Meet the Women of Distinction: Generational Award honoree Marion Nivert

By Catherine Amoriello and Cathy Hirko

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is honored to recognize the legacy of Marion Nivert as this year’s recipient of the Generational Award at the 2022 Women of Distinction Celebration.

Marion Nivert, GSHPA Generational Award honoree
GSHPA will recognize the legacy of Marion Nivert as this year’s recipient of the GSHPA Generational Award.

This award celebrates those who have lived by and shared the values of Girl Scouts with their community and future generations. As a former Girl Scout troop leader who made Girl Scouting a family affair, Marion is a prime example of the power one individual can have in spreading the Girl Scout mission to others.

Marion embodied Girl Scout principles not only as a troop leader, but in the way she lived her life and raised her daughters Doris Stamper, Leslie Manning and Amy Williams. Marion’s family could not afford to send her to college when she finished high school during the Great Depression, but she persevered toward her dream of getting an education and earned her college degree in the 1960s. Marion stressed the importance of women needing their own careers and raised her daughters to be independent during a time when that was not the predominant cultural value.

Marion brought her passion for female empowerment to Girl Scouts as a troop leader where she connected with many girls. She was always interested in helping girls become more knowledgeable about their religion and was instrumental in helping girls earn their Menorah Award, her daughters said. Manning and Williams got to witness their mother in action as their own troop leader during their time as Girl Scouts.

“I remember a troop camping trip in May waking up to snow. I could tell how stressed mom was but she worked hard not to let the others see. She was a true leader,” Williams said.

Marion’s daughters shared they all loved being in Girl Scouts. They learned a lot from the badge work they completed and also had fun earning them. Camping was also a favored activity and brings fond memories for the sisters today.

“Summer Camp was absolutely the highlight of my summers,” Stamper said. “The scout troop was a community. We each went to camp for many years as kids and teens.”

Marion’s husband, Harry Nivert, was also involved in Girl Scouts as a board member. The sisters recounted their father delighted in talking about being on the cookie-tasting committee to select the flavors the troops would sell.

The Girl Scout connection also spread to the Nivert’s son and daughter-in-law, Lou, and his wife, Barbara.

In 1971, Barbara Weinberg married Lou and joined the Nivert family. Their children became involved in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and Barbara was an active volunteer as well.

She remembers the pride felt by Marion and Harry when they visited the Nivert Pavilion for the first time at Camp Archbald in Susquehanna County. The pavilion was a gift from the family to the camp.

“We drove them up (to camp) to see it. They stood there with smiles on their faces. It was just a beautiful site. They were thrilled to be there,” she said.

Many years, grandchildren and great-grandchildren later, the love of Girl Scouts Marion instilled in her family is still present today. The Niverts continued camping trips for several years, sharing the tradition and Camp Archbald experience with Marion’s granddaughters. Manning followed in Marion’s footsteps to serve as a Girl Scout troop leader for many years, from Brownies to Seniors, and especially loved taking girls camping. And today, some of Marion’s great-granddaughters are now Girl Scouts.

“I think she would say it was all fun,” Stamper said of how Marion would have responded to receiving the Generational Award. “Our mother was so special and loving and giving. She was always happy to help others, and did a lot for the Temple and the community, as well as Girl Scouting. It made her feel good to help Girl Scouts and others.”

Girl Scouts held a special place for Marion, Barbara said.

“The Niverts were a scouting family, and Marion just loved the Girl Scouts. She loved the organization,” Barbara said. “That was in her heart; that was Marion Nivert.”

GSHPA’s Women of Distinction Celebration will be held on Sept. 14, 2022, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Country Club of York. Visit GSHPA’s Women of Distinction registration page to purchase tickets.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Cathy Hirko is the Marketing and Communications Director for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at chirko@gshpa.org.

Girl Scouting done her way – have your girl join as a Juliette

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) believes all girls should have the opportunity to participate in Girl Scouts. But what if there’s no local troop available for your girl to join? Or what if she enjoys participating in sports or other activities that don’t allow her time to attend troop meetings?

Luckily, where you choose to live or your girl’s busy schedule does not have to keep her from experiencing the benefits of Girl Scouting. If joining a troop is not an option for your girl, consider having her participate as an individually registered member, otherwise known as a Juliette.

Juliettes’ get their name from Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low and follow in her footsteps of shaping their own Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). Juliettes embark on their Girl Scout journey individually, allowing them to experience Girl Scouts on their own time.

“If a girl is busy with extracurricular activities or has travel issues, she has the opportunity to participate in Girl Scouts as a Juliette without having to attend troop meetings,” said Gina Naticchi, GSHPA Volunteer Support Coordinator.

Juliettes can do anything Girl Scouts in a troop would do, such as earn badges and complete journeys; earn Highest Awards; go to camp; participate in the Fall Product and Cookie programs; and attend Girl Scout events and activities. They can still receive adult support and guidance through their Juliette Mentor, who is either a parent/caregiver or another trusted adult, and Juliettes also have the opportunity to connect with each other through volunteer-led Facebook groups.

Cadette Girl Scout Freyja enjoys all the fun of Girl Scouts as a Juliette.

GSHPA had 180 girls registered as Juliettes during the 2021-2022 membership year, and Juliette Girl Scout Freyja was one of these independent girl members.

Freyja is a 12-year-old Cadette from Wyoming County. She’s been a Girl Scout for seven years and was encouraged to join by her mother Suzanne Fisher. Freyja has had many experiences through Girl Scouts, including learning about different outdoor and indoor activities, exploring women’s history through visiting the museum at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y., and gaining skills and knowledge that will prove useful when she grows up. And she’s accomplished all of this as a Juliette.

“Freyja goes to multiple Girl Scout events in addition to working on awards and badges herself. Because of this, I feel she gets to socialize with a wider variety of Girl Scouts than if she was with a dedicated troop,” Fisher said. “She continues to grow in confidence through Girl Scouts – this is a sisterhood of people who she knows will work together and be thinking of each other, even if it’s a single Juliette she meets online or at an event.”

Freyja works on a bench at Camp Archbald for her Bronze Award project.

For every challenge Freyja faces as a Juliette, or Fisher and her husband face as her Juliette Mentors, the family has a solution. While Freyja does not have regular meetings and may struggle to complete badges because of a lack of a consistent Girl Scout schedule, the family works together to plan ahead and schedule time for Freyja to complete her activities and attend events. And since Fisher and her husband cannot drop Freyja off at Girl Scout events individually and must also attend as parent chaperones or adult members, the couple ensures they are up to date on their Girl Scout memberships and volunteer clearances.

For girls or parents/caregivers who are hesitant about joining Girl Scouts as a Juliette and fear missing out on the “traditional” troop experience, Freyja and Fisher assure families won’t miss out on any of the Girl Scout fun.

Freyja participates in a rock climbing activity at Camp Archbald.

“You get to try a lot of new things, and you get to do more stuff you like,” Freyja said.

“Juliettes have a big advantage. I see Juliettes as a great way for kids in remote areas of the council to join and become Girl Scouts, and they can do it their own way,” Fisher said.

Do you think the Juliette Girl Scout experience is right for your girl? Join GSHPA on Aug. 18 at 6:30 p.m. for our Juliette Open House to learn more about this unique membership opportunity. Attendees will learn more about what Juliettes can do in Girl Scouts and participate in a live Q&A session with GSHPA staff. GSHPA will also host a Juliette roundtable discussion on Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m. Both of these events will be great opportunities for girls and parents/caregivers to ask questions, access helpful resources, and network with other Juliette families.

GSHPA knows your girl has many interests – so let her keeping doing what she loves best AND watch her grow in Girl Scouts as a Juliette!

For troop leaders who would like to engage Juliettes in their local area, or Juliettes who would like to engage with local troops, please contact your VSC to learn more.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Author and publisher Phyl Campbell brings an inclusive vision to life

A York County creative mind shows how writing can be used to uplift others.

By Catherine Amoriello

At Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA), we encourage girls to pursue their passions, whatever they may be. While Girl Scouts focuses a lot on outdoors, life skills, entrepreneurship and STEM, creativity and the arts go hand in hand with these programming tracks. Demonstrating the success that can be found in creative arts, as well as the impact creative skills can have on the community, is Phyl Campbell, a York County-based author, editor and publisher.

Phyl Campbell, founder of Phyl Campbell Press.

Campbell owns her own publishing company, Phyl Campbell Press, and serves as chair of the Splash! Book Carnival event. The carnival provides local authors opportunity to share aquatic-themed works with proceeds benefitting Autism at Face Value (AFV), a comic book publishing company that promotes neurodiversity acceptance by using comic books to demystify Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Looking to provide a more engaging vendor event for authors, Campbell teamed up with AFV co-founders Angela and Dave Kot to bring the carnival to life.

“We already had authors who were local [and] ‘othered,’ whether by autism or something else, and were writing with aquatic themes. And we knew we had artists with talents to share. All we had to do was provide an event where they could all shine,” Campbell said.

AFV’s mission hits close to home for Campbell as she herself has autism. After navigating her own self-development, she hopes through her work she can help others, regardless of if they have a disability or not.

“I used to worry that when people knew I was autistic, they would use it against me. Angela especially has helped me affirm and embrace my autism, and use my autism and need to self-advocate as a way to help advocate for all. Even people that aren’t autistic often need some form of accommodation,” Campbell said.

While Splash! Book Carnival had been Campbell’s brainchild for years, she recognizes the event would not have come to fruition without the support of others. She said after sharing her vision with the Kots, they didn’t hesitate to join her and back her idea. This partnership, in addition to others involved with AFV, has provided Campbell a support system that makes following her passion that much more enjoyable.

“Being part of AFV has given me a group of people with whom to share my ideas, hopes, frustrations and successes. It is really good to work together toward a goal [and] be doing something for others in a larger avenue of service,” Campbell said.

Phyl Campbell reads a book to children at Sonnewald Natural Foods event.

Following a pay it forward concept, Campbell supports aspiring authors by coaching girls and women throughout their writing process. She balances transparency with not overwhelming her mentees with too much information, saying meeting people where they are and trying to help them grow is very important.

For girls and young people who are interested in a career in writing or publishing, Campbell said it’s never too early or late to start. She said business smarts are key to successfully marketing yourself and your work, and much can be learned from self-published individuals. But her main piece of advice is applicable to anyone, no matter their interests or passions.

“Be bold and fearless in your pursuit. If you can tell a story that captures people’s attentions, you can leverage that to any aim you have. When you’re the writer, you control the narrative. That’s a very powerful position to be in.”

For older girls looking to explore their writing talents, check out the Cadette Screen Writer and Comic Artist badges, the Junior Scribe badge and the Senior Novelist badge.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Take your outdoor interests to the next level; join a Girl Scout Trailblazer Troop

By Catherine Amoriello

Is your favorite part about Girl Scouting the outdoor adventures? Could you spend all day swimming, hiking, camping or learning about the outdoor world around you? Are you an enthusiastic outdoorswoman looking to level up your skills? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to join a Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) Trailblazer Troop!

Girl Scouts from Troop 81597 in Fulton County earn their Trailblazer pin while working on their hiking badge at Blue Knob State Park. The girls climbed 2,000 feet to earn the badge and learned about wilderness first aid, stewardship and hiking skills.

Trailblazer Troops are special interest troops focused on the great outdoors. The troops zero in on five outdoor core competencies which include adventure sports, stewardship, hiking, camping and survivorship. For each competency, girls will strive to learn more about the activity, apply what they learn through participating in the activity, and share the activity in a way that engages others. Girls can focus on one concentration area or all five of them. The choice is theirs!

Trailblazer Troops are just like any other Girl Scout Troop. They still do badge work, complete Journeys, earn Higher Awards and go on trips – they just complete all of these tasks through an outdoors lens. While Trailblazer Troops are only available to girls in eighth through twelfth grade, there are no other requirements or prerequisites to join a troop. Trailblazer Troops are open to girls of all ability levels who are willing to complete the curriculum to earn their Trailblazer pin. But Sarah Baldwin, GSHPA Outdoor Program Manager, provides a dose of reality of what it means to be a Trailblazer.

Girl Scouts work on their survivorship skills by learning how to build a shelter with materials only found in nature.

“I think when people think of girls going outdoors, they don’t think of the skills. They think of girls going camping for a quick overnight or Girl Scout camp. It’s not getting dirty or roughing it in the woods, but it is. Especially with Trailblazers,” Baldwin said.

Like a traditional Girl Scout troop, Trailblazers have troop leaders to lead them through one adventure to the next. Any current troop leader can complete trainings to become a Trailblazer Troop Leader, and GSHPA welcomes new volunteers to sign on as leaders as well. Under the guidance of their troop leader, girls will have the opportunity to focus on outdoors skills such as diverse hiking and camping styles, orienteering, conservation practices, outdoor preparedness and safety, survival techniques and more.

Joining a Trailblazer Troop will not only improve girls’ outdoor competence, but will prove valuable in a multitude of career paths down the road. From environmental educator, to park ranger, to environmental advocacy lawyer, Trailblazer Troops open the door for girls to turn their passion for the outdoors into a lifestyle.

Girl Scouts prepare for their hiking expedition on the Appalachian Trail.

“There’s plenty of girls and women who hike the Appalachian Trail every year. The goal is to give girls confidence to do something similar,” Baldwin said.

For girls and troop leaders interested in learning more about Trailblazer Troops, be on the lookout for informational events this fall and winter. GSHPA will also be hosting a Trailblazer informational session at this year’s Virtual Volunteer Conference on Nov. 5.

Ready to get started now? Find a Trailblazer Troop to join near you by visiting GSHPA’s Trailblazer webpage and completing the Trailblazer Troop interest form.

Face a new outdoor challenge, get dirty, and embrace the wild – are YOU ready to be a Trailblazer?

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

GSHPA board and committee member Stacey O’Neal Irwin shares importance of communication skills, personal impact of Girl Scouts

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is honored to have so many volunteers supporting Girl Scouts’ mission in our local communities. And we not only have external volunteers working hard to build girls of courage, confidence and character, but we also find support internally from our many board and committee members.

GSHPA invites its members to learn more about the philanthropic professionals who help guide our organization and why they dedicate their time to serving Girl Scouts. This week, we’re recognizing Stacey O’Neal Irwin, GSHPA Board Member-At-Large, Volunteer Strategy Committee Chair, and former Board Development Committee member. Read on to learn more about this passionate volunteer!

Stacey O’Neal Irwin is a GSHPA Board Member-At-Large, the Volunteer Strategy Committee Chair, and a former Board Development Committee member.
What advice would you give to girls interested in a career in communication education?

I have learned over the course of my career that communication is a very versatile and useful topic to study. Learning about public speaking, group, interpersonal and non-verbal communication, leadership communication and media content creation are skills you can use for many kinds of careers. Studying communication also helps you become a better writer. Many companies and careers are looking for strong oral and written communication skills.

What can we do to have more girls/women in communication education?

Being a good communicator starts when you are young. Getting involved in clubs and activities like Girl Scouts helps young girls learn to use their voice in positive ways and allows them to practice verbally sharing their perspective in large and small groups. This also helps girls learn to become advocates for the ideals they believe in and the ideas they have. Fostering the idea that people want to listen to what girls have to say is important, because it leads to women who are strong communicators. Encouraging girls and young women to share their voice means we need to develop good listening skills so they feel heard. This builds confidence.

Why is being involved in Girl Scouts important to you?

I will always be grateful to my mother for being my Brownie troop leader. As I grew in Girl Scouting, I visited a TV studio with my troop and decided I wanted to study media and communication. I learned leadership and camping skills that helped me gain courage and confidence. I traveled and met Girl Guides from other countries. And I sold lots of cookies to pay my way. I became a leader of my daughter’s troop and watched girls earn their Gold Award like I did. I am grateful for the experiences I had and the volunteers who helped me along the way. I want to give back to the organization that helped me become who I am today and to give other girls those opportunities.

What advice do you have for girls who want to get involved with their communities?

I think it’s great to really think about the kinds of things you’re interested in. Brainstorm and write them down. Then think about community groups or non-profit organizations that have those same interests. Go to their events and volunteer. Then let others know of your interests so they can get you connected. Gather a few friends and start a club to help others in your community where you see a need. Or take a class to learn a new skill others might need, then volunteer using that new skill.

Of the four components of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (STEM, Life Skills, Outdoors and Entrepreneurship), which one resonates with you the most, or you find most valuable to girls’ success?

I like all four components and the way they intertwine to give a solid, unique foundation for programming experiences for girls and young women. I can share that I learned a lot of life skills from outdoor experiences. I gained confidence collaborating and planning trips, learning how to organize and budget my time and money, and learning water safety and first aid skills. I memorized the tour guide script and created my costume to be a tour guide at Foxfire House at Camp Furnace Hills. I gained confidence traveling, trail riding on horseback, kayaking, camping, hiking, and exploring in a safe environment at Girl Scout camp. I learned entrepreneurship skills selling cookies and fundraising. And certainly, STEM and the arts were intertwined in all of that. It combines for a unique leadership experience unlike any other.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Mission Moment Recap – July

Girl Scouts in Centre, Cumberland, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lycoming, Monroe and York counties give back to community and participate in learning experiences.

*All Mission Moment information is submitted by volunteers/members. Should you have any questions regarding a submission, please email camoriello@gshpa.org.

By Catherine Amoriello

We love getting to see all of the great things our Girl Scouts are doing in their local communities! In July, our girls were busy making an impact by assembling birthday bag kits, learning how to care for horses, improving the safety features of a camp and so much more.

A York County troop improves a play space for children in their community.

Girl Scouts from Troop 20278 in York County created a play space in an underused parking lot for their Silver Award project. The girls created a project plan which they presented to and received approval from the church board. The troop then revamped the space by adding hopscotch, a four square court, a basketball key, a sensory walk, coloring space and outdoor toys.

Cumberland County girls honor Flag Day with a flag retirement ceremony.

Girl Scouts from Troop 10662 in Cumberland County held a flag retirement ceremony for the veterans of Marine Corps League of New Cumberland in honor of Flag Day. The girls led the Pledge of Allegiance, shared what the flag means to them and retired 27 flags.

Troop earns their Bronze Award by making birthday bag kits for a local food bank.

Girl Scouts from Troop 70255 in Lancaster County earned their Bronze Award by creating birthday bag kits for a local food bank. The group donated a total of 20 kits along with 10 additional bags of collected donations for the food bank. The troop also hosted a Juliette Gordon Low birthday party for Brownie and Daisy Girl Scouts where they taught the younger girls the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

Service Unit brightens annual picnic at senior community with chalk art.

Girl Scouts from Service Unit 416 in Centre County “chalked the walk” to welcome families and friends to the annual summer picnic at Juniper Village senior living community. The girls drew pictures and wrote welcome messages for the residents and their loved ones.

Lycoming County Girl Scouts get an equestrian education.

Girl Scouts from Troop 61238 in Lycoming County visited the Stoney Creek Chincoteagues farm in Hughesville, Pa., to learn about horses and their care, and ride some of the horses. The stable is known for its Chincoteague Ponies that are cared for and rehabilitated at the farm. The girls loved getting to learn more about the unique breed.

Seniors demonstrate their travel skills with a trip to New York City.

Senior Girl Scouts from Troop 70569 in Lancaster County planned, budgeted for, and organized an end of year trip to various sites in New York City. The troop visited locations such as Girl Scout Central, the Cathedral of St. John the Devine, Hamilton Grange National Memorial, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, and Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The group also participated in a free flamenco dance lesson at Lincoln Center and learned how to read the train schedules and navigate the subway.

Lackawanna County troop gives back through several community service projects.

Girl Scouts from Troop 50070 in Lackawanna County learned how to make quilts at the Factoryville Methodist Church, helped at the United Neighborhood Center food pantry, and donated hygiene kits for the homeless to the Community Intervention Center. Their community service efforts helped the troop earn their Bronze Award.

Juniors take a road trip to improve safety features at a local camp.

Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 52296 in Monroe County identified a need for painted safety lines to raise awareness of elevated areas at a local camp. The girls used their Cookie Season funds to purchase paint and supplies and made a two-hour trip to the camp to get the job done.

Do you have a Girl Scout Mission Moment to share? Submit it now so we can showcase your passion and hard work in next month’s recap! Visit our Mission Moment Recap webpage on the GSHPA Blog to see more Mission Moments from previous months.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

GSHPA committee member Susan Smith talks importance of embracing the world around us, learning life skills

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is honored to have so many volunteers supporting Girl Scouts’ mission in our local communities. And we not only have external volunteers working hard to build girls of courage, confidence and character, but we also find support internally from our many board and committee members.

GSHPA invites its members to learn more about the philanthropic professionals who help guide our organization and why they dedicate their time to serving Girl Scouts. This week, we’re recognizing Susan Smith, GSHPA Board Development Committee member. Read on to learn more about this passionate volunteer!

Susan Smith is a GSHPA Board Development Committee member.
What advice would you give to girls interested in a career in grant writing?

Being a grant writer is so much more than just writing. It’s being a part of creating something new or growing something already existing. It is the opportunity to tell a story and show impact. It is building new relationships as you interact with people from diverse backgrounds. If you are pursuing a career in grant writing, be prepared to approach projects from different angles. You also need to be open-minded, a team player, and adaptable. And resilience is also important – the grant world is highly competitive with many great causes and limited funding. Do not let a decline knock you down. Instead use it as a learning experience to help you develop stronger proposals in the future as you forge ahead in your mission.

What can we do to have more girls/women in grant writing?

Securing funding through grants is vital in so many industries and it is especially crucial to the survival of non-profits. This results in a high demand for individuals with grant writing skills. Volunteering and being actively engaged in the community helps girls gain a broader perception of the world and how it works, including the importance of financial stability for organizations trying to make a difference, and the impact on others if they are forced to close their doors due to a lack of funding. In addition to writing and grammar skills, research, marketing, financials, business acuity and relationship skills are also important.

Why is being involved in Girl Scouts important to you?

I strongly believe in and support the Girl Scout mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. I value the fact the organization seeks to empower all girls to lead their best lives regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, socio-economic status or any other group affiliation. Girl Scouts helps girls realize their potential as they embark down the path to pursing their self-defined goals and living a meaningful life, however they may define it. Over forty years later, I still recall lessons I learned when I was a Girl Scout, and how those lessons helped to influence different aspects of my life and continue to do so to this day.

What advice do you have for girls who want to get involved with their communities?

Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’ Community engagement not only makes an impact on those around you, but it also impacts you directly as you develop new skills, meet new people, and learn more about the world around you. It helps you gain insight into challenges faced by others, while simultaneously helping you come to understand, and respect, different perspectives and ways of life, which is especially important in today’s world. Community involvement is a great way to help you discover your passions and is a great tool to help you gain experience and explore career opportunities.

Of the four components of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (STEM, Life Skills, Outdoors and Entrepreneurship), which one resonates with you the most, or you find most valuable to girls’ success?

STEM opens the door to a plethora of rewarding careers; outdoors leads to healthy living and preserving our planet, and entrepreneurship skills help you take control of your destiny. But as I reflect back on my life, life skills have always been at the forefront, both personally and professionally. I have had the opportunity to live, work, and travel all over the world. Wherever I went, I found life skills to be universal. Tapping into them helped me face obstacles head on and overcome challenges of each new place – whether it was adapting to a different culture, learning a new language, making friends, or simply getting lost when driving somewhere new. Life skills helped me to persevere.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Board and committee member Anthony Billet shares importance of nurturing artistic talent, developing next generation of female leaders

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is honored to have so many volunteers supporting Girl Scouts’ mission in our local communities. And we not only have external volunteers working hard to build girls of courage, confidence and character, but we also find support internally from our many board and committee members.

GSHPA invites its members to learn more about the philanthropic professionals who help guide our organization and why they dedicate their time to serving Girl Scouts. This week, we’re recognizing Anthony Billet, GSHPA Board Member-At-Large, Fund Development Committee Chair, Women of Distinction Committee member, and former Strategic Planning Committee member. Read on to learn more about this passionate volunteer!

Anthony Billet is a GSHPA Board Member-At-Large, Fund Development Committee Chair, Women of Distinction Committee member, and former Strategic Planning Committee member.
What advice would you give to girls interested in a career in visual marketing?

Be passionate! My best advice to anyone going into any career is to love what you do. Passion and confidence will take you to great lengths.

What can we do to have more girls/women in visual marketing?

It starts with funding art programs in our schools and nonprofits. Art, along with music, are some of the first programs to get cut within under-funded districts. The earlier we can identify artistic ability and nurture it, the better chances individuals will have pursuing their innate artistic passion.

Why is being involved in Girl Scouts important to you?

I have been very fortunate to be involved with Girl Scouts. I see the passion everyone involved brings to the organization. From staff, to board members, to volunteers, and of course the Girl Scouts themselves. Having a small part in developing tomorrow’s women leaders in a world that needs them now more than ever is extremely rewarding.

What advice do you have for girls who want to get involved with their communities?

Find a mission you are passionate about! Find something that you want to make a difference in. There are so many meaningful initiatives to get involved with, and they will welcome you with open arms.

Of the four components of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (STEM, Life Skills, Outdoors and Entrepreneurship), which one resonates with you the most, or you find most valuable to girls’ success?

I feel like STEM is maybe the most underserved component. I think there are years of systemic reasoning for that. It has been my mission during my time as a board member to try and advocate for more opportunities and acceptance of women in those industries.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

GSHPA Treasurer and Executive Committee member Bridget Casher talks importance of mentorship, passion for volunteering

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is honored to have so many volunteers supporting Girl Scouts’ mission in our local communities. And we not only have external volunteers working hard to build girls of courage, confidence and character, but we also find support internally from our many board and committee members.

GSHPA invites its members to learn more about the philanthropic professionals who help guide our organization and why they dedicate their time to serving Girl Scouts. This week, we’re recognizing Bridget Q. Casher, GSHPA Treasurer, Executive Committee member and ex-officio member of the Finance and Audit Committee. Read on to learn more about this passionate volunteer!

Bridget Casher is the GSHPA Treasurer, an Executive Committee member, and an ex-officio member of the Finance and Audit Committee.
What advice would you give to girls interested in a career in investment consulting?

The best advice I can provide is advice I once received which helped shape my career and still something I lean on today: Seek out, work alongside, and keep in touch with a strong mentor. My two mentors helped me navigate my industry, pushed me to be my best self, and provided honest, yet fair, feedback. My career has been rewarding, challenging, and successful thanks to strong mentors who helped me develop a career path within the investment industry.

What can we do to have more girls/women in investment consulting?

We can help share our experiences and help mentor a girl/woman earlier. I personally get out to volunteer in my child’s elementary school to explain my career and introduce financial topics. The more we expose girls to the importance of this industry and saving/investing, the better for everyone.

Why is being involved in Girl Scouts important to you?

I believe we need to support, encourage, and build the next generation to be great. My passion to coach and volunteer developed right out of college. Girl Scouts was an opportunity to be involved locally, support our community, and help build the Girl Scouts organization into a long lasting program for many more generations.

What advice do you have for girls who want to get involved with their communities?

Giving back is a passion and a true calling. Before just jumping into something, test the waters with an organization, it’s important to get involved with a program that means something to you or aligns with your value system. It will help feed your soul and make it easier to show up each time with a smile on your face if you like what you’re doing. All of our communities need extra help right now. Step up and be the reason your community needs one less volunteer!

Of the four components of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (STEM, Life Skills, Outdoors and Entrepreneurship), which one resonates with you the most, or you find most valuable to girls’ success?

For me, the Outdoors is my most important component and helps me be a strong leader every day. It allows me to develop leadership skills and disconnect from technology to unwind. This in turn allows me to dial into my other skills – mathematics, creativity, being an entrepreneur, and positively working with others. I find such freedom in the outdoors. It’s amazing if you take a hike you must be focused to stay on the right trail yet be willing to try new adventures. Hiking also teaches us about being prepared to weather any storm. Working in the investment industry is a lot like a good or bad hike (ups/downs) will happen. You must be prepared for the unexpected. You really gain a sense of independence, learn to create your own path, bring a group together to lead a new adventure, and learn to deal with the unexpected. These are all important skills in business that translate in everyday life.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Perry Media Group’s Marcia Perry Dix shows girls, women what’s possible with perseverance

A marketing and public relations company founder in Dauphin County proves unshakeable in her entrepreneurial pursuits.

By Catherine Amoriello

Throughout her 28-year entrepreneurship journey, Marcia Perry Dix has been told “no” a lot. But she didn’t let the naysayers keep her from her dream of establishing Perry Media Group (PMG) and building her marketing, public relations and advertising empire.

Marcia Perry Dix, founder and CEO of Perry Media Group (PMG).

Dix founded her company in 2014 and has served as principal for eight years. She oversees strategic marketing direction for every client, relationship and project that comes through PMG’s doors, and she considers maintaining her personal brand an additional work responsibility.

“I’m representing myself, my family, girls, black women and women of color. You have to uphold a positive image for your community,” Dix said.

Dix is hyper focused on serving the community through her company, seeking to create a positive impact and uplift others. She describes her work as projects with a purpose – from tobacco-use, to opioid awareness, to diabetes prevention, Dix said PMG is an ad agency that brings hard conversations to the community to help better the lives of its inhabitants.

“We work on campaigns that are culturally competent and help the community be better residents of PA. Everyone’s battling something,” Dix said.

Dix’s love of helping others is clear in the work PMG produces, the companies she works with and the people she invites on staff. Dix purposefully supports minority and women-owned businesses, and she established the Mom Squad at PMG as a support system for working moms at her company who sought an opportunity to experience entrepreneurship as individuals, not as a corporation.

In addition to the support she provides through the Mom Squad, Dix has mentored many young women throughout her career. She believes it is her responsibility to pass on what she’s learned to others so they can continue the work.

“I give them my time, my love and my support and it has been amazing to see some of the people I’ve mentored throughout my career grow and do amazing things with their lives,” Dix said.

“We believe in our dream so much that nothing can shake us.”

Marcia perry dix, founder and CEO of Perry Media group (PMG)

Dix preaches consistency and storytelling are key to being a successful entrepreneur/business woman, and that you must find ways to reinvent or upgrade your product or service to keep it fresh. She also identified good listening skills, communication skills, grace under pressure, and kindness and a warm tone as traits that have helped her find success in the field. But most importantly, she said aspiring entrepreneurs have to be OK with starting on the bottom and learning the ropes to work their way up.

“I moved to Hershey 17 years ago. I went to every event. I shook as many hands as I possibly could. I got on as many boards as I could. I did a lot of work in the community at no charge,” Dix said of the hustling she had to do to get where she is now.

So yes, Dix got told “no” a lot more than she was told yes while pursuing her dream of owning her own business. But with determination, perseverance, hard work and patience, Dix proved the grind is worth it to finally hear that one “yes.”

“You have to be all in. I believe in myself so much, I believe in what I’m saying. Every no I get, I’m closer to the yes. When I win, everyone will win.”

For girls interested in learning more about entrepreneurship or business, there are multiple badge opportunities to explore! Check out a few of the options available below.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Camp-inspired breakfast sandwiches and life-long memories

By Cathy Hirko

By day, York County resident Victoria Connor is helping support legal professionals and connecting countless families and individuals with lawyers to help address their legal concerns.

Connor has been the CEO of both the York County Bar Association and the York County Bar Foundation for more than 10 years. Prior to that, she spent 11 years with the American Red Cross as director of communications and public support. She has been bestowed with many leadership honors, including the Circle of Excellence Award from the Central Penn Business Journal and the York ATHENA Leadership Award. In May, she will be recognized as the 2022 Spring Honoree for Martin Library Honors in York County.

But this column isn’t about that.

It’s about fond Girl Scout memories of camp, creative outdoor breakfasts and a fun nickname.

Connor herself was not a Girl Scout. She thanks her daughter Brittany for her Girl Scout experiences.

Victoria Connor, left, with her daughter Brittany.

“I became involved when my daughter joined Brownies and then the troop later needed a leader,” she said.

The camp memories with Brittany, now 33, are still a highlight when they look back to their Girl Scout days. They attended both Camp Echo Trail and Camp Furnace Hills in Lancaster County.

“She still talks about the singing steps and horseback riding,” Connor said.

Connor’s favorite memory as a mom/volunteer happened when she attended a weekend-long “learn how to camp” troop leader training with her co-leader. On that trip she remembered there being torrential downpours and those sharing a tent with Connor “laughed until our sides hurt.”

“It was a wonderful bonding experience, not to mention educational with all the tips, tricks, hacks and recipes we learned,” she said.

Among those skills Connor acquired were how to make a hand-washing station out of a recycled bleach bottle and the famous Egg McMuffin copycat sandwich by placing the ingredients in recycled tuna cans over a campfire.

Those tips now serve Connor well when she is with her girlfriends venturing out on their annual camping and tubing trips.

“We have been going for 30 years and the McMuffins…are a staple,” she said.

Connor proudly boasts that her friends have since given her the “Vicguyver” moniker, which stuck and it’s now her Twitter handle.

“They gave me the nickname as a result of all the ingenious Girl Scout camping inventions I put into practice on our trips,” she said.

To learn more about Girl Scout in the Heart of Pennsylvania camping opportunities, visit our website.

Cathy Hirko is the Marketing and Communications Director for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at chirko@gshpa.org.

Mission Moment Recap – June

Girl Scouts in Centre, Columbia, Dauphin, Lancaster, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Perry and Wyoming counties give back and participate in Girl Scout events in their communities.

*All Mission Moment information is submitted by volunteers/members. Should you have any questions regarding a submission, please email camoriello@gshpa.org.

By Catherine Amoriello

We love getting to see all of the great things our Girl Scouts are doing in their local communities! In June, our girls were busy making an impact by donating snacks to elementary school students, beautifying senior living homes, sharing their Girl Scout pride at events and so much more.

Service Unit represents Girl Scouts at Memorial Day parade.

Girl Scouts from Service Unit 175 in Dauphin County participated in the Hummelstown Memorial Day parade. The girls did a great job representing Girl Scouts for the two-mile long walk.

Girl Scouts donate tasty snacks to students taking state exams.

Girl Scouts from Service Unit 301 in Columbia County helped sort and deliver Girl Scout Cookies to students taking state tests at a local elementary school. The donation was well received!

Daises visit Girl Scout Camp for the first time.

Daisy Girl Scouts from Troop 10730 in Dauphin County traveled to Camp Happy Valley for their annual camping trip. The camping theme was fairies which saw the girls create wands, flower headpieces and their very own fairies. The troop also had a campfire and made s’mores. It was the first time many of the girls attended camp.

Cadettes beautify senior home for Silver Award Project.

Cadette Girl Scouts from Troop 50015 in Wyoming County designed, built and installed two large raised garden tables at a local senior home for their Silver Award Project. The girls also cleaned up a large courtyard area that had overgrown due to staff shortages at the facility.

Troop takes a page out of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ for their end of year party.

Girl Scouts from Troop 61238 in Lycoming County held their end of year celebration Alice in Wonderland-style with a Happy Un-Birthday tea party. The girls reflected on their year and made goals for the next Girl Scout year.

Perry County Girl Scouts prepare to embark on new Girl Scout journeys.

Daisy, Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts from Troops 10495, 10479 and 10481 in Perry County held their bridging ceremony. Six Daisies, eight Brownies and four Juniors bridged to the next Girl Scout level and two Cadettes were initiated through an investiture ceremony.

Troop celebrates milestones and achievements at bridging and badge ceremony.

Girl Scouts from Troop 52282 in Monroe County held their bridging and badge ceremony at Ice Lake Park in Cresco. The troop leaders, parents/caregivers and girls were excited to celebrate all the achievements the girls accomplished throughout the past year. The troop began with just five girls in 2020 and has grown to a group of 18.

Girl Scouts use media design tools to bring awareness to environmental issues.

Girl Scouts from Troop 70525 in Lancaster County created digital posters as part of their Media Journey Take Action Project.

Girl Scouts enjoy a night of fun and baseball at Girl Scout Night.

Girl Scouts from the Friendly Valley Service Unit in Lancaster County attended Girl Scout Night at the Lancaster Barnstormers. Girl Scout volunteer Carol Caddick and former Girl Scout Delaney Castagna from the Gold Award Class of 2021 participated in the first pitch. Girls from Troop 70105 presented the flag and Troops 70122 and 71308 led the crowd in a dance party during the seventh inning stretch.

Daisies and Brownies celebrate the end of their Girl Scout year with vesting and capping ceremony.

Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts from Troop 60271 in Lycoming County were celebrated at an end-of-year vesting and capping ceremony. The girls received their age-level vest and vintage cap, a bouquet of flowers representing the Girl Scout Promise and Law and a certificate. The troop is led by Ambassador Girl Scout and S’mores Executive Club member Sarah K., and Senior Girl Scout and S’mores Executive Club member Brylea S. served as MC for the ceremony.

Cadette finds her passion after joining Girl Scouts.

Cadette Girl Scout Sophia from Troop 33206 in Luzerne County found her calling in woodworking through joining Girl Scouts. After some initial hesitation to join, Sophia learned to enjoy Girl Scouting and found her passion after working on a woodworking badge with her troop. Her experience inspired her to enroll in the carpentry program at Wilkes-Barre Area Career & Technical Center when she entered high school.

Adult members are honored at a volunteer appreciation pinning ceremony.

Volunteers Barb John, Connie Gehman, Debbie Shue, Faith Irwin, Flora Poulos and Katie Knaub in Lancaster County were awarded the Volunteer of Appreciation Award pin. The award recognizes a registered adult Girl Scout member’s exemplary service in support of delivering the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. GSHPA Volunteer Strategy Committee Chair Stacey Irwin awarded the members their pins.

Girls earn Silver Award by creating calming space for health care staff.

Girl Scouts from Troop 40034 in Centre County earned their Silver Award by establishing a “Less-Stress Space” at Mount Nittany Medical Center for the staff to enjoy and relax in during their breaks. The girls created a mobile stress-relief cart and decorated the space with plants and local art work to create a calming area.

Do you have a Girl Scout Mission Moment to share? Submit it now so we can showcase your passion and hard work in next month’s recap! Visit our Mission Moment Recap webpage on the GSHPA Blog to see more Mission Moments from previous months.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Bereavement services founder Leslie Delp speaks to importance of responding to children’s grief, loss

A York County bereavement specialist uses her own close encounters with death to help others navigate loss, grief and mourning.

By Catherine Amoriello

For our girl members, Girl Scouts is an avenue for fun, friendship and facing challenges in a supportive environment. Troop meetings bring big toothy grins, Summer Camp sessions echo with girl laughter, and weekly programming events buzz with the excited chatter of members eager to learn. But unfortunately, these happy, carefree girls are not immune to tragedy and loss. The school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in May is just one of many recent reminders that children are just as likely as adults to be exposed to violence and death. And if they’re lucky enough not to witness it firsthand, they’re seeing it on the news, hearing it being discussed by their caregivers, or experiencing loss at home in other ways.

Leslie Delp, founder of and bereavement specialist at Olivia’s House Grief and Loss Center for Children.

While it’s taken until recent years for children and teen mental health issues to come to the forefront, Leslie Delp, founder of and bereavement specialist at Olivia’s House Grief and Loss Center for Children in York County, identified in the 1990s that children confronted with death and loss require unique support.

“Children mourn differently than adults. Grief is inside, mourning is outside. The body keeps score, and it doesn’t forget,” Delp said.

After surviving two nearly-fatal accidents as both a child and an adult, and then experiencing a miscarriage in her first pregnancy, Delp is sadly well-acquainted with death and near-death experiences. But instead of allowing these devastating events to become her full story, she opted to change the narrative.

“I always wanted to prove to myself that the reason I’m still here is because I have something that I’m supposed to do,” Delp said. “That’s what’s going to keep this world afloat. Yes this happened to me, but here’s what I’m going to do to turn it around.”

As she pursued her master’s degree in counseling psychology, Delp began researching death and dying and developed a curiosity about life after death and connections to passed loved ones. She enrolled as a volunteer at a hospice and gained additional insight by learning from the residents who passed their final days there. The day after Delp graduated, she opened her own private practice, Grief and Bereavement Services.

Olivia’s House clients release balloons during a Celebration of Life Graduation event. This has been a ritual since the organization’s inception in the 1990s.

In 1996, Delp founded Olivia’s House to help children who suffer losses, whether they be death losses or non-death losses, such as a divorce in the family. From bereavement camps for children that teach them healthy coping mechanisms, to family-based programs focused on educating both children and caregivers about how their body grieves, Delp sought to create an open place of resource and support in a topic area generally regarded as taboo. She hopes her life’s work will help push away stigmas surrounding depression, suicide and death.

“Mental health is important. And without an understanding of how your brain processes life’s disappointments and traumas, we’ll suffer. And we’re not meant to suffer. We’re meant to enjoy life,” Delp said.

Olivia’s House Grief and Loss Center for Children has two locations in York, Pa. (pictured) and Hanover, Pa.

A career in bereavement services is not for everyone – it’s a high burnout environment that calls for a unique ability to balance the trauma of the field with other work responsibilities. Delp advises those interested in going into bereavement services to choose their school wisely, shadow people already in the field and keep a realistic mindset that the journey will not be easy. But accruing the knowledge and experience necessary to give families the gift of goodbye will be worth it.

“You don’t get paid very well, but you get paid by the children and families in buckets,” Delp said. “You know you made a difference – you know you healed a heart.”

For volunteers and parents/caregivers interested in having their girl learn more about mental health issues, check out GSHPA Program Partner Byrnes Health Education Center for their available mental health programming for youth. For volunteers and parents/caregivers interested in learning more about stressors that may impact girls’ mental health, register to attend GSHPA’s Virtual Volunteer Conference Nov. 5 to participate in a mental health awareness informational session.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

S’mores Executive Club members lead Fall Fundraiser, Girl Scout Cookie efforts

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to recognize and celebrate its 2022-2023 S’mores Executive Club (SEC) members! Our S’mores Executives hit it out of the park during the Fall Fundraiser and Girl Scout Cookie programs in 2021-2022 and have earned themselves some awesome exclusive gifts and rewards. Get to know these savvy entrepreneurs in the photo galleries below!

Ambassador S’mores Executives

Ambassador S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Mikayla M. from Troop 70220

Senior S’mores Executives

Senior S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Rebecka D. from Troop 30406
  • Rebekah W. from Troop 20404
  • Sritanvi K. from Troop 11436

Cadette S’mores Executives

Cadette S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Alina S. from Troop 50252
  • Aviana G. from Troop 20078
  • Emily K. from Troop 52141
  • Roxie M. from Troop 71518
  • Jean M. from Troop 60073

Junior S’mores Executives

Junior S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Abigail H. from Troop 80181
  • Anna M. from Troop 32725
  • Charley C. from Troop 20387
  • Kayleigh W. from Troop 20376
  • Kileigh K. from Troop 70430
  • Nicole M. from Troop 80160

Brownie S’mores Executives

Brownie S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Geneva-Nichole Z. from Troop 61117
  • Lena K. from Troop 20672
  • Rylie C. from Troop 70050
  • Shilo F. from Troop 50843

Daisy S’mores Executives

Daisy S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Aria D. from Troop 50603
  • Aubree K. from Troop 31167
  • Brenna I. from Troop 11111
  • Clara M. from Troop 32105
  • Elena G.-V. from Troop 20365
  • Kendra B. from Troop 10495
  • Lyndsay M. from Troop 33203

Congratulations SEC members for your hard work and dedication this year! We can’t wait to see what you accomplish next through Girl Scouts.

Want to learn more about the S’mores Executive Club? Visit GSHPA’s Cookie Sellers webpage.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania celebrates 2022 Gold Award Class at Bucknell University

By Cathy Hirko

The 40 Girl Scouts in attendance at the Gold Award Ceremony gather for a photo at the conclusion of the event.

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) recognized and celebrated its Gold Award Class of 2022 on June 12, 2022, at Bucknell University.

More than 150 family members and friends joined GSHPA to honor its Gold Award Girl Scouts at a reception and ceremony. The afternoon event highlighted the important projects completed by the honorees, honored the Girl Scouts with a formal pinning ceremony and gave girls a chance to meet their Gold Award classmates. Attendees also heard from Janet Donovan, GSHPA President and CEO, and Adrienne Vicari, GSHPA Board Chair, on the significance of the Gold Award.

This year, 68 Girl Scouts earned their Gold Award, and 40 attended the program to receive recognition for the differences they made in their communities. This year’s Gold Award class represents 20 of the 30 counties in GSHPA’s council footprint.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. The award provides Girl Scouts in high school the opportunity to select a community issue important to them and use their passion to make a difference. Eligible Girl Scouts are required to devote a minimum of 80 hours to problem-solve, plan and implement their ideas for change to earn the Gold Award.

Cathy Hirko is the Marketing and Communications Director for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at chirko@gshpa.org.

2022 Gold Award Ceremony approaches, former Girl Scout reflects on earning Gold Award

Class of 2012 Gold Award Girl Scout Janelle Almond shares her Girl Scout experience.

By Catherine Amoriello

It’s a big weekend for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) as we prepare to recognize and honor 68 Girl Scouts at the Gold Award Ceremony at Bucknell University this Sunday!

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn and provides Girl Scouts in high school the opportunity to use their passion to make a difference. This year’s Gold Award Class represents 20 of the 30 counties in GSHPA’s council footprint, and we are so excited to celebrate the girls for their accomplishments.

Janelle Almond, former Gold Award Girl Scout.

In honor of this special time, we asked former Class of 2012 Gold Award Girl Scout Janelle Almond of Cumberland County to share her experience of going Gold and what Girl Scouts means to her.

Can you share what your Gold Award project was and why you chose to pursue it?

My Gold Award project involved developing a curriculum for an event for elementary aged girls. My church had hosted a girl’s sleepover event annually for many years, which I had always enjoyed attending. When I was in high school there was no leadership for that event, so I revived it with this curriculum entitled “True Beauty, Inside and Out.”  Games, crafts and activities all focused on celebrating the girls’ inherent value and beauty and empowering them to live confidently, courageously and kindly. I have long been passionate about finding and celebrating the beauty in everything and everyone, but sometimes that is hardest to see and celebrate in myself. With a passion for teaching and mentoring as well, coming alongside younger women with what I have learned along the way in my journey is one of my greatest joys.

What are some of your favorite Girl Scout memories?

Some of my favorite memories of Girl Scouting involve camping with my troop, especially sitting around the fire making mountain pies and s’mores and singing and laughing together. Some of the best memories stem from things that didn’t go quite right – like when we went winter camping and all the bananas froze because the unheated portion of the cabin got so cold. Also taking on new challenges I might not have otherwise, including white water rafting.

This year, we have 68 girls in our council who earned their Gold Award. What career and young adult advice would you give them as they take this next step in their journey?

Live out the Girl Scout Law. When people know they can trust you to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and to take responsibility for what you say and do, doors will open for you. Respect yourself. Advocate for yourself and don’t be afraid to offer what you have to give confidently. Also know that it’s OK to ask for help when you need it. To ask for help is to show humility and a willingness to learn, which is a strength and not a weakness. Respect others and authority, and operate with integrity. Use resources wisely, make the world a better place by putting beauty into the world in how you speak, act and create. Be a sister to every Girl Scout and every human you meet. Seek to truly see and understand others and want the best for them, and surround yourself with community who see and want the best for you, too.

What was your biggest takeaway from your time in Girl Scouts?

Girl Scouts definitely had an impact on me in terms of helping me develop leadership and people skills, as well as my teaching and training skills that serve me so well now. I learned a lot about confidence and goal setting, and the value of community, civic engagement and connectedness with others. Also, survival skills, from car maintenance and repair, to self-defense and fire building, have been so practical and given me confidence for facing everyday life. It was also a gift in encouraging me to explore the arts, like music and dance!

For more information about the Girl Scout Gold Award, visit GSHPA’s Gold Award webpage.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Camp Furnace Hills: A history buff’s perfect outdoor adventure

Go back in time to 1800s Pennsylvania life with a visit to Camp Furnace Hills.

By Catherine Amoriello

It’s the final week of our camp property blog series! This week we’re traveling to Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s (GSHPA) Camp Furnace Hills.

CAMP FURNACE HILLS

Camp Furnace Hills is located in Lancaster County near Refreshing Mountain Retreat and Adventure Center and Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. The property offers a wide range of lodging options including houses, rustic cabins and a modern lodge. Between unique historical programming and the capacity to host groups ranging in size from 17-40 people, this small camp has a lot to offer. Read on to learn more!

Camp Furnace Hills is home to historic Foxfire House.

Arguably the camp’s biggest draw, Furnace Hills Tenant House, more commonly known as Foxfire House, is a restored 19th century Swiss-German stone bank house. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this unique site features a ten-plate stove, squirrel tail bake oven, spring house and four-square garden. The property represents the historic early settlement of Swiss immigrants in Lancaster, Lebanon and Berks counties.

Camp Furnace Hills takes visitors “back in time” with historical programming.

With a piece of history right on the property, of course Camp Furnace Hills provides unique historical programming for visitors! Led by the Foxfire Team volunteers, visitors can learn how to cook and bake food without modern day appliances; try their hand at scherenschnitte (paper cutting design), tin punching, quilting, weaving, and paper stars; make simple toys; and discover (and possibly wear!) 1800s Pennsylvania German clothing.

Is Camp Furnace Hills the outdoor experience option for you? Make a reservation now and start planning your next adventure!

If you missed our other property feature stories, go check out Camp Small Valley, Camp Archbald and Camp Happy Valley on the GSHPA Blog now.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Schuylkill County troop opens up communication for all at local park and elementary school

Girl Scouts use their Take Action Project to help individuals with disabilities in the Pine Grove community.

By Catherine Amoriello

At Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA), we are always encouraging girls to use their voices and speak up for themselves and others in their communities. But for some, certain ways to communicate can be challenging.

Girl Scout Troop 32840 introduces their first communication board at Pine Grove Township Recreation Park.

Girl Scout Troop 32840, based in Schuylkill County, decided to advocate for individuals who struggle to communicate through their Take Action Project: Communication Board. Their project resulted in two communication boards being installed at Pine Grove Township Recreation Park and Pine Grove Elementary School in early May. The communication boards display simple pictures and words to help non-verbal individuals communicate with others in a public setting. This includes people with disabilities, children who are shy, and young children who aren’t able to fully communicate yet.

The troop, comprised of 20 girls ranging from Daisies to Juniors, found inspiration in a girl from the Pine Grove School District who has Angelman syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes delays in development and problems with speech. And with many of the troop members having some form of special needs themselves, they understand what it’s like to struggle to effectively communicate with others.

“We wanted something that would help girls like themselves because we had a lot of issues at the beginning of the Girl Scout year communicating with adults and each other,” said Lindsay Strouphauer, one of the troop’s leaders.

The six-month long project required the girls to do research, problem-solve, and test out their idea using non-verbal communication. The girls raised all the money needed to fund their project through cookie season and fundraising proceeds, and they received support from a local sign-maker who helped them create the final sign.

A few troop members gather around their Take Action Project display.

“A lot of people’s minds are just blown because this is something that you see from Seniors,” Strouphauer said of her troop’s efforts.

Throughout the process, the girls learned about acceptance, how to be helpful to others, and the importance of showing patience. But maybe most importantly, the troop learned how good it feels to help someone.

“To see a project like this with how much uncertainty and anger there is in the world really gives us a lot of hope,” Strouphauer said. “These girls came up with a project to not only better people, but benefit people with disabilities and have acceptance for others.”

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Camp Happy Valley: Prime location lodging for your south central Pennsylvania adventures

Return from your local explorations to welcoming, affordable lodging at Camp Happy Valley.

By Catherine Amoriello

It’s week three of our camp property blog series and this week we’re venturing to Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s (GSHPA) Camp Happy Valley!

CAMP HAPPY VALLEY

Camp Happy Valley is located in Adams County near Gettysburg and Liberty Mountain Resort. The camp boasts multiple year-round lodging options including a house, modern lodges, a rustic cabin and tent sites. Ideal for individuals or groups looking for a place to stay while exploring south central Pennsylvania attractions, Camp Happy Valley is home away from home for any visitor. Read on to learn what this camp has to offer!

Camp Happy Valley offers dual lodging and programming spaces.

The camp is home to Aspen and Skyloft lodges, two spacious units that guests can both sleep in and use for activity space. Aspen can sleep up to 23 people in its loft, and a peek over the edge reveals an expansive, open area below perfect for crafts, games or any other group needs. Skyloft offers two separate sleeping quarters in Sunrise and Sunset units that can sleep up to 19 people in each area. With a shared common space in the middle, this unit is perfect for groups looking to collaborate but require separate sleeping spaces, like school/youth groups or traveling co-ed companies.

Camp Happy Valley homes a unique slingshot course.

Test your aim by taking a run through the camp’s recently installed slingshot course! Built by a Girl Scout Troop, the course offers guests an outlet for some outdoor games and fun and also serves as a colorful art display. Challenge your buddies to a competition or test your own skills individually on the course and let your spirits be lifted by this vibrant Girl Scout creation!

Camp Happy Valley is a stone’s throw away from popular Pennsylvania attractions.

Fifteen minutes away from the heart of Gettysburg, the camp lodges visitors just down the road from one of Pennsylvania’s most historic cities. Your stay at Camp Happy Valley makes your adventure to the Jennie Wade House, Gettysburg National Military Park or any of the city’s quaint shops, restaurants and museums that much easier. Are you interested in an outdoor adventure at Liberty Mountain Resort? Staying at Camp Happy Valley puts you less than 10 minutes away from the resort at a fraction of the cost of other available nearby lodging options.

Is Camp Happy Valley the camping option for you? Make a reservation now and start planning your next adventure!

If you missed our other property feature stories, go check out Camp Small ValleyCamp Archbald and Camp Furnace Hills on the GSHPA Blog now.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

GSHPA hosts 2022 National Product Program Conference

Girl Scout Councils across the country came together for a week of collaboration and learning in the ‘Sweetest Place on Earth.’

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) welcomed representatives from Girl Scout Councils across the nation for the 2022 National Product Program Conference May 18-20 at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

This year’s conference saw over 300 attendees from more than 100 councils come together to network, hear from GSUSA representatives and vendors, and most importantly, collaborate and generate ideas to better serve girls and volunteers.

The annual conference serves as a way for Girl Scout Product Program teams to gather and learn new ideas from one another to improve the success of their own Fall Fundraiser and Girl Scout Cookie programs. In addition to full group presentations, the conference provided more than 20 breakout sessions touching on topics such as team collaboration, social media strategy, market segmentation and more. And thanks to generous sponsorships from ABC Bakers, Ashdon Farms, Little Brownie Bakers, M2 Media and Trophy Nut Company, attendees were well-fed with delicious meals and snacks!

GSHPA also received some assistance from a few special guests, including Senior Girl Scout Brylea Starr who shared her cookie program experience, Belinda Stefl who led the Eternal Flame and closing ceremonies, and Brownie Girl Scout Cambria Gamble who served as a member of the color guard.

We came, we learned, we ate many Girl Scout Cookies – but most of all we had fun! Check out the photo gallery below to see what GSHPA staff and attendees were up to during the conference!

Thank you to all staff, sponsors and attendees for making this amazing conference possible. After a two-year break from in-person events, it was so sweet to be together again!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Camp Archbald: Your northern Pennsylvanian getaway in the outdoors

Whether you’re looking to relax lakefront or immerse yourself in nature through a rustic camping experience, Camp Archbald welcomes you.

By Catherine Amoriello

We’re back again with the second feature of our camp property blog series! This week we’re taking a dive into Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s (GSHPA) Camp Archbald.

CAMP ARCHBALD

Camp Archbald is located in Susquehanna County less than 30 miles from the New York state line. The camp’s lodging options include platform tents, rustic cabins and lodges, and modern cabins and lodges. Camp Archbald has many unique features with a few standout characteristics. Read on to learn why this camp is held near and dear to so many visitors!

Camp Archbald is the only GSHPA camp with a lake.

The camp features Ely Lake, providing visitors the opportunity to engage in aquatic activities such as canoeing, kayaking and swimming. The lake provides water-lovers ample space for a range of water activities.

Camp Archbald provides unique lodging through Treetops and Friendship units.

Looking to be one with your natural surroundings? Stay in Treetops, a modern cabin. Perched atop a hill, this cabin provides an immersive nature experience. Another great lodging option is the camp’s Friendship modern lodge. Ideal for larger groups, Friendship can accommodate up to 40 people on mattresses and provides a large space for program activities.

Camp Archbald is a living piece of American history.
Camp Archbald is the second-oldest Girl Scout camp in the U.S.

The camp boasts rich history as the second-oldest Girl Scout camp in the U.S. The camp was founded in 1920 by the Scranton Pocono Girl Scout council and the camp’s Trading Post, a building that was developed in 1921, still stands today. While more modern developments have since been added to the camp, including Laura Muia Dining Hall and outdoor adventure amenities, Camp Archbald still retains many of its original historic roots for visitors to enjoy.

Is Camp Archbald the camping option for you? Make a reservation now and start planning your next adventure!

If you missed our other property feature stories, go check out Camp Small ValleyCamp Furnace Hills and Camp Happy Valley on the GSHPA Blog now.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Top five outdoor activities girls can do with GSHPA this summer

By Catherine Amoriello

Does your girl have some gaps to fill in her summer plans? Look no further than Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s (GSHPA) summer programming! From independent activities at home to group outings with her best Girl Scout pals, GSHPA provides an array of opportunities for your girl to make this summer her best one yet!

Read on for our list of top five outdoor activities your girl can do with GSHPA this summer.

1. Attend a GSHPA Camp Excursion.

Older Girl Scouts.
Older girls connect through a GSHPA outdoor program session.

New this year, GSHPA’s Camp Excursions are designed for Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts. Your girl will spend a weekend “away” to explore unique areas and activities available right in Pennsylvania. Following the Girl Scout travel progression model, girls will gain the confidence to adventure locally and foster travel competency to become future independent travelers. With a session at Camp Happy Valley July 29-31 and at Camp Small Valley Aug. 19-21, your girl will have the freedom to explore domestically alongside her fellow Girl Scouts.

2. Participate in the GSHPA Outdoor Challenge.

The GSHPA Outdoor Challenge is returning for the third summer in a row…but with a special twist! In honor of GSHPA’s 110th anniversary, there will be 110 challenges available for girls to complete. This year’s challenge will also have a state park focus and will be available to use during Girl Scouts Love State Parks events in September. By participating in the Outdoor Challenge, girls will try new experiences and have the opportunity to win some awesome prizes! Stay tuned for the release of this year’s activity sheet.

3. Join the Girls Go Summer Club.

Girl Scout participating in virtual programming.
A girl participates in one of GSHPA’s many virtual programming opportunities.

Does your girl enjoy staying active well into the evening hours? Sign her up for Girls Go Summer Club programming. This virtual series has girls meet weekly to explore different topics about life skills, entrepreneurship, the outdoors, citizenship, health and Girl Scout traditions. Daisies and Brownies will meet 5-6 p.m. and Juniors and Cadettes will meet 6:30-8:00 p.m. After spending all day outside in the sun, your girl will look forward to cooling off indoors with her fellow Girls Go Summer Club friends!

4. Get a taste of Girl Scouts through day camp.

Girl Scouts singing songs outside.
Girls sing Girl Scout songs together during a day camp summer session.

A great option for all girls, but especially girls with busy schedules or who aren’t quite ready for an overnight camp experience, GSHPA’s day camps provide flexibility and fun! Day camps are held at Camp Happy Valley and Camp Furnace Hills and are available to all girls in kindergarten through fifth grade. With themes like Vintage Girl Scout and Fairy Garden Discovery, your young Girl Scout will have a blast adventuring through camp, learning new things and making new friends. An added bonus? GSHPA is offering bus transportation to the camps and registration discount opportunities are available!

5. Explore through Girl Scouts Love State Parks initiative.

Girl Scouts Love State Parks is a national event celebrated in over 400 state parks across 50 states and Puerto Rico. Girls are encouraged to explore their local state parks by participating in activities such as self-guided tours, family hikes, watersports, stargazing and special events. The event will be held Sept. 10 and 11 – stayed tuned to learn which Pennsylvania state parks will be offering Girl Scout-specific activities!

New adventures, friendships and experiences await through GSHPA this summer, so what are you waiting for? Explore what summer experiences GSHPA has to offer your girl and turn her summer plans from “I don’t know,” to “Yes let’s go!”

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Finding inspiration in history: Women leaders of Cumberland Valley

By Lutricia Eberly

I have such a strong connection to Cumberland County – friendships, business relationships and an endless desire to learn and develop my own skills from some very smart people. Cumberland County has not disappointed. Part of that journey, and my journey with Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, is to gravitate to leadership that our Girl Scout community can also look up to.

I reached out to the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau (CVVB) to see if they had any leader’s stories that I could share with our blog readers. They pointed my in the right direction. Here are a few of the very impressive women who played important roles in Cumberland Valley’s rich history.

Rosemarie Peiffer

Rosemarie Peiffer
Rosemarie Peiffer was the first female Cumberland County Commissioner.

The Peiffer Memorial Arboretum and Nature Preserve, in Lower Allen Township and New Cumberland, is dedicated to the memory of Rosemarie Peiffer, the first female Cumberland County Commissioner, and her husband, Howard. Rosemarie was raised on a farm in Schuylkill County and was a licensed registered nurse. She developed an interest in politics and was elected to the New Cumberland Borough Council before being elected as a county commissioner in 1979. Both Rosemarie and Howard were strong advocates of land preservation and the arboretum and nature preserve consist of 35 wooded acres with nature trails and some of the largest trees in the state.

Evelyn G. Sharp

The arboretum and nature preserve also honors the memory of aviatrix Evelyn G. Sharp, from Nebraska, who received her first commercial pilot’s license at the age of 18 and became an airplane instructor at the age of 20. She was one of the original Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron pilots and served until April 3, 1944, when the P-38 Lightning she was piloting lost an engine on takeoff from what is now Capital City Airport and crashed into land now owned by the arboretum, saving the lives of countless civilians by choosing an uninhabited location. Only 24 years old at the time of her death, she was a squadron commander and only three flights from her fifth rating, the highest certificate then available to women. Her fellow aviators, some of the best fliers in the country, raised money to pay for her coffin to be returned to Nebraska. Whistlestop Bookshop in Carlisle carries the only biography of her, “Sharpie: The Life Story of Evelyn Sharp, Nebraska’s Aviatrix,” by Diane Ruth Armour Bartels.

Marianne Moore

Marianne Moore
Marianne Moore was a Pulitzer Prize winning author from Carlisle.

Poet Marianne Moore was born in Missouri, eventually moving with her mother and older brothers to Carlisle in 1896. After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, Moore made her way back to Carlisle where she taught business subjects at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School from 1911 to 1914. Her first professionally published poems appeared in the spring of 1915 and, in 1916, she moved with her mother to New Jersey. After a distinguished career as an eminent poet, author, essayist and teacher, including the Pulitzer Prize for Literature and the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, she died in 1971 and her ashes were interred at the family’s burial plot at Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg. A state historical marker was dedicated to Moore in 2002 and is located at 343 N. Hanover Street in Carlisle.

To learn about more women who have made an impact in Cumberland Valley, check out CVVB’s blog post for Women’s History Month. To learn more about historical attractions or other things to see and do in Cumberland Valley, visit CVVB’s visitor’s webpage.

Source note: Cumberland Valley history and visitor’s information courtesy of Stacey Cornman, Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau Content Marketing Manager.

Lutricia Eberly is the Director of Outdoor and Program Experience for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at leberly@gshpa.org.

GSHPA prepares to host third annual STEAM Summer Kickoff event

Girls called for more engineering, nature and science programming and GSHPA answered!

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scout crafting.
A Girl Scout stays focused during a STEAM gemology session.

If there is one thing Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) prides itself on, it is being a girl-focused organization that strives to meet the wants and needs of its member base. For this reason, GSHPA is excited to announce that it will be hosting its third annual STEAM Summer Kickoff virtual event June 13-17 to provide more free STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) programming to girls because…well because they asked for it!

After surveying girl members in 2021, GSHPA discovered they were particularly interested in learning more about engineering, nature and science. In addition to providing great educational resources about these topics, STEAM Summer Kickoff also provides opportunities for girls to stay involved and make new friends during a time when many troops are taking a break from meeting.

Girl Scouts crafting.
Girl Scouts show off their crane design made during a STEAM engineering session.

“We want to stay girl-led, we don’t want to just pick and choose,” said Katie Wilbur, GSHPA Program Coordinator. “We try to make sure the programs are what the girls are interested in.”

With this in mind, GSHPA made the STEAM Summer Kickoff’s theme STEAM Career Exploration to help girls explore each facet of STEAM. The program will see girls learn how they can follow their own unique interests and passions to develop a successful career later in life. Embodying this sentiment will be keynote speaker Victoria Kageni-Woodward, Gusa owner and York-based fashion entrepreneur, who will kick off the week-long event by sharing her story of how she turned her passion for clothing design into her livelihood.

Girl Scout drawing.
A Girl Scout shares her animal drawings made during a STEAM winter animal program.

Led by Pennsylvania-based GSHPA Program Partners, short-term volunteers and GSHPA staff, girls will hear from professionals who are experts in their respective STEAM fields about topics such as native mammal wildlife, how to pitch an entrepreneurial idea, the impact of bees on our ecosystems and much more. Girls will have the opportunity to interact with these working professionals during the live sessions every day at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., as well as participate independently with take-home worksheets and activities they can do on their own time.

Girl Scout cooking.
A Girl Scout makes a delicious French toast dish during a STEAM Master Chef session.

GSHPA’s goal is to show girls that learning and participating in activities they enjoy does not need to end when the STEAM Summer Kickoff event wraps for the week. Many Program Partners provide opportunities to continue learning and staying active with their group through events they host. For example, Program Partner Whitewater Challengers will be offering a Raft-O-Ree Weekend for girls to attend that same weekend to follow their water and boating interests.

“Don’t let this learning stop this week, this is only one piece of the puzzle. You learn about it and apply your interests and we provide the tools for girls to keep doing it,” Wilbur said.

As a virtual series, STEAM Summer Kickoff provides flexibility for participants – girls are encouraged to sign up for all sessions that interest them, but aren’t required to attend every session. And with two sessions a day in both the morning and evening, girls will still have plenty of time in the afternoon to get outside and enjoy the warm weather without missing a beat!

Girl Scout eating ice cream.
A Girl Scout enjoys a sweet treat with her friends, made during one of GSHPA’s STEAM programs.

“It’s a great way for Girl Scouts to communicate with girls from all over the state. If girls aren’t Girl Scouts, this is a great way to see the culture and get a taste of it,” Wilbur said.

STEAM Summer Kickoff registration is open now and free to ALL girls from anywhere in the U.S. Check out the list of featured programs, mark your calendars and get ready to watch your girl explore just how far her passion can take her!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Camp Small Valley: Your best bet for a traditional Pennsylvania outdoor experience

With yurts, a swimming pool, programming space and more, Camp Small Valley delivers for those looking for a limitless outdoor adventure.

By Catherine Amoriello

The wait is finally over – spring is here and summer is just around the corner! As we pack away our winter attire and welcome back our flip flops and swimsuits, girls from near and far are getting ready to attend Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) Summer Camps in Adams, Dauphin, Lancaster and Susquehanna counties. But here’s a little secret many don’t know – girls aren’t the only ones who can have fun at a GSHPA campground!

While GSHPA camp properties are home to many girls for Girl Scout events and camps, any individual, school group or small club/hobby group is welcome to rent GSHPA camp properties for their needs. In an effort to share all the great opportunities GSHPA camps offer to EVERYONE, we’re hosting a camp property blog series throughout the month of May! In the next couple of weeks, we’re going to feature each GSHPA camp property and fill readers in on everything from lodging options to activities offered to features that can be found at all four properties.

From veteran outdoor thrill seekers, to Live Action Role Play (LARP) lovers, to novice campers looking to ease into the outdoors – you have a home at GSHPA camps.

CAMP SMALL VALLEY

We’re kicking off this blog series by featuring GSHPA’s largest campground, Camp Small Valley. Nestled in the mountains of Dauphin County, Camp Small Valley totals 792 acres with lodging options including cabins, tent platforms, yurts and lodges. This campground is home to GSHPA’s resident campers during the summer, providing a dining hall with a full commercial kitchen to meet the needs of longer-term stays.

Camp Small Valley has a lot to offer groups of various interests and needs with a few standout characteristics. Read on to learn why visitors can’t get enough of this limitless outdoor adventure option!

Camp Small Valley is the only GSHPA camp with yurts.
Girl Scout Camp Small Valley yurts.
Camp Small Valley’s yurts are a great lodging option for any group.

The camp’s yurts are its most popular lodging option and serve as a unique draw to the camp property. Yurts are circular-dome structures with walls that are built on platforms, a design that dates back nearly 3,000 years to Central Asia. The yurts comfortably accommodate larger groups and are available to rent any season making them an ideal lodging option year-round. GSHPA will be building two more yurts at the camp within the next year after having received funds allocated by the Dauphin County Commissioners.

Camp Small Valley is the only GSHPA camp with a pool.

The camp’s main pool is 30×70 feet and includes a shallow end about three feet deep and a deep end about seven feet deep. Featuring a zero-depth entry into a splash pad area two feet deep, the camp provides a perfect place for visitors to cool off, no matter their swimming abilities. A major plus? The pool overlooks beautiful Pennsylvania mountains serving up photo-worthy landscapes.

Camp Small Valley’s Star Center serves as a perfect space for programming.

The camp’s Star Center building includes a spacious downstairs crafts center. The activity space can provide up to 30 people with chairs and table area, providing a great space for program-led groups. Crafters, artists, gamers and experimenters – the Star Center is your creative haven!

Camp Small Valley provides endless opportunity for adventure.

The camp’s size makes it home to a variety of outdoor activities including swimming, archery, hiking trails, a climbing wall, tree/high ropes courses and so much more. Camp Small Valley’s land is also part of a conservancy with Manada Conservancy, and the camp is near Weiser State Forest and the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art making it a great option for individuals seeking additional outdoor excursions.

Is Camp Small Valley the camping option for you? Make a reservation now and start planning your next adventure!

If you missed our other property feature stories, go check out Camp Furnace HillsCamp Archbald and Camp Happy Valley on the GSHPA Blog now.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Daisy Girl Scout serves as motivational figure for ‘lead by example’ Harrisburg city cleanup event

Girl Scout Aubriella and her mother Michelle Landolfa share their experience with gun violence to inspire others to create a safe community.

By Catherine Amoriello

It’s a chilly Saturday in April as I make my way up the steep slopes of Reservoir Park in Harrisburg. I follow the narrow, winding roads until suddenly the park pavilion comes into view. As I approach, the wind is brisk and biting and the clouds threaten rain. The only reprieve comes from brief bursts of sunlight through the clouds.

Reservoir Park pavilion in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Volunteers gathered at the Reservoir Park pavilion in Harrisburg for a community cleanup event April 9.

Despite the very unspring-like weather, a large group of adults and children assembles outside the pavilion. As I weave my way through the assemblage and reach the steps of the building, my eyes finally find what I’ve been seeking – a Girl Scout Cookie booth.

Not far from the booth I spot its owner, her identity given away by her bright blue Daisy vest which she wears proudly over a pink and purple ombré coat and a purple headband to match. Seven-year-old Aubriella darts about the pavilion, eager to join the group forming outside. Although selling Girl Scout Cookies is important work, Aubriella is also at the park to participate in a “lead by example” community cleanup.

Girl Scout selling cookies.
Daisy Girl Scout Aubriella hosts a cookie booth at Reservoir Park in Harrisburg.

The cleanup has brought Harrisburg community members together, many of them children, to disperse throughout the city streets to pick up trash. Tone Cook, founder of anti-gun violence group Michael’s Memory, organized the event to give children a safe space to socialize and show them they have power to influence change in their communities, including helping to decrease gun violence. It provides adults the opportunity to show their younger counterparts how to make an impact, which the children can then pass along to their peers.

I join Aubriella and her mother Michelle Landolfa at a picnic table covered with snacks and treats for the volunteers. Aubriella sits between us, and while she’s straining to keep the cleanup crew in her sights so as not to miss her opportunity to join them, she kindly gives me the time of day (much in thanks to Landolfa’s prodding). After proving to Aubriella that I can indeed spell her name with my eyes closed, we take a more serious turn to explore one of the reasons she and Landolfa are in attendance at the cleanup event today – to share their own recent experience with gun violence.

In early March, Aubriella and Landolfa set up their first cookie booth outside of a store in Steelton. As they were selling cookies, gun shots rang out nearby, prompting Landolfa to rush Aubriella inside the store for cover.

There was fighting in the parking lot and then someone had a gun, Aubriella recounted.

One would think this act of violence would cause Aubriella to host her booth elsewhere, or maybe even close up shop for good. But in true Girl Scout fashion, Aubriella tapped into her bravery and returned to the store another day to reestablish her booth.

“She was scared, but we had made a commitment. It’s her first year in Girl Scouts,” Landolfa said of their decision to return to the site. “I felt like that wasn’t something that normally happens in our community. We set a goal so we had to go back out.”

Girl Scout and mom selling cookies.
Michelle Landolfa supports Aubriella as she sells Girl Scout Cookies at the cleanup.

Landolfa was unprepared for the community support Aubriella would receive. With an initial goal of selling 50 boxes of cookies during her first Girl Scout Cookie Season, Aubriella sold more than 3,200 boxes.

“We had the mayor come out, the fire department…We received very overwhelming support. They [Steelton community] have such a huge heart. They came out and really supported her,” Landolfa said.

I’m hardly surprised when Landolfa tells me she’s also a former Girl Scout. Upon meeting her she holds her tall frame with confidence, rocks her edgy teal hair slicked back in a chic ponytail and her brown eyes are bright with kindness and warmth. Her own experience as a Girl Scout and a lack of available local programming for children is what brought her and Aubriella to Girl Scouts.

“She’s really young, not a lot of schools have much programming for inner city kids. That’s why we got involved,” Landolfa said. “She’s really grown so much since she’s been in Girl Scouts.”

As our conversation nears its end, volunteers begin gathering inside the pavilion. Cook takes a moment to speak about how the cleanup is one of many stepping stones to creating a safe and beautiful community. He reminds the adults of their responsibility as role models to not just tell children to make a difference, but to show them how to make a difference. Many in the crowd nod their heads and audibly confirm their agreement.

Girl Scout with mom.
Aubriella shares her story of resilience and mission to lead by example with community members.

Eventually, Cook waves Aubriella forward to stand before the volunteers. He asks her to share why she’s at the cleanup today. Her eyes dart across the crowd, taking in the faces and cell phones all pointed in her direction. She shifts nervously on her feet, and although quiet, she speaks.

“I’m going to be a good example. I’m going to clean up the park.”

Cook further clarifies Aubriella’s intent. “She’s going to be cleaning up to make a safe space for other kids in the community.”

Other children are then called to stand alongside Aubriella. Some appear as young as 2 years old, others are in their teens. Cook motions to the young group.

“This right here is what’s going to lead us.”

Girl Scout cleaning up the park.
Aubriella joins volunteers to participate in the community cleanup.
Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Girls and volunteers gather at Pennsylvania College of Technology for Girl Scout Tree Promise event

Girl Scouts will plant, protect or honor 5 million trees by 2025

By Kristian Beverly

The weather on May 1 didn’t seem like the ideal weather to plant 400 trees. It was overcast, chilly, muddy and rainy. Those four adjectives could conquer the confidence of a girl – if they weren’t Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts Tree Planting sign at Penn College.

Over 80 girls traveled to Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Earth Science Campus in Allenwood, Pa., for the Girl Scout Tree Promise event. Some came in troops and others attended with their families. The Girl Scout Tree Promise is a nationwide movement to plant, protect or honor five million trees by 2025.

Before the event started, girls registered and received a pair of Penn College/GSHPA branded gloves and a Penn College drawstring bag from GSHPA staff.

GSHPA employees pose with some of the items for girls.

After registering, girls created necklaces and bracelets while others opted to explore around the pavilion.


Around 1 p.m., the rain stopped. Attendees were welcomed and given instructions for the day by organizers.

Each attendee received native trees or shrubs to plant. There were many types of trees or shrubs to be had, along with friends to see.

The girls learned how to plant bare root trees or shrubs. The ones with long roots had them shortened so they could adjust easier to their new home. Once they understood the planting steps, the girls used teamwork and hard work to plant and anchor their plants.

Trees were covered and stabilized to protect them from wildlife such as deer.

After planting, attendees could complete environmental activities created by Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture visited with their The WoodMobile. Through interactive activities, children and adults learned about the impact of trees.

Thank you to everyone that attended to plant trees! It was definitely a success!

Mission Moment Recap – April

Girl Scouts in Dauphin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Monroe, Perry and York counties give back to the community and wrap up Cookie Season.

*All Mission Moment information is submitted by volunteers/members. Should you have any questions regarding a submission, please email camoriello@gshpa.org.

By Catherine Amoriello

We love getting to see all of the great things our Girl Scouts are doing in their local communities! In April, our girls were busy making an impact by donating items to animal shelters, addressing period poverty, learning ways to reduce trash waste and so much more.

Girl Scouts work with state police to capture Cookie Thief

Girl Scouts from Troop 10970 in Perry County helped the Pennsylvania State Police interrogate, apprehend and hand-cuff the Cookie Thief! The girls participated in the investigation to earn their Detective Girl Scout Badges. They learned about DNA, finger printing, finger-print lifting, investigation techniques and more.

Daisy Girl Scouts provide supplies for animals seeking “furever” homes

Daisy Girl Scouts from Troop 11339 in Dauphin County collected donations for the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area. After delivering the donations, humane society staff gave the girls a tour of the shelter.

Girl Scouts use cookie booths to help meet troop goal

Girl Scouts from Troop 51005 in Monroe County hosted several cookie booths to raise money for a trip to NYC in June. The girls’ determination was evident as they braved snow, rain and wind to keep their booths open!

Older Girl Scouts get creative with unique cookie booth theme

Girl Scouts from Troop 20443 in York County got innovative with their cookie booth to attract customers. Believing they lack the “cute factor” of younger Girl Scouts, the older girls created a theme and used inflatables to make their booth stand out to customers. Their efforts proved successful as many customers were drawn in by their creativity.

Senior Girl Scouts address period poverty with successful donation drive

Senior Girl Scouts from Troops 10235 and 10238 in Dauphin County held a supply drive and made period product packs to address period poverty. The Take Action Project resulted in more than 7,000 individual items being donated to the Healthy Steps Diaper Bank which sponsors the program.

Girls gather to make Earth Day crafts in York

Girl Scouts participating in the Extended Community Outreach Program in York County spent one of their weekly meetings making an Earth Day craft. The girls also did some coloring, played a few rounds of bingo and welcomed new girls who were attending the program for the first time.

Girl Scouts “MacGyver” cookie lift to deliver to second-floor resident

Girl Scouts from Troop 70070 in Lancaster County made a special Girl Scout Cookie delivery to a second-floor resident so they wouldn’t have to come down the stairs.

Girl Scouts below window selling cookies.
Girls sell out of cookies with help of Lancaster pet store

Girl Scouts from Troop 70070 in Lancaster County had a successful last cookie booth at Finnegan Farms in Lancaster. Finnegan Farms’ owner even dressed up as a dog to help the girls attract more customers. By the end of the day the girls were sold out of cookies.

Girl Scouts selling cookies at Finnegan Farms in Lancaster, PA.
Troop studies litter patterns to help reduce waste in community

Girl Scouts from Troop 50866 in Lackawanna County participated in a community clean up and litter study with Valley Community Library and the Sierra Club. The girls helped collect more than three bags of trash, two and a half bags of recyclables and multiple large items from a local park. The girls counted litter to study what is being dropped in the community where they live to learn how to reduce waste and educate the community.

Girl Scouts picking up trash and litter.
Daisies learn how to give back with funds earned from Cookie Season

Daisy Girl Scouts from Troop 10729 in Dauphin County decided to use some of their Cookie Season proceeds to give back to Chambers Hill United Methodist Church’s food pantry. The girls decided how much of their cookie proceeds to use and went shopping for items using the church’s needs list, such as cereal, pasta and sauces.

Girl Scouts shopping.
Brownies and Juniors grant animal shelter “wishes” with money raised during Cookie Season

Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 10286 in Dauphin County used some of their proceeds from Cookie Season to give back to the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area. The girls shopped for items on the organization’s wish list such as cat food, litter, treats, hay and toys. The troop enjoyed getting to decide how to use their funds for good.

Girl Scouts shopping.

Do you have a Girl Scout Mission Moment to share? Submit it now so we can showcase your passion and hard work in next month’s recap!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

A look back: Our 2022 Girl Scout Cookie Season

By Catherine Amoriello

Girls, volunteers and parents/caregivers of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) – WE DID IT! We made it through yet another successful Girl Scout Cookie Season. And not only did our girls persevere through challenges thrown their way, but they increased their total number of packages sold from last year!

In March, GSHPA asked girls to share their cookie booth adventures with us on social media and girls delivered! What better way to end the sweetest time of the year than through a recap of all the amazing cookie booths our girls led this season?

Cadette Troop 20322

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Juliette SU 715

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 10645

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 10734

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 11410

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 11411

Troop 20030

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 20393

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 21229

Troop 22125

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 32105

Troop 32109

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 32725

Troop 32727

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 33013

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 33203

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 50603

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 50829

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 51005

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 51441

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 52144

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 52286

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 52299

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 60041

Troop 60413

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 70110

Troop 70430

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 70479

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 71348

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 80065

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 80088

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 80338

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troops 32525 and 33203

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troops 40377, 40374 and 40375

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troops 70417 and 70050

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

HRG’s Erin Letavic shows the value in being a STEM problem solver

A civil engineering senior project manager in Dauphin County shares her journey in STEM.

By Catherine Amoriello

Erin Letavic, Civil Engineering Senior Project Manager at Herbert, Rowland & Grubic Inc. (HRG)
Erin Letavic, Civil Engineering Senior Project Manager at Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG)

STEM – we see this word everywhere nowadays, and for good reason. Nearly everything we use is a result of one or all of the components of STEM – science, technology, engineering and math. We can thank a STEM professional for the bridges we drive over, the apps we tap on our phones and even the food we eat every day. Its prevalence in our society is a leading factor for why STEM is one of the four pillars of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE).

With so many opportunities to learn and foster an interest in STEM fields, it may be surprising to learn that women and girls are underrepresented across all levels of the STEM pipeline. But Erin Letavic, a former Girl Scout and a Civil Engineering Senior Project Manager at Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG) based in Harrisburg, proves girls and women can and should have a seat at the table in STEM fields.

Letavic has been with HRG for 15 years and offers experience in engineering and consulting, focusing on municipal services, grant funding solutions and stormwater permitting. Her position as project manager has provided her the opportunity to lead a team and share the importance of her team’s work with the community.

Erin Letavic planting trees.
Letavic participates in a tree planting activity.

“A lot of these projects take multiple years to come to fruition. It takes some fortitude to keep things on track,” Letavic said. “You end up doing a lot of storytelling. I enjoy building the team and also conveying the reason behind the improvement and benefit to the local community.”

With a role that’s very client-focused, Letavic also spends a lot of time working with others to develop solutions for water-related problems.

“I tend to be more focused on strategy. I talk with clients about typical water issues that they have, or partners they have that have those issues and they want to help. I help them develop strategies to work through those issues and fundraise for solutions to help solve the problems,” Letavic said.

Letavic is a natural problem solver who has always had a desire to understand how things work. As someone who grew up having to do many tasks manually, such as hand-drawing maps for projects, but now having the luxury of digital tools to accomplish those same tasks faster, Letavic feels she brings a different perspective to problem solving. Through her assistance with LandscapeU, a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship at Penn State University, Letavic has identified a lack of initiative to problem solve which she credits to most of society having answers at their fingertips through phones and computers.

“I’ve noticed with these students, and I’d bet it happens with Girl Scouts as well, in society we’ve been accustomed to just looking the answer up,” Letavic said. “The majority of STEM problems are not straight forward. You might know math, you might know the chemistry, but when we’re trying to solve really complex STEM problems, rarely is there one right answer. I think we can be most successful doing a small project, or even solving climate change, by coming up with an answer and being ready to defend it.”

Brownie Girl Scout.
Letavic as a Brownie Girl Scout.

Letavic believes learning through STEM and developing STEM skills is important for girls because it will teach them how to problem solve independently, a skill that will prove valuable to girls interested in a future STEM career. For girls leaning toward an engineering career path, Letavic advises to be practical and remember that every level of engineering work is important in the big picture.

“There’s a lot of jobs in STEM and I think a lot of us get stuck in the advanced areas,” Letavic said. “We still need people interested in computer programming and AutoCAD work. If I had a wish, [it would be] more engineering students would come out wanting to do more traditional engineering work.”

Girl Scouts provides endless opportunities for girls to get involved in STEM. From coding robots to exploring math in nature to learning forensic science elements, there’s a hands-on activity for all girls. Visit the GSHPA Events webpage to explore all STEM and STEAM events.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Donate Girl Scout Cookies to Operation Gratitude and make a military member’s day

By Catherine Amoriello

Operation Gratitude President and CEO General James Johnson
Retired Maj. Gen. of the U.S. Air Force James Johnson, Operation Gratitude President and CEO

As Cookie Season nears its end, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) would like to remind all you cookie lovers that not only are you able to buy cookies to enjoy yourself, but you have the unique opportunity to buy cookies to give back to others through GSHPA’s Gift of Caring donation program in partnership with Operation Gratitude.

Operation Gratitude is a nonprofit that provides care packages to deployed troops, recruit graduates, veterans, military families, first responders and health care heroes. By donating to Operation Gratitude, Americans are able to express their appreciation to all who serve and protect our nation.

Operation Gratitude anticipates sending out 30,000 care packages by the end of May. Through donations received through GSHPA’s Gift of Caring program, each package will include two boxes of tasty Girl Scout Cookies along with other donated goods such as snacks, hygiene products, handmade items and a paracord bracelet. Retired Maj. Gen. of the U.S. Air Force James Johnson, Operation Gratitude President and CEO, said the cookies provide a special taste of home for package recipients.

“When people talk about this feel of home – Girl Scout Cookies are definitely the type of thing that transmits that. I think we all have an experience with Girl Scout Cookies,” Johnson said.

GSHPA has partnered with Operation Gratitude for its Gift of Caring program for the past two years. The partnership was born of GSHPA’s own connection to the military through Janet Donovan, GSHPA President and CEO, who served as a U.S. Navy Two Star Rear Adm. and holds more than 30 years of military experience. Between Donovan’s military history and Operation Gratitude’s mission to provide quality products that bring joy to its recipients, it was the perfect blend of common interests.

In 2021, GSHPA donated 46,000 boxes of cookies to Operation Gratitude. This year, the organization has a goal of donating 50,000 boxes of cookies. In an effort to reach this goal and spread awareness for the Gift of Caring program, Jess Delp, GSHPA Director of Product Program and Retail; Nancy Levy, Operation Gratitude Director of Donor Relations; and Johnson have all agreed to get a Girl Scout Cookie pie in the face if GSHPA hits its target for donations!

“Normally this wouldn’t be my thing. I’m actually excited that this may generate donations. I think it will be fun for the Girl Scouts,” Johnson said at the prospect of being pied in the face.

The idea for the cookie pie in the face incentive came from none other than a group of Girl Scouts during the Operation Gratitude phonathon event. They decided one lucky Girl Scout will have the pieing honors, selected through a random drawing of all girls who participated in the Cookie Program this year.

As of April 11, more than 32,000 boxes of cookies have been donated to the Gift of Caring program. With less than one week of Cookie Season left, GSHPA encourages customers to use the Girl Scout Cookie Finder to donate cookies online through a troop near them. For those who need help donating through the Cookie Finder, check out the slideshow below to see how you can donate in just five simple steps! You can also reach out to the GSHPA Member Services team at 800-692-7816 or at MemberServices@gshpa.org for assistance.

Donate today and help GSHPA meet its donation goal before Cookie Season ends!

How to Donate Girl Scout Cookies to Operation Gratitude in 5 Easy Steps

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

5 ways to show your Girl Scout volunteer you appreciate them

By Catherine Amoriello

It’s Volunteer Appreciation Month which means it’s time to show the individuals who volunteer their time and energy to Girl Scouts how much we appreciate their support!

There are many ways to recognize a volunteer and tell them you care about them, but in case you’re struggling with ideas, we’ve rounded up our list of top five ways to show your Girl Scout volunteer you appreciate them. So read on, get inspired and then go out and thank your volunteer for all that they do!

1. Make a thank you video.

Use your digital skills to thank your Girl Scout volunteer with a unique, heart-felt video. You’ll get the opportunity to tell your volunteer directly how much you appreciate them and they’ll get to keep and share your virtual thank you wherever they go. If you have the resources, get creative and add in music, special effects or even additional video clips of others who you know appreciate the volunteer.

Girl Scouts working on computer.
Girls get techy to create a one of a kind virtual thank you.
2. Throw a party.

Round up a party-planning committee to throw your Girl Scout volunteer an appreciation bash! Get creative with decorations, prep some tasty snacks and curate a special playlist of all your volunteer’s favorite songs. For added excitement, make it a surprise party!

3. Purchase your volunteer some Girl Scout swag.

This is a great time to get your Girl Scout volunteer some upgraded swag as GSUSA is running a special promotion from April 15-25 where customers get 15% off orders of $75 or more*. Every time they use their new apparel, they’ll be reminded of how much they’re appreciated. Visit the GSUSA Online Store to pick out something special.

*Excludes earned awards and badges, Council’s Own badges and patches, gift certificates and customized uniforms.

Girl Scout Retro Legacy T-Shirt.
Pick out something cool from the GSUSA Online Store for your volunteer, like this Retro Legacy T-Shirt.
4. Make a special treat.

Arguably everyone’s favorite way to learn they’re appreciated, make your volunteer a tasty treat! If you know their favorite snack or dessert, whip it up for them to enjoy. If you’re unsure what to make, you probably can’t go wrong with this delicious Thin Mint Brownie recipe.

5. Write a letter.

Possibly one of the easiest ways to let someone know how you feel, take the time to write a thank-you letter to your volunteer. Share with them the impact they’ve made on you and why you value having them as part of your Girl Scout experience. For added appreciation, take the time to hand write the letter instead of typing it up.

Girl Scout hand writing card.
Buy or hand make a special card for your volunteer and let them know how much you appreciate them!

Whether you decide to celebrate your volunteer with an idea from our list or in your own unique way, don’t forget to nominate your volunteer for a Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) Volunteer Award! A long-standing tradition dating back to the beginning of Girl Scouts, Volunteer Awards acknowledge volunteers who are peer-nominated to receive honors for their outstanding dedication and service to Girl Scouts. Volunteers can be nominated for an award any time during the year by submitting a GSHPA Volunteer Award Nomination Form. All nominations are reviewed in February each year with nomination notices being distributed around April.

And remember, thank your Girl Scout volunteer not just in April, but every month of the year. It’s always a good time to show appreciation for the people who go above and beyond to serve the Girl Scout mission and help build girls of courage, confidence and character.

GSHPA Volunteers – thank you for all that you do!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

GSHPA announces Volunteer Award winners

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) has a very busy month ahead of itself. Between an extended Cookie Season (buy your cookies before April 24!) and some awesome Early Bird membership renewal promotions (we’re looking at you $10 GO! Dough for all returning girls who renew before April 30), GSHPA has a full docket. But this won’t keep the organization from taking time to recognize a month-long event that celebrates those who breathe life into Girl Scouts – Volunteer Appreciation Month.

Volunteer of Excellence Girl Scout Award
The Volunteer of Excellence Award recognizes volunteers who have contributed outstanding service to the Girl Scouts mission.
Appreciation Girl Scout Award
The Appreciation Award recognizes volunteers who have contributed exemplary service and have gone above and beyond to deliver the Girl Scouts mission.

There are many ways to say “thank you” to a volunteer making a difference, and one way Girl Scout volunteers can be thanked and recognized is through a nomination for a Volunteer Award. A long-standing tradition dating back to the beginning of Girl Scouts, Volunteer Awards acknowledge volunteers who are peer-nominated to receive honors for their outstanding dedication and service to Girl Scouts.

As part of its Volunteer Appreciation Month celebration, GSHPA will distribute Volunteer Awards to nominators throughout April to present to their nominees at a later date of their choosing. This year, 57 GSHPA volunteers were nominated and approved by a volunteer review committee to receive an award. Be sure to share your own note of congratulations to these volunteers for earning these awards!

“The opportunity to honor and thank our dedicated volunteers is so very important. These sister Girl Scouts have gone above and beyond to uphold and share the Girl Scouts’ mission, and they deserve recognition for the significant work they are doing for our girls and communities. On behalf of GSHPA and our membership, congratulations to all Volunteer Award recipients!” said Deb Bogdanski, GSHPA Chief Operating Officer.

Volunteers can be nominated for an award any time during the year by submitting a GSHPA Volunteer Award Nomination Form. All nominations are reviewed in February each year with nomination notices being distributed around April.

Juliette's Pearl Girl Scout Award
Juliette’s Pearl recognizes volunteers actively giving outstanding service to one or more Service Units or groups for an extended period of years.

Although April is designated as Volunteer Appreciation Month, we should remember volunteers deserve to be recognized and celebrated year-round. Appreciation is an ongoing everyday process for anyone, anywhere, anytime. People do not volunteer because they expect a reward – they see a job to be done, and they do it. So THANK YOU volunteers, for all that you do to make a difference not just in April, but all year long!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

GSHPA Volunteers – we thank YOU!

by Kristian Beverly

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month. Volunteers are the backbone of Girl Scouts. Through the support of parents, troop leaders and many other volunteers, Girl Scouts is able to build girls of courage, confidence and character. Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania thanks all volunteers, past and present, for their service.

The video below is dedicated to our volunteers who work so hard to uplift our girls. Thank you!

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania announces Adia Walker as new Chief of Staff

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania Chief of Staff Adia Walker
Adia Walker, GSHPA’s new Chief of Staff

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to announce Adia Walker as its new Chief of Staff.

Walker enters the role with more than two years’ experience as GSHPA’s former regional director.

“I am so excited to have Adia Walker step into the role of Chief of Staff at GSHPA. As Girl Scouts’ former regional director, she demonstrated great leadership ability. I know she will wholly embrace this new role and continue leading our organization to great places,” said Janet Donovan, GSHPA President and CEO.

As Chief of Staff, Walker will provide organizational support for the president and CEO of GSHPA and function as an intermediary between GSHPA’s executive team and stakeholders. She will also assist and communicate with executives in decision making, program management and initiative implementation. With her comprehensive knowledge of GSHPA’s overall functions, Walker will assist in implementing major goals and oversee strategic business initiatives.

“I’m really looking forward to learning a whole new aspect of the organization. I was embedded in the membership side of things, and that helps to motivate me to learn more about the organization and keep lifting GSHPA up to new successful heights,” Walker said of her recent appointment.

Walker applied for the position seeking a new challenge and opportunity for growth. Guided by her passion for Girl Scouting and her belief in its positive impact, Walker looks forward to her next chapter with Girl Scouts.

“I’m very much personally invested in the Girl Scout mission. I have an almost 11-year-old daughter who’s been in Girl Scouts since kindergarten. I’ve seen the amazing foundation Girl Scouts has laid for her and I know how important Girl Scouting can be for girls and their families which creates a ripple effect for the whole community,” Walker said.

Editor’s note: The Community Leadership Series Class of 2022 elected Walker as the Class Representative to the Leadership Harrisburg Area (LHA) Board of Directors in early May 2022. Her term will officially begin July 1, 2022.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA welcomes new committee members to Finance and Audit, Volunteer Strategy committees

By Catherine Amoriello

In recognition of Volunteer Appreciation Month, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to celebrate Patricia ‘Trish’ Leib joining its Finance and Audit Committee and Amy Beamer Murray and GSHPA Board Member Gina Suydam joining its Volunteer Strategy Committee.

“We are very excited to be working with our dedicated board leadership and committee members to continue making a difference in our local communities by building girls of courage, confidence and character,” said Janet Donovan, GSHPA President and CEO.

Patricia Leib, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania Finance and Audit Committee Member
Patricia Leib, GSHPA Finance and Audit Committee Member

Leib, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., recently retired from a 44-year career in financial services with PNC Bank. She began her career at a community bank holding various positions until the bank was acquired by PNC Bank in 1988. She held several positions within PNC and spent the last 20 years in the Institutional Asset Management Group. She was a portfolio manager and relationship manager for charitable and non-profit organizations and corporate pension plans. In that role she was an advocate for clients providing solutions for the achievement of their financial goals. Leib currently serves on the congregation council of her church and is a board member of nonprofit cemetery. A lifelong resident of central Pennsylvania, she resides in Silver Spring Township.

Amy Beamer Murray, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania Volunteer Strategy Committee Member
Amy Beamer Murray, GSHPA Volunteer Strategy Committee Member

Murray, of Harrisburg, Pa., is chief operating officer and partner at Pavone Marketing Group, a Harrisburg-based advertising agency. Pavone was founded in 1992 and she was the company’s first employee. Over the years, she worked at Pavone in a variety of roles, including project management, accounting, account service, media planning and public relations. Murray serves the community in numerous ways: as a member of the board of Caitlin’s Smiles; as a seminar volunteer for Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY); as a classroom volunteer for Junior Achievement of South Central Pennsylvania; and as a guest speaker at numerous high schools, colleges and universities, and community groups. She has been named one of the Central Penn Business Journal’s Forty under 40, as one of the Top 50 Business Women in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and as Rising Star by the Elizabethtown College Business Alumni. She has also been named as one of the Top 25 Women of Influence in Central Pennsylvania.

Gina Suydam, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania Volunteer Strategy Committee Member
Gina Suydam, GSHPA Volunteer Strategy Committee Member

Suydam, of Tunkhannock, Pa., is the President/CEO of the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, where she works with a variety of businesses in rural northeast Pennsylvania.  Suydam serves as a board member for the Pennsylvania Association of Chamber Professionals, Northeast Sight Services and Wyoming County Community Alliance, participates with the Northern Tier Partnership for Regional Economic Performance assisting with economic development of a five-county region, and represents the county on the regional Economic Development Agency at the request of the Wyoming County Commissioners. She was named one of Northeast Pennsylvania’s Top 25 Women in Business in 2017 by the Northeast PA Business Journal. Currently, Suydam is collaborating with several other Wyoming County organizations on a Community Heart & Soul initiative, a humanities-based approach to community planning sponsored in part by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. She is also facilitating the sixth annual class of Leadership Wyoming, a regional leadership program which she implemented to develop a more complete awareness of Wyoming County’s industries among local professionals.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Girl Scout Mission Moment Recap – March

*All Mission Moment information is submitted by volunteers/members. Should you have any questions regarding a submission, please email camoriello@gshpa.org.

By Catherine Amoriello

We love getting to see all of the great things our Girl Scouts are doing in their local communities! In March, our girls were busy making an impact by collecting donations for an animal shelter, giving back to veterans, leading a donation collection for a nursing home and so much more.

Junior Girl Scouts host pet supply drive for Bronze Award project

Junior Girl Scouts Leah and SkyLee from Troop 11570 in Dauphin County hosted a pet supply drive for their Bronze Award project. The supplies will be donated to the Perry County Animal Rescue. They also hosted a bake sale and used the proceeds to buy more supplies to donate.

Girl Scouts assist with church service

Girl Scouts Sophia, Lily and Kelsey from Troop 32817 in Luzerne County volunteered at Firwood United Methodist Church in Luzerne County. The girls participated in the service by reading, assisting with the offertory collection and extinguishing candles.

Girl Scouts in church.
Girl Scouts assist Rev. Craig Gommer with the Sunday service held at Firwood United Methodist Church.

Juliette rallies community to give back to nursing home residents

Juliette Junior Girl Scout Callie in Northumberland County packed 156 care packages for the residents of Mountain View, A Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, for her Bronze Award project. Callie chose this project to show the nursing home residents that their local community cares about them. After identifying resident needs, Callie reached out to local businesses, friends, family, her school and national businesses for donations needed for her collection.

Troop learns about money; has sweet outdoor adventure

Girl Scouts from Troop 20376 in York County visited Boscov’s for a lesson on money to earn a cookie badge. As part of the activity, the girls were tasked with finding three outfits they could get for $50 each.

Troop 20376 also teamed up with Girl Scouts from Troop 21195 for an adventure at Nixon County Park for the Maple Sugar Festival weekend. The girls had lots of fun at the event learning how syrup is made.

Troop faces snow to hold successful cookie booth

Girl Scouts from Troop 70070 in Lancaster County braved wintry weather to host their cookie booth. The snow couldn’t keep customers away as the girls sold 57 boxes of cookies.

Troop supports military troops with cookie donation event

Girl Scouts from Troop 52140 in Lackawanna County participated in a Girl Scout Cookie donation event. Customers at the event could buy boxes of cookies for themselves and then donate boxes of cookies to veterans at the Gino J. Merli Veterans’ Center. The troop is aiming to get more than 200 boxes donated this year. The girls were also able to meet and speak with veterans at the event.

Girl Scouts and veterans.
Girl Scouts from Lackawanna County give back to veterans at the Gino J. Merli Veterans’ Center.

Girl Scouts partner with Amazon for International Women’s Day talk

Girl Scouts Mari and Paige from Troop 51445 in Lackawanna County visited an Amazon site to present an International Women’s Day talk about the history of Girl Scouts and its impact on women.

Girl Scouts and Amazon.
Girl Scouts visit an Amazon site to share the impact of girl scouting for International Women’s Day.

Girl Scouts don cookie suits to draw customers to cookie booth

Girl Scouts from Troop 21077 in York County dressed up in cookie suits to advertise their products during their cookie booth sale.

Girl Scouts selling Girl Scout Cookies.
Girl Scouts display their Girl Scout pride at their cookie booth.

Girls learn about engineering design process through Academic Edge program

Girls in first and second grade in Dauphin County learned about and applied the engineering design process to help Mario design a new race track in honor of National Mario Day. The girls completed the same steps used by scientists, inventors and engineers. The girls completed the activity through a STEAM-focused Academic Edge program.

Academic Edge participants test their race track for a STEAM activity.

Do you have a Girl Scout Mission Moment to share? Submit it now so we can showcase your passion and hard work in next month’s recap!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

York girl thrives with Girl Scout connections

Autism has its challenges, but one York mom sees how Girl Scouts has opened up opportunities for her daughter.

By Catherine Amoriello

Since Girl Scouts’ inception in 1912, the organization has been focused on inclusiveness, encouraging girls to be confident in themselves and their abilities and to support and lead one another. Years later this sentiment still rings true, and 10-year-old Junior Girl Scout Mara is just one of thousands of girls who has benefitted from the welcoming environment of Girl Scouts.

Girl Scout does a craft.
Mara showcases a craft she made through a Girl Scout activity.

Mara joined Girl Scouts in 2019 as a Brownie at the suggestion of her third grade autistic support teacher. Mara has high-functioning autism, which her mother Becca Thiec described as facing certain challenges with communication but being able to function with minimal assistance in a general education classroom. When Mara joined Girl Scout Troop 20484 in York County, she was welcomed by her troop mates who encouraged her and helped her overcome those challenges.

“We were doing fun patch work for the 110th celebration. One of the activities was doing puzzles which can be a difficult thing for her,” Thiec said. “The girls encouraged her and got her involved with the activity.”

Girl Scouts selling Girl Scout Cookies.
Mara and her friends advertise Girl Scout Cookies for their 2022 Cookie Season.

The girls in Mara’s troop have become genuine friends. Mara said seeing her friends every other week is her favorite part about being in Girl Scouts, and after listing off a stream of names when asked who her friends are, Thiec confirmed Mara had just named every girl in her troop.

“Rose and Jazz in particular will literally say, ‘Hey Mara, what’s up?’ ‘Mara come on!’ They made sure she was along with them for whatever we were doing as a troop that the other girls then saw how to get Mara more involved and help boost her confidence,” Thiec said.

Along with many friendships, Mara has also gained confidence, independence and communication skills since joining her troop. Thiec credits the Girl Scouts.

“She has opened up more socially than before, which is related to autism. We did a skating party at the beginning of February and she saw a couple that fell. I think between maturity level and the Girl Scouts, she actually went out and said, ‘Are you OK?’ She wouldn’t have done that before,” Thiec said.

Girl Scout with her mom.
Mara with her mother Becca Thiec.

Thiec is a big supporter of her daughter’s Girl Scout experience. She usually stays at the troop meetings to provide one-on-one assistance for Mara if needed, but Mara has become increasingly more independent.

“There’s times she’s pushing me away – that’s a good thing if she’s pushing me away. She doesn’t want mommy’s help for certain tasks that’s being asked of her in troop meetings or troop functions,” Thiec said.

Through Girl Scouts, Mara has been able to participate in a multitude of activities she wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. From completing a Take Action Project with her troop where they collected donations for a homeless shelter, to visiting Foxfire House at Camp Furnace Hills in Lancaster County, to going indoor camping, Girl Scouts has provided Mara the opportunity to challenge herself. She even went horseback riding.

Girl Scout riding a horse.
Mara rides a horse for the first time through an activity planned by her troop.

“She was definitely afraid,” Thiec said of her daughter’s first introduction to equestrianism. “[But] she actually got on a horse and did horseback riding. If there wasn’t somebody there that she already knew, she wouldn’t have done it.”

Thiec is looking forward to seeing Mara continue to apply the life skills she’s learning in Girl Scouts in her everyday life.

“[I’m] just hoping that with what she has gained social-skill wise, [she] keeps pushing forward, that she doesn’t regress which I don’t think she will,” Thiec said. “Overall I can see social interaction growth, and overall growth. She’s doing so well.”

While Mara’s Girl Scout experience may differ from others because of her autism, Thiec believes the inclusiveness of Girl Scouts reaches all girls.

“It doesn’t matter if a girl has a disability or not,” Thiec said. “As long as you can find the troop that is open-armed, like mine is, they’ll accept her no matter what.”

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

How Girl Scout troops can help humanitarian crisis caused by Russia-Ukraine war

As the Russia-Ukraine war continues in Europe, Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) has shared opportunities for Girl Scouts to raise money in support of our sister Girl Guides and their volunteers and families who are being impacted by the war in Ukraine.

Here are some ways that girls can offer their support.

Additionally, below are resources for members and their families to help navigate discussions concerning the ongoing conflict.

GSHPA receives $65,000 in gaming grant funds to build new yurts at Camp Small Valley

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to announce it has been awarded $65,000 in gaming grant funds to build two new yurts at Camp Small Valley in Dauphin County.

The funds come from revenue generated at Hollywood Casino and are allocated to local organizations by Dauphin County Commissioners. The grant is part of a total $8 million that will be shared with the casino’s host county and municipalities.

Yurt at girl-only camp property Camp Small Valley in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.
The yurts at Camp Small Valley are the camp’s most popular lodging option and are available to rent any time of the year.

GSHPA applied for funds to build more yurts at Camp Small Valley because the current structures are its most popular lodging option and serve as a unique draw to the camp property. Yurts are circular-dome structures with walls that are built on platforms. This design dates back nearly 3,000 years to Central Asia. GSHPA’s yurts comfortably accommodate larger groups and are available to rent any season of the year making them an ideal lodging option year-round.

“Our girls love the yurts because their round shapes, bunk beds, screen doors and high ceilings make them fun to hang out in,” said Ginger Aurand, a troop leader for Service Unit (SU) 646. “I would recommend the yurts for all other Scouts, but especially to young Scouts who are experiencing camp for the first time. The yurts have a comfortable feel and almost feel home-like.”

The addition of these new yurts will create opportunity for more girls and camp visitors to use the property and enjoy their outdoor experience. GSHPA anticipates the new yurts being completed and ready for use by fall 2023.

Camp Small Valley hosts GSHPA’s summer resident camp and year-round, council-sponsored outdoor events. The yurts are a component of overnight camping with Girl Scouts, which is a longstanding and well-established element of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). We know that participation in outdoor programs promotes a higher level of engagement in environmental stewardship, and Girl Scouts who have monthly outdoor experiences are stronger problem-solvers and better challenge-seekers.

Camp Small Valley, its yurts and its other amenities are not only available to Girl Scouts but to any and all looking for a unique camping experience. Families, schools, organizations and individuals are welcome to rent lodging and amenities through GSHPA and are encouraged to learn more about GSHPA Summer Camp properties.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Hanover-based orthodontic practice gives back through Girl Scout Cookies

EDITOR’S NOTE (March 29, 2022) David Ross Orthodontics pledges to purchase two cases of Girl Scout Cookies per troop, not per girl.

By Catherine Amoriello

Dr. David Ross of David Ross Orthodontics
Dr. David Ross of David Ross Orthodontics

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is more than halfway through its Girl Scout Cookie Season and our girls are going stronger than ever! While Girl Scouts work hard to sell their cookies and hone their entrepreneurship skills, it’s important to remember that Cookie Season would not be possible without the support of many individuals. From our bakers, to our volunteers, to our cookie-loving customers, we appreciate all who support our Girl Scouts in reaching their cookie goals. One such supporter of the Girl Scout Cookie Program is Dr. David Ross of David Ross Orthodontics out of Hanover, Pa., and Lutherville-Timonium, Md.

This year will be the fourth year the practice is pledging to purchase two cases of Girl Scout Cookies per girl. As an orthodontic practice that serves a mostly younger demographic, supporting girls aligns with Ross’ philanthropic goals.

“The core of our practice is children. Anything that comes into our focal point of supporting kids, supporting programs that support children or supporting schools has always been the main focus of David Ross Orthodontics,” Ross said.

Dr. David Ross of David Ross Orthodontics with young Girl Scout and Girl Scout Cookies.
A Girl Scout shows her appreciation for David Ross Orthodontics’ support of her cookie endeavors.

Ross began the practice’s cookie initiative as a way to eliminate the challenge girls face of having to go door-to-door, or wait for customers to come to them to buy cookies. The initiative not only provides direct support to Girl Scouts and their troops, but gives back to individuals making a difference in the community as well. All cookies purchased by Ross are donated to first responders in Hanover, including police officers, firefighters, nurses and other community heroes.

“We support them [Girl Scouts] and take the cookies to support others in a pay it forward concept, which is how we run our business,” Ross said. “We have always done this, but the pandemic adds to the ‘thank you’ for all the hard work they do. Giving back to them has been so great and something that we want to do.”

In 2021, the practice purchased and donated more than 35 cases, or about 420 boxes, of Girl Scout Cookies. The practice does not have a limit to how many girls it will support through buying cases of cookies, and it welcomes any girl from any troop to get involved by emailing marketing@davidrossortho.com or calling/texting their office in Hanover at 717-637-4131.

And in case you were wondering, yes, Ross not only donates cookies but enjoys them himself as well! The orthodontist’s favorite Girl Scout Cookie is Thin Mints (but they have to be frozen).

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Pennsylvania governor celebrates 110th birthday of Girl Scouts with GSHPA

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf receives Girl Scout Cookies from Janet Donovan, President and CEO of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s favorite Girl Scout Cookie is the Thin Mint. At right is Janet Donovan, President and CEO of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.

Representatives from Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) were welcomed to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s office on March 9 to mark a milestone in the Girl Scouts’ history: the 110th birthday celebration.

March 12 marks the day that Founder Juliette Gordon Lowe organized the first Girl Scout Troop in Savannah, Georgia. Lowe was ahead of her time as she helped organize enrichment programs, service projects and outdoor activities. Since the time of the first meeting with 18 girls present, Girl Scouts has grown to over 3.7 million members.

Janet Donovan, GSHPA President and CEO, was joined by Hershey-area Girl Scouts and sisters Alexis and Scarlett, a sixth-grade Cadette and a Daisy in first grade, respectively; and Raina, a third-grader and Brownie from Middletown.

GSHPA presented Gov. Wolf with his favorite Girl Scout Cookie, Thin Mints, as well as the newest Girl Scout Cookie, Adventurefuls (full transparency: the governor did pay for the cookies). Gov. Wolf also signed the GSHPA Happy Birthday poster and stood for various photos with the visiting Girl Scouts.

We thank the governor and his team for their hospitality this past week.

Below are some highlights from the visit.

Tips and tricks for your Girl Scout Cookie Booth

By: Colleen Buck

Girl Scout Cookie Booth season is just around the corner! Booths are a great way to increase troop sales while having a fun time. To have a successful booth, it is important to make sure you have everything you will need the day of, including smiles and excited girls! While we have had to adjust the way we hold cookie booths in the past two seasons, it’s important to be prepared to set the troop up for success. Read on for some tried-and-true ways to help your troop have a successful cookie booth season!

Teach girls cookie booth etiquette.

Service with a smile: Don’t forget to thank your customers!

This is a very important first step for cookie booths! Girls and troops are representing Girl Scouts to both their customers as well as the location that has allowed a booth to be set up. It is important to remind girls that stores and other locations may have certain rules in place, so knowing those rules ahead of time will be helpful. Actions like running around the entrance or inside of a store may result in that location not allowing us to return in the future.

No matter what age girls are at the booth, it is also important to remember to smile and say, “Thank you!” Showing customers our Girl Scout spirit will not only encourage them to return as customers in the future, but might even help to increase sales at the booth. Making sure each girl knows the cost of each cookie, what each cookie tastes like, knowing which cookies fit certain dietary concerns and how the troop will use the money earned can help boost sales as well.

Dress for success!

Look good, feel good: wear your Girl Scout uniform with pride!

Whenever we are representing Girl Scouts we want to dress for the part! Uniforms are the perfect way to not only represent Girl Scouts as an organization, but to catch the eye of potential customers. With that said, here in Pennsylvania we all know the weather in March and April can have a mind of its own! Be sure to check the weather forecast the night before a booth, and notify families that dressing in layers is always best. Even if the start of a cookie booth is warm and sunny, the end of a shift may not be.

Dress and prepare for comfort as well. Having one or two camp chairs for girls to take short breaks in can be helpful. Standing for hours on end is difficult, so taking measures to ensure comfort is important and will help the girls recharge throughout their shifts. Similarly, having things like carpet squares to stand on, or hand warmers for pockets can provide comfort and allow for a more successful booth shift.

Create an eye-catching booth.

Advertise with flair: make your booth stand out with bright colors and signs!

Bring the customers to you by decorating the booth with vibrant colors, signs, cookie themed décor and more! This is the perfect time to let the troop’s creativity shine. Little Brownie Baker has some great ideas for booth crafts and decorations that can really help jazz up the presentation and draw in customers. Having fun with the booth and using decorations, signs and even costumes will also create a fun energy that will allow the girls to have fun and the customers to have some fun as well!

Don’t forget, cookie cases and individual cookie boxes make for some great materials to use while crafting. A cookie box pennant to hang above or on the table takes care of advertising what is being sold and checks the boxes for fun and vibrant! For even more awesome cookie booth crafts, Pinterest is also a great resource!

Have fun!

When it comes to running a cookie booth, the most important thing to remember is to have fun. Customers will naturally be drawn in to a booth where girls are energetic, smiling, conversational and happy to be there. Be prepared, create a visual booth that draws people in and remember that Cookie Season helps provide our girls with amazing skills and opportunities for the future!