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COVID-19 Updates

At Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida, there is nothing we take more seriously than the safety and well being of our girls, volunteers and council staff. We have been closely monitoring the information regarding the COVID-19 virus through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local, state and national public health officials. As new information is being reported daily, we will remain fluid in our planning and scheduling. We will take all possible and appropriate measures to ensure girls continue to have a safe, fun, one-of-a-kind experience at Girl Scouts.

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Latest Update: August 19, 2020   

Thank you for your ongoing attention to our council’s communications regarding the ways we are adapting to the Coronavirus situation. Within our large jurisdiction there are varying degrees of impact and we ask for your understanding as we establish guidelines based upon the most up-to-date information and what is in the best interest of our entire council.

The state of Florida, as well as some areas within our council’s jurisdiction, are continuing to experience above-average occurrences and impacts due to the Coronavirus situation. Some local governments, such as counties and cities, have implemented additional ordinances that are specifically related to the impact Coronavirus. Members, volunteers, girls, and families are required to follow these local directives in such areas while participating in Girl Scouting.

Please read our guidelines carefully so CDC guidelines, as well as state and local ordinances, can be followed. We remain hopeful that we can welcome back wider varieties of in-person programs, meetings, and activities, but will only proceed when it is deemed safe to do so.

The following information is current as of the date indicated above and may be shared with volunteers or used when answering questions:

Virtual Troop Meetings: Based on the risks surrounding COVID-19, utilizing virtual tools is the recommended way to keep troops meeting regularly and maintain engagement in the Girl Scout experience.  Volunteers should review the Safety Activity Checkpoint for Virtual Troop Meetings.

Troop Meetings in private homes: GSUSA suggests no troop meetings be held in private homes out of concern that there would be greater risk of exposure to other household members. We understand that due to COVID-19, the schools and community locations where troop meetings often take place, may be less available. Troops that wish to have a periodic in-person meeting, must submit a Troop Meeting Change of Location form to ensure accurate records in the event of an accident. Additionally, we recommend the in-person troop meeting in a private home, is held outside, and all safety guidelines must be carefully adhered to in accordance with CDC, state, local health authorities and as outlined council COVID-19 guidance. Volunteers should remind girls that Girl Scouts wear face coverings (masks or face shields) not only to protect themselves but to protect others. We recommend having disposable masks on hand for those who need them. Follow the CDC Guidelines to teach girls how to handle their face coverings so that the coverings are effective. Based on the risks surrounding COVID-19, GSSEF recommends the use of virtual tools to keep troops meeting regularly and maintain engagement in the Girl Scout experience.

Activities, programs and events: Girl Scout one-day activities, including troop meetings, and events sponsored by our council may occur, at the discretion of all participants (and program partners) involved when participants can safely and consistently maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet. Girl-to-adult ratios must be maintained and face coverings (masks or shields) are required for participants. It is strongly recommended groups meet outdoors as opposed to indoors, and only when social distancing can be maintained.

When planning an activity, call ahead to the facility or vendor to confirm that they are following CDC and state health department guidelines. If activity or sporting equipment is being provided, ask the provider if they wipe down equipment in between uses, similar to wipe downs in between uses for equipment at the gym.  Make whatever appropriate accommodations that are necessary. For example, bring disposable masks and extra sanitizer or disinfectant wipes if none will be provided for public use at the activity location.

Troop Travel and Applications: GSSEF Volunteer Policies and Procedures require volunteers to secure travel approval using the council’s travel applications. Approval for a troop activity outside of the regular troop meeting is required to ensure member access to the Girl Scout supplemental accident insurance, in the event of accident or injury to a registered member participating in an approved Girl Scout activity. Further, GSSEF Volunteer Policies and Procedures require approval of an activity to utilize troop treasury funds to pay for the costs associated with the activity. Volunteers are required to submit the appropriate travel application for the activity and secure council approval in advance of the activity. Travel applications can be found in the Forms section of www.gssef.org; each form lists instructions for submission, including timelines. In addition, troop leaders must secure parental permission for participation for each individual activity/excursion using the Parent/Guardian Permission Form. Universal or blanket permission forms for multiple activities are not allowed.

Overnight trips (domestic and international) are not permitted at this time; we do not have a definite timeframe as to when we will be able to permit them. Troops are welcome to submit Overnight Troop Travel permission forms to customercare@gssef.org, with future travel dates so they can be reviewed at such a time that our council is permitted to process and approve them.

Transportation (car-pooling): Based on the risks surrounding COVID-19, and due to the proximity within a confined space of carpooling and/or public transportation, GSSEF strongly discourages any shared transportation. Individual families should provide required transportation for the girls in their own household.

At this time individual parents should drop off and pick up their own girls from meetings.

CPR and First Aid Certifications: GSUSA sets the requirements for CPR and First Aid trainings in the Safety Activity Checkpoints:

  • A general first-aider is an adult volunteer who has taken Girl Scout approved first-aid and CPR training that includes specific instructions for child CPR, as well as AED (Automated External Defibrillator) training.
  • Caution: First-aid/CPR training that is available entirely online does not satisfy Girl Scouts’ requirements (Safety Activity Checkpoints 2019, p. 13).
  • Our two largest certifying organizations, the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association, have issued CPR and First Aid expiration date extensions and are beginning to resume in-person trainings within our council jurisdiction.

