Camp Happy Valley: Prime location lodging for your south central Pennsylvania adventures

Return from your local explorations to welcoming, affordable lodging at Camp Happy Valley.

By Catherine Amoriello

It’s week three of our camp property blog series and this week we’re venturing to Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s (GSHPA) Camp Happy Valley!

CAMP HAPPY VALLEY

Camp Happy Valley is located in Adams County near Gettysburg and Liberty Mountain Resort. The camp boasts multiple year-round lodging options including a house, modern lodges, a rustic cabin and tent sites. Ideal for individuals or groups looking for a place to stay while exploring south central Pennsylvania attractions, Camp Happy Valley is home away from home for any visitor. Read on to learn what this camp has to offer!

Camp Happy Valley offers dual lodging and programming spaces.

The camp is home to Aspen and Skyloft lodges, two spacious units that guests can both sleep in and use for activity space. Aspen can sleep up to 23 people in its loft, and a peek over the edge reveals an expansive, open area below perfect for crafts, games or any other group needs. Skyloft offers two separate sleeping quarters in Sunrise and Sunset units that can sleep up to 19 people in each area. With a shared common space in the middle, this unit is perfect for groups looking to collaborate but require separate sleeping spaces, like school/youth groups or traveling co-ed companies.

Camp Happy Valley homes a unique slingshot course.

Test your aim by taking a run through the camp’s recently installed slingshot course! Built by a Girl Scout Troop, the course offers guests an outlet for some outdoor games and fun and also serves as a colorful art display. Challenge your buddies to a competition or test your own skills individually on the course and let your spirits be lifted by this vibrant Girl Scout creation!

Camp Happy Valley is a stone’s throw away from popular Pennsylvania attractions.

Fifteen minutes away from the heart of Gettysburg, the camp lodges visitors just down the road from one of Pennsylvania’s most historic cities. Your stay at Camp Happy Valley makes your adventure to the Jennie Wade House, Gettysburg National Military Park or any of the city’s quaint shops, restaurants and museums that much easier. Are you interested in an outdoor adventure at Liberty Mountain Resort? Staying at Camp Happy Valley puts you less than 10 minutes away from the resort at a fraction of the cost of other available nearby lodging options.

Is Camp Happy Valley the camping option for you? Make a reservation now and start planning your next adventure!

If you missed our other property feature stories, go check out Camp Small ValleyCamp Archbald and Camp Furnace Hills on the GSHPA Blog now.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

GSHPA hosts 2022 National Product Program Conference

Girl Scout Councils across the country came together for a week of collaboration and learning in the ‘Sweetest Place on Earth.’

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) welcomed representatives from Girl Scout Councils across the nation for the 2022 National Product Program Conference May 18-20 at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

This year’s conference saw over 300 attendees from more than 100 councils come together to network, hear from GSUSA representatives and vendors, and most importantly, collaborate and generate ideas to better serve girls and volunteers.

The annual conference serves as a way for Girl Scout Product Program teams to gather and learn new ideas from one another to improve the success of their own Fall Fundraiser and Girl Scout Cookie programs. In addition to full group presentations, the conference provided more than 20 breakout sessions touching on topics such as team collaboration, social media strategy, market segmentation and more. And thanks to generous sponsorships from ABC Bakers, Ashdon Farms, Little Brownie Bakers, M2 Media and Trophy Nut Company, attendees were well-fed with delicious meals and snacks!

GSHPA also received some assistance from a few special guests, including Senior Girl Scout Brylea Starr who shared her cookie program experience, Belinda Stefl who led the Eternal Flame and closing ceremonies, and Brownie Girl Scout Cambria Gamble who served as a member of the color guard.

We came, we learned, we ate many Girl Scout Cookies – but most of all we had fun! Check out the photo gallery below to see what GSHPA staff and attendees were up to during the conference!

Thank you to all staff, sponsors and attendees for making this amazing conference possible. After a two-year break from in-person events, it was so sweet to be together again!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Mission Moment Recap – May

Girl Scouts in Centre, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Luzerne, Mifflin, Monroe, Northumberland, Perry, Susquehanna and York counties give back to community.

*All Mission Moment information is submitted by volunteers/members. Should you have any questions regarding a submission, please email camoriello@gshpa.org.

By Catherine Amoriello

We love getting to see all of the great things our Girl Scouts are doing in their local communities! In May, our girls were busy making an impact by planting trees, learning about recycling, volunteering at early learning events and so much more.

Girls assemble to move donated boxes of cookies.

Girl Scouts from Troop 21229 in York County donated over 1,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to Harvest of Blessing food pantry. Through a Girl Scout assembly line, the girls used team work to move the boxes from vehicles to the pantry.

Girl Scouts get outdoors to plant 300 trees at York County farm.

Cadette and Junior Girl Scouts teamed up to plant trees at Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education in York County. Forty girls, along with their parents and family members, planted 300 trees, including species such as lilac, winterberry, willow and hazelnut. The girls also learned about water pollution and steps they can take to help keep their environment clean.

Girls plant trees to benefit local wildlife.

Girl Scouts from Service Unit 707 in Lancaster County met at Millport Conservancy to plant 32 hackberry tree seedlings. They also installed tubes and stakes to protect the trees from animals and mowers. Because of their efforts, local wildlife will benefit from the berry-like fruit the trees will produce.

Girls plant and learn about trees during a Tree Plant-o-Ree event.

Girl Scouts from Troops 40324, 40350, 40370 and 40440 in Juniata and Mifflin counties participated in a Tree Plant-o-Ree event. With the help of representatives from the Juniata County Conservation District, the girls learned about the importance of the watershed ecosystem and how to plant and care for trees.

Girl Scouts planting trees.

Troop pays a visit to a local art gallery to learn about different creative art styles.

Girl Scouts from Troop 10479 in Perry County visited Perry County Council of the Arts (PCCA) to learn about art. The girls got to meet a local artist and learn the different ways to create art through poetry, books, pictures, jewelry and pottery. The girls will put what they learned to practice by creating their own art to display at the troop’s bridging ceremony.

Girls join forces with other community members to give back to the homeless.

Girl Scouts in Monroe County made crochet sleeping mats for homeless individuals. The girls partnered with women from a local church who taught them how to crochet. The initiative has brought in multiple Girl Scout Troops to contribute to the community service project.

Troop aims to make the world a better place through environmental awareness projects.

Girl Scouts from Troop 60082 in Northumberland County focused on the environment for their Take Action Project. The girls made a video to educate others about how they can make the world a better place through the 3 Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle). The troop’s next focus is to plan a clean-up project to encourage community members to participate in caring for the environment.

Girls celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day by gifting Girl Scout Cookies to staff.

Girl Scouts from Troop 10265 in Cumberland County shared their gratitude for their teachers and school staff by donating Girl Scout Cookies to Camp Hill and East Pennsboro middle schools on Teacher Appreciation Day.

Juniors and Cadettes celebrate Earth Day with a tree planting.

Junior and Cadette Girl Scouts from Troops 12300 and 14101 in Dauphin County dug, planted, watered and mulched trees at Susquehanna Union Green in honor of Earth Day. The girls received support from community partners for the project, including the Rotary Club of Susquehanna Township and Vartan Group, Inc.

Daisies, Brownies and Juniors make pet beds for a local pet rescue.

Daisy, Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts from Troops 70304 and 70416 in Lancaster County made no-sew pet beds to donate to the Pet Pantry of Lancaster County. The girls made the beds as part of their Conestoga River Girl Scouts service project and also collected much needed donations of food and pet supplies for the pantry.

Older girls inspire and lead young children at early learning events.

Cadette, Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts from Troop 71266 in Lancaster County volunteered at several early learning events hosted by the Solanco School District. At one event, the girls helped pre-school children do fun games for STEAM in Suessville. The girls’ impact on the children was so great, it inspired an attendee to register to be a Brownie Girl Scout because she “wanted to be like them.”

Older Girl Scouts at Suessville event.

Girls provide maintenance help to a local nonprofit.

Girl Scouts from Troop 81010 in Franklin County helped a local nonprofit summer camp with service projects. The girls learned how to mulch, use garden and power tools and make maintenance repairs. Their efforts totaled 80 combined hours of volunteer work.

Girl Scouts helping at camp.

