Member Essentials – 4/28/20

Please note the change in frequency of the Member Essentials email – it will now be sent once a week, every Tuesday. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Customer Care at email:  customercare@gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410. Thank you. 


REMINDER: All volunteers are invited to join us at our Virtual Friendship Circle tomorrow!

We’re so thankful for all the work you do to bring the power of Girl Scouting to girls throughout Western New York! Even though we can’t see each other in person, we wanted to celebrate you through a Virtual Friendship Circle! 

Wednesday, April 29 | 6:00 p.m.

Join Zoom Meetinghttps://girlscouts.zoom.us/j/3923471622
Meeting ID: 392 347 1622 | Password: 193031

One tap mobile:
+19294362866,,3923471622#,,#,193031# US (New York)
+13126266799,,3923471622#,,#,193031# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location: +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)


Mental Health and Youth: Signs Symptoms and Interventions – April 23, 2020

If you weren’t able to attend the Youth Mental Health presentation by Karl Shallowhorn, M.S., CASAC, on Thursday, you can now view it on demand.

You can access the webinar and slide deck using the links below, as well as additional resources.

Video Presentation: https://youtu.be/WDLBq9Pls48

Presentation Slide Deck: https://www.gswny.org/content/dam/girlscouts-gswny/documents/4-23-20%20Girl%20Scouts%20WNY.pdf

WNY and National Mental Health Resources: https://www.gswny.org/content/dam/girlscouts-gswny/documents/WNY%20and%20National%20Mental%20Health%20Resources.pdf

Rise in Mental Illness Among Teen Girls: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsVpBlVkShM&feature=youtu.be

Adverse Childhood Experiences: Risk Factors for Substance Abuse and Mental Health:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX7HxYeswkI&feature=youtu.be

GSWNY provides training opportunities on a number of topics in an effort to encourage development and share information. At times, these topics may include content regarding health and wellness (physical, mental, etc.). GSWNY in no way endorses any wellness philosophy, and individuals are always encouraged to defer to or seek the guidance of healthcare and mental health professionals. Training sessions are meant to provide information that may be helpful, but are never intended to replace the expertise that only professionals can provide.


National Service Project: Letter Writing Campaign

Girl Scouts have always stepped up in times of need and our current COVID-19 crisis is no different. We are proud of all that our service units, troops, staff and girls have done so far to support our community—and the world—during COVID-19. We are also proud to be a part of the larger Girl Scout Movement, which is serving our country and our world. Now, we are proud to share resources to engage in a Movement-wide letter writing campaign to support those in our community who need us most.

The idea is simple: Girls write letters to people in nursing homes, senior residences, and assisted living facilities, including the dedicated and heroic staff who are caring for them. This long-distance hug is a way to share your good thoughts with these vulnerable and loved community members.

Please visit www.girlscouts.org/serviceprojects for instructions on how to write and send letters, including a sample letter to include when you send your letters to a facility.

Share your story of letter writing with the greater Girl Scouts Movement by sharing on social media with #GirlScoutsGiveBack.

Don’t forget to visit our Girl Scouts Give Back page and log the number of letters you send to add them to the national campaign. Let’s see how many letters of love and care our movement can send!


Watch weekdays at 3:12 p.m. on GSWNY’s Facebook Page to see videos from staff and membership.

Make sure you check in every day at 3:12 to catch us live. Can’t make the live broadcast? View all our Trefoil TV videos on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube

Yesterday, we kicked off our week of STEM with an egg drop experiment! The rest of the week, we’re showing the science of ice cream, explaining tricky thaumatropes, practicing chromatography, and doing a slime challenge!

NEXT WEEK: Join us for next week’s Trefoil TV sessions focused on Fun and Games! Visit our Facebook Events to see what we have planned.

Girl Scouting at Home

Looking for ways to stay involved with Girl Scouts? Check out our Girl Scouting at Home page today! We regularly add new resources, including new Virtual Badge Work for all Girl Scout Levels on Thursdays!


