The winner of this year’s Camp Theme Contest is…

Every year, we ask our membership a simple question: what do you think our 2020 camp theme should be? Because we’re girl-led, we want our camps to reflect the thoughts of our Girl Scouts.

Last year, we received the idea #GirlScoutCampLife from Girl Scout Brownie Arianna. The year before, we had ‘Camp Like a G.I.R.L.’ For 2020, our winner pulled on her own camp experience for a great camp theme.

The 2020 Camp Theme Survey Contest winner is….

Senior Girl Scout Kaura C. from Olean! Camp name ‘Legacy!’

Not only does she love camp, this year she was a Counselor in Training! We’re so excited to announce her idea, but we’re waiting until International Wear Your Camp T-Shirt Day!

This November 12, we’re celebrating camp by joining the international celebration and wearing your camp t-shirts! During the day, we’re going to provide a sneak peak of next year’s camp guide and announce the 2020 camp theme!

Make sure you wear your camp shirt and check back in to see what we’re planning for next summer’s camp season.

Thank you for another great year of the #GirlScoutCampLife

Two weeks ago, we wrapped up another amazing summer at Girl Scout camp. Our three camps, Camp Timbercrest, Camp Seven Hills, and Camp Piperwood, plus our volunteer-run Camp Windy Meadows, were filled with excited campers and great programming.

More than 2,500 girls from around council attended Girl Scout camp this summer, where they rode horses, went swimming, climbed ropes, learned how to build fires, sang camp songs, and of course, made new friends.

While our outdoor programming runs all year long, summer camp is a special time for girls to gather together and learn new skills while honoring cherished Girl Scout traditions. We hear stories all the time about how important camp was and is to our Girl Scouts past and present and we can’t wait to continue creating memories.

Camp might be over for the summer, but we’re already thinking about next year’s programs. Look for the new camp guides out in January to decide what your camp journey will be in 2020. If you can’t get enough of the outdoors, head to gswny.org where you can learn more about all our outdoor opportunities, including equipment rentals, programming, property rentals, and Outdoor Champions who can facilitate programming for you.

To see photos from our resident camps, visit our Flickr page!

There’s still time to participate in our 2019 STEMtastic Summer Challenge!

For the last month and a half, Girl Scouts from around Western New York have embraced STEM in the summer as they worked toward earning their STEMtastic badge. The contest is closing soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t participate!

There are 68 total activities, but the number required varies by grade level:

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

Once completed, you can preorder your patch by coming into any GSWNY shop or calling 1-888-837-6410. Patches can be ordered through September 30 and will arrive in late October.

Download the Checklist Here

Resident Camp is open!

Yesterday marked the official first day of resident camp at both Camp Timbercrest and Camp Seven Hills! We were so excited to see our Session 1 campers arrive so we could begin our first exciting week.

You can stay updated all summer long with our camp activities by checkout out our camp blogs and Flickr account!

Camp Timbercrest News

Camp Seven Hills News

GSWNY Camp Photos

Plus, you can still register for our remaining sessions! Learn more at gswny.org.

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.  

Extended year memberships are still available!

It’s almost time for school to be over and for summer to officially start and we cannot wait! Not only do our summer camps open in the beginning of July, we have other fun activities for our Girl Scouts to do.

If you aren’t a Girl Scout yet, we have an amazing promotion. Right now you can join Girl Scouts for just $35 and it covers the rest of this membership year AS WELL AS the next! Registering now means you’re getting more fun for less money!

Even though many troops meet less frequently throughout the summer, it doesn’t mean a Girl Scout can’t have her own fun. We have Community Events where girls can go to baseball games, water parks, and other events for reduced costs. There’s the STEMtastic Summer Challenge that encourages girls to keep learning in fun and interesting ways. Of course, we still have space in our camps for girls.

This deal is even sweeter for pre-k girls who can’t wait to be Daisies! Even if they aren’t five or in kindergarten yet, they qualify for extended year and can start their Girl Scout experience now.

One great way to begin her journey as a Daisy is to attend our Daisy for a Day event June 29. We’re having six parties around council the last weekend in June to get our future Daisies excited about being Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouting is a year-round experience and you can get started today with Extended Year Membership!

Register Today

The Legend of the Friendship Stick

No camp experience is complete with a few traditions. One of our most cherished are our Friendship Sticks. We close every resident camp season with a final camp fire. During this event, our camp staff will present the current camp director with a Friendship Stick. They read the story behind the tradition and explain why one is presented each year. 

Friendship Stick on display at Camp Seven Hills

Next time you visit Camp Seven Hills or Camp Timbercrest, make sure you check out the dining halls and the Friendship Sticks on display. Now, without further delay, we present the legend behind the tradition:

The Legend of the Friendship Stick

The wood of the friendship stick is alive and solid.  It is curved to fit the curve of the earth.  This symbolizes the friendship that can grow as do the wonderful trees of the forest. 

The green circle at the bottom is for faith—faith in God and faith in one another.  It is first because it is the basis of a happy and meaningful life. 

The next four circles represent the races of the world.  They stand close together indicating that all people are equal.  Every person is capable of becoming a loyal friend. 

The green of hope is above the races.  It is hope for the future.  It is hope that people everywhere will try to overcome any differences and human failings.  Both faith and hope are green—a combination of hues; both combinations of emotional feelings we cannot adequately describe.  The four races bound by faith and hope can produce unity—a working together for the good of all.  The four paths lead toward a central goal signifying the attainment of this unity. 

The smiling face is the result of friendship based on faith and unity.  It is a reminder of the person with whom we promise to be friends.  To be greeted by the smiling face of a friend is one of the greatest joys we can experience. 

The face is crowned by the Girl Scout colors indicating loyalty.

On the back, green is carefully placed opposite the four races to show that peace and charity can exist among all people. 

A Friendship Stick must be carved by its giver.  It shows time, thought, and effort. 

The Friendship Stick can be presented as a gesture of international goodwill; as a part of an inter-troop activity; as a sign of friendship between girls of one troop; at a campfire, or during an indoor ceremony. 

This legend has traveled with Girl Scouts and Girl Guides throughout the world. 

Author: Ann Evans, Girl Scout Council of Buffalo and Erie County