Guest post by Lena Budd, GSWNY Volunteer Experience Manager
During April, we’re celebrating Volunteer Appreciation Month! As someone who works directly with so many of our volunteers (I’m one of the friendly faces from our Rochester office) I see the impact that a simple thank you has on people from our wonderful troop co-leaders, to our dedicated Service Unit team members, and to all other incredible volunteers!
It’s very easy to tell someone thank you, but did you know that most people prefer to be thanked in specific ways? Some people love applause and public accolades while others really do not like to have the spotlight put on them. So how do you go about thanking someone?
Let’s explain each of these a little more since the infographic doesn’t answer it all.
Gifts don’t have to be expensive to be valuable! Some tangible gift ideas include awards and pins, gift cards, and handmade gifts.
Acts of Service
This means showing up and helping to get the job done! To some people, getting your hands dirty in times of need shows more appreciation than sending a thank you card later.
Physical touch, when appropriate, can be very meaningful! I call this the 3 H’s – hug, handshake, or high five! Other forms of showing thanks through physical touch include fist bumps or pats on the back.
I wrote this blog post a while ago under difference circumstances. This is still an important part of this book, but now that we are practicing social distancing please refrain from physical touch. This is something you can instead change over to a virtual hug or high five using tools like FaceTime, Zoom meeting, or other video conferencing apps.
This is most meaningful when it is personal, focused time. This can can be hanging out or working together. Grab coffee, go to lunch, or attend an event together! Make sure the activity your doing is meaningful to the person you are thanking. For example, don’t take a non-coffee drinker to Starbucks!
Words of Affirmation
Oral or written thank you’s! The most common form of words of affirmation is a thank you card! Words of affirmation can be done publicly or privately, however remember that not many people actually enjoy public praise.
Now, how do you go about actually putting these 5 languages into action? Easy! Get to know the people you volunteer with and ask them what they like best! Pro-tip: people tend to give thanks the way the like to get thanked. Do they always send you a thank you card after an event? This person’s preferred language is Words of Affirmation. Does this person like to go out to coffee and chat? Their language of appreciation is Quality Time.
What do you think is your preferred language of appreciation? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Did you know April is Volunteer Appreciation Month? This is a great time of year to thank the volunteers in your life for the services they provide to you or your Girl Scouts.
All across our WNY council, we give heartfelt thanks to all our volunteers! From the folks who come in a couple times a month to assist our accounting department all the way to the troop co-leaders who run troop meetings and chaperone events… every volunteer is awesome and important!
Girl Scouts is a volunteer-run organization. Volunteers make it possible to continue our mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character during this difficult time with their support, flexibility, and dedication. We hope to make all of our wonderful volunteers feel the virtual love this month and all year long! This month we will be sending communications by email with thank-you messages, but we also want to provide you with ways to thank volunteers yourself!
We have 3 different cards available for download from our website. Please note: if the card opens in your browser window instead of downloading, you need to save it to your computer, then open your saved file. If you type into the browser window, then hit save, most browsers will erase what you’ve typed.
Also, be sure to visit our Facebook page on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, at 3:12pm. Lena Budd, Volunteer Experience Manager will be doing a Facebook Live making thank you cards for volunteers. (After the broadcast ends, will also be sharing the video to YouTube and Instagram.)
How do you show thanks? Leave a comment saying who you’re thanking or how you’re thanking someone!
P.S. This is more than a Girl Scout volunteer holiday! Consider showing your appreciation for volunteers in other organizations as well, such as healthcare, human rights, or public services (libraries, schools, places of worship, etc.).
[This post was submitted to us from Patty Bowen from Troop 20173 related to the Twin Lakes Cookie Drop. To submit your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org]
Does 13,272 boxes of Girl Scout cookies sound like a lot?
Now imagine unloading them, sorting them, and passing them on to girls from 16 troops in just an hour and a half!
That is exactly what happened on Saturday at St. Mary’s Church in Mayville, as the Twin Lakes Service Unit, which consists of Girl Scouts from Chautauqua Lake, Westfield and Ripley school districts, took delivery of their cookies for the season.
Now those young entrepreneurs, from Daisies in Kindergarten and 1st grade through Ambassadors in 12th grade, are busy delivering the yummy cookies that earn money for all of the girls’ adventures.
These young people worked together to fund their troops’ camping, exploring, and traveling. From a roller skating party to celebrate Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday to learning first aid from local EMTs, the girls are busy year-round, learning life skills and building confidence to become strong women and leaders of the future. Once a year they ask for help to fund their dreams of becoming a citizen scientist, expressing themselves through the arts, and celebrating their communities to become better citizens.
Didn’t get cookies yet? Thankfully there is still time! Find your favorite Girl Scout to get that case of Thin Mints, or look for a cookie popup booth at GSWNY.org. Either way is a great way to support this amazing organization that has molded the lives of girls from Lucille Ball and Taylor Swift to Queen Elizabeth II of England!
And remember that a diet is no excuse to turn away these girls. Send a box to a military person! The Twin Lakes Service Unit has already donated 119 boxes through the Blue Star Mothers Lake Erie 4 chapter, and are happy to pass on even more. That taste of home can really make someone’s day as they serve overseas.
For information about joining a troop or volunteering with one, go to GSWNY.org. Adult volunteers and experts are always needed!
“I am so proud of our girls for their hard work selling these cookies, and for their customers who donated boxes to service members,” said Lonikay Fisher, leader of Girl Scout Troop #20153.
The newly formed Brownie troop in Ripley has been together for only two months, yet they have the distinction of being responsible for more than half of their service unit’s Girl Scout cookie donations to military personnel this cookie season.
Brownie Troop #20153, six girls led by Lonikay Fisher and Megan Orton, sold 63 of those boxes for the troops!
“This is a community of people who help each other,” said Fisher. “They obviously wanted to support the troops who help us all. And our girls are amazing. They’ve worked super hard to show that support.”
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.
Be a part of one big, bold celebration! G.I.R.L. 2020 is a momentous chance to spark change through targeted conversation, leadership, and action—Girl Scout style. Join generations of Girl Scouts and their supporters from across the nation and around the world—register now for this once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Join thousands of women and girls, and their families and supporters, from around the world in Orlando, Florida, October 23–25, 2020. Hosted by Girl Scouts of the USA, this mega event will provide attendees with unforgettable experiences as they gain inspiration, tools to empower themselves, and the know-how to lead change in their communities—connecting with some of the world’s most influential women along the way.
G.I.R.L. 2020 will be a weekend like none you’re been a part of before—one that centers the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and the incredible promise it holds for all girls and the world.
Join generations of Girl Scouts and their supporters from across the nation and around the world—register now for this once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Just like last year, we’re holding our Making Smiles Bright dental health collection and patch program in March! Keep reading for more information and to see how you can get involved.
During the month of March, we’re focusing on dental health! Girl Scouts who participate will increase their knowledge of dental health and take action to provide dental hygiene supplies to other children in their communities. Girls in all levels are invited to participate and earn this exclusive patch.
The patch will be available for sale in our GSWNY Council Shops. Count the number of items you collect so we can see how many smiles we’ll make brighter!
Elements to the Patch Program:
Learn about teeth. What are the parts of a tooth? In a book or online, find a diagram of a tooth and learn about its parts. Find the crown, root, enamel, pulp, and cementum. What is the importance of each part?
Find out why it is important to brush and floss every day. Make a personal brushing and flossing chart to record when you brush and floss for two weeks.
Discover how our diet helps or hurts our teeth. A healthy diet means healthier teeth but some foods like sugar can harm them. Learn about a balanced diet. Make a collage or draw a picture that shows which foods are either good or bad for our teeth.
Find out about careers related to dental health. For Daisies and Brownies and Juniors – Draw a picture of what you think a dental health professional looks like. For Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors – Find out about college programs, that are offered at nearby schools, in the field of dental health.