The following information is for volunteers holding a current certificate that has, or will soon expire:

  • American Red Cross card-holders: The American Red Cross requires existing certification holders to complete a FREE online extension course. This enables a certificate holder to extend any base level American Red Cross certifications that expire between March 1st - September 30th that were acquired through instructor-led or blended learning classes. Please note that this extension does not apply to Instructor certifications, instructor trainer certifications, online only classes or the recently released provisional certifications. To utilize this extension certificate, it must be presented with the expired certificate. If you are holding an American Red Cross CPR and First Aid certificate please visit their website to complete the requirements to extend your certification expiration date. You will need to provide both the extension certificate and the expired/expiring card with your travel app in order to secure approval of your assigned First-aider.
  • American Heart Association card-holders: As previously shared, AHA Provider and Instructor cards that expired in March and April, and those expiring at the end of May and June can renew their card for up to 120 days from the recommended renewal date on their card. In an update, the AHA has indicated that in affected areas with restrictions still in place into July and August, the AHA will allow Training Centers, at their discretion, to consider extending cards that have a “Renew By” date of July or August to no further than October 2020. Because of the size of our jurisdiction and varying local ordinances and restrictions, we as a council will honor any American Heart Association cards that have expired, or will expire through the end of August, until October 31, 2020.

If a certification was issued by an organization not mentioned here, please check with the organization directly to see if they are offering an extension. If they are, please advise our team by contacting customercare@gssef.org and provide any additional documentation that will assist us in recording a temporary extension. Again, only the issuing organization can extend a certification, we cannot without their express approval.

For volunteers without a current CPR or First Aid certification/those seeking first-time certification: The American Heart Association in our jurisdiction has resumed in-person classes, with limited availability and small class sizes. Each participant will be provided and work only with their own training mannequin and social distance will be maintained. Volunteers can visit www.cpr.heart.org and enter their zip code to find classes in their area. GSUSA requires both CPR and First Aid certification. These classes are offered separately or through a combined class option at the American Heart Association. GSSEF recommends volunteers select the Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED combined class to fulfill the requirement.

Questions should be directed to customercare@gssef.org.

Update: July 30, 2020

Thank you for your ongoing attention to our council’s communications regarding the ways we are adapting to the Coronavirus situation. Within our large jurisdiction there are varying degrees of impact and we ask for your understanding as we establish guidelines based upon the most up-to-date information and what is in the best interest of our entire council.

The state of Florida, as well as some areas within our council’s jurisdiction, are continuing to experience above-average occurrences and impacts due to the Coronavirus situation. Some local governments, such as counties and cities, have implemented additional ordinances that are specifically related to the impact Coronavirus. Members, volunteers, girls, and families are required to follow these local directives in such areas while participating in Girl Scouting.

Please read our guidelines carefully so CDC guidelines, as well as state and local ordinances, can be followed. We remain hopeful that we can welcome back wider varieties of in-person programs, meetings, and activities, but will only proceed when it is deemed safe to do so.

  • As of June 1: (NO CHANGE from the update on 6/18/2020) Girl Scout one-day activities not sponsored by the council, including troop meetings and troop day travel/trips, may resume, at the discretion of all participants involved for groups of ten or fewer. This number includes the entire Girl Scout group of adults and girls. Participants must also follow current CDC guidelines in the above-referenced report.
  • As of July 1: (NO CHANGE from the update on 6/18/2020) Girl Scout one-day activities, including those sponsored by our council may resume, at the discretion of all participants (and program partners) involved for groups of ten or fewer. This number includes the entire Girl Scout group of adults and girls. Participants must also follow current CDC guidelines in the above-referenced report.
  • As of July 1: (NO CHANGE from the update on 6/18/2020) Girl Scout one-day activities, including those sponsored by our council will resume, at the discretion of all participants (and program partners) involved for groups of ten or more when participants can safely and consistently maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet. Participants must also follow current CDC guidelines in the above-referenced report.

There are lots of ways that adult volunteers can help participants stay safe and healthy during Girl Scout activities. If you are headed to a new destination, call ahead to the facility or program provider to confirm that they are following CDC and state health department guidelines. Make whatever appropriate accommodations that are necessary to enhance safety, such as bringing extra sanitizer or disinfectant wipes.

Personal contact: Hugs, handshakes, “high-fives,” and even activities like the friendship circle can transmit COVID-19 from person to person. Create a safe way for girls and volunteers to greet and end meetings instead (like tapping elbows).

First Aid Supplies: Troop first aid supplies should include disease prevention items including hand sanitizer, tissues, disposable face coverings, and disinfectants. Trash baskets or bags should be supplied for meeting and activity spaces, if not already available. Disposable or no-contact thermometers may be added if available and not cost-prohibitive.

Disinfectants and Disinfecting. Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched (i.e., tabletops, markers, scissors, etc.). Use a cleaner from the EPA’s list of effective cleaners approved for use against COVID-19. See the CDC’s website for more on cleaning and disinfecting community facilities.

Face Coverings: Remind everyone to wear face coverings to protect themselves and others. Ask participants to bring their own face coverings but have disposable masks on hand for those who need them. Follow the CDC Guidelines to teach girls how to handle their face coverings so that the coverings are effective.

  • As of August 1: (Update) Troop travel applications that include a domestic overnight stay remain prohibited by GSUSA. Troops are welcome to submit Overnight Troop Travel permission forms to  customercare@gssef.org, with future travel dates so they can be reviewed at such a time that our council is permitted to process and approve them.
  • As of August 1: (Update) Troop travel applications for international travel also remain prohibited by GSUSA. This restriction includes travel to GSUSA World Centers and cruises. Troops are welcome to submit Overnight Troop Travel permission forms to  customercare@gssef.org, with future travel dates so they can be reviewed at such a time that our council is permitted to process and approve them. 

  • As of August 1: (NEW) In order to maintain the highest levels of caution, cleanliness and commitment to the health and safety of our staff team we have decided that our Administrative Headquarters in Lake Worth will remain closed to outside groups, visitors and vendors through at least September 30, 2020.  We will include updates about plans to reopen our Administrative Headquarters in September.

We appreciate your continued patience and ask that you regularly visit our website, social media channels, and read emails for updates. Please continue to check your email "spam" boxes and do not “opt out” of council communications. Doing so limits us from providing you any proactive communication.

Everyone at GSSEF remains excited and committed to the success of Girl Scouting in our communities this coming year. We love seeing all the innovative ways that our volunteers are bringing Girl Scouting to life in so many creative and interactive ways. Thank you to our dedicated volunteers and families – Girl Scouting is able to fulfill its mission during these challenging times because of you.  

