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Working Together to Keep Our Hornets’ Nest Community Healthy


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This page was last updated on May 21, 2021.

Girl Scouts, Hornets’ Nest Council’s top priority is the safety and wellbeing of our girls, volunteers, families and staff. We encourage our troops and Girl Scouts to continue to meet and attend programming as desired in line with local, state, and CDC guidelines, including virtual and in-person activities. Additional information about suggested activities and our meeting polices are included in the frequently asked questions on this page.

The GSHNC Office is closed to the public, but we will be maintaining and amending business operations to best serve our Girl Scout Family, and our Council staff remain available remotely to help support your operations. 

THe GSHNC Shop is open for regular walk-in customers at this time, no appointment needed to shop. The store is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and select Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For a full list of hours and promotions, please visit our Shop page. Curbside pick-up and called ahead orders are still available.

Please see the most frequently asked questions below. If you have further questions, please email customercare@hngirlscouts.org and staff will respond quickly. You can also call at 704-731-6500.  

 

Troop Meeting FAQs

The Carolinas have begun to ease gathering restrictions at many of our community venues and program partners.  Current guidance continues to  instruct that in-person gatherings should be done with social distancing precautions and local guidelines in mind, particularly for those who are not currently vaccinated against COVID-19. At this time, Girl Scouts, Hornets’ Nest Council strongly recommends that you discuss with caregivers how your troop can resume regular in- person meetings with girl and family safety in mind, and require that all state, local and CDC guidelines, including face covering guidance for unvaccinated participants, be met. 

Currently, if troop leaders, along with caregivers and girls, would like to meet beyond virtual technology, we recommend troops utilize outdoor meeting spaces where social distancing can be maintained accompanied by the appropriate sanitization materials and methods (and face coverings). Confirm in advance permission from the property owner, and ensure that the meeting space is cleaned and sanitized, and that soap or hand sanitizer is available at your meetings. Be prepared to wipe down surfaces before and after meetings, and make changes to your meetings that allow your Girl Scouts to meet while maintaining social distancing from those outside their household. If a girl or caregiver of a girl in your troop is exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, this individual and their household should not participate in Girl Scout activities until they have completed a quarantine period based on current recommendations from the CDC and state and local health experts.

Schools, churches, fitness centers or gyms may not permit outside groups on premises, so check and confirm ahead of time. GSUSA strongly suggests no meetings inside anyone’s home out of concern that there would be greater risk of exposure to other family members.

Carpooling and public transportation for meetings should be avoided as possible to help maintain social distancing. Coronavirus transmission risk is high when people are in close proximity, less than six feet apart. The risk increases when people are in a closed in area or indoors for longer than 10 minutes. When transporting girls, always space out the girls to avoid crowding, have girls wear a mask and keep the windows partially open to provide ventilation. Make sure parents are aware ahead of time if girls will be in a car together. Always, for every in-person event, meeting, or transportation arrangement, conduct the pre-screening process to ensure that coronavirus does not touch Girl Scout gatherings.

Where these guidelines cannot be followed, either by troop size or due to lack of meeting space or resources, troops are encouraged to continue meeting virtually. Decisions on attending Girl Scout programs and events are best made by girls’ caregivers, and GSHNC recommends families use their discretion when determining which activities they feel comfortable with.

What types of troop activities are recommended at this time?

Examples of ways Girl Scout Troops can meet together at this time include:

  • Outdoor Troop Meetings at public parks, playgrounds, or greenspaces.
  • Meetings held in outdoor spaces near a leader or volunteer’s home. Please note: GSUSA currently does not recommend meeting indoors at an individual’s home.
  • Meetings held in large rooms of schools or churches may still be an option for your troop. If your troop regularly meets at a school or church, be sure to confirm with your contact at your meeting location that this is still an option for you, as some do not allow outside groups at this time.
  • Online meetings through use of virtual meeting technology, like Zoom Google Hangouts, FaceTime, etc. Please see virtual resources at the bottom of this page for more information on connecting your troop virtually if needed.
  • Activities and programs held at local program partners and community resources, such as museums, parks, theaters, libraries, etc., held in line with local activity and venue capacity guidelines.

These are just examples of ways troops can continue to bring girls together this year while maintaining social distancing and suggested safety precautions. Please communicate with families in your troop as you plan activities and continue to offer opportunities to meet and do programming together.

Can we provide snacks or drinks at meetings?

