COVID-19: Council News & Updates
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COVID-19: Council News & Updates


Safety First

Updated: June 11, 2020, 9:44 a.m.

The spread of COVID-19 has put an unprecedented strain on our community, the nation and the world and we are all doing our best to navigate this health crisis. There is nothing we take more seriously than the safety and well-being of our girls, volunteers and council staff. We hope that you, along with your families, friends, neighbors and co-workers, are staying healthy and safe. Please follow the recommended CDC guidelines and maintain social distancing when out for essential needs.

As national, state and local health and safety protocols continue to evolve rapidly, we are reacting as quickly as possible. We are keeping this blog post updated as situations change, so please check back if you are looking for the most up-to-date information.

To receive text updates from GSWCF, please text BEPREPARED to (855) 980-0305. You can also opt in by logging into the MyGS link at the top of this page, clicking Family Profile, selecting edit, and then checking the box next to "text opt in". If you need assistance making the change to your status, contact our customer connections team.

Troop / Service Unit Meetings

On Thursday, June 4, we received guidance from Girl Scouts of the USA on when it is advisable to resume normal in-person activities, including troop and service unit meetings. The recommendation is to allow meetings only after our state and county have successfully entered Phase 3 of the re-opening process. With Florida just now entering Phase 2, we don’t yet have a firm date in place but we are working on what precautions this will involve and will provide clear guidance to you prior to Phase 3.

In line with the latest information from GSUSA and the CDC, the precautions are being designed to provide a safe experience and limit potential exposure for girls and family members. This will include our recommendations on group sizes, meeting locations, day trips and travel along with outlining specific hygienic and COVID-19 risk mitigation measures that will be necessary to safely hold face-to-face meetings.  A reporting and communicating process for a positive COVID 19 test will be put in place and managed by a council staff member. 

COVID-19 Precaution: COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus that spreads easily through person-to-person contact. As with any social activity, participation in Girl Scouts could present the risk of contracting COVID-19.  While Girl Scouts of West Central Florida takes every safety and preventative precaution, Girl Scouts of West Central Florida can in no way warrant that COVID-19 infection will not occur through participation in council programs.

Troops are encouraged to continue meeting virtually and participate in Girl Scouts at Home activities this summer. If you have any questions, please contact Kathryn Owen, COO.

If you troop had been making travel plans this spring or summer that have now been cancelled/postponed, please see our guidelines.

Camp Properties

At this time, we are keeping our camp properties closed for all encampments, troop camping, events, programs, adult trainings and visitors through May 31. This includes sleepovers at the Tampa Leadership Center.

In early March, we increased our cleaning protocols to follow CDC guidelines by disinfecting with a bleach solution or Clorox wipes for common surfaces such as doorknobs and activity tables.

On a positive note, the rangers at each property have been taking advantage of the weeks without any visitors to beautify our camps and tackle some of the bigger projects on their to-do lists. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back to see the wonderful work they’re doing. You can learn more at our Camp News page.

Leadership Center

The Leadership Center is closed to all outside visitors until May 15. Nay planned events and program activites are cancelled through May 15 as well.. Sleepovers have been cancelled through May 31. 

Programs and Events

All council programs not being held at one of our properties have been cancelled through May 15. We have been reaching out to those members directly affected by any cancellations (if you have any questions about a cancelled event, please contact our Customer Connections Team.

We are actively working with our partners to determine the status of program offerings beyond May 15 and will update this blog with any further changes.

Visit our Girl Scouts At Home page for virtual programs and activities for the whole family. You can find even more fun Girl Scout activities at GSUSA’s Girl Scouts At Home page.

Here is the current status of some of our major council events:

  • Women of Distinction – cancelled, but please visit the page to see the honoree videos (we are looking at alternate ways to honor these amazing women later this year and will update when we know more)
  • STEMapalooza – April 7-9, now being conducted virtually
  • Annual Meeting – April 25, now being conducted virtually
  • Adult Awards – postponed (more information to come)
  • Evening with Sylvia Acevedo - cancelled (we are working with GSUSA on finding a date she can reschedule a visit later this year)
  • Career Café – May 9, now being conducted virtually (more details to come)
  • LEGOLAND Scout Days – postponed (more details to come)
  • Universal Orlando Girl Scout Day – postponed (more details to come)
  • G.I.R.L. 2020- cancelled, National Council Session transitioned to virtual event (Learn more.)
  • 2020 Girl Scout Summer Camp- cancelled

Girl Scout Summer Camp

Even though the Governor announced in late May that he was allowing camps to open, we are standing by our decision to cancel Summer Camp this year based on a number of factors. Girl safety is always our number one consideration. There remain ongoing concerns regarding accessibility to adequate cleaning supplies and our medical capacity is not equipped to effectively test/pre-screen or manage a COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, ongoing social distancing guidelines and restrictions on group sizes would make most activities difficult, if not impossible, to conduct planned camp activities.

Though there is nothing we would love more than to have girls enjoy their summer at our properties and we share your enthusiasm to get back to our normal programming as soon as possible. Until that time, we encourage families to take advantage of our Summer Camp In A Box option for a Girl Scout Summer Camp experience they can engage in from the safety of their homes.

The Girl Scout Store

All Girl Scout Stores, Saturday Shops and Trading Posts have been closed to visitors until further notice. GSUSA has implemented FREE SHIPPING for purchases through the online Girl Scout Store and the profits from online purchases benefit us locally.

We also offer FREE from shipping from the Tampa Girl Scout store with orders placed by EMAIL OR PHONE ONLY. To place an order, call 813-262-1793 or email us with your order. Payment must be taken over the phone.

We are offering curbside pickup at the Tampa Girl Scout Store Wednesdays and Fridays; 10:30 am – 3:30 pm. Please call (813-262-1793) or email the store at least three hours in advance to place the order, pay for your items and schedule a pick-up time. Upon arrival, you should call the store so the order can be brought out.

 

GSWCF Staff and Member Support

Though our camps and offices are closed, Girl Scouts has not been cancelled. We are still working to deliver the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and support our members. Our staff is available to you via phone, email, social media or our website from 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. Please visit our Girl Scouts At Home page for Journey and Badge Programing, resources from our program partners, our Virtual STEMapalooza, fun videos from staff and so much more to keep families engaged and active.

Tips to Stay Safe and Healthy

We advise that everyone follow the steps outlined by the CDC:

  • Clean your hands often- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Use social distancing-  Try to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others when out in public. It is especially crucial to avoid close contact with people who show visible signs of sickness (sneezing, runny nose, cough, red eyes, etc.).
  •  Stay home and wear a facemask if you’re sick-  Except to get medical care. Please take care of yourself and get well soon.
  •  Cover coughs and sneezes- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them with soap and water before using a commercial disinfectant (like Lysol wipes). Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.

For additional information and resources about COVID-19, we recommend the following: