Happy Birthday, Juliette Gordon Low!

For Girl Scouts, Halloween is much more than costumes and candy – it’s also our founder’s birthday! In 1860, Juliette Gordon Low was born in Savannah and began a life that would ultimately lead to the creation of our beloved organization!

To celebrate, many of our troops celebrate through birthday parties, costume parties, service projects, and more! Check out some of the highlights from around council below!

If you’d like to submit your troop activities to GSWNY, please email photo(s) and a description to communications@gswny.org.

“Troop 30384 in Kenmore celebrated Juliette low’s birthday with a special visit from Juliette herself!  We decorated cupcakes and sang happy birthday.” 

“Troop 20237 came together to celebrate Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday at their recent meeting. The girls tried their hand at pancake flipping and learned facts of Juliette Gordon Low with their pumpkin craft. The girls brought in snack items to help fill the snack cupboard at their meeting place, the Dunkirk Free Library.”

“Troop 20258 made birthday bags (cake mix, frosting, candles, pan, plates) to celebrate Juliette Low’s birthday. They also had a little party and made sit upons. The birthday bags were donated to Rural Ministries in Dunkirk.”

“East Rochester 1st year Brownie Troop 61018 had a Juliette Gordon Low Halloween STEM meeting complete with “poison” apples, parachute spiders and a creepy touch if you dare!”

“We (Troop 60392) celebrated Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday this year by wrapping gifts, making cards and filling bags for Happy Birthday Cha Cha Cha. This is an amazing organization and I am so proud of the girls for their community service!!”

The East Rochester Service Unit had this amazing pumpkin at their Harvest Walk!

“Troops 20258 and 20010 collaborated together to make a birthday basket filled with a Girl Scouts drawstring bag, Future Girl Scout t-shirt and bib, baby toys, diapers, wipes, and more. Each troop had a representative to donate the basket to Brooks Memorial Hospital to be given to the first girl born on Halloween in honor of Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday. 💚🎂”

Upcoming Council Programs – October 30, 2019

Our Girl Scouting year is PACKED with amazing programs all around council. Whether your girl(s) are interested in getting outside, learning more about STEM, environmental health, art, and so much more, we have options for girls of all levels. Check out the list below of some upcoming opportunities in November!

(Listings reflect openings as of 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 30)

November 02, 2019 12:30 PM-03:00 PM – 5 Spots Available (Registration Closes at 11:59 PM ET on November 01, 2019) Learn about the relationship between humans and animals through hands-on activites.  Take a tour of the facility and meet a therapy animal while completing all the requirements for the Animal Helpers Badge.

November 09, 2019 04:00 PM-08:00 PM – 36 Spots Available
(Registration Closes at 11:59 PM ET on November 01, 2019)
Asha Animal Sanctuary
Newfane, NY

After the guided tour, girls will enjoy a healthy dinner and watch a farm animal-themed movie: Babe-A Pig Goes A Long Way (1 hour, 31 min.).  It tells us a lot about the emotions of other animals and encourages us to question why humans love some animals, but eat others.  It stars James Cromwell (voice of farmer Arthur Hoggett) who is a superhero to animals off-screen.  He has spoken up to countless viewers that turkeys are just like us in all the ways that matter most and that we should leave animals off our plates.  Movie popcorn included.

November 16, 2019 11:00 AM-02:00 PM – 36 Spots Available
(Registration Closes at 11:59 PM ET on November 08, 2019)
Asha Animal Sanctuary, Newfane, NY
In this fun one-day camp, girls get to meet Albert the Super Cow and his barnyard friends and hear all about their rescue stories.  Learn about common practices in animal agriculture and how we can make a huge impact for animals just by our food choices.  Girls will participate in Albert’s interactive cooking class and have fun making easy, delicious, and healthy recipes without meat, dairy and eggs.  Afterward, delight in the food you made and feel good about all you’ve learned to help animals. 

November 16, 2019 10:00 AM-12:00 PM – 5 Spots Available
(Registration Closes at 11:59 PM ET on November 07, 2019)
Explore the world of glass fusing in this introductory, project based class.  You will learn how to cut glass and transform it into a work of art you will be proud to show friends and family.  Fun patch included.

November 19, 2019 05:00 PM-08:00 PM – 16 Spots Available
(Registration Closes at 11:59 PM ET on November 04, 2019)
Learn the basics of chainmail!  Girl Scouts will have the opportunity to make their own jump rings or make a bracelet from a selection provided.  Utilizing the Byzantine weave or European 4-in-1, students will then create their own wearable piece of art. Adults must stay during the program.

November 23, 2019 09:00 AM-02:00 PM – 96 Spots Available
(Registration Closes at 11:59 PM ET on November 15, 2019)
St. Bonaventure University, Saint Bonaventure, NY
Teams of four will create their very own rubber band-powered car.  Learn about science and engineering by competing with other Girl Scouts.  In addition to competing on performance, your team will create a marketing pitch.  Go for the gold! Lunch is provided. 

Danielle’s Gold Award Story

[The following was submitted to GSWNY from Danielle’s mother and troop leader Elizabeth Bellis.]

Danielle Bellis loves soccer. She started playing in the local league’s in-house program when she was five years old. She has since played on the league’s travel team, and the school’s modified, junior varsity, and now varsity teams. She worked as a referee for the league’s in-house program and volunteered as a coach for an ad-hoc preschool program they were considering. Then when Dani decided to go for her Girl Scout Gold Award, which requires completing a sustainable community service project, something soccer-related seemed like a logical choice.

The league president suggested she create an official preschool soccer program that they would maintain in the future and offer free. Dani jumped at the idea of creating a soccer program for the community. She could share her love of soccer while starting young kids on the road to a healthy lifestyle of physical activity, self-confidence, and team work. As she considered the benefits the program could provide the community, she realized her program could benefit more than just the preschool kids.


This was also an opportunity to get older kids involved as coaches and encourage them to start volunteering in their community. She could create a coaching packet to make it easy to coach even without any soccer experience.

This past spring Danielle did just that. She created a teen-led and coached soccer program for preschool age kids and called it “First Kicks.” She put together a coaching binder of activities and games, as well as a few coaching tips. She registered 60 preschool participants and recruited nine teenage coaches beside herself. She ran a six-week program with two 45 minute sessions on Saturdays, one for 3-year-olds and one for 4-year-olds.

At the end of the season, Danielle provided the league with all the materials it needs to continue the free program including an annual schedule and budget, advertising materials, a list of contacts, and the coaching binders.

Danielle completed the requirements of the community service project and earned her gold award. She will graduate this spring and plans to continue volunteering for the First Kicks program.

The 2019-2020 Membership Year is off to a great start!

The beginning of October marked the start of our new membership year (which reminds us, if you haven’t renewed, it’s not too late!). We’re just about a month in but already we know it’s going to be a great year.

Women of Distinction technically happened during the last membership year, but it’s still worth celebrating! Nine amazing women from our communities were honored and had so many girls come out to help with this girl-led fundraiser.

We closed out the year with the 50th Skills & Chills at Camp Seven Hills. We love this event and it was amazing to see all the girls and volunteers come out to make this another great year.

We officially kicked off our year with our first annual Girl Scout Spirit Day October 4!

Even our staff got involved!

The following day, we had our Pathways to Health Pro at SUNY Brockport program.

A week later, we went to Maker Mania at JCC!

This is just the start of what will be our best year yet! If you’re not currently a Girl Scout, it’s not too late to join. We still have a year filled packed with programs and opportunities to help your girl grow.

Learn more about Girl Scouts today

7 Ways to Be Respectful (And a One-Step Trick to Getting More Respect From Others)

[This post originally appeared on girlscouts.org]

While respect should be second nature to us (Aretha made darn sure we knew how to spell it and practice it), there seems to be a major deficit of it in our world today. From mean tweets to cliquish behavior on the playground, respect is plainly overdue for a comeback. The good news is that you can play a big role in starting a respect revolution just by modeling respect yourself and teaching your girl to follow suit.

Here are 7 simple ways you can teach your girl to be more respectful today:

1. Listen and be present
If someone else is speaking, give them the courtesy of listening to and thinking about what they’ve said before responding, forming your own opinions, or dismissing theirs. Your girl may not agree with what’s being said, and that’s absolutely OK (and sometimes important!) for her to express, but she should wait her turn, pay attention, and avoid jumping to conclusions. You never know, what someone says could surprise her!

2. Be thoughtful of others’ feelings
Talk to your girl about how she might feel angry, sad, or even embarrassed if someone rolled their eyes at one of her ideas or talked over her when she was trying to speak. It might feel even worse to hear that someone was calling her names or making fun of her. Since she doesn’t want to feel that way, she should do her best to ensure others aren’t made to feel that way either.

3. Acknowledge others and say thank you
If your girl did half the work on a science project, but her partner took all the credit, how would she feel? Probably pretty upset. Similarly, if she made a gift for another girl in school, and that friend never said thank you, she might feel confused or think the gift wasn’t very good. Letting others know that their efforts matter and thanking them for their time, work, and/or thoughtfulness doesn’t need to take more than a few seconds, but it makes a big difference.

4. Address mistakes with kindness
Everyone, even your girl, makes mistakes! Have her think back to a time she messed up a little. Would she want to be called out and humiliated in front of her friends, or would she have felt better if someone pulled her aside, gently told her about the mistake, and then helped her to improve next time? We’re all human and we’re all going to need a helping hand now and then. Helping others grow from their mistakes with dignity is just the decent thing to do.

5. Make decisions based on what’s right, not who you like
Sometimes it might feel easier for your girl to go along with the crowd and either mimic the behavior of her friends or choose their ideas over those of others out of a sense of loyalty or to gain favor with more popular kids, but that’s not smart or fair. Talk to your girl about weighing the pros and cons of the choices she makes in her daily life, about thinking about what’s right, and what will lead to the best outcomes for all involved. Sometimes it takes guts to stand up and support less popular views, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. Not only do people’s feelings get hurt when we play favorites, but we can sometimes make poor decisions that have even bigger consequences.

6. Respect physical boundaries
Everyone’s body is their own, and everyone has the right to decide the level and type of physical contact they’re comfortable with. For instance, some people love to be greeted with hugs, some people don’t, and that’s OK! Talk to your girl about the importance of respecting people’s personal preferences and how she should insist on others respecting her boundaries as well.

7. Live and let live
In this great big world of ours, there are a billion different ways to live life, and that’s what makes life interesting! As long as everyone is being respectful and no one is hurting anyone else, it’s important to take a step back and accept that there’s no one right way to exist on this planet.

And finally, how can your girl get more respect in her life? Talk to her about the word integrity. Someone who has integrity is honest, is true to their word, does the best they can, and owns up to their shortcomings without making excuses, covering it up, or passing the blame onto someone else. Nobody’s perfect, but when your girl lives her life with integrity, she’ll earn others’ respect and be able to feel good about who she is as a person—and she’ll make others feel better in the process.

The winner of this year’s Camp Theme Contest is…

Every year, we ask our membership a simple question: what do you think our 2020 camp theme should be? Because we’re girl-led, we want our camps to reflect the thoughts of our Girl Scouts.

Last year, we received the idea #GirlScoutCampLife from Girl Scout Brownie Arianna. The year before, we had ‘Camp Like a G.I.R.L.’ For 2020, our winner pulled on her own camp experience for a great camp theme.

The 2020 Camp Theme Survey Contest winner is….

Senior Girl Scout Kaura C. from Olean! Camp name ‘Legacy!’

Not only does she love camp, this year she was a Counselor in Training! We’re so excited to announce her idea, but we’re waiting until International Wear Your Camp T-Shirt Day!

This November 12, we’re celebrating camp by joining the international celebration and wearing your camp t-shirts! During the day, we’re going to provide a sneak peak of next year’s camp guide and announce the 2020 camp theme!

Make sure you wear your camp shirt and check back in to see what we’re planning for next summer’s camp season.

Girl Scouts in Western New York show their spirit!

On Friday, October 4, Girl Scouts of Western New York held its first annual Girl Scout Spirit Day! Members of our council were invited to wear their Girl Scout gear and show off their pride.

More than straight spirit, we also held a contest to give away prizes for our participants. Two adults and two girls were randomly selected to win $25 GSWNY shop gift certificates and Girl Scout swag bags, respectively.

We received submissions from all around our council and selected four winners!

Visit Facebook to check out all our participants!

Girl Scout Spirit Day Album

It wasn’t just our members – our staff wore their Girl Scout gear too! Check out our album here.