The Legend of the Friendship Keyboard

This Keyboard represents friendship and creativity in a time when it is needed most. It is a relic of our digital age, and demonstrates that Girl Scouts are go-getters, innovators, risk takers, and leaders in the world around them.

The keys of the friendship keyboard are interconnected, but fit in different places.  This symbolizes how friendships can be created and maintained, though in unprecedented and unpredictable times.  

The directional keys have been turned to face inward. This symbolizes the need for the responsibility Girl Scouts must take upon themselves to be moved to action and maintain relationships with their friends and the community. 

The green circle at the top is for faith—faith in God and faith in one another.  It is first because it is the basis of a happy and meaningful life. 

Session 6 campfire where the legend was told

The next four circles represent the original races of the world.  They stand close together indicating that all people are equal. Every person is capable of becoming a loyal friend. 

The green of hope is above the races.  It is hope for the future.  It is hope that people everywhere will try to overcome any differences and human failings.  Both faith and hope are green—a combination of hues; both combinations of emotional feelings we cannot adequately describe.  The four races bound by faith and hope can produce unity—a working together for the good of all.  The four paths lead toward a central goal signifying the attainment of this unity. 

The smiling face is the result of friendship based on faith and unity.  It is a reminder of the person with whom we promise to be friends.  To be greeted by the smiling face of a friend is one of the greatest joys we can experience. 

Session 6 campfire where the legend was told

The face is crowned by the Girl Scout colors indicating loyalty. 

On the back, green is carefully placed opposite the four races to show that peace and charity can exist among all people. 

The small white dots on the keyboards represents the stars. Although we cannot be together, we all share the same stars in the same sky.

Session 6 campfire where the legend was told

The cord of the keyboard is entwined with gold, and forged into the shape of an infinity sign. May the friendships sparked by camp be sustainable and last throughout the lives of those who took part. May we always say goodnight, and never goodbye. 

A Friendship Keyboard must be crafted by its giver.  It shows time, thought, and effort. 

The Friendship Keyboard can be presented as a gesture of international goodwill; as a part of an inter-troop activity; as a sign of friendship between girls of one troop; at a campfire; or during an indoor ceremony.  This keyboard represents the interconnectedness between the teams and campers of the four camps: Camp Piperwood, Camp Seven Hills, Camp Timbercrest, and Camp Windy Meadows, as well as the individuals who have joined us from all over the United States, and all over the world.

Friendship Circle from Session 6 campfire where the legend was told

This legend has traveled with Girl Scouts and Girl Guides throughout the world.

This Friendship Stick has been presented to the Camp Seven Hills Staff since 1994, when Sally K. Schmidt (Bloomer) found this legend stuffed in a drawer.  She presented 10 of them.  This tradition was brought to Camp Timbercrest in 2013 at the request of the camp director.  At both camps, the Friendship Stick symbolizes friendship and unity among the staff. The Friendship Keyboard was adapted in 2020 to reflect “the Summer We Camped at Home” during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Author: Ann Evans of the Girl Scout Council of Buffalo and Erie County (a legacy council of  Girl Scouts of Western New York). Edited by Brittany “Mambo” Sanford.

Troop 20173’s second annual JLow Glow Party!

[This post was submitted by Troop 20173. To share your troop story, email communications@gswny.org.]

What’s the best way to celebrate a birthday? Throw a party!

So how do you celebrate the birthday of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts? Gather 42 Girl Scouts from 13 troops, along with a Juliette Girl Scout, together to sing “Happy Birthday” and party in her name, of course!

Girls from Westfield, Chautauqua Lake, Ripley, Cassadaga, Sherman and Clymer schools came together on October 28 to have a “JLow Glow” party at Eason Hall in Westfield.

The girls skated (or tried to!), played games, and shared snacks with their sister Girl Scouts. With the lights low, the glow party’s colored lights and glow sticks set the mood for fun.

At the end of it all, the girls gathered in a huge friendship circle and sang in honor of Girl Scout founder Ms. Low. Some girls even took the opportunity to join Girl Scouting that evening!

Hosted by the Cadettes in Westfield’s Troop 20173 of the Twin Lakes Service Unit, this second annual event was a terrific success.

GSWNY Staff Celebrate Skills and Chills!

Every year, girls gather at Camp Seven Hills for the culmination of their Outdoor Adventure Training Sequence. It begins for Daisies and Brownies at Tents Up and continues for Juniors and Cadettes at Ready, Set, Camp, all leading to Skills and Chills for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors.

What began as a Niagara Legacy Council program has turned into one of our most cherished traditions. This year, we’re celebrating 50 years of Skills and Chills! While the weekend is sure to be incredible, GSWNY council staff wanted to take some time to experience the event like our Girl Scouts.

Keeping with tradition, we formed teams, picked themes, and dressed for the occasion!

Pictured are a few of our themes, including the ‘Spice’ Girls, Wonder Women, Time Travelers (they were our timekeepers!), Terrible Twos, Space Cadettes, and Sharks (think the ‘Baby Shark’ song).

We competed in four of the activities found at Skills and Chills, including knot-tying, cookie-box stacking, fire-building, and tent-pitching. A special Tug-of-War was held at the end to be a tie-breaker!

After a day filled with laughter and friendly competition, we ended our Skills and Chills with a Friendship Circle.

Not only did we enjoy a day of team-building at one of our beautiful camps, we all gained a new appreciation for everything our girls learn in preparation for the real Skills and Chills. We did less than half of the events they do and had much easier rules. It’s truly amazing to see what our Girl Scouts can do!

If you’re interested in learning more about Skills and Chills or registering for the 50th anniversary event happening September 27-29, 2019, visit gswny.org.

Say Hello to Friendship Circle Lodge!

We followed up our camp theme contest with another camp-related question: What do you think the new lodge at Camp Piperwood should be called?

After reviewing more than 100 entries, we selected Friendship Circle Lodge, suggested by volunteer Jody Brege!

Friendship Circle Lodge.jpg

Congratulations to Jody for her excellent suggestion!

Friendship Circles have a long tradition in Girl Scouts because they represent the unbroken bond of friendship we share. We stand in a circle, crossing our right arms over our left and clasp hands with our friends on both sides. A friendship squeeze is then passed around as we all make a silent friendship wish.

By naming our lodge after this tradition, we’re continuing to celebrate friendship at our camps and among our girls.