You’re invited to be a Daisy for a Day!

This summer, we’re kicking off the Girl Scout experience for our new Daisies in a major way. It all begins with our Daisy for a Day party happening all over council Saturday, June 29.

You’re invited to bring your kindergarten and first grade girls (as of fall 2019) to this exciting event where girls and adults get their first taste of what it means to be a Daisy Girl Scout. Our FREE Daisy for a Day events is for girls and their families to discover what it means to be a Girl Scout, enjoy STEM and other fun activities, and learn about the ways they can get involved with Girl Scouts.

This event runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will be held at the following locations:

Niagara County
Niagara County Community College Banquet Hall G209
3111 Saunders Settlement Rd. Sanborn, NY 14132

Monroe County
Al Sigl Center Gymnasium, 1000 Elmwood Ave., Rochester, NY 14620

Genesee County
Dibble Family Center, 4120 W Main St., Batavia, NY 14020

Erie County
Daemen College, Wick Center Social Room, 4380 Main St., Amherst, NY 14226

Cattaraugus County
Ellicottville Memorial Library, 6499 Maples Rd., Ellicottville, NY 14731

Chautauqua County
Lakeside Park Pavilion, 78 Water St. Route 394, Mayville, NY 14757
*The Chautauqua County event will take place on Sunday, June 30, 11:00-1:00pm

Your pre-k and kindergarten girls can join RIGHT NOW using extended year membership, which means you get the fun of Girl Scouting this summer and you’re all set for the fall. Plus, our new Daisies will receive exclusive activity packets in the mail in June, July, and August.

All our Daisy fun wraps in August when we’re holding our FIRST EVER Daisy Launch Party. Our new Daisies (and their friends who want to join!) are welcome to join us for more fun and their first patch!

If you have any questions, please reach out to MeKenzie Lund at mekenzie.lund@gswny.org or 1-888-837-6410.

What does a bridging ceremony look like?

It’s National Girl Scout Bridging Week! While bridging is an important ceremony to us, you may not understand what it is or how to do it. Never fear! This blog post is designed to help you plan your bridging ceremony and provides resources for each level.

In case you don’t know, a bridging ceremony is the celebration of moving on to a new adventure. We recognize what the girls have accomplished and how they’re ready for their next steps and responsibilities as they move to the next level in Girl Scouts.

While there is a general guide, the most important thing about the bridging ceremony is that it’s fun and personalized by the girls themselves. It’s meant to be done as a partnership between the girls and adults.

Usually held at the beginning or end of the troop year, they generally consist of three parts, including an opening, main section, and closing. The opening is your time to welcome everyone and set the tone for the event. The main section will explain what’s happening and celebrate the girls as they “bridge” to the next level. In closing, the girls can do a friendship circle and thank everyone for attending.

Through every part, it’s important to make sure there’s room for the girls individuality and creativity to shine through, making it a girl-focused event. You’re paying tribute to these amazing girls and want that to remain the focus.

For more information on how each level can earn their bridging awards, check the links below:

Daisies

Brownies

Juniors

Cadettes

Seniors

Ambassadors

National Bridging Week starts tomorrow!

Bridging is one of our most beloved Girl Scout traditions and celebrates our girls’ achievements as they “cross the bridge” to the next level in Girl Scouts. This year, GSUSA planned a National Bridging Week for all councils to celebrate together.

Part of the idea is to hold bridging events throughout council this week, but it’s also about the education behind why we bridge and the resources available to you.

Below is more information about the bridging ceremony from the Girl Scout website. The Volunteer Toolkit is also a good resource for Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors who are bridging. To purchase kits in council, you can come into any of our shops or check out our online store.


Bridging Basics

Many troops hold their bridging ceremony in May or June, and some tie it to the end of the girls’ current school year. You may also choose to deepen your girls’ connection with their Girl Scout sisters by holding your ceremony during National Bridging Week, which will be celebrated May 4–11, 2019.

Like investiture and rededication ceremonies, Girl Scout bridging ceremonies have a few basic elements:

  • Opening: Welcome your guests and share the Girl Scout Promise and Law.
  • Main section: Girls, whether physically or symbolically, cross a bridge and are welcomed to the next Girl Scout level.
  • Closing: Girls participate in a friendship circle and thank their guests.

And the rest is up to the girls! The ceremony should always focus on paying tribute to Girl Scouts as they move forward, but let your girls get creative with how they’d like to celebrate—this is the fun part!

Keeping the ceremony girl-led

Depending on your girls’ ages, you might find yourself doing a good chunk of the planning, as troop leader Lara Cordeiro of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio did when her girls were young. Still, says Lara, “As with everything, progression is key! The girls plan the ceremony—they pick any readings, poems, or songs that they want to say or sing. The girls cross the bridge and if they are [bridging to the next level], they get their new uniform right there. The girls also tell everyone their favorite Girl Scout memory from that level. It’s great to hear what they really enjoyed and recap those few years at that age level!”

As with other Girl Scout activities, a bridging ceremony doesn’t need to be perfect. “Weather is the only thing that’s gotten in our way, because we bridge outdoors,” says Lindsay Hayden, who leads a Senior and Ambassador troop at Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. “We’ve learned to always book a picnic shelter and forgo the actual bridge if necessary. As long as girls move from one area to the other to get the Girl Scout handshake, we feel they get the effect.”

Get families and your community involved

Share this important moment with your girls’ caregivers and other family members, and anyone else the girls wish to invite! Could be a favorite teacher, coach, or someone they volunteered with this year—and be sure to recognize these individuals at the ceremony! Even a simple thank-you from you or your troop committee and the girls goes a long way in showing troop families how much their girls appreciate their involvement and how important they are to the troop.

And don’t forget to ask for help when you need it! “In order to minimize costs and free up some of our time as troop leaders, we asked parents to sign up to bring certain food items and decorations,” says Denise Montgomery, a Junior troop leader at Girl Scouts of San Diego. “Our troop purchased two things for bridging—a cake and pizzas—and we asked for parent volunteers to pick up those items while we were rehearsing the bridging ceremony with the troop.”


Our Volunteer Experts’ Top Girl Scout Bridging Ceremony Tips:

Set your girls up for success. “When our troop bridged from Brownies to Juniors we invited the families to come a half hour after we gathered as a troop, so that we had a chance to rehearse our ceremony,” says Denise. “We try to set the girls up for success and help them feel comfortable by knowing what to expect.”

Amplify your girls’ voices…literally. “We borrowed a mobile amplifier system and microphone from a troop family to ensure that the girls would be heard by everyone when they spoke,” shares Denise. “Because we hold our bridging in the courtyard at our school there can be ambient noise in the background, and we want the families in our audience and the girls to be able to hear the ceremony. The microphone seemed to be a draw for the girls, and passing it made it clear whose turn it was to speak, so it helped us to have a smoother ceremony.”

Know who’s covering what. “We did a couple of our bridging ceremonies with another troop that’s the same grade as ours,” says Lara. “It was wonderful getting a large group together, but since [members] didn’t know one another really well, it was difficult to do the planning—no one wanted to make any decisions! In hindsight, it might have been better to split the jobs between the troops/groups and let them each run with their part.”

Outline exactly what you need from ceremony volunteers. “One thing that didn’t quite go [the best] was that we wrote a volunteer description for a Bridging Coordinator position, and we think it might have sounded like too much responsibility for one person to take on—no one stepped up to take on the role,” says Denise. “So now we have spread the responsibilities among more volunteers and have renamed the role Bridging Designer to make it sound more appealing—and there’s a creative component—while remaining clear that the person will be working with our troop members to determine theme and come up with ideas for decorations and food and to set [that part] up.”

Consider some surprises. “Each year we ask the girls who are bridging to plan a special surprise for the girls who are staying and vice versa,” says Lindsay. “Last year, our younger girls made personalized bulletin boards for our bridging girls to take to their college dorm rooms. They included personalized notes and a photograph of the troop on each.”

Check in with your council or service unit. Lara discovered that her council had a printable resource to help her girls plan their ceremony. You might also ask your service unit if it hosts a unit-wide bridging ceremony or if there are other opportunities for your girls to connect with their Girl Scout sisters at this time of year.

Need more support? Check out the Volunteer Toolkit, where you’ll find a bridging guide for Daisy, Brownie, and Junior troops in the Closing Celebrations section; for older girl and multi-level troops, you’ll find it in the Resources tab under Girl Scout Traditions and Awards. 

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 >>>

2018 Council Bridging Ceremonies

One of the most important ceremonies for a Girl Scout is Bridging, where a girl moves from one level to another. It’s a moment of reflection of what the girl has accomplished, as well as her anticipation to embrace new adventures and responsibilities. While adults are involved, everything is planned in partnership with the girls.

To Bridge from one level to the next, there are two steps that each girl must complete. From Brownies to Ambassadors, the girls must first Pass It On and then Look Ahead. By Passing It On, they are working with younger girls and showing them the value of moving on and joining Girl Scouts. With Look Ahead, they are learning about the new adventures that lie ahead of them.

Girls at all levels from across Girl Scouts of Western New York held Bridging Ceremonies and their creativity was amazing! Each event, while decorated in rainbow colors, showed a flair unique to the troop or service unit involved. Below are a few pictures, but the rest can be found in an album on our Facebook page.

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Click here to view the rest of the photos

Girl Scouts in Action: Memorial Day 2018

Girl Scouts from around the council spent their Memorial Day Weekend embracing the true spirit of the holiday – honoring those who gave their lives for our freedom. From planting flowers to marching in parades and everything in between, GSWNY is so proud of our girls’ commitment to giving back.

Here are a few photos from their activities:

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“This past Saturday, Junior Jaylah B; along with fellow Girl Scouts, participated in the Memorial Day Wall of Honor Wreath Laying Ceremony, at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park, where five Western New Yorkers were added to the Wall of Honor. This event recognized and honored those men and women who gave their lives in service protecting our nation’s freedom.”

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In preparation for the Memorial Day Parade in Honeoye Falls, Troops 60362, 60381, and 60514 from the Totiakton Service Unit weeded the flower bed around the Pioneer Cemetery signs. The girls had fun while learning a new skill and helping their community!

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“Girl Scouts from Troop 42024 (Corfu) participated in the Memorial Day Parade in Corfu, where they handed out red, white and blue necklaces to spectators, they also took part in the flag ceremony and memory flowers.”

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” West Seneca Service Unit 317 was well represented at the Memorial day parade. From Daisies on up and along with our wonderful leaders, they carried their flags with pride !”

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“Troop 20094 Walked in the lakewood ny parade”

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“The East Aurora Girl Scouts participated in the West Falls Memorial Day Parade and memorial service in West Falls, NY.”

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‘Brownie troop 60670
Junior troop 60756
Junior troop 60392
Webster troops marched in the Memorial Day parade and participated in the ceremony to honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. “

Visit our Facebook page to see the complete album!