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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Council Update
April 3, 2020

Feeling grateful and sharing that gratitude can be heart-healing, especially in the face of uncertainty or challenges. As National Volunteer Month begins, I am thankful for the 11,300 local women and men who make Girl Scouting possible. Now they’re teaming up with our staff members, who are working remotely, developing exciting new ways to bridge the isolation girls can feel while sheltering at home.

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April is a special time to thank all those, like you, who give their time, talent, and resources to support our mission to help girls become leaders. 

We invite you to visit our Staying Connected web page, frequently updated with helpful resources for at-home activities and badge work. You’ll also find links to the community partners creating opportunities for girls to learn outside their classrooms. Badges and activity sets are available at our online shop and shipped to you for free!

As a reminder, Girl Scouts San Diego has cancelled, postponed, or moved to a virtual platform all in-person events scheduled through April 30. As the month unfolds, we will keep you posted about any changes to our May schedule. 

Camp registration is ongoing, and we encourage families to reserve a spot for their girl! We will continue to monitor the situation and make any necessary adjustments. Campers who cancel at least 25 days in advance of their session will receive full refunds.

I am so proud of our 48 Elite Cookie Entrepreneurs, the Girl Scouts who sold over 2,020 packages in 2020. What a joy to connect with each of them by phone and learn the secrets to their tremendous success. The most frequent tips they shared were: work hard, never give up, and always say thank you (even when people say no or ignore you). A special shout-out to 12th-grader Christina Bailey, who marketed 6,350 packages this year for a career grand total of 33,485! This was the 4th consecutive year she had the highest sales. Watch out, world, here comes a successful entrepreneur! 

I recently met Tenley, an up-and-coming entrepreneur. For an inspiring anecdote about how the cookie program helped this kindergartner’s confidence soar, see today’s edition of Feel Good Friday. Thank you to Giving Back Magazine and Philanthropy Editor Lori Walton for spotlighting Girl Scouts San Diego and me. 

Speaking of cookies, still craving your favorite flavor? Wish you had stocked up on more? While we completed the cookie program before our community was affected by COVID-19, many of our sister councils were just beginning, and have been severely impacted. You can support the national Girl Scout Cookie Program in support of councils whose cookie programs were disrupted by COVID-19: Eat. Share. Show Communities We Care. Order cookies to be shipped to you or donated to first responders. 

Thank you again to our invaluable Girl Scout volunteers. I am also grateful for your continued support, and hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well.

P.S. Watch for more exciting news about our 2020 cookie program in the next Connections newsletter, coming to your inbox on April 9!

   

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Council Update
March 27, 2020

At a time when most people are working, living, and schooling at home, isolation can be challenging. The mission of Girl Scouts is a critical one. Our focus is to provide positive activities, encouraging messages, and vital connectivity to foster development, mental health, growth, and perseverance. My staff continues to be available for our girls, families, volunteers, and community, especially during these uncertain times.

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While our council offices are closed for the foreseeable future, Girl Scout staff are working remotely to serve our members and support our volunteers. Our new Staying Connected web page is chock full of resources to help volunteers and girls continue their Girl Scout experience and maintain some normalcy of troop life in a virtual setting.

Girls are continuing to earn badges and they can still shop for their Girl Scout swag online (with free shipping on all orders). We have moved many of our volunteer meetings and trainings, including a recent campfire session (!), to video conference platforms, and have instructed our Girl Scout troop leaders to do the same. 

We  have cancelled, postponed, or moved to a virtual platform all in-person events scheduled through April 30, and expect our volunteers and community partners to do the same. We will continue to reach out to the individuals affected by these changes and process full refunds for events cancelled by our organization due to COVID-19. As the next month unfolds, we will keep you posted about any changes to our May schedule. 

We are hoping for the best outcomes in response to our state quarantine and looking forward to summer. Camp registration is ongoing. We encourage families to review the brochure and reserve a spot for their girl before they are all gone! Campers who cancel at least 25 days in advance of their session will receive a full refund, and we will continue to monitor the situation and make the necessary adjustments. The health and safety of our girls, volunteers, and staff are at the forefront of our decisions.

We have rescheduled our Cool Women luncheon to Friday, June 12. We hope you can join us at this 20th anniversary celebration!

