It’s hard to believe how much has happened in the past few weeks. But like challenges in the past, Girl Scouts are poised to meet this challenge, adapt as needed, and make a difference in the world.

During the Great Depression, Girl Scouts participated in relief efforts by collecting clothing and food for those in need. During World War II, Girl Scout troops ran bicycle courier services and Farm Aid projects, collected scrap metal and fat, and grew Victory Gardens. Girl Scouts assembled “Kits for Korea,” pouches of items for Korean citizens, during the Korean War.

In the 1960s, Girl Scouts addressed racial inequality by holding “Speak Out” conferences and launched a national “Eco-Action” program. Girl Scouts launched "ACTION 70" in the 1970s in response to environmental issues.

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In later decades, Girl Scouts addressed such issues as illiteracy in America, risky behaviors in youth, and obesity in America.

Girl Scouts today are rising to the new “normal” of social distancing and school closures. Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey are flooding our community with Girl Scout Trefoil Thoughts -messages of hope. You don’t have to be a Girl Scout to recognize the Girl Scout trefoil and you may soon see it more frequently both virtually and in person.

We are asking Girl Scouts to spread cheer by sending messages of hope, thanks, or well wishes to those who need it the most: health care workers, grocery store associates, first responders, restaurant owners, and those who are sick. For those who want to participate, go to our website at www.gsnnj.org and download the trefoil.

Girls and families can post their trefoils on our social media channels, or work with your local community to see who is able to post the notes in their facility.

Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey are also going virtual by offering a “Girl Power Can’t Be Quarantined Virtual Challenge.” Girls across northern New Jersey are encouraged to stay active and continue to explore the world around them by completing tasks from the comfort of their own homes. From growing gardens to conducting science experiments, girls can participate in the challenge and check off items as they earn a patch.

In addition, Girl Scouts is encouraging girls to continue to discover the world around them and explore their interests by continuing to earn badges and Journeys. Many resources are online and troops can hold virtual meetings to do badgework. Adult volunteers can also participate in online learning and webinars.

These are extraordinary times, but Girl Scouts are always prepared. We are prepared to be flexible in our programming and our ability to offer services to our girls and the adults who support them. As an organization, we have shown our ability to step up, take action, and be the change we want to see in the world. Today is no different. Stay safe and stay well.