Happy International Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day is a worldwide celebration of the accomplishments of women, regardless of race, gender, nationality, political affiliation, or economic situation. This year, the theme is #BalanceforBetter, focusing on the idea that balance between men and women is truly the key and everyone’s responsibility.

This is actually the 110th year a Women’s Day has been celebrated in the United States. Efforts first began in 1909 to support a garment worker’s strike out of New York. Women were protesting their working conditions and the Socialist Party designated February 28 as the first National Women’s Day.

The Socialists took the day international the following year at a meeting in Copenhagen. It’s goal was to support both women’s rights and universal suffrage. More than 100 women from 17 countries unanimously agreed to the day.

For years after, the movement grew with women in using the day and their voices to keep fighting for equal rights and protesting impending wars, advocating for peace instead. 1975 was dubbed International Women’s Year and it was then the United Nations began official celebrations of International Women’s Day on March 8.

In 2019, women may have equal rights on paper, but reality is a much different situation. We’re still fighting to be treated equally in the workplace, especially when it comes to pay, and to destroy the subtle sexist behaviors that continually plague our society.

We can all play a role in achieving #BalanceforBetter. According to International Women’s Day, “a balanced world is a better world,” and by celebrating the achievements of women, raising awareness around gender bias, and continually taking action against inequality, we can achieve a much needed balance.

Even though today’s the day we celebrate, the drive to #BalanceforBetter continues beyond March 8. Join the online conversation with hashtags #IWD2019 and #BalanceforBetter, and by sharing your photos of your hands out in a pose to represent the balance we’re constantly working toward.

Take a minute today to thank and acknowledge the incredible women in your life!

Celebrate Girl Scout Week and The Girl Scouting Year-Round Virtual Join Event!

Girl Scout Week – Sunday, March 10 to Saturday, March 16 – is a time to celebrate Girl Scouts as groundbreakers, big thinkers, and role models. This year in conjunction with Girl Scout Week, we’re holding The Girl Scouting Year-Round – Virtual Join Event from Monday, March, 11 to Friday, March 15. Join us as we celebrate for your chance to win daily and one-time incentives during the week – view a listing of the incentives below.

This guide offers many ideas for girls to choose their own way to be aG.I.R.L. (Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader)™ during Girl Scout Week. #GirlScoutingYearRound

Daily Incentives

  • Engagement Incentive: WIN 2 PACKAGES OF GIRL SCOUT COOKIES via Facebook or Instagram! Winners will be selected randomly the day after the question has been posted to social media. Winners will receive a DM or private message asking which 2 flavors they would like and which GSWNY service center location they would like to pick up their prize. (Gluten-free cookies are not available as prizes.) Winners must be currently registered adult or girl members of Girl Scouts of Western New York. New members may participate same day as completing their GSWNY registration. 3/11/19-3/15/19
  • Join Incentives: Existing Volunteers, register a new girl or volunteer, add a new girl to your troop, and be entered for a chance to win two daily gift cards of $25 to Target or Walmart when you email your full name and the full name of the person you registered to communications@gswny.org 3/11/19-3/15/19. Register more people and increase your chances to win. Winners will be emailed with the notification of when and where to pick up their gift card.

One-time Incentives:

  • All new girls who register are entered into a drawing for a Girl Scout starter kit 3/11/19-3/15/19. Winners will be emailed with the notification of when and where to pick up their gift card.
  • Everyone who registers as a new member or registers a new member will be entered for a chance to win a free week at camp valued at $195 to be used at GSWNY Day, Resident or Troop Camp. Existing Volunteers who register a new girl or volunteer, or add a new girl to your troop must also email your full name and the full name of the person you registered to communications@gswny.org 3/11/19-3/15/19.

Overview:

  • March 10 – Sunday: Girl Scout Sunday
  • March 11 – Monday: (Go-Getter) Girl Scouting Year-Round – Virtual Join Event Kick-off
  • March 12 – Tuesday: Girl Scout Birthday and the Importance of Volunteering
  • March 13 – Wednesday: (Innovator) Cookie Power
  • March 14 – Thursday: (Risk-Taker) Girl Scout High Awards and Community Service
  • March 15 – Friday: (Leader) Camp and Outdoor
  • March 16 – Saturday: G.I.R.L. Agenda and Girl Scout Sabbath

March 10 – Sunday Theme: Girl Scout Sunday

Girl Scout Week Activity

  • Wear your Girl Scout uniform to worship. Talk with your Girl Scout sisters and family to connect with a local place of worship and learn about how Girl Scouts can be represented on Girl Scout Sunday.
  • Host a Girl Scout Cookies and milk party after worship. Bring Girl Scout cookies (and possibly sell some too), share what goals you achieved with your cookie sale, and talk about the skills you have learned from the Girl Scout Cookie program.
  • Earn your My Promise, My Faith Award. Work with your family and faith leaders to earn the pin to celebrate the connection between the Girl Scout Promise and Law and your faith.

