Earlier this summer, GSHPA hosted more than 400 Girl Scout professionals, virtually, from across the globe as they hosted the National Product Program Conference. The mission of the conference was to focus on learning, collaborating and networking to operationally build and grow consistent, sustainable programs in partnership with GSUSA and vendors.
GSHPA President and CEO, Janet Donovan kicked off the conference with opening remarks.
GSHPA staff also presented different sessions during the conference. Director of Product Program and Retail Jessica Delp led “Collaborating with All Departments During Cookie Season” as well as co-leading “How Marketing Helps the Cookie Program” with GSHPA Marketing and Communications Director, Cathy Hirko. Other sessions included Cookie Forecasting, Rewards Strategy and Guidance, Cookie Program 101 and more!
“We were so excited and honored to be the virtual host council this year,” said Delp. “We already have plans in the works for next year’s conference – in person at the Sweetest Place on Earth, Hershey, PA.”
Vendors and sponsors led informative and interactive virtual expo booths. Not only were the national Girl Scout Cookie bakers present, but other groups such as Disney on Broadway and The Shoe That Grows; a leather sandal invented by inventor Kenton Lee that can adjust its size, allowing children in third-world countries to grow up without having to go barefoot.
In addition to these items GSHPA wanted to ensure that our attendees felt connected while meeting virtually. We planned a variety of activities such as a Cookies & Cocktails event and S’more Fun Networking!
In 2022, GSHPA will again host this national conference, but this time in person at the Hershey Lodge! GSHPA is honored to partner with GSUSA, the national Girl Scout organization, to offer this amazing opportunity two years in a row.
One of the easiest and inexpensive ways to get outdoors this summer is by traveling to your own backyard! You’ll save time and money, but can have just as much fun planning your backyard camping adventure as you would planning a trip away. Keep reading for some fun ideas for a summer backyard campout!
First you’ll want to decide what kind of sleeping arrangements you’d like to have. Some of my favorite options include:
Setting up a tent: if you choose this option, you could sleep on the ground in your sleeping bags just like you might on a camping trip in the woods. Or, if you’re like me and enjoy a more comfortable arrangement, you could set up an air mattress with blankets and pillows for more of a “glamping” experience!
Create a tarp tent: all you need is a tarp and rope! This option would be more open-air than a tent, and allows you to sleep under the stars while still being protected from the elements.
No shelter: if the weather is going to be nice overnight, you could choose no shelter at all! Remember to make sure this is a safe option – think about what kind of animals might come through your yard in the middle of the night
Remember that whatever shelter you choose to set up, you can make it as fun as you’d like! Adding extra blankets or stuffed animals will make the space nice and cozy. Some fairy lights strung up will provide you with light once it’s dark. Or if you want to imagine you are hiking through the mountains with only the items you can carry on your back, maybe your setup looks a little more rustic with just your shelter, sleeping bag, pillow, and a lantern. This camping adventure is completely up to you!
After your shelter is set up for the night, don’t forget to plan some camping activities! Some of our favorite Girl Scout activities include:
Singing songs around a campfire (don’t forget to have some fire starters on hand, as well as an adult!)
Going for a hike – this could be a walk through your neighborhood, where you listen for the sounds of nature, or if you have a hiking trail near your house you could explore that too!
Learn about the Leave No Trace principles, and make a plan to follow those principles both on your backyard camping adventure, as well as on future trips into the outdoors.
Learn about the stars in the sky through GSHPA’s Constellation series. Remember to wait for the sun to set completely. You can use the app SkyView Lite (with parent permission), and watch the first video of the series here.
After the sun has set and you’re getting ready to sleep, another camping favorite you can do is storytelling! Each person can take turns telling a story they’ve heard or have made up. Or you could make it a game by having each person say only one sentence of a story. Popcorn stories can be super silly since everyone only gets to say one sentence at a time!
Now that you have your shelter set up, and activities planned, we can’t forget one of the most important parts of a camping adventure…the food!
Yes, it’s time for everyone’s favorite part: the food! We are going to be talking about all the fun and interesting ways to cook outside! Did you know that you can actually bake brownies in your backyard? How about a full chicken or a whole pie? Well you definitely can and we’re going to show you how!
Kicking off our outdoor cooking adventure is a box oven! As the name suggests it is made with a cardboard box!
To create your Box Oven you will need:
A Cardboard Box (extra thick/sturdy if possible)
4-6 Empty Soda Cans
A Grill Rack (must fit inside box)
Small Aluminum Pan
You will want your box to have a flap to cover the opening like a door. The remaining flaps can be removed. Then start by covering your cardboard box in aluminum foil – shiny side out! Be sure to cover every inch of cardboard in foil to ensure it doesn’t burn!
Once covered place your empty soda cans on the sides to hold up your grill rack. After your box oven is all set up begin putting hot charcoal in your aluminum pan! Keep in mind each brick of charcoal will be around 50 degrees, so add enough to reach your desired temperature with that in mind!
Just let your box oven preheat – then start cooking! We recommend making brownies or pizza! And don’t forget a potholder or other heat protection!
Did you know you can grill using a flower point? You can – let’s talk about how!
To create this unique grill, you will need:
10 Inch Ceramic Flower Pot (please use a plain undecorated flower pot)
Start by putting a layer of aluminum foil on the inside of your flower pot – shiny side out! Once the inside is fully coated add your pearlite. Perlite is a mineral that reduces moisture and insulates heat which can be commonly found in any garden center or store. You will want to pour perlite to fill your lined flower pot about halfway. After this has been added place a layer of aluminum foil on top of the perlite. Top the aluminum foil with hot charcoal and you are ready to roll!
Once hot you can use your flower pot just like a grill! We recommend roasting hot dogs and marshmallows to start! It is a great option for Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts to try! You can even add a grilling rack to the top for more cooking options!
Tin Can Cooking:
Cooking on top of a tin can is great for camping, especially for breakfast! It is a great option for french toast and pancakes!
To create your own you will need:
#10 Tin Can (make sure the inside is not lined with plastic)
A Buddy Burner
Yes, that’s all you need! Before we talk about how to set up your tin can, let’s talk about how to make a Buddy Burner!
To create a Buddy Burner, you will need:
A Tuna Can (or similar – freshly washed)
Strips of Cardboard, Paper or Wood Shavings
When making your Buddy Burner start by emptying, washing and drying your tuna can. After that fill the can with strips of cardboard, paper or wood shavings – this will be your fuel. When filling the can try not to pack your too tight to ensure air can circulate. We recommend making sure a few edges are sticking out for easy lighting.
Once you have filled your can simply pour melted wax inside about 2/3 of the way and allow to set! Once dry you are ready to get started!
So now that you have a Buddy Burner, let’s talk about your larger tin can! Start by washing and drying it. After that you should take a can open and create small holes along the top edge of the can, like the image above, to help with ventilation. And that’s it – you’re ready to get cooking!
Simply light the Buddy Burner and place your Tin Can Stove on top. Once hot you can use it to cookie pancakes, French toast and much more! After you’re done cooking we recommend flipping the top of your stove onto the Buddy Burner to extinguish it – just be careful, it will be hot!
We hope you enjoyed learning all about our favorite backyard cooking and camping methods! Be sure to share your favorites in the comments below!
For thousands of years people have wanted to fly. Our legends and fairy tales are full of stories about humans who can fly, gliding through the air.
This month we will be looking at gravity, thrust, lift, and drag while the girls build their own flying machines. The girls will use their powers of observation and problem-solving skills to modify and improve their designs to get the best results.
Why Flying Machines?
An object in flight is constantly in a tog us war between opposing forces, lift vs weight, and thrust vs drag. Humans do not have wings or a power source strong enough to keep us moving through the air to sustain the lift needed for flight. We need help from machines. Planes and birds are both affected by the same forces in flight.
What if I’m not an expert?
This is a simple build to demonstrate how the forces impact an object in flight, there are some great resources in the Volunteer Toolkit for this badge that help you complete the build of the fling flyer. To access the Volunteer Toolkit, visit your council’s website and click on MyGS.
How do I get started?
Materials you need:
Pen or pencil
Cardstock (or other heavy paper)
Take the time to try out the demonstration ahead of time to make sure you don’t have too many surprises when showing the girls.
Here are some discussion questions to get the girls thinking:
What are some things that fly?
Birds, airplane, helicopter, bugs, seeds, hot air balloon, ect.
All things that fly or glide have to be able to provide enough lift force to oppose the weight force. Gravity is a force that pulls everything toward the Earth’s surface, this pull is called weight force. Lift is a force that acts upwards against weight and is caused by the air moving over and under the wings.
Thrust is the force that moves the object forward. Thrust is provided by:
Muscles – birds and other flying animals, you with your paper flying machines
Engines – airplanes
Wind – kites, hot air balloons
Gravity – For gliders to actually fly they are diving at a very shallow angle, birds do this to when they glide. Your designs will also take advantage of this too.
The force working against thrust is called drag. This is caused by air resistance and acts in the opposite direction to the motion. The amount of drag depends on the shape of the flying object, the density of the air and the speed of the object. Think about the shape of a jet vs a hot air balloon. Thrust can overcome the force of drag.
If the forces are equal the plane or bird will fly at a constant speed, when the forces are not equal then the object will speed up, slow down, or change direction towards the greatest force.
Flying Machine Two: Helicopters
Materials: Cardstock/, Paper clip, Scissors, ruler, glue
Cut your paper into a 6 inch by 2 inch rectangle
At one end, cut about 3 inches up the middle of your paper.
Make two cuts on either side about ½ an inch higher than your cut.
Fold the uncut end inward as shown
Flatten and fold up a small piece of your paper on the end.
Add a paper clip to hold things in place and add weight so that your helicopter stays upwards while flying.
Fold your cut end in opposite directions to create your helicopter blades.
Grab them by the paperclip end and throw similar to a paper airplane.
You will want to find a high place like a balcony or deck to see what they can do.
You can also simple drop them from your high place and watch.
After each build ask the girls:
How does this design overcome the weight and drag forces?
What is creating the thrust? Muscles, engine, gravity?
What can you do to improve the design?
Make it go faster?
A Plane Snack
Materials Needed: Graham crackers, grapes/blueberries (round fruit for wheels), celery, and peanut butter, toothpicks
Cut your celery stick to the size that you want your airplane to be.
Fill your celery stick with peanut butter.
Using your toothpick attach two grapes to either side of the plane for the wheels.
Place half of a graham cracker that has been cut lengthwise across the wheels on top of the peanut butter.
Cut two small very thin celery pieces and attach to the front of your celery stick for propellers.
We are just a few short months away from the start of the new Girl Scout year, and with a new year comes new leaders! For those of us who have been Girl Scouts for life, or are seasoned leaders, the cycle of the Girl Scout year comes naturally to you, and the only new things you may need to adjust to occasional changes and updates. You’ve had the opportunity to learn how to best lead a troop, how to network with other leaders, use the Volunteer Toolkit and give the best Girl Scout experience to the girls as possible. New leaders not only have the challenge of learning about all the resources available, but also learning the ins and outs of Girl Scouts and Girl Scout lingo. They also often do not know other leaders, and that is often one of the hardest parts of being a new leader.
As Girl Scouts we encourage our girls to “make new friends”, “to help people at all times”, be “friendly and helpful”, and “be a sister to every Girl Scout”. What better way to set an example for our girls than to practice these values ourselves and be a sister and friend to our new leaders? We have such awesome networks within our Service Units, and working together to welcome new leaders, and provide them with the knowledge that they have a network of volunteers just like them to look to for support and help is a great gift we can give to our new leaders! Check out my list below for ways we can be a friend to our new leaders, and best support them as they start their Girl Scout journey:
1. Invite new leaders to the next Service Unit meeting. If you don’t know the new leaders, go introduce yourself. Share your details, the level you lead, meeting places, and your contact information for when they have questions. This will give them a friendly face at future meetings and events, and also someone to go to with questions.
2. Service Unit Contact Info: New leaders start their time as a leader by meeting with their Volunteer Support Coordinator, as well as participating in trainings. While having experienced leaders reaching out is helpful for new leaders to build up their contacts, another way to do that could be through a Service Unit wide directory. This directory can be given to all leaders, new and old, within your Unit.
3. Planning Committees: Inviting new leaders to join your Service Unit planning committees get them involved immediately and helps the Service Unit as a whole. Many Service Units often see the same people volunteer to help plan and organize, so involving new leaders will help to build up the volunteers and infuse new ideas to help the Service Unit.
4. Make New Friends: Invite new leaders and their troops to join your troop to a meeting, field trip, or event. This gives the new leader a break from planning, and allows them to see how your troop operates! It also gives the girls a chance to connect. A lot of new leaders are leading new troops, so everyone involved can benefit from making new friends.
5. Offer to help the new leader with a ceremony or tradition. These are the backbone of Girl Scouts, and can be hard to learn just through reading about them. Demonstrating the traditions for a new leader is much more personal and helps them learn how to carry on the traditions while building relationships!
6. Similarly, invite a new leader to join you and your troop on a camping trip. As a leader they have all clearances and can help toward your troop ratio, and they can learn tips and tricks. Working together gives the leaders new and old to learn on the go during the trip that the internet and online training can miss. For an added bonus, you could invite their entire troop on a camping trip, have the girls teach the girls, and provide a unique hands-on experience for the entire troop.
Working together to help new leaders feel connected and part of our Girl Scout sisterhood is something that we can all do. Have you ever connected with a new leader in a way not included on my list? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Our Girl Scout Troop in Mechanicsburg is making a difference in the world.
By Ellie Peters
It is incredible what Girl Scouts can do when they put their minds to it. Troop 15089 located in Mechanicsburg, PA, is an amazing example of what Girl Scouts can do. I have been a part of this troop since I was a brownie, and I have had so many amazing experiences.
One example is that when we were Juniors, we built native bee boxes to protect the native bees. The population of the native bees are declining, so our troop decided that it was time to make a change. With the help of our leaders, and a partnership with the Carlisle Tool Library, we were able to build 14 bee boxes to place throughout the community. After doing this, we received our Bronze Awards. These bee boxes will hopefully help bring back pollinators to our community.
Other things our troop has done includes picking up trash in parks and neighborhoods and helping people in need. Two examples of this are when we sent water purification tablets to people in Puerto Rico after a hurricane, and when we sewed together craft draft dodgers (draft stoppers) to donate to Habitat for Humanity. They prevent outdoor air from seeping into homes and helps to decrease electricity costs.
These activities helped to raise awareness about important issues like water conservation, helping others, and pollution/littering.
Troop 15089 has had plenty of exciting and thrilling trips and adventures too! Some of my favorites were camping (of course!), having a sleepover at the Baltimore Aquarium, horseback riding, and hiking trips. We paid for most of these trips with the money we made from cookie sales. After all, there wouldn’t be Girl Scouts having fun without hard work coming first!
The current project of Troop 15089 is planting potatoes. It sounds kind of strange at first, but we are planting them in burlap sacks from local coffee shops. So, instead of throwing the sacks away, we are upcycling the burlap sacks. Troop 15089 is going to donate some of the potatoes we grow to a local food bank. We are also working on a website and a pamphlet to teach others how to do this.
It is obvious that Troop 15089 is making a difference in the world, and having lots of fun too!
My name is Emily and I am in fifth grade at North Pocono Intermediate School. I am a junior in Troop 50605 in Covington Township, Lackawanna County.
This was by best cookie season yet! I sold 3,539 boxes of cookies! On March 13, 2021 I sold my 10,000th box of cookies since I started selling cookies as a Daisy.
As a Smore’s Executive with Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, I try my best to give back to my community. This year, I was able to donate over 525 boxes of cookies to people in my local community:
150 boxes of cookies went to Pennsylvania State Troopers in Dunmore and Lehighton
100 boxes to a local nursing home, St. Mary’s Villa
100 boxes to the teachers and staff at my school
25 boxes to Madison Township Fire Department
200 boxes to individuals with intellectual disabilities at Keystone Community Resources.
I hosted my very first virtual cookie house party! It was just like a cookie house party I normally do, but online.
I told my guests about the cookies that I was selling and gave them some recipes for great treats to make with cookies. We played a game that allowed me to sell over 300 boxes of cookies in just 10 minutes!
I created a wheel that had 12 spots with cookies ranging from 1 box to 1 case. My guests took a chance and they spun the wheel live and depending on amount they landed on, they agreed to purchase that amount of cookies to support my cookie journey.
They could keep them for themselves or donate them. Eight guests landed on a FULL CASE! Everyone had so much fun!
If you ask, they will respond
I enjoy participating in booths with my friends and helping customers make a purchase. It’s always my goal to not let them pass the table without asking “would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”
I have found that most people don’t buy cookies because they were never asked.
I would like to thank my family, community and friends for all their support this season and for their generous donations so that I was able to help 525 people get a box of cookies that otherwise might not get a box.
With our cookie money our troop is planning a community service project, a backyard outdoor movie night and a trip to the beach!
A Badge Review by Cadettes, Aviana Gonzalez and Sameera Pillai.
In February of this year, also known as Black History Month, our Troop 20078 in York, PA, completed the “Race and Hate Has No Place Here” Patch. We learned about systemic racism, what it means to be anti-racist, as well as the history of racism and its impact on the world.
We learned about the first African American Girl Scout leader, Josephine Holloway. She is the reason troops like ours are made of the wonderful colors we are today.
We learned that racism is a form of discrimination against someone’s race, ethnicity, or religion. This is making fun of another person’s culture, beliefs, and parts of their appearance. However, instead of not tolerating racism, or being non-racist, you can be anti-racism.
Anti-racism is not only being against racism, but taking proper action against it. This can include educating yourself about systemic racism and pointing out discriminatory behavior against others. Using your voice to address the problem or seeking assistance from a trusted adult to address the problem. Making the world a better place for all and to help others at all times.
Why should kids our age learn about discrimination and racism? Discrimination and hate are common things that we see in today’s world, regardless of where we are. Racism is not only a problem in the USA but a global one.
Racism often refers to someone’s race, whether that be the color of their skin or their culture. We also reviewed different types of discrimination such as how you speak, where you live, who you are attracted too, how you dress where you work, if you have a disability and so on.
Learning about racism and discrimination opened up our eyes to ways we can help make a difference in our future. We were also joined by an investigator from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Relations, who reviewed what she did as an investigator and why learning about all of this is important in real life.
The first African American Girl Scout leader, Josephine Holloway was a trailblazer in the history of Girl Scouts. Fun Fact: Holloway established Troop 200, Nashville’s first Black Girl Scout troop! This set a new path for Girl Scouts everywhere regardless of their race and ethnicity.
Earning this patch was not only inspirational, but also very informing. It made us proud to be in our own skin and to be such a diverse troop.
Hello, my name is Rachel, I am from Troop 15089 in Mechanicsburg, PA. We are working toward earning the Speaking in Sign badge, and we started the first half of this badge by doing a Zoom meeting with my Troop 15089 and Troop 20078 in York, PA.
During this Girl Scout meeting with my deaf mom, I got the chance to teach the Girl Scouts about the deaf culture. We also taught them how to sign the letters of the alphabet, Pledge of Allegiance, and the Girl Scout Promise.
At the second half of the meeting, we even had a Sign Language interpreter join our call and talk about a career as an interpreter. With all of the new skills we taught, I hope they will be able to inform other people one day and share the importance of the deaf culture.
Your shirt, attention and personalities matter
The top 3 things to know when meeting a deaf person is to wear a solid color shirt, talk to them not their interpreter, and to not cover your mouth.
You should always wear a solid shirt so when signing to them they can easily understand the signs. It is important to look directly at someone and not at the sign language interpreter and lastly you should be careful not to cover your mouth when speaking to someone who is deaf or hard of hearing.
Personally, I have been signing since I was a toddler, and my mom gave me a sign name showing the first letter of my first name and first letter of my middle name.
Later on I realized everyone else’s sign name had a fun and creative meaning or had to do something with their personality. So, I asked my mom if she could change it and therefore my new sign name incorporated the sign of happy and brave to reflect my personality!
In the next portion of our badge we will be completing the take action portion and I will be teaching American Sign Language at the Joshua Program in Harrisburg this summer.
I am looking forward to this and grateful for the experiences I’ve had with Girl Scouting.
It’s important that we listen to our Girl Scout voices.
They have a lot to say, a lot of really good information. When I get to hear their stories, whether it’s about the hundreds who have completed their Bronze or Silver projects, the dozens who fought through the work of their Gold Award projects, or those who have a love of the outdoor programming and entrepreneurship efforts, it’s important that we listen, that we hear them and that we share their most important stories.
At Girl Scouts in Heart of Pennsylvania, we are more than 13,000 voices strong. Our girls help craft our message, our programs and our leadership. They are our future voices.
When GSHPA started this blog last fall, our purpose was to share our voices and tell the stories in our council that mattered. We have done a good job, but we continually need to shift our efforts to make sure we are reaching those who need to hear us.
We also need to listen.
This week, our blog launches our “In Her Words” series, which encapsulates the various Girl Scout voices in our council. We are highlighting Girl Scouts from all areas of our GSHPA footprint. Starting tomorrow and for the rest of this week we will be posting a new blog post written by our Girl Scouts. Please take a read, and better yet, share their voices on your social media channels. The further the reach, the greater the impact.
Our Girl Scouts are proud of their work and what they have accomplished. They are learning important lessons through their work within our Council.
We plan to continue this series each month, highlighting the stories and information that matters to them. We know that you will enjoy hearing from them.
Buzz: Those are some great tips! And don’t worry if you forget to pack something! We have extra sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitizer, and books for rest hour!
Dazzle: What if someone doesn’t want to read a book during rest hour?
Buzz: Well that’s where we come in! Rest hour doesn’t have to be full of books and naps. Counselors are there all day to play games, have conversations, or supervise. At camp, you’ll always have someone to talk to! Remember, staff members are not only your counselors, but also your friends.
Dazzle: Didn’t we have a question about friends?
Buzz: We sure did! Our next question is from someone who is a little worried about coming to camp alone. “What can I do to make friends at camp?”
Dazzle: Making friends at camp can be easier than you think. Most of the time you are spending quality time with the same counselors and campers.
Try things like:
Being yourself. This will allow you to have the most fun!
Finding other campers with similar hobbies!
Stepping out of your comfort zone. Trying new things can be scary, but they can also lead to the best camp memories.
Take a deep breath. Making friends on camp can be overwhelming, but keep in mind there are counselors and staff members here to support you.
Buzz: Exactly! All of the staff members make sure every camper gets included! Being a part of the group and having fun is something that automatically comes with camp! If there ever is an issue, remember that you’re always welcome to have a chat with a counselor. Did I miss anything?
Dazzle: Sounds like you covered it all. We are so excited to have all of you at camp this year. Don’t forget to bring your loud singing voices and camp spirit!