I want to mention that there are several councils across our movement who were in the midst of, or had not started, their cookie program when COVID-19 hit their community. Several of these councils and troops will be financially impacted. I want to assure you, we are not one of these councils. Our program ended several weeks ago. In order to help our sister councils, Girl Scouts of the USA launched a digital campaign to Eat. Share. Show Communities We Care. Cookie fans are encouraged to buy their favorite cookies online and have them shipped to their doors—or donate cookies which will be distributed to first responders, volunteers, and local causes on the frontline of the crisis. Be a sister to every Girl Scout, and help support this effort.

Do you have a feel-good Girl Scout story? Please share it with us at media@sdgirlscouts.org. Here’s mine: This week, I have been calling the 48 Elite Cookie Entrepreneurs, who achieved that distinction by selling 2,020 or more packages of cookies. Among the questions I ask each girl is, “What is the secret to your success?” One of my favorite responses, so far, was from a Cadette named Leah. “I build a relationship, even if it is only for a few seconds.” No wonder she is a six-time Elite Entrepreneur! Leah and her sister entrepreneurs are resilient and kind go-getters, and just what this world needs.

During times of crisis, you can count on Girl Scouts to make a plan, band together (while following social-distancing guidelines), develop innovative ways to stay connected, try new things…and find a way to keep making the world a better place. I am proud to see how our volunteers, girls, and staff are assisting each other.

   

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Council Update
March 19, 2020

Considering the current situation surrounding COVID-19, and in accordance with Gov. Newsom’s statewide order this evening mandating that Californians stay at home except for essential work and errands, starting Friday, March 20 until further notice, Girl Scouts San Diego will postpone or move to a virtual meeting space all in-person volunteer/girl member group meetings, troop meetings, programs, events, and gatherings. We will reach out to the individuals affected by these changes and, where applicable, process full refunds. Girl Scouts program centers and retail shops will be closed during this time (online shopping is open with FREE shipping on all orders!). Our Cool Women and Emerging Leaders luncheon is on hold as we work with the event chairs to develop a safe plan to celebrate our honorees and their accomplishments (stay tuned!). We will continue to monitor and re-evaluate these plans on an ongoing basis and communicate any changes.

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In light of the news this evening, I am giving staff Friday and Monday off so I can work with my Senior Management team to finalize plans on this new way of working. I thank you for your patience as we make the necessary arrangements. Please give us until Tuesday, March 24, to respond to your emails and phone calls. Many scheduled meetings will move to virtual platforms like webinars or conference calls. 

Up next! Our fantastic program team is working on fun online activities for girls to do at home or in virtual groups to stay connected and earn badges. Virtual troop meetings can be held in free, online meeting spaces like Google Hangouts and Zoom. Remember that human connection, even in this time of "social distancing," can help quell feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Be sure to check out our Staying Connected page and visit What's New for updates. Thank you to all our volunteers and members for the vital work they do to build up girls and our community. 

I am so proud of the way our Girl Scout Troop Leaders are coming together and thinking outside the box to continue to deliver programming to our Girl Scouts. Check out what troops are doing to stay connected and make their world a better place!

  • Camp Pendleton Brownies held a virtual meeting on Facebook Messenger yesterday and earned their Digital Games badge. 
  • A new troop made cards to mail out to sister troops so they can have something nice to open up in their mail.
  • One troop that held a virtual meeting where girls went on a scavenger hunt to find things around their homes. Then they played charades to allow the girls some interaction time with each other.
  • A Brownie troop leader emailed a badge booklet and a printable form for each girl to fill out. Next, they will meet via Google Hangouts to go over the requirements and do the activities.
  • A troop leader assembled badge and craft kits to last through the next month and set up a Skype meetings for the girls to talk and connect each week.
  • Girl Scouts in Valley Grove have reached out to their elderly neighbors to do their grocery shopping.

I am grateful for your continued support, patience, and commitment to our mission as we continue our important work of building girls of courage, confidence, and character.

   

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Council Update
March 16, 2020

Effective today through Sunday, April 5, our staff will discontinue all in-person volunteer/girl member group meetings, programs, and events, including the Operation Thin Mint Sendoff, and Spring Break Day Camp. Some in-person cookie reward experiences have been postponed or substituted. We will reach out to the individuals affected by these changes and, where applicable, process full refunds. We will continue to monitor and re-evaluate this plan on an ongoing basis and communicate any changes.

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At Girl Scouts San Diego, the well-being of our girls, volunteers, and staff has always been at the forefront of our critical mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Now, more than ever, our community needs us to be an active, positive force, to continue to support our volunteers and girls with safety in mind and by taking thoughtful precautions. 