If you have not already done so, please renew your Girl Scout membership for the 2020-2021 year.  Girls need Girl Scouting right now – and our world needs female leaders like never before. So, they need you to make sure their membership stays current. If you need assistance with the re-registration process, email us at customercare@gssef.org.

Update: June 18, 2020

Thank you for staying abreast of our council’s communications regarding the ways we are adapting to the Coronavirus situation and updating plans as our communities enter new phases of reopening. We understand that within our large jurisdiction there are varying degrees of impact; we ask for your understanding as we establish guidelines based upon the most up-to-date information and what is in the best interest of our entire council.

We appreciate your continued patience and ask that you regularly visit our website, social media channels, and read emails for updates. Please continue to check your email "spam" boxes and do not “opt out” of council communications. Doing so limits us from providing you any proactive communication.

In-person Girl Scout activities, Troop one-day travel and Troop Change of Meeting Location

As we shared in our most recent communication, we are looking forward to welcoming members back with in-person programs, meetings, and Girl Scout activities. Please read these specifications carefully so CDC guidelines (which can be found beginning on page 12 of the Re-Open Florida Task Force report) can be followed and everyone in our Girl Scout community, and their families, can stay safe and healthy.

  • As of June 1: (NO CHANGE from the update on 6/15/2020) Girl Scout one-day activities not being sponsored by the council, including troop meetings and troop day travel/trips, may resume, at the discretion of all participants involved for groups of ten or fewer. This number includes the entire Girl Scout group of adults and girls. Participants must also follow current CDC guidelines in the above-referenced report.

  • Beginning July 1: (NO CHANGE from the update on 6/15/2020) Girl Scout one-day activities, including those sponsored by our council will resume, at the discretion of all participants (and program partners) involved for groups of ten or fewer, when social distancing minimums cannot be consistently maintained. This number includes the entire Girl Scout group of adults and girls. Participants must also follow current CDC guidelines in the above-referenced report.

  • NEW, beginning July 1: Girl Scout one-day activities, including those sponsored by our council will resume, at the discretion of all participants (and program partners) involved for groups of ten or more when participants can safely and consistently maintain a social distance of at  least 6 feet. Participants must also follow current CDC guidelines in the above-referenced report.

  • NEW, based upon the opportunity to have Girl Scout one-day activities for groups of ten or more when participants can safely and consistently maintain a social distance of at  least 6 feet, beginning on July 1, we expect to receive many new approval requests for Troop Travel Forms and Change of Troop Meeting Location forms.

Our council will be closed for our annual Summer Shut-Down Break from June 27 – July 5, therefore we request that these forms are sent to customercare@gssef.org by Wednesday, June 24 at 12:00 p.m. if the date of the travel or change of meeting location occurs between July 1 – July 8. We want to ensure that our Customer Care team has ample time to review, approve and notify requestors prior to the office closure. Given the volume we expect to receive, we cannot guarantee that applications received after June 24 at 12:00 p.m. for activities between July 1 – July 8, so please make your plans now and send in forms as early as possible. Thank you!

Update: June 15, 2020

The Coronavirus continues to be a very serious situation, and as some areas have entered phases of reopening, new cases and more health concerns are emerging.  We understand that within our large jurisdiction there are varying degrees of impact; we ask for your understanding as we establish guidelines based upon the most up-to-date information and what is in the best interest of our entire council. GSSEF continues to follow the recommendations of the  CDC, GSUSA, and the State of Florida and is making determinations regularly and frequently. We appreciate your continued patience and ask that you regularly visit our website, social media channels, and read emails for updates. As always, please be sure to check your email "spam" boxes and don’t “opt-out” of council communications. Doing so limits us from providing you any proactive communication.

Administrative Headquarters
Our in-based team members began returning to the office on June 1 in small groups. We are happy to report that this process, as well as our new cleaning and safety protocols, are going very smoothly. Keep in mind, even as team members come back to the office in small groups, we are all working and available for you. Please continue to utilize customercare@gssef.org to make requests. We expect to open the Administrative Headquarters to outside groups, visitors, or vendors as of August 1 with new health and safety guidelines in place. Updates about that will be provided next month.

Retail Stores
Both GSSEF Retail Stores resumed regular operating hours on June 1 with new steps in place to ensure that shoppers are safe and healthy. We invite you to come in and see the team while keeping in mind that we may need to limit the number of people in the store and are still offering contactless curbside pickup too. Our two weekends of “Do-Over Days” were wonderful; our guests shopped easily and confidently! We have more “Do-Over Days” with super sales promotions every Saturday this month.   

Camp Properties
While we had to announce that our summer resident camp plans would be postponed until 2021, we are finalizing guidelines that align with the American Camping Association recommendations so we can provide a safe return to camp. Our three camp properties will remain closed through at least August 5, 2020.

In-person Girl Scout activities and travel
Our team is anxiously awaiting the time when we can welcome girls back to incredible in-person programs, but will only move forward with those where we can reasonably meet the CDC guidelines (which can be found beginning on page 12 of the Re-Open Florida Task Force report) so that everyone in our Girl Scout community, and their families, can stay safe and healthy. 

  • As of June 1: Girl Scout one-day activities not being sponsored by the council, including troop meetings and troop day travel/trips, may resume, at the discretion of all participants involved for groups of ten or fewer, including adults. Participants must also follow current CDC guidelines in the above-referenced report.
  • Beginning July 1: Girl Scout one-day activities, including those sponsored by the council, will resume, at the discretion of all participants (and program partners) involved for groups of ten or fewer, including adults. Participants must also follow current CDC guidelines in the above-referenced report.
  • Troop travel applications for one-day trips that do not include an overnight stay are eligible for approval using the regular Troop Travel permission form. Keep in mind, the adults must maintain the CDC guidelines throughout the duration of the trip. 
  • Troop travel applications that include a domestic overnight stay, with travel dates in July (and beyond) remain prohibited by GSUSA. Volunteers are welcome to submit Overnight Troop Travel permission forms, but keep in mind that these will be held until such time that our council staff is allowed to process/approve them.
  • International travel remains prohibited though at least July 31 and we believe it is likely that this designation will be extended. This restriction includes travel to the GSUSA World Centers and cruises.

As always, we thank you for everything you’re doing to keep Girl Scouting alive and exciting for thousands of local girls! We love seeing all the ways you innovate and connect to make our work a better place. Be sure to check out our council’s newest virtual program entitled “Centennial of Suffrage” coming up this August – and just wait until you see the patch!

Don’t forget to renew your Girl Scout Membership for the upcoming 2020-2021 year! Now is the time to log on say to “yes” to becoming an Early Bird by July 6th and grab all goodies, like the patch and the product sale proceeds. Make it happen today!

Update: June 1, 2020 (A Message from CEO Lisa Johnson)

Dear Girl Scout Families,

Thank you for your support, dedication, and perseverance as we have navigated this uncertain time together. I know I speak for our entire GSSEF team when I say that I have never been more grateful to be a part of such a strong organization.

This isn’t easy news to deliver, but after many weeks of discussion and carefully considering our options, we have made the decision to cancel this year’s summer resident camp sessions. As your CEO, I want you to know that the health and safety of each of you and your girl is my priority. Depending upon where you are and to what extent you have been impacted by COVID-19, this may not come as a surprise to you.

Our staff team has carefully reviewed the guidelines and recommendations made by the American Camping Association, as well as the CDC, GSUSA and the Florida Department of Health. Given everything that is recommended and required, we do not feel sure that we can provide the reasonable expectations for health and protection that our members must have to be in a resident camp setting.

There is only one way to describe this decision—heartbreaking. Outdoor adventure and camping experiences are among the things that makes Girl Scouting so unique and special. When I became our Council’s CEO in 2016, I made a commitment to reenergizing our council’s outdoor initiatives and experiences for girls. Part of that was ultimately bringing summer camp back. While no one could have expected that a global pandemic would stand in our way, I promise that nothing has changed, and that commitment is intact. Summer camp will return to our camps once it is safe to do so.

I would like to personally thank the many Girl Scout volunteers who were equally as dedicated to hosting summer camp this year. There are dozens of amazing adult volunteers who had made the commitment to be counselors, unit leaders, program providers and CITs (Counselors in Training). Our council is tremendously grateful to have you and I hope that when we can offer summer camp again that you will be with us.

We will begin processing refunds beginning tomorrow. Credits usually take approximately 3-5 business days to be reflected. However, if you have any questions or concerns about your refund, please email our team at customercare@gssef.org.

Thank you for being a Girl Scout with me and I hope that you will continue being a Girl Scout by renewing your membership for the upcoming 2020-2021 year. Now more than ever, we need to stand together as one strong, passionate, visible, positive community – as Girl Scouts.

Sincerely, 


Lisa Y. Johnson 
Chief Executive Officer 
Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida

Update: May 21, 2020 (A Message from CEO Lisa Johnson)

A MESSAGE FROM CEO LISA JOHNSON - MAY 21, 2020

To our Amazing GSSEF Families!
I hope this finds all our Girl Scout families staying safe and healthy. As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, I wanted to provide some updates regarding our plans to implement a phased-in reopening of council properties. As I have previously shared, we were never closed, but our team has been working remotely since mid-March and has closely followed the recommendations and guidelines from both the CDC and the State of Florida in making decisions about when we could reopen. This communication will highlight plans for our headquarters, retail stores and camp properties, as well as provide some guidance for resuming in-person Girl Scout activities.

Administrative Headquarters
Our in-based team members will begin a staggered return to the office on June 1. We are working closely with team members to address their individual needs as we facilitate this reopening. Important to note:

  • Even as we begin coming back to the office in small groups, we are all working. Please continue to utilize customercare@gssef.org to make requests.
  • While the office will be open to the staff assigned to return, it will not be open to any outside groups, visitors, or vendors until at least August 1. Any meetings or activities planned between now and August 1 will need to be relocated or conducted virtually. Guidelines for use of our meeting space after August 1 will be provided at a later date.

Retail Stores
Our Broward and Palm Beach County Retail Stores will resume regular operating hours effective June 1. Please note that additional steps are being taken to ensure that shoppers are following social distance guidelines. These may include, but are not limited to limiting the number of people in the store, providing the option for contactless pickup, etc. We also have some special events planned for the stores, so please watch your email and our social media channels for details.

Camp Properties
All camp properties, include Camp Welaka, Camp Nocatee and Camp Telogia will remain closed until at least July 1. As was previously shared, we will make a Go/No Go decision about resident camp on June 1. We are working on guidelines that align with the American Camping Association recommendations for a safe return to camp and hope to begin welcoming Girl Scouts to programs and camping opportunities as early as August.

In-person Girl Scout activities
Our team is currently evaluating Council-planned program activities that are planned after June 1 to determine the feasibility of moving forward. We are excited to welcome girls back to programs, but will only move forward with those where we can reasonably meet CDC guidelines for social interactions, which can be found beginning on page 12 of the Re-Open Florida Task Force report. Also important to note:

  • Beginning June 1: Girl Scout activities not being sponsored by the Council, including troop meetings, may resume, at the discretion of all participants involved for groups of ten or fewer, including adults. Participants must also follow current CDC guidelines in the above-referenced report.
  • For troop travel, we will continue to follow CDC, State of Florida, and GSUSA travel guidelines, which currently advise against non-essential travel. For now, domestic travel is restricted through June 30, and international travel is restricted through July 31. We will provide updates if and when these dates change.

Please note that these dates are based on the most recent guidelines and may be extended based on updates from the CDC, GSUSA, and the State of Florida. We appreciate your continued patience and understanding and ask that you regularly monitor our website, social media channels, and email for further updates and directives. Please be sure to check your email "spam" boxes as well.