March 11 – Monday Theme: (Go-Getter) Girl Scouting Year-Round – Virtual Join Event Kick-off

A Go-Getter is bold, honest, and determined to succeed. Goal-oriented and ambitious, she’s also a life-long learner who believes no challenge is too difficult.

Girl Scout Week Activity

  • Set a goal to achieve a big objective. Is it a Journey Summit Award, straight A’s, mastering a new routine, or scoring a goal? Create a plan to work hard to make it happen.
  • Learn a new skill. Celebrate your love of learning. Practice a skill that will help you explore something you’ve always wanted to try.
  • Create a motivational mantra. Go-Getters get back up and try again when they fall down. Create a mantra or saying to encourage yourself and others to be determined to succeed.

Girl Scouting Year-Round – Virtual Join Event

  • Tune-in to a Facebook Live throughout the day or evening and check-in for exciting giveaways around how Girl Scouts offer a year-round experience for girls from Camping and Outdoors, STEM, to Life Skills, and Entrepreneurship.
    • Facebook Live – Members of Recruitment will speak to the breadth of Girl Scouts’ programs and services for girls year-round.
    • Daily Incentives: Engagement and Membership  on Facebook and Instagram

March 12 – Tuesday Theme: Girl Scout Birthday and the Importance of Volunteering

March 12 is the Girl Scout Birthday! On this day in 1912, Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low assembled a group of eighteen girls from Savannah, Georgia for the first ever Girl Scout meeting.

Girl Scout Week Activity

  • Wear your Girl Scout uniform to school to celebrate your Girl Scout sisterhood. Today, over 3.2 million girls and adults are active Girl Scout members, and over 50 million women are Girl Scout alumnae. In honor of the Girl Scout Birthday, take a moment to recognize and celebrate all that Girl Scouts of the USA has done for local communities across the country!
  • Learn more about Juliette Gordon Low. Visit the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace website. Every year many troops visit the birthplace as an extended trip. Interested in learning more? Check out our Traveling with Girl Scouts packet.
  • Throw a birthday party for Girl Scouts! Celebrate with birthday cake, party games, and more. Invite your sister Girl Scouts and friends who are not yet Girl Scouts. Ask all of your guests to bring a birthday gift to donate to a local charity.

Girl Scouting Year-Round – Virtual Join Event

  • Tune-in to a Facebook Live throughout the day or evening and check-in for exciting giveaways around how Girl Scouts offer year-round experiences for girls in the areas of exciting programs and travel.   
    • Facebook Live – Member of Volunteer Experience will speak to the breadth of Girl Scouts’ volunteer opportunities and how they impact girls year-round.
    • Daily Incentives: Engagement and Membership on Facebook and Instagram.

March 13 – Wednesday Theme: (Innovator) Cookie Power

Thinking outside the box is an Innovator’s specialty, so she’s always looking for a creative way to take action. She definitely knows how to get things done.

Girl Scout Week Activity

  • Solve a problem in a creative way. Whether it is a broken shoelace or a polluted beach, Girl Scouts innovate to find unique solutions. Find an imaginative solution to an everyday or community problem.
  • Invent something new. Think outside the box and find a new way to do something. Share your idea with other Girl Scout sisters or your family.
  • Create a work of art. Choose your favorite type of art and make a masterpiece that’s cookie-related that looks like something that no one has ever seen before.

Girl Scouting Year-Round – Virtual Join Event

  • Tune-in to a Facebook Live throughout the day or evening and check-in for exciting giveaways around how Girl Scouts offer year-round experiences for girls in the area of Entrepreneurship with the largest girl-run business in the world – the Girl Scout cookie program and learn what the Digital Cookie Drawing and Cookie Drive-thru is all about. GSWNY Thunderclap Social Media posting where everyone in GSWNY posts the same message to social media on the same day.
    • Facebook Live – Member of Product Program and a girl will speak to the breadth of Girl Scouts’ Cookie Program and how it impacts girls year-round.
    • Daily Incentives: Engagement and Membership  on Facebook and Instagram

March 14 – Thursday Theme: (Risk-Taker) Programs – Girl Scout High Awards and Community Service

Courageous and strong, a Risk-Taker’s keen to try new things and to embrace the unfamiliar. She’s ready to step up and break the mold if that’s what it takes.

