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!

Why We Remain Girl-Only: The Girl Scout Difference

With the Boy Scouts making the monumental decision to admit girls into their programs, many have asked if Girl Scouts will in turn welcome boys. Some feel that in 2018, a true step of gender equality is to accept all to whatever program they desire. While we believe that it’s time to separate the idea of what constitutes ‘boy things’ and ‘girl things,’ Girl Scouts will not compromise our belief that our program works because it is girl-only.

Unfortunately, we live in a world filled with both conscious and subconscious gender bias. Research shows that girls are more self-conscious in environments with boys and are even less likely to raise their hand in class. Teachers frequently leave boys to solve problems on their own while providing girls with a little more assistance.

Examples like these show how girls are taught from a young age that they aren’t capable.

It’s not as if everyone is setting out to place these prejudices against females, but the sad reality of our culture is that’s what happens. Think about your own experiences. Whether it’s getting cat-called on the street, being mansplained to about an area you’re educated in, getting passed over for a promotion because it went to a man with less experience, or having men comment on your appearance at work, it’s likely you’ve felt these frustrations.

The whole world still feels like a boys club, with professions still regarded as for men and activities that discourage girl participation. Most of our lives are spent around the opposite sex, so Girl Scouts serves as an oasis where girls can grow without feeling the societal gender pressures.

Some will argue further that the separation shows girls they can’t compete with boys, and an organization with both genders levels the playing field, but they’re missing the point. When combined, girls are less likely to be confident, take risks, or experience new opportunities. Girl Scouts allows them to grow and try new things where it’s safe and judgement-free.

If you need to be further convinced, check out this post from Girl Scouts of the USA > 10 Reasons Girl Scouts is (Still) the Best Place for Girls

At the end of the day, we have the research that shows girls thrive in all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environments. Not only do they learn better, they have the chance to try new skills, see what they’re capable of, be leaders, and know that failure is okay because we always get back up and try again.

Take advantage of Spring Renewal

Spring Renewal kicked off April 1, but there’s still time to enjoy the incentives that comes with renewing your membership early.

With Girl Scouts, your girl will turn the question ‘can I?’ into the statement of confidence ‘I will!’ We believe there’s no challenge we can’t overcome together. We are every day optimists. Self-starters. Problem-solvers. Adventure-seekers. Change-makers. In short, we empower girls of courage, confidence, and character, and renewing your girl’s membership puts her on the same path.

Now through May 31, renew you and your girls membership to enjoy the following incentives! While many involve contests, renewing early guarantees each girl and co-leader renewed receives Sage Tuition Reward Points.

If you’re unfamiliar with this, a SAGE point equals $1 in tuition/scholarship at more than 400 participating colleges and  universities. In short, renewing your girls membership for $25 turns into $2,500 in college savings!

Girls

  • Entered into a drawing for THREE $100 Amazon gift cards
  • Qualify for exclusive Welcome Back event in the fall
  • 2,500 Sage Tuition Points

Co-Leaders

  • Entered into a drawing for THREE $100 Amazon gift cards
  • 3,500 Sage Tuition Points

Adults

  • 10% off adult apparel with renewal receipt (single use, expires 9/30/18)

Troops

  • When 100% of troop is renewed with at least two renewed co-leaders, your troop is entered into a drawing for THREE $200 GSWNY Program cards

Service Unites

  • Each Service Unit that reaches 40% girl renewal or hire will receive a 3rd party gift card equal to their renewal percentage
  • 2,500 Sage Tuition Points for Service Unit Manager

Don’t delay – renew today! 

Why Girl Scouts should still be the choice for your girl

Today Boy Scouts announced a change in who they are – while its parent organization will keep the title of Boy Scouts of America, its actual boy scouting program will be called ‘Scouts BSA,’ starting next February. This change came after the controversial decision in 2017 to let girls join its program.

For more than a century, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts coexisted with programming designed to nurture boys and girls in separate, targeted environments with strategies to aid in leadership development. As the world changed, so did the programs to reflect the current challenges each gender faced and the best way to overcome. At least that’s the case for Girl Scouts.

It’s not a secret that both organizations have experienced declines in membership due to increased competition. Families are running from one activity to the next and for a number of reasons, including a lack of understanding, Scouting is falling lower and lower in importance. While both organizations have felt these effects, we’ve chosen to respond differently.

Boy Scouts is throwing up the Hail Mary by inviting girls into their programming. A campaign set to launch this summer – ‘Scout Me In’ – is designed to show the ease of taking all your children to the same meeting, making it more convenient to be a Scout. Rather than design unique programs, Scouts BSA will simply divide boys and girls where they will follow the same curriculum. A selling point is that now girls can also work toward the highly praised level of Eagle Scout.

What that fails to mention is Girl Scouts already have the option to not only reach that same level, but pass it with their project. The Girl Scout Gold Award, while less seen, requires more time and effort to achieve than the award of Eagle Scout. Because it doesn’t have the Boy Scout boost and notoriety, few understand just how incredible it is for a girl to become a Gold Award recipient.

More importantly, Girl Scouts refuses to budge from its stance on only accepting girls because it will not compromise its mission. Especially in today’s world with more and more women finding their voice and fighting for their seat at the table, we understand the value of what we do. We’re showing girls from a young age their value and letting them know they’re capable of anything. We believe in building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place, and we don’t plan to step away from that.

Girl Scouts is an organization that is fun for girls, but we can’t forget its importance. Yes, it might mean taking your children two places for their troop meetings, but your child’s future shouldn’t be built on convenience. While we try to make it as easy as possible for you, we want your girl to be a part of our organization because of what she can become.

We’re more than cookies, crafts, and friendship bracelets. We see the lack of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics so we’re creating more programs to expose girls to these opportunities at a young age. We teach outdoor skills and survival, all while making sure your girl is empowered.

Our programming comes from years of research to ensure we’re raising female leaders. Even better, we have proven results. All of our female Secretaries of State were Girl Scouts. Almost all female astronauts. Your girl has potential, and we want her to unleash it early and often with Girl Scouts.

Lee Snodgrass from the Girl Scouts of Northwestern Great Lakes council summarizes it well:

“We proudly own the ‘Girl’ in Girl Scouts. Since our inception, Girl Scouts of the USA has been about putting girls front and center, ensuring that everything we do is with their best interests in mind and equips them to be the fearless leaders and change-makers our more than 50 million alums prove themselves to be. For 106 years, Girl Scouts has prepared girls with essential leadership skills and provided them with a supportive network of girls and women who can face any challenge, from the wilderness to the boardroom, with confidence, compassion, and success. Our focus has always been and always will be girls.”

Girls Scouts isn’t just an activity for your girl. It can change her life beyond the memories she’ll make at at camp and the lifelong friends she’ll find. Just like you, we believe in your girl’s greatness. Join us today and help her grow.