Update: May 8, 2020 (A Message from CEO Lisa Johnson)

A MESSAGE FROM CEO LISA JOHNSON - MAY 8, 2020

Update on GSSEF Shutdown
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to evolve over the past eight weeks. The health and well-being of our entire Girl Scout family remains our highest priority and we are so proud of how our local Council community has responded – with your commitment, passion and unwavering love for Girl Scouting. Our Council guidance continues to align with the directives and recommendations from national, State and local public health and government officials.  

Having evaluated the information and the best interests of our entire jurisdiction, GSSEF is directing all troops, groups, Service Units and program partners to extend suspension of all in-person meetings, travel, camping, gatherings and programs until at least May 31, 2020. Refunds will be granted for activity fees of Council-sponsored programs rescheduled or canceled. Here is what that includes:

  • GSSEF has revoked all existing approved Troop Travel Applications and Troop Camping Applications for groups of more than 10 individuals (combination of girls and adults) until at least May 31, 2020. These trips must be postponed (or potentially cancelled). While GSSEF is following the guidelines set forth by the CDC, and are not revoking approval on applications with 10 or fewer individuals, however we strongly urge your group to postpone all planned trips. For nearly all types of travel, whether it’s in a car or van, or with sleeping arrangements, we know that maintaining a consistent minimum of 6 feet of personal space from other individuals is unrealistic. If you and your group reschedules the trip, please send an updated application with the new information to customercare@gssef.org.
  • GSSEF has revoked all existing approved Money-Earning Applications for Troops and Service Units  for groups of more than 10 individuals (combination of girls and adults) until at least May 31, 2020. These activities must be postponed (or potentially cancelled). We strongly urge all groups to postpone money-earning activities, so that we may all contribute to the health and well-being of our members and those living in our communities. If you and your group reschedules the money-earning activity, please send an updated application with the new information to customercare@gssef.org.
  • GSSEF is also extending the closure of our offices, retail stores and properties to visitors until at least May 31, 2020. We will continue to monitor guidelines for Florida, and particularly for South Florida, over the next couple of weeks, and will determine whether any further extension needs to be implemented.
  • There have been some questions about Resident Camp. As our resident programs are planned for July, we will make a decision on June 1 about whether or not we can move forward.

While our properties may be closed, Girl Scouts remains open! Our entire team is working remotely and available by email and phone. You can direct all inquiries to customercare@gssef.org. Retail orders may be placed by phone by calling 561-427-0197 or online (with FREE shipping!) And the Girl Scout activities has gone virtual through our Girl Scouts@Home programNew program activities are being added every Thursday, so be sure and check back weekly!

We are also working on guidelines for what happens when we reopen and will share them as soon as we can. We are all looking forward to the time when we can come together in person and are committed to making sure we can do that safely.

Update on National Council Session
It was announced last week that the Girl Scouts of the USA Board of Directors made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel all in-person events related to G.I.R.L. 2020/55th National Council Session and transition the National Council Session to a virtual meeting. It was disappointing news for many of us in Florida that were looking forward to celebrating an amazing gathering of Girl Scouts this fall.

Many people asked and wondered if the Girl Scout Movement could come to Orlando in 2023 instead. We’re thrilled to share that Wednesday it was announced that the GSUSA board voted during its recent regularly scheduled meeting to hold our Movement’s next convention (2023) in Orlando!

We’ll share more details, including dates, as we have them, but ask for your patience for now. We strongly encourage everyone who was looking forward to G.I.R.L. 2020 to stay connected with our Movement—we’re already excited about the possibilities for a memorable 2023 convention in Orlando! In the meantime, if you have questions, please visit well the G.I.R.L. 2020 section of the GSUSA site.

What you can do Right Now
I have received lots of emails, phone calls and texts from our membership checking in on our staff team and asking how they can help. Thank you to all who have reached out. There are three things I would like to ask you to do right now.

  1. Keep your girls engaged. I know that Girl Scouts isn’t likely your top priority as you navigate working from home, home schooling your children, and navigating this crisis. But our girls need us. If you can plan a Zoom call to stay connected, please do. And if you want me to join you, just email me at ljohnson@gssef.org and I can pop in for a visit. And we send out my “I met the CEO” patch to the girls after my visit.
  2. Renew your membership and your girls’ memberships. We are asking all of our troops to renew during Early Bird. Not only are there great incentives for renewing early, it is also the easiest way to show your continued commitment to your girls and to your Council. Our membership recruitment for this year essentially came to a halt in March when schools closed. And while we are optimistic about being able to recruit in the fall, the reality is, we just don’t know what that will look like.
  3. Recruit one girl. If every one of our members recruited just one more member, we would reach our highest membership numbers in almost a decade. Our girls are the driving force behind everything we do and we want to reach more girls. Please help us do that.

Thank you for all you are doing for Girl Scouts during these unprecedented times. And a special shout out to all of our healthcare workers, first responders and other essential workforce members that are part of our Girl Scout family. We appreciate everything you are doing.

Update: April 29, 2020

At this time, Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida is extending the closure of offices, retail stores, and properties to visitors until at least May 15, 2020. We will continue to monitor guidelines for Florida, and particularly for South Florida, over the next couple of weeks, and will determine whether any further extension needs to be implemented.

This extension will also apply to all troop and service unit gatherings as well as our own participation in Girl Scout activities. Any program activities on the calendar through May 15 are to be rescheduled or canceled.

While our properties may be closed, Girl Scouts remains open! Our entire team is working remotely and available by email and phone. You can direct all inquiries to customercare@gssef.org. Retail orders may be placed by phone or online (with free shipping) at gssef.org or by calling one of our retail stores. And the Girl Scout program has gone virtual through our Girl Scouts@Home program. New program activities are being added every Thursday, so be sure and check back.

