Girl Scouting: A Journey Through Time

The Lake Ridge Service Unit (Holley, Brockport, Hamlin, and Kendall, NY) created an interactive event for the opening night of their history display at the Brockport Seymour Library. Almost 150 people attended and nine troops presented. The project was a celebration of World Thinking Day and the international World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts theme of inclusion, diversity, and equity.

The Girl Scouts portrayed girls throughout history and shared information on the evolution of Girl Scouts from its inception in 1912 to the present, including Girl Scout High Awards and the history of cookie sales. The displays and performances captured the history of Girl Scouts along with some of the social trends and cultural zeitgeist of each decade.

Upon their arrival, guests were given a passport to time travel through the library. At each station they were able to receive a sticker or stamp to mark their participation and to learn about the specific decade they were at. A path was marked through the library to help guide guests through a chronological walkway to modern times.

At the 1910s and 1920s table, Troop 60847 started everyone off. Straight from their page in the passport:

In the midst of the Progressive Era, and as the nation was expanding by adding the states of New Mexico and Arizona—but before women had the right to vote—Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts in 1912, with an emphasis on inclusiveness, the outdoors, self-reliance, and service.

Girl Scouting continued to expand its reach to more and more girls, with the first Girl Scout troops launching outside the United States in China, Syria, and Mexico. Additionally, one of the earliest Native American Girl Scout troops formed on the Onondaga Reservation in New York State in 1921, and Mexican-American girls formed a Girl Scout troop in Houston, Texas, in 1922. Lone Troops on Foreign Soil (later called USA Girl Scouts Overseas) registered its first Girl Scout troop in Shanghai, China, with 18 girls in 1925.

Troop 60233 presented the 1930s. The girls talked about how Girl Scouts was still moving forward with the Great Depression:

With the United States consumed by the Great Depression, Girl Scouts participated in relief efforts by collecting clothing and food for those in need. And as the country continued to deal with waves of immigration from the previous decade, Girl Scouts began printing its “Who are the Girl Scouts?” promotional booklet in Yiddish, Italian, and Polish.

The 1940s presenters were intended to be Troop 82204. Unfortunately, the girls were unable to attend the event and did not appear in photographs. Their write-up from the passport:

During World War II, Girl Scouts interested in flying participated in the Wing Scouts program. Girl Scout troops also operated bicycle courier services, ran Farm Aide projects, collected fat and scrap metal, and grew Victory Gardens, as well as sponsored Defense Institutes that taught women survival skills and techniques for comforting children during air raids. Japanese-American girls, confined to internment camps in Utah and California, also established troops.

Troop 60492 played 1950s games with visitors to their station. They also had a handbook on display from a woman named Joan Dickinson from her time as a Brownie in the 1950s. The passport read:

Girl Scouts responded to the Korean War by assembling “Kits for Korea,” pouches of items needed by Korean citizens, and also continued to press issues of inclusiveness and equality with Ebony magazine reporting in 1952 that even in the south “…[Girl] Scouts were making slow and steady progress toward surmounting the racial barriers of the region.”

Troop 60375 got groovy at their 1960s station which featured a VW bus photo booth. Their passport entry:

During this tumultuous and vibrant decade, Girl Scouts held “Speak Out” conferences around the country to lend their voices to the fight for racial equality, launched the ACTION 70 project to help overcome prejudice and build better relationships between people, and viewed the Apollo 12 moon landing at Camp Kennedy, Florida, as guests of NASA.

Things were looking discotheque at Troop 60489’s table equipped with a light show! Their 1970s passport write-up:

During this period, Girl Scouts elected its first African-American national board president, Gloria D. Scott; stood up for environment issues by launching the national Eco-Action program; and helped Vietnamese refuge children adapt to their new homes in America.

Troop 60360 took on the 80s and 90s making everything as neon and saturated as you can imagine! Their write-up:

Girl Scouts established the Daisy level for Kindergarten-aged girls as interest in Girl Scouts expanded, and also distributed “The Contemporary Issues” series that addressed some of the most serious issues teen girls of the day were confronting, including drug use, child abuse, and teen pregnancy. Amid the explosive growth of person computers, Girl Scouts introduced the Technology Badge for Girl Scout Juniors, while also tackling illiteracy with the Right to Read service project, which nearly 4 million Girl Scouts and leaders participated in.

The 2000s to Today was full of extremely familiar items from the cookie program, sweatshirts and t-shirts, outdoor gear, program materials, and more. This is the display that the girls have put on temporary display at the Seymour Library for the public to visit during their normal business hours. The passport reads:

Girl Scouts entered the first decade of the new millennium focused on the healthy development of girls, establishing the Girl Scout Research Institute to conduct studies and report findings. We also continued to emphasize inclusiveness by hosting a National Conference on Latinas in Girl Scouting and, in 2005, electing the first Hispanic Girl Scout chair of the National Board, Patricia Diaz Dennis.

Even as technology plays a larger and larger role in Americans’ lives, Girl Scouts also stay connected to nature and the great outdoors. So while Girl Scouts introduced new badges to promote outdoor activities, we’ve also partnered with Google for “Made With Code,” a program encouraging girls to get an early start in computer science. In 2014, Girl Scouts launched Digital Cookie, through which Girl Scout cookies were sold online by girls for the first time in the history of the iconic cookie program.

Troop 60784 had a display on Girl Scout cookies and their history with fun trivia questions. Their page:

Girl Scout cookies had their earliest beginnings in the kitchens and ovens of our girl members, with moms volunteering as technical advisers. The sale of cookies as a way to finance troop activities began as early as 1917, five years after Juliette Gordon Low started Girl Scouts in the United States, when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project.

Older girls in Troop 60459 presented on the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards, which are the Girl Scout Higher Awards. Click the link on each name to read more of the individual requirements for those awards. The troop’s write-up in the book said:

Every Girl Scout goes above and beyond to make a difference in her community and the greater world. And the skills and experiences she gains along the way set her up for special recognition through the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards.

The Daisy Girl Scouts helped to stock the refreshment table and keep it running smoothly. One of their adult volunteers made some incredible cookies that were very impressive!

For location and hours of the Brockport Seymour Library, please visit their website. This Girl Scout display is only temporary, so go see it while you can!

To find more info about Girl Scouts or to become a Girl Scout member or volunteer visit our website.

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

Why Girl Scouts should still be the choice for your girl

Today Boy Scouts announced a change in who they are – while its parent organization will keep the title of Boy Scouts of America, its actual boy scouting program will be called ‘Scouts BSA,’ starting next February. This change came after the controversial decision in 2017 to let girls join its program.

For more than a century, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts coexisted with programming designed to nurture boys and girls in separate, targeted environments with strategies to aid in leadership development. As the world changed, so did the programs to reflect the current challenges each gender faced and the best way to overcome. At least that’s the case for Girl Scouts.

It’s not a secret that both organizations have experienced declines in membership due to increased competition. Families are running from one activity to the next and for a number of reasons, including a lack of understanding, Scouting is falling lower and lower in importance. While both organizations have felt these effects, we’ve chosen to respond differently.

Boy Scouts is throwing up the Hail Mary by inviting girls into their programming. A campaign set to launch this summer – ‘Scout Me In’ – is designed to show the ease of taking all your children to the same meeting, making it more convenient to be a Scout. Rather than design unique programs, Scouts BSA will simply divide boys and girls where they will follow the same curriculum. A selling point is that now girls can also work toward the highly praised level of Eagle Scout.

What that fails to mention is Girl Scouts already have the option to not only reach that same level, but pass it with their project. The Girl Scout Gold Award, while less seen, requires more time and effort to achieve than the award of Eagle Scout. Because it doesn’t have the Boy Scout boost and notoriety, few understand just how incredible it is for a girl to become a Gold Award recipient.

More importantly, Girl Scouts refuses to budge from its stance on only accepting girls because it will not compromise its mission. Especially in today’s world with more and more women finding their voice and fighting for their seat at the table, we understand the value of what we do. We’re showing girls from a young age their value and letting them know they’re capable of anything. We believe in building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place, and we don’t plan to step away from that.

Girl Scouts is an organization that is fun for girls, but we can’t forget its importance. Yes, it might mean taking your children two places for their troop meetings, but your child’s future shouldn’t be built on convenience. While we try to make it as easy as possible for you, we want your girl to be a part of our organization because of what she can become.

We’re more than cookies, crafts, and friendship bracelets. We see the lack of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics so we’re creating more programs to expose girls to these opportunities at a young age. We teach outdoor skills and survival, all while making sure your girl is empowered.

Our programming comes from years of research to ensure we’re raising female leaders. Even better, we have proven results. All of our female Secretaries of State were Girl Scouts. Almost all female astronauts. Your girl has potential, and we want her to unleash it early and often with Girl Scouts.

Lee Snodgrass from the Girl Scouts of Northwestern Great Lakes council summarizes it well:

“We proudly own the ‘Girl’ in Girl Scouts. Since our inception, Girl Scouts of the USA has been about putting girls front and center, ensuring that everything we do is with their best interests in mind and equips them to be the fearless leaders and change-makers our more than 50 million alums prove themselves to be. For 106 years, Girl Scouts has prepared girls with essential leadership skills and provided them with a supportive network of girls and women who can face any challenge, from the wilderness to the boardroom, with confidence, compassion, and success. Our focus has always been and always will be girls.”

Girls Scouts isn’t just an activity for your girl. It can change her life beyond the memories she’ll make at at camp and the lifelong friends she’ll find. Just like you, we believe in your girl’s greatness. Join us today and help her grow.