GSHPA Volunteer Conference Preview

By Colleen Buck

January is fast approaching, and with the new year comes the Virtual Volunteer Conference! GSHPA is excited to offer this virtual opportunity for volunteers across our 30 counties to learn, grow and network together. We connected with two staff members who are leading the team responsible for this event to learn more. Jess Mislinski, Regional Director, and Janelle Brewer, Volunteer Training Manager, have spent this year working with a team of other staff members to bring this event to fruition.

GSHPA: Why is it important for GSHPA to hold a Volunteer Conference?

Jess & Janelle: Holding a Volunteer Conference provides our volunteers the opportunity to learn more about how they can provide the best experience for our Girl Scouts, as well as the opportunity to network with fellow volunteers from across our council. Hosting the conference virtually arose out of necessity due to the pandemic, but we quickly saw the benefits of providing a virtual conference. It allows so much flexibility for our volunteers who already devote so much of their time to Girl Scouts and other activities. We wanted to make learning and networking as easy as possible for as many people as possible, regardless of geographic location.

GSHPA: What are some of the topics volunteers can look forward to from our conference speakers?

Jess & Janelle: This year we will be featuring specialized tracks on a variety of topics including Product Program, Outdoors, Service Unit, New Troop Leader, Girl Support, and Girl Programming. Each track has several sessions available for volunteers to choose from. There is something for everyone. And the best part is that all attendees will have access to recordings of all of the sessions! The learning can continue beyond the day of the conference!

Sharmi Albrechtsen, creator of SmartGurlz
Sharmi Albrechtsen, creator of SmartGurlz

GSHPA: Who is the featured speaker, and why did we choose them?

Jess & Janelle: We are so excited to feature Sharmi Albrechtsen as our Featured Speaker. While Sharmi may have closed on a deal on Shark Tank in 2017 for her creation of SmartGurlz, we are most excited about Sharmi’s journey as an entrepreneur, just like our Girl Scouts! Why did we choose Sharmi?  Sharmi is a female entrepreneur that founded a robotics company out of not having a toy that worked for her daughter.  After watching Sharmi speak on a Ted Talk, we knew she was the one!  Watch it here: https://youtu.be/zkK0TlJr8Co

GSHPA: What is the draw of this conference that volunteers can be excited for?

Jess & Janelle: We are so excited about so many aspects of this conference! This year we have Sharmi as our keynote speaker and we have no doubt she will inspire our volunteers! In addition to our keynote speaker, we have so many incredible presenters for this year’s conference. Our volunteers will get to learn directly from their peers, current volunteers who have years of Girl Scout experience. We even have some outside speakers who are experts in their field, such as Michelle Fox from Olivia’s house who will be presenting resources for Grief & Loss and Anne Norgren from Little Brownie Bakers, who is an expert on eBudde.

In addition to the learning opportunities this conference provides, our volunteers will get the opportunity to network with one another! We know how important it is for our volunteers to feel connected and this is a great opportunity to make new friends and share ideas!

The 2nd Virtual Volunteer Conference is on Saturday, January 15, 2022, 9am-2pm. Virtual doors will open at 8:30am, with Opening Remarks kicking things off at 9am. Registration closes January 8th, so register today: https://www.gshpa.org/en/sf-events-repository/2022/virtual-volunteer-conference.html

Comment below if we will see you there!

STEAM Saturday Robotics

At the beginning of December the GSHPA Program Team ran our STEAM Saturday Robotics program, and we had so much fun! Girls from across council joined us at Camp Small Valley and we got to not only learn about robots, but also design our own robots! Daisy through Junior Girl Scouts got to learn about coding with Botley the Robot, while older Girl Scouts had the chance to build and code their QScout Robots. If you missed our December STEAM Saturday Robotics, we would love to see you in February at Camp Happy Valley or Camp Archbald. We will have a morning and an afternoon session each day, and everyone is welcome to reserve time on property overnight or spend the day at camp!

In the New Year

Can you believe it is already the middle of December Girl Scouts? This year has flown by and we have had some incredible programs and events. Since October 1st we have had more than 53 programs with our Program and Outdoor team, and it has been so exciting to be able to add in-person events to that lineup! As we end 2021 and look to welcome in the New Year we have even more programs to share with you coming up in 2022.

