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.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today kicks off our annual Great Girl Scout Sign Up! For two weeks, we’re holding events around the council to recruit new members. This year’s special focus is cybersecurity, in honor of October being Cybersecurity month!
We’re only four days away from the kick-off of The Great Girl Scout Sign Up Time! This is the perfect time to sign up or renew your Girl Scout membership for our 2018-19 year!
Girl Scouts prepares every G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader) to practice a lifetime of leadership by providing access to countless girl-led experiences, skill-building opportunities, and life-changing connections.
Don’t miss your opportunity to experience Girl Scouts by participating in one of our recruitment events around the council during The Great Girl Scout Sign Up Time! You can participate in cybersecurity and STEM activities, dance parties, general interest meetings, and even a Mommy & Me Tea.
We’d love to meet you at an upcoming recruitment event. If none of these work for you, click here to find a recruitment event near you.
If you have any additional questions about these or other events, contact Customer Care at email@example.com or 1-888-837-6410.
We’ve been focused on renewing current memberships as the end of September approaches, but we also know a new Girl Scout membership year means more Girl Scouts! To launch our new year, we’re having the Great Girl Scout Sign Up Time.
Stay tuned for more information about our special events, or check out other recruitment events!
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.
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.
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.
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!
It’s hard to believe there’s only one month left of our current membership year. Looking back, 2017-18 was filled with so many amazing programs, events, and opportunities, but we know 2018-19 is going to be even better.
With the new year starting up soon, it’s important to make sure you and/or your girl have renewed their Girl Scout membership by September 30. To learn more about why this is important, check out this video from Christine Kirwan:
Don’t forget about the prizes
If you watched the video, you heard about the drawing for the last August Target gift card as well as the upcoming surprises for those who have renewed. Yes, that means you still have chances to win! Plus, even if you renewed your membership prior to September or even in the spring, you can still win! How cool is that?
Don’t let your membership lapse and miss out on all of the amazing rewards that come with being in a Girl Scout. It’s more than just the prizes we give out, too. As the preeminent leadership organization for girls, we build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We want to give her the opportunities to experience new and exciting activities that help her discover her strengths so she can grow into a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader).