Highlights from the 2019 GIRL Experience Convention

Saturday, November 2, marked our first GIRL Experience Convention. More than 300 Girl Scouts from around Western New York gathered at Daemen College for a morning of empowering speakers and afternoon of amazing vendors and activities!

The morning kicked off with your Girl Advisory Board, the planning team behind the event!

Kaitlyn, Danielle, Jaylah, Grace and Arianna from the Girl Advisory Board

Morgan Williams-Bryant, GSWNY Chief Impact Officer, gave the opening remarks and introduced our CEO Alison Wilcox!

Grace returned to the stage to introduce our first keynote speaker, Holly Hubert! Holly formerly worked for the FBI Cyber Crimes Unit and is now CEO of Global Security IQ.

Our second speaker was Venus Quates, CEO of LAUNCHTECH and GSWNY Board Member!

Our stage then welcomed Jennifer D’Ovidio, co-owener at Aerial Arts of Rochester, and one her students/instructors/performers Alexa Wallace!

Finally, our CEO came back to deliver her keynote speech.

After all the keynotes were done, our speakers sat down for a panel discussion featuring questions from the audience.

Our last speaker of the morning was Madison Wagstaff, a teenpreneur and founder/CEO of Madison’s Fabulous Creations.

Then, after lunch, our Hall of Experiences opened for an incredible afternoon.

Many of our program partners were in attendance, including the BPO and Darwin Martin House.

Madison even had a table to sell her creations!

The Hippie Pandas joined us to show of their creations and robots.

We had a drum circle from Rich Shuler Drum Workshops…

…face painting…

…CLIMBING WALL from Niagara Climbing Gym…

…martial arts from Jindo Martial Arts…

…AERIAL PERFORMERS from Aerial Arts of Rochester and Up Aerial Fitness…

…A THERAPY DOG named Oscar…

….and TONS of activities from our partners and vendors!

Click Here to See More Photos!

Girl Scouts of Western New York Weekly Round Up – November 1, 2019

We love seeing our Girl Scouts out and about, whether they’re doing a service project, attending a council program, having a party, going on a field trip, and everything in between! Here’s some of the submissions we received this week:

Troops 10291, 10053 and 10221 were volunteering in the Randolph Community for the annual Make A Difference Day!

The 4th grade Junior Troop 51063 from Avon went to Hilltop Farm in Groveland and earned their Horseback Riding patch.

Troop 30782 went camping this weekend a learned a lot about canning!  Correct  handling procedures, when to use hot jars, cold jars and the different processing times. They tasted cinnamon beets, pepper jelly, peach salsa and corn salsa. They made and canned applesauce and dilly beans!

Troop 30554 from Tonawanda recently got a behind the scenes tour of Shea’s Performing Arts Center! They saw the old ticket booth, the dressing rooms, got to stand on stage, go backstage, sat in the box seats and learn about the history and architecture of the theater! What a great program they have! 

The Big Bend Service Unit recently held their Court of Awards!

Troop 12062 from East Concord built fairy houses at Camp Piperwood as part of their Art in the Outdoors badge!

Troop 30697 got into the fall spirit at Camp Seven Hills!

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)

SPCA ERIE COUNTY: ANIMAL HELPERS BADGE-11/2/19 (C)
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.

ASHA: MOVIE NIGHT OUT AT THE SANCTUARY-11/9/19 (B/J)
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.

ASHA: THANKSGIVING WITHOUT THE TURKEY-11/16/19 (C/S/A)
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. 

ARC & FLAME: GLASS FUSING-11/16/19 (B/J/C/S/A)
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.

ARC & FLAME: CHAINMAIL-11/19/19 (S/A)
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.

SCOUT’S PROMISE: DREAM IT, DO IT 500-11/16/19 (C/S/A)
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.

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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