Update: April 6, 2020 (A Message from CEO Lisa Johnson)
GSSEF CEO Lisa Johnson 2016

A brief message from Lisa Johnson  

To our incredible Girl Scout members:

Thank you to each of you for all you are doing to keep yourselves, your families and our communities safe. For those of you who are healthcare workers and first responders, THANK YOU! Your contributions during this crisis are so incredible and I hope that we are all doing our part to help keep you safe. A special shout out also to our teachers… I imagine many of us have a renewed appreciation for the work you do. We have made the transition to working from home pretty well at GSSEF and appreciate your patience as we navigate this new territory. I am reaching out today with just a brief update.

In alignment with the current statewide order by Governor DeSantis, Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida offices, retail stores and properties will remain closed to visitors until at least April 30, 2020. While our properties may be closed, Girl Scouts remains open! Our entire team is working remotely and available by email and phone. You can direct all inquiries to customercare@gssef.org. Retail orders may be placed by phone or online (with free shipping) at gssef.org or by calling one of our retail stores. And the Girl Scout program has gone virtual through our Girl Scouts@Home program. Check that out here: https://www.gssef.org/en/activities/girl-scouts-at-home.html. New program activities are being added every Thursday, so be sure and check back.

I know that many of our troops and service units are continuing to stay connected through Zoom and other online platforms. I would love to join you! If you are having a virtual troop or service unit meeting and would like for me to drop in, let me know. I am available by email at ljohnson@gssef.org or on my cell at 561-722-8000. You can email, text or call me. And if I meet with your troop virtually, I will gladly send them my CEO patch.

Keep up with the latest on GSSEF and COVID-19 here: https://www.gssef.org/en/our-council/covid-19-updates.html#update.

Thank you for all you do for Girl Scouts each and every day.

Lisa

Update: March 31, 2020 (RE: High Award Deadlines)

National High Awards:

The team at GSUSA recognizes the impact of the COVID-19 closures and "stay at home orders" are having on Girl Scouts who want to earn High Awards: The Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. Right now, with most schools, youth activities, non-profit organizations, places of worship and other gatherings suspended, conducting the work to discover and connect to create or continue a High Award project is extremely challenging.

GSUSA wants all Girl Scouts to have the opportunity to earn the High Awards they have always dreamt of, so a 3-month extension from Sept. 30, 2020, to December 31, 2020, has been implemented for girls who will “graduate” from 5th grade (Juniors who seek to earn The Bronze Award), 8th grade (Cadettes who seek to earn The Silver Award) and 12th grade (Ambassadors who seek to earn the Gold Award) in the Spring 2020 semester.

To utilize this extension, Girl Scouts are required to follow the following guidelines:

  • Granting an extension implies that projects are already in progress, therefore, High Award Projects must be approved and started by September 30, 2020.  Given that each council handles the High Award project tracking and approvals differently, Girl Scouts should refer to, and follow, local Council guideline and procedures. The information for members of GSSEF can be found here: https://www.gssef.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-program/highest-awards.html
  • This special extension is for girls (and groups with girls, working on Bronze and Silver Awards) who are graduating 5th, 8th and 12th grades this Spring.  This extension applies girls working on approved High Award projects, who are currently in the 5th grade (Juniors), 8th grade (Cadettes), and 12th grade (Ambassadors) who will bridge to the next program level officially on October 1, 2020, and, without this extension, would be no longer eligible to earn the Bronze, Silver or Gold Award, respectively.
  • Uninterrupted membership is required in order to use the extension.  Girl Scouts are required to maintain membership for the 2020-2021Girl Scout year, which begins October 1, 2020. A lapse in membership will prevent the ability to use the extension in order to earn the award. Ambassadors must register as adult members for the 2020-2021 year in order to complete The Gold Award. We highly recommend members take part in the council’s spring registration campaign (aka. Early Bird) to avoid any lapse in membership. Ambassadors, who will bridge to adult members on October 1, 2020, are very welcome to register as Lifetime members; this will also satisfy the membership requirement for the extension.

If you have questions about this extension, please email our local GSSEF staff team at customercare@gssef.org.

Update: March 23, 2020

The situation with COVID-19 has been a rapidly changing one and we have all found ourselves in uncharted territory.  The health and well-being of our entire Girl Scout family is paramount. We also want our Girl Scout family to subscribe to the best practices that will keep our communities healthy too. Council guidance continues to align with the directives and recommendations received from national, State and local public health and government officials. In response, GSSEF is directing all troops, groups and Service Units to suspend all in-person meetings, events, travel and camping with 10 or more individuals (girls and adults combined) until at least May 10, 2020.

We know you have more questions and we are here to help you with these FAQs. GSSEF reserves the right to change or lengthen the timeline for its directives and recommendations based upon information provided by national, state and local public health and government officials. If you have additional questions, email us at customercare@gssef.org.

Update: March 17, 2020

The situation with COVID-19 has been a rapidly changing one and we have all found ourselves in uncharted territory. Our council messages have changed significantly since last Saturday as guidance from our nation’s top health experts has evolved too. The health and well-being of our entire Girl Scout family are paramount and we urge our members and families to practice the guidelines set forth by the CDC. The guidelines can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.html.

In response to this serious situation, GSSEF directs all troops, groups and Service Units to  suspend all in-person meetings of 10 individuals or more from March 17 – May 10, 2020. If groups of 10 individuals or fewer wish to meet, adult volunteers should ensure that each person can have a minimum of 6 feet of personal space from others and meets the hand hygiene guidelines provided by the CDC (see link above). If the CDC guidelines cannot be met, GSSEF directs the postponement (and potential cancellation) of the meeting. We encourage all Girl Scout groups to meet through the use of technology tools, like Zoom, GoToMeeting or FaceTime, if they wish to do so.

During this time frame, March 17 – May 10, 2020, GSSEF will not approve any Troop Travel Applications, Money-Earning Requests, Service Unit functions or Troop Camping Requests, etc. Please stay tuned to the Council’s Facebook page and website for updated information regarding the COVID-19 situation.

