction to confirm individuals are not running a fever and that their temperature is a normal 98.6 degrees. Members with fever or temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher should skip the in-person gathering until their temperature is normal.
Face Coverings

In accordance with CDC and Nebraska guidelines, adult participants (troop leaders, volunteers, and parent/guardians) should wear face coverings while participating in Girl Scout activities. Girls also should wear face coverings when possible. Volunteers can remind girls that Girl Scouts wear face coverings (masks) not only to protect themselves, but also protects others. Face coverings are a civic responsibility and a sign of caring for the community. Please visit the CDC website for more information on how to handle and support effective use of face coverings.

Personal Contact

Hugs, handshakes, high-fives, and even activities like the friendship circle or squeeze can transmit COVID-19 from person to person. Refrain from these actions for the time being. Create a safe way for girls and volunteers to greet each other and end meetings instead, such as tapping elbows, learning sign language, or designing your own unique troop greeting.

First Aid Supplies

Troop first aid supplies should include COVID-19 prevention items, including hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol), tissues, disposable facemasks, and disinfectants. Trash baskets or bags should be supplied at meeting and activity spaces, if not already available. Make sure the trash baskets (or bags) are easily accessible to girls. Disposable or no-contact thermometers may be added to supplies if available and not cost-prohibitive, however, parents should be checking temperatures and allowing their girl(s) to join group activities only when temperatures are normal.

First Aid / CPR Training

Keep skills up to date for any emergency. Please reach out to our office about alternative methods of training that may be available during this time.

 

Disinfectants and Disinfecting

Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched (e.g. tabletops, markers, scissors) Use a household cleaner, or see the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of effective cleaners approved for use against COVID-19. Clorox disinfectant wipes, Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner, and household bleach are all approved cleaners. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

See the CDC’s website for more on cleaning and disinfecting community facilities.

If, after reviewing the sections above, you and your troop or group decide to start meeting in-person, you may proceed if you follow the following guidelines:

  • The safety guidelines must be provided to all participants, volunteers, and caregiver/guardians of all girl participants before an in-person meeting takes place.
  • GSSN is incredibly grateful for the support of our volunteers and caregivers. Given state protocols and CDC information, GSSN encourages individuals who maybe more susceptible or at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 (including individuals age 65 and older or those with serious underlying health conditions) to carefully consider and weigh all risks when deciding whether participating in in-person meetings is appropriate at this time.
  • Before attending, all volunteers must read these two sets of guidelines on appropriate cleaning and disinfection and hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
  • Participants should follow all rules and guidelines of the in-person meeting location or host site. In some cases, restroom facilities may not be available. It is strongly encouraged to hold meetings outdoors whenever possible.
  • If a girl, parent/caregiver, or volunteer (or member of their household) is showing signs or symptoms of possible COVID-19 or has been in close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19, they are not permitted to attend in-person meetings or gatherings until they are either: cleared by a medical professional, 72 hours have passed without any signs or symptoms (without the use of fever-reducing medication), or it has been 14 days since the last date of a confirmed exposure to COVID-19.
  • Confirm with GSSN staff that you are meeting in person by completing this short form.

Reporting and Communicating a Positive COVID-19 Test

In the event of a COVID-19 positive test result for a troop member or someone in their family, promptly contact the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) at 402.552.6645 or 833.998.2275.

The Department of Health and Human Services (not volunteers), will be responsible for:

  • Confirming and tracing the positive tester
  • Contacting anyone who may have been exposed
  • Notifying the facility where a troop has met

Let other volunteers and parents know that DHHS (not volunteers) will notify parents and others about a positive test result and that the tester’s identity is confidential. Additionally, if the person whom tested positive attended a Girl Scout gathering within the past 10 days, we respectfully request that the individual notify the council directly at 800.695.6690.

Remember that girl and volunteer health information is private, confidential, and should be only shared on a need-to-know basis with council staff.

Return to Girl Scout Programming After COVID-19 Illness or Diagnosis

Girls and adults who have had COVID-19 symptoms and/or have tested positive for COVID-19 may resume in-person Girl Scout meetings/activities after meeting the requirements below. These guidelines are based on CDC recommendations and many school district guidelines.

Positive COVID-19 Test, With Symptoms

Girls and volunteers/parents/guardians who've tested positive for COVID-19 and exhibited symptoms may participate in or chaperone Girl Scout events/activities (including troop meetings), when ALL THREE of the following criteria have been met:

  • It has been 10 days or more since individual first had symptoms;
  • It has been 3 days or more since the individual had a fever (without medication); and
  • It has been 3 days or more since coughing and shortness of breath have improved.
Positive COVID-19 Test, Without Symptoms (Asymptomatic)

Girls and volunteers/parents/guardians who've tested positive for COVID-19 and did not exhibit symptoms may participate in or chaperone Girl Scout events and activities (including troop meetings) 10 days from the time the individual tested positive, assuming no symptoms have developed.

If symptoms subsequently developed, follow the guidelines for COVID-19 positive, with symptoms (above) from the date that the first symptom occurred.

No COVID-19 Test, With Symptoms

Girls and volunteers/parents/guardians who've exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 (but were not tested) may participate in and or chaperone Girl Scout events/activities (including troop meetings), when ALL THREE of the following criteria have been met:

  • It has been 10 days or more since individual first had symptoms;
  • It has been 3 days or more since the individual had a fever (without medication); and
  • It has been 3 days or more since coughing and shortness of breath have improved.

Don’t forget that a troop co-leader needs to complete this short form before your Girl Scout troop or group meets in person.

 

 

Want to find a new troop or become an Individual Girl Member (IGM)Not all Girl Scout members have the same comfort level when it comes to meeting in person or virtually. If you are not comfortable with meeting in person and would like to find a virtual-only troop; or if your troop is only meeting virtually, and you would like to meet in person, please contact us!

Now is the time to remind girls that Girl Scouts continues to be a safe space where girls can try new things, develop a range of skills, take on leadership roles, and just be themselves. Be a source of comfort and calm for girls. 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.