Cadette Troop 20173 pushed themselves, conquered their fears, and had fun at Splash Lagoon.

[The following was submitted to GSWNY from Troop 20173. To have your troop story featured, email communications@gswny.org]

Members of Girl Scout Cadette Troop 20173 are learning to push themselves to conquer their fears, and are having fun while they do it!

After selling more than 2,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies last year, the five girls earned tickets to Erie’s Splash Lagoon for exceeding 300 boxes per scout. They, along with leaders Patricia Bowen and Wendy Graham, spent the day there recently to enjoy the fruits of their efforts.

“I was so proud of our girls for selling so many cookies!” Bowen said. “For a troop our size to sell that many is a real feat, and it helped us be able to take them to San Francisco in April. They are learning that hard work can earn rewards. I’m especially glad that our whole troop met their goal so we could all go to Splash Lagoon together.”

While they were there, some of the girls had to build up their courage to explore the water slides. At first, only a couple felt comfortable whooshing down, but as the day progressed, their sister scouts helped them conquer their fears. 

After hours of wet fun, the girls, Westfield’s Lilly Teeter, Brooke Luce,  Desiree Bowen and Grace Graham, as well as Cassadaga’s Lily Hafner, moved on to the next part of the challenge: the Tree Top Ropes Course.

“I was frightened at first because I don’t like heights,” Hafner said. “[I was] relieved at the end because I was uncomfortable.” She said she felt good about herself when it was all over.

All five girls climbed the ropes with large, frightened eyes, but slowly became more accustomed to the height. After a half hour of walking on narrow beams, wobbling planks, and thin ropes, the girls descended with grins and a sense of accomplishment. 

“I’m in awe of these girls,” Graham said. “I saw the looks on their faces and at times they were all scared out of their minds. But they pushed through the fear and talked each other through the rough spots. I watched them hold hands out to each other to help their friends, and I saw them strategize how to maneuver around the course. This is why I love Girl Scouts. Seeing these girls I’ve been with for three years grow like that is inspiring.”

Women of Distinction 2019 is in three weeks!

Our annual, girl-led, women’s event of the year is happening in three short weeks on Thursday, September 26. We can’t wait to celebrate our nine amazing honorees and their contributions to the community!

More than just honoring the women, this event is all about mentorship. Each of the honorees was paired with a Girl Scout who will serve as a presenter at the event, sharing about her experience being mentored.

Check out photos of the Girl Scouts and their honorees below!

You can be a part of this special event as well by purchasing a ticket gswny.org.

2019 Women of Distinction:

  • Christine Bonaguide, Esq.: Partner, Hodgson Russ LLP (Erie County)
  • Linda Clark, M.D.: Doctor of Preventive/Occupational Medicine, Founder and CEO, Clark Occupational Medicine Services (Monroe County)
  • Tory Irgang: Executive Director, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (Chautauqua County)
  • Candace Johnson, Ph.D.: President and CEO, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (Erie County)
  • Joyce A. Markiewicz: Chief Business Development Officer, Catholic Health (Erie County)
  • Nadia Pizzaro: Homeless Services Director, BestSelf Behavioral Health, Inc. (Erie County)
  • Katherine Conway-Turner, Ph.D.: President, State University of New York at Buffalo State (Erie County)
  • Lori Van Dusen: Founder and CEO, LVW Advisors (Monroe County)
  • Linda ZakrzewskiVolunteer of Distinction, Teacher, Family and Consumer Science, School 81 Buffalo (Erie County)

10 Tips to make Back-to-School a breeze

Labor Day Weekend has come and gone, meaning it’s time for many students in Western New York to head back to school. Instead of letting all the changes disrupt everything, try these 10 tips that can help make going back to school a breeze!

1. Determine your routine

Before you can iron out the rest of the details, you need to determine what your routine is going to look like. Start with what you know – your schedule and your kids schedules – and work from that. Once you have a basic idea, you can add other pieces in and figure out the the planner/schedule that works for you.

2. Establish a family calendar

Using a family calendar is a great way to keep track of what everyone is doing through the week and/or month, depending on the style you choose. Don’t just write the events – schedule a meeting each week to go over them with everyone.

3. Set up screen time rules

This might be something you keep all year long, but if you’ve been less strict over the summer, now is the time to bring back restrictions. Set boundaries with your children about how often they can be on their devices and make sure you take them out of their rooms at night to remove temptation.

4. Keep to a bedtime and wake up schedule

Sleep routines are easily maintained with consistent times when you go to bed and wake up. Set a schedule for both weekdays and weekends so your children develop a rhythm that will promote more restful sleep habits.

5. Don’t overschedule

With everything new going on, it’s easy to say yes to everything and lose out on valuable family time. Refer to your calendar and routine to make sure something is feasible before agreeing – periods of rest are important for family members of all ages.

6. Get ready the night before

Another great habit to get your kids into is preparing for school the night before. Teach them how to pick out their clothes and pack their bag and lunch. This will make the morning go smoothly and help them learn organization and planning skills.

7. Talk to your kids about going back to school

Get a read on how your kids feel about going back to school. Some may be forthright in their worries and excitement, but others might need some encouragement. Learn about their anxieties and help quell them where possible.

8. Take care of yourself

In the hustle and bustle of managing the lives of your children, it might get easier to forget about yourself. Self-care is one of the best ways to keep you high-functioning because it allows you time to pause and think about your own needs as well instead of getting overwhelmed and burnt out.

