Join us for an epic State Parks adventure July 13 & 14!

GSWNY is excited to be participating in the national Girl Scouts Love State Parks event, July 13 to 14! This weekend long event has the goal of getting  every Girl Scout outdoors and into a state park. GSWNY will have events at 4 locations across council but Girl Scouts will be able to participate by visiting any State Park!

Registration is open now!
Park Entrance is free with Girl Scouts attire!  

On Saturday, July 13, check out:

  • Letchworth State Park, the “Grand Canyon of the East” and hike some of the 66 miles of trails and check out the three major waterfalls in the park, attend a ranger talk about the geology of the park, or visit the Nature Center or the Mary Jemison House. You could even try out whitewater rafting!
  • Allegany State Park, NY’s largest state park, with 65,000 acres to explore. You might visit natural caves, swim in Quaker Lake, visit the old Quaker store, attend a ranger program and learn about the critters living in the streams at the park, or climb the fire tower.
  • Buffalo Harbor State Park, one of NY’s newest state parks. You might join a 1 hour boat trip on Lake Erie, bike along the bike trail, learn about invasive species, or stroll along the beach.

On Sunday, July 14, check out:

  • Beaver Island State Park, on Grand Island on the Upper Niagara River. You could visit the nature center, play a game of disc golf, swim, bike, or hike, or take a tour of the historic River Lea House. You could also attend a ranger program and create your very own nature journal!

Can’t make it to one of these locations on this weekend? Visit any state park and enjoy the day. Also be sure to check out the NYS Parks Connect Kids Program to participate and get an additional patch on these days or any other days of the year! 

How will you celebrate Great Outdoors Month 2019?

With June comes the arrival of summer, which means it’s time to #escapetheindoors and get outside! All this month, find ways you can get outside and enjoy nature at its warmest.

This celebration dates back more than 20 years to when Bill Clinton was president. At the time, it was Great Outdoors Week and now has grown “into a month-long celebration of the outdoors and all the healthful, social and economic benefits it brings.  This June, celebrate the natural wonder and outdoor spirit of America by getting outside during Great Outdoors Month.”

The Great Outdoors Month website has the resources to help you plan your next adventure and experience the outdoors however you prefer. No matter what you do, we want to see how #outdoorlikeagirl!

Of course, don’t forget about the opportunities for you with Girl Scouts all summer long! Girl Scout Camp doesn’t officially start until July, but registering now gets you one step closer.

Share your photos with us either by emailing us communications@gswny.org, tagging us on social media, or using the hashtag #gswny. We can’t wait to see how you celebrate Great Outdoors Month!

Camperships are available for your girl

At Girl Scouts, we believe in the value of camp. Since our beginnings, getting girls outside has been one of our primary areas of focus. In fact, it currently stands as one of our four program pillars – STEM, Life Skills, Entrepreneurship, and Outdoors.

Knowing how important it is for girls to go outdoors, we want to make sure every girl has the opportunity. Our goal is always to make sure that no one is excluded from our program for any reason, including financial.

If your girl is a member of Girl Scouts of Western New York, we have financial aid options available for her. The Summer Camp Financial Assistance Application needs to be completed asap for consideration.

To apply, register for camp and fill out the financial aid application included. Physical forms can be picked up at our service centers.

Shelby: part tomboy, part football player, all Girl Scout

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, far right in the back row, with the rest of her troop

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.  

Shelby’s favorite thing about Girl Scouts is Camp Timbercrest, where she’s met new friends who are like family

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.

The 2018-19 Program Guide is Out!

With our new Membership Year approaching, we’re thrilled to launch the new Program Guide! Featuring returning favorites and exciting new adventures, we have a little something for everyone planned.2019 GSWNY Program Guide COVER

To view and register for events, as well as see events that are recently added, check out the Events Page on our website!

The Impact of a Volunteer: The Girl Scout Difference

Girl Scouts makes a difference. That’s the whole point behind our Girl Scout Difference campaign and what we’re so passionate about sharing. We want people to know there’s a reason we remain girl-only; we have the time-tested and research-backed programming that tells us this is the best space for her to grow.

But to accomplish this, we need you.

We’re able to offer girls the opportunities to build robotic arms and create shelters in the wilderness because of our volunteers. Our caring adult mentors and strong female role models help shape the environment for our girls. Girl Scouts makes a difference because of our volunteer partners.

As a volunteer, you’ll see the proven results of how girls thrive in these five ways …

  Develop a strong sense of self.

  Seek challenges and learn from setbacks.

  Display positive values.

  Form and maintain healthy relationships.

  Identify and solve problems in the community.

… and you’ll know you had a hand in helping them get there.

It’s about more than just being there for the girls. Girl Scout volunteers tell us about the personal rewards they’ve encountered, like making new friends, enjoying new experiences, and even learning new things right along with their troop.

Girl Scouts doesn’t just make a difference in our girls’ lives, it will make a difference in yours.

Contrary to popular belief, you can volunteer even if you don’t have children. You can volunteer if you’re a man. We have roles beyond troop leader; we need people to help transport the children, manage cookie sales, assist at meetings, speak at events, and everything in between.

Just like the potential we see in our girls, there’s no limit to what you can do as a volunteer for Girl Scouts.