Crafting a Home for Small Fairy Visitors

By Colleen Sypien, GSHPA

As children we save our lost teeth to give to the tooth fairy, and they leave us something in return. When Tinkerbell needs us to believe, we clap and say “I do believe in fairies!”

I think a lot of us dreamed about having a fairy godmother like Cinderella! Or maybe you know that the best time to see fairies is during a Midsummer’s Eve, thanks to Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” 

For thousands of years there have been stories and folklore of fairies, or fey, as they are also known. Those stories can bring about superstition, and a desire to try to see fairies for oneself.

Maybe these stories resonate with us because they allow our imagination to explore the magical lands and fairy mystique.

For several decades now the craft of creating fairy gardens has become increasingly popular.

A fairy garden is meant to be a place for a fairy to live or visit. They can simply be a little house, or they can be as elaborate as having little furniture, small wishing wells, or even ponds.

Fairy gardens are meant to be little fairy worlds created in any inside or outside space. A flower bed corner, at the base of a tree, anywhere!

The steps below share how to create your very own fairy garden! There are so many supplies you could use for your fairy garden, so I recommend seeing what you have in your house that you can use. Remember to think about what will hold up in different weather if you will be putting yours outside. I love crafting, so all of my materials were recycled from past projects. Get creative and find ways you can recycle items!

I used moss, tiny rocks, puffy paint, terra cotta paints, a tray and craft sticks from the dollar store, old spools, string and a tiny felt flower I made for my supplies. There are so many options!

My supply list.

Once I gathered all of my supplies, I started creating the fairy house first. I built my fairy home and garden on top of the dollar store tray, so that I could easily move it around to find the best spot for it. My materials are best kept out of weather elements, so it will either sit on my front porch by my door under cover of the roof, or inside! After adding some moss and tiny rocks to my fairy home, I started to lay out the tray. If you are only making a fairy house, you might want to spend more time on it and make it more elaborate. If you are planting an actual garden outside for your fairy, your steps will look a little different than mine!

Have fun creating your design!

Once I planned out and covered my tray with moss and a little walkway for my fairies, it was time to add a few extra touches to this garden. I used old spools to create a little outdoor seat or table. I also used a little felt flower that I made a long time ago to add some florals to this garden. I also had a tiny little frog friend that I added to my fairy garden, but I did not glue him down, so that he can hop around to different spots of the garden! Can you spot him in my finished garden?

A walking-path has taken shape.

Fairy Gardens are wonderful ways to connect nature and the imagination together. Your garden could take up just a corner of the flower beds in your backyard, or as much space as the entire backyard! These are meant to be resting places for our fairy friends, and if you’re lucky you might just spot one. If you make your own fairy garden, be sure to share pictures with us!

It’s fun to see it come together.

If you loved our fairy garden craft, you might also love checking out the upcoming Enchanted Fairy Festival happening right in our council footprint in York! On Sept. 19, you can come in everyday attire or dress up as your favorite mythical creature and become part of the enchantment. There will be live music, strolling minstrels, magic, face painting, a unicorn, giants and so much more. You can do crafts, learn to belly dance, be a part of a drum circle, or visit some of the unique craft vendors.

Tickets can be purchased here, or if you would like to volunteer as a Girl Scout to help with decorations or to be day of help, please reach out to Claire at cgilbert@gshpa.org. We cannot wait to see all of the magical fun that day!

A Fortnite at the Farm in Felton, York County

Dozens of Girl Scouts, friends and families joined GSHPA at the teaching museum in Felton Pennsylvania for a fun afternoon of Fortnite activities! Girls participated in archery, structure building, healing by the campfire and meeting some of the farm animals including llamas. No wait… they weren’t llamas, they were alpacas! Girls learned the differences between llamas and alpacas at the event as well.

For more information about fun upcoming GSHPA fun visit our events calendar!

Lessons Learned: Empathy, mentorship and lover of furry friends

By Cathy Hirko

I met Bitsy McCann for the first time a few years ago at an awards program in Harrisburg. Long story short? We get each other. We connected almost immediately.

Some people you meet make relationship-building easy. Bitsy is one of them. Every time I have reached out to her for advice or for work-related reasons she always responds and is giving of her time and resources.

A few months ago I found out that Bitsy had been a Girl Scout and I asked her if she would want to share a bit about that experience on our blog. She happily accepted. During the workdays (or evenings in Bitsy’s case) she’s a designer of many things graphic. She runs her own company in the Harrisburg area and occasionally writes a column for Central Penn Parent. Her story is below.

But, before we learn more about Bitsy, I’d like to pitch our blog to all the women leaders in our 30-county footprint. We want to tell your words of inspiration to the Girl Scouts and others who are reading this blog. Your experiences and stories matter. Please contact me if you are interested in being profiled on the blog. Email me at chirko@gshpa.org. We are ready to tell your story.

