Cadette Troop 20173 pushed themselves, conquered their fears, and had fun at Splash Lagoon.

[The following was submitted to GSWNY from Troop 20173. To have your troop story featured, email communications@gswny.org]

Members of Girl Scout Cadette Troop 20173 are learning to push themselves to conquer their fears, and are having fun while they do it!

After selling more than 2,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies last year, the five girls earned tickets to Erie’s Splash Lagoon for exceeding 300 boxes per scout. They, along with leaders Patricia Bowen and Wendy Graham, spent the day there recently to enjoy the fruits of their efforts.

“I was so proud of our girls for selling so many cookies!” Bowen said. “For a troop our size to sell that many is a real feat, and it helped us be able to take them to San Francisco in April. They are learning that hard work can earn rewards. I’m especially glad that our whole troop met their goal so we could all go to Splash Lagoon together.”

While they were there, some of the girls had to build up their courage to explore the water slides. At first, only a couple felt comfortable whooshing down, but as the day progressed, their sister scouts helped them conquer their fears. 

After hours of wet fun, the girls, Westfield’s Lilly Teeter, Brooke Luce,  Desiree Bowen and Grace Graham, as well as Cassadaga’s Lily Hafner, moved on to the next part of the challenge: the Tree Top Ropes Course.

“I was frightened at first because I don’t like heights,” Hafner said. “[I was] relieved at the end because I was uncomfortable.” She said she felt good about herself when it was all over.

All five girls climbed the ropes with large, frightened eyes, but slowly became more accustomed to the height. After a half hour of walking on narrow beams, wobbling planks, and thin ropes, the girls descended with grins and a sense of accomplishment. 

“I’m in awe of these girls,” Graham said. “I saw the looks on their faces and at times they were all scared out of their minds. But they pushed through the fear and talked each other through the rough spots. I watched them hold hands out to each other to help their friends, and I saw them strategize how to maneuver around the course. This is why I love Girl Scouts. Seeing these girls I’ve been with for three years grow like that is inspiring.”

Benefits of Girl Scout Camp

Deciding what activities for your girl to be a part of can be challenging considering all the options. This is especially true come summer with different camp opportunities and ways for them to spend their free time. You want what’s best for your girl, and so do we, which is why we think Girl Scout camp is the place to be.

There are a lot of places where your girl can have fun, but at Girl Scouts she has the unique experience of combining fun and unforgettable activities with learning key lessons to carry her through life. It’s not just our goal; we see it in the lives of our girls.

We hear stories about how our program helped our leaders of today, but there’s a special spark that happens when they start talking about camp. Something about the experience stays with them and helped shape them into the woman they became.

Girls attend camp for the first time shy and unsure, but they don’t stay that way for long. It’s truly wonderful to witness.

These experiences aren’t by chance or accident. Girl Scout Summer Camp has four key benefits in mind that go into the planning each year.

  1. Develop and cultivate girls’ self-identity, self-worth, self-esteem, and self-respect.
  2. Build girls of courage, confidence, and character by providing opportunities for girls to experience camp life on their own.
  3. Focus on the 3 keys to leadership: discover new skills within themselves, connect with others through team building and problem solving, and take action by making things better at camp and in their communities.
  4. Provide a safe environment that encourages leadership, imagination, and acceptance as well as a community where girls feel less at risk.

See what camp can do for your girl and register her today!

Happy Volunteer Appreciation Month!

April is one of our favorite months of the year because it’s a special time to thank the everyday heroes in the lives of our Girl Scouts – our volunteers! While we love and appreciate them (and you!) every day, April is a special time to show our gratitude.

We know that without our volunteers, our girls wouldn’t develop into
G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)™. They help our girls unleash their most confident selves and transform them into a force for good. They take our mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character to heart and apply it in all they do.

All year long, our volunteers make meaningful and inspiring contributions to our movement and we’re so thankful they choose to dedicate their time to preparing Girl Scouts for a lifetime of leadership. Our program makes a difference, and it’s because of how hard our volunteers work and care.

They say not all heroes wear capes, but ours wear the passion for what they do as a notable indicator that they’re Girl Scout volunteers. And yes, some of ours wear vests and patches!

More than just us thanking you, we know how grateful our members are for our volunteers, which is why we have the option for you to thank volunteers as well!

All month long, show your favorite Girl Scout volunteer how much they mean to you with a straight-from-the-heart, personalized ecard. Choose from four predesigned templates. Just fill in the blank to finish the sentence, and share your ecard with them on Facebook, on Twitter, or by email!

Also during National Volunteer Week (April 7–13) you can head over to FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, to show love for your favorite Girl Scout volunteer by sharing what makes them so special to you. Be sure to mention all the ways you support them throughout the year too. And remember to tag @girlscouts and use #NVW2019 so we can follow the love!

As a token of our appreciation, you can save this month at our online store. Use code VOLUNTEER19 for 15% off* one item from our online store, the Girl Scout Shop, and bring a smile to a volunteer’s face! Or pick up something new for yourself. We can say with confidence you’ve definitely earned it!

Not a Girl Scout volunteer?

It’s not too late to embark on this incredible adventure! If you’re looking for ways to have a powerful, lasting influence on girls in your community, we’d love to chat.Volunteer Now!

*The code is active April 1 through April 30, 2019, for 15% off one item from a customer’s order. The 15% discount will be applied to the highest priced item in an order. If a customer buys two or more of the same item that the discount applies to, the 15% will only be taken off one item. The code is for one-time use per customer, online only at girlscoutshop.com. 

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.

Election 2018: Girl Scouts Then, Leaders Now

The 2018 midterm elections gave women a reason to celebrate: out of the 266 women who ran for office, nearly half of them won their seats for a record-setting number of women in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. 

Even better? Of those elected to the 116th Congress, 60% were involved with our program. An impressive 74% of our women senators and 57% of women representatives and delegates are Girl Scout Alums.

The number of women governors in the United States increased by 6% and 56% of them were Girl Scouts. 

More than just numbers, 2018 boasted many historic firsts for women:

  • Kyrsten Sinema became Arizona’s first female senator, defeating Martha McSally. Both are Girl Scout alums.
  • Ayanna Pressley, Girl Scout Alum, is Massachusetts’s first black congresswoman.
  • Texas has its first Latina congresswomen with Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar, Girl Scout Alum. 
  • Marsha Blackburn is Tennessee’s first woman senator. 
  • The first Muslim women EVER were elected to Congress – Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. 
  • We also have the first Native American women in Congress – Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids. 
  • Kristi Noem was elected as South Dakota’s governor, becoming the first woman to hold the position.
  • Both Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Girl Scout Alum, and Abby Finkenauer were elected to Congress and stand as the youngest women ever to serve. 
  • Jahana Hayes is Connecticut’s first black congresswoman. 
  • Stacey Abrams, Girl Scout Alum, was narrowly defeated in the Georgia gubernatorial race, but stands as the first black woman to be a major-party gubernatorial nominee in the United States. 

We’re so proud of what our sisters accomplished this year and how they’re continuing to break the boys club mold. But our work isn’t done. 

Even with this year’s exciting statistics and stories, the gender gap is still an issue in our elected offices. Between governors, senators, and representatives, there are 591 offices. Only 136 are currently held by women, meaning they hold less than 25% of the positions available. 

The reason women don’t hold more positions is because they aren’t running as frequently as men. More than 65% of girls say they’re interested in politics, yet something stops them from running for office as adults. Some of those reasons include:

We know our Girl Scouts gain the confidence they need to succeed in their lives. The 2018 midterm election results are proof that Girl Scout show’s girls they’re capable of more by encouraging them to be leaders and sure of themselves. 

Here’s to working toward an equal future, where women being good enough or smart enough to run for office isn’t even a consideration because they know what they’re capable of. The future is female. 

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

Because of Girl Scouts, Maria realized all she could accomplish

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Girl Scouts is more than just an activity for your girl. It can have life-changing effects on who she becomes and what she believes she can achieve. Take Maria’s story, for example.

Maria’s journey with Girl Scouts began in Puerto Rico, when she joined as a Daisy. Five years later, she’d leave her home and troop to move to the United States. Starting a new life in a country with strange language were only some of the obstacles facing Maria.

Research shows that a girl’s confidence sharply declines by more than 25% between fifth and ninth grade. Almost 50% of high school girls don’t believe they’re smart enough for their dream career. Even when a girl experiences the academic success of a 4.0 or higher, 1 in 3 will feel they aren’t good enough to pursue their passion.

Fortunately for Maria, she had Girl Scouts.

Once she arrived in Buffalo, her mother looked for a Girl Scout troop in the area. Finding none and understanding the importance, she started her own troop so Maria could develop the friendships she needed.

With her troop, Maria was able to enjoy experiences she never imagined would be possible, like white water rafting, learning how to code, walking on ropes courses, and discovering more about how the brain works.

Her fellow Girl Scouts became her community and support, and with the help of them and their leaders, she was able to learn English and graduate high school. Now in college, the distance doesn’t get in the way of the friendships she made as a Girl Scout. These relationships are one of a kind and even if they don’t talk for awhile, they always have each other’s backs.

The confidence Maria gained did more than help her learn English, take on the impossible, and form new friendships; it helped direct the course of her life.

The lack of women in STEM-related fields is no secret, but it’s alarming when you consider that 75% of girls believe they’re good at math and science, but only 45% consider it for a career.

It’s illogical to assume that most girls simply aren’t interested when you learn girls’ interest in math and science increases as they get older, despite the decline of girls believing they’re good at these subjects.

Despite these odds, Maria had the confidence to pursue her passion. After attending a Girls Go to Neuro School event at the University of Buffalo, Maria was able to learn more about the mind and brain. This sparked an interested so she began doing more research on her own.

Now she’s a freshman psychology major on the pre-med route at Albany College.

Because of Girl Scouts, Maria realized she was smart enough, good enough, and confident enough. The activities she enjoyed were more than just fun excursions – they helped shape the course of her life.

You can help make a difference in the lives of our Girl Scouts. 

Girl Scouts takes the potential of girls and combines it with robust skill-building programs that allow them to enjoy experiences outside of their comfort zones, like building a robotic arm, learning to survive outdoors, and growing a cookie business.

Your donation makes building girls of courage, confidence, and character who makes the world a better place possible. Thank you.

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