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!).
The new membership year also means new programs for our Girl Scouts! We had so many exciting opportunities this year, we had to split them into two guides. This year, for the first time ever, we have both a regular Program Guide and new Outdoor Guide!
The Program Guide is still your resource for all our STEM, Life Skills, and Entrepreneurship-based programs. In it you’ll also find information about GS Destinations, our High Awards, Fall Product Program, and Cookie Program.
The Outdoor Guide takes a detailed look at all our outdoor experiences throughout the year. There are helpful quizzes to evaluate current levels of camping so you can make sure you’re prepared. You can also learn more about our upcoming Outdoor Celebration, Outdoor Champions program, and equipment rentals.
Last weekend, Girl Scouts of the USA held the first ever Girl Scouts Love State Parks Weekend! More than 100 of our councils participated, welcoming girls into nearly 400 state in parks in 48 states and Puerto Rico.
In Western New York, we had welcome centers at four of our state parks and encouraged girls to go to others as well. Nearly 350 of our Girl Scouts signed up to visit a park in New York state!
We spent the weekend at Allegany, Letchworth, Buffalo Habor, and Beaver Island. It was amazing to see all the girls and their friends and families who came outdoors to experience these amazing locations practically in our backyards.
To view more photos from these four state parks, check out the full album here. To see parent submissions from these and other parks, click here.
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for next year’s event, happening September 12 and 13, 2020!
Each level of the Outdoor Progression Series takes Girl Scouts from Daisies to Ambassadors and builds on their skills along the way. The first, Tents Up, brings Daisies and Brownies to Camp Piperwood where they begin learning skills like fire building, tent pitching, outdoor cooking, knots, and more.
Juniors and Cadettes go to Camp Timbercrest where they can participate in Ready Set Camp, the second level of the series that allows the skills to be built and honed further. Finally, Seniors and Ambassadors go to Camp Seven Hills the final weekend of September for Skills and Chills, the final step and friendly competition where girls can show what they’ve learned.
GSWNY is excited to be participating in the national Girl Scouts Love State Parks event, July 13 to 14! This weekend long event has the goal of getting every Girl Scout outdoors and into a state park. GSWNY will have events at 4 locations across council but Girl Scouts will be able to participate by visiting any State Park!
Registration is open now! Park Entrance is free with Girl Scouts attire!
On Saturday, July 13, check out:
Letchworth State Park, the “Grand Canyon of the East” and hike some of the 66 miles of trails and check out the three major waterfalls in the park, attend a ranger talk about the geology of the park, or visit the Nature Center or the Mary Jemison House. You could even try out whitewater rafting!
Allegany State Park, NY’s largest state park, with 65,000 acres to explore. You might visit natural caves, swim in Quaker Lake, visit the old Quaker store, attend a ranger program and learn about the critters living in the streams at the park, or climb the fire tower.
Buffalo Harbor State Park, one of NY’s newest state parks. You might join a 1 hour boat trip on Lake Erie, bike along the bike trail, learn about invasive species, or stroll along the beach.
On Sunday, July 14, check out:
Beaver Island State Park, on Grand Island on the Upper Niagara River. You could visit the nature center, play a game of disc golf, swim, bike, or hike, or take a tour of the historic River Lea House. You could also attend a ranger program and create your very own nature journal!
Can’t make it to one of these locations on this weekend? Visit any state park and enjoy the day. Also be sure to check out the NYS Parks Connect Kids Program to participate and get an additional patch on these days or any other days of the year!
For more than 100 years, we’ve been the preeminent leadership organization for girls, developing businesswomen, astronauts, governors, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and even secretaries of state. The benefit of our program speaks for itself, yet it’s easy to miss why our program is so important.
It’s more than just a century of experience that helps us build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We’ve done the research to make sure we’re reaching girls where it matters and delivering what they need.
From this we know your girl will learn best in an all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment, which is exactly what we provide. What this doesn’t mean is a stereotypical ‘girl’ experience with where we do crafts and play with dolls. In fact, we usually prefer robots.
We’re redefining what it means to do something like a girl and showing girls how smart and valuable they are. We’re also girl-led, which means in Girl Scouts, your girl takes the lead. We provide programming for many areas, but the rest of it is in your daughter’s hands.
Instead of telling a girl what she should like or do, we let her choose. We give her opportunities to get outdoors, to learn about coding and cybersecurity, to learn how to run and a business, and so much more.
As the largest girl-run entrepreneurial program in the world, our Girl Scout cookie sales are about more than fundraising and providing the USA with our delicious cookies. When you sell, you learn about business planning and financial literacy. Each level teaches you something different about these areas so every year, your girl is expanding her knowledge and building on her skills.
All our programming stands on our four pillars: STEM, Outdoors, Entrepreneurship, and Life Skills. The last encompasses several areas, including our commitment to improving our world.
Service is built into so much of what Girl Scouts do. Whether it’s making centerpieces for holiday dinners at homeless shelters or collecting blankets or educating their peers and advocating for more resources, our girls do some incredible work to help those around them.
Girl and troops do projects throughout the year, but we also have three levels of higher awards to promote this culture of giving back. Girl Scout Juniors (4th and 5th graders) can work in their troop for a minimum of 20 hours on a project to earn their Bronze Award.
Next, our Cadettes (6th, 7th, and 8th graders) can earn their Silver Award. Here they’ll work by themselves or in a small group of Girl Scouts for a minimum of 50 hours on a service project.
Finally, our Seniors (9th and 10th) and Ambassadors (11th and 12th) can earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, our highest honor. This is a completely individual process and each girl must spend a minimum of 80 hours dedicated to their project. Beyond a one-time service initiative, they have to focus on something that is sustainable and will continue to make an impact after they’re done.
Sound difficult? That’s because it is. Since the beginning of our higher awards, one million girls have earned their Gold Award. That means fewer than 6% of all our Girl Scouts earn it annually.
For those who’ve ‘gone gold,’ it’s worth it. Not only can you enter the military a whole rank higher just for earning it, it’s a critical element in the college admissions decision process.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what kind of girl yours is because here, we’re all Girl Scout. We have something for her to and can help prepare her for a lifetime of leadership.
At Girl Scouts, we believe in the value of camp. Since our beginnings, getting girls outside has been one of our primary areas of focus. In fact, it currently stands as one of our four program pillars – STEM, Life Skills, Entrepreneurship, and Outdoors.
Knowing how important it is for girls to go outdoors, we want to make sure every girl has the opportunity. Our goal is always to make sure that no one is excluded from our program for any reason, including financial.
If your girl is a member of Girl Scouts of Western New York, we have financial aid options available for her. The Summer Camp Financial Assistance Application needs to be completed asap for consideration.
To apply, register for camp and fill out the financial aid application included. Physical forms can be picked up at our service centers.
We’re still months away from summer and our camp season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start dreaming about all the fun we’re going to have. Both our Resident and Camp Guides are out to tell you all about the amazing programs we have planned this summer!
Girl Talk is a quarterly publication that highlights stories from around the council, whether it’s about girls, adults, programs, or partners! For our late fall publication, we highlight the amazing volunteers behind Skills and Chills, specifically Nancy Grimes, as well as our Women of Distinction event, our Cybersecurity event at RIT with Palo Alto, and an update from our CEO.