Girl Scouting: A Journey Through Time

The Lake Ridge Service Unit (Holley, Brockport, Hamlin, and Kendall, NY) created an interactive event for the opening night of their history display at the Brockport Seymour Library. Almost 150 people attended and nine troops presented. The project was a celebration of World Thinking Day and the international World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts theme of inclusion, diversity, and equity.

The Girl Scouts portrayed girls throughout history and shared information on the evolution of Girl Scouts from its inception in 1912 to the present, including Girl Scout High Awards and the history of cookie sales. The displays and performances captured the history of Girl Scouts along with some of the social trends and cultural zeitgeist of each decade.

Upon their arrival, guests were given a passport to time travel through the library. At each station they were able to receive a sticker or stamp to mark their participation and to learn about the specific decade they were at. A path was marked through the library to help guide guests through a chronological walkway to modern times.

At the 1910s and 1920s table, Troop 60847 started everyone off. Straight from their page in the passport:

In the midst of the Progressive Era, and as the nation was expanding by adding the states of New Mexico and Arizona—but before women had the right to vote—Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts in 1912, with an emphasis on inclusiveness, the outdoors, self-reliance, and service.

Girl Scouting continued to expand its reach to more and more girls, with the first Girl Scout troops launching outside the United States in China, Syria, and Mexico. Additionally, one of the earliest Native American Girl Scout troops formed on the Onondaga Reservation in New York State in 1921, and Mexican-American girls formed a Girl Scout troop in Houston, Texas, in 1922. Lone Troops on Foreign Soil (later called USA Girl Scouts Overseas) registered its first Girl Scout troop in Shanghai, China, with 18 girls in 1925.

Troop 60233 presented the 1930s. The girls talked about how Girl Scouts was still moving forward with the Great Depression:

With the United States consumed by the Great Depression, Girl Scouts participated in relief efforts by collecting clothing and food for those in need. And as the country continued to deal with waves of immigration from the previous decade, Girl Scouts began printing its “Who are the Girl Scouts?” promotional booklet in Yiddish, Italian, and Polish.

The 1940s presenters were intended to be Troop 82204. Unfortunately, the girls were unable to attend the event and did not appear in photographs. Their write-up from the passport:

During World War II, Girl Scouts interested in flying participated in the Wing Scouts program. Girl Scout troops also operated bicycle courier services, ran Farm Aide projects, collected fat and scrap metal, and grew Victory Gardens, as well as sponsored Defense Institutes that taught women survival skills and techniques for comforting children during air raids. Japanese-American girls, confined to internment camps in Utah and California, also established troops.

Troop 60492 played 1950s games with visitors to their station. They also had a handbook on display from a woman named Joan Dickinson from her time as a Brownie in the 1950s. The passport read:

Girl Scouts responded to the Korean War by assembling “Kits for Korea,” pouches of items needed by Korean citizens, and also continued to press issues of inclusiveness and equality with Ebony magazine reporting in 1952 that even in the south “…[Girl] Scouts were making slow and steady progress toward surmounting the racial barriers of the region.”

Troop 60375 got groovy at their 1960s station which featured a VW bus photo booth. Their passport entry:

During this tumultuous and vibrant decade, Girl Scouts held “Speak Out” conferences around the country to lend their voices to the fight for racial equality, launched the ACTION 70 project to help overcome prejudice and build better relationships between people, and viewed the Apollo 12 moon landing at Camp Kennedy, Florida, as guests of NASA.

Things were looking discotheque at Troop 60489’s table equipped with a light show! Their 1970s passport write-up:

During this period, Girl Scouts elected its first African-American national board president, Gloria D. Scott; stood up for environment issues by launching the national Eco-Action program; and helped Vietnamese refuge children adapt to their new homes in America.

Troop 60360 took on the 80s and 90s making everything as neon and saturated as you can imagine! Their write-up:

Girl Scouts established the Daisy level for Kindergarten-aged girls as interest in Girl Scouts expanded, and also distributed “The Contemporary Issues” series that addressed some of the most serious issues teen girls of the day were confronting, including drug use, child abuse, and teen pregnancy. Amid the explosive growth of person computers, Girl Scouts introduced the Technology Badge for Girl Scout Juniors, while also tackling illiteracy with the Right to Read service project, which nearly 4 million Girl Scouts and leaders participated in.

The 2000s to Today was full of extremely familiar items from the cookie program, sweatshirts and t-shirts, outdoor gear, program materials, and more. This is the display that the girls have put on temporary display at the Seymour Library for the public to visit during their normal business hours. The passport reads:

Girl Scouts entered the first decade of the new millennium focused on the healthy development of girls, establishing the Girl Scout Research Institute to conduct studies and report findings. We also continued to emphasize inclusiveness by hosting a National Conference on Latinas in Girl Scouting and, in 2005, electing the first Hispanic Girl Scout chair of the National Board, Patricia Diaz Dennis.

Even as technology plays a larger and larger role in Americans’ lives, Girl Scouts also stay connected to nature and the great outdoors. So while Girl Scouts introduced new badges to promote outdoor activities, we’ve also partnered with Google for “Made With Code,” a program encouraging girls to get an early start in computer science. In 2014, Girl Scouts launched Digital Cookie, through which Girl Scout cookies were sold online by girls for the first time in the history of the iconic cookie program.

Troop 60784 had a display on Girl Scout cookies and their history with fun trivia questions. Their page:

Girl Scout cookies had their earliest beginnings in the kitchens and ovens of our girl members, with moms volunteering as technical advisers. The sale of cookies as a way to finance troop activities began as early as 1917, five years after Juliette Gordon Low started Girl Scouts in the United States, when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project.

Older girls in Troop 60459 presented on the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards, which are the Girl Scout Higher Awards. Click the link on each name to read more of the individual requirements for those awards. The troop’s write-up in the book said:

Every Girl Scout goes above and beyond to make a difference in her community and the greater world. And the skills and experiences she gains along the way set her up for special recognition through the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards.

The Daisy Girl Scouts helped to stock the refreshment table and keep it running smoothly. One of their adult volunteers made some incredible cookies that were very impressive!

For location and hours of the Brockport Seymour Library, please visit their website. This Girl Scout display is only temporary, so go see it while you can!

To find more info about Girl Scouts or to become a Girl Scout member or volunteer visit our website.

How Troop 60841 from Penfield used their troop funds to show the Christmas Spirit

[This content was sent to us from Troop 60841. If you’d like to have your troop story featured, email it to communications@gswny.org]

The fifth grade Girl Scout Junior Troop 60841 from St. Joseph School in Penfield showed their Christmas Spirit by using their troop funds to support a family in need.

They contacted Dimitri House who paired them up with a homeless mother of three children, the oldest being a girl also in fifth grade. They received the wish lists of the children and took a trip to the store where they worked together carefully choosing items and using money management skills.

On their December meeting day, the Girl Scouts learned gift wrapping skills and used teamwork to successfully wrap all the gifts and send them off.

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.”

#GivingTuesday: Troop stories from around council

In our Facebook Lives today, we’re highlighting troop stories from around our nine counties. Here’s a closer look:

Genesee County

Troop 42115 participated in a Trick or Eat event in the East Pembroke neighborhood. Girls distributed flyers about their plan to support the local Corfu/Pembroke food pantry.

Just before Halloween, the girls in their costumes and their adult helpers collected the donations from the neighborhood. Check out all the food they collected!

Chautauqua County

Troop 20010 spent time learning about animals and went to the SPCA serving Erie County! The girls learned about animal habits, saw the wildlife hospital, and did presentations about endangered species and protecting animals. They also got to meet some furry new friends!

Niagara County

Troop 74148 completed their Community Badge by doing a scavenger hunt around their neighborhood finding symbols, monuments, and flags. They really liked the tribute to September 11.

They also had a special speaker: Megan Houseman. She spoke about being a woman in the military and showed them how to march and hold a flag.

Orleans County

Troop 82007 visited the Niagara Aquarium and Corning Museum of Glass in June.

This troop takes a ton of trips and have done things like camping on a beach in New Jersey! They also attend the vast majority of council programs offered for their age. They are almost always on an adventure!

Erie County

Troop 30677 took part in the Great Lakes Beach Sweep in September! A clean beach is an exciting thing and a great way to appreciate your neighborhood.

Cattaraugus County

Troop 10045 earned their Bronze Award building pollinator boxes for mason bees.

The bees nest in holes made by woodpeckers and beetles. The pollinator boxes include bundles of tubes where the bees can reproduce and lay eggs. The tubes are filled with eggs, nectar, and pollen, and sealed with mud plugs from which mature bees emerge in the spring.

Livingston County

Ashantee Troop 51063 and Rolling Hills Troop 51015 have been pen pals for the whole school year. They also co-hosted a party where they played games, tie-dyed t-shirts, and had ice cream sundaes.

Wyoming County

46 girls from Oatka Valley SU went Whitewater rafting in June with Adventure Calls Outfitters.

Monroe County

Pittsford Service Unit recently had a Pad Packing Party for their Period Insecurity Project. The Service Unit has worked with Scensibles the last 3 years. They provided the products and the Girl Scouts make the period packs for girls in the Rochester City School District.

Forty girls packed 2000 packs which contained: 2 pads, a liner, a hand sanitizer, and a Scensibles disposal bag. Additional menstrual care items were donated to the Pittsford food pantry. This project is great because it’s by girls for girls and it’s very empowering!

Hippie Pandas win Champions Award and 1st place Robot Performance!

[The following post was submitted to us by Cheryl Lawniczak for the Hippie Pandas. If you’d like to submit your story, email communications@gswny.org]

The GSWNY FIRST Lego Robotics team Hippie Pandas has won Champions Award and our robot scored the highest points at their first competition. They have earned a spot in the Finger Lakes Regional Championship  tournament which is December 8th.

This year.s theme is City Shapers and they had to come up with an innovative solution to help our community with a building or public space. The problem they chose was there was no outdoor activity that would be accessible to all ages and abilities to promote community cooperation and interaction. Their project was to build an Interactive Musical Park featuring The Hippie  Panda Musical Tower of Play and Freenotes Harmony Park outdoor percussion instruments.

During the research the talked with many experts: Town Supervisor, Director of Parks and Recreation, Construction Manager who recently installed the ADA playground at a local school, an Industrial Hygienist to determine sound levels and the Richard Cooke the Grammy Award winning inventor of Freenotes Harmony Park instruments!

The girls’ robot has innovative design that allows quick change out of attachments. They call the concept the Universal Gravity Attachments. Their robot activates LEGO mission models such as aligning a crane and lowering the load onto a building, removing a traffic jam, releasing a wheelchair swing, lowering an elevator, staging modular buildings across the field and raising flags on a bridge.

It’s been an exciting year and they are busy preparing for the Regional!

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