Troop 20173’s second annual JLow Glow Party!

[This post was submitted by Troop 20173. To share your troop story, email communications@gswny.org.]

What’s the best way to celebrate a birthday? Throw a party!

So how do you celebrate the birthday of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts? Gather 42 Girl Scouts from 13 troops, along with a Juliette Girl Scout, together to sing “Happy Birthday” and party in her name, of course!

Girls from Westfield, Chautauqua Lake, Ripley, Cassadaga, Sherman and Clymer schools came together on October 28 to have a “JLow Glow” party at Eason Hall in Westfield.

The girls skated (or tried to!), played games, and shared snacks with their sister Girl Scouts. With the lights low, the glow party’s colored lights and glow sticks set the mood for fun.

At the end of it all, the girls gathered in a huge friendship circle and sang in honor of Girl Scout founder Ms. Low. Some girls even took the opportunity to join Girl Scouting that evening!

Hosted by the Cadettes in Westfield’s Troop 20173 of the Twin Lakes Service Unit, this second annual event was a terrific success.

Franklinville Troop 10045 of the Enchanted Mountains NE SU Earns Bronze Award

The following is a submission from Troop 10045 celebrating their Bronze Award. If you want to share what your troop is doing, email communications@gswny.org.

“We live in a very rural/agricultural community so the girls researched pollinators, learning about the gentle mason bee in particular. Mason bees do not build hives or make honey. They nest in holes made by woodpeckers and beetles or in wood piles and crevices near gardens. The pollinator boxes include bundles of tubes which allow a place for the bees to reproduce and lay their eggs. The tubes are filled with eggs, nectar, and pollen, and sealed with mud plugs from which mature bees emerge in the spring.”

The boxes in progress
The finished boxes

“Each box will be donated to a local farm: Pepper’s Blueberry Hill Farm, Great Valley Berry Patch and Pumpkinville in Great Valley, Franklinville FFA and the Mitrowski-House Farm in Machias.”

The girls with their project at Pepper’s Blueberry Hill Farm

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.”

Troop 20173 attends Golden Gate Bridging Event

Five Girl Scout Juniors from Troop 20173 had the experience of a lifetime as they joined 7,000 of their Girl Scouting sisters on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge for the Girl Scouts of Northern California’s Golden Gate Bridging Event. 

The girls, Westfield fifth graders Brooke Luce, Lilly Teeter, Desiree Bowen and Grace Graham and Cassadaga’s Lily Hafner, joined leaders Patricia Bowen and Wendy Graham on a whirlwind trip across the country. The four-day adventure was a time of firsts: for many, it was the first time they had flown; for some, it was their first time away from family; and for all it was their first time amid so many of their Girl Scout peers.

“In Girl Scouting, when a girl moves up to a new level they call it bridging,” Patty Bowen said. “We’ve had bridging ceremonies over small local bridges before. When we found out girls on the west coast bridged over one of the Engineering Wonders of the World, we were in.”

The ceremony was only for 5th graders bridging from Juniors to Cadettes, which means all of Troop 20173 was eligible.

“Then we just had to find funds,” Wendy Graham said.

The catch: the event was just over 4 weeks away when the leaders found out about it. 

“Our small community just came together to make sure we could afford it. It gives me goosebumps to think of everyone who helped to make this happen. We received donations from our local American Legion, Legion Auxiliary, VFW, VFW Auxiliary, Women of the Moose, and Westfield Fisheries along with many personal donations people made when they heard about what we wanted to do and the opportunity we wanted to give these girls. We even had most of the money for our seven flights paid for by one individual donor. It was that one anonymous donation that got the ball rolling!” Bowen said.

In the end, the girls were able to see redwoods in Muir Woods, tour San Francisco by bus, visit Sausalito, take a ferry ride past Alcatraz, ride a cable car, and see the sea lions on Pier 39.

“And that’s all besides the main event!” Graham said. “Bridging day included walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, various Girl Scout stations set up in Chrissy Field, and our girls got to meet the CEO of Girl Scouts of Northern California and earned her special CEO patch.  The ceremonies closed with the largest friendship circle in the world, which was truly awesome to see and experience.”

A real bonus was that the girls got to meet the pilot on their return trip- herself a woman in a largely male-dominated industry!

Despite a few bouts of homesickness, all of the girls say they are eager to travel again. They are already looking toward their next scouting adventure, which was truly awesome to see.”

Girl Scouts Give Back To The Longridge Elementary School Community With A “Little Free Library” Service Project

Girl Scout Cadettes from Troop 60972 of Greece will make the Longridge Elementary School community brighter as they host a presentation in honor of their little free library service project where girls will also earn their wood working badge.

Ten Girl Scouts who attend three of Greece Central School District’s middle schools decided to give back to their local community with a literacy service project and worked with various groups including Greece Odyssey and others to help build the little free library and collect books for the school community at Longridge Elementary. Community service is an important component to the Girl Scout experience and empowers girls to take the lead and make the world a better place.

Girl Scouts in Action: Memorial Day 2019

This year, Girl Scouts from around Western New York marched in parades and participated in ceremonies honoring our fallen heroes. Check out some of the pictures below and see the full album on Facebook!

Memorial Day 2019 Photos

Troop 60098 Memorial Day Parade
Twin Lakes Daisies attended the Flag Laying ceremony in Mayville
Westfield Troops 20045, 20003, 20311, 20249, 20067, 20173, from the youngest Kindergarten Daisies to the Oldest of 5th Grade Juniors, took to the streets this morning and marched, biked and rode through town to honor any and all of our country’s veterans by proudly marching in the parade this morning wearing Red, White, and Blue with their Girl Scout uniforms!! They did it with a smile and a wave to everyone who lined the streets as we gathered to honor those who have served!
Several GS Troops from the Sweet Home Service Unit marched in the Memorial Day Parade in Williamsville yesterday
Mt Morris troops participated in the village’s Memorial Day parade and attended the Memorial Day ceremony. Cadette Troops 51027 and 51019 and Junior Troop 53090.
Girl Scouts from Lockport lining up for this years Memorial Day Parade march in Lockport this weekend.
Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes from the William Park SU walked in the Memorial Day parade
Pittsford Girl Scouts
Some of the first year Daisies from Troop 60532 marched in the Greece Memorial Day parade
Tekakwitha SU
KenTon SU in Town of Tonawanda parade

Girl Scouts of WNY participate in 47th annual Skills and Chills event

On Sat., Sept. 24, Girl Scouts from the Western New York council participated in the 47th annual Skills and Chills event. The event took place at Camp Seven Hills Goodyear located in Holland, NY.

Skills and Chills is a yearly competition in the GSWNY council that allows Girl Scouts that are sixth-grade Cadettes through twelfth-grade Ambassadors to test their abilities and earn awards. A committee organizes the event and chooses judges that are subject matter experts in each field. This year, ten new volunteers were trained as subject matter experts and added to the judging panel.

Nancy Grimes, chairperson of the outdoor committee, stated, “It’s important to know these skills. It gives girls a sense of strength in the outdoors. They can say, ‘I can do this. I can accomplish this. I don’t need to wait for someone else to do it.’ Part of the philosophy of this program is not just having the skills, but being willing to try and give it a shot.”
Ann Marie Lesnewski brought Cadette troop 30143 to the event. She commented, “We try to do the skills throughout the year. Whenever we go camping we try to incorporate fire building. With first aid, we talk about it all the time and what you should do if certain situations come up. It’s an ongoing process for us and we don’t just do this to prep for Skills and Chills.”

Troops collectively decide on a team name and often create costumes to match their theme. This adds to the fun and helps to unite the troop even further with a visual element of camaraderie.

Lesnewski explained how her troop chose their theme. “We came up with a Christmas theme because I ride in a scooter, so the girls were trying to figure out how we could incorporate that. I’m Mrs. Claus in a sleigh, the leaders are elves, and the girls are all reindeer.”

Girls face off in events such as archery, orienteering, canoeing, tent pitching, log sawing, knots and lashing, and field sports.

Grimes explained, “Points earned are based more on common sense and safety than speed. It’s about understanding what’s required to be safe if you use these skills while camping. We’re out here to make sure they enjoy it and can act as leaders to be able to light a fire or perform first aid. Team building and communication are important for the girls to learn and use, too.”

Teresa Buchner of troop 70400 said that her troop didn’t have access to canoes to practice, but came up with an alternate plan instead. They got paddles and set up dining room chairs to practice on, pretending they were in a canoe and working on skills such as turning and stopping momentum. She and teammate Josie Ostrowski earned second place in the canoe skills competition showing that a little Girl Scout ingenuity holds great value.

Dayonna Tester from troop 70923 said, “Today, I did archery, first aid, knots and lashing, and compass. My troop practices every week as part of our troop meetings. First aid was my best event. We had to wrap an arm with an ace bandage and make a splint. My team worked really well together.”

Tester had to step in for a troop member that was unable to make it to the competition. The girl that couldn’t attend the event had been signed up for archery. Tester had never touched a bow before, but was willing to do her best. Afterward, although she didn’t score any points, she said, “I want to take archery lessons! That was really fun!”

At the end of the evening, all the points were totaled and award ribbons were given out. Volunteers beamed with pride as all the girls cheered on the winners.

Grimes said, “Part of why this is a success is we keep doing what the girls need. This is about these kids having fun and having an experience they won’t forget.”

To learn more about Girl Scouts of Western New York, visit gswny.org