The first event of the year is actually an ongoing one. 2022 will be spent celebrating the 110th anniversary of Girl Scouts!

Girl Scouts Donate to the Juliette Low Birthday Fund, 1946

Juliette Gordon Lowe began Girl Scouts with just 18 girls in 1912, and we have grown to 2.5 MILLION Girl Scouts today, and that is just in the USA! Keep an eye out for some exciting events to celebrate throughout next year on our event calendar.

To kickoff this celebratory year, we have a jam packed schedule coming up in January. We are so excited to host another Virtual Volunteer Conference on January 15th. This is open to all volunteers, and registration is live. This year we have many more sessions to enjoy and you will have access to ALL the recorded sessions afterwards.  In addition to a swag bag for conference participants, you will receive an exclusive code to use at the GSHPA Retail shop!

Girls can dive into the New Year by joining us for a number of great programs. Check out the exciting opportunities below:

Badge Days

January brings both in person and virtual badge opportunities, including Cookie Entrepreneur badges and Outdoor Experience badges. Take a look at all we are offering and register on our event calendar.

STEAM with the Program Team

Our fan favorite program continues! Join the Program Team every Wednesday for new and exciting STEAM activities, from Lego Masters to Pixel People and Master Chef, STEAM with the Program Team has something everyone will love.

STEAM Saturdays

Come get outdoors with the Program Team to get Wild with Animals! We will offer this program at two different camp properties in January, Camp Small Valley and Camp Furnace Hills. Each program will also offer a morning and afternoon session for girls to choose from. Register on our event calendar today, and come ready to get WILD!


We hope everyone has a wonderful December, and we cannot wait to see you all at programs in January to bring in 2022 with a bang! Take a look at the event calendar for more events, and let us know in the comments which programs you’re most looking forward to!

Holiday Dinner: Girl Scout Style

By Rebekah Stefl

As we move through the holidays there is one important thing on all our minds: food! While you may already have your favorite holiday treats in mind, we wanted to share some new ones on our tables this year! Of course, we had to add a Girl Scout twist! All the recipes below were created using our delicious Fall Fundraiser products!

Everything Seasoned Cheese Ball

You will need:

  • 16 Oz. softened cream cheese
  • 2 Cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1-2 scallions chopped
  • 1 tsp. Worscestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried minced onion
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2/3 Cup Everything Seasoned Cashews finely chopped

Instructions:

Start by putting softened cream cheese to a mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Add grated cheese, scallions and seasonings then mix well to combine. Begin forming the mixture into a round ball, we recommend creasing your hands. Place the finely chopped Everything Seasoned Cashews on a plate and begin pressing them gently into the mixture to coat all the sides. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to all to firm.

Honey Roasted Peanut Crusted Chicken

You will need:

  • 1 Cup Honey Roasted Peanuts finely chopped
  • ½ Cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ Cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb uncooked chicken tenders

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a shallow dish, beat eggs. In another shallow dish place flour and in another mix breadcrumbs and finely chopped Honey Roasted Peanuts. Coat chicken with flour, then egg, then breadcrumb mixture. Place coated chicken on baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes until chicken is fully cooked and coating is golden brown.

Roasted Green Beans & Cashews

You will need:

  • 1-2 lbs fresh green beans trimmed
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Cashews chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic chopped (or to taste)  
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Add oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add chopped garlic to skillet and begin browning then add green beans; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add water, bring to boil then reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 7-10 minutes until green beans are tender stirring occasionally. Add cashews, salt and pepper to taste then toss to combine.

Peanut Butter Penguin Blossoms

You will need:

  • ½ Cup granulated sugar
  • ½ Cup packed brown sugar
  • ½  Cup butter softened
  • ½ Cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Extra granulated sugar for coating
  • 36 Peanut Butter Penguins

Preheat oven to 375°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine ½ cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter and egg. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until dough forms. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, roll in granulated sugar and place on baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown then immediately press 1 Peanut Butter Penguin in the center of each cookie. Remove from baking sheet to cool.

Dulce Daisy Sugar Cookies

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/34 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 36-48 Dulce Daisies

Preheat oven to 375°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth then add egg and vanilla. Slowly add flour, baking soda and baking powder until well combined. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden. Immediately press one Dulce Daisy in the center of each warm cookie. Remove from baking sheet and allow to fully cool.