We are closely monitoring the developing outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and communicating updates to our community. In light of the recent information provided to us by local health agencies and the CDC,  we are taking the following actions to protect our members and staff while maintaining services for our families and volunteers:

Effective today through Sunday, April 5, our staff will discontinue all in-person volunteer/girl member group meetings, programs, and events, including the Operation Thin Mint Sendoff, and Spring Break Day Camp. Some in-person cookie reward experiences have been postponed or substituted. We will reach out to the individuals affected by these changes and, where applicable, process full refunds. We will continue to monitor and re-evaluate this plan on an ongoing basis and communicate any changes.

Our offices and shops will remain open to support individual members coming to our program centers. (Please check the website for current hours.)

Email and phone communication will be the best way to receive staff support. Although our offices will be open, many of our team members will be working remotely to help establish a safe social distance for both employees and members. Many scheduled meetings will move to virtual platforms like webinars or conference calls.

We recommend that service units and troops follow the CDC’s advice by postponing large, in-person activities, gathering only in groups of 10 or fewer, and observing social distancing during any gatherings they choose to do. Virtual troop meetings can be held in free, online meeting spaces like Google Hangouts and Zoom. Remember that human connection, even in this time of "social distancing," can help quell feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Thank you to all our volunteers and members for the vital work they do to build up girls and our community.

Up next! Our fantastic program team is working on fun online activities for girls to do at home or in small groups to stay connected and earn badges. Be sure to check your email for these updates or visit What's New on our website.

   

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Public Health Update
March 12, 2020

Girl Scouts San Diego is committed to the safety of our members, employees, and community partners. As such, we are closely monitoring the developing outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and communicating updates to our community. 

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Currently, we are continuing to provide programing and activities to girls, members, and guests while implementing preventive measures in line with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health agencies. As a precautionary measure, we have: 

  • Heightened disinfection practices at our three program centers and two camps
  • Added hand sanitization stations at all service centers 
  • Made plans to establish hand washing breaks at events
  • Made proactive changes within our camp food service
  • Shared guidance with the staff and trainers who serve our members

At this time, we are cancelling all scheduled events for groups of more than 250 people as well as all encampments through March 31. Should we receive a recommendation to cancel other activities, we will notify all registrants by email and/or text as promptly as possible. Please review our FAQs below and visit our website or follow us on social media @sdgirlscouts for up-to-date information.

Girl Scouts San Diego’s Answers to FAQs about COVID-19

Will GSSD cancel its events and activities?

Council-run events, programs, and activities:
At this time, we are cancelling all scheduled events for groups of more than 250 people as well as all encampments through March 31. Should we receive a recommendation to cancel other activities or beyond March 31, we will notify all registrants by email and/or text as promptly as possible. Smaller events with less than 250 people can proceed only if organizers can implement social distancing of six feet between participants.

Members may make the personal decision of whether or not they would like to attend. Those changing their reservation should contact our Customer Care team (619-610-0821).  

We will reevaluate this every day and communicate out any changes. Refunds will be provided for any events cancelled by GSSD.

Volunteer-led events and activities:
We ask volunteers to cancel any events for more than 250 people occurring through March 31. Volunteers and girls should evaluate and decide for themselves whether or not to proceed with events scheduled for less than 250 people. Refunds will be determined by volunteer leadership for each event or activity.

Other events and activities:
Girl Scouts San Diego will cancel any property reservation for group gatherings of more than 250 people at any of our properties through March 31.

Troops and small groups who already have outdoor activities or overnights planned through March 31 may continue with their activity if they choose to, or they may change their reservation by contacting our Customer Care team (619-610-0821).  

Refunds will be provided for any gatherings cancelled by GSSD.

Beyond these event/program/activity restrictions, it will be “business-as-usual” for smaller events, day-to-day work, office hours, retail shops, meetings, etc. until otherwise informed by the CDC or local health agencies.

Should Girl Scouts travel?

Girl and troop travel:
International travel and cruises are not recommended for the next 30 days. If you are planning a Girl Scout trip to an international destination or a cruise, please contact Sandy Sultz (619-610-0814).

Domestic travel: If you are planning a domestic trip through Girl Scouts, please monitor the CDC website for up-to-date travel advice and plan accordingly.

Health of our members, volunteers, and staff

Staff members are asked to stay at home from work or Girl Scout activities if they are exhibiting any signs of illness or may be at an increased health risk. We ask our volunteers and girls to do the same. Should this be necessary, please contact our Customer Care team (619-610-0821) to update your registration.

