Celebrating Judy Cranston

Leader – Mentor – Friend

With heavy hearts we say farewell to our fearless leader, Judy Cranston. She joined us in 2009 as our COO and helped navigate our merger from several councils around our nine counties to the organization we are today, Girl Scouts of Western New York.

For the last three years she’s been our CEO and continued to lead by example and push us to further success. Her passion for our mission was displayed by the way she led every day.

During her farewell celebration, there was hardly a dry eye in the house as staff members shared stories of the impact she had on their lives. She wasn’t an unavailable CEO; she gained our respect by relating to us and most importantly, caring about us.

Leader, mentor, and friend are three of the best words to describe Judy, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t more. Pulling from the Girl Scout Promise and Law, you see how she’s friendly and helpful; considerate and caring; courageous and strong; responsible for what she says and does; respects herself and others; and is a sister to every Girl Scout.

Staff submitted words like encouraging, inspirational, supportive, kind, leader, welcoming, inclusive, thoughtful, wise, hilarious, and fun-loving. When you think about a person who embodies all those characteristics, it’s easy to understand while she’ll be so missed.

Fortunately, we can comfort ourselves knowing we’re still in wonderful hands.

Alison Wilcox has served as our COO for three years and will now become our CEO. With 17 years of global experience in organization leadership and experience with Girl Scouts both at the national and local levels, Alison has channeled her passion for championing women and girls into a successful career. We’re thankful to have Alison, an alumna, as our new CEO.

To access all of Judy Cranston’s tweets while she was our CEO, click here (Excel Spreadsheet)

Camp Registration is NOW OPEN!

Get ready to experience the #GirlScoutCampLife because registration is now open for all three of our camps – Camp Timbercrest, Camp Piperwood, and Camp Seven Hills!

Check out the camp guides to see what programs are available here.

Register for Camp

Camp Guides are out now!

We’re still months away from summer and our camp season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start dreaming about all the fun we’re going to have. Both our Resident and Camp Guides are out to tell you all about the amazing programs we have planned this summer!

View the Resident Camp Guide | Day Camp Guide

To learn more about all our camp options, visit our Summer Camp page!

Registration opens soon!

Mark Your Calendars for Camp!

Summer may seem like it’s ages away, but we have some dates to help you get the countdown started. Though our camps don’t officially open until July, we have important dates for you to know along the way to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

January

Camp Guides Go Live Monday, January 14! Get your first look at this year’s programs at Camp Seven Hills, Camp Timbercrest, and Camp Piperwood. Registration is open and ready for you!

February

Girl Scout Cookie Season! Okay, this technically begins in January, but it goes through February before booths start in March. This is important for camp because if you sell 1,000+ boxes, you can receive a free week at camp!

March

Early Bird Discount Ends! Make sure your Girl Scout is registered for camp by Friday, March 29, to enjoy a $20 Early Bird Discount!

April

Taste of Camp Recruitment Events: If you’re new to summer camp, this your chance to visit us and get a glimpse of what your camp experience will look like. Informational sessions, tours, and a sampling of camp crafts will be available. You will also have an opportunity to register for summer camp 2019, and a chance to enter your name for a FREE WEEK OF CAMP and other cool camp prizes.

  • Saturday, April 27, 1 to 3 p.m. at Camp Piperwood

May

Taste of Camp Recruitment Events: If you’re new to summer camp, this your chance to visit us and get a glimpse of what your camp experience will look like. Informational sessions, tours, and a sampling of camp crafts will be available. You will also have an opportunity to register for summer camp 2019, and a chance to enter your name for a FREE WEEK OF CAMP and other cool camp prizes.

  • Saturday, May 4, 1 to 3 p.m., at Camp Seven Hills
  • Saturday, May 11, 1 to 3 p.m., at Camp Timbercrest

June

Campership Deadline. Financial aid is available for all girls who are members of GSWNY. Just complete the Summer Camp Financial Assistance Application as soon as possible for consideration. Please feel free to contact us for assistance with completing the form. Saturday, June 1.

Open House at Camp Piperwood. Take tours of the camp property, get answers to your questions, and get a preview of some of our summer camp programs. Camp is located at 2222 Turk Hill Rd., Fairport, NY 14450. Thursday, June 27, from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Open House at Camp Timbercrest. Take tours of Timbercrest and get a firsthand look at our top-notch facilities. Spend the evening meeting our qualified staff and observing camp in its summer operation. Stop by the Tuck Shop for a look at our new summer merchandise. Open House will be at Camp Timbercrest: 11169 Moore Rd., Randolph, NY 14772. Sunday, June 30, from 1 to 3 p.m.

July

Day Camp Opens July 1! Day camp ends Friday, August 9, and runs from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Open House at Camp Seven Hills. Tours of Camp Seven Hills will be ongoing throughout this evening. While at camp, you will get a firsthand look at our top-notch facilities. Spend the evening meeting our qualified staff and observing Camp Seven Hills in its summer operation. Stop by the Tuck Shop for a look at our new summer merchandise. Open House will be on the Goodyear side of camp only: 10150 Olean Road (Rt 16), Holland, NY 14080. Monday, July 1, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Resident Camps Open! Camp runs from July 7 to August 9, and each session begins Sunday at 1 p.m. and ends Friday at 7 p.m.

Friends and Family Camp Weekend. Make it a family affair at our resident camps. During your day enjoy swimming, boating, horseback riding, crafts, games, archery, or hiking the forest trails/enjoying leisurely walks. Spend the evening around the campfire toasting marshmallows and chatting with family and friends. The possibilities are endless.

  • Friday, July 12, to Sunday, July 14, at Camp Timbercrest
  • Friday, July 19, to Sunday, July 21, at Camp Seven Hills

Girl Scouts Learn to Lead with Fire Safety

This article originally appeared on Prevention1st.org

This fall Prevention 1st trainers delivered the first sessions of the Leadership Development program in fire safety which they developed for the Girl Scouts of Western New York (GSWNY). Sessions held in Rochester and Buffalo, NY, drew 34 Girl Scout Cadets, from 6th-graders to 12th graders, eager to learn leadership and fire safety skills. They will each now present 3 training sessions with younger Daisy and/or Brownie troops.

“This is a chance to up their leadership skills and be role models for younger girls,” said Lauren Bush, Assistant Director of Girl Experience for GSWNY. “And fire safety is so important, it’s good for them to hear it from their peers. As leaders, as adults, we can tell kids these things about fire. But when they hear it from their slightly older peers, it really sticks.”

“They were so enthusiastic and committed to playing a role in their community,” said Bob Crandall, Prevention 1st trainer. “For that age group it was very impressive.”

The Prevention 1st training will count toward the senior Girl Scouts’ leadership awards, and toward the younger Scouts’ play safe! be safe! Fire Safety Education patch. Training sessions were held on a day off from school, with some entire troops attending as well as individual girls interested in the training. The Rochester session was sponsored by the John F. Wegman Fund and the Buffalo session by Prevention 1st.

Molly Clifford taught the girls strategies for teaching younger children and presentation skills to keep their audience engaged and learning. Bob Crandall presented the specific fire safety skills they would need to teach the younger Girl Scouts, drawn from the curriculum of the play safe! be safe! fire safety program. The girls then worked in small groups to develop and rehearse their own presentations.

“They came up with creative ways to be “hands on” with skills,” Crandall recalled, “like using newsprint to make “smoke” and then demonstrating the correct way to Stay Low and Go under smoke.”

Bush hopes that as the younger Girl Scouts learn, they will later step up to do the same training for others:

“There’s no better way to show their leader skills. It’s a “pay it forward” skill.”

Prevention 1st is dedicated to preventing injury by educating and/or hazard proofing the environments of those most at risk: older adults, young children and people with disabilities. Learn more >>>

Girl Scouts helped Jaylah raise her voice

Our mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place is more than just words; we see it in action. Girl Scouts throughout Western New York continually live out our mission. 

Consider Jaylah’s story, the Girl Scout pictured above. 

As a Girl Scout Junior, this 11-year-old saw an issue in her community and decided to do something about it. When Jaylah heard plans to turn an out-of-business restaurant into a liquor store, she immediately took action. 

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Courageously speaking to elected officials at a community meeting, Jaylah said “We don’t want people building businesses in our neighborhood that don’t care about what is good for us.”

Her determination continued and she met with officials and obtained their signatures on a petition to shut down what would become the second liquor store in her community. 

Her dedication paid off – soon after the liquor licenses was denied and there are no plans to move forward with that type of establishment. 

Jaylah embodied all that we value in Girl Scouts through her courage to speak up for what’s right, her confidence to talk to groups and elected officials, and the character to stand her ground for what was right for her community. 

Girls with confidence are more likely to speak their mind, believe in their intelligence, and desire to be a leader. Unfortunately, there’s a crisis of confidence happening among our girls. More than 60% of girls say they like to be in charge, but 33% admit to being afraid about leading so they aren’t perceived as bossy. 

We live in a world where if a girl or woman asserts herself or her authority, she is being bossy. It’s a negative word based on gender stereotypes that strips everything good away from being a leader. As a young girl, being told you’re bossy is something to shy away from and you learn to act in ways that keep you from being labeled so harshly. 

With self-confidence, you can disagree with a friend and not be concerned, but nearly 50% of all girls won’t say what they’re thinking or if they disagree because their desire is to be liked. Girls with the highest GPAs are the ones most likely to report feeling this way. 

Help us change this. 

With your support, we reach more and do more to turn this crisis of confidence around for our girls and help them realize just how smart and important they are. We work every day to create a space where they can grow and fail without judgement. We want to keep hearing stories of our girls being unafraid to stand up for what’s right even if it’s an unpopular opinion. 

When you invest in Girl Scouts, you’re doing more than support an organization where girls do crafts and sell cookies. You’re helping to build the future generation of leaders. You’re changing the world. 

Donate Today

Women of Distinction is two weeks away!

One of the best events of the year is only two weeks away. Every year, we celebrate eight amazing women in the Western New York area for their character, dedication to community, and passion for mentoring girls and women. The event is appropriately called Women of Distinction.

Like all of our events, it’s a girl-led ceremony prominently featuring our Girl Scouts. In fact, eight girls will spend time shadowing and learning from one the honorees. At the awards, she’ll share her experience.

This year, we have the privilege of honoring:

  • Lindsay Cray: Co-Founder & Executive Director, Earthworks, Inc. (Monroe County)
  • Rosanne Frandina: President of Frandina Engineering and Land Surveying (Erie County)
  • Althea E. Luehrsen: CEO, Leadership Buffalo, Inc. (Erie County)
  • Patti Ann Pacino: Batavia City Council Member (Genesee County)
  • Venus Quates: President and CEO, launchTECH (Erie County)
  • Dr. Dilara Samadi: OB/GYN, Buffalo Medical Group (Erie County)
  • Honorable Joanne Winslow: Associate Justice of the New York State Supreme Court (Monroe County)
  • Betsy Wright: President, UPMC Chautauqua WCA Hospital (Chautauqua County)

This event isn’t limited to Girl Scouts, either; we’d love to have you with us! This year we’re celebrating at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo Thursday, September 20, with the evening’s events beginning at 5:30 p.m.

If you’re interested, please visit our website to learn more and order your tickets.

To learn more about the experiences and passions of former honorees, check out The Girl Scout Difference campaign for their stories.

Interested in Being a Sponsor?
Sponsorship opportunities for organizations of all sizes exist. Invest in the future of girls today by sponsoring an event – 100% of your investment will stay in Western New York to help girls develop important leadership skills. Learn about sponsor opportunities by viewing our sponsorship packet and change the world by investing in girls today!

For more information about this event or becoming a sponsor contact Eileen Hettich at 1.888.837.6410 x6030 or email