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!
Deciding what activities for your girl to be a part of can be challenging considering all the options. This is especially true come summer with different camp opportunities and ways for them to spend their free time. You want what’s best for your girl, and so do we, which is why we think Girl Scout camp is the place to be.
There are a lot of places where your girl can have fun, but at Girl Scouts she has the unique experience of combining fun and unforgettable activities with learning key lessons to carry her through life. It’s not just our goal; we see it in the lives of our girls.
We hear stories about how our program helped our leaders of today, but there’s a special spark that happens when they start talking about camp. Something about the experience stays with them and helped shape them into the woman they became.
Girls attend camp for the first time shy and unsure, but they don’t stay that way for long. It’s truly wonderful to witness.
These experiences aren’t by chance or accident. Girl Scout Summer Camp has four key benefits in mind that go into the planning each year.
Develop and cultivate girls’ self-identity, self-worth, self-esteem, and self-respect.
Build girls of courage, confidence, and character by providing opportunities for girls to experience camp life on their own.
Focus on the 3 keys to leadership: discover new skills within themselves, connect with others through team building and problem solving, and take action by making things better at camp and in their communities.
Provide a safe environment that encourages leadership, imagination, and acceptance as well as a community where girls feel less at risk.
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.
We’re in the middle of our second annual Snow Much Fun to be a Girl Scout Recruitment contest and we have exciting news – the deadline to participate has now been extended to March 31! This means you have more time to plan your events and build your troops for your chance to win our amazing prizes!
As a reminder, the contest has two pieces, one for new troops and one for service units. On the SU side, they receive one entry into a drawing for a Glow Party Dance Kit for every recruitment event they hold through March 31.
For the first 10 new troops formed through March 31, they’ll receive a $50 gift card to the retail store of their choosing or our GSWNY shops. A new troop must have at least five girls and two registered adults.
How can you help us? Share this information with members of your SU! You can help the new troops forming in your area and hold events to help your chances of winning a Glow Dance Party Kit for your SU!
We will choose one winner of our prize which is a Glow Dance Party Kit for you to use as a Service Unit event. Glow dances are increasingly popular, and with the kit it will be very easy to host an amazing event for your girls. The kit includes black lights, glow in the dark body paint, glow sticks, and everything else you would need! You can host the party as a standalone event, as part of a SUCO, or as a yearend celebration.
Please reach out to your SU’s CES for any support you will need including flyers or promotional materials.
Criteria for the New Troop Challenge
The goal of this challenge is to form 10 new troops across GSWNY between January 7 and March 3, 2019.
The first ten troops to form with at least five girls and two registered, trained, and approved co-leaders will receive a $50 gift certificate to the GSWNY shop or a retail store of their choosing.
Please promote this challenge at any recruitments you host during the Snow Much Fun period so new troops in your SU can be eligible. New troops will be added to the Opportunity Catalog prior to January 7 and they will be clearly marked for this promotion. We can give you the eligible troop numbers prior to any event you host if you’d like. Please reach out to your CES with questions.
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls. Reserved for Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts, it is the highest and most difficult of all our awards. The leadership skills, organizational skills, and sense of community and commitment that come from “going for the Gold” set the foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship.
Each year, less than 6% of all Girl Scouts will earn their Gold Award and in 100 years of our highest award, one million girls have earned it or its equivalent.
More than just a community service project, girls who pursue their Gold Award must demonstrate a higher commitment to improving their communities and advocating for sustainable change.
In the process of earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, girls not only develop sustainable solutions to some of society’s biggest challenges- for example, cleaning up our oceans, increasing girls’ access to education, and addressing public health issues- they grow more confident and strengthen skills that guide them toward success in both school and their future careers.
When a girl becomes a Gold Award Girl Scout, she feels the satisfaction that comes from working to support an issue she’s passionate about; she also gains an edge in applying for competitive scholarships and in the college admissions process.