Girl Scout Week Activity

  • Do something new. Girl Scouts explore the world around them. Do something that you’ve never done before.
  • Eliminate “can’t” from your vocabulary. Think about the times you’ve said “I can’t (do something).” Try something that you thought you couldn’t do.
  • Break the mold. Be the first person you know to try something. Share with your friends and family about your experience.

Girl Scouting Year-Round – Virtual Join Event

  • Tune-in to a Facebook Live throughout the day or evening and check-in for exciting giveaways around how Girl Scouts offer year-round experiences for girls in the areas of the Girl Scout High Awards – Gold, Silver, and Bronze and Community Service.
    • Facebook Live – Member of Girl Experience will speak to the breadth of Girl Scouts’ Programs and how they impact girls year-round and a Girl Scout Gold Awardee and Alum will speak about her experience.
    • Daily Incentives: Engagement and Membership  on Facebook and Instagram

March 15 – Friday Theme: (Leader) Camp and Outdoor

A Leader is confident, responsible, and committed to changing the world for the better—and she’s happiest when others join her in taking the lead!

Girl Scout Week Activity

  • Be a role model. Lead younger girls in celebrating Girl Scout Week activities and being G.I.R.L.s!
  • Lead a Take Action project. Make the world a better place when you Take Action to solve issues in your community in a sustainable way.
  • Invite the community. Welcome your community to your Girl Scout Week celebrations or Take Action projects.

Girl Scouting Year-Round – Virtual Join Event

  • Tune-in to a Facebook Live throughout the day or evening and check-in for exciting giveaways around how Girl Scouts offer year-round experiences for girls in the areas of Camp and Outdoor.
    • Facebook Live – Member of Camp/Outdoor Program will speak to the breadth of Girl Scouts’ Camp/Outdoor Program and how it impacts girls year-round.
    • Daily Incentives: Engagement and Membership  on Facebook and Instagram
    • One-time Incentive: Starter Kit and 1 Week of Camp

March 16 – Saturday Theme: G.I.R.L. Agenda and Girl Scout Sabbath

Be a catalyst for change in your community—and the world. Champion your views, influence leadership, and advance the G.I.R.L. Agenda to make the world a better place. Every girl has a voice. Every girl’s voice is important.

  • Girl Scout Week Activity
  • Get inspired. Find a problem big or small in your community. Think of a way you and others can solve it and let your voice be heard.
  • Get prepared. Take a stand and be an advocate for an issue that is important to you. Share with others why you are so passionate about this cause.
  • Get mobilized. Unleash your inner leader and make the world a better place.

Special Alert:

  • Stop in our GSWNY Shops and celebrate Girl Scout Week with us and have a cupcake! By participating in our Balloon Pop Challenge each customer has a chance to save 10%-40% off on their purchase. The challenge runs March 11-15. Come visit us in the shop and POP a balloon to receive a discount on a same day purchase. Each shop is open their normal hours of business for the week. Cannot be combined with any other coupon or discount.
  • GSWNY Thunderclap Social Media Postings March 13, March 20, and March 27
  • Girl Scout Cookie Drive-Thru March 16 and 17
  • Girl Scout Cookie Walk-About Weekend March 23 & 24

GSWNY Staff will Celebrate Girl Scout Week by Discovering, Connecting, & Take Action with the following:

  • To Discover, a Girl Scout Birthday sign will be emailed on Monday that says “Happy Birthday Girl Scouts! My birthday wish for you is . . .” Staff can print, complete a sign, take their photo and send to Communications, who will share via interoffice email and via social media. 
  • To Connect, on Wednesday, staff will share a brief overview of the 5 World Centers via email and interoffice email. Using SurveyMonkey, staff will be able to vote on which center they would most like to visit, and results will be shared at the end of the week.
  • To Take Action, staff are encouraged to donate birthday party items, such as cake mix, frosting, candles, balloons, etc., to be donated to local food pantries.  These items are often scarce and welcomed by families.  They will be collected all week.

Let’s celebrate Girl Scout Week together!

Ida B. Wells – Women’s History Month Day 2

Ida B. Wells was born into slavery in Mississippi when the Civil War was in its infancy. In the early years of her life, she and her family were freed after the war and then became active in Reconstruction Era politics.

Taught to value education, Ida went to Rust College, but was eventually expelled for starting an argument with the president of the university. While visiting her grandma, she learned that yellow fever had swept her hometown, taking both her parents and youngest brothers.