Daisies apply new environmental education to earn their final petals.

Daisy Girl Scouts from Troop 40037 in Centre County hosted guest speaker Joanne Shafer from Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority (CCRRA) to talk about how reducing, reusing and recycling materials can help “make the world a better place.” The girls reused toilet paper and paper towel rolls as planters for sunflower seeds and ultimately earned their last petal for the year to complete the Girl Scout Law petal set.

Daisies and Brownies discover math in nature through GSHPA-led Badge Day experiences.

Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts learned all about how we can find examples of math in nature during Badge Days at Camp Furnace Hills in Lancaster County and Camp Happy Valley in Adams County. By the end of the event, the girls discovered new tools to help them collect data and measurements, identified shapes and patterns, and designed new pieces of nature-inspired artwork.

Troop plants a pollinator garden to help local community environment.

Girl Scouts from Troop 30096 in Luzerne County participated in a community project to plant a pollinator garden in their local community. Each girl helped plant flowers and learned about the importance of pollinators in the environment. The troop will continue to visit the garden to help with upkeep.

Troop learns backpacking fundamentals through volunteer-led backpacking program.

Girl Scouts from Troop 33265 in Susquehanna County participated in a volunteer-led Intro to Backpacking program at Camp Archbald. Each girl chose her gear, food, clothing, first aid and essential items to bring along on the troop’s hike. The girls packed their bags, read maps, followed trails and discovered various plants and wildlife on their hike.

Daisies and Brownies get an art lesson from a local artist and teacher.

Brownie Girl Scouts from Troop 11420 in Cumberland County met local artist and teacher Jess Singer to learn about her creative process and make their own art. Singer provided each girl with her own personally designed coloring page to decorate. Daisy Girl Scouts from Troop 10617 also joined in on the fun in anticipation of bridging to Brownies.

Do you have a Girl Scout Mission Moment to share? Submit it now so we can showcase your passion and hard work in next month’s recap!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Camp Archbald: Your northern Pennsylvanian getaway in the outdoors

Whether you’re looking to relax lakefront or immerse yourself in nature through a rustic camping experience, Camp Archbald welcomes you.

By Catherine Amoriello

We’re back again with the second feature of our camp property blog series! This week we’re taking a dive into Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s (GSHPA) Camp Archbald.

CAMP ARCHBALD

Camp Archbald is located in Susquehanna County less than 30 miles from the New York state line. The camp’s lodging options include platform tents, rustic cabins and lodges, and modern cabins and lodges. Camp Archbald has many unique features with a few standout characteristics. Read on to learn why this camp is held near and dear to so many visitors!

Camp Archbald is the only GSHPA camp with a lake.

The camp features Ely Lake, providing visitors the opportunity to engage in aquatic activities such as canoeing, kayaking and swimming. The lake provides water-lovers ample space for a range of water activities.

Camp Archbald provides unique lodging through Treetops and Friendship units.

Looking to be one with your natural surroundings? Stay in Treetops, a modern cabin. Perched atop a hill, this cabin provides an immersive nature experience. Another great lodging option is the camp’s Friendship modern lodge. Ideal for larger groups, Friendship can accommodate up to 40 people on mattresses and provides a large space for program activities.

Camp Archbald is a living piece of American history.
Camp Archbald is the second-oldest Girl Scout camp in the U.S.

The camp boasts rich history as the second-oldest Girl Scout camp in the U.S. The camp was founded in 1920 by the Scranton Pocono Girl Scout council and the camp’s Trading Post, a building that was developed in 1921, still stands today. While more modern developments have since been added to the camp, including Laura Muia Dining Hall and outdoor adventure amenities, Camp Archbald still retains many of its original historic roots for visitors to enjoy.

Is Camp Archbald the camping option for you? Make a reservation now and start planning your next adventure!

If you missed our other property feature stories, go check out Camp Small ValleyCamp Furnace Hills and Camp Happy Valley on the GSHPA Blog now.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Top five outdoor activities girls can do with GSHPA this summer

By Catherine Amoriello

Does your girl have some gaps to fill in her summer plans? Look no further than Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s (GSHPA) summer programming! From independent activities at home to group outings with her best Girl Scout pals, GSHPA provides an array of opportunities for your girl to make this summer her best one yet!

Read on for our list of top five outdoor activities your girl can do with GSHPA this summer.

1. Attend a GSHPA Camp Excursion.

Older Girl Scouts.
Older girls connect through a GSHPA outdoor program session.

New this year, GSHPA’s Camp Excursions are designed for Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts. Your girl will spend a weekend “away” to explore unique areas and activities available right in Pennsylvania. Following the Girl Scout travel progression model, girls will gain the confidence to adventure locally and foster travel competency to become future independent travelers. With a session at Camp Happy Valley July 29-31 and at Camp Small Valley Aug. 19-21, your girl will have the freedom to explore domestically alongside her fellow Girl Scouts.

2. Participate in the GSHPA Outdoor Challenge.

The GSHPA Outdoor Challenge is returning for the third summer in a row…but with a special twist! In honor of GSHPA’s 110th anniversary, there will be 110 challenges available for girls to complete. This year’s challenge will also have a state park focus and will be available to use during Girl Scouts Love State Parks events in September. By participating in the Outdoor Challenge, girls will try new experiences and have the opportunity to win some awesome prizes! Stay tuned for the release of this year’s activity sheet.

3. Join the Girls Go Summer Club.

Girl Scout participating in virtual programming.
A girl participates in one of GSHPA’s many virtual programming opportunities.

Does your girl enjoy staying active well into the evening hours? Sign her up for Girls Go Summer Club programming. This virtual series has girls meet weekly to explore different topics about life skills, entrepreneurship, the outdoors, citizenship, health and Girl Scout traditions. Daisies and Brownies will meet 5-6 p.m. and Juniors and Cadettes will meet 6:30-8:00 p.m. After spending all day outside in the sun, your girl will look forward to cooling off indoors with her fellow Girls Go Summer Club friends!

4. Get a taste of Girl Scouts through day camp.

Girl Scouts singing songs outside.
Girls sing Girl Scout songs together during a day camp summer session.

A great option for all girls, but especially girls with busy schedules or who aren’t quite ready for an overnight camp experience, GSHPA’s day camps provide flexibility and fun! Day camps are held at Camp Happy Valley and Camp Furnace Hills and are available to all girls in kindergarten through fifth grade. With themes like Vintage Girl Scout and Fairy Garden Discovery, your young Girl Scout will have a blast adventuring through camp, learning new things and making new friends. An added bonus? GSHPA is offering bus transportation to the camps and registration discount opportunities are available!

5. Explore through Girl Scouts Love State Parks initiative.

Girl Scouts Love State Parks is a national event celebrated in over 400 state parks across 50 states and Puerto Rico. Girls are encouraged to explore their local state parks by participating in activities such as self-guided tours, family hikes, watersports, stargazing and special events. The event will be held Sept. 10 and 11 – stayed tuned to learn which Pennsylvania state parks will be offering Girl Scout-specific activities!

New adventures, friendships and experiences await through GSHPA this summer, so what are you waiting for? Explore what summer experiences GSHPA has to offer your girl and turn her summer plans from “I don’t know,” to “Yes let’s go!”

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Finding inspiration in history: Women leaders of Cumberland Valley

By Lutricia Eberly

I have such a strong connection to Cumberland County – friendships, business relationships and an endless desire to learn and develop my own skills from some very smart people. Cumberland County has not disappointed. Part of that journey, and my journey with Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, is to gravitate to leadership that our Girl Scout community can also look up to.

I reached out to the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau (CVVB) to see if they had any leader’s stories that I could share with our blog readers. They pointed my in the right direction. Here are a few of the very impressive women who played important roles in Cumberland Valley’s rich history.

Rosemarie Peiffer

Rosemarie Peiffer
Rosemarie Peiffer was the first female Cumberland County Commissioner.

The Peiffer Memorial Arboretum and Nature Preserve, in Lower Allen Township and New Cumberland, is dedicated to the memory of Rosemarie Peiffer, the first female Cumberland County Commissioner, and her husband, Howard. Rosemarie was raised on a farm in Schuylkill County and was a licensed registered nurse. She developed an interest in politics and was elected to the New Cumberland Borough Council before being elected as a county commissioner in 1979. Both Rosemarie and Howard were strong advocates of land preservation and the arboretum and nature preserve consist of 35 wooded acres with nature trails and some of the largest trees in the state.

