Spooky Snacks

By Rebekah Stefl

Since October is in full swing it is clear to see things are getting spooky! As the temperature drops and it begins getting dark earlier it is easy to start thinking about one thing: Halloween. Yes, the night when goblins and ghouls come out to play! So what better way to celebrate spooky season with one of our all-time favorite things, snacks!

Zombie Toes

You Will Need:

  • Pretzel Nuggets
  • White frosting
  • Food Coloring
  • Milk Chocolate Chips

First you will need to add your green (or any color you like) food coloring to the frosting and mix! Once you have your mixture ready start spreading the frosting on the pretzels and add your zombie toe nails (chocolate chips).

Cookie Spiders

You Will Need:

  • Oreo Cookies (double stuff works best)
  • Supplies for Eyeballs (we recommend candy eyes, M&Ms, mini marshmallows or icing, but you can use anything you’d like)
  • Pretzel Sticks
  • Frosting

Start by laying out your supplies and snapping your pretzel sticks in half. If you would like your spiders to have extra-long legs you can leave them whole instead! Once you have your pretzels ready, begin sticking them in between the Oreo layers – right into the icing! Don’t forget that spiders have eight legs. Once you have assembled your spider’s body it is time to add eyes and decorate! We recommend letting your family decorate their own spiders for extra fun!

Monster Mix

You Will Need:

  • Popcorn
  • M&Ms
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Nuts
  • Spooky Sprinkles

Assemble all your supplies, (feel free to add extra goodies outside of our list) mix in a large bowl and enjoy!

We hope you enjoy these spooky snacks! Be sure to share your favorite Halloween treat recipes in the comments!

What’s the difference, Community Service vs Take Action Project

By Liz Bleacher

Within Girl Scouts we do a lot of projects and activities that help our communities at a local, county, state, national and even worldwide level. Some of these projects are community service and others can be considered Take Action Projects, some even can be in both categories at once.  The question is – how do you tell the difference between the two? How do you decide if what you are doing will help you earn your Community Service Bar or qualify as a project to complete your higher award, like the Bronze award?

I have some answers for you, in this post I will go through the check list of both so everyone, girls, volunteers, and adults, will have a better understanding of the two and be able to plan correctly.  To start lets go over some vocab so that we all understand what is meant.  First, a need, this is something that is a condition that needs supply or relief, it is a temporary fix.  Second and often used interchangeably but not the same is, an issue, which is an important topic or problem that is addressed on a bigger scale.  An issue requires a more long-term self-sustaining solution.

An example of this would be a food bank “needs” fresh fruit and veggies on the shelves for their community.  And the deeper “issue” is that they don’t have a regular sources of donations or a place to store fresh produce. Now, how do “need” and “issue” fit in with community service and Take Action projects? Let’s find out!

Community Service Projects

When planning a community service project you are focusing on solving an immediate need, having a food drive or raising money to donate to the food bank so they can purchase some produce will help with that need.  You can work to help fill the shelves, this solves the need and is a fantastic thing to do, but it doesn’t deal with the issue.  Once they give that food away or it goes bad they will be right back where they started.

Community service projects make the world a better place right now. Girls can engage in short-term service, like collecting toys, or a long-term project like weekly volunteering at the food bank, the work helps with the immediate need in their community.

Take Action Project

A Take Action project is a project that solves an issue by discussing and discovering the cause and coming up with a plan to affect or eliminate the cause of the problem.  For the food bank, the root issue was they don’t have a regular source of produce or a way to store them for a short period.   You could start your Take Action project by asking, “Why can’t they find produce and what do they need to store it?” After research, a Take Action project would eliminate the issue by working with local groceries or farmers to collect their extra produce and may include working with local companies to get one or two industrial refrigerators donated to store the produce for the weekly/biweekly distribution. This would provide the food bank with a regular source of produce and a place to store it. 

Take Actions projects go a step further than a community service project that stop when you stop.  Take Action projects, do not stop, they are continual, sustainable.  Both community service projects and Take Action projects are great opportunities to strengthen your communities and make the world a better place, just in different ways.  Everyone from Daisies to troop leaders, to life-long members can choose to serve in the way that is best for them.  Now that you know the difference you can work with your fellow Girl Scouts to make the best choice for your troop.  Like Juliette Gordon Low said, “The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers.”

Quick Resources

You can take a look at the different ways Girl Scouts can give back with badges and Journeys.  As well as the awards Girl Scouts can earn that help build their skills to eventually earn their Highest Awards.

Fall Fun with Friends

By Colleen Buck

Fall is a busy time of firsts – first day of school, first soccer practice, first time meeting new friends, the list goes on! With all of those firsts, it is also a great time for Girl Scouts to experience some firsts together while embracing the change of seasons and getting to know new and old Girl Scout friends. You can even add an additional layer of fun to your troop’s fall activities by incorporating a fun patch that goes along with the activity for the girls to remember the fun they had.

As you are thinking of fun fall activities to share with your girls, we have compiled a list of ideas for you to use. Some of our favorite well-known and not so well known ideas are listed. If your troop is extra-adventurous, you can take our challenge of completing all of these activities!

  • Experience a hayride
  • Go to an orchard to pick apples
  • Try some delicious apple cider at the apple orchard
  • Hold a troop investiture
  • Go to a pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins together
  • Have a pumpkin decorating showcase or contest
  • Attend a GSHPA program in person or virtually
  • Go on a nature walk to find items to use while working on your Outdoor Art badge!
  • Compile recipes for the best fall drink, shop for the ingredients, then have a taste test party
  • Plan and throw a big birthday party for Juliette Gordon Low (Oct 31)
  • Attend or participate in a fall community parade
  • Combine fun and community service, and offer to rake the leaves for an elderly neighbor
  • Plan and make a Troop “Friendsgiving” Dinner and invite families to join in the fun of eating it
  • If all of the girls in your troop celebrate Halloween, have a costume troop meeting and take lots of pictures
  • Plan a community service project together
  • Pair up with another troop to exchange SWAPS
  • Have a bonfire
  • Learn how to cook over a fire – s’mores or popcorn are good fall campfire snacks!
  • Go on a hike
  • Learn how to sew, knit or crochet
  • Visit a GSHPA camp property and get outdoors
  • Have a movie night
  • Have a fall themed craft party
  • Plan a Take Action Project

If your troop takes our challenge of completing all of these fabulous fall activities, you can use the attached PDF to keep track of what you have completed. If your troop is going to take the challenge, sound off in the comments to let us know what you are most looking forward to!

Colleen Buck is a Program Coordinator at GSHPA.

Taking in 100 Years of Girl Scouts in Northeastern PA

By Cathy Hirko

The second-oldest operating Girl Scout camp in the world is right here in the regional footprint for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. And our camp has had a lot to celebrate recently.

Camp Archbald, like GSHPA’s other camps, re-opened this year as Pennsylvania started easing its way out of COVID and the regulations surrounding outdoor, public activities. While providing a safe environment, girls and their families were once again able to enjoy what the Girl Scout outdoor experience had to offer.

In September, Camp Archbald marked a major milestone by celebrating its 100 year anniversary.

According to the Supporters of Camp Archbald (SOCA) website, the camp was founded in 1920 by the Scranton Pocono Girl Scout Council.  The site noted that the Scranton council initially started in 1918 at Lake Coxton, but the location was not right for a permanent home. In 1920, Mrs. Thomas Archbald, the chairwoman of a committee tasked to find land,  visited the Ely Lake site in Susquehanna Township and eventually made it the permanent home of the council’s first residential camp. Named after Mrs. Archbald, it’s the second-oldest operating Girl Scout Camp in the world.

Fun fact also from SOCA: The first camp ran eight weeks of resident camp, with approximately 76 girls attending each week. The cost? Seven dollars a week.

