Gold Award Girl Scout Chris Belin reflects on what Girl Scouts taught her and the importance of the program for girls

[Below is a guest post written by Gold Award Girl Scout Chris Belin]

My name is Chris Belin.  I am a 38 year-old self-employed Health and Business Coach living in East Amherst, NY.  Just over 20 years ago, I earned my Girl Scout Gold Award, and to this day, it is still one of my proudest moments!

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That’s me on the left!

I became a Girl Scout when I was 6 years old.  I still remember our meetings in a church basement!  Learning the Girl Scout Promise, selling cookies, and singing songs.  Within a few years, I went to Girl Scout Camp and volunteered in the community at soup kitchens and homeless shelters.  But, as I got older, it became more difficult to juggle my school work, sports, social life and Girl Scout activities.  I wanted to quit.  But, my Mom, not a Girl Scout herself, refused to let me.  She knew the impact it had on me and the community.  She said “this is your commitment and you are going to finish it!”

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Me with my mother at the Gold Award Ceremony

While in high school, I earned my Silver Award, and without much time in between, I began working on my Gold Award.  My first two ideas were rejected by Council.  I was so upset and shocked actually!  But looking back, I see why.  It would have been too easy!  I really needed to push myself and do more for others.  I began a project of Female Empowerment with young girls in my community.  It lasted three months and was an amazing experience for them and me. I learned just how powerful one person can be, no matter their age!  Nothing else could have better prepared me for college, and later….working full time, motherhood, and entrepreneurship!

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Me and other members of my troop at the Gold Awards

I am now a wife and mom of two kids, an 8-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son.  Raising kids is a lot of work and it certainly “takes a village”.  For that reason, and many others, we are and will always be a Scouting family. Girl Scouts is a great resource in teaching so many important life skills to my daughter, such as leadership, contribution, healthy relationships, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, etc. I am not aware of any other organization that does all that!

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When I was a Girl Scout, I didn’t fully understand why we sold cookies. Through my daughter’s experience, I learned that the Girl Scout Cookie Sale is the largest entrepreneurial program for girls in the world!  As an entrepreneur myself, I love that! It has taught my daughter how to be confident, how to talk to people, how to shake hands, how to manage money and deadlines, etc.  She was her troop’s top seller this year!

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I am thrilled to be part of my daughter’s own Scout experience.  She is learning, growing, and having fun!  If you have a daughter, I urge you to check out a local meeting, and find a troop that is right for her.  You will be so glad you did!

Chris Belin

Mompreneur & Founder, Design Your Days Nutrition

716-207-0134

chris@chrisbelin.com

Our STEM focus extends to our camps

Hosting STEM programs at camp this summer is like the marrying of two of the initiatives we’re most excited about. Girl Scouting has always been about enabling girls to do more and push themselves and their knowledge further. Because of this, our programs always take a progressive approach to dealing with problems faced by women every day.

This is one reason camp has been a part of Girl Scouts since the beginning. We believe in helping girls become leaders in the great outdoors by showing them important skills. Plus most of us can agree that some of the best memories are created at camp!

Our STEM focus is to battle the overwhelming majority of men who work in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. A major goal of Girl Scouts is to funnel more women in the STEM pipeline and close the gender gap currently found there. By exposing girls to STEM activities at younger age, they feel more comfortable with their place in that world.

With STEM-specific camps, we combine the outdoor fun with the educational aspects associated with these programs. With five programs targeted at younger girls, we want them to get excited about STEM and their potential future in the field!

Camp Piperwood

  • Citizen Scientist to the Rescue (Grades K-8)
  • Science Wonders (Grades K-8)

Camp Seven Hills

  • Silly Scientists (Grades 1-3)
  • Zoologist (Grades 1-3)
  • GIRLbots (Grades 4-6)

 

If you haven’t registered for camp yet, now is the time!

Don’t forget to register for your Sage Rewards Points!

First, we want to thank everyone who participated in our Spring Renewal Campaign. We are beyond thrilled with how many adults and girls renewed early this year. Even better than our gratitude, all our early birds qualify for some pretty great perks, including Sage Tuition Rewards Points.

This system turns your renewal fee into money for college for anyone you choose still in high school. Every dollar turns into a point, which in turn becomes a $1,000! The $25 cost for girls becomes $2,500 and the $35 for co-leaders and Service Unit Managers becomes $3,500! Even better, you don’t have to assign these points right away and you can change who you’d like to receive them.

To receive these points, you must create an account with Sage Scholars by Friday, June 8. This allows the points to be added automatically this summer. Failing to sign up unfortunately means you won’t receive your points – they can’t be added retroactively.

Visit www.tuitionrewards.com to set up an account.  At that time, you can designate recipients for the tuition points, or edit the list later.  If you have issues logging in, or have questions about your account, please contact Sage directly using the “Contact Us” link on their website.  We are unable to assist with your account. While on the Sage Rewards website, you can learn more about how the points work, who can use them, qualifying colleges and more.

If you have additional questions, please review this FAQ sheet.

It’s not too late to sign up for Girl Scout summer camp!

While it’s technically late spring, we can all agree that school letting out and the beautiful weather signifies that summer is FINALLY here! The only thing more exciting than summer vacation is figuring out how you’re going to spend your time and we have good news:

CAMP IS WAITING FOR YOUR GIRL!

Just because summer is here doesn’t mean it’s too late to sign up your girl! We still have options for all grade levels at our camps to make sure she has the best summer ever.

Camp and the outdoors are part of our Girl Scout DNA. We believe in addition to fun, camping teaches your girl important leadership skills and helps her on her path to become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader). Even better, we have a program planned for just about anyone.

At Camp Piperwood, your girl can experience the best of day camp through programs like The Great Outdoors, Science Wonders, Citizen Science, Cables and Carabiners, and more!

If resident camp is what you’re looking for, our summer is filled at Camp Seven Hills and Camp Timbercrest with horseback riding, science-based camps, Harry Potter, and much more!

Spaces are filling up quickly so make sure to register your girl for camp today! Day camp starts July 2 and resident camps starts July 8, with all sessions ending August 10.

 

 

Celebrate Great Outdoors Month with the #gsoutdoors Challenge!

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This month Girl Scouts are celebrating one of our greatest partners – the outdoors! Camping has been a tradition with the Girl Scouts and the skills you learn from experiencing the outdoors can help make you a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader).

More than just encouraging you to go outside, Girl Scouts of the USA is excited to announce the official #gsoutdoors Challenge! Each week, girls are encouraged to go outside, snap a photo, and enter to win!

At the end of each challenge, one winner will be randomly selected by Girl Scouts to receive an AMAZING prize, courtesy of our new partner, The North Face. That means in total you have four chances to win – but even if you don’t exploring the outdoors is rewarding enough.

The challenges are:
June 1-8: Go the Distance
June 9-15: Rock the Lifestyle
June 16-22: Embrace Adventure
June 23-30: Nurture Nature

Official Rules on How to Enter:
1. Head to Instagram and follow @girlscouts.
2. Post a photo tagged with #gsoutdoors that shows how you’re taking on Girl Scouts’ outdoor challenges.
3. Wait for a confirmation from @girlscouts that we’ve received your entry. Once you get the message, claim your post to complete your entry.

You can enter once a day, but don’t let that stop you from taking more pictures and spending more time outside! Even better, non-Girl Scouts can participate too! The contest opens June 1 and runs until June 30 with the first winner being selected June 11. Check the Official Sweepstakes Rules and FAQs from GSUSA.

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The deadline for Camp Financial Aid is tomorrow, June 1

Our camperships exist to partner with you so your girl can go to camp. We want every girl to experience new opportunities to grow and not be held back by current circumstances. If you’d like assistance in sending your girl to camp, the time to apply is now.

Simply go to our website and register for camp. Here you can explain why you need the additional support in detail, as well as provide your household income information and submit the required documents. We need to know what you can provide, and we promise to never share the information with anyone.

As a reminder, in order to qualify you must meet the following criteria:

  • Your girl must be a registered member of Girl Scouts of Western New York
  • Your application is due by June 1
  • You must be caught up on all your payments for cookies, QSP merchandise, programs, and prior years camp fees

See you at camp!

Girl Scouts in Action: Memorial Day 2018

Girl Scouts from around the council spent their Memorial Day Weekend embracing the true spirit of the holiday – honoring those who gave their lives for our freedom. From planting flowers to marching in parades and everything in between, GSWNY is so proud of our girls’ commitment to giving back.

Here are a few photos from their activities:

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“This past Saturday, Junior Jaylah B; along with fellow Girl Scouts, participated in the Memorial Day Wall of Honor Wreath Laying Ceremony, at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park, where five Western New Yorkers were added to the Wall of Honor. This event recognized and honored those men and women who gave their lives in service protecting our nation’s freedom.”
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In preparation for the Memorial Day Parade in Honeoye Falls, Troops 60362, 60381, and 60514 from the Totiakton Service Unit weeded the flower bed around the Pioneer Cemetery signs. The girls had fun while learning a new skill and helping their community!
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“Girl Scouts from Troop 42024 (Corfu) participated in the Memorial Day Parade in Corfu, where they handed out red, white and blue necklaces to spectators, they also took part in the flag ceremony and memory flowers.”
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” West Seneca Service Unit 317 was well represented at the Memorial day parade. From Daisies on up and along with our wonderful leaders, they carried their flags with pride !”
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“Troop 20094 Walked in the lakewood ny parade”
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“The East Aurora Girl Scouts participated in the West Falls Memorial Day Parade and memorial service in West Falls, NY.”
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‘Brownie troop 60670
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Webster troops marched in the Memorial Day parade and participated in the ceremony to honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. “

Visit our Facebook page to see the complete album!