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 >>>

Girl Scouts helped Jaylah raise her voice

Our mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place is more than just words; we see it in action. Girl Scouts throughout Western New York continually live out our mission. 

Consider Jaylah’s story, the Girl Scout pictured above. 

As a Girl Scout Junior, this 11-year-old saw an issue in her community and decided to do something about it. When Jaylah heard plans to turn an out-of-business restaurant into a liquor store, she immediately took action. 

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Courageously speaking to elected officials at a community meeting, Jaylah said “We don’t want people building businesses in our neighborhood that don’t care about what is good for us.”

Her determination continued and she met with officials and obtained their signatures on a petition to shut down what would become the second liquor store in her community. 

Her dedication paid off – soon after the liquor licenses was denied and there are no plans to move forward with that type of establishment. 

Jaylah embodied all that we value in Girl Scouts through her courage to speak up for what’s right, her confidence to talk to groups and elected officials, and the character to stand her ground for what was right for her community. 

Girls with confidence are more likely to speak their mind, believe in their intelligence, and desire to be a leader. Unfortunately, there’s a crisis of confidence happening among our girls. More than 60% of girls say they like to be in charge, but 33% admit to being afraid about leading so they aren’t perceived as bossy. 

We live in a world where if a girl or woman asserts herself or her authority, she is being bossy. It’s a negative word based on gender stereotypes that strips everything good away from being a leader. As a young girl, being told you’re bossy is something to shy away from and you learn to act in ways that keep you from being labeled so harshly. 

With self-confidence, you can disagree with a friend and not be concerned, but nearly 50% of all girls won’t say what they’re thinking or if they disagree because their desire is to be liked. Girls with the highest GPAs are the ones most likely to report feeling this way. 

Help us change this. 

With your support, we reach more and do more to turn this crisis of confidence around for our girls and help them realize just how smart and important they are. We work every day to create a space where they can grow and fail without judgement. We want to keep hearing stories of our girls being unafraid to stand up for what’s right even if it’s an unpopular opinion. 

When you invest in Girl Scouts, you’re doing more than support an organization where girls do crafts and sell cookies. You’re helping to build the future generation of leaders. You’re changing the world. 

Donate Today

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

Don’t miss our annual Women of Distinction event!

Every year, we honor eight women throughout Western New York for their strength in character, dedication to community service, and commitment to mentoring and encouraging young girls and women. This all-girl-led event is called Women of Distinction and it’s coming your way in less than one month!

You are cordially invited to join us Thursday, September 20, at 5:30 p.m. This year’s event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Buffalo at 2 Fountain Plaza in Buffalo. Our 2018 honorees are:

  • 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)

Don’t miss the exciting and empowering event – order your tickets today!

Contact Eileen Hettich via email or call 716-935-6030 to ask questions or request more information.

2018 WOD Honoress.jpg

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!

View the 2018 Sponsorship Opportunities here.

2018 Council Bridging Ceremonies

One of the most important ceremonies for a Girl Scout is Bridging, where a girl moves from one level to another. It’s a moment of reflection of what the girl has accomplished, as well as her anticipation to embrace new adventures and responsibilities. While adults are involved, everything is planned in partnership with the girls.

To Bridge from one level to the next, there are two steps that each girl must complete. From Brownies to Ambassadors, the girls must first Pass It On and then Look Ahead. By Passing It On, they are working with younger girls and showing them the value of moving on and joining Girl Scouts. With Look Ahead, they are learning about the new adventures that lie ahead of them.

Girls at all levels from across Girl Scouts of Western New York held Bridging Ceremonies and their creativity was amazing! Each event, while decorated in rainbow colors, showed a flair unique to the troop or service unit involved. Below are a few pictures, but the rest can be found in an album on our Facebook page.

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Click here to view the rest of the photos

Last Chance for Camp – don’t miss out!

We’re one week away from the official start of summer and just weeks away from the start of camp! It’s going to be such a great time this summer and we can hardly wait. If you haven’t registered your girl for camp yet, now is the time!

While some of our sessions and programs have filled, we still have openings just waiting to be filled by your girl. As of June 13, we have the following sessions available:

Camp Piperwood

  • Session 1
  • Session 6

Camp Seven Hills

  • Openings in select programs in all sessions

Camp Timbercrest

Registration for our last session doesn’t close until July 23, but you don’t want to wait and miss the chance to give your girl the best summer ever!