Girl Scouts Fight Hunger

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April is an exciting month for Girl Scouts. This year, we’re kicking off camp, announcing new and exciting partnerships and celebrating our volunteers. But it doesn’t end there.

For the Girl Scouts of Western New York, April is also about giving back, specifically through our annual Girl Scouts Fight Hunger initiative.

Throughout the month of April, we encourage everyone in our council to donate food. These donations support the Food Bank of Western New York and Foodlink. All of our service centers are available to accept your donations, making it easy to contribute.

You can find us Batavia, Buffalo, Jamestown and Lockport. Our hours vary, so please confirm we’ll be there through our website before you stop by. If you want to donate but cannot make it to a service center, email us at girl.experience@gswny.org.

Like most drives, only non-expired and non-perishable food items will be accepted. Suggestions include peanut butter, canned fruits and veggies, mac and cheese, tuna, cereal, granola bars and more.

You can even fight hunger in your community while earning our Girl Scouts Fight Hunger Patch. You can join our council-wide effort to combat hunger through knowledge and awareness. There are two steps toward completing the patch: discover and connect and take action.

First, either on your own or with your troop or family you must find a way to discover and connect to the issue. After learning more, you will connect donations and drop them off at one of our locations. For more information about ways to connect and preregister for the patch, check out this flyer.

Thank you in advance to everyone who helps us fight hunger in Western New York!

World Thinking Day 2018

Recently Girl Scouts of Western New York had the opportunity to once again participate in World Thinking Day, an international event coordinated by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS). Every February 22, Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from 146 countries celebrate by doing the same activities around the same theme.

This year, “Impact” was the selected theme, and girls were encouraged to show and share how they help impact their communities all around the world. #ThisisImpact showcased the girls’ efforts across social media platforms.

It’s been almost 100 years since WAGGS first began celebrating World Thinking Day, and it still represents a day of international friendship. While all girls enjoy the same activities to connect them from country to country, the day also shines a light on issues affecting young women. It’s a tradition that began in 1926 and isn’t going away any time soon.

In Western New York, we celebrated a few days early. Girls from around the council gathered at Camp Windy Meadows to spend the day doing Impact activities together.

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Click here to see the full album! 

It’s Snow Much Fun to be a Girl Scout! 2018 Service Unit Recruitment Contest

Instead of letting the winter weather cool us down, we’re embracing the fact that it’s ‘snow’ much fun to be a Girl Scout! Now through March 2, the Girl Scouts of Western New York Council is holding a recruitment contest for our service units!

 

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The rules are simple – plan a service unit recruitment or bring-a-friend event through March 2 and you’re automatically entered for a chance to win a $200 GSWNY shop certificate or store gift card. The best part? You can hold as many events as you’d like and receive an additional entry for each one! The winner will be selected at random and announced on March 5.

The key is to fill out this form for your entry in the contest > Snow Much Fun Recruitment Contest Form.

Even better – new troops can win as well! The first 10 new troops formed (with five new, registered girls and two registered, approved, and trained co-leaders) will win a $50 GSWNY shop gift certificate.

Let’s beat the winter blues and show more girls why Girl Scouts is the right organization for them!

Summer Camp Guides Out Now – Register Today!

The weather outside may be frightful, but we have news you just might find delightful! There is hope at the end of this Western New York winter, and that hope is our 2018 2018 Camp BlogSummer Camps – our Resident and Day Camp Guides are now out!

This summer, we’re inviting you to camp like a G.I.R.L., a go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader. Our three camps are filled with new and exciting programming to fill your summer with making new memories, learning new skills, and of course having tons of fun!

Camp Piperwood, Camp Seven Hills Goodyear, and Camp Timbercrest are positioned around Western New York to provide easy of access for girls, no matter their location. Each camp offers unique opportunities and activities to make this the best summer ever.