Instead of continuing to pursue education, Ida was left to care for sister and brothers. Together, they moved to Memphis where she began her career as an educator.

At this point her activism began to really take off. In 1884, Ida was refused a seat on a first-class train, even though she had a ticket. After filing a lawsuit against the train company, she saw victory in her local circuit but the decision was ultimately overturned in federal court.

Soon after one of her friends was lynched, causing her to focus on white mob violence. Her career as an investigative journalist took off as she researched why black men were lynched. Her writing was published in several newspapers’ columns as well as in a pamphlet, but it eventually led locals to drive her from Memphis. The threats continued and increased in severity, causing her to move to Chicago.

The women’s suffrage movement was taking off, and while Ida supported the cause, she was upset that the women involved ignored the problem of lynching. True to her nature, she would openly confront these women.

Because of this, she wasn’t active in any of the women’s suffrage organizations, but that didn’t stop her from staying active in the movement. Instead, she founded the National Association of Colored Women’s Club to address both women’s suffrage and civil rights.

In 1905, W.E.B. DuBois and William Monroe Trotter came to Niagara Falls and began the Niagara Movement. This annual meeting happened from 1905 to 1908 and Ida B. Wells was in attendance.

Though she isn’t listed as one of its founders, Ida B. Wells attended the events of what would become the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP.

Read More about Ida:

Patsy Takemoto Mink – Womens History Month Day 1

More than just the first Asian-American elected to congress, Patsy was the first woman of color to make it there, period. Overall, she was a member of Congress in the House of Representatives 13 times, spanning the years from 1965 to 2002.

“Patsy Mink was a vibrant, passionate, and effective voice for the principles she believed in. Her passing is a significant loss for our committee, the people of Hawaii and the people of the United States.”

John Boehner of Ohio said that of Patsy after her passing in 2002. When you read through her political history, you can see just how right he was.

Born in Paia, a Hawaii Territory, in 1927, Patsy was a Japanese-American raised by her father Suematso Takemoto, a civil engineer, and her mother Mitama. Striving for excellence at a young age, she graduated from high school at the top of her class and served as class president.

Early aspirations brought her stateside to Pennsylvania and Nebraska, where she attended Wilson College and the University of Nebraska, respectively. She completed her BA in chemistry and zoology from the University of Hawaii with plans to become a doctor. When no medical school would accept her, she turned her sights to the law.

By 1951, she became the first Hawaiian nisei woman to graduate with a JD From the University of Chicago Law School. She then moved back to Honolulu with her husband, John Francis Mink, and their daughter Gwendolyn.

The discrimination still followed her, only this time it was due to her interracial marriage. Finding no luck getting a job in a law firm, Patsy began a private law practice and worked as lecturer in business law at her alma mater, the University of Hawaii.

In 1954, Patsy founded the Oahu Young Democrats and was working as an attorney for Hawaii’s house of representatives. One year later, she was elected to join them and served there before entering the territory’s senate in 1958.

Everything changed a year later when Hawaii achieved its United States statehood. Patsy now saw herself in the only At-Large seat available for Hawaiians in the U.S. House of Representatives. She didn’t receive the support of her party due to her inability to have her political agenda influenced and lost in the primary.

Five years later, a second seat was created and Patsy again went for it. Without the standard political support, her grassroots campaign was led by her husband and relied on volunteers. Later, with the support of the newly elected Lyndon B. Johnson , Patsy was elected and became the first Asian-American woman in Congress.

What she continued to do is amazing. Instead of summarize all of her political efforts, here’s a brief list to give you an idea:

  • First childcare bill and legislation to establish bilingual education, special education, Head Start, sabbaticals for teachers, and student loans
  • She tried to establish a bill that would create a national daycare system to assist low-income households, but opponents believed it encouraged mothers to work out of the home and leaned toward a more “communal” approach to parenting. The bill passed in the House and Senate, but President Nixon vetoed it, leading to one of Patsy’s greatest disappointments
  • Worked to support immigration reform bills that would aid in preserving reunification provisions, specifically for Asian Pacific Americans
  • Helped educate Americans about the internment of its Japanese people during World War II
  • Constantly advocated for women’s issues, including equal rights
  • Her Women’s Educational Equity Act sought to provide $30 million in funds to assist with promoting gender equity in schools, increasing work and education opportunities for women, and to get rid of gender stereotypes in school materials
  • She worked on Title IX to open up athletic opportunities for women

To learn more about this amazing women, check out these resources:

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. 

