Only a few more days to register for L.E.A.P.

Register for our semi annual L.E.A.P. volunteer training by this Friday, October 26!

L.E.A.P. logo

This November 3, we’re inviting all our volunteers to attend the event at either our Buffalo, Lockport, or Rochester Service Center. It runs from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Paula D’Amico, TV news producer will deliver a keynote, and then we have workshops to help your Girl Scout Leader experience. Options include:

  • Keeping your girls engaged
  • Financing your troop
  • Outdoor experiences
  • And more!

As an added bonus, we’re going to take time to test out the new STEM activities from GSUSA so all our volunteers understand the program (and can also see how fun it is!)

Join us at one of these locations:

Buffalo – Daemen College, Amherst NY
Rochester – Rochester Service Center
Lockport – Lockport Service Center

Registration closes October 26

Don’t miss our upcoming volunteer training!

At Girl Scouts, we have a lot of resources to ensure our leaders are equipped to build girls of courage, confidence, and character. While we have training throughout the year, nothing is quite as extensive as our twice-a-year L.E.A.P. event.

L.E.A.P. logo

This November 3, we’re inviting all our volunteers to attend the event at either our Buffalo, Lockport, or Rochester Service Center. It runs from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Paula D’Amico, TV news producer will deliver a keynote, and then we have workshops to help your Girl Scout Leader experience. Options include:

  • Keeping your girls engaged
  • Financing your troop
  • Outdoor experiences
  • And more!

As an added bonus, we’re going to take time to test out the new STEM activities from GSUSA so all our volunteers understand the program (and can also see how fun it is!)

Join us at one of these locations:

Buffalo – Daemen College, Amherst NY
Rochester – Rochester Service Center
Lockport – Lockport Service Center

Registration closes October 26

My Experience at Skills and Chills: The Girl Scout Difference

[This is a guest post written by council staff member Chelsea Cummins]

Even though I’ve worked at Girl Scouts of Western New York for nearly a year, Skills and Chills was the first opportunity I’ve had to attend a true Girl Scouting event. Co-workers told me how much fun I would have, but honestly I wasn’t really prepared for how right they’d be in the end.

For those who aren’t aware, Skills and Chills is an annual event held at Camp Seven Hills. While it is a GSWNY program, it’s completely run by volunteers. It’s the third of our Outdoor Progression series, following Tents Up for Daisies and Brownies and Ready Set Camp for Juniors and Cadettes. The first two focus on the skills you need to compete in Skills and Chills.

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A glimpse of the teams after breakfast

When I arrived Saturday morning, I was immediately blown away. There were more than 200 people buzzing with excitement in the dining hall. Girls were dressed in costumes ranging from custom labels on a shirt to a full-on lumberjack outfit complete with a drawn on beard. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face.

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A team called the “Lucky Lemurs” passing the time together

The atmosphere didn’t change despite the long day spent outside. It was hard not to feel good around a group of people who were just so enthusiastic about what they were doing. And I’m not just talking about the girls competing.

I’ve seen a lot of volunteers who just show up and do what they need to do at an event. They’re more preoccupied with when it ends than really focusing on the kids in attendance. I didn’t come in expecting this level of apathy, but I assumed it would be a similar feeling of I can’t wait until this ends.

To all our Girl Scout volunteers, I’m so sorry I underestimated you.

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This volunteer drew faces for all the log sawing competitors, going as in-depth as they requested

What I found from the adults in attendance was something truly special. They were just all, without exception, so encouraging. The ones dressed up were just as into it as the members of their team.

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The two on the left dressed as Cruella de Vil and her henchman are leaders

The ones judging the events never looked exasperated for frustrated, even if a team was taking a long time to complete their task. They patiently watched and offered words of support. When acceptable, they gave little pieces of advice to help the girls without compromising the competition. It was clear they were having just as much fun.

I spent time listening to volunteers in certain areas and it was hard to leave. They guided the girls through and cared about their learning. Skills and Chills is a competition, but it’s clear it’s still a learning experience. It doesn’t matter if a girl has practiced for an event or this is her first day, the volunteers remained happy to guide however possible.

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This volunteer guided all the girls through the different knot knowledge they should have and spent the time after going over what they weren’t sure of and showing proper techniques

Because my experience as a Girl Scout lasted less than one year, I thought about interactions I’d had in similar situations as a child. It’s not like every volunteer I’d encountered was negative, but none stuck with me quite like the helpers at Skills and Chills.