Help others keep their teeth healthy too! Collect dental hygiene items such as toothbrushes, dental floss, and toothpaste to donate to community dental clinics in Western New York. Bring your donations to your nearest GSWNY Service Center during the month of March.
Our GSWNY Dental Hygiene Collection will benefit local children through Western New York Community Dental Providers.
You knew this day would come, but you had no idea how soon. Now suddenly, the girl who’s never needed more than her family, her friends, and maybe the snuggles of a favorite pet is streaming sappy pop songs, wandering about with a silly grin on her face, and writing mysterious initials on her book covers/the back of her hand/any available surface.
It’s time to come to terms with reality: your daughter probably has a crush.
Now, crushes are called as such for a reason. As much as they can make a person feel happy, they can also leave one feeling rather dramatically destroyed by the world. So, as her parent, you’ll need to approach dealing with her first crush with caution; empathy; and, as always, love. Lots and lots of love! Here’s how you might navigate some trickier aspects of her first brush with puppy love.
The issue: You think she’s too young to be in love or dating.
Reality check: While it can be jarring to think of your girl having romantic feelings, remember that having a crush does not mean the same thing as dating or even being in love—even if she insists she feels that way. Crushes are often rooted in infatuation and go no further than a bit of daydreaming and doodling. Actual dating rarely comes with crushes. Plus, forbidding her to have a crush may only deepen her feelings—after all, so often when young people are told they can’t have or do something, they want to all the more.
Try this: If she’s been inking initials or someone’s name on everything in sight, take the time (when it’s just the two of you—you don’t want to embarrass her!) to ask who this special someone is and figure out why she likes them. And even if she says they’re “dating” or “going out,” there may not be any cause for alarm. Ask what those terms mean to her. To many young girls, dating or going out might just mean that they sit together at lunch—or perhaps that they like each other, everyone knows it, and they text! A little fact-finding can go a long way to soothe your nerves and open lines of communication. This way, when she does start dating in a more meaningful way in the years to come, she’ll already know she can trust and turn to you.
The issue: You don’t approve of the person she’s crushing on.
Reality check: Most crushes, especially at this age, are fleeting, so there’s almost no chance of this person being in her life for the long haul. But beyond that, you might want to take a step back and make sure you aren’t assuming things about her crush based on how they look, what part of town they live in, or something else that likely has nothing to do with why your daughter likes them.
Try this: Ask your girl what it is she likes or admires about this person. If she focuses on appearances first—spoiler alert, she probably thinks her crush has great hair—go deeper, and ask her if they’re kind to others or if they share any particular interests with her. This is a good opportunity for you to talk about what makes a person worthy of attention and admiration over some of the more superficial qualities she might be focused on. If there are more serious concerns about this person, like an inappropriate age difference, known behavioral problems, or something else, bring them up gently, and ask her how she feels about those things. Hearing her out and having a conversation with her (even if you know you’re eventually going to have to flat-out tell her this person isn’t worthy of her affections) will help her feel respected; heard; and, most of all, that you really care and aren’t just saying “no” to be mean.
The issue: Her crush doesn’t like her back.
Reality check: The sight of your daughter crying into her cereal bowl over some super awkward kid may seem ridiculous to you—not to mention a waste of her precious time and energy—but to her, this is anything but silly. Think back to your early crushes and how, even if they didn’t last long, it felt like the sun rose and set by that person’s existence in your life. Your daughter likely feels that way right now.
Try this: Instead of telling her to “get over it” or that her crush wasn’t so great anyway, find a quiet moment to ask her how she’s feeling, then actually listen. She’s been rejected by someone she really likes (even if you don’t think they’re great shakes!), and she’s probably hurting. Be there for her, and try to find things to do together that will brighten her day. Maybe you can plan some time to watch a favorite movie or schedule a night when her best girl friends can come for a sleepover party. Over time, she’ll almost definitely start to feel better, and your bond will be stronger than ever.