COVID delay

Camp supporters initially had planned to host the 100 year anniversary in September 2020, but a global pandemic forced the anniversary celebration to be held a year later on Sept. 18, 2021.

Camp attendees dating back to the 1940s attended the anniversary ceremony and celebration. In addition to tours and a full day of activities, organizers showed camp history memorabilia and led an opening ceremony.

The video below, highlights the September celebration.

To learn more about GSHPA camps and activities, please visit our website.

Have a great memory to share about Camp Archbald? Share in the comments or email Cathy Hirko at chirko@gshpa.org.

Cathy Hirko is the director of Marketing and Communications at GSHPA.

Sharing What They’ve Earned

Every fall Girl Scouts here in Central PA have the opportunity to start building on their entrepreneurial, communication and teamwork skills. The Fall Fundraiser Program, which includes nuts, candy, and magazines, provides girls with bonding fun that also generates important funds to support troop activities throughout the year. 

We checked in with Troop 52287 in Mount Pocono to see what they have been working toward and some of their favorite parts of participating with Fall Fundraiser Program.  Troop leader, Alexandra Mepham, shared that her troop made up of Daisies and Brownies worked hard to help pay for fun experiences like renting out a movie theater, snow tubing and maple syrup tour. The girls also decided that they wanted to use their money to help others, including local animals and those with medical challenges. 

Here is what the girls have to say about their experiences.

Cara Turk said her favorite part was getting orders ready for her friends and seeing the customers’ excited faces. She was happy to donate to animals and have some money for art supplies and a yummy pizza party.

Brianna Granberg loves the fact that we used our fundraiser money to help animals because of her love for animals.

Elliette Wilcox loved taking orders from friends and family. And she enjoyed helping the animals and getting to do fun things with her friends like snow tubing and learning about syrup.

Olivia Opris loved delivering to people including one of her mom’s coworkers with brain cancer. The treats made her happy and she is now cancer free and looking forward to more goodies.

What fun and amazing things have you done with your Girl Scouts?

October GSHPA Programs

GSHPA has a full calendar for you this month!  We have two amazing programs for girls and volunteers highlighted in this post and you can visit our online calendar for more programs offered all month.

Troop Adventure Days

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania is proud to offer not one, but two Troop Adventure Days for Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors! Hosted on two of our beautiful camp properties, Camp Small Valley in Dauphin County and Camp Happy Valley in Adams County.

Girl Scouts learn about the world around them and the connection between nature and STEM in the outdoors.

October’s Troop Adventure Days will feature a variety of fun outdoor activities: Girl Scouts will have the opportunity to learn about the science behind trees and forests on a STEM nature hike, create nature-themed wind chimes at an outdoor crafts station, practice their skills at the archery range, and much more! Visit our Event Calendar to register.

Troops have the opportunity to stay the night at camp the evening before and or after the TAD event through the property reservation.  Camp Small Valley and Camp Happy Valley both have a wonderful variety of rental options.  If you are interested please contact GSHPA Member Services at memberservice@gshpa.org.

New GS Year- New GS Badge

This fall GSHPA Program Team is going to hosting programs that allow girls to experience the NEW Digital Leadership badge sponsored by Instagram. The badge allows girls to explore what digital leadership is, how to become one, and safety first thinking skills for the internet. Girls will be part of challenges that practice being online in a safe, positive way that focuses on wellbeing and time spent.

Girl Scouts take the lead on Digital Leadership Badges online.

Every day people around the world are using the internet and technology to complete simple to complex things. The list is always growing of new ways for each girl. Our team built games and brand new activities to explore technology components that girls will be using. Many of our Girl Souts are already tech savvy and this badge will help them focus their activity and learn about their digital footprint and being a leader online.

This October we start with Daisy, Brownie, Juniors, and Cadettes. Each level meeting a different evening session during the month. Visit our Event Calendar to register.

So Much More

We have many more programs in October that range from outdoor adventures to STEAM with the Program Team.  Please take a look at our council calendar to find the program that is right for you. 