Here are a few thoughts from Bitsy:

GSHPA: Night owl or early-morning person? Why?

Bitsy: I am definitely a night owl, hence this 11:06 p.m. email. The house is quiet, but more importantly, my creativity peaks during nighttime hours. I think it’s because I can fully focus in on something without client phone calls interrupting me or deadlines lurking. The evening is when I can give into that creative flow without being disturbed.
 
GSHPA: How are you keeping busy these days?

Bitsy: Obviously, being an entrepreneur will keep you extremely busy, but I’m also staying active with my live music performances, officiating weddings, and running Petapalooza. We are about a month away, and those registrations are starting to fly in! We always need volunteers, so if you’re interested, let us know!

GSHPA: What are some of your fondest memories of being a Girl Scout?

Bitsy: My mother was a troop leader, so we always had the meetings at our home. (Thanks, Mom!) I loved being able to make so many creative things during my years as a Girl Scout, but I also loved the field trips!

One of my favorite memories was going to our local animal shelter and learning about all the animals there. I truly think that this started my passion for our furry friends, and I believe that this trip is what planted the seeds for today’s involvement with Petapalooza.

If I had never experienced that visit to an animal shelter, I might not have ever known how important it is to adopt our animals from a rescue.

GSHPA: Any examples of what you may have learned and carried with you from being a Girl Scout?

Bitsy: Just to be nice to everyone all the time. You never know what anyone is going through in their personal life … Everyone is struggling with something, and because of that, I think it’s the most important thing for us to be nice to everyone and to try to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes to see where they’re coming from.

GSHPA: Tell us about your upcoming event, Petapalooza!

Bitsy: Petapalooza is a free, family-friendly pet adoption festival that features lovable, adoptable homeless animals from shelters and rescues in the Central PA area. We focus on all animals and feature dogs, cats, birds and more!

In addition to helping animal rescues, we also focus on being an animal-friendly festival with vendors, raffles, live music, and food trucks. Petapalooza will be held Sept. 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the beautiful campus of Central Penn College. You are welcome to bring your pets as long as they are vaccinated, well-behaved, and leashed!
 
GSHPA: Girl Scouts are always looking for volunteers and mentors. What are some ways that you find time to mentor others?

Bitsy: Anytime there is a woman or student looking for graphic design or entrepreneurship guidance, I love talking to them. I have probably mentored over a dozen girls and women since I started my business seven years ago, and it is without a doubt one of my favorite things to do.

I always wished that someone would have pulled the curtain away so that I could see behind the scenes of what it really means to run your own business. I freely give away how I run things, pricing, contracts – any and everything that’ll help another person get to where they want to go. I strive to be the mentor I wish I had had when I was first starting out.

Cathy Hirko is the marketing and communications director for the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email: chirko@gshpa.org.

Photos: Planting Trees for a Promise

The Elliott Wildlife Values Project, American Forests and Girl Scouts have launched a tree planting and conservation initiative, and GSHPA Girl Scouts are stepping up.

Girl Scouts is setting out to plant five million trees around the country in the next five years. Girl Scouts here in Central Pa have already started! Girls had the opportunity with their family and volunteers to plant trees at Camp Furnace Hills in Lancaster County and Camp Small Valley in Dauphin County this summer.

Join our mission to protect the plant and the effects of climate change and learn more.

Click on the photo to view larger.

S’more for Everyone

In honor of National S’more Day we here at GSHPA wanted to share some of our top s’more recipes! We have included twists on your classic s’mores and some brand new creations! We are especially excited about our fall-themed s’mores! We hope these recipes help you celebrate National S’more Day in style! Maybe you will even find your new favorite from our recipes below!

Chocolate Covered Pretzel

You Will Need:

  • Two Pretzels (medium to large in size)
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Chocolate

Once you have cracked your graham cracker add your chocolate and your freshly toasted marshmallow!

Autumn Apple

You Will Need:

  • Two Ginger Snap Cookies
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Sliced Apples (we recommend Honey Crisp)
  • Apple Pie Spice

Top your ginger snap cookie with apple slices and a toasted marshmallow. Sprinkle with Apple Pie Spice and enjoy!

Peach Cobbler

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Sliced Peaches or Peach Pie Filling
  • Ground Cinnamon

Start by cracking your graham cracker in half then top it with your freshly toasted marshmallow and peaches. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Chocolate
  • Sliced Strawberries

Once you have cracked your graham cracker start piling it high with chocolate and sliced strawberries. Then finish it up with your freshly toasted marshmallow!

Caramel Apple

You Will Need:

  • One Cinnamon Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Caramel Sauce

Simply crake your graham cracker in half, top with your freshly toasted marshmallow and drizzle with as much caramel sauce as your heart desires!

Pumpkin Spice

You Will Need:

  • One Cinnamon Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Pumpkin Puree or Pumpkin Pie Filling
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice

Start by spreading your pumpkin puree or pie filing on a graham cracker cracked in half. Then top it with a toasted marshmallow and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice. Try adding chocolate if you’re feeling bold! 

Mexican Hot Chocolate

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Chocolate
  • Chili Powder

Add your chocolate and toasted marshmallow to a cracked graham cracker then sprinkle with chili powder and enjoy!

Salted Caramel

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Flaky Salt

Crack your graham cracker in half then add your toasted marshmallow. Once assembled drizzle with caramel sauce and finish with a sprinkle of flaky salt!

Chocolate Covered Cherry

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Chocolate
  • Slice Cherries or Cherry Pie Filling

Simply crake your graham cracker in half, top with chocolate, cherries and your freshly toasted marshmallow!

Peanut Butter and Banana

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Chocolate
  • Peanut Butter
  • Sliced Bananas

Once you have cracked your graham cracker start piling it high with chocolate and sliced bananas. Spread peanut butter on your other graham cracker then put it all together!

We hope you enjoy our s’more recipes! Be sure to share your favorite s’more recipes in the comments below!

5 Million Trees in 5 Years

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania and Keystone 10 Million Tree Partnership share in protecting the environment.

Five million trees planted in the next five years.

It’s a bold nationwide initiative and one that the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is proud to support.

GSHPA is also honored to have a bold partner in this effort: Keystone 10 Million Tree Partnership, a program of Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

The Heart of Pa Council kicked off its local initiative in April by hosting its first tree-planting event at Camp Small Valley in northern Dauphin County. GSHPA Gold Award Girl Scout, Lauren Braught, led the charge.

Gold Award Girl Scout Laren Braught, left, assists a fellow Girl Scout in planting a tree at Camp Small Valley in Dauphin County.

Lauren’s Gold Award Project in the fall of 2020 involved planting 50 trees at Camp Small Valley. Topping that effort, she helped to plant 100 trees at the April event, which kicked off Girl Scouts USA Tree Promise. Lauren, a recent high school graduate from Cumberland County, provided instruction on tree planting to Girl Scout members and volunteers. Adults also joined in on the fun.

Gold Award Girl Scout Lauren Braught, from Cumberland County, helps plant trees at Camp Furnace Hills during an open house in Lancaster County in May.

“We were honored to have Lauren’s experience with Chesapeake Bay Foundation Student Leader program and dovetail that experience into our council’s Tree Promise kickoff,” said Lutricia Eberly, GSHPA Director of Outdoor and Program Experiences. “The power of that moment is that younger Girl Scouts are able to look up to Lauren, learn how to correctly plant trees, and be inspired for their own Gold Award project.”

A month later, Lauren was helping young Girl Scouts again as she assisted in planting dozens more trees at Camp Furnace Hill’s open house celebration on May 16.

Check out GSHPA’s event calendar for future opportunities to plant trees in your neighborhood.

What is the Tree Promise?

GSHPA Girl Scout preps a tree for planting during a open house at Camp Small Valley in Dauphin County.

Girl Scouts joined forces with the Elliott Wildlife Values Project and American Forests. What better person to ask to help plant, protect, and honor trees than the Girls Scouts? Members “use resources wisely” and “make the world a better place” every day by following the Girl Scout Law and Girl Scout Promise.

What is the Gold Award?

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable — proof that not only can she make a difference, but that she already has. Seniors and Ambassadors who earn the Gold Award tackle issues that are dear to them and drive lasting change in their communities and beyond.

28 New Girl Scout Badges for all Ages!

We are excited to introduce you to 28 new badges for Girl Scouts of all ages.

You can become a digital activist, make your own Cookie Business plan, and explore the natural world around you through math.  It is time to try something new.  Girl Scouts will have the opportunity to take new adventures with these 28 new badges in Math in Nature, Entrepreneurship, and Digital Leadership, along with new Global Action Awards.  No matter their passions, Girl Scouts will find a way to break new ground and share their experiences. 

See the new badges below with the dates we are offering badge days and as always take a look at the Badge Explorer to start planning.

The Brand New Badges

New for All Levels

All Girl Scouts in grades K-12 can now earn Digital Leadership and Cookie Business badges.

6 Digital Leadership Badges

Sponsored by Instagram

Girl Scouts of all ages who are looking to explore the power of being online and social media will find the Digital Leadership badges for them.  They will learn to be safe online and manage their screen time, create a social impact and become a digital activist, and connect with their communities, local and global.

Check out GSHPA’s Event list to sign up for our Virtual Badge Days focusing on Digital Leadership.

13 Cookie Business Badges

Daisies to Ambassadors will be challenged to think outside the cookie booth to become Cookie Goal Setters, Bosses, and Influencers.  Digital sales and marketing are just a part of all the new curriculum to help the girls learn how to make the most of their cookie season and the Digital Cookie platform.

2 Global Action Awards Badges

There are now two new major awards for all levels of Girl Scouts: World Thinking Day Award and Global Action Award.  Girl Scouts will be able to start their global impact with these awards, one for each level.

New for Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors

Girls Scouts in grades K-5 can now earn brand-new Math in Nature badges.

9 Math in Nature Badges

Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson

Girls are going to get outdoors and explore the world around them through nature and math all at once.  These new badges will help Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors discover the links of science and nature, including, the Fibonacci sequence, patterns, and so much more.

Getting Started Today!

Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA are ready for you to try these out we have Badge workshops scheduled for a selection of these new badges that you can sign up for virtually and in person

GSUSA has free self-guided activities available online through Girl Scouts at Home.

You can also access the Volunteer Toolkit, for a variety of programming, including troop meeting plans, tips for volunteers, and other resources.

Explore all of these amazing new badges online using the Awards and Badge Explorer.

5 Tips for Back to School Shopping

School shopping time!!!! I love getting new school supplies and I have been out of school for decades now, still love the smell of new pencils.  While this time of year is exciting, getting ready to start a new year for the students, and getting the kids back to school for the parents, it can be a little stressful and overwhelming.  But wait, don’t hit the panic button yet! These tips will help you save money and stress, and the Girl Scout Shopping list will help your Girl Scout be decked out for the new year.

  1. Take a look of what you already have.  Look through your bin of school supplies for those forgotten notebooks, pens, markers, and scissors.  Take a look in the craft drawer or last year’s backpack and see what you can find to complete the list.  While you are at it take a closer look at last year’s backpack, does it have another year in it? If not, see our suggestions below.
  2. Fashion show! Have your child try on last year’s clothes so you can see what actually needs replaced.  Add some fun with high energy music to keep you child engaged, reward with a fun snack.  Once you know what you have and what you need, ask other parents if they’d consider participating in a clothes swap.  Don’t forget about old sports equipment to see if you can swap or sell anything.
  3. Compare, Compare, Compare prices online and in flyers before you head to the stores.  See where has the best prices or sales, spending some time doing your homework can save you time and money in the long run.
  4. Double check your child’s school or their class supply list before buying anything, especially any high-priced tech items like computers or calculators. 
  5. Buy to last. Take a closer look at what you are buying, cheaper isn’t always going to be better, if you have to replace it every month.  Try buying the sturdier plastic folders and binders instead of the thinner ones.  Look at the backpacks, I know kids want the “cool” character bags, mine is all about Star Wars this year, but getting the right backpack can help prevent injuries and can last more than one year.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends looking for backpacks with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back, or even getting a rolling backpack if your child is expecting to be carrying a heavy load.

Now for some inspiration, we have our list of favorites that will complete your Girl Scout’s shopping spree. 

Lunch box Check out our custom GSHPA lunchboxes! This limited release is for our favorite Girl Scouts, it even comes with extra Girl Scout goodies inside to get you ready for the new school year and back to troop season!

Pencil/pens This pack of three pencils holds an eco-friendly surprise! Once you are done using it, you can plant it! Each is a biodegradable pencil that contains a green capsule containing seeds ready to plant.

Sneakers K-Swiss has a collection collaborating with GSHPA for some cookie inspired shoes! They created sneakers celebrating the three most popular cookies, Thin Mints, Samoas/Coconut Caramel, and Treifoils/Shortbread.

Apparel

  • Younger A new collection of styles with eco-conscious materials for your modern Girl Scout! Mix and match to create the perfect wardrobe for your girl.  Coming late August.
  • Older New designs for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors in uniforms and apparel. GSUSA created this versatile collection for the girls to mix and match colors and silhouettes to make it their own.

Sticker for your water bottle Show your style and Girl Scout love with this decal, designed to fit the curve of you water bottle. It is water resistant for easy cleaning.

Water bottle Here is a high tech water bottle for your Girl Scout on the go. This bottle handles hydration and purification, all in one! Just press the built-in button on the lid and UV light will purify your water in less than 5 mins. This double-walled, vacuum-insulated bottle keeps drinks hot for up to 12 hours and cold for up to 24 hours.

Laptop Bag designed for versatility you can carry your school supplies in this briefcase/messenger style bag.

Crossbody Bag This versatile bag can be worn over your shoulder or around your waist.

Socks These low-cut sporty socks are for true trefoil fans! Extra comfy which a cushioned arch.

Tablet Sleeve Add some extra protection and style to your table on the go!