Girl Scouts Doing Good Things

Our Girl Scouts are putting their ingenuity to work and doing great things across our WNY community. Check out a few examples below.

We are #GirlScoutStrong! Looking forward to talking to you next week! In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Customer Care customercare@gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410.

Writing Letters to Seniors and Caretakers: National Girl Scout Service Project

Serving our communities is part of how Girl Scouts lead, especially in times of our country’s greatest need. During World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic, Girl Scouts collected peach pits to be ground up and used in making soldiers’ gas masks, rolled bandages for the Red Cross, educated their communities about food production, and sold U.S. Treasury Bonds. On the home front in World War II, Girl Scouts planted victory gardens; conducted scrap drives for rubber, metal, and nylon; and trained with the Red Cross on first aid. They sent President Franklin Delano Roosevelt a “check” documenting 5.4 million hours of service.

Girl Scouts have always stepped up in times of need, and our current COVID-19 crisis is no different. All across the country, Girl Scouts have leapt to the aid of others by engaging in wonderful acts of service and kindness. Now your troop can get involved too!

The idea is simple: girls write letters to people in nursing homes, senior centers, and assisted living facilities, including the dedicated staff and caregivers. This long-distance hug is a way to share your good thoughts with these vulnerable and loved community members.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Ask your girls (and their friends!) to write letters using the Tips for Writing Letters to Seniors and Caretakers below. You can share this handout with your girls before you write letters or during your virtual troop meeting.
    1. Send a long-distance hug with a heartfelt letter to seniors, their caretakers, and other people who can benefit from knowing that you’re thinking of them. See below for some recommendations on how to write and share these notes.
    2. What should I know before I write my letter?
      • Write it by hand. Giving your message a personal touch can show your reader how much you care. Plus, it’s your unique stamp! No one has your handwriting but you.
      • Make it neat. Make sure your recipient can read the wonderful words you write to them!
      • Make it personal. Let your creative side shine with bright colors, glitter pens, drawings, and other personal touches!
      • Don’t write the date. While we often want to mark the date that we write letters, it may take longer than normal for this letter to be delivered. Leaving off the date will help your reader feel special and remembered even if they receive it late.
    3. What should I write about?
      • “Thank you” or “Thinking of you”—pick one! Are you writing to a resident at a nursing home? Want to thank a caregiver? Decide what type of note you’re writing and let the message guide your writing.
      • Be kind and thoughtful. When you begin to write, think carefully about what you want to say and how you can spread kindness. Consider how you can craft a unique message that comes from your heart. How can you make the card extra special?
      • Be creative. Use your creativity, imagination, and talents to make your note fun and unique! Consider drawing a picture, decorating your note, or adding in a puzzle that you create or a game you love.
      • Start with “Dear Friend.” Even if you don’t know your reader by name, starting with “Dear Friend” will make them feel special and cared for.
      • Introduce yourself. Let your reader know who you are and why you’re writing.
      • Send positive thoughts. Share your positivity and well wishes. What do you hope for your reader right now? Is there anything you’d like to thank them for?
      • Give some personal flair. Share something that only you can. Is there something you’ve been doing that you want that person to know about? Can you share a story that will make them happy?
      • Avoid religion and personal views. Since we don’t know exactly who will receive your letter, make sure that your note is kind and broad—so that anyone who receives it will feel that it is meant for them.
      • Sign your first name. Sign your name to the letter to show your reader it’s coming from a kind and genuine person: you. While it’s important that this letter come from you, don’t share more personal information (like your last name, home address, or phone number)—if the reader knows your name and that you’re a Girl Scout, that’s more than enough.
  2. You can mail letters to one of the locations ready to receive letters from Girl Scout troops. The list is available on the National Service Project page. Or you can reach out to a local assisted living center or nursing home and find out how they would like to receive your troop’s letters.
  3. Decide how to collect and deliver your troop’s letters. You could collect the letters (using no-contact practices) and mail them or drop them off as a packet, have girls mail them individually, or even deliver them via email. Do whatever is easiest and safest for you and your troop. If you decide to have girls mail them on their own, provide the council office address as the return address.
  4. Include a letter or note to the facility staff explaining who your letters are for, along with suggested ideas for sharing your letters (for example, adding a letter to meal trays or decorating a nurse’s station). A sample letter to the facility can be found here.
  5. If your troop wrote both “thinking of you” notes for residents and “thank you” notes for staff and caregivers, make sure to organize your package so that it is easy for staff to deliver letters to the right recipients.
  6. Take a picture of your letter packet and post it to your social media networks using #GirlScoutsGiveBack (and be sure to tag us @girlscouts). You can also tag GSWNY on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
  7. Don’t forget to visit GSUSA’s National Service Project page and log the number of letters you send to add them to the national campaign. Let’s see how many letters of love and care our Movement can send!
  8. If you wish to recognize your troop’s participation with a patch, we recommend this community service patch.
Featured image: drobotdean

