Every Girl’s Ultimate Summer Bucket List

[This post originally appeared on GirlScouts.org]

It’s finally here—weeks upon weeks of gorgeous weather, lazier mornings, maybe a part-time job, pool parties, and ideally, buckets of free time. Summer is a magical time of year, and it would be an absolute waste to just sleep through it, so we’ve put together the ultimate summer bucket list that will make these warm weather months even more memorable (and give every girl something incredible to tell her friends about when she goes back to class in the fall).

All of these summer ideas work for both independent older girls, who can take on most challenges on their own—and for younger girls who can try their hand at these activities with the help of a parent or other caring adult.

Ready for your best summer yet? Let’s go!

Create Something Beautiful 
Take your Instagram to the next level with some artsy shots, create a cool collage from your favorite magazines, or even try your hand at painting. The way you see the world is unique and cool, so share that vision with the world!

Sleep Under the Stars 
No campground or plans to go camping on the horizon? Set up a tent in your own back yard. No back yard? Cut out paper stars and hang them from your living room ceiling with string and tape, then invite your crew over for an indoors campout. And don’t forget the S’Mores—they’re delish whether they’re made over a roaring campfire or in the microwave!

Do Something Scary 
Test your skills on a ropes course, audition for a play, or try learning a cool skateboarding trick. There’s no need to be perfect—or even good—at whatever it is, the point is to just put yourself out there, try something new, and walk away with a cool story to tell your friends.

Daydream Under a Tree 
Sure, the A/C inside feels good, but so does a nice summer breeze under the shade of a big tree. Take your headphones off, put your phone away, and let the birds serenade you as you dream up even more fun plans for you and your crew.

Make a New Friend 
Chances are, you already know almost everyone in your neighborhood, so introduce yourself to a girl from a different community—maybe a girl at camp, at the pool in the next town over, or even get to know a friend’s cousin when she visits from out of town. New perspectives and ideas will make your summer a lot more interesting.

Get Lost in a Book 
You always hear that the book is better than the movie, and nine times out of ten that’s true—but when school’s in and there’s so much assigned reading, it’s hard to find time to read anything else! Not sure where to start? Head to your local library. The staff there know all the latest and coolest in young adult titles as well as children’s books. Tell them what kinds of things you typically like, and they’ll deliver some solid suggestions.

Take a Hike 
Whether you’ve got a rustic trail nearby or are in the middle of the concrete jungle, lace up your sneakers and check out all the snap-worthy sights. Bonus points? Pack a lunch and find a bench or shady park to have a mini-picnic.

Make a Family Tree 
All families look different, and half the fun of creating a family tree is discovering what shape yours will take! Start with you and your siblings if you have any, then branch out to your parents or caregivers and their brothers and sisters, then to their parents and caregivers, and on and on as far as you can go. Dive deep and add some personal details to your tree, like photos, fun facts, and favorite memories. You’ll get to spend some prime quality time with the people you love the most, and might uncover a surprising or funny story or two along the way.

Be a Hero 
Standing up for something you believe in doesn’t just help change the world, it feels really awesome, too. Learn more about organizations that support the causes you believe in, then volunteer, join a rally, or call your local government and speak up for the issues that matter to you. This is your world, and you can change it.  

Get Cooking 
Learn how to make one delicious meal—something that you love and that will totally impress your family and friends. Ask a relative to teach you their favorite recipe, hunt through cool cookbooks at the library, or just do a quick online search for simple and yummy ideas. Throw a bright table cloth on a picnic table at the park and dig in. Top Chef’s got nothing on you.

Send an Old-School Letter 
Get yourself some cute stationary (or make your own) and write a letter to one of your besties or a relative you don’t get to see too often—then think of how psyched they’ll be to find your note in among the junk mail.

Give Back 
If you think volunteering is boring, you’re doing it wrong. To give back (and have an amazing time, too) think about the things you like doing most. Chances are, those skills and activities could be turned into a cool community service project. Love singing or acting? Put on a show at the senior center or to raise money for your favorite cause. Obsessed with cute cat videos online? Sign up to help at the local animal shelter. Coding’s your thing? Help a younger girl (or, heck, even one of your parents!) learn how to set up her own website. Basically, you’ve got skills for days and the world needs them now.

Master One “Magic” Trick 
This one might seem silly, but trust us on this one—knowing how to pull off one good trick will add a bit of fun to parties and other random hangouts for the rest of your life! Go online and research one simple card trick or other fun illusion. Practice it over and over until you can do it seamlessly, then test it out on family and friends. Presto! You’re ready for the spotlight.

Put Together a Cool Vision Board 
Grab a bunch of old magazines and cut out words and pictures that represent the types of things you want to do or have in your life in the future. Include anything that inspires you—whether it’s fireworks in the night sky, cool pictures of hiking trails you’d love to explore, an adorable kitty, or portraits of athletes you look up to—then use tape, rubber cement, or a glue stick to attach them in any order you like on a poster board or piece of construction paper. Hang it in your room to motivate you and remind you of all the fun your future holds.

Make a Splash 
Head to the beach, the lake, or the local pool to show off your backstroke, or even just dash out to the front yard or the driveway for an impromptu water balloon fight. On a hot day, there’s not much that feels better or that’s more fun.

Explore the Farmer’s Market 
Check out your local farmer’s market with a friend and pick out a fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried before. Don’t like it? There’s no need to have it again. Love it? As foodies would say, you’ve just widened your palate. Basically, the world is delicious. Get out there and take a bite!

Earn Some Cash 
Although some of the best things in life are, in fact, free—other good things (like, say, ice cream and trips to the movies) cost money. Get down to business and make some cash of your own with a simple lemonade stand or bake sale, through babysitting or dog walking, by mowing lawns, or even teaching an elderly neighbor how to use her new tablet. You’re a natural entrepreneur!

Learn a Language 
Set aside a couple hours each week and learn the basics of another language—either the one spoken in the part of the world you’d like to visit most, or one that you’re simply interested in, like American Sign Language. Check out free apps, online videos, and your local library for books and other resources. You’ll impress friends when you show off your new skills and will be able to communicate with so many more interesting and cool people throughout your life.  

Check Out Some Live Music 
You don’t have to have tickets to that sold-out stadium show to hear some awesome music this summer. Chances are, your town or one nearby will feature live bands during community barbeques, fireworks, and other local events. So head out, discover some cool new music, and maybe even get inspired to start your own band while you’re at it.

Keep a Journal 
You’ll want to remember all the epic fun you’ll have this summer for the rest of your life— so jot down your memories, funniest moments, inside jokes, random thoughts, and most exciting adventures in a journal each night before you go to bed. If you’re on social, you might post some of this there, too, but there’s something really special about a journal that’s just for you that you can keep and cherish forever. Not so into handwriting things? Make a video or audio journal instead, or think about creating a visual scrapbook and fill it with ticket stubs and other mini-souvenirs of your summer.  

Make a Difference in a Child’s Life, Be a Summer Camp Counselor!

Do you want to volunteer this summer?  Are you looking to do an internship for college credit or majoring in education or camping administration?  Do you love working with children in an outdoor setting?

You can be part of a fantastic summer experience and make a difference in a child’s life!  All you need to do is become a summer camp counselor. You will help girls ages 5-17 develop their full potential; learn to work with, relate to, and respect others; and make decisions while contributing to the camp community. 

In addition, girls and staff alike will make and rekindle friendships, laugh, smile, and experience many new and different things. Paid and volunteer positions available.

Positions available at Camp Seven Hills and Camp Timbercrest (Resident Camp):

  • Administrative Assistant                 
  • Health Supervisor
  • Assistant Riding Director
  • Lifeguard

Positions available at Camp Piperwood (Day Camp):

  • Health Supervisor
  • Unit Counselors
  • Ropes Course Director (training provided)
  • Ropes Course Counselors (training provided)

Interested applicants please contact Janet DePetrillo, Director of Camp Administration at (716)935-6063 or janet.depetrillo@gswny.org To fill out an application click here.

Camp is a commitment of 6/7 weeks, 1 week of staff training and 5/6 weeks of camp.  Although we would like all staff to be able to commit to the entire summer, we realize that sometimes situations arise that prevent this.  If this is the case for you, please do not let this deter you from applying.  We will work with you on the number of weeks that you can commit to working at camp. 

  • Day Camp Dates: Staff week- Saturday, June 22 to June 27, and July 1 through August 10, 2019 summer camp sessions.
  • Resident Camp Dates: Staff week- Saturday, June 29 to Friday, July 5, and July 7 to August 11, 2019 summer camp sessions.

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

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.

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#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!

Girl Scouts helped Jaylah raise her voice

Our mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place is more than just words; we see it in action. Girl Scouts throughout Western New York continually live out our mission. 

Consider Jaylah’s story, the Girl Scout pictured above. 

As a Girl Scout Junior, this 11-year-old saw an issue in her community and decided to do something about it. When Jaylah heard plans to turn an out-of-business restaurant into a liquor store, she immediately took action. 

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Courageously speaking to elected officials at a community meeting, Jaylah said “We don’t want people building businesses in our neighborhood that don’t care about what is good for us.”

Her determination continued and she met with officials and obtained their signatures on a petition to shut down what would become the second liquor store in her community. 

Her dedication paid off – soon after the liquor licenses was denied and there are no plans to move forward with that type of establishment. 

Jaylah embodied all that we value in Girl Scouts through her courage to speak up for what’s right, her confidence to talk to groups and elected officials, and the character to stand her ground for what was right for her community. 

Girls with confidence are more likely to speak their mind, believe in their intelligence, and desire to be a leader. Unfortunately, there’s a crisis of confidence happening among our girls. More than 60% of girls say they like to be in charge, but 33% admit to being afraid about leading so they aren’t perceived as bossy. 

We live in a world where if a girl or woman asserts herself or her authority, she is being bossy. It’s a negative word based on gender stereotypes that strips everything good away from being a leader. As a young girl, being told you’re bossy is something to shy away from and you learn to act in ways that keep you from being labeled so harshly. 

With self-confidence, you can disagree with a friend and not be concerned, but nearly 50% of all girls won’t say what they’re thinking or if they disagree because their desire is to be liked. Girls with the highest GPAs are the ones most likely to report feeling this way. 

Help us change this. 

With your support, we reach more and do more to turn this crisis of confidence around for our girls and help them realize just how smart and important they are. We work every day to create a space where they can grow and fail without judgement. We want to keep hearing stories of our girls being unafraid to stand up for what’s right even if it’s an unpopular opinion. 

When you invest in Girl Scouts, you’re doing more than support an organization where girls do crafts and sell cookies. You’re helping to build the future generation of leaders. You’re changing the world. 

Donate Today

Because of Girl Scouts, Maria realized all she could accomplish

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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

Mark your calendars now for #GivingTuesday

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November is a month filled with promotions. What used to be shopping on Black Friday led to Cyber Monday and now you can shop amazing deals virtually the entire month long. With all this spending, why not welcome a chance to give back?

#GivingTuesday is a global movement that falls the week after Thanksgiving. It’s more than just donations; the movement is all about helping others whether it’s your time, monetary support, goods, or even your voice.

As a kick-off to the season of giving, this special day resonates around the world thanks to the power of social media. Together, we celebrate the spirit of generosity as well as the difference our philanthropy can make. Even though it’s a worldwide event, there are ways to get involved in your local community.

At Girl Scouts, we’re all about benefiting our community. In fact, its in our mission. We build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place, and often the world falls in our own backyard. We believe that when our girls succeed, so does society.

You can be a part of our mission, too. Whether it’s your time or donation, your support makes a difference in the lives of our members. We need men and women dedicated to raising the next generation of female leaders who are willing to give their time, whether that looks like leading a troop or speaking as a subject-matter expert at an event.

Your financial support can give a girl the chance to see what she’s capable of and achieve more than she imagined possible. Every gift matters to our girls.

Consider making a difference this #GivingTuesday, November 27.