If there are older girls that want to be involved in the activities we are hosting- please reach out to Dana Taylor at dtaylor@gshpa.org and we can connect you to ways you can volunteer!

Jess Delp: GSHPA’s Rising Star

By Cathy Hirko

A couple weeks ago the team here at Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania found out that one of our own has been named to the 2021 Class of Forty Under 40 from the Central Penn Business Journal.

Jess Delp, our Director of Product Program and Retail, now stands with some of the brightest rising stars in our midstate community.

While we all happily congratulate Jess, we thought it was a perfect time to have Jess share a bit about herself, the award and all the goodness surrounding this honor.

Read on:

GSHPA: Congrats on being named to CPBJ’s Forty Under 40. You are now among a class of high-profile leaders in the Harrisburg business community. Tell us a little bit about your last couple years with GSHPA. What are some of your proudest moments? What are some of your biggest accomplishments?

DELP: Working for GSHPA has introduced me to some of the most incredible volunteers and girls. I am constantly inspired by all they do. During 2020 it was incredible to watch our Girl Scouts adapt to the ever-changing world to continue to build their cookie businesses, meet their goals and make the world a better place- all while staying safe!

GSHPA: Spill the beans on how you manage your workload with GSHPA. How do you stay on top of your projects and the new projects bubbling to the top every day?

DELP: I am full of energy so I am constantly working, connecting and creating. While completing one project I am already thinking of three other things I want to do. I am passionate about my work and that makes every day fun!

GSHPA: If you had a chance to share one need that GSHPA needs to fill, what would it be and how can your fellow Forty Under 40 class help out?

DELP: It is important to me that our community know how relevant and important Girl Scouts is. We love our history and traditions, but we also embrace the new world and work tirelessly to support our members and to make the world a better place. Having other community stakeholders speaking on our behalf and invested in our work is imperative.

GSHPA: I know the GSHPA team is very lucky to have you as a leader on our team and you inspire many. Want to give any shoutouts to those folks who inspire you, both in and outside the organization?  

DELP:  Lauren Linhard (Brittany Insider), Meghan Kahler (Northwestern Mutual) and Jen Hicks (Central Bark) are amazing entrepreneurs in the York community who I have the pleasure of working with and being friends with. JT Hand is the CEO of York Water Company and I love his work ethic and passion for the community. I also very much respect Jon Taffer. His business acumen is unmatched and he recognizes that the people are the most important piece of any business.

Cathy Hirko is the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennyslvania. You can reach her at chirko@gshpa.org.

Penguin Crafts this Fall

Post written by Colleen Sypien

Our Fall Fundraiser is a great way to kick off the Girl Scout year, and this year we get to do so with our Emperor Penguin mascot, Pearl! In honor of Pearl the penguin, we have two fun crafts for you to make at home to get excited about Fall Fundraiser.

Milk Jug Igloo

Our first craft will be a home for our penguin friends. For this craft you will need the following items:

  • A milk jug or water jug that has been washed and dried
  • Cotton balls
  • A toilet paper tube
  • Scissors
  • School glue (or hot glue with adult help)

The first step for this project is to take your milk jug and scissors, and cut the jug in half, just below the handle. You may need an adult’s help, as the edge of the milk jug once cut can be a little sharp.

Once your jug is cut in half, use your scissors to cut a little doorway. Your toilet paper tube will fit into this space, so you can use that to measure how big your door should be.

Next, you can slide the toilet paper tube into the doorway you cut. Leave about half of the tube sticking out from the jug. Using your glue, put a line of glue where the doorway and the tube connect, so that it stays in place. Let that dry before moving on.

Once your glue is dry and the tube is stuck in the doorway, it is now time to start adding our snow! Using your glue, you can either put a drop of glue onto each cotton ball as you go, or put a line of glue onto the milk jug, sticking the cotton balls on before doing another line. The goal is to cover the entire igloo in cotton balls, even the tube for the doorway!

Once you have all of your cotton balls glued on, let your igloo sit for a few hours to make sure the glue is completely dry before moving your project. While it drying, you could find other materials around your house to recycle and create penguin friends to live in your igloo!

Penguin Bookmark

This project is a great way to keep a penguin friend with you all the time! You will need the following materials:

  • Scissors
  • Orange and white paper
  • Black paper, cut into a 6” by 6” square
  • School glue
  • Markers/colored pencils

For this project we will be folding our black paper, similarly to origami. Please watch the video for instructions on how to fold your paper.

Once the glue on your penguin is dry, you are all set to use it to mark the pages of whatever you are currently reading! Don’t forget that Fall Fundraiser begins on September 23rd. To participate talk with your Troop Leader on how to get started!

Colleen Sypien is GSHPA’s newest program coordinator

4 Traditionally Girl Scout Recipes

Blog written by Rebekah Stefl

Traditions are a huge part of Girl Scouts! They can be found in the uniforms we wear, the songs we sing and even the food we eat! Now every Girl Scout will have their own personal twist on all these classic dishes and they might even have other food traditions of their own, but check out some of our favorites!

Jungle Breakfast – one of my personal favorite Girl Scout traditions!

You will need:

  • Small Boxes of Cereal
  • Granola Bars
  • Packs of Muffins or Donuts
  • Fruit
  • Small Bottles of Juice
  • Milk
  • Twine/Yarn

While the girls are sleeping the adults will gather the supplies and begin tying them into the trees! We recommend setting up early in the morning to avoid attracting critters, but you can do all the prep work the night before. When the girls wake up they will have to “hunt” for their own breakfast in the trees! They have a blast! Just be sure to collect any leftovers, string, etc. before moving on to your next activity.

Ants on a Log – quick and fun snack for all ages!

You will need:

  • Celery
  • Peanut Butter (alternate nut butter or nut free butter can be used)
  • Raisins, Berries or Chocolate Chips

Simply start by washing and cutting your celery into logs about 6 inches long! Once ready fill your celery will your preferred nut or nut free better then top with your “ants” and enjoy! 

Foil Packs – sweet or savory and easy to make over a fire, on the grill or in the oven!

Savory: Chicken & Vegetables

You will need:

  • Heavy Duty Foil
  • Chicken
  • Your Favorite Vegetables (recommended: onions, zucchini, potatoes and bell peppers) 
  • Olive Oil
  • Seasoning Salt and/or Spices
  • Salt and Pepper

Start by cutting your chicken and vegetables into bite sized pieces. Once ready lay out your foil (shiny side down) then add your chicken and vegetables. Add enough oil to coat and sprinkle with your preferred spices then toss gently to coat. Simply fold your foil to create a package – be sure to tightly seal all those edges to nothing leaks out. Then add to your fire, grill or oven and heat until chicken is cooked through! Tip: if you need to put names on your foil packs use yellow mustard, it won’t burn off!

Sweet: Cinnamon Apples

You will need:

  • Sliced Apples
  • ½ tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Butter
  • Toppings: Raisins, Chopped Nuts, etc. (Optional)
  • Heavy Duty Foil

These apples are an easy fall treat for all ages! Start by rolling out your foil then top with sliced apples. Once ready add the cinnamon and brown sugar then toss to coat the apples. We recommend chopping up the butter into little cubs to sprinkle throughout the apples. Add toppings if desires and seal up the foil pack tightly! Heat until apples are warm and soft.

Be sure to share your favorite Girl Scout foods with us in the comments!

Rebekah Stefl is one of GSHPA’s Volunteer Support Coordinators.

Photos: STEAM with the Program Team

Every Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. girls from around the country gather to experience STEAM adventures with GSHPA’s program team. Thanks to technology and the ability to meet virtually Girl Scouts and friends are able come together to learn about each other and with each other as they discover the world around them.

Here are some images from the past year, and please take a look at our upcoming schedule to find a program that works for you.

Graham Cracker Engineering

Making Bread in a Bag

Making Ice Cream in a Bag

Designing Cranes and Jewels