This fall Prevention 1st trainers delivered the first sessions of the Leadership Development program in fire safety which they developed for the Girl Scouts of Western New York (GSWNY). Sessions held in Rochester and Buffalo, NY, drew 34 Girl Scout Cadets, from 6th-graders to 12th graders, eager to learn leadership and fire safety skills. They will each now present 3 training sessions with younger Daisy and/or Brownie troops.
“This is a chance to up their leadership skills and be role models for younger girls,” said Lauren Bush, Assistant Director of Girl Experience for GSWNY. “And fire safety is so important, it’s good for them to hear it from their peers. As leaders, as adults, we can tell kids these things about fire. But when they hear it from their slightly older peers, it really sticks.”
“They were so enthusiastic and committed to playing a role in their community,” said Bob Crandall, Prevention 1st trainer. “For that age group it was very impressive.”
The Prevention 1st training will count toward the senior Girl Scouts’ leadership awards, and toward the younger Scouts’ play safe! be safe!Fire Safety Education patch. Training sessions were held on a day off from school, with some entire troops attending as well as individual girls interested in the training. The Rochester session was sponsored by the John F. Wegman Fund and the Buffalo session by Prevention 1st.
Molly Clifford taught the girls strategies for teaching younger children and presentation skills to keep their audience engaged and learning. Bob Crandall presented the specific fire safety skills they would need to teach the younger Girl Scouts, drawn from the curriculum of the play safe! be safe! fire safety program. The girls then worked in small groups to develop and rehearse their own presentations.
“They came up with creative ways to be “hands on” with skills,” Crandall recalled, “like using newsprint to make “smoke” and then demonstrating the correct way to Stay Low and Go under smoke.”
Bush hopes that as the younger Girl Scouts learn, they will later step up to do the same training for others:
“There’s no better way to show their leader skills. It’s a “pay it forward” skill.”
Prevention 1st is dedicated to preventing injury by educating and/or hazard proofing the environments of those most at risk: older adults, young children and people with disabilities. Learn more >>>
One of the best events of the year is only two weeks away. Every year, we celebrate eight amazing women in the Western New York area for their character, dedication to community, and passion for mentoring girls and women. The event is appropriately called Women of Distinction.
Like all of our events, it’s a girl-led ceremony prominently featuring our Girl Scouts. In fact, eight girls will spend time shadowing and learning from one the honorees. At the awards, she’ll share her experience.
This year, we have the privilege of honoring:
Lindsay Cray: Co-Founder & Executive Director, Earthworks, Inc. (Monroe County)
Rosanne Frandina: President of Frandina Engineering and Land Surveying (Erie County)
Althea E. Luehrsen: CEO, Leadership Buffalo, Inc. (Erie County)
Patti Ann Pacino: Batavia City Council Member (Genesee County)
Venus Quates: President and CEO, launchTECH (Erie County)
Dr. Dilara Samadi: OB/GYN, Buffalo Medical Group (Erie County)
Honorable Joanne Winslow: Associate Justice of the New York State Supreme Court (Monroe County)
This event isn’t limited to Girl Scouts, either; we’d love to have you with us! This year we’re celebrating at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo Thursday, September 20, with the evening’s events beginning at 5:30 p.m.
To learn more about the experiences and passions of former honorees, check out The Girl Scout Difference campaign for their stories.
Interested in Being a Sponsor? Sponsorship opportunities for organizations of all sizes exist. Invest in the future of girls today by sponsoring an event – 100% of your investment will stay in Western New York to help girls develop important leadership skills. Learn about sponsor opportunities by viewing our sponsorship packet and change the world by investing in girls today!
For more information about this event or becoming a sponsor contact Eileen Hettich at 1.888.837.6410 x6030 or email
It’s hard to believe there’s only one month left of our current membership year. Looking back, 2017-18 was filled with so many amazing programs, events, and opportunities, but we know 2018-19 is going to be even better.