No, we do not recommend leaders, volunteers, or families bring snacks or drinks to meetings to share with other members, regardless of whether it is store bought, homemade, individually wrapped, or not.

Do we need to have families sign an additional waiver to participate in in-person activities?

No, Girl Scouts, Hornets’ Nest Council is not requiring families sign a waiver to participate in activities with their troops at this time. Troops have full autonomy to plan and hold activities as they see fit, while continuing to keep state and local guidelines in mind. Families are encouraged to use their discretion when determining which activities they would like their Girl Scout to participate in.

What if a member of my troop is not comfortable attending an activity or meeting?

Attendance at Girl Scout activities is voluntary and completely at the discretion of families. If a Girl Scout or her family is not comfortable participating in a planned activity, encourage her to do alternative activities, such as a Council-coordinated virtual activity.

Are volunteers and leaders required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

GSHNC strongly encourages eligible volunteers and leaders to receive the vaccine, though there is no requirement or mandate to do so.

Are masks required at Girl Scout events and meetings?

In accordance with state and local guidelines, we are revisiting our Council mask policies to continue to keep CDC suggestions top of mind. Because the majority of our Girl Scout membership is not yet vaccinated, we continue to require the use of masks for girls under the age of 12 at all Girl Scout events, and encourage the use of masks for all unvaccinated program and meeting attendees over 12. We ask that all Girl Scout participants keep the Girl Scout Promise and Law in mind – we hold you to your Girl Scout Honor on you and your family’s vaccination status.  

What do I do if someone in my troop tests positive for COVID-19?

If a girl or caregiver of a girl in your troop tests positive for COVID-19 and you have recently had an in-person gathering that they attended, you are required to notify the other families in your troop that they were potentially exposed. You are not required to notify Girl Scouts, Hornets’ Nest Council or your Service Unit. If you would like to notify Council of troop or girl exposure, you can do so via the Incident Report. Additionally, you are required to keep girl/caregiver information confidential – under no circumstances should you share the identity of the positive individual with the other families in your troop.

What do I do if someone in my troop is exposed to COVID-19?

If a girl or caregiver of a girl in your troop is exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, this individual and their household should not participate in Girl Scout activities until they have completed a quarantine period based on current recommendations from the CDC and state and local health experts. This includes but is not limited to troop meetings, camp programming, and cookie activities.

 

Program FAQs

What programs are currently being offered by Girl Scouts, Hornets’ Nest Council?

Throughout the 2020-21 Girl Scout Year, new events and activities will be added to the calendar. For the time being, the majority of our programs and series are outdoor or virtual programs to help give girls and families the opportunity to experience Girl Scouting with their peers. Additional in-person programs may be added at this time with limited attendance opportunities.

To view the currently available Council-coordinated programs, please visit our Events page.

Will you be requiring Service Units and Troops to cancel locally coordinated programs and events?

For questions about specific Service Unit events, please reach out to Service Unit leadership. Questions about specific Troop-related activities (including Troop coordinated travel, regular Troop meetings, etc.) should be directed to your Troop Leader. All Service Unit and Troop coordinated events should follow guidelines from the CDC, U.S. Department of State, and state/local authorities in planning and operation. 

Will the Council Service Center and Store be open?

Girl Scouts, Hornets’ Nest Council is open for business, but has transitioned to a predominantly remote workforce. Currently, we are limiting visitors to the Service Center as the majority of our staff continues to work remotely, but remain committed to serving not just our members, but the community-at-large. We are accessible via email or phone M-F from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Our Council store is open for regular walk-in customers at this time, no appointment needed to shop. The store is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and select Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For a full list of hours and promotions, please visit our Shop page. Curbside pick-up and called ahead orders are still available.

Will GSHNC run summer camp this year?

Yes! We are pleased to offer a summer of fun to our Girl Scout Family this year, while keeping girl, volunteer, and staff safety top of mind. Our program will follow all guidelines provided by the CDC, American Camp Association, and our state and local officials. Learn more about Summer Camp here.

 

Travel FAQs

Can our troop go on a local day trip?

Troops are encouraged to follow all state, local, and CDC guidelines when making travel arrangements, including ensuring girls and volunteers can maintain social distancing while in transit and throughout the activity.

Can our troop go on an overnight trip?

Troops can begin planning overnight trips, and are required to keep state, local, and CDC guidelines in mind when making arrangements. Once your state jurisdiction permits travel, proceed cautiously to integrate overnight travel back into Girl Scout programs. (It is important to note that even if a state or county does not have current restrictions on “travel”, it still may have restrictions relating to the number of people who can gather, the number of households that can be present in each gathering, or other restrictions that would apply to group travel, as opposed to individual or family travel.)

Always implement modifications to travel plans that make social distancing practicable; for example, as mentioned above, travelers from separate households practicing social distancing. Again, sustained contact within less than six (6) feet for longer than ten (10) minutes within an enclosed area creates high risk for virus transmission. For travel that include girls and adults from multiple households who must be in close proximity (e.g. sharing transportation or accommodations), consider guidance related to resident camp programs. See the American Camp Association Resource Center for Camps which include a Field Guide for Camps. Strategies to mitigate COVID risk may include breaking the group up into smaller cohorts or instituting pre-trip quarantine and testing requirements, in addition to pre-screening and symptoms checks, which should take place before all in-person activities.

Will you be canceling upcoming travel opportunities?

GSHNC is recommending that Service Units and Troops follow updates from the CDC, U.S. Department of State, and state/local authorities when planning day trips. Look at all travel advisories and health department notifications for destinations. If utilizing a third party for travel planning, consult with them regarding cancellation, insurance, refund or credit inquiries. For any trip that does proceed, ensure to take every suggested precaution recommended by the CDC and U.S. Department of State in conjunction with all of the Travel/Trip guidelines in Safety Activity Checkpoints. Troop Leaders should have girl safety top of mind and engage them and their parents/caregivers in the decision making.

Important: please note that girls traveling to any international location identified by the U.S. Department of State as “Level 4 – Do Not Travel” is never allowed. New in this situation is that if there is any girl travel scheduled in the next 60 days to a U.S. Department of State Level 3 location due to COVID-19 risk, the trip should immediately be cancelled or re-routed. New guidance also prohibits travel to Europe and advises against cruises and long air travel.

 

Additional Resources

How can girls and volunteers best help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

The same steps that prevent the spread of seasonal flu viruses can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We encourage volunteers to enforce proper hand washing techniques at troop meetings and events. For the safety and protection of our Girl Scout community, please stay home and encourage others to do the same if you experience symptoms of the flu such as the fever, cough, and/or respiratory distress.

Additionally, this post on How to Talk to Your Kids about Coronavirus from Girl Scouts, USA, can be a resource to help minimize stress and worry in your Girl Scout’s life. 

If girls cannot attend troop meetings, what resources or technology can I use to keep Girl Scouts engaged and enjoying Girl Scout activities and fellowship during this challenging situation?

The opportunity to participate in “normal” activities and engage with one another will continue to be very important for girls, especially during this time of uncertainty for them. To keep girls actively engaged, consider creating take-home packets, choose a badge, Journey or patch program to work on individually then host group discussion/sharing video conferences, find a Facebook Live event to attend together, etc.

You can also consider hosting online or virtual meetings. Though we cannot endorse or support specific online meeting tools for your use, there are various tools to check into for virtual meetings and/or perhaps further engaging with council activities and other troops. We encourage troop co-leaders to look at these and alternative options and discuss with parents and girls to determine what the best solution is for your troop’s needs. *Make sure your girls complete the  Internet Safety Pledge and have parent/caregiver consent.

See below for a list of free and low-cost tools that could be useful to you. We encourage troop leaders to look at these and alternative options and discuss with parents and girls to determine what the best solution is for your troop’s needs. 

Video and Audio-Conferencing Tools with free versions 

While all of these options have a free version, please note you may be prompted to consider their upgraded versions for a subscription fee.

  • Zoom - FAQ
    • Note: Meetings durations maximum of 40 minutes in free version
    • If your troop would like to purchase a premium Zoom account, Girl Scouts, Hornets’ Nest Council is able to offer troops a discounted rate of $36 for a full year license, based on a nation-wide partnership between Girl Scouts and Zoom. To sign up for a paid Zoom account using this discount, please complete this form. Council will set up your account on your behalf using our discount, and you can either pay by credit/debit card, or we will draft the fee from your troop account. For additional information, please reach out to customercare@hngirlscouts.org.
  • Skype - Support
    • Note: Up to 10 participants free
  • Webex – Help Center
    • Note: Limited file and content sharing in free version

Chat and Collaboration Tools with free versions

 

General Information

This page will be continually updated with additional questions and guidance as the situation changes in our footprint. Please check back regularly for updates.

For complete GSUSA guidelines regarding in-person meetings, see here.

This page was last updated on May 21, 2021 .