Girl Scouts leave a place better than they found it

Extra cleaning supplies will be provided for all meeting rooms at our program centers. We ask that after each meeting, attendees use these supplies to wipe down all surfaces as an added measure to our daily custodial services.

Thank you for being helpful, considerate, and thoughtful in your words and actions.

   

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Girl Scout Glossary Online
March 2020

Girl Scouts has its own, unique lingo. Need to know a term? Check out the online Girl Scout glossary.  

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Girl Scout Voices Count
March 2020

Update March 19, 2020: In light of the COVID-19 developments, GSUSA is postponing the GSVC survey. We hope to launch the girl, parent/caregiver, and troop leader survey in May and the service unit survey in June.

We’re all ears! In April, Girl Scouts of the USA will be conducting the Girl Scout Voices Count (GSVC) national survey to hear about your experience with Girl Scouts. Girls, parents, and volunteers: Look for your invitation on Monday, April 6. Contact gsvoicescount@girlscouts.org with questions.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention
March 4, 2020

Girl Scouts San Diego has been following the CDC's guidance and updates, including information on prevention and travel. If we learn of any updates that may impact our council’s events, programs, or meetings, we will share them promptly. Please contact your service unit activity consultant or our Customer Care team with any questions or concerns. Visit Girl Scouts of the USA’s Raising Awesome Girls blog for advice on talking with your kids about this topic.

Prevención del Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Girl Scouts San Diego ha estado siguiendo las pautas y actualizaciones de los Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), incluyendo información sobre la prevención, y relacionado con viajes. Si nos enteramos de alguna actualización que pueda afectar los eventos, programas o reuniones de Girl Scouts San Diego, la anunciaremos de inmediato. Si tiene Ud. alguna pregunta o inquietud, comuníquese con su service unit activity consultant (asesor de actividades de su unidad de servicio) o con nuestro equipo de Customer Care team (servicio al cliente). Para obtener consejos sobre cómo hablar con sus hijos sobre este tema, visite el blog de Girl Scouts of the USA, Raising Awesome Girls .


   

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Managing Conflict
January 2020

Struggling with conflict? Join us Thursday, March 26 for an in-person Managing Conflict course. You'll learn techniques and strategies to help prevent conflict and effectively address it when it arises in your troop.

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Silver Award Training
November 2019

Cadettes, troop leaders, parents, and volunteers take this training to learn about the Girl Scout Silver Award. Learn about award steps, requirements, and the difference between a community service project and a Take Action project. (Course duration: 25 minutes). Register with your Girl Scout email and enter the code “gosilver1” to begin.

Note: An adult must register for girls under the age of 13. Need help? Contact training@sdgirlscouts.org.

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New Volunteer Essentials Online
October 2019

Volunteer Essentials is now online...and printable! The new digital edition of our go-to guide is designed to support busy volunteers. Easily find what you need by searching the table of contents on the landing page and reference answers throughout the year. Think of Volunteer Essentials as your encyclopedia to Girl Scout volunteering: it's the place to go when you need to know!

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Girl Scouts San Diego Family Connection
September 2019

New families automatically receive the Girl Scouts San Diego Family Connection, a fun and informative resource about all things Girl Scouts. But volunteers can share it with returning troop families, too. This resource showcases the value of Girl Scouts and the importance of family involvement. Download the resource in English or Spanish .

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Volunteer Toolkit
September 2019

There’s lots to love in the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) this year! The big news: Individually Registered Members (IRMs) can now access VTK. And, there’s more:

  • 42 new badges and awards have been added.
  • All Cadette badges have been added.
  • Classic journeys for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors now follow the six-session format.
  • The current Daisy, Brownie, and Junior Journeys follow the six-session format.
  • 2019 year plans have been archived.

Make sure you're renewed for 2020 to access all of this great new content!

2018-19 Membership Year
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New Badges and Journeys
July 2019

GSUSA has added 42 new badges and a new Journey to Girl Scout programming, taking girl leadership to new heights. These new resources focus on the outdoors and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

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Silver Award Training and Resources
July 2019

Are you a leader of a Cadette troop or a parent of a Cadette? Check out the new Guide to Going Silver (for girls) and Guide to Going Silver: Tips for Adult Volunteers . Use these resources to help girls earn the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn! Find the guides at sdgirlscouts.org/silver. Coming in October: Silver Award training online.

