Making an impact in girls' lives starts with you

For more than 100 years, Girl Scouts has been impacting girls’ lives. To girls like Shelby, it doesn’t matter if they’re part trendsetter, part change-maker, part athlete, part engineer, part artist, or part go-getter, because they know who they are and where they want to go next.

Shelby is a Girl Scout in Troop 20258 in Dunkirk, and she’s been in Girl Scouts for 4 years. We want to share her story with you, in her words, about what Girl Scouts means to her.

What are the things you have done in Girl Scouts that you never thought you would do?

I went backpack camping with my troop and we filtered river water to drink. We learned to make a fire using flint. I also competed in the Dream It Do It 500 with a team of Girl Scouts where we made a rubber band-powered car and learned about engineering. I made a lot of new friends by going to programming like that.

How did you feel after you accomplished these things?

I am brave. Accomplishing new things in Girl Scouts makes me happy.

What do you see in your future because of your Girl Scout experiences?

I see myself traveling to France and Japan with Girl Scouts. I have never traveled to another country but Girl Scouts is giving me these goals, and my mom is encouraging even though we have to step outside of our comfort zone.

Because of Girl Scouts, last year Shelby was able to choose from over 150 programs made possible through the support of committed and generous donors.

We asked Shelby’s mother, Kathy, about the changes she’s seen in her daughter through Girl Scouts.

How have you seen Girl Scouts impact Shelby’s life?

She knows how to work as a team, plan out a project, and work together. I’ve seen her knowledge grow in public speaking, leadership, empathy, and acceptance. She is a unique person, some call her weird, but she’s a sweet girl. She likes that she can be anything she wants in Girl Scouts.

How have you seen Shelby grow since joining Girl Scouts?

It’s a constant battle outside of Girl Scouts because she’s not a “girly girl,” but that doesn’t make her stand out when she’s at Girl Scouts. At Girl Scouts Shelby can be herself and be accepted. It’s a safe environment for her. She is now a leader and her confidence shines through her.

In Girl Scouts, girls find a safe place that lets them be themselves in a supportive, nurturing environment while they step outside of their comfort zone and discover new interests.

Shelby knows who she is and where she’s going because of the programs available in Girl Scouts.

We need your help to keep these opportunities available for all girls, because we know that no two are alike and each has her own interests, talents, hobbies, and dreams.

Join us in inspiring the next generation of future female leaders by supporting Girl Scouts today.

Thank you from each girl that gets to experience Girl Scouts because of you.

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Happy Holidays from Girl Scouts around Western New York!

This week, we have a special round-up full of submissions of Girl Scouts around Western New York celebrating the holiday season! Keep reading to see what they’ve been doing to give back and enjoy this magical time.

“Jamestown had a perfect day for a hot cocoa bar Saturday. All these girls are new Girl Scouts and made pillows by the fireplace to take home with them. Welcome to Girl Scouts Chloe, Jamie, and Keegan!”

“Girl Scout Troop 34633 of Alden participated in the annual town tree lighting. The theme was “silver and gold”. They made their own friendship garland from pictures of themselves, made friendship bracelets for ornaments, strung popcorn to hang (and for many of the girls, it was their first time using needle and thread!), made a “make new friends” banner, and handed out friendship glow sticks to the crowd! Some helped decorate the tree in the dark and others were able to attend the day of the lighting!”

“Last Friday, Girl Scouts from the Black Creek Service Unit marched in the Chili Holiday Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting. As a unit, they had so much fun!!”

“Como Lake Service Unit wanted to spread some cheer this holiday season, so they went caroling at The GreenFields Continuing Care Community!”

“RH Girl Scout Troops 60711 and 60473 spent Saturday night spreading Christmas cheer at the Colony Lane Circle of Lights! Volunteers kicked it up a notch by interacting with folks who came to donate non-perishable food items and enjoy the magic.”

“Girl Scouts from the Dehgewanus Service Unit went caroling at a nursing home!”

“Older Girl Scouts from the Lockport Service Unit assisted the Children’s Memorial Park in making bows for this year’s Christmas tree. (Sales of the bows sustain the upkeep of the park.)”

“The Big Bend Service Unit marched in their local Batavia Christmas in the City Parade last Saturday!”

“This past Friday, the Greece Service Unit held their very first Festival of Trees Event. Fifteen troops participated and also earned the Festival of Trees patch! They learned about the legend and history of the Christmas Tree, described the significance of the holiday symbol of the candy cane, and decorated trees that were donated to various agencies in Monroe County, and made holiday cards that will be donated. A fun time was had by all!”

“Girl Scout Troop 20209 put together 18 baskets of joy to bring a little happiness to random people in their Falconer community.”

“Ashantee Girl Scouts singing at the Avon Holiday Spectacular parade and tree lighting”

“The girls of Troop #34633 of Como Lake Service Unit had a great time at their Holiday Party!”

“Troop 20155 from Lily Dale had a blast at their Christmas party! The Brownies had fun decorating their leaders, Krista Meyers and Nicole Nopper, like Christmas trees! The Girl Scouts then made up elf names for themselves, made no-bake cookies, enjoyed hot cocoa with marshmallows, and made a beautiful craft.”

“Kendall Troop 82257 visited the residents of the Martin-Linsin House of Hospice of Orleans to share some Christmas cheer this past Saturday! For their Girl Scout Bronze Award project, they planned and had a day of cookie baking, ornament making, and music with the residents. They also made new friends while they learned about each other’s holiday traditions and families. A wonderful day was had by all and the girls are planning to visit again soon!”

“Last weekend the Wincroft Service Unit in the city of Rochester hosted a Mom & Me holiday tea party!”

“Troop 31797 went caroling at Weinberg Campus recently. They had a capella singers come to our last meeting who taught the girls singing techniques before their field trip. They made door hangers for the residents and spread cheer with their voices!”

“At Troop 34120’s Christmas celebration last week (which was only their 2nd meeting since they are a new troop!!!), the girls all earned their Daisy Promise Center by reciting the Girl Scout Promise from memory! That’s a great start, Girl Scouts!”

“Girl Scout Troop 30022 had a Christmas Pajama Party and the girls were able to make their own blankets, play Christmas Bingo and have fun! It was a great way to end the first half of the Girl Scout year!”

“This is how Troop 31419 from the Clarence Service Unit celebrates the holidays the Girl Scout way💚  Making new friends, crafts, caroling and cookies & milk at the Brothers of Mercy Nursing Home.”

“Troop 14001 girls at Olean’s East View Elementary School made and decorated 3D holiday greeting cards for their special person of choice. They also used mashed potato flakes and clear plastic plates to create fun snow globes. Attached to their gifts is a Chex-Mix snack bag to their gift to make someone very happy for the holidays!”

“Troop 70183 had a She and Me Holiday Tea Party where they made cards for local veterans and collected gloves and mittens as part of our collection for the holidays!”

“Troop 30317 of the Amherst Central Service Unit had their Holiday Party this week. Their annual tradition is to decorate cookies to donate to Gerard Place, a transitional home for homeless families. In addition, each girl did a presentation on a favorite holiday tradition. They learned about the Mensch on the Bench, Polish Oplatek, Greek New Year’s cake,and more! They are also so lucky to have Dr. Alanna Pokorski from Excelsior Orthopaedics as one of their troop parents. She led the girls through some fun exercises – the same exercises she uses with the Buffalo Bills! – to burn off some of that holiday energy.”

“Very proud of our first year brownie troop from Hilton, troop 60656. During our December meeting this week, the girls made fresh evergreen centerpieces and wrote holiday cards that were donated to Hilton East Assisted living community.”

“Our Brownies served their community by assisting at the Eden Heights Assisted Living facility in west Seneca’s holiday party. They helped bring food and drink to the residents tables at the party, cleaned up and offered a smile and friendship to the residents. The girls also sang christmas Carol’s and a short skit with a special message at the end. We are so proud of of Girls giving back to their elders.”

“Akron Girl Scouts continued their annual Holiday Spirits event which includes holiday music, making ornaments for the community Christmas tree, collecting items for those in need and then decorating the tree with the ornaments made that evening.” 

“Ashantee SU hosted a breakfast with Santa for families, complete with food, crafts and visit santa”

To send us photos of your Girl Scouting activities, email communications@gswny.org!

Emma Smith completes her Gold Award project, a mural at the Monroe County Visitation Center

[The information and quotes for this post were gathered from the ‘Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Mural at the Visitation Center‘ post on the Society for the Protection and Care of Children’s website. To learn more about her project, click here to read the full submission.]

Recently, Emma Smith, high school junior, completed her Gold Award project. Pulling from her love for art, Emma decided to paint a mural at the Monroe County Visitation Center, where there are 1,500 supervised visits a month between foster children and their parents/families.

Image via SPCC

Her inspiration came from the ‘Freddie-Sue’ bridge in downtown Rochester, named for Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. She added some of the city skyline, the Genesee River, and a peregrine falcon. She wanted a design that would appeal to both children and adults who passed by it when coming to the Center.

She spent many hours researching foster care in Monroe County and working with different organizations to get the project and mural design approved. Once the details were finalized, Emma spent four days painting the mural.

To fund her Gold Award project, she pulled from profits she’s earned during her 10 years of selling Girl Scout cookies!

Based on her submission, the mural began bringing joy before it was finished, with children smiling and looking at it as they passed by when Emma was in the process of painting it.

Well done, Emma, and congratulations!

Daisy Troop 60012 puts 'Considerate & Caring' into action

[The following story was submitted to us by the leaders of Troop 60012. If you’d like to submit your story, send it to communications@gswny.org]

Below is a message received from Amber Benoit, a co-leader with Troop 60012. She and the other leaders were so proud of their girls, so they shared the following:

“We have a new Daisy troop and are working on learning & earning our petals. When it came time to learn about Lupe we talked to the girls about doing something Considerate & Caring for people in our community.

While we had some ideas as leaders, the girls shined by deciding to go caroling at a nursing home and also making a little gift for the residents with a hand made drawing or heart for each.

They used their fall fundraiser money for supplies and in just over an hour cut, rolled, drew and tied a bow on over 60 fleece scarves! Each had a little tag with a drawing from one of the girls on it.

Yesterday, we went to St. Anne’s nursing home in Irondequoit and walked 3 floors singing Christmas carols and handing out the scarves.

As one mom said ‘Many of the residents were very very happy to see the girls and some were shocked that they were being given a present.’ “For me?!” It was very sweet.”

As leaders we are proud, humbled and just blown away at how these girls (all kindergarteners and some very shy) stepped up and out if their shells to make many of these residents’ Holiday.”