Self-care beyond sugar scrubs

Guest Post by Lena Budd, Volunteer Experience Manager at GSWNY

Self-care has been a popular phrase thrown around this past year as we have faced more societal and personal hurdles than ever before. More and more, people are beginning to see the value of putting yourself first and the value of caring for yourself as much as you care for others. Think of the line in the Girl Scout Law: respect myself and others. While taking time off for yourself might have once been viewed as selfish or frivolous, living through 2020 has taught us the value of keeping our tanks full.

This year for Volunteer Appreciation Month I’d like to spend some time focusing on self-appreciation and remind you to put yourself first – putting on your own oxygen mask first, so to speak. The topic of self-care has been popularized this past year, though often the conversation does not move past ideas like “make a sugar scrub!” which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. While we’re on the topic of self-care, here are some out-of-the-box ideas that I think can help you out both as a Girl Scout volunteer, but also as a person navigating life.

It’s okay to say “no.”

By saying no to others, you can be saying yes to yourself. Because we don’t want to upset our friends, family, or co-workers, many of us are inclined to immediately say yes when people ask for help. When we do say “no” we often feel the need to give a litany of reasons why we cannot offer our support; we might feel like saying “sorry, I can’t” is not good enough. We don’t want to disappoint anyone or be perceived as uncaring. Just saying “no” can help establish boundaries and save us from burning out. Check out this powerful conversation between Shonda Rhimes and Oprah Winfrey explaining how “no” can be a complete sentence.

Ask for help when you need it

Along with saying no, it is okay to say “help me.” This past year has put our minds and bodies through the metaphorical wringer. Nobody will think you are weak or silly if you let them know you need help. One great thing about being a Girl Scout volunteer is we are always happy to help! Rely on your Girl Scout sisterhood for advice and best practices.

Be patient and practice forgiveness

Just as we practice patience with children and other adults, practice patience with yourself. It is easy to put yourself down when things don’t work out the way you imagined or within your ideal timeframe. Practicing patience and forgiveness with yourself can help replace those negative thoughts with kinder ones. Remember to give yourself a little grace!

Journal your accomplishments

Like words of affirmation, journaling your accomplishments can help you shift your mindset. It serves as a reminder of all the great things you have accomplished. Taking even five minutes to journal at the end of the day can be enough time focused on yourself that you will begin to feel better. According to the University of Rochester, journaling can help manage anxiety and reduce stress.

Put down the phone!

While many of us are working and schooling online, shopping online, and connecting with each other online through FaceTime and Zoom, it is also important to remember to put the phone down and take a break from screen time! Set your phone on airplane mode to give yourself a mental break. Take time to mediate, go on a walk, read a book, or clean your home. Unplugging can boost mental health, as well as giving your eyes and brain a rest from the harsh light of screens. According to a large-scale international study on rest (The Rest Test) the top ways people rest do not include anything digital – rather the test found people rest via reading, napping, being in nature, or simply spending time alone.

Treat yourself!

Finally, take time to treat yourself. Yes, even if this is making a DIY Sugar Scrub! Order dessert, go out for coffee, take a hike, go shopping, exercise, or take a bubble bath; this list goes on and on. Do something special just for you once in a while, you deserve it!

Remember, as this past year has shown us – this is not a sprint, this is an ultra-marathon. I challenge you to take a few minutes each week to focus on self-care and self-appreciation. I hope this will help improve your personal life and Girl Scout volunteer experience. Let us know what you plan to do for yourself, or what you enjoy doing that helps you unwind and refocus!

Become a Girl Scout today and get two years of fun with this exclusive deal!

Our New Member Deal gives your girl access to all the fun of Girl Scouting this year and next! For only $35 you can register your girl now, and she’ll be set through September 2022 (annual membership is $25).

When registering, select ‘Extended Year’ as your Membership Year to unlock this deal.

JOIN TODAY

Girls who are currently in PreK through 12th grade are able to take advantage of this great deal. Looking to get involved as an adult member or volunteer? You can register using ‘Extended Year’ as well!

Incentives for Joining Now

Being a Girl Scout comes with a lot of benefits, but we have some additional incentives for people taking advantage of our New Member Deal! 

If you join by June 30, you have access to our SAGE Scholars Tuition Rewards Points. The Tuition Rewards Points Program is a guaranteed tuition discount program collaborating with over 400 member private colleges and universities across the United States. Each Tuition Rewards Point equals $1.00 in tuition discounts. There are over 30 options in New York State. After joining, you can register your account at tuitionrewards.com.

We’re also giving away Girl Scout-branded shoes, in partnership with KSwiss! We have 10 pairs to give away to girls and 4 for adults.  You can get a glimpse of them here. Several styles are either sold out, or selling out fast, so you don’t want to miss your chance! 

Join us for Becoming Me, a program inspired by former First Lady Michelle Obama! 

Finding your voice and becoming your best self? That’s what it means to be a Girl Scout! And through our new Becoming Me program, your girl will explore her story and who she can become, earn badges, and even attend a special members-only virtual event with Mrs. Obama! The program launches on May 6 and you won’t want to miss out—learn more and save your spot by April 30.

On top of everything else, these rewards are cumulative, so the sooner you join, the more you get! Check out the full chart below for more information.

Have questions about joining Girl Scouts? Call 1-888-837-6410 or email join.us@gswny.org today!

Why Should Your Girl Join?

Joining Girl Scouts is the start of a new adventure—one that you get to choose! We know you’re unique and your experience as a Girl Scout should be, too. Here’s some of the fun you can have in the spring and summer when you become a Girl Scout.

Exclusive Programs

As a Girl Scout, you get access to exclusive programs that are based around our four program staples: STEM, outdoors, life skills, and entrepreneurship. 

Family Activities

Experience Girl Scouting as a family with our programs and challenges that can be done together on your schedule.

Girl Scouting at Home

We have a collection of Girl Scouting at Home resources that allow you to make your experience even more personal. Find what you love and keep exploring!

Outdoor Opportunities

Getting outside is one of our favorite parts of Girl Scouting. Opportunities include family hikes, outdoor events, summer camps, and so much more.

Ultimate Spring Renewal is ending soon!

We’re halfway through April, which means you only have two weeks left to take advantage of our Ultimate Spring Renewal Incentives! They include:

  • Renew by 4/14 to be entered to win one of those adorable cookie-inspired KSwiss sneakers – 5 girl and 5 co-leader winners to be drawn! LAST CHANCE!
  • Co-leaders and girls who renew by 4/30 will earn a GSWNY lunch sack.   
  • Troops who renew 90% of girls + 2 co-leaders by 4/30 will earn a $20 GSWNY credit for shop, program or property.
  • Girls, co-leaders and SUMs who renew by 5/31 will earn SAGE Scholars Tuition Reward points.
  • Join us for a new program launching May 6, with a members-only virtual event featuring former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama.

Renew your membership by April 30 to take advantage of all this amazingness!

Check out the rewards below, and renew today!

Manning & Napier donates Girl Scout cookies to local hometown heroes

WESTERN NEW YORK (April 9, 2021) – On April 9, 2021, Manning & Napier donated 500 packages of Girl Scout cookies to The Hometown Heroes Project through the Girl Scouts of Western New York. The cookies were delivered to local essential workers, first responders, and other hometown heroes to thank them for their tireless work in the WNY community.

Manning & Napier’s purchase will also support local Girl Scouts in their entrepreneurial efforts. The Girl Scout Cookie Program® is the largest entrepreneurial program for girls in the world, where girls get hands-on practice with a variety of skills, including goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics as they learn to think like entrepreneurs. Through the Cookie Program, girls not only discover their inner leadership potential, but also use their earnings to power amazing experiences for themselves and their troop, including community service, travel, outdoor adventure, and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programming.

The Hometown Heroes Project is an effort from the Girl Scouts of Western New York (GSWNY) to make our corner of the world a little brighter and thank local hometown heroes such as first responders, essential workers, and community organizations for their service. GSWNY partners with businesses by providing the link to donating in their community while simultaneously supporting Girl Scout troops in their area.

Manning & Napier is an investment firm in Fairport, NY, with $20 billion in assets under management and more than 45 years of management experience. They provide a broad range of investments through separately managed accounts, mutual funds and collective investment trust funds.

The purchase of Girl Scout cookies is an investment in the world-changing business leaders of tomorrow. The Girl Scout Cookie Program® isn’t only about cookies; it’s about helping the next generation of young female entrepreneurs get an important taste of what it takes to be successful. The proceeds stay local in the WNY region. Girls decide how to use their portion of the proceeds for unforgettable leadership experiences and community projects, while GSWNY depends on the funds to deliver life-changing Girl Scout programming to 14,000 girls in Western New York.

To become a Hometown Heroes sponsor, contact customercare@gswny.org or 1-888-837-6410. To learn more about Girl Scouts of Western New York, visit www.gswny.org today.

About Girl Scouts of Western New York

Girl Scouts of Western New York (GSWNY) serves nearly 14,000 girls and 6,000 adult volunteers across the GSWNY jurisdiction, including Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties. The council’s administrative service centers are located in Buffalo, Jamestown, Lockport, Niagara Falls, and Rochester.

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, girls discover their personal best and prepare for a positive future, connect with others in an increasingly diverse world and take action to solve problems and improve their communities. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit http://www.gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410.

Arbor Capital Management donates Girl Scout cookies to local hometown heroes

WESTERN NEW YORK (April 9, 2021) – On April 9, 2021, Arbor Capital Management donated 500 packages of Girl Scout cookies to The Hometown Heroes Project through the Girl Scouts of Western New York. The cookies were delivered to local essential workers, first responders, and other hometown heroes to thank them for their tireless work in the WNY community.

Arbor Capital Managements’ purchase will also support local Girl Scouts in their entrepreneurial efforts. The Girl Scout Cookie Program® is the largest entrepreneurial program for girls in the world, where girls get hands-on practice with a variety of skills, including goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics as they learn to think like entrepreneurs. Through the Cookie Program, girls not only discover their inner leadership potential, but also use their earnings to power amazing experiences for themselves and their troop, including community service, travel, outdoor adventure, and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programming.

The Hometown Heroes Project is an effort from the Girl Scouts of Western New York (GSWNY) to make our corner of the world a little brighter and thank local hometown heroes such as first responders, essential workers, and community organizations for their service. GSWNY partners with businesses by providing the link to donating in their community while simultaneously supporting Girl Scout troops in their area.

Arbor Capital Management is an independent wealth management firm specializing in providing a combination of financial growth and wealth preservation services to investors with financial assets ranging from five hundred thousand dollars to hundreds of millions of dollars. They focus on wealth preservation and growth as well as on relationships, clarity, service and performance.

The purchase of Girl Scout cookies is an investment in the world-changing business leaders of tomorrow. The Girl Scout Cookie Program® isn’t only about cookies; it’s about helping the next generation of young female entrepreneurs get an important taste of what it takes to be successful. The proceeds stay local in the WNY region. Girls decide how to use their portion of the proceeds for unforgettable leadership experiences and community projects, while GSWNY depends on the funds to deliver life-changing Girl Scout programming to 14,000 girls in Western New York.

To become a Hometown Heroes sponsor, contact customercare@gswny.org or 1-888-837-6410. To learn more about Girl Scouts of Western New York, visit www.gswny.org today.

About Girl Scouts of Western New York

Girl Scouts of Western New York (GSWNY) serves nearly 14,000 girls and 6,000 adult volunteers across the GSWNY jurisdiction, including Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties. The council’s administrative service centers are located in Buffalo, Jamestown, Lockport, Niagara Falls, and Rochester.

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, girls discover their personal best and prepare for a positive future, connect with others in an increasingly diverse world and take action to solve problems and improve their communities. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit http://www.gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410.

April 2021 DEI Celebrations Round-Up

On behalf of the GSWNY Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee, every month we’re highlighting different holidays and events that are celebrated by people around the world. DEI Celebrations in April include the ends of Passover and Deaf History Month; National Autism Month; Easter; Ramadan; Earth Day’ and Arbor Day.


Passover (Began March 27, Ended April 4)

Passover is a Jewish celebration to represent the Israelites being led out of Egypt, also know as the Exodus. The standard length is eight days and it begins with either one or two nights of seder, a specific feast. Individual celebrations may vary, but there are certain things to expect at seder, including prayers and a seder plate. This contains a number of things including unleavened bread (matzoh), bitter herbs (maror), and more.

The matzoah, or unleavened bread, represents the speed in which the Israelites left Egypt. Their bread didn’t have time to rise, so they honor this during Passover celebrations. Learn more about Passover


Deaf History Month (Began March 13, Ends April 15)

This month actually spans two, as it ends April 15. The reason for this comes down the significant days for the Deaf community in history. The first was April 15, 1817, when the first permanent public school for the deaf was established in Hartford, Connecticut. The second recognizes the signing of the Gallaudet University charter on April 8, 1964, by President Abraham Lincoln. This established the only university in the world that exists only for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Finally is March 13, 1988, when the Deaf Now protest took place, which resulted in the first Deaf President of Gallaudet University. Read more from the National Association of the Deaf


Autism Awareness Month

The entire month of April is dedicated to autism awareness. Autism, a brain disorder that can affect a person’s ability to communicate, respond, and form relationships, is considered a growing health crisis by the United Nations. Ten years ago, 1 in 125 children were diagnosed. In 2020, the rate of prevalence increased to 1 in 54.

With a goal of increased awareness, organizations try and educate the public about signs and symptoms of autism, as well as ways to celebrate differences and encourage kindness. April 2 is celebrated as World Autism Day, where people are invited to wear blue.


Easter (April 4)

This celebration features both religious and secular traditions. The roots of the holiday tie back to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Messiah whose life and teaching define Christianity. For Christians, it is a week of remembrance beginning with Palm Sunday the week before and leading to Good Friday (the crucifixion) and then the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Church services throughout the week are common, with Friday being a time of reflection on the cross and Sunday a celebration.

Outside of religion, Easter is a fun spring holiday celebrated by many. While most of the traditions, including coloring eggs, stem from religious symbols, today they standalone. The Easter Bunny delivers baskets of goodies and candy to children. Easter Egg Hunts are common ways communities and churches celebrate.


Ramadan (Begins April 12)

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and viewed as the most sacred. According to the Prophet Mohammed, Ramadan sees the gates of Heaven opened while the devils are chained in a locked Hell. It was during Ramadan that God first revealed the beginning of the Quran to Mohammed during the Night of Power.

Muslims who observe Ramadan will spend every day, from dawn until sunset, fasting as it is a time of spiritual discipline where they can examine their relationship with God and strengthen their faith. But it is not necessarily a somber time, despite the fasting. Instead, this is a time of joy that is meant to celebrated with families and loved ones. Learn more about Ramadan >>>


Earth Day (April 22)

Every year, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 as a way to show support for our environment. Activities are held that support this initiative and people are reminded to be mindful of how we treat our planet. Plus, we have a GSWNY patch challenge designed to help you celebrate!


Arbor Day (April 30)

Arbor Day is all about caring for our trees! It’s a day of observance where both individuals and organizations plant trees. While many countries celebrate, the date will vary based on planting seasons.

Recognizing Deaf History Month 2021

Students from St. Mary’s School for the Deaf signing The Girl Scout Promise

Deaf History Month is a time to commemorate and recognize the accomplishments of people who hard of hearing and deaf. It spans two months, March 13 to April 15, to include three significant days for the Deaf community:

April 15, 1817

The last day of Deaf History Month marks the earliest milestone included for the Deaf community. Dr. Mason Cogswell recognized the need for a school after his daughter, Alice, was deafened by a fever in childhood. At the time, there were no options in the United States available. He asked Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet for assistance, and after touring schools in Europe, he returned and opened what is now the American School for the Deaf, the oldest permanent school in the country for the deaf.

April 8, 1864

A school for deaf and heard of hearing children was a good first step, but soon the need for advanced education became clear. Edward Miner Galluadet, son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, was one of the citizens fighting for an additional school. This led to the creation of the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Dead and Dumb and the Blind in 1857. The school grew rapidly, eventually leading to President Lincoln signing and enabling them to grant college degrees. April 8 became the charter day of what was now called Gallaudet University.

Girl Scout afterschool program at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf

March 13, 1988

Even though Gallaudet University was the first university of its kind, it still had its shortcomings. For its more than 100 year history, the Deaf community felt that the Deaf were underrepresented in the faculty selection. In 1988, the current president resigned, and the students began advocating for a deaf president. After a long search, the board narrowed it down to three candidates, two of which were deaf. On March 6, the hearing candidate was officially selected, causing outrage that led to marches and protests. Eventually, after much back and forth, the original choice resigned, allowing Irving King Jordan to become the first deaf president.

Deaf President Now‘ was the cry of the students and community, and while it addressed that particular situation, it now serves as a larger stance of empowerment. The phrase represents the self-determination of deaf and hard of hearing people around the world.

Did you know?

Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts, was almost totally deaf as an adult. In her late teens and early 20s, she developed an infection in one ear that wasn’t treated properly, causing her to be partially deaf. A few years later, on her wedding day, a piece of rice was lodged in her other ear, leading her to lose most of her hearing in it as well.

None of this stopped her determination or drive in life. It was later, after losing most of her hearing, that she went on to found Girl Scouts in the United States and create the legacy of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.

What can you do?

This month (and beyond!) continue to educate yourself about the Deaf community and all of their achievements. Spread awareness about these and reach out to companies to make sure they are supporting their obligations. Donate what you can to deaf-based charities and seek out deaf businesses that you can support.

My Woman Role Model: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Lexi from Troop 34682

This year, one of the ways we celebrated Women’s History Month was by running a contest and asking our members to tell us about the women they view as role models. Our winner is Lexi D., age 9, from Troop 34682. Her submission is shown below, as well as a transcription of what she wrote.

My Woman Role Model: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth was the first woman to be in the Supreme Court. She was raised by her mother Stella Ginsberg. She taught Ruth to stand up for her rights. Sadly Stella died from cancer when Ruth was only in college.

Years later Ruth met someone named Marty. They both wanted to be lawyers. Ruth and Marty married a few years later and had a child. Ruth went off to lawyer school and became top of her class.

A few years later Ruth was a lawyer. Many days later it was her first day of being a lawyer. She wore her mother’s outfit. Ruth nailed it fourteen years later. Ruth got a call. She was a judge!

How she influenced me

Ruth influenced me because she amazes me how she follows her dream and went through the obstacles of men telling her she can’t do it and becoming a judge even if she had to take care of her child and do all her work till three in the morning. She is an amazing role model.”

Note: Lexi’s submission was only edited for spelling. Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court, but that doesn’t take away from the amazing life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

New for GSWNY Members on Facebook!

We’re pleased to announce an exciting new change happening TODAY!

To provide an improved customer service experience for our members on the GSWNY Facebook page, we’ve made some updates. In addition, to viewing great content on the GSWNY main Facebook page, GSWNY members will now also have a special place to collaborate and receive helpful information through our private GSWNY members-only group! This group will help to foster greater collaboration and information sharing for members.

The main GSWNY Facebook page will serve more as an outward facing welcome mat to invite the public to Girl Scouts. The GSWNY members-only group will serve as a private inward facing space with content catered specifically for GSWNY members to use and also collaborate with other members.

Please note that you will still be a part of the main GSWNY Facebook page; however, anyone who has not joined the GSWNY members-only group will not be able to see the content inside it. This is a special members-only space to work together across the council, so please feel free to post and share YOUR ideas, resources, and questions with each other and council in alignment with the rules.

Five Q&A’s To Know:

Q1: Why is GSWNY making a separate members-only Facebook Group?

A1: We want to provide an improved internal and external customer service experience on Facebook by creating a special group for current members to share and receive helpful information and by forming a more public-facing space to invite those who may want to know more about Girl Scouts using relevant terminology. Currently, the main Facebook page is filled with content that pertains to members with events and terminology that mainly only members would know about. Also, based on Facebook’s changing features, it may or may not allow you to share and collaborate with other members on the main page.

Q2: How do I join the Facebook group and will I still be a part of the main Facebook page?

A2: Members can join the members-only group by clicking here, answering two simple verification questions, and then please review the rules in the about section of the page to begin. Yes, you will still be part of the main GSWNY Facebook page and we encourage you to like and share content. We want your continued help in spreading ways for non-members to interact or join. Members are encouraged to share recruitment content with friends and family who aren’t Girl Scouts yet!

Q3: What special features will the members-only group have?

A3: The private members-only group will allow you to collaborate in new ways with the ability to share and learn about what other members are doing. You can also get important announcements and enjoy special members-only contests with prizes. The page will also allow you to find content using special tags that mark posts by topic to help sort the information even further, such as #NewLeader, #Question, #Cookies, #Renewal, etc.

Q4: What type of information can I expect to see on the GSWNY main page vs. the members-only group?

A4:

Page (public facing)Group (private for members)
2021 Gold Award announcements and storiesHow to find and submit Gold Award paperwork
How to buy Girl Scout cookiesGirl and troop cookie recognition rewards
How to join Girl Scouts and/or try an eventUpcoming programs for current members
Thank yous for volunteersResources for volunteers

Q5: How will the content transition?

A5: For a little while you will see double-posting of some content on the main page and group. This may seem a little redundant, but we want to make a carefully paced transition before we completely separate the posts. After April, you will start to see the member-oriented content almost exclusively in the group. Throughout the year at certain points, you will see reminder posts on the main page that the group exists and notifications in Member Essentials. 

We want to know…

Since this is going to be a new venture for us, we want to know your feedback. If you think there’s a way to improve the group or page, we’d love to hear it. If you have any feedback about the page or group, please email customercare@gswny.org, post in the group, or send us a private message on the page.

Please note that the GSWNY Facebook page and group will continue to be operated and monitored by the GSWNY Marketing & Communications team. For some questions/feedback, you may still be directed to Customer Care to receive an answer or assistance. The Customer Care team is still the primary team to respond to customer needs at: customercare@gswny.org or 1-888-837-6410. Thank you.

Come join our GSWNY Members Group!

Renew Your Membership—Together, We’ve Got This

Strength, resilience, togetherness, and the support of community—that’s what Girl Scoutsis all about. So in this uncertain world, you can count on one thing for sure: today, tomorrow, together, we are on your team.

When you stick with Girl Scouts, you’re not just giving your girl something to do, you’re giving her someone to be. The bravest, boldest, best version of herself. The version of herself that walks with her head a bit higher and acts with confidence.

And as she grows, we’ll grow with her, guiding her through life’s ups and downs, supporting her strengths, and showing her new and exciting paths to take.

RENEW TODAY

Not only does renewing mean another year of Girl Scouting, you also qualify for these amazing incentives!

Here’s a breakdown of all our incentives for Ultimate Spring Renewal, now through April 30! Check out the grid below for Spring Reneal Incentives through May 31.
  • Renew by 4/14 to be entered to win one of those adorable cookie-inspired KSwiss sneakers – 5 girl and 5 co-leader winners to be drawn! 
  • Co-leaders and girls who renew by 4/30 will earn a GSWNY lunch sack.   
  • Troops who renew 90% of girls + 2 co-leaders by 4/30 will earn a $20 GSWNY credit for shop, program or property.
  • Girls, co-leaders and SUMs who renew by 5/31 will earn Sage Tuition Reward points.
  • Join us for a new program launching May 6, with a members-only virtual event featuring former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama.

Check them out below!

Here is the full list: