Site Teams

Since I arrived at GSHPA in the summer of 2019, I have been amazed and humbled by the passion of our members for our four camp properties.   

I quickly got involved with the Camp Furnace Hills site team, hearing their questions and ideas for the future use of the camp, and sat in on phone calls between GSHPA and Supporters of Camp Archbald on a monthly basis, dialoguing about areas of priority focus in maintaining the second oldest Girl Scout camp in the United States. 

My holiday season in 2019 kicked off with the Foxfire Open House at Camp Furnace Hills.  Foxfire House is a Swiss German bank house, built in the 1800’s.  The volunteer led Foxfire Team cooked goodies for the open house, arranged for a string duo to perform in the living room, and conducted tours of the house for attendees.  Foxfire House programming and tours are a gem, and true resource for Girl Scouts to learn about the life of girls long long ago. 

At the Foxfire Open House I met a number of lifetime Girl Scout members who all shared their story of connection with Camp Furnace Hills and now I’ve gotten to know them all well through monthly site team meetings.  This group of volunteers has compiled a detailed excel spreadsheet of projects at Furnace Hills, ranging from repairing fascia, to removing dead trees, and blazing new trails.  Through a network of relationships we’ve now found new vendors for accomplishing work at Camp Furnace Hills and connected troops for Bronze and Silver Awards.   

The Furnace Hills Camping Association and GSHPA are partnering together for an open house on May 16th at camp.  The details are still being finalized but tours of Foxfire House, the chance to practice archery, learn about the history of Camp Furnace Hills, and plant trees are all on the list of possibilities for the afternoon event. 

The second site team I’ve had the delight to get to know, passionately cares for Camp Archbald.  This amazing group of volunteers has shared the history of the beginning of camp, and their personal stories of how camp impacted their life over the years, culminating in the time they’re now bestowing to repair Greenwood and the Caretaker’s House, along with numerous other projects on property.  Beginning in September of 2020, the Archbald site team arranged twice monthly work days, ranging in attendance from 10 to 60!  Their excel spreadsheet of projects, with a tab for every single building on property, is an inspiration for any project manager!  Supporters of Camp Archbald execute a sold out resident camp experience each summer, and planned a yearlong acknowledgement of camp’s 100th anniversary with a celebration scheduled for the weekend of September 18, 2021. 

The paragraphs above cannot begin to describe my awe and respect for the volunteers passionately involved with Camp Furnace Hills and Camp Archbald.  Next, I hope to tap into the passion of volunteers who are connected to Camp Small Valley and Camp Happy Valley, to re-invigorate site teams at those camp properties.  If anyone wants to join the site teams for any of our properties, please reach out to me at or 717-461-6947. 

Post by Lutricia Eberly

Honoring Josephine Holloway

Josephine Holloway, is a champion of diversity and was one of the first Black Girl Scout troop leaders in the United States.  

Josephine wanted to bring the Girl Scout programming to girls at a local women’s shelter in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1924 she fought for that opportunity. By the end of the year more than 300 girls were participating in Girl Scout-inspired activities.  

Almost 10 years later in 1933, when Blacks and other minorities in our country still faced racism and segregation, Josephine first attempted to form an official troop for Black girls. Her request was denied, the local council cited the high cost of maintaining separate facilities for Blacks.   

Josephine fought on, and in 1942, after showing much perseverance, the region’s first Black Girl Scout troop was formed.  During a time that segregations and oppression was still commonplace.  

Learn more about Josephine Holloway and her vision, courage, and passion for bringing Girl Scouting to all girls here

You can also celebrate Josephine and Black History Month by completing the Josephine Holloway SWAPS from Girl Scouts of Colorado.  

We want to hear what you are doing to use your Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, serving your community and Girl Scouting at home. Share you story here.  

Post by Liz Bleacher

Dealing with Conflict

As much as we try to make the world a better place and be a sister to every Girl Scout, conflicts are bound to arise. As with any group of people with different personalities, interests, needs or wants there is going to be disagreements. It can be especially challenging with younger girls who are still learning what friendship means, or with girls of different age ranges in multi-level troops.  

Like other challenges Girl Scouts face, we suggest you utilize conflict and disagreements as learning experiences! Understanding how to deal with conflict is just another tool that Girl Scouts should be equipped with. In fact, if you look closely enough at our Girl Scout Law you will find many of the skills needed to manage conflict! 

Here are some tips for learning and dealing with conflict:  

Set the stage: As we established earlier, conflict is going to happen whether we like it or not, so let’s prepare!  

  • Establish group rules- In order to talk about problems and conflicts, everyone needs to feel safe. Build a safe environment for learning and sharing by establishing group rules. To ensure group rules buy-in, create the rules as a group helping the girls define what a safe space means and looks like to them. After the group rules are decided, have the girls all sign in agreement. Save group rules for reference as needed. It may be helpful to remind girls of group rules in the beginning of meetings or have them posted for visibility.  
  • Examples of group rules could include “What we share within our group, stays within our group”, “No name calling”, “No talking while another person is talking” 
  • Consider including parents/caregivers in group rule process or establishing a separate set of rules with parents/caregivers.  
  • Designate a calm moment spot- There is a lot going on in our world and we don’t always know what circumstances the girls are facing. Something that may appear as a small disagreement could end up much bigger if a girl is already overwhelmed with feelings. With the girls, decide on a semi-private space where they can go when they need a moment to calm down or just need a minute alone. This spot should not be punitive (like being sent on “time-out”) but instead a space where a girl can take control of her feelings by gathering her thoughts in a peaceful spot.  

Slow it down: Conflict can feel stressful and dangerous which can prevent us from responding in logical ways. Slowing down to take a breath and listen to everyone’s perspective can go a long way.  

  • Take a few deep breathes- When something stressful happens the limbic system of our brain takes over and equips our bodies with either a fight, flight, or freeze response. This response can prevent us from responding to conflict in a rational way. Let girls know that it is okay to have strong feelings with conflict, but also that they don’t always have to act on those feelings. Invite girls to stop and take 5-10 long slow breaths to work through those feelings. If we are able to slow down and calm our bodies we can usually approach the conflict in a more productive way.  
  • Share and Listen- Everyone involved in the conflict should have an opportunity to say what they think happened. Giving everyone the chance to share their perspective also prevents girls from interrupting to argue their own case and shifts the focus away from assigning blame. Reference group rules to keep the discussion respectful.    
  • Encourage I statements and practice them- Managing conflict is a learned skill and like any skill- it takes practice! Learning how to use I-statements helps girls learn how to express both the problem and their feelings about the conflict in a respectful way. Learn more about I-statements and how to implement them in your troop with this resource.  

Girl Led Solution: Girl Scouts is all about empowering girls with tools to be leaders in the world. By teaching girls tools needed to resolve conflict you are also empowering them to self-regulate, be empathetic, and take responsibility for their actions.  

  • Check for understanding- After each girl was able to share her perspective, check everyone’s understanding by having girls summarize what the others said. Even if the girls do not agree with each other, it is important that they are listening enough to reflect back and validate others viewpoints.  
  • Find a solution- Encourage the girls to work together to decide on a solution that feels good for everyone. You can help them by asking “Do you have any ideas on how we can solve this problem?” or “How could we solve this problem in a way that would work for both of you?” As the adult, try to refrain from offering your own solutions in order to empower the girls to develop their problem-solving skills.  
  • Follow up- Part of conflict resolution is accountability. If the girls have agreed to a solution check in with them later to see if all members held up their end of the deal. Ask them what they learned from the conflict and how they could use what they learned in the future. If a girl is unhappy with the solution or maybe lack-of talk about it and brainstorm ideas on how to move forward.  

Remember that everyone handles conflict differently and that includes YOU! Don’t expect yourself to always have the best response or that each conflict is going to have a solution. Managing conflict is hard and takes practice! Don’t hesitate to reach out for support! Here are a few additional resources that may be helpful: 

If you have any helpful resources our advice send them our way or post them in the comments! 

Post by Gabby Dietrich

STEAM Snack: Unplugged Coding – Valentine’s Day

Hello! Welcome back to our monthly post that will focus on STEAM activities and snacks you can do at home with your family or with your troops. 

February is here! With this new month comes Valentine’s Day – a day filled with treats, sweet messages, and often a lot of sugar. This unplugged coding activity will maximize the nice messages, while minimizing screen time (and cutting back on eating too many sweets!) Girls will be making binary bracelets with a Valentine’s twist! There are so many more STEAM projects out there and if you have a favorite or a new topic you’d like to see please let us know in the comments. 

Why unplugged coding?  

Basic coding activities are a great way to have fun without screens or computers. Introducing your girls to the binary alphabet can help them gain a better understanding of the technology, apps, and games they use every day. If they already understand the basics of coding, this is a great refresher and a fun way to showcase their existing knowledge. 

What is binary code? 

Binary code is the code used in digital computers that is based on the binary number system in which there are only two states – off and on. Off and on are symbolized by 0 and 1. A binary code signal is a series of electrical pulses that represent numbers, characters, and operations to be performed. In binary code, each number or letter is represented by a set of four binary digits, also called bits.  

What if I’m not an expert? 

We are not all coding or computer specialists, and it is okay to feel like we don’t know enough to lead the girls in computer science activities. But remember, you do! Focus on the basics of binary code and let the girls lead their projects and see where it goes. Each girl will have a different design/set of code. If you are feeling you want more expert knowledge reach out to your troop parents, friends, relatives or other GSHPA troop leaders on the GSHPA Facebook page to see if there is a computer science professional you can invite to come talk to your girls.   

How do I get started? 

Take some time to look over the basics of binary coding and computer science. Take a look at this resource that helps explain the Binary Alphabet.  Review the Binary Bracelets lesson from for more information. 

Now’s the time to gather supplies for you to do the activity – it’s always easier to guide girls through the process when you have done it yourself. Once you have everything, read through the directions in “The Activity” section below. 

  • Pink, white, and red craft pipe cleaners  
  • Pink, white, and red pony beads 
  • Paper and pencil 
  • Print out of the Binary Bracelet Worksheet from  
  • Scissors  
  • Tape  

The Badges 

This activity is a great way to introduce coding to your girls or troop. You can change the level of difficulty by having girls code their initials or an entire word/sentence. Complete this activity just for fun, adapt it to fit other holidays, or add this activity into your meetings for any of the following badges: 

  • Daisy Coding for Good 1: Coding Basics 
  • Brownie Coding for Good 1: Basics 
  • Brownie Robotics 1: Programming Robots 
  • Junior Coding for Good 1: Coding Basics 
  • Junior Robotics 1: Programming Robots 

The Activity  

Need enough materials for each girl participating: pink/white/red craft pipe cleaners (ribbon or yarn will work), pink/white/red pony beads (need a lot since each letter girls’ will be coding takes 8 beads), paper, pencil, print out the Binary Bracelet Worksheet for each girl, scissors, and tape.  

Introduction to the girls 

  • Today’s activity is all about coding – but without technology or computers! Where is coding used? 
    • Computers, phones, robotics, technology, etc.  
    • What is coding? (Give girls time to think and answer). 
      • Coding is defined as “A specific language or series of commands that tells a computer what to do.” 
  • For this activity, we will be learning/review Binary Code. 
    • Binary is a way of representing information using only two options. 
  • Has anyone seen the inside of a computer? 
    • What’s in there? (Share a photo of the inside of a computer) 
  • Wires carry information through the machine in the form of electricity. 
    • The two options that a computer uses with respect to this electrical information are “off” and “on.” 
    • When computers represent information using only two options, it’s called “Binary.” 
    • That theme of two options doesn’t stop when the information gets to its destination. 
  • Computers also store or save information using Binary. 
  • How can we convert/translate/change the things we store in a computer into binary? 
    • Let’s use letters!  

Step 1: Binary Decoder Key/Paper Bracelets 

This first activity is a great introduction to binary and gets the girls comfortable before creating their Valentine’s hearts. Make sure girls have paper, pencil, and a copy of the Binary Bracelet Worksheet. Explain the following: 

  • Have girls take out the Binary Decoder Key. This is how a computer might represent capital letters. 
    • Look at the letter “A” 
    • It’s represented by black and white squares 
  • Look at each letter and explain to girls that the letters can be written in a code using the black and white squares 
  • For Brownies and Juniors (before creating bracelet) 
    • If it was written in a computer, the black squares would be zero’s and the white squares would be one’s 
      • 0100 0001 
    • Use your blank piece of paper and pencil and write the first letter of your first name, and the first letter of your last name 
      • If your name starts with “A”, find “A” on the Binary Decoder Key 
        • Example: A = 0100 0001 
  • Once the girls understand, have them complete the following: 
    • Find the first letter of your first name. 
    • Fill in the squares of the bracelet to match the pattern of the squares next to the letter that you found. 
    • Cut the bracelet our and tape it around your wrist to wear! 

Step 2: Valentine’s Binary Hearts 

Once the girls feel comfortable and understand the basics of binary, they are ready to create their Valentine’s hearts! Make sure they have the Alphabet in Binary Code, paper, pencil, beads, and pipe cleaners. More information on this activity can be found here

Have girls pick what they want to code for their hearts. Keep them simple, remember each letter takes 8 beads. Once they pick their word/letters, have them write them on a piece of paper using the Binary Decoder Key. Girls can make multiple hearts for words or attach more pipe cleaners for longer words. Tell them to pick TWO colors for their beads – REMEMBER one color represents the zeros and one color represents the ones. Choose another bead color as a separator between the letters.  

  • LOVE 
  • HI 
  • BFF 
  • MOM 
  • DAD 
  • CUTE 
  • NICE 
  • ROSE 

Example: LOVE, zeros are pink and ones are white, purple bead to put between each new letter. 

  • L = 0100 1100 (add purple bead to separate) 
  • O = 0100 1111 
  • V = 0101 0110 
  • E = 0100 0101 

Bonus: to extend the activity, have girls write simple messages in binary and trade with someone to see if they can decode the message! 

Congratulations, you did it! You deserve a snack – let’s make Valentine’s Fruit Kebabs!  

Valentine Fruit Wands


  • Watermelon 
  • Strawberries  
  • Any fruit that you like! 
  • Small heart cookie cutter 
  • Knife for cutting fruit 
  • Wood/metal skewers or even straws 

Cut your watermelon into ½ to 1 inch slices, then use the small heart cookie cutter to cut watermelon into smaller heart pieces. Use a knife to remove the stems off the strawberries (can get creative and cut the stem off and make it look like a heart). If you want to add raspberries, blackberries, or even grapes go for it! For extra sweetness, add some whipped cream topping or melted chocolate to dip your fruit in! 

Post by Liz Bleacher

Love Yourself

It is officially February, which means you are likely seeing advertisements promoting gifts and goodies to give to your loved ones for Valentine’s Day. Well here at Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA, we understand that love is about more than boxes of chocolate and greeting cards. We believe that in order to share love with others you have to give love to yourself first!  

So take this February to check-in with the ways you are giving love to yourself. Then talk to those around you about how they are loving themselves. If you are planning for a troop, this might be a great opportunity to work through some of our badges like the Brownie “My Best Self” badge, Juniors “Staying Fit” badge, and Cadettes “Eating for You” badge. 

Not sure where to start? Here are three activities that can help you or your troop give yourselves some love: 

Activity 1: Body Scan. Our days and lives are so filled with events, activities, and to-do lists that many times we forget to slow down and listen to our bodies! A body scan can help us get out of our head and in touch with our feelings, bodies and create relaxation! 

  • Here is a nice 3 minute guided body scan that is good for young or wiggly bodies. 
  • Here is a 30 minute guided body scan with tips for beginners. 

Activity 2: What food helps my body? Unfortunately, many times when we talk about food and health there is a lot of focus on fats and calories. A narrative that can often leave us feeling overwhelmed or shamed. It can be much more helpful to look at food in a “how is this fueling my body” way. Instead of looking at food as good or bad. We can ask: is this helping my body or harming my body?  

  • Check out this Presentation on helpful and non-helpful foods for the body.  
  • If discussing with young people, you can follow the presentation by creating a food helper! Draw a helper to remind you how to keep your body running its best with the foods that we learned about. You could even try to create a helper out of foods in the kitchen and take a picture! 

Activity 3: Stress tool-box. Stress is everywhere, and everyone handles it differently. Sometimes we deal with stress in healthy ways and other times we don’t. The key to dealing with stress is acknowledging it and learning how to manage it.   

  • First it’s helpful to build some vocabulary around stress and how to we handle it. Below are some important words to understand stress. 
    • Stress can be caused by both negative and positive events.  
    • Coping Strategies are the actions we take to face and deal with responsibilities, problems, or difficulties. 
      • Unhealthy Coping Strategies can feel good in the moment but have long-term negative consequences. 
      • Healthy Coping Strategies may not provide instant gratification or relief but have long-lasting positive outcomes. 
  • Now that we have more understanding of stress, we can build a toolbox of coping strategies to help us get through those stressful moments.  
    • Take some time to draw activities and objects that bring you peace and joy. 
    • If talking about stress with young people you can have them do a scavenger hunt to find things that make them feel happy or safe. Discuss how those things can be helpful in the future. Make a plan for how to use those objects or activities as tools to deal with stress.  

Alright, there you go – 3 activities to help you get started on loving yourself! Remember that part of making the world a better place starts with YOU

Post by Gabby Dietrich

Keeping Girls Engaged

As the majority of our day-to-day communication has moved to virtual it can be hard to stay engaged. As the days continue on it becomes increasingly difficult to motivate ourselves and those around us to stay productive and attentive. So how do you keep your Girl Scout engaged in activities after a long day of working from home? Well GSHPA is here to help!  

So let’s start by talking about activities! It can be difficult to find something to do, so check out this list of things to keep in mind!  

Girl Focused:  

  • Ensure girls get a say in activities! If the girls help pick and plan activities they will be more engaged!  
  • Keep in mind some girls might not have reliable digital access or might be tired from long day in front of screens – consider mixing up your activities to include moving around, hands-on, or offline DIYs!    

Keeping Girl Engaged:

  • Use secure and easy to use vendors/sites 
  • Avoid sharing personal information – both your own and your troops’  
  • Ensure you have permission from all families before posting any pictures online 
  • Avoid opening attachments or links from unknown sources  
  • Inform adults of activities live and recorded so they can be responsible for their girls’ online safety at home   

Make Time for Fun:

  • It is important to plan time for fun! Don’t be afraid to have your girls get up and moving during your virtual meeting! We recommend trying scavenger hunts, game nights, etc.  
  • Explore existing programs  – check out all the amazing programs & events coming up at GSHPA on our events calendar
  • Explore at home activities – check out our list of “At Home” activities and resources.   
  • Virtual Field Trips & Activities – many organizations and places are offering virtual field trips and activities! Try checking out all the amazing places you can visit with your troop virtually! 

Now that you have some activities in mind, let’s talk about how to plan a successful virtual Girl Scout Troop Meeting! Check out our recommendations:  

  • Welcome  
  • Troop Business 
  • Information – Explain Activities  
  • Get Up and Moving!  
  • Create – Make Something!  
  • Closing  

We hope these ideas and resources helped you plan for your next Girl Scout meeting! What are you doing to keep your troop engaged? Please let us know in the comments!  

Post by Rebekah Stefl

World Thinking Day

As we enter into February, GSHPA is getting excited for World Thinking Day! Observed by 10 million Girl Scouts and Girl Guides across 150 countries annually, World Thinking Day is a BIG DEAL! Since 1926, Girl Scouts of the USA, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS), and other organizations have been celebrating World Thinking Day on February 22nd

World Thinking Day is a day of international friendship and an opportunity to speak out on issues impacting girls and women. 2021’s theme celebrates what it means to be a peacebuilder and creating peace in the world around you! Peacebuilding is at the heart of Girl Scouting and is as important and relevant today as for the last 100 years. 

In order to help you celebrate World Thinking Day safely this year, GSHPA will be hosting a virtual celebration on February 20th from 1-3pm. Our virtual celebration features 3 different peacebuilding activities geared for different ages. Girl Scouts participate in the activity for their age group along with others if they would like. Find out more and register here.  

You can also find a list of Virtual World Thinking Day events happening around the country at this list compiled by Girl Scouts of Colorado, here.  

Hosting your own event? Learn more and get ideas at the activity guides below! 

WTD 2021 Girl Scout Activity Guides 

WTD 2021 WAGGS Activity Pack