Change a girl’s life this holiday season

During the holidays, everything seems merry, bright, and filled with joy. At least that might be your experience. For some, it’s a magical season filled with stress surrounding purchasing gifts and family engagements. Others might be in a place where the magic seems far away. 

Because of this awareness, there are many holiday pushes to help reach those families and individuals in need of help. Organizations offer holiday meals and collect gifts for children. People ring sleigh bells outside for hours in the cold weather so the Salvation Army can raise additional funds to reach people. It’s a season of giving, and many people embrace that it also represents giving back. 

At Girl Scouts, our focuses don’t switch in the holiday season. We’re always dedicated to the girls of Western New York and doing our best to give them all the opportunities necessary for success. We believe everyone should have access to the Girl Scout Difference

Our girls grow up to leaders, astronauts, visionaries, and game-changers. In the recent election, a record number of women ran for an office and nearly 60% of those who won were Girl Scouts. Our program isn’t based on what we think is right; it’s based on research and our proven results. 

To achieve our mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character – and reaching all girls – we rely on financial support to help make our dreams a reality. Without donors like you, we wouldn’t be nearly as successful. 

More girls are turning to Girl Scouts for a space of their own where they can grow and thrive without the pressures of a two-gender setting. Our increased membership numbers show us that now, more than ever, we’re needed in Western New York.

This season, we ask that you consider partnering with us to invest in the future of girls. We want to shape a world where equality exists and girls aren’t limited. You can help make a difference. 

Gifts of all amounts are appreciated because it’s additional funding to help us pursue our mission. For just $25, you can give a girl a year of Girl Scouting. That small amount opens up her world in ways she never imagined. 

Below is an example of how your donation can make a difference

Change a girl’s life this holiday season and enable her to be a Girl Scout. 

Donate Today

In Memory of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter

Today we offer our condolences to the family of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. We celebrate the work she did for our communities and the paths she cleared for equality.

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Girl Scouts of Western New York Council Members, girls, and CEO Judy Cranston meet with Congresswoman Slaughter in 2017

At Girl Scouts, we talk a lot about being a G.I.R.L., or a go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader. We want all of our girls to grow up knowing how strong and capable they are, and to us Louise Slaughter embodied this idea perfectly.

Her entire life was dedicated to seeing the needs and fighting for the necessary changes. She went after what she wanted and kept finding new ways to change her world. She never stopped leading and pushing for what was right and good, regardless of what anyone said or did against her.

The loss of her sister to pneumonia in childhood led her to obtain degrees in microbiology and public health. Later, her work and marriage brought her to New York where her involvement with community groups took off. Here she joined the League of Women Voters and Scouting in New York, but still saw greater needs. Her fight with the environmental group Perinton Greenlands Association to protect Hart’s Woods brought her into politics.

Slaughter ran her first race in 1971, losing to the incumbent Republican Walter G. A. Muench. She narrowed the margin in 1973, but fell for a second time to Muench. Nevertheless, she persisted, and finally in 1975 was voted to the Monroe County Legislature. She wouldn’t lose another election in her more than 40 years of public service.

From here, she became the regional coordinator in the Rochester area to then New York Secretary of State Mario Cuomo. In 1979, he was elected to lieutenant governor and she remained in her role.

As the 1982 election grew closer, Slaughter was approached by Democratic supporters encouraging her to run for State Assembly. After two successful terms, she made her move into the U.S. House of Representatives, a role she would hold for 30 years.

She became the first democrat elected in her district since 1910, and the first woman to represent Western New York.

Here are just a few highlights from everything Slaughter contributed while in office:

  • $500 million for breast cancer research
  • Mandated language in new legislation guaranteeing that women and minorities would be included in clinical health trials
  • Helped establish Office of Research on Women’s Health in the National Institutes of Health legislation
  • Co-authored the Violence Against Women Act and wrote the legislation to make the Office on Violence Against Women a permanent fixture in the United States Department of Justice
  • Helped create the Women’s Progress Commemorative Committee through her work on the Women’s Progress Commemoration Act
  • Introduced and fought to pass the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, what she believes is her greatest achievement

Slaughter saw the needs of so many, fighting for changes to help women, minorities, soldiers – all of us. Everything she did was in an effort to make the world better for everyone.

In our own Western New York, she worked to secure funding and helped improve our communities.

Because of all of this and more, we are heartbroken to hear this news. She was an amazing woman who supported our girls. She encouraged them to pursue their dreams and raise their voices for what they believe in.

May her legacy of being a go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader carry on through others who see the issues in our world and believe they can make a difference.

Thank you, Louise, for what you did and how you inspired us.