Don’t Forget to Show Appreciation Year-Round!

Guest post by Christine Kirwan, GSWNY Director of Volunteer Experience

April was Volunteer Appreciation Month, but don’t let that stop you from celebrating it all year-round! April can serve as a great reminder, but many of our amazing volunteers go above and beyond on a regular basis.

At the start of the month, we helped you generate new ideas to get creative for April. After that, GSWNY Volunteer Experience Manager Lena Budd explained some of the more nuanced ways people like to be thanked. Now we want to help you keep those thankful thoughts flowing through the other 11 months.

Keep a gratitude journal!

Normally this concept is for your personal self-reflection on the ways your own life has been good, but it’s actually a fun concept to remember how someone has repeatedly done wonderful things for you. Keep small notes on who has done something nice for you. Look back on these when writing a thank you note and pull a few choice examples that made you particularly grateful.

Build some shout-out time into meetings!

If the volunteer you want to thank is comfortable with public displays of gratitude, consider setting aside time in troop or service unit meetings to allow people to share a brief message to highlight that volunteer. Worried about time? You can also collect those messages through email or social media ahead of time and then have one person read them aloud at the meeting.

Create your own awards!

At GSWNY, we have a lot of ways to officially recognize volunteers, but sometimes you want to give smaller thanks on a service unit or troop level. You can always create your own awards ceremonies or handmade trophies and certificates to give thanks.

Can we all appreciate the joy of a paper plate award ceremony? They don’t all have to be inside jokes or funny. Sincere ones are an excellent way to go, too! This can be a really fun idea for when you’re able to meet in person once again!

Make memories, then create a gift!

We live in a world of smartphones where photos are a frequent part of our lives. If you have some sweet photos of events or instances where the volunteer or their hard work was in front of the camera, consider turning those memories into a physical gift.

Scrapbooks, photo albums, framed photos, or picture collages are all touching gifts that they can incorporate into their lives. The photo will remind them of your gratitude and keep the good vibes flowing.

Have another idea? How do you show thanks outside of April? Leave a comment below!

Member Essentials – 4/23/20

In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month and Leader Day, our CEO Alison Wilcox was joined by Morgan Williams-Bryant, our Chief Impact Officer, and Girl Scouts Stella and Taylor in thanking our co-leaders and volunteers for their amazing work in building girls of courage, confidence, and character. Thank you for all that you do!


Updates About G.I.R.L. 2020 and the 55th National Council Session

GSUSA recently announced the cancellation of G.I.R.L. 2020. This decision was made with the health and safety of all members of the Girl Scout Movement at the forefront. With continuous monitoring of public health experts’ recommendations and forecasts, it became clear that Girl Scouts could not hold convention in person in October 2020 because we can’t host a large scale, in-person event and guarantee the health and safety of participants. There will be a one-time virtual session for our 55th National Council Session in October 2020. GSWNY will finalize changes for GIRL 2020 cookie program recognitions by May 1.

MORE INFORMATION


Please join us for a Virtual Friendship Circle in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month

We’re so thankful for all the work you do to bring the power of Girl Scouting to girls throughout Western New York! Even though we can’t see each other in person, we wanted to celebrate you through a Virtual Friendship Circle! 

Wednesday, April 29 | 6:00 pm

Join Zoom Meetinghttps://girlscouts.zoom.us/j/3923471622
Meeting ID: 392 347 1622 | Password: 193031

One tap mobile:
+19294362866,,3923471622#,,#,193031# US (New York)
+13126266799,,3923471622#,,#,193031# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location: +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)


Renewal Update

After careful consideration, GSWNY is postponing the start of the Spring Renewal campaign, originally set to begin on May 1. We will continue to review the current conditions to determine the best start date.

While we are reviewing our renewal incentives for the updated campaign, SAGE Tuition Rewards will not be affected and will be pushed to the new renewal dates. If a member renews prior to the new Renewal Campaign start date, they will still qualify for any time-related incentives once the campaign begins. Watch for more details on updated incentives when they become available. 

Look for updated campaign dates and information in mid to late May!


Girl Scouting at Home

Looking for ways to stay involved with Girl Scouts? Check out our Girl Scouting at Home page today! We regularly add new resources, including weekly badge resources from GSWNY staff!

Tour the British Museum of Art and earn a patch! 

It’s Art and Travel Week for Trefoil TV, so what better way to embrace both through a virtual patch program at the British Museum of Art! Go on a scavenger hunt through the museum , follow the instructions, and answer the instructions to earn your fun patch! 

DOWNLOAD THE FORM

Watch weekdays at 3:12 p.m. on GSWNY’s Facebook Page to see videos from staff and membership.

Make sure you check in every day at 3:12 to catch us live. Can’t make the live broadcast? View all our Trefoil TV videos on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube

Tomorrow, we will wrap up our Arts and Travel week with one of our board Members, Cherie Messore, explaining gratitude journaling and the benefits of finding time to be thankful.

NEXT WEEK: We’re focusing on one of our Four Program Pillars next week with STEM! Our different experiments will include slime, chromatography, ice cream in a bag, and more!


Girl Scouts Doing Good Things

Our Girl Scouts are putting their ingenuity to work and doing great things across our WNY community. Check out a few examples below.

We are #GirlScoutStrong! Looking forward to talking to you on Thursday! In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Customer Care customercare@gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410.

Member Essentials – 4/21/20

Please note that we have been receiving a lot of positive opportunities from various outlets for media interviews and comments. We ask that if anyone is contacted for an opportunity that you work in collaboration with Council to make sure that we are speaking in one voice. Please contact our EVP of Marketing at 716-935-6023 or email callie.johnson@gswny.org.


Product Program Update

Girl Scout Cookie Program Virtual Program Options
GSWNY Cookie Donor Buyout: GSWNY is asking donors to assist Girl Scouts and first responders or charities by purchasing leftover cookie inventory. Online Form For Donors

GSWNY Cookies for Courage: Transform your troop inventory into a sweet treat for your local hometown heroes! Think of women and men on the front lines and let them know your Girl Scout troop is thankful for them. Let your entrepreneurial skills shine…show us how creative you can be! Learn more here:  Flyer and FAQS.

Please note that as communicated previously, troops who are done selling and have leftover inventory will be asked to complete a form and will not be responsible for payment for unsold packages.  Once troops complete the form we will work with you on the process.

GSUSA PROGRAM: Girl Scouts and communities across the country are counting on you. Support girls continued success in the wake of COVID-19 through Digital Cookie and Smart Cookie online orders shipped to your door without interruption. Or donate cookies online and we’ll distribute them safely to provide comfort to first responders, frontline volunteers, and local causes in need. Learn more here.

Please note that as communicated previously, troops who are done selling and have leftover inventory will be asked to complete a form and will not be responsible for payment for unsold packages.  Once troops complete the form we will work with you on the process.

GSUSA PROGRAM: Girl Scouts and communities across the country are counting on you. Support girls continued success in the wake of COVID-19 through Digital Cookie and Smart Cookie online orders shipped to your door without interruption. Or donate cookies online and we’ll distribute them safely to provide comfort to first responders, frontline volunteers, and local causes in need. Learn more here.


Mental Health and Youth: Signs, Symptoms and Interventions Virtual Training Sessions THIS THURSDAY

Two Sessions: 11am – 1pm and 6pm – 8pm

This is a reminder that Karl Shallowhorn, MA, CASAC will join us virtually on Thursday, April 23, to provide a training entitled “Mental Health & Youth: Signs, Symptoms and Interventions.” The course synopsis, along with the enrollment links, are provided below:

  • What is Mental Health?
  • Mental Health Disorders
  • Trauma
  • Disruptive Behavior Disorders
  • Mood Disorders
  • Psychosis
  • Self-Injury & Suicide
  • Risk/Protective Factors
  • Interventions
  • Treatment
  • What Can You Do?
  • Resources

Please note that each session has a maximum of 250 registrants, so space is limited.  Use the links below to register for either Thursday session. Note: These are two identical sessions; please register for only one session.

Morning Session | Evening Session


Renewal Update

After careful consideration, GSWNY is postponing the start of the Spring Renewal campaign, originally set to begin on May 1.  We will continue to review the current conditions to determine the best start date.  Look for updated campaign dates and information in mid to late May!


Safety Activity Check Points for Virtual Meetings

GSUSA recently released a guide about virtual troop meetings with information including tips for the meeting, inclusion ideas, privacy, and safety activity checkpoints. Download the Virtual Meeting guide today.


Keep Girl Scouts Going: A Guide for Troop Parents & Caregivers

With so much change going on in the world, maintaining your girl’s connection to Girl Scouts can bring her a sense of normalcy and security during a time of uncertainty. Download the guide to learn how to power her experience from home.


Earth Day is tomorrow! Join us for a virtual campfire!GSWNY Virtual Campfire
April 22 at 6 p.m.


Join your favorite camp staff for an evening of fun and excitement, as we connect with our camp friends sharing favorite camp songs and traditions. Register Today

Looking for more Earth Day activities? Check out our 50th Anniversary Challenge!

It’s Arts and Travel Week on Trefoil TV! Watch weekdays at 3:12 p.m. on GSWNY’s Facebook Page to see videos from staff and membership.

Make sure you check in every day at 3:12 to catch us live. Can’t make the live broadcast? View all our Trefoil TV videos on Facebook  and YouTube.

THIS WEEK: Check out one of our Girl Scouts Cyrene demonstrating pour painting! Tomorrow we’re featuring Earth Day crafts.

Girl Scouting at Home

Looking for ways to stay involved with Girl Scouts? Check out our Girl Scouting at Home page today! We recently updated the page to include Virtual Badge Work!


Girl Scouts Doing Good Things

Our Girl Scouts are putting their ingenuity to work and doing great things across our WNY community. Check out a few examples below.

We are #GirlScoutStrong! Looking forward to talking to you on Thursday! In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Customer Care customercare@gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410.

The History of National Girl Scout Leader Day

April 22 is National Girl Scout Leader Day, which fits so nicely nestled into Volunteer Appreciation Month. On this National Girl Scout Leader Day, we’re more grateful and appreciative than ever to have such dedicated leaders who are still finding ways to support their girls despite the current circumstances.