9. Choose afterschool activities

While you don’t want to add too many activities in, finding at least one or two can be invaluable for your children. From the skills they learn to the fun they’ll have, it’s a nice way to keep them involved.

Of course, our number one recommendation for girls is Girl Scouts ūüôā

10. Find more resources from Girl Scouts

As the school year progresses, you might want more resources about dealing with particular issues. Whether you want more back-to-school tips or help raising awesome girls, they have an amazing library of articles to help you!

We have more than 200 reasons why you should renew

With September days away and the new membership just beyond that, the time has come for On-Time Renewal. This is when our members are invited to renew their memberships with us for another year of Girl Scouts.

Coming back means another year of making new friends, going on adventures, learning new skills, and so much more. Even better, we have more than 200 reasons we can give you about why you should return.

In our Program and Outdoor Guides, you’ll find more than 200 opportunities for our Girl Scouts. Whether they want to pursue science, fashion, history, the outdoors, and everything in between, we have something for them.

Our goal is to provide our girls (and adults!) with amazing experiences they can’t get anywhere else. We keep adding more to make sure every girl can pursue her passion, whatever it looks like.

Don’t miss out on all our amazing programs! Renew your membership today!

Thank you for another great year of the #GirlScoutCampLife

Two weeks ago, we wrapped up another amazing summer at Girl Scout camp. Our three camps, Camp Timbercrest, Camp Seven Hills, and Camp Piperwood, plus our volunteer-run Camp Windy Meadows, were filled with excited campers and great programming.

More than 2,500 girls from around council attended Girl Scout camp this summer, where they rode horses, went swimming, climbed ropes, learned how to build fires, sang camp songs, and of course, made new friends.

While our outdoor programming runs all year long, summer camp is a special time for girls to gather together and learn new skills while honoring cherished Girl Scout traditions. We hear stories all the time about how important camp was and is to our Girl Scouts past and present and we can’t wait to continue creating memories.

Camp might be over for the summer, but we’re already thinking about next year’s programs. Look for the new camp guides out in January to decide what your camp journey will be in 2020. If you can’t get enough of the outdoors, head to gswny.org where you can learn more about all our outdoor opportunities, including equipment rentals, programming, property rentals, and Outdoor Champions who can facilitate programming for you.

To see photos from our resident camps, visit our Flickr page!

Get ready for Women of Distinction 2019

Our annual Women of Distinction (WOD) event is just over a month away! In true Girl Scout fashion, WOD is all girl-led. Women are chosen from around Western New York for their strength in character, dedication to community service, and commitment to mentoring and encouraging girls and young women.

Once selected, they’re paired with a Girl Scout from our council to mentor. The event honors these women by inviting their Girl Scouts to speak about their mentorship experience.

Check out the 2019 Women of Distinction honorees:

  • Christine Bonaguide, Esq.: Partner, Hodgson Russ LLP¬†(Erie County)
  • Linda Clark, M.D.: Doctor of Preventive/Occupational Medicine, Founder and CEO, Clark Occupational Medicine Services¬†(Monroe County)
  • Tory Irgang: Executive Director, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation¬†(Chautauqua County)
  • Candace Johnson, Ph.D.: President and CEO, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center¬†(Erie County)
  • Joyce A. Markiewicz:¬†Chief Business Development Officer, Catholic Health¬†(Erie County)
  • Nadia Pizzaro: Homeless Services Director,¬†BestSelf Behavioral Health, Inc.¬†(Erie County)
  • Katherine Conway-Turner, Ph.D.: President, State University of New York at Buffalo State¬†(Erie County)
  • Lori Van Dusen: Founder and CEO, LVW Advisors¬†(Monroe County)
  • Linda Zakrzewski:¬†Volunteer of Distinction,¬†Teacher, Family and Consumer Science, School 81 Buffalo¬†(Erie County)

Visit gswny.org to get your tickets today!

GSWNY Staff Celebrate Skills and Chills!

Every year, girls gather at Camp Seven Hills for the culmination of their Outdoor Adventure Training Sequence. It begins for Daisies and Brownies at Tents Up and continues for Juniors and Cadettes at Ready, Set, Camp, all leading to Skills and Chills for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors.

What began as a Niagara Legacy Council program has turned into one of our most cherished traditions. This year, we’re celebrating 50 years of Skills and Chills! While the weekend is sure to be incredible, GSWNY council staff wanted to take some time to experience the event like our Girl Scouts.

Keeping with tradition, we formed teams, picked themes, and dressed for the occasion!

Pictured are a few of our themes, including the ‘Spice’ Girls, Wonder Women, Time Travelers (they were our timekeepers!), Terrible Twos, Space Cadettes, and Sharks (think the ‘Baby Shark’ song).

We competed in four of the activities found at Skills and Chills, including knot-tying, cookie-box stacking, fire-building, and tent-pitching. A special Tug-of-War was held at the end to be a tie-breaker!

After a day filled with laughter and friendly competition, we ended our Skills and Chills with a Friendship Circle.

Not only did we enjoy a day of team-building at one of our beautiful camps, we all gained a new appreciation for everything our girls learn in preparation for the real Skills and Chills. We did less than half of the events they do and had much easier rules. It’s truly amazing to see what our Girl Scouts can do!

If you’re interested in learning more about Skills and Chills or registering for the 50th anniversary event happening September 27-29, 2019, visit gswny.org.