The following is a submission from Troop 10045 celebrating their Bronze Award. If you want to share what your troop is doing, email firstname.lastname@example.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.”
“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.”
We’re about halfway through our 2018-19 Membership Year, which leaves many potential Girl Scouts thinking there’s no reason to join now. The school year is almost over, which means Girl Scouts is about to shut down too, right?
Actually, this isn’t right at all. While most troops choose to take the summer off, the Girl Scout experience doesn’t end in May. Joining now still gives you tons of time to get involved and begin your Girl Scout journey.
#GirlScoutingYearRound is a new way to remind people that we have exciting opportunities all year long. It might be too late to sell cookies, but there’s still tons of time for camp, community service, and getting to know your troop.
Starting now means you settle into being a Girl Scout and when the new year roles around, you’re ready to experience everything new we have planned. You’ll learn more about our programs and your troop. Plus, you can use the summer to earn badges and learn new and exciting things!
We have programs over the summer around our council, including tours at the Lockport locks and cooking lessons at an animal sanctuary. We believe in providing the fun all year long.
If you or your girl is older, joining now can give you an edge in your future. Our higher awards – the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards – are designed to help you get involved with your community to make a difference. You don’t have to earn them all, meaning you can start as a Girl Scout in 10th grade and work toward your Gold Award.
Once achieved, you can use this as a way to start in the military a whole rank higher or on your college applications as a way to stand out.
What makes our program unique is we are girl-led, meaning we let our Girl Scouts decide where they want to go and what they want to learn. Joining us at any time means you can define your experience, allowing you to pursue your passion for STEM, get outdoors, learn more about the history of our region and so much more.
The limit does not exist when it comes to your potential with Girl Scouts.
For more than 100 years, we’ve been the preeminent leadership organization for girls, developing businesswomen, astronauts, governors, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and even secretaries of state. The benefit of our program speaks for itself, yet it’s easy to miss why our program is so important.
It’s more than just a century of experience that helps us build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We’ve done the research to make sure we’re reaching girls where it matters and delivering what they need.
From this we know your girl will learn best in an all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment, which is exactly what we provide. What this doesn’t mean is a stereotypical ‘girl’ experience with where we do crafts and play with dolls. In fact, we usually prefer robots.
We’re redefining what it means to do something like a girl and showing girls how smart and valuable they are. We’re also girl-led, which means in Girl Scouts, your girl takes the lead. We provide programming for many areas, but the rest of it is in your daughter’s hands.
Instead of telling a girl what she should like or do, we let her choose. We give her opportunities to get outdoors, to learn about coding and cybersecurity, to learn how to run and a business, and so much more.
As the largest girl-run entrepreneurial program in the world, our Girl Scout cookie sales are about more than fundraising and providing the USA with our delicious cookies. When you sell, you learn about business planning and financial literacy. Each level teaches you something different about these areas so every year, your girl is expanding her knowledge and building on her skills.
All our programming stands on our four pillars: STEM, Outdoors, Entrepreneurship, and Life Skills. The last encompasses several areas, including our commitment to improving our world.
Service is built into so much of what Girl Scouts do. Whether it’s making centerpieces for holiday dinners at homeless shelters or collecting blankets or educating their peers and advocating for more resources, our girls do some incredible work to help those around them.
Girl and troops do projects throughout the year, but we also have three levels of higher awards to promote this culture of giving back. Girl Scout Juniors (4th and 5th graders) can work in their troop for a minimum of 20 hours on a project to earn their Bronze Award.
Next, our Cadettes (6th, 7th, and 8th graders) can earn their Silver Award. Here they’ll work by themselves or in a small group of Girl Scouts for a minimum of 50 hours on a service project.
Finally, our Seniors (9th and 10th) and Ambassadors (11th and 12th) can earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, our highest honor. This is a completely individual process and each girl must spend a minimum of 80 hours dedicated to their project. Beyond a one-time service initiative, they have to focus on something that is sustainable and will continue to make an impact after they’re done.
Sound difficult? That’s because it is. Since the beginning of our higher awards, one million girls have earned their Gold Award. That means fewer than 6% of all our Girl Scouts earn it annually.
For those who’ve ‘gone gold,’ it’s worth it. Not only can you enter the military a whole rank higher just for earning it, it’s a critical element in the college admissions decision process.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what kind of girl yours is because here, we’re all Girl Scout. We have something for her to and can help prepare her for a lifetime of leadership.
As competition for your girl’s time heats up, it’s easy to dismiss Girl Scouts as not being right for her. Your girl isn’t the girly-girl type, so she wouldn’t enjoy an organization where that’s a big deal. She’s more of a tomboy, so she likely wouldn’t have a good time.
We have news for you: every girl is right for Girl Scouts.
When you’re a Girl Scout, it doesn’t matter if you’re part trendsetter, part change-maker, part athlete, part engineer, part artist, or part go-getter, because you know who you are and where you want to go next. You’re all Girl Scout, and that makes the difference.
Pictured above is Shelby, a self-proclaimed ‘tomboy,’ football player, and Girl Scout Junior. She doesn’t fit the mold of what so many assume Girl Scouts is, yet our program fits her perfectly.
She’s learned practical skills like camping, fire building, and knot tying, but it’s the intangible skills that stand out. As a Girl Scout, Shelby has learned about caring, leadership, giving back, and working together.
