Note: Mary Anne Servian, CEO of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, would like to share the following message from Girl Scouts of the USA.
For 108 years, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) has enabled girls to realize their biggest dreams and tap into their spirit of innovation, collaboration, and service to their communities to make the world a better place. Most recently, Girl Scouts, their families, volunteers, and supporters have mobilized to give back to those in need due to our current health crisis in safe and creative new ways.
Safety has always been at the heart of all Girl Scout activities. As we’ve continued to monitor public health experts’ recommendations and forecasts, it became clear that, because there are no widely accepted models that predict when it may be safe to hold large-scale, in-person events and when all restrictions on travel will be lifted, Girl Scouts could not hold our G.I.R.L. 2020/55th National Council Session in October as planned—we simply can’t guarantee the health and safety of participants. As we sought feedback from all key stakeholders, including delegates, we assessed and prepared for different scenarios, given the extraordinary circumstances we have been operating under due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. This included asking those expected to participate in NCS if they had any concerns about the event—74% responded they were concerned about the health and safety of participants (this was the top concern).
Given all of this, the National Board held a special meeting on Tuesday, April 21, and voted to hold a one-time virtual session for our 55th National Council Session in October 2020. The board also voted to cancel G.I.R.L. 2020, including the Global Roundtable.
We are reimagining NCS in the innovative spirit of our quick Movement pivot due to current challenges toward a 100 percent virtual experience to continue delivering for girls.
The board discussed various options and decided this was the best way to enable the business of Girl Scouting to continue in a timely manner and honor the significant business that was brought to the National Council, including four proposals initiated by councils and two that were co-created by councils and recommended to the board, as well as the business of electing the new board. We will be leveraging our councils’ learnings, as more than half have already held/decided to hold their annual meetings virtually this year.
We know this news is disappointing for the girls, troops, volunteers, alums, and supporters who were looking forward to meeting in Orlando for a truly impactful, girl-led event. Although we can’t meet in person, we encourage you to continue to connect with our unbreakable sisterhood via the many virtual events and activities we’ve recently launched for girls and their families, as well as our volunteers and alums, via Girl Scouts at Home™ and the Girl Scout Network’s Campfire Chats.
GSUSA is enormously grateful for the many volunteers and council leaders and staff who have been working to create amazing experiences for G.I.R.L. 2020/55th NCS. We want to send a special shout-out to the G-TEAM—26 brilliant young women from across Girl Scouts and Girl Guides who have played a central role in planning all aspects of our convention—and the six Florida host councils:
- Girl Scouts of Citrus
- Girl Scouts of Gateway Council
- Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida
- Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida
- Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida
- Girl Scouts of West Central Florida
GSUSA will be refunding in full (100%) all convention registrations that were booked directly through GSUSA (please give us a few weeks to process them all). We also will be seeking additional feedback and support as we plan a virtual NCS. We ask for your patience as we work through the impact these decisions have on the many events and activities that were originally planned as part of G.I.R.L. 2020/55th NCS.
As always, Girl Scouts are trailblazers—with our pivot to a virtual National Council Session, we are making history and preserving Girl Scout’s democratic process while propelling our Movement into the future together through an engaging virtual experience.