Election 2018: Girl Scouts Then, Leaders Now

The 2018 midterm elections gave women a reason to celebrate: out of the 266 women who ran for office, nearly half of them won their seats for a record-setting number of women in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. 

Even better? Of those elected to the 116th Congress, 60% were involved with our program. An impressive 74% of our women senators and 57% of women representatives and delegates are Girl Scout Alums.

The number of women governors in the United States increased by 6% and 56% of them were Girl Scouts. 

More than just numbers, 2018 boasted many historic firsts for women:

  • Kyrsten Sinema became Arizona’s first female senator, defeating Martha McSally. Both are Girl Scout alums.
  • Ayanna Pressley, Girl Scout Alum, is Massachusetts’s first black congresswoman.
  • Texas has its first Latina congresswomen with Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar, Girl Scout Alum. 
  • Marsha Blackburn is Tennessee’s first woman senator. 
  • The first Muslim women EVER were elected to Congress – Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. 
  • We also have the first Native American women in Congress – Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids. 
  • Kristi Noem was elected as South Dakota’s governor, becoming the first woman to hold the position.
  • Both Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Girl Scout Alum, and Abby Finkenauer were elected to Congress and stand as the youngest women ever to serve. 
  • Jahana Hayes is Connecticut’s first black congresswoman. 
  • Stacey Abrams, Girl Scout Alum, was narrowly defeated in the Georgia gubernatorial race, but stands as the first black woman to be a major-party gubernatorial nominee in the United States. 

We’re so proud of what our sisters accomplished this year and how they’re continuing to break the boys club mold. But our work isn’t done. 

Even with this year’s exciting statistics and stories, the gender gap is still an issue in our elected offices. Between governors, senators, and representatives, there are 591 offices. Only 136 are currently held by women, meaning they hold less than 25% of the positions available. 

The reason women don’t hold more positions is because they aren’t running as frequently as men. More than 65% of girls say they’re interested in politics, yet something stops them from running for office as adults. Some of those reasons include:

We know our Girl Scouts gain the confidence they need to succeed in their lives. The 2018 midterm election results are proof that Girl Scout show’s girls they’re capable of more by encouraging them to be leaders and sure of themselves. 

Here’s to working toward an equal future, where women being good enough or smart enough to run for office isn’t even a consideration because they know what they’re capable of. The future is female. 

Girl Scouts Learn to Lead with Fire Safety

This article originally appeared on Prevention1st.org

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 >>>

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

Rebecca Mattison, GSWNY volunteer, receives award for saving a child’s life

Rebecca Mattison has been a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Western New York for nearly 15 years. During her time, she’s led troops, served as the Service Unit Manager for Sweet Home, and now plans events for the service unit. 

Recently, the skills she learned from being involved with Girl Scouts saved a child’s life. 

At the end of October, Rebecca shared her story on Facebook, starting by saying her biggest fear was realized at work. A first grader ran to her, choking. She continued:

“He was turning purple and grabbing at his throat. I asked him if he could cough or talk, he could not. I yelled to my co-worker, Deb, ‘he is choking call the nurse!'”

Rebecca then informed the boy she’d have to hit his back and leaned him over her arm, hitting him three times in an attempt to dislodge whatever was causing him to choke. She stood him up and realized it was still stuck.

Recognizing the need for urgency, she considered using the upper thrust but decided he was too small. Rebecca instead tried the back thrust one more time and leaned him over once more.

After one hit, she heard an amazing sound – the obstruction had come out. A ball of nacho grande was seen on the floor. 

With the immediate danger over, Rebecca stood the boy up and asked if he could breathe. Realizing he could, they began walking toward the nurse, who met them halfway. Later, she saw him and let him know how smart he was for immediately running to an adult.

Rebecca explained why she decided to share her story:

“I am telling my story to say everyone should know basic first aid, especially if you work with kids near food. It’s true what they say, you think you would panic in this situation, but I went into the zone and did what I had to do.”

She concluded her tense and heroic story by adding:

“I have been trained in First Aid/CPR due to Girl Scouts and I am thankful for that.” 

In response to her actions, we awarded Rebecca the Girl Scouts of Western New York Special Commendation Award in recognition of her outstanding act of service and heroism in saving a child from choking and her embodiment of the ideals of Girl Scouts. 

We thank Rebecca for her service, selflessness, and all she does to empower the next generation of female leaders!

Thank you for making #GivingTuesday a success!

We want to take a moment to thank everyone who participated in #GivingTuesday and made it an overwhelming success, both for Girl Scouts of Western New York and the non-profit world as a whole. 

Early results indicate that donations increased by nearly 40% over last year, for a total of $380 million raised in the United States. For those who gave to any charity, you were on of an estimated 3.6 million to donate. Talk about good company.  

At Girl Scouts of Western New York, we saw both our number of donors and amount raised increase and we couldn’t be more excited. In fact, the total amount increased by more than 500%! 

Words cannot express how grateful we are our supporters. Every donation helps us keep working toward our goal of building future female leaders. You’re helping to change the world, one dollar at a time. 

Thank you. 

Give your girl the gift of camp

In Girl Scouts, we have a long, storied, and successful history of getting girls outdoors. One of the most cherished memories of many of our Girl Scouts is their camping experience. It’s not just about getting outside: we believe in the importance of connecting with nature in a girl-led setting. We believe in #GirlScoutCampLife.

Whether it’s your girl’s first opportunity for summer camp or she’s a seasoned camper, you can get the gift that’s sure to make her smile. We have so many different opportunities that get your girl outside and let her enjoy what she already loves, like riding horses, climbing ropes courses, learning about wilderness skills or robotics, seeing a Broadway show in NYC, and competing in a cupcake competition. Those are just a sample of all the amazing programs we have planned for this summer at camp.

This holiday season, you can give her the gift of memories she’ll never forget. More than just a week of fun, you’re helping to build her confidence and experience once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Purchase a Camp Gift Certificate* and give the gift of joy to your favorite girl. Camp Gift Certificates can be purchased in any amount by calling 1-888-837-6410 or by stopping in to any of our service centers.

The 2019 Summer Camp Catalog goes live January 14, 2019, at www.gswny.org and will outline all of our overnight and day camp options at our three camps – Camp Timbercrest, Camp Seven Hills, and Camp Piperwood. Check it out to see all of the coming excitement!

We wish you a joyful holiday season and a wonderful new year!

Sincerely, The Girl Scouts of Western New York Summer Camp Team


*Certificates are non-refundable and are redeemable during registration time in January 2019