With the new year starting up soon, it’s important to make sure you and/or your girl have renewed their Girl Scout membership by September 30. To learn more about why this is important, check out this video from Christine Kirwan:
Don’t forget about the prizes
If you watched the video, you heard about the drawing for the last August Target gift card as well as the upcoming surprises for those who have renewed. Yes, that means you still have chances to win! Plus, even if you renewed your membership prior to September or even in the spring, you can still win! How cool is that?
Don’t let your membership lapse and miss out on all of the amazing rewards that come with being in a Girl Scout. It’s more than just the prizes we give out, too. As the preeminent leadership organization for girls, we build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We want to give her the opportunities to experience new and exciting activities that help her discover her strengths so she can grow into a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader).
[Below is a guest post written by Gold Award Girl Scout Chris Belin]
My name is Chris Belin. I am a 38 year-old self-employed Health and Business Coach living in East Amherst, NY. Just over 20 years ago, I earned my Girl Scout Gold Award, and to this day, it is still one of my proudest moments!
I became a Girl Scout when I was 6 years old. I still remember our meetings in a church basement! Learning the Girl Scout Promise, selling cookies, and singing songs. Within a few years, I went to Girl Scout Camp and volunteered in the community at soup kitchens and homeless shelters. But, as I got older, it became more difficult to juggle my school work, sports, social life and Girl Scout activities. I wanted to quit. But, my Mom, not a Girl Scout herself, refused to let me. She knew the impact it had on me and the community. She said “this is your commitment and you are going to finish it!”
While in high school, I earned my Silver Award, and without much time in between, I began working on my Gold Award. My first two ideas were rejected by Council. I was so upset and shocked actually! But looking back, I see why. It would have been too easy! I really needed to push myself and do more for others. I began a project of Female Empowerment with young girls in my community. It lasted three months and was an amazing experience for them and me. I learned just how powerful one person can be, no matter their age! Nothing else could have better prepared me for college, and later….working full time, motherhood, and entrepreneurship!
I am now a wife and mom of two kids, an 8-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son. Raising kids is a lot of work and it certainly “takes a village”. For that reason, and many others, we are and will always be a Scouting family. Girl Scouts is a great resource in teaching so many important life skills to my daughter, such as leadership, contribution, healthy relationships, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, etc. I am not aware of any other organization that does all that!
When I was a Girl Scout, I didn’t fully understand why we sold cookies. Through my daughter’s experience, I learned that the Girl Scout Cookie Sale is the largest entrepreneurial program for girls in the world! As an entrepreneur myself, I love that! It has taught my daughter how to be confident, how to talk to people, how to shake hands, how to manage money and deadlines, etc. She was her troop’s top seller this year!
I am thrilled to be part of my daughter’s own Scout experience. She is learning, growing, and having fun! If you have a daughter, I urge you to check out a local meeting, and find a troop that is right for her. You will be so glad you did!
Cookie season is one of the most anticipated times of the year. The much beloved Girl Scout cookies are only available for a few months, causing the mania to set in when the sale finally begins. But what about the actual delivery?
In order to bring those delicious cookies to Western New York, a mega drop is held at several warehouses across the council. A truly incredible amount of cookies are dropped off, organized, and given to our Girl Scouts to deliver to their supporters.
It’s a collaborative process between Council and the troops to ensure each drop is a success every year. This makes it a great time to interact with leaders and girls as well as bring the joy of cookies to Western New York.
This year, a nor’easter threatened part of the drop Friday, March 2. While winds and rain assaulted the East Coast, that precipitation turned to snow in Western New York bringing more than a foot overnight in some areas. Conditions were terrible, and Council actually closed all of their locations due to the weather.
But cookies couldn’t be stopped.
Despite the snow and closings, the drops continued as scheduled, and everyone received their cookies. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to enjoy some of your own!
Thank you everyone who supports our girls as they learn valuable leadership and business skills through cookie sales. You’re helping to raise the leaders of tomorrow, and that tastes as good as it feels.