Girl Scout Leader Day recognizes and honors the many adult volunteers to the Girl Scouting program. Celebration of the holiday began on April 22, 1982, when a flag honoring Girl Scout leaders was flown over the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

This day honors the thousands of volunteers who help to make the Girl Scout program a success. Celebrate today, by thanking the Girl Scout leaders in your troop and area.

This is the perfect time to give them the wonderful thank you made using our blog post of suggestions from earlier this month. Give them your handmade thank you card or handwritten note. Girl Scout groups can hold virtual parties. Gifts are not a requirement, or an expectation.

One of the ways Girl Scouts can thank their leaders, is to do their best in everything they do. Leaders get their reward by seeing girls grow while building courage, confidence, and character, plus by making the world a better place!

Member Essentials – 4/16/20

Cookie Donor Buyout Program

Today is the official launch of our Donor Buyout Program to pair donors with troops who have remaining cookie inventory. All participants in the buyout program will assist in buying a troop’s remaining inventory and those cookies will be donated to hometown heroes serving in the community.

Learn More


Volunteer Tips for Staying Connected

At GSWNY, we recognize and value your time. Since our lives have been significantly interrupted, here are some ways to stay connected and reconnect with your Girl Scout Troop. Download the tips and learn more from Christine Kirwan’s Trefoil TV about staying connected.

Thank you for all that you do! 

Download Volunteer Tips


Annual Troop Financial Activity Report (TFAR) Update

As the normally scheduled Girl Scout gatherings and programs are temporarily on hold, the previously required month of May TFAR submission window will be shifted to June 1-30, 2020 (a copy of the May troop bank account statement to be attached). Please watch for additional information and mark your calendars for a June TFAR submission! We will keep you updated should there be any changes to these plans.


Celebrate Earth Day with GSWNY!

50th Anniversary of Earth Day 
GSWNY 50 Point Challenge


Try out your favorite activities! When you earn a total of 50 points you have earned your patch! This Program Patch will cost $1.25. Deadline to order is May 31, 2020.

Download the Activity Guide

GSWNY Virtual Campfire
April 22 at 6 p.m.

Join some of our camp staff for an evening of fun and excitement, as we connect with our camp friends sharing favorite camp songs and traditions.

Register Today

This week, we’re holding a Virtual Camp Week! Watch Trefoil TV Weekdays at 3:12 p.m. on GSWNY’s Facebook Page to see videos from our camp and outdoor staff.

Make sure you check in every day at 3:12 to catch us live. Can’t make the live broadcast? View all our Trefoil TV videos on Facebook  and YouTube.

Upcoming: Learn all about s’mores and recipes to try at home later today and tomorrow join Edge in singing camp songs!

Girl Scouting at Home

Looking for ways to stay involved with Girl Scouts? Check out our Girl Scouting at Home page today!

Visit Girl Scouting at Home Page


Mental Health and Youth: Signs, Symptoms and Interventions Virtual Training Sessions – Thursday 4/23

Two Sessions: 11am – 1pm and 6pm – 8pm

Karl Shallowhorn, MA, CASAC has partnered with GSWNY in order to offer two training sessions to our staff and volunteers.  This training provides a basic overview of mental health, as well as information on disorders such as anxiety and depression. Participants will be able to identify the signs and symptoms as well as risk and protective factors associated with these conditions in relationship to youth 18 and under. Information will also be provided on resources available to assist those working with youth who may be encountering emerging mental health challenges.

Please note that each session has a maximum of 250 registrants, so space is limited.  Please register only if you are able to attend the live session; the sessions will be recorded and circulated via Member Essentials to all members.  GSWNY and Mr. Shallowhorn are also collaborating to provide a mental health session for girl members – please keep an eye out for more details to come!

Register for Morning Session | Register for Evening Session


Girl Scouts Doing Good Things

Our Girl Scouts are putting their ingenuity to work and doing great things across our WNY community. Check out a few examples below.

We are #GirlScoutStrong! Looking forward to talking to you on Tuesday! In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Customer Care customercare@gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410.