What are you making this season? Share your favorites in the comments!

Rebekah Stefl is a Volunteer Support Coordinator at GSHPA.

We bid you many thanks

By Cathy Hirko

When our GSHPA team gathered in November for a mini-holiday retreat at Camp Small Valley outside of Harrisburg, we took advantage of the rare time that all off us were together.

Sure, not everyone could make it for the staff, but for the first time in about two years most of us were able to meet “in person” and celebrate. We shared milestones, awards, and just a little bit about ourselves. We held mini-crafts, games and strolled the Camp Small Valley grounds. We shared lunch, and later some ice cream.

Honestly, it was one of those beautiful, crisp fall days that I long for when the winter grey days wear you down.

Most importantly, we gave thanks.

And we have a lot to be thankful for.

In true marketing and communication fashion (I AM a communicator at heart) we found a fun way to record our thanks in a bunch of small, thank you videos. I am thankful that a group of fun, brave women on our team that stepped up to help me with the videos. We will be releasing a series of these videos in the days to come, but for now, take a look at this one that we recently sent out to our donors.

It encapsulates our entire year of Girl Scouts. It’s been quite a year for GSHPA.

Without all the support we receive via our wonderful volunteers and members, we couldn’t do what many of us have the passion to do: Serve our Girl Scouts.

So, Thank You!

GSHPA Winter Challenge

The weather is starting to get chilly and we have even seen the first snow flakes of the year. This is the time of year we all start to think of staying warm and indoors. That does not mean that you need to get cabin fever and bored with the winter weather, GSHPA’s program team have a solution for you. Our 2021 Winter Challenge! This is a list of fun activities for all ages that will keep you busy indoors and out through the cold weather months.

Between December 1 and January 31 choose your adventure, try something new and get out and explore. GSHPA’s program team has collected 75 activities that cover a range on interests and badge requirements. This challenge is designed to be done independently, with your friends and family, or with your troop and is similar to the Summer Scavenger Hunt GSPHA Program hosted last year!

Adults can save and/or print the guide so their girls can cross off each activity as they complete their adventure. The number of activities girls will need to complete is based on their Girl Scout level- there is a number of activities required to earn the patch. When you have completed the activities, just fill out this form to submit your entry and purchase a snow fun patch for $3.

Many of the activities on the list can be completed by attending a scheduled GSHPA event or one hosted by our partners. Please check out our calendar to see what fun activities you want to try to fight of the winter blues!

Tag your photos and videos with @gsheartpa and add #gshpawinter2021 as you complete tasks so we can see what everyone is doing this winter. Stay warm and have fun!!!!!

December 2021 Calendar

Happy December Girl Scouts! As we head into the holiday season we have a lot of fun programs for girls and adults on the calendar. We have a few of these fabulous programs highlighted below, and you can visit our online calendar for more programs offered all month.

Financial Literacy Nights

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania is excited to offer three financial literacy nights for Daisies through Ambassadors! JIF vs Skippy: Making Good Money Choices, How to Pay for that Malibu Beach House, and Let’s take Charge! Understanding Your Credit will be led by Becky MacDicken from the Department of Banking and Securities, these three programs will touch on making good money choices, managing goals and money, and understanding credit. Visit our Event Calendar to register for each level’s program.

Robotics at Camp Small Valley

This month girls can join the Program team at Camp Small Valley for a day all about ROBOTS! We will be designing, programming and building new robots as we learn about what makes a robot and why they are important. This program has a morning and afternoon session available for Daisy, Brownie, Juniors, and Cadettes. Visit our Event Calendar to register.

STEM Career Exploration Badge Workshops

Brownies, Juniors and Cadettes can join us for STEM Career Exploration Nights this December. Girls will explore their interests and discover how those interests can become a career in the future. We will dive into six different STEM fields and learn how careers in those fields are making the world a better place. Girls will also create a career path and brainstorm ways they can follow their path and motivate themselves. Visit our Event Calendar to register.

And so many more!

We have many more programs in December that range from outdoor adventures to STEAM with the Program Team. 

Don’t forget to take a look at our January events coming up too! We have a full schedule in January, including cookie badges, Troop Adventure opportunities and more. Check it out on 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!