Sojourner Truth: GSWNY Celebrates Black History Month

On behalf of the GSWNY Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee, to celebrate Black History Month, each week we’re highlighting a groundbreaking Black woman for her accomplishments related to the four pillars of Girl Scouts. This week, we’re featuring Sojourner Truth for Life Skills.


Sojourner Truth: 1797-1883 

We selected Sojourner Truth for Life Skills because she exemplified civic engagement, public speaking, writing and communication, and numerous other skills. She was an advocate for abolition, temperance, civil rights, and women’s rights. While we offer a glimpse of Truth here in this brief bio, we encourage everyone to research more about her life and work. Her monumental impact on the world is difficult to capture in a few words.  

Truth was born 1797 as Isabella Bomfree (sometimes spelled Baumfree), a slave in Dutch-speaking Ulster County, NY. As a slave, she was bought and sold four times, surviving harsh physical labor and violence. Beginning in her teens, she had five children. In 1827, she fled with her infant daughter, Sophia, to a nearby abolitionist family, the Van Wageners, who purchased her freedom for $20 and assisted her in suing for the return of her five-year-old-son Peter, who was illegally sold into slavery in Alabama. 

In 1828, Bomfree moved to New York City and worked for a minister. During her religious work, she felt called on to preach truth and renamed herself Sojourner Truth. She met Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison, and with encouragement from Garrison’s anti-slavery organization, she gave speeches on the evils of slavery.  

In 1850, she dictated her autobiography to Olive Gilbert, having never learned to read or write. Book sales were so successful she was able to sustain herself and received national recognition. This led her to meeting women’s rights activists and temperance advocates Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. A year later, she began a lecture tour for women’s rights and delivered her famous “Ain’t I A Woman?” speech championing racial and gender equality.  

She continued to speak nationally and help slaves escape to freedom. At the start of the Civil War, she urged men to join the Union and organized supplies for Black troops. After the war, she continued her anti-slavery and equality work through organizations like the Freedmen’s Bureau.  

All of the above was adapted from her biography on the National Women’s History Museum Website (https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/sojourner-truth).  

The following resources expand on Sojourner Truth’s life and work. (Please note some resources may describe or allude to the horrors of slavery and acts of violence and discrimination. We recommend pre-screening resources if you have concerns about appropriateness for your family.)  


Black History Month Facts & Information

Black History Month (or African American History Month) was first celebrated in 1926 as Negro History Week, created by Harvard-educated historian Carter G. Woodson. The second week in February was chosen for the celebration to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) and Frederick Douglass (Feb. 14). The purpose of Negro History Week was to highlight the often-overlooked achievements of African Americans and their contributions to American history and culture. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month as a national observance. Today, Black History Month continues to promote the study of Black history and celebration of African American accomplishments not just in February, but also throughout the year. 


Activities for All Ages

For Daisies & Brownies

For Juniors & Cadettes

For Seniors, Ambassadors, & Adults 


Girl Scout Values: Anti-Racism Patch

The Girl Scouts Anti-Racism Patch is a reflection that we are committed to our Girl Scout values that foster a community of justice, fairness, and inclusion. This Black History Month, consider using the list of ideas and resources provided to earn the patch with your girl or troop and when you are ready, sign our Girl Scouts Stands Against Racism Pledge.

Download patch information

Sign the pledge

Volunteer of Excellence: GSWNY Adult Recognition Award Monthly Highlight – February 2021

UPDATED: The original deadline for award nominations was February 1, but the deadline was extended to February 8. We have corrected this in the below post which originally only mentioned the Feb 1 date.

This month we will once again explore the Volunteer of Excellence Pin. Because all Council approved formal award nominations are by February 8th, we will spend the rest of the year looking at Service Unit approved adult awards. The Volunteer of Excellence is an opportunity to recognize volunteers who have contributed outstanding service in support of mission delivery to girl and adult members at a troop or Service Unit level. Submit the Volunteer of Excellence (VOE) nomination for to your SU Adult Recognitions coordinator/committee.

If you miss the February 8 extended awards deadline, there is still plenty of time this year to recognize one another. Volunteer of Excellence is a great springboard to giving adult recognitions in your Service Unit. It is a meaningful award, and relatively easy to give! Creating a robust system of adult recognitions is the key to meaningful volunteer appreciation. Giving a combination of awards like Year of Service and Tenure, the Appreciation Pin, and the Volunteer of Excellence, will ensure a wide array of volunteers are appreciated for the service they have given. Check out our volunteer appreciation bullseye to learn more!

Can you remind me – what does a Volunteer of Excellence look like? A Volunteer of Excellence goes above and beyond the call of duty as a troop co-leader or Service Unit Team member. For example, Sabrina leads a large, multi-age troop. She never says no to girls looking for an excellent Girl Scout experience so her troop has grown to over 25 girls! Last year Sabrina coordinated a very successful camping experience for her troop which the girls loved. Sabrina is also dedicated to making Girl Scouts a girl-led experience – which is no small feat considering the size of her troop! In this example, Sabrina is definitely a Volunteer of Excellence.

To earn the Volunteer of Excellence award, a fellow volunteer must nominate the awardee and one peer reference is needed to endorse this nomination. Download and complete the nomination form, located on the Adult Recognition page of our website, and submit it your Service Unit team. Celebrate the recipients of the VOE award at Service Unit leaders’ meeting, awards ceremony, or other Service Unit function. Council will acknowledge all awardees in print at our Annual Recognition Event. Remember to submit a complete list of awardees in your Service Unit to Council prior to May 1.

For more information about the Volunteer of Excellence Award, and all other GSWNY adult awards, please read our Adult Awards and Recognitions Quick Guide or check out our Adult Recognition web page. You can always reach out to a member of the Volunteer Experience team for more information by emailing us at volunteer@gswny.org. Thank you!

Member Essentials – 1/26/21

Dear GSWNY Members,

GSWNY will be closed on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, from 1:00-4:30 p.m. for Staff Development. We will reopen on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, to our virtual hours at 11:00 am. You can visit our website at http://www.gswny.org for all council updates or submit an inquiry to customercare@gswny.org any time.

Please see the important announcements below and for questions, please contact Customer Care customercare@gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410. In an emergency, please call 1-800-882-9268.

Thank you for all you do!


World Thinking Day is February 22

Virtual Program for Brownies and Juniors* 
Monday, February 22 | 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Peace is not just the absence of war. It means dignity, safety, and well-being for all. Cadette Girl Scouts will lead you through different hands-on activities as you and your sister Girl Scouts stand together for peace. Fee includes patch and small box of supplies that will be mailed before program. The confirmation email will include instructions for common household supplies that girls will need to bring to the program. By the end of this event, you will have earned your World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts World Thinking Day Badge. 

REGISTER TODAY

World Thinking Day is celebrated by over 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world. This year’s theme calls for peace by allowing girls to create peace in their lives and around the world. 

Visit the Girl Scout website for more information and activities for all levels.

*Spots are filling quickly for this event


First Aid and CPR

As you know each troop should have at least 1 adult with First Aid/CPR training, for trips and certain troop activities. GSWNY provides these courses through EPIC Trainings Inc. at a reduced rate for our adult volunteers who want to get or renew their certifications. These classes include an online pre-session portion and an in-person skills session. The online portion must be completed prior to the skills session in order to receive certification. When you register, you will receive information to access the online portion.

Instructors will be masked during all sessions, we ask the same of students. Equipment will be sanitized after each student. 

Coming right up we have Wednesday evening and Saturday mid morning sessions on February 3rd and 6th in our Rochester Service Center, and Wednesday evening and Saturday mid morning sessions in our Buffalo Service Center February 10th and 13th. To register contact EPIC Trainings, Inc via email at mail@epictrainings.com or via phone at (585)615-4379.


Free Democracy Badge Booklet Downloads for all levels

As we transition to a new era of U.S. leadership, we want to encourage all girls to be informed citizens so they can become the change-makers of the future. Now through February 4, Girl Scouts is making the booklets and requirements for our Democracy badges free for all to download. With this support, girls will learn about their federal, state, and local governments, including how their elected officials make decisions and how they—girls—can make a difference in their communities and the country.

DOWNLOAD BOOKLETS

What Girls Have To Say

Recently, we had a record number of women running for public office and many firsts of women being elected – we asked girls what this meant to them and here are just some of their amazing responses:

“It means that lots of girls can run for president!” – Naima S., Daisy Girl Scout of Amherst Virtual Troop

“I feel very proud of the women paving the way for our generation! It is so great to see more women and more diversity in our elected officials.” – Zaporah M., Senior Girl Scout of Jamestown Troop 20029

“It means that there is a future for me as a girl to be a part of something bigger. I know girls can be what we want to be but with talking to my mom I also know there are obstacles that come with choosing a job where mostly men work. I hope that times change by the time I am old enough to have a job and more women are working in higher positions.” – Errynn W. Brownie Girl Scout of Avon Troop 50105

“I can follow my dreams.” Gia B., Brownie Girl Scout of West Seneca Troop 30125

“It means that women are finally getting the power they deserve.” – Isabella S., Senior Girl Scout of East Rochester Troop 60871


Cookie Program Updates

Watch out for Wacky Weather Warrior Days! When Mother Nature decides not to be so nice, we declare it wacky and give you the chance to win a special Cookie Program Survival Kit! 

We’ll share the photo on your Facebook and then you can share your photos from being out in the wacky weather in the comments. Each time we post, we’ll randomly select one winner.

Coffee Break with Your Product Program Team is happening now!

Every Friday at 10 a.m., our Product Program Team is going live to go over different topics and answer your cookie questions. 

All videos will premiere on our Facebook page and be available after for viewing on demand. Check out past videos on our YouTube here.


Retail Item of the Week: Girl Scout Strong Reusable Recycling Bag

We love this classic recycling bag with Girl Scout Strong and GSWNY details! Perfect to keep your Girl Scout cookie season items together or a Troop Co-Leader organized. This bag even makes a great gift bag to put a present inside for your favorite Girl Scout. Go green in style!

Cost: $2.25

Email your local Girl Scout Shop or click on the link below to order from the website.

ORDER TODAY


Silver Trefoil Memory Garden Commemorative Bricks  

Silver Trefoil is a group of Girl Scout Alumnae with 20+ years of Girl Scout membership who assist Service Units in Girl Scout traditions and maintain the Memory Garden located at Camp Windy Meadows, Lockport Service Center.

We want to create a new path in the Memory Garden and we need your help! We are raising money to fund the upkeep of the garden by offering the opportunity to purchase a 4” x 8” brick engraved with a message of your choice! Included in the price is a commemorative 4” x 4” tile coaster for you to keep. Anyone can order a commemorative brick to honor a troop, group, In Memoriam, Gold Award Girl Scout, Lifetime Member, or Service Unit. 

Use the link below to learn more about the Commemorative Bricks, see examples, and place your order today!

LEARN MORE ABOUT COMMEMORATIVE BRICKS


Girl Scouts go to Virtual Med School with the University at Buffalo -C/S/A
Saturday, Feb. 20 |  9:00am – 12:30pm 

Medical students from the University at Buffalo’s DoctHers organization present “Girl Scouts Go to Medical School,” where Girl Scouts will have the opportunity to spend a day in the life of a medical student. Through science-based activities and games, as well as conversations with students and doctors, girls will learn more about career opportunities available within the medical field. 

REGISTER FOR VIRTUAL MED SCHOOL

Looking for more programs? Visit gswny.org today!


Girl Scouting at Home

Looking for ways to stay involved with Girl Scouts? Check out our Girl Scouting at Home page today! New resources are added regularly. 

New Multi-Level Cookie Express Badge in a Box!

It’s Girl Scout Cookie time and what better way to help girls set up and expand their cookie business than with the new Cookie Express Badge in Box! In this box is everything girls need to earn the Daisy Money Counts, Brownie Meet My Customers, or Junior Savvy Shopper badge and is the perfect complement to the Cookie Program. Activities include: Cookie Memory Card Game, Making Change Game, Customer Role Playing, and making Thank You Cards.

Each box is $8. Grant funds are available for some areas of our Council reducing the cost of boxes down to $5.00. If there is not a grant available in your area, members can apply for Council Opportunity Funds.

There are a limited number of boxes available and will be for curbside pick-up only at the Buffalo, Rochester, Lockport, and Jamestown Service Centers. Click here to order your Badge in a Box.

Looking for more options? Head to girlscouts.org for even more at-home opportunities for your Girl Scout.


Own Your Future Financial Workshop

Thank you to GSWNY Board Member Nicholle Overkamp who is generously offering her Own Your Future Workshop to Girl Scout volunteers for free with the code OWNYOURFUTURE29. Courses included investing, saving, paying down debt, giving back, and more!

Nicholle is the founder and CEO of Wilcox Financial Group and PowHERhouse Money Coaching.

Use the button below and the code OWNYOURFUTURE29 to take her workshop for free!

REGISTER FOR OWN YOUR FUTURE


Girl Scouts Doing Good Things

Silver Award completed! Maya, Mackenzie, and Jessica from Troop 60296 (together since 2nd-grade Brownies) earned their Girl Scout Silver Award!

The Girl Scouts set out to help Golisano Children’s Hospital’s child life team. Their original goal was to create 100 tag or sensory blankets. So how many did the girls make? A WHOPPING 386!!!

The blankets were delivered on Dec. 28 along with 3 boxes of comic books donated by a local comic shop so that older children had something to enjoy as well.


We are #GirlScoutStrong! Looking forward to talking to you next Tuesday! In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Customer Care customercare@gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410. In an emergency, please call 1-800-882-9268.

Member Essentials – 1/19/21

Dear GSWNY Members,

Please see the important announcements below and for questions, please contact Customer Care customercare@gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410. In an emergency, please call 1-800-882-9268.

Thank you for all you do!


GSWNY will be closed on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, from 1:00-4:30 p.m. for Staff Development. We will reopen on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, to our virtual hours at 11:00 am. You can visit our website at http://www.gswny.org for all council updates or submit an inquiry to customercare@gswny.org any time.



2021 Summer Camp Announcement

If you haven’t already read the camp newsletter, please do that first. It explains multiple vital pieces of information regarding the summer camp process for 2021.  Once you’ve finished that, it’s time to review the camp guides and pre-register for camp (and earn that sweet, exclusive summer camp patch for pre-registered girls ONLY)!

Visit our website to learn more about our 2021 summer camp plans.

VISIT CAMP PAGE


See what you can win when you Grow Your Girl Crew!

Last Friday, members of our Community Engagement Team Ashley and MeKenzie went live to show off what you can win when you invite others to join Girl Scouts! Click the button below to watch the video now.

WATCH VIDEO


Troop Leader Blueprint Updates

Great news! You’ll find brand-new programming—including Journeys—for every grade level, alongside our trusted tips and resources for safe in-person and virtual meetings. Head to the Troop Leader Blueprint to get started!

VIEW THE BLUEPRINT


Join with other volunteers and girl leaders from across the country to explore new ways to view leadership at the virtual Kaleidoscope National Leadership Conference

Open to all women and high school-aged girls, the Kaleidoscope National Leadership Conference experience aims to provide participants with the building blocks and tools necessary to become understanding and engaged leaders and to be the change they wish to see in their world. 

Join us for an afternoon of excitement and inspiration led by prominent female change-makers from across the region! Renowned keynote speaker Rose Flenorl, Global Citizenship Manager for FedEx, will set the tone for a day guaranteed to inspire the change-agent in YOU! 

The 2021 Kaleidoscope National Leadership Conference will include sessions on diversity and women in the media. Members of the FedEx Women in Leadership group will take you through their inspiring new book “True Grit” – which explores what it takes to become a real woman of impact in today’s world – and share their stories with you! And participants will take part in a panel discussion about how women can take action in their communities led by women who have done just that! 

Join us and discover how you can be the change you wish to see! Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Find out more and register TODAY!

REGISTER FOR KNLC TODAY


Cookie Program Updates

Are you going to be one of our top 100 GSWNY cookie sellers?

If that’s your goal, we have a great incentive for you! The top 100 girls will receive the virtual experience of Disney on Broadway. 

Click here to learn more about the recognition.

Coffee Break with Your Product Program Team is happening now!

Every Friday at 10 a.m., our Product Program Team is going live to go over different topics and answer your cookie questions. 

This week, the team is talking cookie booths! Learn how to set them up safely, bling them out, and much more.

All videos will premiere on our Facebook page and be available after for viewing on demand. Check out past videos on our YouTube here.


Free Virtual Program and Kit: Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day presented by Envirolution in Partnership with Tesla

February 25 | 12 – 3:30 pm | Cadettes

Each girl will receive a kit complete with a simple motor activity, t-shirt, stickers, snack bar and info sheet

Schedule:

  • 12:00-1:00 – Welcome and Tesla Presentation
  • 1:00-1:45 – Tesla virtual tour (video of multiple Tesla locations) and live Q and A.
  • 1:45-2:15 – Snack/rest break 
  • 2:15-3:15 – Simple motor activity 
  • Virtual step by step with groups broken up into breakout rooms, have various Tesla employees in the breakout rooms helping girls.
  • 3:15-3:30 – Closing

REGISTER TODAY

Use your own personal or school email, but put ‘Girl Scouts of WNY” under “school.” Girls must sign up by January 22, and to request your size t-shirt, by January 20.


Girl Scout Strong Water Bottle

A design so cool it will quench your thirst! This lightweight and conservative green 10″ water bottle has a twist lid that’s vacuum insulated. We love the GSWNY white lettering too. Together we are Girl Scout Strong!

Price: $20

Email your local Girl Scout Shop or click on the link below to order from the website.

ORDER TODAY


App Development – A
Saturday, Jan. 23 | 10:00am-1:00pm

Ambassadors will begin to explore app development. Ambassadors will learn the different steps of designing an app and implement them in real life. Girls will get a chance to share their designs and continue working on them after the program ends to create an app that can make a positive difference in the world. Girl Scout Ambassadors will earn their Coding for Good 3: App Development Badge. 
REGISTER APP DEV.
Girl Scouts go to Virtual Med School with the University at Buffalo – C/ S/A
Saturday, Feb. 20 |  9:00am – 12:30pm 

Medical students from the University at Buffalo’s DoctHers organization present “Girl Scouts Go to Medical School,” where Girl Scouts will have the opportunity to spend a day in the life of a medical student. Through science-based activities and games, as well as conversations with students and doctors, girls will learn more about career opportunities available within the medical field. 
REGISTER FOR MED SCHOOL

Looking for more programs? Visit gswny.org today!


Girl Scouting at Home

Looking for ways to stay involved with Girl Scouts? Check out our Girl Scouting at Home page today! New resources are added regularly. 

New Multi-Level Cookie Express Badge in a Box!

It’s Girl Scout Cookie time and what better way to help girls set up and expand their cookie business than with the new Cookie Express Badge in Box! In this box is everything girls need to earn the Daisy Money Counts, Brownie Meet My Customers, or Junior Savvy Shopper badge and is the perfect complement to the Cookie Program. Activities include: Cookie Memory Card Game, Making Change Game, Customer Role Playing, and making Thank You Cards.

Each box is $8. Grant funds are available for some areas of our Council reducing the cost of boxes down to $5.00. If there is not a grant available in your area, members can apply for Council Opportunity Funds.

There are a limited number of boxes available and will be for curbside pick-up only at the Buffalo, Rochester, Lockport, and Jamestown Service Centers. Click here to order your Badge in a Box.

Looking for more options? Head to girlscouts.org for even more at-home opportunities for your Girl Scout.


Own Your Future Financial Workshop

Thank you to GSWNY Board Member Nicholle Overkamp who is generously offering her Own Your Future Workshop to Girl Scout volunteers for free with the code OWNYOURFUTURE29. Courses included investing, saving, paying down debt, giving back, and more!

Nicholle is the founder and CEO of Wilcox Financial Group and PowHERhouse Money Coaching.

Use the button below and the code OWNYOURFUTURE29 to take her workshop for free!

REGISTER FOR OWN YOUR FUTURE


Girl Scouts Doing Good Things

Recently, several troops from Tri-County Service Unit did a multi neighborhood contact-less food drive to benefit the Silver Creek Food Pantry and the Forestville Food Pantry. Directors from both pantries were so grateful for the generous donations they received! 


We are #GirlScoutStrong! Looking forward to talking to you next Tuesday! In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Customer Care customercare@gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410. In an emergency, please call 1-800-882-9268.

2021 Camp Guides are out! Pre-register for camp today

At GSWNY we know how important it is for girls to have a wonderful summer camp
experience
. We also want to assure you that we have every intention of operating summer
camp 2021 in-person while following all of COVID guidelines and regulations. However, if the
need should arise, we will be prepared to provide your girls with an amazing alternative camp
program. We have set April 30, 2021, as our decision date to operate camp in-person or switch
to our alternative camp (virtual) program mode.
You will have several summer camp options
for you and your girl to consider.

PLAN A (IN-PERSON TRADITIONAL CAMP PROGRAMMING WITH COVID MODIFICATIONS):
• Day Camp (Camp Piperwood or Camp Windy Meadows)
• Overnight Camp (Camp Seven Hills or Camp Timbercrest)
• Troop Camp Adventure (Camp Timbercrest)

PLAN B (MODIFIED IN-PERSON CAMP PROGRAMMING):
• Potential hybrid models of the programs featured in plan A and C

PLAN C (ALTERNATIVE CAMP PROGRAMMING):
• Alternative Camp (Virtual meetings and activity kits mailed to your door)
• In-Person Family Camp Weekends for private households (Camp Piperwood, Camp Seven
Hills, Camp Timbercrest, Camp Windy Meadows)

PRE-REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW

Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 we are asking all of our GSWNY camp families who are
interested in having their child participate in summer camp 2021, to please pre-register to
reserve a spot.
From January 13 to April 30, 2021, you will have the opportunity to
pre-register and reserve a spot for your girl. It is at this time that you will be required
to pay a refundable $25 deposit and select an option of day camp, overnight camp,
troop camp adventure, alternative camp or both.

On May 1, 2021, families that have pre-registered will receive an email from Camp Doc and GSWNY letting them know that the summer camp 2021 camp registration portal is open and families can continue with
completing their child’s camp registration and camper profile. If we’re not able to offer the program that you’re interested in, then we will refund your deposit. Please note that you will have from Saturday, May 1, to Wednesday, May 5, to complete your summer camp registration for your child before we open up camp registration to the rest of our membership on May 6.

For more camp information, visit gswny.org today!

Member Essentials – 1/12/20

Dear GSWNY Members,

Please see the important announcements below and for questions, please contact Customer Care customercare@gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410. In an emergency, please call 1-800-882-9268.

Thank you for all you do!


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is next Monday, January 18

Did you know that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is actually a federally recognized day of service—meant to be not a day off, but a day on?

Here are some ways that you, your troop, and your family can get involved and help your community on MLK Day. To keep yourself and your community safe during COVID-19, we encourage you to minimize your contact with others.

READ MORE


Join-a-Thon is tomorrow!

The G.I.R.L. Scout Join-a-Thon is a 12-hour membership drive offering unique incentives to both adults and girls who register during the allotted time. This year, it’s tomorrow, January 13, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

We have several prize options available for our new members and current members also have a chance to win! If you refer someone to join Girl Scouts as a co-leader and they join tomorrow, you’re entered into a gift card drawing for the store of your choice. Simply fill out this form to let us know who you are and who you talked to about joining: bit.ly/2021joinathonreferral


GSWNY Summer Camp 2021

At GSWNY we know how important it is for girls to have a wonderful summer camp experience. We also want to assure you that we have every intention of operating summer camp 2021 in-person while following all of COVID guidelines and regulations. However, if the need should arise, we will be prepared to provide your girls with an amazing alternative camp program. We have set April 30, 2021, as our decision date to operate camp in-person or switch to our alternative camp (virtual) program mode. You will have several summer camp options for you and your girl to consider. 

VIEW THE CAMP NEWSLETTER

Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 we are asking all of our GSWNY camp families who are interested in having their child participate in summer camp 2021, to please pre-register to reserve a spot. From January 13 to April 30, 2021, you will have the opportunity to pre-register and reserve a spot for your girl . It is at this time that you will be required to pay a refundable $25 deposit and select an option of day camp, overnight camp, troop camp adventure, alternative camp or both. The link will be available tomorrow at gswny.org.


Own Your Future Financial Workshop

Thank you to GSWNY Board Member Nicholle Overkamp who is generously offering her Own Your Future Workshop to Girl Scout volunteers for free with the code OWNYOURFUTURE29. Courses included investing, saving, paying down debt, giving back, and more!

Nicholle is the founder and CEO of Wilcox Financial Group and PowHERhouse Money Coaching.

Use the button below and the code OWNYOURFUTURE29 to take her workshop for free!

REGISTER FOR OWN YOUR FUTURE


New resources on the Troop Leader Blueprint 

Check out our newest, specially adapted badges, Journeys, and activities on the Troop Leader Blueprint. These great resources are organized by grade level and constantly updating. Stay tuned for even more new resources in February!

VIEW THE BLUEPRINT


Coffee Break with Your Product Program Team is happening now!

Every Friday at 10 a.m., our Product Program Team is going live to go over different topics and answer your cookie questions. 

This week, the team is covering and unboxing this year’s recognitions! They’ll discuss the early recognition awards, including the sweatshirts.

All videos will premiere on our Facebook page and be available after for viewing on demand. Check out past videos on our YouTube here.


Batavia Office Update

We shard this news in our December 22 Member Essentials, and are including this notice as a reminder in case you missed this news over the holidays. 

As you may know, our Batavia office has been closed since March 2020 when COVID-19 struck since that time we have been serving our members virtually, through mail, and through other service center locations. Our Batavia office lease expires February 1, 2021.

We had originally planned to identify a new location and relocate to a new space in Batavia that better fit our needs, but due to COVID-19 we are postponing the move. To use our resources wisely, we will not renew our lease at this time, and we will wait to move to a new location until after the pandemic and at a time when we can safely reopen.

Volunteers in the GLOW counties were invited to a virtual meeting on December 16 and we shared this news with them at that time. Please know our goal is to maintain a physical presence in Batavia. In the meantime, we would like your input on a new Batavia Office space and you can take the survey here. Thank you.


Retail Item of the Week: Girl Scout Strong Pencil and Mini Notebook

These items can be ordered together or separate and are perfect for Girl Scouts to show their pride and keep organized during the cookie selling season!

  • Pencil – $.50
  • Notebook – $4.00

This adorable mini spiral notebook is the perfect size to throw in your purse or backpack! The notebook is the size of a traditional small memo pad. We love the trefoil on the front to show off your Girl Scout pride! Don’t forget to slide a pen or pencil in the spiral so you can quickly write things down so you never forget a thought. 

Email your local shop to arrange Curbside Pickup OR click the link below to order directly from the GSUSA website.

Order Pencil | Order Notebook

HOW TO ORDER CURBSIDE



Registration Deadline: TOMORROW, January 13, 2021

Wondermakers Star Spangled Tales – D /B
Saturday, Jan. 16 | 11:00am – 11:45am  

Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with American folk tales, including stories from the African American tradition. Girl Scouts will have the opportunity to get up on the “stage” and join The Wondermakers as we play characters in the stories. This is a fun and spirited way to celebrate our country and learn more about our culture.  
REGISTER
Digital Game Design – S
Saturday, Jan. 16 | 10:00am-1:00pm

Girls will learn about the different steps of designing a game and implement them in real life. Girls will get a chance to share their games and continue working on them after the program ends to create a game that can make a positive difference in the world. Girl Scout Seniors will earn their Coding for Good 2: Digital Game Design Badge.   
REGISTER

Check out these upcoming programs!

Buying Power – S/A
Thursday, Jan. 21 | 6:00pm-7:00pm

Join us in this program to learn how to get more bang for your buck! We will cover: How to determine which items really cost less Places to shop Brand name vs. generic products Need it, want it, gotta have it! And other financial literacy concepts!  
REGISTER BUYING POWER  

App Development – A
Saturday, Jan. 23 | 10:00am-1:00pm

Ambassadors will begin to explore app development. Ambassadors will learn the different steps of designing an app and implement them in real life. Girls will get a chance to share their designs and continue working on them after the program ends to create an app that can make a positive difference in the world. Girl Scout Ambassadors will earn their Coding for Good 3: App Development Badge. 
REGISTER APP DEV.
Travelers – S
Wednesday, Jan. 27 | 6:00pm-7:00pm

Join this program and imagine the wonders of travel. We will develop fun itineraries, learn how to travel inexpensively, and become travel experts as we plan a trip to make memories.
REGISTER TRAVELERS  

Valentine’s Day Squash Books – S/A
Wednesday, Feb. 3 | 6:30pm-7:30pm

Create an origami-style photo book to hold up to 4 photos. Using unique folding, create your folding photo book which can make a great gift for a friend or loved one. Decorate with paper, markers/pens, stickers and other craft supplies. Use ribbon to keep the book closed and add a cute touch. Participants will receive included supplies in the mail, and will need to bring their own needed and optional supplies.
REGISTER SQUASH BOOK  

Looking for more programs? Visit gswny.org today!


Girl Scouting at Home

Looking for ways to stay involved with Girl Scouts? Check out our Girl Scouting at Home page today! New resources are added regularly. 

Patch Challenge: GSWNY Feeds New York

Help fight hunger in our community while earning the GSWNY Feeds NY Challenge Patch. Be part of this council-wide effort to combat hunger through knowledge, awareness and support of our local food banks. Have fun completing these activities and sharing the results.

DOWNLOAD THE CHECKLIST

Looking for more options? Head to girlscouts.org for even more at-home opportunities for your Girl Scout.


Girl Scouts Doing Good Things

Five Girl Scouts from Como Lake Troop 37102 recently earned their Girl Scout Silver Awards. The Girl Scout Silver Award takes roughly 50 hours to complete and can be done individually, as a pair, or as a small group. Visit gswnyblog.com to read more about their projects!


We are #GirlScoutStrong! Looking forward to talking to you next Tuesday! In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Customer Care customercare@gswny.org or call 1-888-837-6410. In an emergency, please call 1-800-882-9268.

GSWNY Family Newsletter – January 2020

Girls Are Having a Mental Health Crisis—Some Solutions, Though, Are Simple

Two years ago, girls in a national survey reported the highest rates of loneliness on record. Then in 2019—months before COVID-19 was even a blip on most people’s radar—more than one in three girls in the U.S. said they felt extremely anxious on a daily basis. Most tragic of all, suicide rates in girls ages 10–14 tripled between 1999 and 2007 and have risen by 13 percent since then. 

Add a global pandemic, widespread lockdowns, separation from their friends, social unrest, and a long-term pause on many social activities and routines, and girls are truly in crisis. 

READ MORE

Girl Scouts of the USA has a resource page on its website, Raising Awesome Girls, which includes many articles sharing advice including this article on 7 Ways to Deal When the World Is Just So Overwhelming , and other articles from the past year about how to talk about difficult issues with girls including injustice, standing up for what is right, and COVID-19 among others.

Some additional resources include:

  • National Geographic – Talking To Your Kids About Chaos: Here
  • Child Mind Institute – Helping Kids Understand the Riots at the Capitol: Here
  • And a past article from PBS – Helping Kids Navigate Scary News Stories: Here

Winter outdoor activities for your family

Self-Led Outdoor Activities

It’s undeniable that 2020 has been a challenging year for many of us, but that doesn’t mean it needs to dampen our holiday spirit. Even though activities may look differently this year, the holidays are still a perfect opportunity to spend time with your family and spread cheer to others.

VIEW SELF-LED ACTIVITIES

Our annual Join-a-Thon is Wednesday!

Every year, we hold a 12-hour membership drive that provides unique incentives to new Girl Scout members as well as prizes for current members. 

If you refer a new co-leader and they join between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. this Wednesday, January 13, you can win!

LEARN MORE

Girl Scout Cookie Initial Order Taking is happening now!

As of Saturday, January 9, Girl Scouts can take in-person orders through February 7. Online orders can also still be collected.

If you have questions about the Cookie Program, please contact Customer Care ay 1-888-837-6410 or customercare@gswny.org.

LEARN MORE

Tune into our Facebook Page Fridays at 10 a.m. to hear directly from our Product Program team. Each week they’ll discuss a different cookie-related topic. You can even ask your question your comments and have them answered live. 

Videos are available to watch after the live broadcast on Facebook and YouTube.

Upcoming Girl Scout Programs

Upcoming Girl Scout Programs Programs are marked by level: Daisies/Brownies/Juniors/Cadettes/Seniors/Ambassadors
Digital Game Design – S Saturday, Jan. 16
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Wondermakers Star Spangled Tales – D/B Saturday, Jan. 16
11:00 AM – 11:35 AM
Coding Basics with Innova Girls Academy – J/C Wednesday, Jan. 20
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Buying Power – S/A Thursday, Jan. 21
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
App Development for Ambassadors – A Saturday, Jan. 23
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Daisy Board Game Invention – D Saturday, Jan. 23
12:00 PM – 1:15 PM
Making Fun Games – B Saturday, Jan. 23
12:00 PM – 1:15 PM
Travelers – S Saturday, Jan. 9
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Silver Award Training – C Thursday, Jan. 28
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Animal Helpers Badge with SPCA Serving Erie County – C Saturday, Jan. 30
9:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Winter Blast at Camp Seven Hills – D/B/J Saturday, Jan. 30
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Breaking the Silence: Mental Health Awareness – D/B Saturday, Jan. 30
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Breaking the Silence: Mental Health Awareness – J Saturday, Jan. 30
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Animal Helpers Badge with SPCA Serving Erie County – C Saturday, Jan. 30
12:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Breaking the Silence: Mental Health Awareness – C Saturday, Jan. 30
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Breaking the Silence: Mental Health Awareness – S/A Saturday, Jan. 30
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Winter Blast at Camp Seven Hills – C/S/A Sunday, January 31
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Silver Award Training – C Wednesday, Feb. 3
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Valentine’s Day Theme Squash Book – S/A Wednesday, Feb. 3
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Winter Blast at Piperwood – D/B/J Saturday, Feb. 6
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Wondermakers Zooming in the Snow – D/B Saturday, Feb. 6
11:00 AM – 11:35 AM
Winter Starry Night At Camp Piperwood – 
D/B/J/C/S/A/Adult Saturday, Feb. 6
4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Winter Blast at Piperwood – C/S/A Sunday, Feb. 7
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Senior Think Like an Engineer – S Monday, Feb. 8
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
The programs listed above are available as of January 7, 2021. All programs are virtual
unless otherwise noted. To view more programs, visit gswny.org.

Virtually Outdoors Opportunities

Looking for ways to keep your skills fresh or learn something new while we are unable to be together outdoors? We are bringing the Outdoors…Indoors, and together we are getting prepared to get back out there with our “Virtually Outdoors Series” There is something for everyone and you can join a session your own or with your family. You will receive a package of items you will need to participate and instructions to join our Zoom meeting. Register Now!

VIEW VIRTUALLY OUTDOORS

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is meant to be a day on, not off

Guest Post by Sarah Murphy, GSWNY Girl Experience Specialist and AmeriCorps VISTA

“Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sarah and a friend at an MLK Day of Service event in 2018 with the Flower City Habitat for Humanity

If you’re anything like me, you probably to look forward to the third Monday in January as a much-needed day off as you struggle to get back in the swing of things after the holidays. But you might not know that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is actually a federally recognized day of service—meant to be not a day off, as most of us treat it, but a day on.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was first observed in 1986, but it didn’t become an official day of service until 1994, when Congressmen Harris Wofford and John Lewis challenged Americans to turn the holiday into a day of citizen action. In the 26 years since, coordinated acts of service on MLK Day have inched us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community”: a society based on justice, equal opportunity, and love for one’s fellow human beings of all backgrounds.

Since 1994, the MLK Day of Service has been coordinated by AmeriCorps, which also runs enormous volunteer programs meant to help others and meet critical needs in communities across the country. AmeriCorps members dedicate about a year of full-time volunteer service to organizations all over the United States, and this year I’m one of them—and I’m lucky to be volunteering right here at GSWNY!

Sarah’s VISTA cohort

I was a Girl Scout myself for 11 years, so I know how dedicated my Girl Scout sisters are to making the world a better place. I also know that Girl Scouts across our council have been instrumental in supporting our community during COVID-19. From donating cookies last spring to making masks for frontline workers to getting out the vote this past fall, you have made a HUGE difference, and I’m cheering you on to keep going!

Below are some ways that you, your troop, and your family can get involved and help your community on MLK Day, which will be observed on Monday, January 18, 2021. To keep yourself and your community safe during COVID-19, we encourage you to minimize your contact with others.

  • Send cards or pictures to people in nursing homes, residential care facilities, and/or hospitals to brighten people’s days and let them know that someone is thinking of them. (Note: Check to see if the organization will accept a physical copy by mail or if you should scan and email them copies of these instead.)
  • Send a thank-you note or an encouraging message to a front-line worker such as a healthcare provider, a teacher, a food bank volunteer, or a firefighter. (Note: Check to see if the organization will accept a physical copy by mail or if you should scan and email them copies of these instead.)
  • Donate food to a local food cupboard. Search for an organization near you, find out what kinds of food they need, and work with an adult to gather food and organize a contactless drop-off.
  • Call a friend, family member, or neighbor who might be isolated during this time and lift their spirits with a game or a virtual scavenger hunt.
  • Visit AmeriCorps’ MLK Day of Service website at mlkday.gov and search for additional service opportunities near you! The site lists both remote and in-person opportunities, so please serve safely. If you choose to serve in person, wear a mask and maintain social distancing!

I can’t wait to see what Girl Scouts across our council do to make the world a better place on January 18. Have fun, stay safe, and remember that MLK Day isn’t your only opportunity to help your community—you can serve any and every day of the year!

Are you doing community service in-person or at home on Martin Luther King Jr. Day? We’d love to share your photos on social media! Please submit your photos (or videos) to communications@gswny.org and include the names of anyone in the photos, troop number, where the community service is taking place or who it is for, and an explanation of what is happening in the photos.

PHOTO GUIDELINES: Please remember that for in-person activities we currently are only accepting photos following our COVID media guidelines. Due to the fact that it is often impossible to tell who is in the same household visually, we are only accepting photos that show all girls and adults properly wearing masks and social distancing, even if they are related. We understand this limits the number and types of photos that can be submitted and will be accepted for posting, but due to the number of questions we have received about what is being depicted in photos we can currently only use photos clearly following the above rules. Photos must also respect the COVID guidelines relevant to the local area of the council (if your area of council is not allowing in-person meetings, we are unable to use photos of in-person activities even if they were not done as a part of a Girl Scout activity). We apologize for any confusion and for the limitations this imposes, but we want to make sure we are clear about the safety of our members. We reserve the right not to post any photos for any reason.

5 from Troop 37102 earn Girl Scout Silver Award in 2020

Five Girl Scouts from Como Lake Troop 37102 recently earned their Girl Scout Silver Awards. The Girl Scout Silver Award takes roughly 50 hours to complete and can be done individually, as a pair, or as a small group. To read the full requirements of the Silver Award, click here. The below stories were provided by the girls’ troop leader.

Anna Winnicki earned her Silver Award by completing her project individually. She decided to take on The Sensible Source’s Pad Project. Normally, her Girl Scout Service Unit (a geographic grouping of local Girl Scout troops) would host an event to pack menstrual care items, but due to the pandemic, this was not possible. Anna decided to step up and take on the work herself. She was able to work independently at her home packing one-gallon bags with one month of supplies. Troops in Como Lake Service Unit donated supplies.  Anna’s Leader, Maryann Gramza, assisted in buying supplies. Anna’s mom made a wish list to get donations. Ann Germanow, the Founder of “Sensible Source” provided guidance and disposal bags for the kits.

Anna donated her kits to the Lancaster Youth Bureau and Resurrection Food Pantry. (Fellow Girl Scouts Hailey Prowse and Kayli McIsaac, also from Troop 37102, assembled menstrual care kits that were donated to Response to Love and Nativity Miguel as a Service  Project.) About 400 kits were donated in total.



Madison Massaro and Johnica Rosa-Mutignani worked together to complete their Silver Award. Their project involved making dog and cat collars for the SPCA Serving Erie County, NY. To begin, they toured the facility to get ideas for a project.  They decided that they wanted to make something that adopted dogs and cats could leave the facility with for use at their new home. They used YouTube to get ideas and settle on a process for creating the collars. It just so happened that a nearby sewing store was closing. They were able to get discounts and donations for their project. Their troop leader, Maryann Gramza, provided them with machines and guidance with their sewing. Johnica and Madison donated over 100 collars when they attended the Animal Helper Badge with their Troop at the SPCA. (Photos are pre-COVID.)

Kailey Allen’s Silver Award Project was called “Increasing Literacy in My Community.” Kailey worked closely with the Librarian at Depew Middle School on projects to keep the library organized and running smoothly for students. She also volunteered at the Lancaster Public Library in the children’s section and for the annual book sale. Kailey sorted donations and spent time volunteering at the sale. She dedicated her time in the children’s section helping kids choose books for purchase and replenishing materials as needed. Kailey has a strong passion for promoting libraries.


Eva Shurmatz’s Silver Award project was called “Hope for Horses.” Eva has been volunteering at Phoenix Rising Equine Rescue located in Clarence. She saw that there were so many needs at the facility. (This was before COVID and their needs are even greater now.) Eva established ongoing bottle/can drives to purchase items for the barn and a recycling program at William Street School.


To submit your girl’s or troop’s Higher Award stories for publication on our social media or blog, please submit photos and details to communications@gswny.org. (Please note this is not the same as the submission process for completing a Higher Award. All paperwork must be finalized with the GSWNY Girl Experience Department. Questions? Please contact customercare@gswny.org.)

1-8-2021 Update From GSWNY CEO, Alison Wilcox

 Hello Girl Scout Families, Volunteers and Members,

As CEO of Girl Scouts of Western New York, I am writing to you knowing that you, like me, may be struggling with how to process, and talk about the Capitol riots on Wednesday with your girls, either in your own family discussions or in troop meetings.

In times of crisis, the importance of our mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place can be a beacon of hope for us, our girls, and for the future as we prepare our girls to take the lead today and tomorrow. We strive to create a safe, respectful and empowering space for girls and also to serve as a resource for our members.

Our Girl Scout Promise and Law is shared by every member of Girl Scouting. The Girl Scout Law outlines how we act towards one another and the world, and is a crucial foundation for our girls as they live up to the Promise and Law in all aspects of their life:

“I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely and make the world a better place.”
 
Girl Scouts of the USA has a resource page on its website, Raising Awesome Girls, which includes many articles sharing advice including this article on 7 Ways to Deal When the World Is Just So Overwhelming, and other articles from the past year about how to talk about difficult issues with girls including injustice, standing up for what is right, and COVID-19 among others. 

Some additional resources include:

  • National Geographic – Talking To Your Kids About Chaos: Here
  • Child Mind Institute – Helping Kids Understand the Riots at the Capitol: Here
  • And a past article from PBS – Helping Kids Navigate Scary News Stories: Here

This has been a difficult and distressing time, and I am grateful to be part of our committed and dedicated community of Girl Scouts who share my passion for empowering our girls, and doing what we can, together, to make the world a better place.   

Yours in Girl Scouting,  

Alison Wilcox
CEO, Girl Scouts of Western New York