Shelby first joined Girl Scouts because it seemed like it would be fun and her mother, Kathy, wanted her to try something new. Since then, Kathy has watched her become independent, gain leadership skills, make friends, and enjoy many opportunities she wouldn’t have had the chance to experience without Girl Scouts. Even more, her confidence has increased.
Because of her interest in ‘boy things,’ Shelby can sometimes feel out of place in school and like she doesn’t fit in. When she’s with her troop, she feels comfortable to be herself.
If someone told Shelby they weren’t the ‘right kind of girl’ to join, she’d let them know it’s a perfect program for them because of all the activities they can do, like camping, crafting, caroling, and more. In fact, girls can pick from an array of different activities, events, and skills they want to achieve.
Even though she’s only nine years old, Shelby is already thinking about college. It’s one of the things she’s most excited about Girl Scouts. Through our Spring Renewal program, girls who renew their membership by May 30 receive SAGE Tuition Rewards Points. This translates into $2500 for college every year she renews.
Our partnership with SAGE was one of the things about Girl Scouts that surprised Kathy. She didn’t realize how it could help with Shelby’s future college dreams, or how the Girl Scout Gold Award can help increase a girl’s rank in the military. Another surprise was the number of companies that offer Girl Scouts opportunities, like Apple and Disney.
Both Kathy and Shelby are very active in Girl Scouts because of their belief in the program. For Shelby, it’s about learning about things she doesn’t know.
“She has had so many experiences and more just waiting for her,” Kathy said. “She and her troop have done volunteer work at our local soup kitchen; they are working on their Bronze Award with a nonprofit little animal rescue; they’ve done beach clean ups to name a few of their projects. She will be able to not only save for college but visit some through the offerings they have at St. Bonaventures and Fredonia State.”
For girls and parents who aren’t sure about Girl Scouts, both Kathy and Shelby believe they should do their research and give it a try.
“As a parent, I would encourage them to do research on what Girl Scouts has to offer,” Kathy said. “Girl Scouts can help in a number of ways, including college through SAGE, travel opportunities, educational experiences, life skills, leadership, and to be in an environment that will help her grow.”
Girl Scouts is for all girls because we know no two are alike. Every girl has her own interests, talents, hobbies, and dreams, and we want to make sure she has the right opportunities to pursue them all. It’s not about what kind of girl you are, as long as you’re all Girl Scout.
Shelby is a lot of wonderful things and she’s all Girl Scout.
In Girl Scouting, our mission doesn’t end at building girls of courage, confidence, and character. We empower them to take it one step further and help make their world a better place. For Troop 30143, the difference they want to make is related directly to one of their co-leaders.
In working towards a Bronze Award, the troop chose to raise awareness about Mitochondrial Disease. While many have never heard of this rare disease, they have a direct connection to it through one of their co-leaders.
Ann Marie Lesnewski, called ‘Miss Annie’ by her girls, has a lifelong history with Girl Scouts, from her days as a Girl Scout at Kenmore Presbyterian Church to leading troops in the Ken-Ton Service Unit for seven years.
“I wasn’t really there for what I received to put on my uniform, but for how it made me feel. It was a place that I could go to feel that I belonged, that my thoughts mattered, and where I’d be told that my dreams were attainable. I want girls to feel confident, and I want them to know that they’re valued, that their opinions matter, and that I believe that they can change the world for the better. I think girls don’t really get that message all the time in life. Kids are told what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and they’re not really given the opportunity to think. That’s what Girl Scouting really offers them is the opportunity to think, and to dream big.”
Troop 30143 embraced this opportunity to dream big and change the world for the better through their Bronze Award project, called “Mito Never Sleeps.” One of the main components was to raise awareness about Mitochondrial Disease in their community.
On Sunday, September 16, the girls began a 24-mile bike ride to represent how the disease affects people 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Despite the long ride, the girls and their decorated bikes made it the entire journey.
Another leader tweeted this touching message about the ride:
“Today I was honored to support my Girl Scouts as they rode 24 miles to bring attention to those who battle Mitochondrial Disease, 24 hr/day. These amazing girls planned, organized, made phone calls, & hit a goal that was big and scary! Troop #30143”
During the week of the bike ride, the girls also:
Asked the principle to have a Go Green Day at school
Made a presentation to their science class about Mitochondrial Disease
Talked to people about the disease and gave them an awareness ribbon
Wore seven pounds of weight on their arms and legs for 24 hours to simulate the feeling of someone who has a muscle disease
Wrote a letter to seven politicians to spread awareness, ask for donations for Mito research, and explain the burden the insurance companies place on the person with the disease
Made rocks about Mito Awareness
The troop explained their passion for their Bronze Award project:
“Mrs. Annie is an inspiration to us and she has taught us to be strong, independent, and confident girls. In return we want to help spread awareness for this horrible disease. And we also want to get the Pharmaceutical companies to stop the burden on the patients who need medical supplies.”
The project ended on a fun note at the 49th Annual Skills and Chills Event at Seven Hills. Keeping with the festivities, Troop 30143 wore their green Mito Awareness shirts and were adorned with different forms of power, including batteries and electricity, because the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. The girls decorated their tent with awareness information and even had SWAPs to help spread the word.
The Girl Scout difference is exemplified in troops like these who show that Girl Scouts make a difference. Through their co-leader Miss Annie, they recognized a need for awareness around Mitochondrial Disease and took action to help with the pharmaceutical companies that take advantage of patients who need supplies.
This is just one of many amazing stories that happen around our council. We’re so proud of our girls and the work they do to help make their community a better place, and the passion they show for helping friends and family.