This page was last updated on September 4, 2020.
Girl Scouts, Hornets’ Nest Council’s top priority is the safety and wellbeing of our girls, volunteers, families and staff. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, Council-coordinated programs are largely shifting to outdoor and virtual activities and series while we closely monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our community.
The GSHNC Office and Girl Scout Shop closed to the public, but we will be maintaining and amending business operations to best serve our Girl Scout Family, and our Council staff remains available to help support your operations.
Please see the most frequently asked questions below and as you have further questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, where staff will typically be able to respond quickly. You can also call at 704-731-6500.
Troop Meeting FAQs
The Carolinas have lifted the Stay at Home Order, however Phase 2 continues to mean that in-person gatherings should be done with social distancing precautions and local guidelines in mind. 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 are met.
For complete GSUSA guidelines regarding in-person meetings, see here. Below is an abridged version.
Currently, if troop leaders, along with caregivers and girls request 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. 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 to allow your Girl Scouts to meet while maintaining social distancing from those outside their household.
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 in anyone’s home out of concern that there would be greater risk of exposure to other family members.
Troops are expected to meet all local restrictions for in person gatherings. While the GSUSA national guideline suggests a maximum of 10 people (eight girls and two unrelated adult volunteers), GSHNC aims to reflect our state and local guidelines of the Carolinas to determine meeting restrictions. When in doubt, see your state and local guidelines on gatherings to determine safe meeting sizes. Meetings are expected to follow all social distancing practices and preventative guidance, including face coverings and keeping all individuals six feet apart.
Carpooling and public transportation for meetings should be avoided as possible to help maintain social distancing.
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 front or back yards of 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.
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, home made, 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 or an activity available through our Girl Scouts at Home series.
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. 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 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 on the 1st and 15th of every month. 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 Activities page.
We are also proud to offer self-guided programming through our Girl Scouts at Home series, where girls can complete badges and patches, explore partner program content or dive into our curated resources. There’s plenty to do for every age level, and more is added regularly.
Will you be requiring Service Units and Troops to cancel locally coordinated programs and events?
Girl Scouts, Hornets’ Nest Council recommends all Service Units and Troops cancel large, in-person meetings, events, programs and encampments for the short term in support of public health and to help encourage maximum gatherings in line with local guidance.
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?
The Council Service Center and Store is currently closed to the public, but we are maintaining business operations and our Council staff will remain available to help support your operations.
While our Council store is still closed for in-person shopping, we want to make it easy for our Girl Scout Family to get all the swag they'll need this year with contactless personal shopping and curbside pick up. Email (email@example.com) or call (704-731-6608) the GSHNC store to make your personal shopping appointment and begin your order.
What about Council-owned property rentals?
For the foreseeable future, we will be suspending all Property Rentals. This includes the Dale Earnhardt Environmental Leadership Campus at Oak Springs, Camp Holly Hut and the POD Village at our Service Center. Program Rentals will reopen when it is safe to do so, in adherence with suggestions and requirements from governmental agencies.
Will you be canceling upcoming travel opportunities?
GSHNC is working to reschedule, postpone or cancel Council coordinated trips impacted by closurers and state or national guidelines to ensure comfort and safety of girls and chaperones.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
This page will be continually updated with additional questions and guidance as the situation changes in our footprint. Please check back regularly for updates.
This page was last updated on September 4, 2020 .