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Council Update: May 4, 2020

Dear Parents and Volunteers,

It has been a trying time the past couple of months with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, including the interruption of troop and council activities and events, the disruption of the Cookie Program, not to mention the devastating tornadoes in the Chattanooga area. Needless to say, it has been a Spring unlike any we’ve experienced, but we continue to be flexible and adapt to the many changes so that we can continue to provide Girl Scout experiences to our members.

Summer Camp Update
It is with heartfelt disappointment that we are postponing this year’s summer resident camp until 2021. This was a difficult decision to make, but the health and safety of our girls and staff is a top priority.  

Our plan is to repeat this summer’s sessions next year. Refunds are being made and if you registered for camp this year, you should have received an e-mail communication with more details. We will miss the joy and excitement of camp this summer, but we are hopeful for an outstanding 2021.  

Council and Troop Activities
All in person Council and troop activities and travel have been cancelled through July 1. We continue to assess federal, state and local guidelines and will continue to make decisions based on protocols that keep health and safety top priority.

Cookie Program
Since the disruption of cookie booths due to COVID-19, we have sold nearly 27,000 boxes of cookies through the national and local Digital Cookie store, but we still have around 120,000 boxes on hand. Most of these cookies were in the cupboards ready to sell at cookie booths scheduled for the last two weekends of the sale.  As a matter of fact, the reorders placed by troops on Monday, March 9th were delivered on Wednesday, March 11th just two days before we had to suspend cookie booths.  This number also includes more than 10,300 boxes (or $45,000 worth) of cookies we were able to take back from troops who were unable to sell their cookies due to COVID-19. While the council will have an ongoing financial burden, it is important that no family had to experience financial hardship due to excess inventory.

Cookie rewards will be available for Service Unit Managers to pick up curbside the week of June 8.

We are proud to have begun making the first of many cookie donations to area organizations and first responders. They were very appreciative to receive delicious Girl Scout cookies and we were just as thrilled to deliver some sweetness and joy!  

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Volunteer Opportunity - Drive Through Cookie Sale
As noted above, we still have a lot of cookies in our cupboard so we are planning a drive through cookie sale on Saturday, June 6 from 11am – 5pm at the following locations:

Cleveland - 24Hour Self Storage, 2620 Guthrie St. NW, Cleveland TN
Knoxville – West Town Mall parking lot, 7600 Kingston Pike
Johnson City – Girl Scout Service Center, 1100 Woodland Avenue

We are seeking adult volunteers (must be age 18 or older). If you would like to volunteer for a shift at the drive through sale, please sign up here. The sale will be outdoor, physical distancing guidelines will be followed and masks must be worn.   

Service Centers and Retail Shops
Service Centers in Chattanooga, Knoxville and Johnson City will remain closed to the public until further notice. Council staff continues to tele-work and we are planning a gradual, phased return to the office. Retail shops will remain closed to the public. However, we are pleased to announce curbside pickup for shop items starting May 11 in Johnson City and June 1 in Knoxville and Chattanooga. You may e-mail info@girlscoutcsa.org and attach the shop order form and we will fulfill the order for curbside pickup or if you prefer you may request the order be shipped. Please call (865) 244-4183 for more information.

Virtual Programming
GSCSA is providing daily virtual activities and badge workshops. We are so proud of our team for quickly producing these programs for our members to participate in. Visit our web site or Facebook page to check out all the fun.

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Zoom Ins
Check out the full Zoom-In schedule just for volunteers. We're here to support YOU! Participate with experts on topics such as homeschooling, virtual troop meetings, and more. Register online today.

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High Awards
Our in-person 2020 High Awards Ceremonies were unfortunately cancelled, but we are excited to announce that we will be holding virtual ceremonies next month to honor the girls who achieved this significant milestone. We want to celebrate with you so please join us for one of the following Zoom ceremonies:

Ceremonies occur at 2:00pm EST:
June 7 
June 14
June 28

If you are a High Award recipiant for 2020, be on the lookout for an e-mail with more details. 

Leadership Summit
As previously announced, our annual Leadership Summit (previously named Volunteer Conference) was consolidated and scheduled for August 22. We are now holding a virtual Leadership Summit and will present a roster of meaningful and educational sessions for volunteers over the course of several days in August. Please stay tuned for the schedule.

National Service Project
Girl Scouts has launched a national service project – the Girl Scouts Give Back Letter Writing Campaign. We know many of our troops have already been doing similar activities in our local communities, as featured in this news story about eight troops in Anderson County who joined forces to write more than 300 letters to every senior center in the county. Visit this page to register your troop’s project.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we have navigated the issues surrounding the COVID-19 impact on our council activities and Cookie Program. On behalf of every staff member and volunteer involved in the decision-making, I can assure you that YOU are top of mind in every decision we make. It is our true belief that we will come through this stronger and with a sense of accomplishment that we were able to adapt to our changing environment and were able to continue doing a good turn daily.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

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Lynne Lawson Fugate
Chief Executive Officer
Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians