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.  

There’s still time to become an Outdoor Guru this summer!

Outdoor Guru Badge

We’re in the last month if the Outdoor Guru Challenge and we’ve loved seeing our Girl Scouts engage in the challenge! If you haven’t earned your patch yet, you still have until August 31! As a reminder, to receive this exclusive outdoor challenge patch, girls must complete a certain number of items from a list of 65 activities, depending on Girl Scouting level:

  • Daisy: 20
  • Brownie: 25
  • Junior: 30
  • Cadette: 35
  • Senior: 40
  • Ambassador: 45

The activities range from watching the sunset and stargazing to earning a Troop Camping Badge. Girls have from July 1 to August 31 to complete as many challenges as possible. When they’re done, they can go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/outdoorguru and fill out the form to claim their patch. The form will be active until September 15. If you aren’t a Girl Scout in our Western New York Council, you’re still more than welcome to attend! For $3, you can order the patch from us here!

For everyone participating, we’d love to see your photos! Email communications@gswny.org to show us how you’re completing the challenge this August!

Below is an image of the challenges, but you can download a copy here: http://bit.ly/outdoorguru

Outdoor Guru

Become an Outdoor Guru This Summer

We may have left June and The Great Outdoors Month behind, but that doesn’t mean it should be the last time you enjoy the warmer weather. To encourage girls to spend more time outside, Girl Scouts of Western New York is pleased to announce the Outdoor Guru Challenge!

To win the exclusive outdoor challenge patch, girls must complete a certain number of items from a list of 65 activities, depending on Girl Scouting level:

  • Daisy: 20
  • Brownie: 25
  • Junior: 30
  • Cadette: 35
  • Senior: 40
  • Ambassador: 45

The activities range from watching the sunset and stargazing to earning a Troop Camping Badge. Girls have from July 1 to August 31 to complete as many challenges as possible. When they’re done, they can go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/outdoorguru and fill out the form to claim their patch. The form will be active until September 15.

Fortunately for all Girl Scouts, the fun isn’t limited to Western New York. Any girl is invited to take the Outdoor Guru Challenge and order a patch for $3 from us (more details soon).

Below is an image of the challenges, but you can download a copy here: http://bit.ly/outdoorguru

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Good luck, Girl Scouts!

Happy First Day of Camp!

After months of planning and preparation, camp has finally arrived! Girl Scouts of Western New York camp kicked off its official summer at Camp Piperwood, our day camp located in Fairport, New York.

This week, girls entering grades kindergarten through 8th will learn all the basics of camping with The Great Outdoors. More than simply pitching tents and s’mores, the campers will learn about hiking, healthy snacks, cooking over an open fire, and how to navigate the woods without leaving a trail.

Starting next week, July 8, both our resident camps will begin their summer programming. Camp Seven Hills will see girls in grades ranging from kindergarten through 12th pass along the grounds in the following programs: Pony Pals; Silly Scientists; Be Happy, Relax, Namaste; Camp Adventure G.I.R.L.; Climbing Masters; Long Rein, Free Walk; A Little at a Time Mini Session; G.I.R.L. Tough; Riders Up; and Seven Hills Amazing Race.

At Camp Timbercrest, the youngest girls still have a week to wait, but all the other grades will be there. Its programming includes the extremely popular Dumbledore’s Army; I’m a Go-Getter; Ready to Ride; The Great Cupcake Challenge; and Quest Seekers!

This all sounds like so much fun and we haven’t even shared the best news! This is just the beginning and it’s not too late to register your girl!

Celebrate Great Outdoors Month with the #gsoutdoors Challenge!

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This month Girl Scouts are celebrating one of our greatest partners – the outdoors! Camping has been a tradition with the Girl Scouts and the skills you learn from experiencing the outdoors can help make you a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader).

More than just encouraging you to go outside, Girl Scouts of the USA is excited to announce the official #gsoutdoors Challenge! Each week, girls are encouraged to go outside, snap a photo, and enter to win!

At the end of each challenge, one winner will be randomly selected by Girl Scouts to receive an AMAZING prize, courtesy of our new partner, The North Face. That means in total you have four chances to win – but even if you don’t exploring the outdoors is rewarding enough.

The challenges are:
June 1-8: Go the Distance
June 9-15: Rock the Lifestyle
June 16-22: Embrace Adventure
June 23-30: Nurture Nature

Official Rules on How to Enter:
1. Head to Instagram and follow @girlscouts.
2. Post a photo tagged with #gsoutdoors that shows how you’re taking on Girl Scouts’ outdoor challenges.
3. Wait for a confirmation from @girlscouts that we’ve received your entry. Once you get the message, claim your post to complete your entry.

You can enter once a day, but don’t let that stop you from taking more pictures and spending more time outside! Even better, non-Girl Scouts can participate too! The contest opens June 1 and runs until June 30 with the first winner being selected June 11. Check the Official Sweepstakes Rules and FAQs from GSUSA.

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Explore Our Grounds: Piperwood

Camp Piperwood in Fairport, NY, features vast hiking trails, a state-of-the-art splash pad, high and low ropes courses, an archery area, and open fields. Camp Piperwood is a great setting for campers looking for a day camp experience.

Browse our summer camps today and don’t forget to register!

Explore Our Grounds: Camp Timbercrest

Camp Timbercrest is located in the Allegheny Forest in Randolph, NY. The camp facilities include a lake, numerous hiking and horseback riding trails, a central dining hall, shower house, cabin and platform tent units, and horse stables.

This camp is the perfect setting for girls in grades 1-12 to experience a great and traditional summer camp program. Girls will have an opportunity to participate in a variety of activities such as swimming, boating, sailing, kayaking, arts & crafts, archery, and horseback riding.

While at camp your girl(s) will be able to meet and make new friends, learn more about her abilities, and share the joy of summer with others. Check out at our camp guide to see what camps are available!

Register for camp today!