Why Girl Scouts?

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.

The Girl Scout difference is real and powerful, and we want your girl to be a part of it, too.

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.

Oh yeah, and we also sell Girl Scout cookies.

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.

You can be a part of the Girl Scout difference

Girl Scouts is an organization with more than 100 years dedicated to building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. Despite our storied history, many misunderstand the purpose of our organization or consider it irrelevant in today’s world.

In reality, the need for Girl Scouts has never been more apparent.

Far from the stereotypes of cookies and crafts, Girl Scouts is the preeminent leadership organization for girls. We have decades of research showcasing the need for a single-gender environment and why it’s the best place for girls to grow. Beyond our research, we have the proven results seen in the lives of our alumnae:

statistics

This past election, more than 110 women won seats in the US House of Representatives. Already hitting a record for female candidates, it’s important to note that at least 58% of the women who won were Girl Scouts.

When you support Girl Scouts, you’re investing in the future of our girls. You’re building our future leaders, visionaries, and game-changers. You’re telling all girls, no matter who they are or what path they choose in life, that they’re important and capable. You’re helping them achieve more than they ever thought possible.

Our program makes a difference because it’s designed by girls, for girls. Through our Four Pillars: Outdoors, STEM, Life Skills, and Entrepreneurship, we want to give every girl the opportunity to find her passion and pursue it with confidence. We don’t tell a girl what she should do; we let her choose.

Everyone is familiar with how delicious Girl Scout cookies are, but few realize it’s the largest girl-run business in the world and designed to teach five financial literacy skills, including money management, decision making, and goal setting.

Beneath the Girl Scout stereotype is an organization dedicated to raising girls up and showing them that no matter what society says or does, they are equal and they matter. Be a part of the difference we make in the lives of our girls today. 

Donate Today

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

A 40-Year Volunteer Shares Her Story: The Girl Scout Difference

The story below comes from Theresa Kasper, a 40-year volunteer with Girl Scouts in Western New York. While she explains the difference Girl Scouts made in her life, we wanted to explain the difference she’s made to us.

With a four-decade history, it isn’t surprised that she’s well known around our council. As soon as you mention her name, most staff have something great to say. Usually it involves the fact that she won’t say no to a girl.

Theresa believes so passionately in Girl Scouts that she makes room when a girl needs troop. To accomplish this, she has meetings twice a week just to accommodate all of her girls. She seeks out girls who need Girl Scouts and gives them opportunities to do whatever they want to learn about, including camping and kayaking. Coming from Niagara Falls, a lot of her girls have never been to camp and likely wouldn’t without Girl Scouts.

Her work with the girls doesn’t end when they age out. Theresa makes an effort to keep in touch with her girls and many leader now as a result. When you’re in the community, it’s likely you’ll run into someone who asks about Theresa because she was in one of her troops. 

Kelly Garrow is a Service Unit Support Specialist who was leading a troop in Niagara Falls before becoming an employee. When it was time to make the transition, she needed someone to take over her troop of older girls. Theresa was so excited for Kelly that she took all her girls. 

Stories like this are what make Girl Scouts and our council shine. We wouldn’t be nearly as successful without leaders like Theresa who are dedicated to our mission and making sure that every girl has the opportunity to become a girl of courage, confidence, and character. 

My Story by Theresa Kasper

There was no such thing as a sleeping bag in 1962.  I was tagging along with my big sister Joyce and her friend Maryann as we rolled blankets, clothing and toothbrushes into a bedroll for Joann’s first campout at Windy Meadows.

Joyce and I begged our parents to allow us to join but to no avail.  With 6 children in the house and one on the way there was no chance of joining.  There was just not enough money. 

Fast forward 16 years later, a marriage, several relocations, a daughter and a son, a nasty divorce and a return home to Niagara Falls.  My mom is now a Girl Scout Leader and she suggests I join scouts for the summer and take my children to day camp.  They need volunteers.  There is a pixie unit for my son and I can head the unit for my daughter.

A week in the woods with other volunteers. Lots of fun and activity distancing me from the stress of my new divorcee status and my unemployment. Not to mention the stress of potentially leaving my children to be employed and all that goes along with it.

A wonderful experience never to be forgotten.  Edward and I had a walk in the woods a thick brush at that time.  We made our own path and eventually were at the end of the property in a field of cows.  He was 4 years old and it was awesome.

Not having raincoats when it rained we donned black garbage bags and kept dry.  It was an adventure. Sarah made many new friends and learned the girl scout way.

In the Fall my daughter was in Second Grade.  There was a girl scout troop and we signed up.  In the middle of the year the leader quit. I was in the church basement with 20 children and no leader.  I improvised and kept them busy until the parent’s showed up. Having had all those little sisters, I knew a bit about crowd control.

That day no one stepped up to take the troop.  I was without employment, a car or resources but told the parents if they would help I would take the lead.

I would always sing and play games with my siblings, so it was all fun for me.  A neighborhood Girl Scout mom called me and I started training. Somehow there was always a ride and someone to take care of my children.  My friend Pat said, “If it is for the kids it will all workout.”  And it did work out.

Over the past 40 years, the training I received in GirlScouts led me to better positions at work. Yes, I got a job the first year I started scouts.  I retired three years ago from work, but I hope to be a Girl Scout leader to the day I pass away!  The experience led me to be abetter person always giving me new learning to this day.  The girls andparents never cease to amaze and inspire me.

And with the ongoing changes in the girl scout experience I have never ever been bored with the program.  Today I lead 5 troops. And there are six fantastic women who love Girl Scouts in the troops that help me.

I reluctantly gave up the Daisy troop this year. There wasonly one girl left after flyups.  Everything changes. Today my largestgroup is the Cadettes with 21 registered. Amazing. This is usually the smallestgroup. 

I never cease to be amazed with Girl Scouts!

Theresa is featured kneeling on the right with some of her girls at a recent tour of the Niagara Falls Police Department.

Giving Tuesday is TOMORROW

Today marks the return to work after the Thanksgiving feasting and we sincerely hope you had a wonderful time with friends and family.

We want to take a chance to say again how thankful we are for you and your support of Girl Scouts of Western New York. The evidence of the Girl Scout difference is everywhere, including the recent election where 58% of the women elected to the House of Representatives were Girl Scouts. This is so incredible to hear and we know we can’t do it with you.

2018-Giving Tuesday Email Header

#GivingTuesday is the social revolution of generosity and it’s happening tomorrow! Your support helps us continue to make a difference in the lives of our girls. Consider giving today and join the global movement to celebrate giving back.

Donate Today

Thank you for all you do!

Because of Girl Scouts, Maria realized all she could accomplish

2018-GT-Email 1 Header.jpg

Girl Scouts is more than just an activity for your girl. It can have life-changing effects on who she becomes and what she believes she can achieve. Take Maria’s story, for example.

Maria’s journey with Girl Scouts began in Puerto Rico, when she joined as a Daisy. Five years later, she’d leave her home and troop to move to the United States. Starting a new life in a country with strange language were only some of the obstacles facing Maria.

Research shows that a girl’s confidence sharply declines by more than 25% between fifth and ninth grade. Almost 50% of high school girls don’t believe they’re smart enough for their dream career. Even when a girl experiences the academic success of a 4.0 or higher, 1 in 3 will feel they aren’t good enough to pursue their passion.

Fortunately for Maria, she had Girl Scouts.

Once she arrived in Buffalo, her mother looked for a Girl Scout troop in the area. Finding none and understanding the importance, she started her own troop so Maria could develop the friendships she needed.

With her troop, Maria was able to enjoy experiences she never imagined would be possible, like white water rafting, learning how to code, walking on ropes courses, and discovering more about how the brain works.

Her fellow Girl Scouts became her community and support, and with the help of them and their leaders, she was able to learn English and graduate high school. Now in college, the distance doesn’t get in the way of the friendships she made as a Girl Scout. These relationships are one of a kind and even if they don’t talk for awhile, they always have each other’s backs.

The confidence Maria gained did more than help her learn English, take on the impossible, and form new friendships; it helped direct the course of her life.

The lack of women in STEM-related fields is no secret, but it’s alarming when you consider that 75% of girls believe they’re good at math and science, but only 45% consider it for a career.

It’s illogical to assume that most girls simply aren’t interested when you learn girls’ interest in math and science increases as they get older, despite the decline of girls believing they’re good at these subjects.

Despite these odds, Maria had the confidence to pursue her passion. After attending a Girls Go to Neuro School event at the University of Buffalo, Maria was able to learn more about the mind and brain. This sparked an interested so she began doing more research on her own.

Now she’s a freshman psychology major on the pre-med route at Albany College.

Because of Girl Scouts, Maria realized she was smart enough, good enough, and confident enough. The activities she enjoyed were more than just fun excursions – they helped shape the course of her life.

You can help make a difference in the lives of our Girl Scouts. 

Girl Scouts takes the potential of girls and combines it with robust skill-building programs that allow them to enjoy experiences outside of their comfort zones, like building a robotic arm, learning to survive outdoors, and growing a cookie business.

Your donation makes building girls of courage, confidence, and character who makes the world a better place possible. Thank you.

Donate Today

Experiencing New Opportunities: The Girl Scout Difference

When talking about what Girl Scouts is all about, people usually have misconceptions about our main area of focus. Most will argue it’s cookies and crafts while others will assume it’s STEM based on all the news coverage of our programs. It’s true we’re about one thing, but it isn’t a program or area of focus.

First and foremost, we will always be an organization dedicated to girls.

Our mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character doesn’t come with asterisks and specific programs and skills she must develop to get there. It’s true we have the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, but our movement isn’t based on a rigid structure.

We believe in giving girls the opportunities they desire and the experiences they didn’t imagine were possible. There isn’t a series of boxes we check off to ensure a girl reaches her potential. What we do involves partnering with her to discover what she likes.

Deborah Hughes, CEO of the Susan B. Anthony House, Woman of Distinction, and Alumna, says it best:

“There are lots of activities you can engage in, but being a Girl Scout takes care of the whole person. You learn about leadership, you get to play outdoors, you learn skills in science and math, and you become a team together. If you become a Girl Scout, you won’t just learn one particular kind of thing; you’ll become a better person.”

With us, a girl can try anything. A quick peak through our program guide will reveal a number of different experiences, including:

  • Culinary Adventures
  • Car Care with Geico
  • Fashion Lab
  • Kidding Around Yoga
  • Public Speaking
  • Money Matters with Bank of America
  • Taste of College
  • Wildlife Studies
  • Snowshoeing
  • Archery
  • Wilderness Survival
  • First Tee Golf Program
  • Girls Try Hockey
  • Cybersecurity
  • Girls Go to Med School
  • Girls Go to Neuro School
  • STEM-a-palooza
  • Coding with Turing Tumble

Those are just a taste of the different experiences offered by Girl Scouts of Western New York. We regularly add new programs and troops and girls have the opportunities to explore the paths they want.

With Girl Scouts, you get to experience it all. You can find what you like and learn what you don’t. Our single-gender environment creates a safe space and judgement free zone so a girl can try something new without the fear of failure. When you’re in our sisterhood, you know you’re supported.

It’s the combination of all these things – the chance to try something new with your sisters and the new and interesting opportunities – that allows us to be the best option for girls.

Girls don’t leave our program with only a few badges and some cookie season stories; they continue on to be the female leaders the world desperately needs. They have the courage, confidence, and character to make their world better.