 

As the day continued, I didn’t hear the girls becoming frustrated with each other. They didn’t get mad at teammates when something didn’t go as well as  they’d hoped. The spirit of competition was prominent, but it never affected how they interacted with each other. No one was cutthroat or tried to puff themselves up. It was simply a group of girls doing their best, trying to win, but most importantly having a blast.

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Girl Scout team members helping each other out

I believe in the Girl Scout Difference, but I haven’t always. I tried Girl Scouts when I was young but moved on quickly. Like too many people, I assumed they were all about crafts and cookies. Even when I was first hired, I told people I was conflicted about working here because I didn’t really believe in the organization.

It’s laughable how far I’ve come in a year. Actually, it only took about a day to realize Girl Scouts was so much more than I imagined.

Now I’m so into Girl Scouts I’ve signed up my niece and convinced my sister to become a co-leader. I’ve seen firsthand the impact of Girl Scouts and I want them both to experience the difference. I want my sister to help lead girls and watch her daughter grow. I want my niece to develop friendships in a space without competition and pressure. I want her to see that no matter what the world tells her, she’s capable of greatness in any area she wants.

I’ve believed in the Girl Scout Difference for awhile, but if I had any doubts, Skills and Chills erased them all. Never in my life have I experienced something like it, where the girls felt safe to succeed and fail and the volunteers cared about encouraging and making every girl feel important.

People are busy and there are other activities, but I know Girl Scouts is the best option for your girl. She gets to do a bit of everything and set herself up for a lifetime of leadership and success. Nothing is more important, because here’s the thing: we know success looks different for everyone. We don’t want to force your girl to do something she doesn’t want to or feels like she has to. We care that she finds her thing and never looks back.

That’s what motivates me every day at my job. That’s the Girl Scout Difference.

Girl Scouts Go Outside: The Girl Scout Difference

Girl Scouts don’t go outside. That’s the major difference between Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, right? Boys go camping while girls sell cookies.

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For all the seasoned Girl Scouts out there, you know how ridiculous that is. First of all, we don’t just sell cookies. Cookie season is about more than everyone getting their fill of their favorite cookies. It’s the largest girl-run business IN THE WORLD. Through it, the girls learn goal-setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.

Second of all, Girl Scouts go outside. A lot.

The Girl Scout Leadership Experience has four pillars: STEM, life skills, entrepreneurship, and outdoors. Going outdoors is so important to us that it forms one quarter of our foundation. At Girl Scouts of Western New York, we make sure there’s plenty of outdoor programming for our girls.

Summer Camp

We have three different sites where girls can attend programming over the summer, not including our volunteer run Camp Windy Meadows in Niagara County. Whether girls decide to go to resident camp at Camp Seven Hills or Camp Timbercrest or day camp at Camp Piperwood, we have options throughout the council to make sure all our girls can go to camp.

Troop Camping

Whether you choose S.P.P Camping or Core Camping, we have options for our troops. We even offer troop camping training so our co-leaders are ready to take their girls out!

Outdoor Progression Series

Through our Outdoor Progression Series, Girl Scouts can start at the Daisy level and move through a three-level system to become master campers. Each level is designed to teach new outdoor skills until the girls compete in Skills and Chills at the Ambassador level!

Trailblazer Program Series

Similar to our Outdoor Progression Series, this takes girls from Daisies through Brownies and teaches them the skills they need for safe hiking and backpacking. Volunteers are invited too!

Camp Adventure Club

If a Girl Scout wants even more outdoor experiences, she can join Camp Adventure Club for more opportunities like practicing the seven skills of Leave No Trace, learning more outdoor skills, and forming lifelong friendships.

Ropes Challenge Course

Starting at Challenge 1, all levels are welcome to participate. At Challenge 2, it begins with second year Brownies and beyond. From Challenge 3-5, it’s only Juniors through Ambassadors.

These are just the group and series activities. All year long our council is active in a number of other programs, like Me and My Favorite Gal Overnight, Archery Clinic, Earthworks Intro to Winter Wilderness Survival, and more! Check out our 2018-19 Program Guide to learn more about how Girl Scouts get outside!

Women of Distinction is two weeks away!

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)
  • Betsy Wright: President, UPMC Chautauqua WCA Hospital (Chautauqua 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.

If you’re interested, please visit our website to learn more and order your tickets.

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