Camp LocationsWhile you’ll have to check out the Resident & Day Camp Guides for the full schedule, below is a sneak peak of what you can find at each camp:

Camp Piperwood (Day Camp) // Fairport, New York

July 2 to August 10, 2018 // Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 Programming Includes*:

  • Adventures in the Trees
  • Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance
  • Art in the Outdoors
  • A Rising Star
  • Cables and Carabiners

Camp Seven Hills Goodyear // Holland, New York

July 8 to August 10, 2018 // Sunday at 1 p.m. to Friday at 7 p.m.

Programming Includes*:

  • GIRLbots
  • Pony Pals
  • Scuba Diving Explorers
  • Seven Hills Amazing Race
  • Secret Agent Girl

Camp Timbercrest // Randolph, New York

July 8 to August 10, 2018 // Sunday at 1 p.m. to Friday at 7 p.m.

Programming Includes*:

  • Dumbledore’s Army
  • The Great Cupcake Challenge
  • My Favorite Pony
  • A Canoeing We Will Go
  • Find the Artist in You

*Please be aware that camps listed occur different weeks throughout the summer and are designed for different age groups. A full break down of schedule and grades can be found in the Camp Guides

Registration for camp is now open! Don’t miss your opportunity to camp like a G.I.R.L. See you this summer!

Girl Scouts of WNY participate in 47th annual Skills and Chills event

On Sat., Sept. 24, Girl Scouts from the Western New York council participated in the 47th annual Skills and Chills event. The event took place at Camp Seven Hills Goodyear located in Holland, NY.

Skills and Chills is a yearly competition in the GSWNY council that allows Girl Scouts that are sixth-grade Cadettes through twelfth-grade Ambassadors to test their abilities and earn awards. A committee organizes the event and chooses judges that are subject matter experts in each field. This year, ten new volunteers were trained as subject matter experts and added to the judging panel.

Nancy Grimes, chairperson of the outdoor committee, stated, “It’s important to know these skills. It gives girls a sense of strength in the outdoors. They can say, ‘I can do this. I can accomplish this. I don’t need to wait for someone else to do it.’ Part of the philosophy of this program is not just having the skills, but being willing to try and give it a shot.”
Ann Marie Lesnewski brought Cadette troop 30143 to the event. She commented, “We try to do the skills throughout the year. Whenever we go camping we try to incorporate fire building. With first aid, we talk about it all the time and what you should do if certain situations come up. It’s an ongoing process for us and we don’t just do this to prep for Skills and Chills.”

Troops collectively decide on a team name and often create costumes to match their theme. This adds to the fun and helps to unite the troop even further with a visual element of camaraderie.

Lesnewski explained how her troop chose their theme. “We came up with a Christmas theme because I ride in a scooter, so the girls were trying to figure out how we could incorporate that. I’m Mrs. Claus in a sleigh, the leaders are elves, and the girls are all reindeer.”

Girls face off in events such as archery, orienteering, canoeing, tent pitching, log sawing, knots and lashing, and field sports.

Grimes explained, “Points earned are based more on common sense and safety than speed. It’s about understanding what’s required to be safe if you use these skills while camping. We’re out here to make sure they enjoy it and can act as leaders to be able to light a fire or perform first aid. Team building and communication are important for the girls to learn and use, too.”

Teresa Buchner of troop 70400 said that her troop didn’t have access to canoes to practice, but came up with an alternate plan instead. They got paddles and set up dining room chairs to practice on, pretending they were in a canoe and working on skills such as turning and stopping momentum. She and teammate Josie Ostrowski earned second place in the canoe skills competition showing that a little Girl Scout ingenuity holds great value.

Dayonna Tester from troop 70923 said, “Today, I did archery, first aid, knots and lashing, and compass. My troop practices every week as part of our troop meetings. First aid was my best event. We had to wrap an arm with an ace bandage and make a splint. My team worked really well together.”

Tester had to step in for a troop member that was unable to make it to the competition. The girl that couldn’t attend the event had been signed up for archery. Tester had never touched a bow before, but was willing to do her best. Afterward, although she didn’t score any points, she said, “I want to take archery lessons! That was really fun!”

At the end of the evening, all the points were totaled and award ribbons were given out. Volunteers beamed with pride as all the girls cheered on the winners.

Grimes said, “Part of why this is a success is we keep doing what the girls need. This is about these kids having fun and having an experience they won’t forget.”

To learn more about Girl Scouts of Western New York, visit gswny.org

 

Girl Scouts of WNY learn about car care and safety

1Caption: The girls broke into groups to discuss topics that affect driving such as bad weather, construction, personal distractions, and more. 

On Sat., April 2, the Girl Scouts of Western New York partnered with GEICO car insurance to deliver a car maintenance and safety program called Car Care with GEICO. The event was targeted at Girl Scouts that are about to become new drivers or have only been driving for a short period of time.

Melanie Bloodworth, Director of Program at GSWNY, commented, “All the girls are earning their Car Care badge. That’s including an opportunity to learn some basic car maintenance skills, how to jump a car, how to change a tire, how to check your oil. They’re also participating in activities around safe driving and how to drive for a greener Earth. At the very end, they’re coming up with safety jingles that they’re sharing with everybody.”

This is the second year that GSWNY has offered the program with GEICO. Last year, the program was only available in Buffalo, but because of its success, it was brought to the Rochester area. Approximately 40 girls along with parents and troop leaders attend the programs.

“These are some basic life skills that girls often don’t learn at school or maybe even at home if their parents aren’t comfortable with car maintenance,” said Bloodworth. “These are very important things for girls to learn as they become drivers, so that they can be safe and do some basic checks to make sure their cars are in good working condition. I think it’s something about Girl Scouts that’s unique. We provide girls these opportunities to learn these skills that they really don’t have another venue where they would be learning this in an organized program that’s also fun and interactive.”

A team from the Management Development Program in the GEICO Claims Department led the event at the Al Sigl Center in Brighton. At GEICO there is a committee for Girl Scouts that gets together to ensure that all the requirements for the Car Care badge are met. The team then takes that information and puts their own twist on it to make it even more fun.

2Caption: The GEICO staff explained what tools and safety equipment are great to have in your car. They explained that it is better to have it and not need it, rather than need it and not have it.

Erin Dorozynski from GEICO had her first experience working with Girl Scouts at the event.

“Their creativity is just amazing,” she said.” It’s nice to see them thinking outside the box and taking a different look at distractions or ways to be more safe as drivers.”

Katherine Warth, an Ambassador Scout from Monroe County troop 60420 commented, “I learned a lot about what kind of tools you need to keep in your car, how to change a tire, when your battery dies how to jump your car. My dad recently had to do and I was like ‘Oh my gosh! I never want to be stuck in that situation and not know what to do. So it’s good things to know as a new driver. I learned some things at home, but it was a little bit here and there. This put everything together in one cohesive place.”

The parents and troop leaders in attendance also had some questions and contributed to the discussion providing their insight from their own driving experience.

3Caption: The Girl Scouts came up with funny jingles to better remember how to be safe and aware on the road and protect the environment.

Dorozynski said, “It’s incredibly important to be prepared. I know that’s something the Girl Scouts live on, but especially as drivers, you can’t be unprepared, especially in the weather we have in Western New York. Being prepared and having everything you need is of the utmost importance.”

She added that awareness is a huge factor in safe driving. Not only awareness of your own actions, but being conscious of what other vehicles around you are doing as well. She also wants girls to feel like it’s okay to ask passengers for help. They can help give directions, respond to messages and calls so that the driver can stay focused.

Joelle Maurer from troop 60835 in Monroe County, said, “They’re just 16 and new drivers. I wanted them to become a little more aware of road safety, as well as awareness. Growing up I didn’t do this, and I still wouldn’t have a clue how to change a tire, so giving them an opportunity to learn this from someone besides mom and dad is a really good tool for them.”

To learn more about Girl Scouts of Western New York, visit gswny.org.

Girl Scouts of WNY connect with the world

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The event started off with high school-level Girl Scouts teaching younger girls fun camp songs.

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Ambassador Scouts Paula Brant, Miranda Mellan, Adeline Kofoed, Kelsey Lubecki, along with Senior scouts Ashley Whipkey and Gabrielle Gasiorek taught the girls the song “Bazooka Bubblegum.”

Girl Scouts from all over Western New York gathered together for the International World Thinking Day event on Sat., Feb. 27, 2016. The theme of the event was “Connect,” which focuses on understanding yourself, relationships with friends and family, and your part in the world and how to make it a better place. Girl Scouts and Girl Guides worldwide spent the day learning about other cultures and working together.

The Girl Scouts of Western New York spent the afternoon at Herbert Hoover Elementary School in Buffalo. There were 150 Girl Scouts from 29 troops.

Bree Kramer, the lead volunteer at the event, said, “I wanted girls to have an opportunity to connect with other Scouts globally and learn about Scouting in other countries.  I was also hoping they could learn about the opportunities available to them as older Scouts.  I was fortunate enough to go on a Destination (then called Wider Opportunity) to Puerto Rico when I was 14 for an Ecology Education program in the rainforest and a Troop final trip around Europe.  Those memories have stayed with me and helped shape the person I am today.  I want other Scouts to know that there is so much more available to them outside their neighborhood and council.”

The Girl Scouts learned about Girl Guides, the International version of Girl Scouts, and their famous lodges which act as headquarters: The Pax Lodge in the United Kingdom, Our Cabaña in Mexico, Our Chalet in Switzerland, and Sangam in India.

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The girls decorated a craft featuring each lodge’s mascot animal using bird seed and crayons.

Another activity featured technology as a way to connect with the world. The Girl Scouts played GeoGuessr, a computer game where you are shown a random view from somewhere in the world and then you click a map to guess where you are. The closer you are, the more points you get. You can use clues from the scene such as the color of dirt, types of trees, style of vehicles, writing on road signs, and more as context clues about the location.

“I really hope the girls learned that even though people in other parts of the world are different, they are also similar to us. The GeoGuessr game they played helped the girls realize that there are many places in the world that look similar to the United States, despite being thousands of miles away,” said Kramer.

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Because STEM is important to the Girl Scouts, technology provided a fun way to get a view of random locations around the world.

The girls also participated in a series of games about working together. The Girl Scouts played a game where you had to keep a ball moving around the circle in a series of half tubes. They also passed a beach ball to each other without using their hands. The girls also played the traditional game of Telephone where the first girl says a phrase to the next and by the time it gets to the last girl you see if the message has become jumbled.

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Daisy Girl Scouts work together to help a ball travel down the line. The cooperative game taught them that tasks aren’t as hard when they solve problems as a group.

The last station the Girl Scouts visited was to learn meditation. Ken Stucynski, a professional martial arts instructor from 8 Tigers Academy of Tai Chi & Chi Kung, taught the Girl Scouts about finding their inner calm and learning how to diffuse stress through thoughtful breathing and carefully listening to the world around them. It helped the girls to connect with themselves, while also mentally reaching out to the world around them.

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Daisy Girl Scouts talk about breathing calmly to help their bodies relax. 

Stucynski commented, “As we get older, we lose more and more touch with what it means to be centered. If children get a glimpse of this and this became a part of learning experience with any regularity, this could create a new type of adult, someone who would be equipped with basic tools to survive and thrive much more than they could otherwise. They wouldn’t have to fix themselves later. It’s a way of dealing with stress instead of trying to Band-Aid it.”

At the end of the day the Girl Scouts earned their World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts USA World Thinking Day Badge, and they fulfilled requirements for their GSUSA Global Action Badge.

Kramer hoped the Girl Scouts enjoyed the event, adding, “I hope they learned that even if they stay locally, there are many new friends and new adventures waiting for them all over Western New York.”

To learn more about the Girl Scouts of Western New York, including opportunities to volunteer, please visit gswny.org.