Building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place

By: Marian Van Vlack, Lifetime Girl Scout from Whitesville, NY

MarianHello! My name is Marian Van Vlack. I’m originally from a small town called Whitesville, NY and I’m a senior at Rochester Institute of Technology. At the end of May I will be graduating with my bachelors degree in Packaging Science. Then in the fall I will start working full time for The Kraft Heinz Group, but first I’m going to spend 10 weeks hiking the Appalachian Trail.

The Appalachian Trail (AT) is one of the longest continuously marked footpaths in the world, extending from Springer Mountain, Georgia all the way to Mount Katahdin, Maine. The trail coves about 2,180 miles but I will only be hiking about 750 miles. My journey will begin where the trail enters New York State and I will hike through most of New England until I reach Katahdin, Maine. I will be hiking a little more than 10 miles per day carrying all that I need in a backpack. Periodically I will be stopping in towns that are along the trail in order to resupply. Most nights will be spent in either a tent or a shelter, my meals will be cooked over a small camp stove, and I will need to get my water from nearby streams. Right now I am working to finish up my last semester of school while planning my trip along with my two friends who have agreed to hike with me.

I decided to go on this adventure two years ago. I knew that this would be my last summer off before starting a full time job and I wanted to make the most of it. There are certainly a lot of other trips I could have taken, most of which would not involve going multiple weeks without a shower. For me though, hiking is the perfect way to process the transition from school to work. I will have a lot of time while I am hiking to reflect on my experiences over the past five years of college and imagine my future in a new career. This time on the trail will also give me the chance to evaluate my priorities and values as I start a new phase of my life. When you eliminate all the distractions in the world and reduce your lifestyle to focus on survival your eyes are opened to what is really important. I don’t know exactly what I will experience while on the trail, but the unknown is part of the appeal.

My love for adventure, challenge, and the outdoors actually began with Girl Scouts. I started out as a Daisy and am still a Girl Scout today, 18 years later. Through my whole time in Girl Scouts I have loved camping. I camped a lot with my troop and when we were older we loved showing off our camping skills at Rainbow World Jamboree. I also attended summer camp every year and when I was too old to attend as a camper I started working. I worked at three different camps over the course of five years and being on camp staff is still my favorite job of all time. My passion for the outdoors doesn’t stop there; my Gold Award project actually involved creating a historical trail which gave people the opportunity to go on their own short hike right through town.

I still have a lot of planning to do before my trip and a lot of work to do before I graduate, but I am counting the days until I first step food on the trail. I look forward to sharing my upcoming adventures and hopefully my trip will inspire others to do something equally exciting.

Editors Note: We will continue to follow Marian’s hiking adventure all summer long so stay tuned!

By: Kim Dunne, Media Manager

gold_awardHelping out a local animal shelter, creating a pamphlet of local attractions, cleaning up a park, teaching teenagers the dangers of texting and driving – these are all community service projects that previous young women of distinction have done.

This year we are thrilled to have 36 girls earn the Girl Scout Gold Award; 183 earn the Girl Scout Silver Award; and 600 earn the Girl Scout Bronze Award!

We will once again be honoring our Gold Awardees at our annual meeting on May 30 at Hobart and William Smith College in Geneva.

Our Bronze and Silver Awardees will be recognized at local ceremonies throughout the council. Ceremonies include:

  • May 17 from 2-3:30 p.m. in Alexandria Bay
  • May 17 from 1-2:30 p.m. in Palmyra
  • June 6 from 10-11:30 a.m. in Corning
  • June 7 from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. in Cicero
  • June 7 from 1:30-3 p.m. in Cicero
  • June 12 from 6:30-8 p.m. in New Hartford
  • June 14 from 2-3:30 p.m. in Endwell
  • June 14 from 2-3:30 p.m. in Oneonta

To register for any of these Bronze and Silver award ceremonies, click here.

We can’t wait to celebrate your achievements with you and hear about your wonderful community service projects!

Congratulations girls!

By Lisa Kaminski; Manager, Community Development

cookies hereThinking about having one more cookie booth sale this weekend? Here are three reasons you should!

Customers LOVE those cookies!

If you can achieve a per girl selling average of 160+ your troop will be entered in a chance to win a free program trip! For girls in grades K-3 this would be a trip to the Buffalo Museum of Science and for girls in grades 4-12 a trip to New York City!!

There are some amazing rewards girls can earn through their cookie sale program and one more booth sale could help the girls in your troop achieve their sales goals.

So, take advantage of this one last weekend to have a cookie booth sale in your community. For more cookies visit a local cookie cupboard. To find a cookie booth sale in your community visit


By Lisa Kaminski; Manager, Community Development

volunteer2Today is Girl Scout Leader’s Day. A day to honor all of the volunteers who work as leaders and mentors to girls in Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts is the premier leadership experience for girls because of the effort put forth by all of our volunteers.

So, thank you for helping to create a supportive, caring, fun, environment which encourages girls to discover, connect, and take action to make the world a better place!

Want to thank a special Girl Scout volunteer in your life? A smile and a thank you, a bouquet of daisies, cards made by the girls in the troop, a service unit recognition┬áceremony, are just some of the ways. For more information about Girl Scout Leader’s day, or to volunteer, visit


By: Kim Dunne, Media Manager

Lorelai allamerican“Girl Scouts has taught me to be courageous and strong,” says Girl Scout, Lorelai, from Holland Patent.

Lorelai wants to let everyone know that girls can wrestle too! She recently traveled to Battle Creek, MI to compete in the NUWAY Individual Nationals wrestling tournament. This was the first year a girls division was offered. Lorelai is a first year wrestler and finished second in her division and brought home an All-American title!

“I sometimes feel sad when I get pinned but my mom reminds me that it’s not all about the win,” Lorelai says. “I worked on My Promise, My Faith together and I learned that Eleanor Roosevelt said, ‘You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.’ So I get back out there and try again! That is part of the law, courageous and strong. I AM courageous and strong!”

Great job Lorelai! We’re very proud of your dedication!

By: Kim Dunne, Media Manager

What goes into being a Girl Scout volunteer? What are the hardest parts? What are the joys?

It can be an intimidating time – becoming a volunteer for any organization. Sometimes you’re not quite sure what you’re doing or what you’re getting yourself into. That’s why we put together this monthly blog series. We are going to follow a relatively new volunteer throughout her Girl Scout volunteer experience. That way you can see first hand what it is like to volunteer with the Girl Scouts. So grab your friends, sit back, and experience first hand the experience of a Girl Scout volunteer.

We last checked in with Andrea Decker from Endicott in February when she was preparing her girls for the cookie program. All girls in her troop sold cookies this year and were very proud of their accomplishments.

The girls decided to donate cookies to a local nursing home this year and to use their cookie proceeds to go on a camping trip! With selling cookies comes the opportunity to hold a booth sale. Their first booth sale was held a couple weeks ago at the mall. They ended up with a later time slot (6-8 p.m.) and Andrea says that in coming year she is going to try to get a different location for earlier in the day when cookies first come in. Despite the later time, she says the girls did a great job.

“They sang many of their new cookie songs that we learned for the rally at the booth for customers,” she said. “The customers thought that was adorable and enjoyed listening to them.”

On the list for next year’s booth sales include bags for the cookies for their customers and a banner for the troop made by the girls.

Andrea says the troop sold all of their extra boxes.

“We ordered on the conservative side, knowing what we had in terms of the booth sale and not really wanted to be strapped to sell a bunch of leftovers,” she said.

Her co-leader, Jen, traded cookies with other troops on Facebook and Andrea says that process seemed simple enough and worked for them.

This past weekend the girls enjoyed their very first camping experience! They have worked hard in planning the trip, which was with another Brownie troop at Camp Hoover. The girls made stamps and notebooks for their letterboxing badge, they worked on planning out the hiking badge, the kaper chart and guidelines to follow, a gear list, and even looked at the weather to decide what clothes they should bring. They planned a menu filled with spider dogs, gorp and breakfast wraps.

As Andrea mentioned in February the girls are planning on a service unit project involving a local animal shelter. She is still working on finding a connect with a local shelter. The girls earned their pet badge and realized how much work and money it is to raise a pet, so they are excited about working on this community service project.

“On our agenda upcoming is continuing to work on the service unit project and possibly a few more badges for the spring. We usually end in late May/early June and our girls will be bridging into Juniors and I would like to have them do the candle ceremony for their bridging,” Andrea said.

Stay tuned for another update in May as Andrea tells us how the first camping trip went for the girls and more about the service unit project they want to work on!

By: Kim Dunne, Media Manager

early birdAs they say the early bird gets the worm – and the same goes for early bird registration!

Early bird registration opened Wednesday and with it comes some great incentives for girls, troops, and service units!

Girls who register with the early bird registration will receive a patch. Troop leaders will receive a 20% off coupon to one of our boutiques. Service Units will earn $2.50 per girl for inviting girls to register early!

Early bird registration is open through June 30. It’s easy to claim your spot for another year of Girl Scout fun! Current troops can register online by clicking here. You can also fill out a paper registration form to re-register.

If you have questions e-mail

Take advantage of the early bird incentives and register early!

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