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.

Have you seen the 2020 Camp Guides yet?

Released last month, the 2020 Day and Resident Camp Guides have us very excited for summer!

We love getting outdoors and all the opportunities to do so at camp! View the guides online or stop into a Service Center to pick up a physical copy (limited number available).

For Troop Camping information, head to the Outdoor Programs Guide.

This year, we’re celebrating 90 years at Camp Seven Hills!

[This post originally appeared on campsevenhillsnews.com]

Saturday, August 8 – Activities begin at 9:30 a.m.

In 1930, Camp Seven Hills opened its doors to its first 50 campers. Since then, the grounds have hosted thousands of Girl Scouts from Western New York. This summer, you’re invited to join us in our celebration of 90 years of adventure.

Come and see how the camp has grown and developed over the years through tours showcasing what we’ve done and then see what we’re planning on a dream with us tour. There will be a special, candelit path ceremony and plenty of s’mores to go around.

Of course, we’ll also have some of our favorite camp activities including swimming, boating, horseback riding, ropes course, arts and crafts, and evening campfires. Ropes course and horseback riding will be on a first come, first served basis and will be an additional fee payable at camp.

You also have the option to stay all weekend for our annual Friends & Family Weekend, happening August 7 to 9. Arrival is 7 p.m. Friday and departure is 9 a.m. Sunday.

Register online by July 20, 2020

  • $30 per person for Saturday
  • $40 per person (1 night)
  • $70 per person (2 nights)
  • Children under five years old are free

Questions? Please contact Customer Care at customercare@gswny.org or 1-888-837-6410

Making an impact in girls’ lives starts with you

For more than 100 years, Girl Scouts has been impacting girls’ lives. To girls like Shelby, it doesn’t matter if they’re part trendsetter, part change-maker, part athlete, part engineer, part artist, or part go-getter, because they know who they are and where they want to go next.

Shelby is a Girl Scout in Troop 20258 in Dunkirk, and she’s been in Girl Scouts for 4 years. We want to share her story with you, in her words, about what Girl Scouts means to her.

What are the things you have done in Girl Scouts that you never thought you would do?

I went backpack camping with my troop and we filtered river water to drink. We learned to make a fire using flint. I also competed in the Dream It Do It 500 with a team of Girl Scouts where we made a rubber band-powered car and learned about engineering. I made a lot of new friends by going to programming like that.

How did you feel after you accomplished these things?

I am brave. Accomplishing new things in Girl Scouts makes me happy.

What do you see in your future because of your Girl Scout experiences?

I see myself traveling to France and Japan with Girl Scouts. I have never traveled to another country but Girl Scouts is giving me these goals, and my mom is encouraging even though we have to step outside of our comfort zone.

Because of Girl Scouts, last year Shelby was able to choose from over 150 programs made possible through the support of committed and generous donors.

We asked Shelby’s mother, Kathy, about the changes she’s seen in her daughter through Girl Scouts.

How have you seen Girl Scouts impact Shelby’s life?

She knows how to work as a team, plan out a project, and work together. I’ve seen her knowledge grow in public speaking, leadership, empathy, and acceptance. She is a unique person, some call her weird, but she’s a sweet girl. She likes that she can be anything she wants in Girl Scouts.

How have you seen Shelby grow since joining Girl Scouts?

It’s a constant battle outside of Girl Scouts because she’s not a “girly girl,” but that doesn’t make her stand out when she’s at Girl Scouts. At Girl Scouts Shelby can be herself and be accepted. It’s a safe environment for her. She is now a leader and her confidence shines through her.

In Girl Scouts, girls find a safe place that lets them be themselves in a supportive, nurturing environment while they step outside of their comfort zone and discover new interests.

Shelby knows who she is and where she’s going because of the programs available in Girl Scouts.

We need your help to keep these opportunities available for all girls, because we know that no two are alike and each has her own interests, talents, hobbies, and dreams.

Join us in inspiring the next generation of future female leaders by supporting Girl Scouts today.

Thank you from each girl that gets to experience Girl Scouts because of you.

Please Give Today

Give her the gift of camp memories she’ll never forget

Camping has always been a tradition in Girl Scouts, but it was never just about getting outside. We’re believe in the importance of connecting with nature in a girl-led setting, which makes this summer’s camp theme all the more relevant. In an increasingly digital world, we’re celebrating the simplicity of Camp: Life Unplugged.  

This holiday season, you can give your girl the unforgettable gift of a week spent with her Girl Scout sisters doing something they love, whether it’s riding horses, traveling to New York City, climbing ropes courses, learning more about robotics, or simply relaxing. These are just glimpses of what you can expect from Girl Scout summer camp in 2020.  

It’s more than just a week spent at camp–you’re also helping her build courage, confidence, and character, and empowering her to learn skills that last a lifetime. Purchase a Camp Gift Certificate* and give the gift of joy to your favorite girl. Camp Gift Certificates can be purchased in any amount by calling 1-888-837-6410 or by stopping in to any of our service centers.  

The 2020 Summer Camp Catalog goes live January 13, 2020, at www.gswny.org and will outline all of our overnight and day camp options at our three camps – Camp Timbercrest, Camp Seven Hills, and Camp Piperwood. Check it out to see all of the coming excitement!  

REGISTER NOW: Our guides aren’t out for another month, but registration is open for our trip to New York City to see Frozen on Broadway! You can reserve your girl’s spot now for only $25! Visit gswny.org to learn more and reserve a spot.  

We wish you a joyful holiday season and a wonderful new year!  

Sincerely, The Girl Scouts of Western New York Summer Camp Team  

*Certificates are non-refundable and are redeemable during registration time in January 2020.

Please note our offices are closed the following dates:
Friday, December 20 (at 3 p.m.) through Wednesday, January 1. Normal business hours resume Thursday, January 2, 2019.   To see all our business hours, click here.

We need your input on how to improve the trail system at Seven Hills!

[This post originally appeared on campsevenhillsnews.com]

If you love Camp Seven Hills, we’d love to have you as part of this exciting opportunity!

We recently received an exciting grant to create a Trail Master Plan for Camp Seven Hills and we’d love for you to be part of the project! We’re engaging with Pashek, a Landscape Architect Studio, who will be conducting focus groups, gathering information, and developing the overall plan. By the spring, we’ll be recruiting volunteers to assist in fully enhancing one of the trails.

As someone who knows and loves Camp Seven Hills, we would love your input! On Tuesday, December 3, at 5:30 p.m., we will be conducting a focus group at the Depew Service Center (3332 Walden Ave). During the meeting we will discuss trail use, why you might not be using them, future utilization, potential trail activities, and more. Food and drinks will also be provided.

Although this will be a pretty interactive workshop, we will provide a webinar line for those that are unable to attend in person. We hope you can join us!

RSVP HERE

Memories from a Hi-Adventure volunteer

Girl Scouts of Western New York recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, but the history of Girl Scouts runs much deeper in the area. Prior to becoming one, our legacy councils served their girls with unique and unforgettable programs.

One such program was Hi-Adventure, an outdoor experience for girls in Niagara County. They would learn outdoor skills and venture into the wilderness for seven to 10 day trips where they would backpack, camp, and canoe.

Recently, one of the program volunteers reached out to us to share some of his memories and photos from his time leading trips with Hi-Adventure.

Dean Johnson, pictured above in a tipping test, was a canoeing instructor who started his time with Girl Scouts as a one-time volunteer helping girls in a pool learn about canoeing. Soon he became a part of the Hi-Adventure program, helping to lead several trips.

After going through his photos, Dean sent along all the photos in this post (and promises to send more!).

Since our beginning, Girl Scouts have been passionate about getting outdoors. In fact, one of the main goals of Girl Scouting in the beginning was getting girls involved in physical activities outside. Juliette Gordon Low even established the first Girl Scout camp in 1921.

Volunteers like Dean have helped us continue Juliette’s mission and help girls get outside and find adventure. Hi-Adventure no longer exists, but its spirit lives on in our outdoor programs and camps.

Troop 30789 – Ace Adventure 1 training and overnight at Camp Piperwood

[The post was submitted to us by Troop 30789. To submit your troop story, email communications@gswny.org]

This past weekend our Junior Troop, 30789, traveled to Victor, NY to attend the Ace Adventure 1 camp training at Camp Piperwood. We also decided to take advantage of the option to spend the night in one of the camp lodges so that we could explore the grounds of the camp at our own pace.

During the training the girls practiced reading a map, they learned how to care for and safely use sharps (including knives and saws), and they made hot cocoa using a camp stove and then practiced proper dish washing procedures. 

The girls also talked about the elements that are necessary to make a fire and then they were given the opportunity to work in teams to collect materials and safely build and light their own fire. The girls finished out the training by creating their own pocket-size first aid kits, and they practiced what to do in the event of various emergency situations.

Rebecca, one of our trainers, remained behind so that each of the girls could practice safe knife use while whittling their first piece of wood.

A shout out to Rebecca, Carla and Joelle who made this training not only an educational experience, but a fun, hands-on training that truly engaged the girls (and leaders) who participated. 

After the training and a brief break to haul in our overnight gear, our troop set out to explore the grounds of Camp Piperwood. We also used this opportunity to enjoy a 2 hour hike through the locally marked trails, while we searched for and located our first cache using a a geocaching app.

We cooked dinner inside, but later ventured out again to practice our fire building skills and to make s’mores. It was a night full of laughter and memories.

Troop 30789 closed out their training and overnight with a Friendship Circle!

The winner of this year’s Camp Theme Contest is…

Every year, we ask our membership a simple question: what do you think our 2020 camp theme should be? Because we’re girl-led, we want our camps to reflect the thoughts of our Girl Scouts.

Last year, we received the idea #GirlScoutCampLife from Girl Scout Brownie Arianna. The year before, we had ‘Camp Like a G.I.R.L.’ For 2020, our winner pulled on her own camp experience for a great camp theme.

The 2020 Camp Theme Survey Contest winner is….

Senior Girl Scout Kaura C. from Olean! Camp name ‘Legacy!’

Not only does she love camp, this year she was a Counselor in Training! We’re so excited to announce her idea, but we’re waiting until International Wear Your Camp T-Shirt Day!

This November 12, we’re celebrating camp by joining the international celebration and wearing your camp t-shirts! During the day, we’re going to provide a sneak peak of next year’s camp guide and announce the 2020 camp theme!

Make sure you wear your camp shirt and check back in to see what we’re planning for next summer’s camp season.

Thank you for another great year of the #GirlScoutCampLife

Two weeks ago, we wrapped up another amazing summer at Girl Scout camp. Our three camps, Camp Timbercrest, Camp Seven Hills, and Camp Piperwood, plus our volunteer-run Camp Windy Meadows, were filled with excited campers and great programming.

More than 2,500 girls from around council attended Girl Scout camp this summer, where they rode horses, went swimming, climbed ropes, learned how to build fires, sang camp songs, and of course, made new friends.

While our outdoor programming runs all year long, summer camp is a special time for girls to gather together and learn new skills while honoring cherished Girl Scout traditions. We hear stories all the time about how important camp was and is to our Girl Scouts past and present and we can’t wait to continue creating memories.

Camp might be over for the summer, but we’re already thinking about next year’s programs. Look for the new camp guides out in January to decide what your camp journey will be in 2020. If you can’t get enough of the outdoors, head to gswny.org where you can learn more about all our outdoor opportunities, including equipment rentals, programming, property rentals, and Outdoor Champions who can facilitate programming for you.

To see photos from our resident camps, visit our Flickr page!