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Safety Updates
May 2019

Check out new Safety Activity Checkpoints (SACs) for Pocket Knife and Jack Knife Safety, and Tools and Power Tools. A number of existing SACs have been updated. Most notable is that new accommodation guidelines are listed in the Travel SACs. The standards now permit Airbnb and other vacation rentals. Good news for many troops! Updated SACs include new guidance from GSUSA regarding which activities require activity consultant approval. Check the SAC Matrix to see what does and doesn't need approval.

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Insurance for Out-of-Council Trips
May 2019

Effective Tuesday, May 14, 2019, troops and groups leaving San Diego and Imperial Counties no longer need to enroll in Plan 3P Activity (aka Accident) Insurance for trips less than three nights. Plan 1 (insurance provided automatically with membership) or Plan 2 (insurance purchased for non-members) is sufficient for these trips. Activity consultant approval is no longer needed for day trips outside council territory.  Exception: day trips to Mexico still require enrollment in Plan 3PI. Use our helpful flow chart to determine what insurance is needed.

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Summer Troop Adventure Weekends
May 2019

For the first time ever, we're offering Adventure Weekends for troops during the summer! First-time campers experience a well-rounded sampler including arts and crafts, teambuilding, outdoor skill, nature and science activities. We’ll provide meals, activity supplies, and modern lodging. You meet new friends and experience the joy of the outdoors. 

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Bronze Award Training and Resources
April 2019

Got a Girl Scout Junior? Check out our new Bronze Award Training online (30 minutes). Lean about Bronze Award steps, requirements, and resources. Visit sdgirlscouts.litmos.com/self-signup and use the code “gobronze1” to begin. Find Your Guide to Going Bronze (for girls) and Your Guide for Going Bronze: Tips for Adult Volunteers at sdgirlscouts.org/bronze. Guiding girls through the Bronze Award has never been easier!

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Girl Scout Training
April 2019

Learning options abound at Girl Scouts San Diego! Visit our new training page to discover how learning more opens up opportunities for you and your troop like camping, archery, backpacking, travel, highest awards, and other enrichment activities.

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Bridging Guide
March 2019

Find tips for planning a bridging ceremony at the troop or service unit level, and learn to make it a truly girl-led event by using the three processes of Girl Scouting on our new online Bridging Guide.

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Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Award Resources
February 2019

Learn about highest awards for Girl Scout Juniors and Cadettes on the new Bronze and Silver Award web pages. You'll find info on award prerequisites, award steps, and frequently asked questions to help you guide girls.

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Large Event and Encampment Director Training
January 2019

Calling all new and experienced event and encampment directors. Check out the new Large Event and Encampment Director training online. This 20-minute course covers first aid, safety, registration, budgeting, marketing, and more. Plus, you’ll learn about the new large event and encampment approval process and resources just for directors. Training must be retaken every three years. Contact training@sdgirlscouts.org to sign up.

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Storing and Locking Prescription Medications
January 2019

Prescription medications used by adults or girls must be kept locked away during overnights on Girl Scout sites. It’s an American Camp Association standard. Camping at Winacka or Whispering Oaks? You’ll find lock boxes in each cabin and refrigerator. Use the locking packs in the refrigerators for meds that need to remain cool or when taking meds on a hike or other location away from the site. Camping at Balboa or Escondido? Bring a combo lock and your own box or backpack where meds can be locked away. A TSA lock works just fine. Locking prescription meds is a good practice at non-Girl Scout sites too and may be required.

Rescue medicines. It’s important to know that rescue medicines, like epi-pens for allergies, asthma inhalers, and diabetes medication, must be immediately available. Do not lock these. Girls may carry rescue medicines themselves if approved by a parent and physician.

Over-the-counter medicines. It’s optional to lock up over-the-counter medicines like first aid cream, Advil, etc.

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Safety Management Plans for Encampments
October 2018

Troop leaders whose troops attend an encampment do not need to complete their own safety management plan. The trained encampment director will complete a plan to share with all troops and volunteers. Be sure to ask for the plan and review it before attending.

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Approvals for Encampments
October 2018

Troop leaders whose troops attend an encampment do not need to submit their own approval request as long as the encampment director who planned the event has:

  • Taken training in the last three years.
  • Requested and received approval from the service unit activity consultant.
  • Completed a safety management plan and shared it with attending adults.

Note: Troop leaders must still obtain parent permission for girls attending encampments.