Update: March 16, 2020 (A Message from CEO Lisa Johnson)

A MESSAGE FROM CEO LISA JOHNSON - MARCH 16, 2020

Good afternoon,

Thank you all for your quick response to our email on Saturday and for taking steps to ensure the safety of our Girl Scout family by canceling troop and service unit meetings and activities. We are continuing to monitor the CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19 and have also created a website where we can post updates: https://www.gssef.org/en/our-council/covid-19-updates.html.

Since our communication with you on Saturday, the CDC provided interim guidance regarding gatherings of 50 or more people. Specifically, the recommend that for the next 8 weeks, we cancel all in-person events of 50 people or more throughout the United States. They also issued recommendations that events of any size should only be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene and social distancing. Unfortunately, most of our program activities cannot meet this important standard.

My executive team and I met his morning to discuss this latest guidance and have made the decision to postpone, and in some cases cancel, all Girl Scout events, programs and activities through at least May 10. This also includes all camporees, troop camping and other activities on Council properties. Additionally, we have rescheduled the Gold Award Ceremony that was originally planned for May 16. While this is not an exhaustive list, here are some of the upcoming activities and the impact.
 

Original Date Planned
 
Event/Program/Activity
 
Status
 
March 14
 
Rock the Noc!
 
Rescheduled to October 17
 
March 21
 
NU2U
 
Canceled
 
March 21
 
In-store Retail Event (in both locations)
 
Canceled
 
April 1-30
 
Feeding Florida Together
 
Proceeding as planned; expanding donation locations list
 
April 4
 
Cybersecurity Champions
 
Rescheduled for September 12
 
April 4
 
Troop Camp Training
 
Canceled
 
April 4-5
 
Spring into Girl Scouting
 
Postponed; date TBD
 
April 17
 
Core Camp
 
Canceled
 
April 18
 
Emerald Awards
 
Rescheduled for July 25
 
April 18
 
Roger Dean Sleepover
 
Canceled
 
April 18
 
Busch Gardens – Cookie Reward Trip
 
Canceled; girls will be issued gift cards to go at a later date
 
April 18
 
In-store Retail Event (n both locations)
 
Canceled
 
April 25-26
 
iFly – Cookie Reward
 
Canceled; girls will be issued gift cards to go at a later date
 
May 1-31
 
Early Bird
 
Proceeding as planned
 
May 2
 
Women in Energy Program with NextEra
 
Postponed; date TBD
 
May 2
 
Cookie CEO: Extreme Team Luncheon
 
Postponed; date TBD
 
May 2-3
 
NU2U
 
Canceled
 
May 9
 
Camporee/Ingathering Lottery
 
Proceeding as planned
 
May 16
 
Gold Award Ceremony
 
Rescheduled for July 11
 

Any training, program or activity that is scheduled to be delivered via an online platform will proceed as planned. This includes all of our online Volunteer training.

We are absolutely still planning all three of our Resident Camp Sessions that are planned for Camp Welaka in July. Planning is well underway and we look forward to having girls on the property.

The Activities Calendar at www.gssef.org is being updated to reflect cancellations and postponements of all program and event activities. This process may take a few days, so we appreciate your patience.

Per our Council’s policies, GSSEF will refund registration fees for canceled programs. If a program is rescheduled, customers will have the option to transfer the registration fee to hold a spot for the rescheduled date and time.  If the rescheduled date and time is not desired, a refund will be issued.

At this time, Council properties are still closed to the public through at least April 5. It is our hope to resume normal office hours and normal retail hours after this date, but we are prepared to extend this if needed. We will keep the camp properties closed until at least May 10 unless we receive guidance from the CDC that it is safe to resume. We will continue to monitor this closely and keep you apprised of any changes. It is also our expectation that troops and service units will follow suit and suspend all in-person gatherings that do not meet the CDC guidelines, which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.html.

We continue to be available to serve the needs of our members. The best way to reach us is to send an email to customercare@gssef.org. This team will respond to inquiries and will distribute requests to the rest of the team so that we can work as efficiently as possible.
Thank you, 


Lisa Y. Johnson 
Chief Executive Officer 
Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida

Update: March 14, 2020 (A Message from CEO Lisa Johnson)

A MESSAGE FROM CEO LISA JOHNSON - MARCH 14, 2020

Good afternoon,

The last couple of weeks have brought a great deal of confusion and concern to our community, and our GSSEF staff team has handled that with great professionalism and compassion for our members and their families. As the situation with COVID-19 has been a rapidly changing one, we have all found ourselves in uncharted territory that even the many hurricanes we have weathered have not prepared us for. As your CEO, I want you to know that the health and safety of each of you and your families is my priority.

In response, beginning Monday, March 16, GSSEF is introducing a temporary, voluntary work-from-home option for current office-based employees whose jobs can be done from home. While some council functions require work from the Administrative Headquarters, this will be limited to essential functions.  The GSSEF Customer Care department is here to help and guide you, however we will accept incoming requests via email only at this time at customercare@gssef.org. With the change in workplace, staff access to the main phone number may be inconsistent. We are committed to assisting you in every way possible and the use of incoming requests through customercare@gssef.org will allow us to do just that.I assure you, our GSSEF staff team will be working during this timeframe, albeit in the unique ways that this unforeseen situation demands. Our staff can utilize their leave time and sick time.

For the immediate future, March 14 – April 5, 2020, GSSEF will limit public and group exposure for staff members who would be expected to be present at Girl Scout related meetings or programs, including but not limited to those hosted by Service Units. Staff members have been directed to participate only using technology such as conference phone or webinar, etc.

Additionally, March 14 – April 5, 2020, GSSEF will close (to visitors and members) our Administrative Headquarters in Lake Worth, Camp Nocatee in Clewiston, Camp Welaka in Tequesta, Palm Beach Retail Store in Jupiter and Broward Retail Store in Tamarac. Customers can still place retail orders online and by phone; our staff team can complete your transactions and ship the items.

All programs, meetings, events, troop camping, Camporees and Ingatherings will be postponed in this timeframe.  We will work closely with the troop camping groups and Service Units who had Camporees/Ingatherings in this time frame to establish new dates for those wishing to reschedule, prior to the 2020-2021 Camporee/Ingathering Lottery, scheduled for May 9, 2020.

The health and wellbeing of our entire Girl Scout family is paramount. I urge our troops and Service Units to practice the guidelines set forth by our nation’s top health experts. Even though we dislike it, Girl Scouting can wait for now. GSSEF is directing all troops, groups and Service Units to suspend all in person meetings from March 14 – April 5, 2020. We encourage these groups to meet though the use of technology tools, if they wish to do so.

GSEEF has cancelled all programs in this timeframe, as well as activities scheduled with third-party program providers. Per our council’s policies, GSSEF will refund registration fees for cancelled programs. If a program is rescheduled, customers will have the option to transfer the registration fee to hold a spot for the rescheduled date and time.  If the rescheduled date and time is not desired, a refund will be issued.

I will communicate with you as the situation changes and as this timeframe concludes or is forced to be extended.

Please contact me and my team via email or at customercare@gssef.org. We will get through this together. Thank you for your cooperation in helping keep our Girl Scouts and our larger community healthy.

Sincerely, 


Lisa Y. Johnson 
Chief Executive Officer 
Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida

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Frequently Asked Questions

Our troop has less than 10 girls; can we still meet together in person?

Beginning June 1, 2020 Girl Scout activities not being sponsored by the Council, including troop meetings, may resume, at the discretion of all participants involved for groups of ten or fewer, including adults. Participants must also follow current CDC guidelines in the Re-Open Florida Task Force report.

For larger groups, we strongly recommend the use of technology to “meet” with other Girl Scouts.

Here are recently released Safety Activity Checkpoints from GSUSA for conducting virtual meetings with your troop safely from home. 

The service unit leadership team has less than 10 people; can we still meet together in person?

Beginning June 1, 2020 Girl Scout activities not being sponsored by the council may resume, at the discretion of all participants involved for groups of ten or fewer, including adults. Participants must also follow current CDC guidelines in the Re-Open Florida Task Force report.

We strongly recommend the use of technology to “meet” with other Girl Scout volunteers. If CDC guidelines and/or state, county or city directives and executive orders cannot be met, GSSEF directs the postponement (and potential cancellation) of meetings.

Our troop has a previously-approved travel application between now and May 31; can we still go on our trip?

For troop travel, we will continue to follow CDC, State of Florida, and GSUSA travel guidelines, which currently advise against non-essential travel. For now, domestic travel is restricted through June 30, and international travel is restricted through July 31. We will provide updates if and when these dates change.

GSSEF has revoked all existing approved Troop Travel Applications and Troop Camping Applications for groups of more than 10 individuals between now and May 31, 2020. These trips must be postponed (or potentially cancelled). While GSSEF is following the guidelines set forth by the CDC, and are not revoking approval on applications with 10 or fewer individuals, we strongly urge your group to postpone all planned trips. For nearly all types of travel, whether it’s in a car or van, or with sleeping arrangements, we know that maintaining a consistent minimum of 6 feet of personal space from other individuals is unrealistic. If you and your group reschedule the trip, please send an updated application with the new information to customercare@gssef.org.

Our troop has an approved money earning application between now and May 31; can we proceed with our money earning project?

GSSEF has revoked all existing approved Money-Earning Applications for Troops and Service Units for groups of more than 10 individuals between now and May 31, 2020. These activities must be postponed (or potentially cancelled). We strongly urge groups of 10 or fewer individuals to postpone money-earning activities, so that we may all contribute to the health and well-being of our members and those living in our communities. If you and your group reschedule the money-earning activity, please send an updated application with the new information to customercare@gssef.org.

Can I stop by the retail stores to make a purchase?

Our Broward and Palm Beach County Retail Stores will resume regular operating hours effective June 1, 2020. Please note that additional steps are being taken to ensure that shoppers are following social distance guidelines. These may include, but are not limited to limiting the number of people in the store, providing the option for contactless pickup, etc. We also have some special events planned for the stores, so please watch your email and our social media channels for details.

Shop online and recieve FREE shipping! That’s right, no shipping fees will be charged and no minimums! Shop Online Today!

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Programs and Events

The most current up-to-date information on GSSEF programs and events may be found here and published on our GSSEF Facebook page. We encourage you to monitor these outlets for updates. Additionally, you can always log into your VTK for online resources to keep girls engaged in Girl Scout programming and Badge-work. There are many activities that can be done individually or with one’s family so girls can continue their Girl Scout experience.

Below is a list of current programs and events that will be remaining the same or rescheduled:

03/14/20: Rock the Noc - Rescheduled to Saturday, 10/17/2020, at Camp Nocatee

04/01-30/20: Feeding Florida Together - Continue as Scheduled, extended through September

04/04/20: Cybersecurity Champions - Cancelled

April 18: Emerald Awards: Unleash Your Inner G.I.R.L. - Rescheduled for Saturday, 09/12/20

04/25-26/20: Journey in a Day - Postponed, rescheduled date TBA

05/01/20: Early Bird Renewal - Continue as Scheduled

05/16/20: Gold Award Ceremony - Rescheduled to Saturday, 7/11/20

July/August: Summer Resident Camp - Cancelled, new programming TBD
 

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Cancellations and Refunds

All other programs and events (not listed above) will be canceled through May 10. If you have registered for an event that is being canceled you will be contacted by a member of our staff and issued a refund. If you have registered for an event that has been postponed/rescheduled, you will be contacted by a member of our staff and given the option to transfer your program registration fee to hold your place for the newly rescheduled event date. If at the announcement of the newly rescheduled date, you decide that it is no longer convenient to participate, GSSEF will issue a refund.

Please be patient as our staff works diligently on issuing refunds and rescheduling our events. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact Customer Care at customercare@gssef.org or 561-427-0177.