Evelyn G. Sharp

The arboretum and nature preserve also honors the memory of aviatrix Evelyn G. Sharp, from Nebraska, who received her first commercial pilot’s license at the age of 18 and became an airplane instructor at the age of 20. She was one of the original Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron pilots and served until April 3, 1944, when the P-38 Lightning she was piloting lost an engine on takeoff from what is now Capital City Airport and crashed into land now owned by the arboretum, saving the lives of countless civilians by choosing an uninhabited location. Only 24 years old at the time of her death, she was a squadron commander and only three flights from her fifth rating, the highest certificate then available to women. Her fellow aviators, some of the best fliers in the country, raised money to pay for her coffin to be returned to Nebraska. Whistlestop Bookshop in Carlisle carries the only biography of her, “Sharpie: The Life Story of Evelyn Sharp, Nebraska’s Aviatrix,” by Diane Ruth Armour Bartels.

Marianne Moore

Marianne Moore
Marianne Moore was a Pulitzer Prize winning author from Carlisle.

Poet Marianne Moore was born in Missouri, eventually moving with her mother and older brothers to Carlisle in 1896. After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, Moore made her way back to Carlisle where she taught business subjects at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School from 1911 to 1914. Her first professionally published poems appeared in the spring of 1915 and, in 1916, she moved with her mother to New Jersey. After a distinguished career as an eminent poet, author, essayist and teacher, including the Pulitzer Prize for Literature and the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, she died in 1971 and her ashes were interred at the family’s burial plot at Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg. A state historical marker was dedicated to Moore in 2002 and is located at 343 N. Hanover Street in Carlisle.

To learn about more women who have made an impact in Cumberland Valley, check out CVVB’s blog post for Women’s History Month. To learn more about historical attractions or other things to see and do in Cumberland Valley, visit CVVB’s visitor’s webpage.

Source note: Cumberland Valley history and visitor’s information courtesy of Stacey Cornman, Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau Content Marketing Manager.

Lutricia Eberly is the Director of Outdoor and Program Experience for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at leberly@gshpa.org.

GSHPA prepares to host third annual STEAM Summer Kickoff event

Girls called for more engineering, nature and science programming and GSHPA answered!

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scout crafting.
A Girl Scout stays focused during a STEAM gemology session.

If there is one thing Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) prides itself on, it is being a girl-focused organization that strives to meet the wants and needs of its member base. For this reason, GSHPA is excited to announce that it will be hosting its third annual STEAM Summer Kickoff virtual event June 13-17 to provide more free STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) programming to girls because…well because they asked for it!

After surveying girl members in 2021, GSHPA discovered they were particularly interested in learning more about engineering, nature and science. In addition to providing great educational resources about these topics, STEAM Summer Kickoff also provides opportunities for girls to stay involved and make new friends during a time when many troops are taking a break from meeting.

Girl Scouts crafting.
Girl Scouts show off their crane design made during a STEAM engineering session.

“We want to stay girl-led, we don’t want to just pick and choose,” said Katie Wilbur, GSHPA Program Coordinator. “We try to make sure the programs are what the girls are interested in.”

With this in mind, GSHPA made the STEAM Summer Kickoff’s theme STEAM Career Exploration to help girls explore each facet of STEAM. The program will see girls learn how they can follow their own unique interests and passions to develop a successful career later in life. Embodying this sentiment will be keynote speaker Victoria Kageni-Woodward, Gusa owner and York-based fashion entrepreneur, who will kick off the week-long event by sharing her story of how she turned her passion for clothing design into her livelihood.

Girl Scout drawing.
A Girl Scout shares her animal drawings made during a STEAM winter animal program.

Led by Pennsylvania-based GSHPA Program Partners, short-term volunteers and GSHPA staff, girls will hear from professionals who are experts in their respective STEAM fields about topics such as native mammal wildlife, how to pitch an entrepreneurial idea, the impact of bees on our ecosystems and much more. Girls will have the opportunity to interact with these working professionals during the live sessions every day at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., as well as participate independently with take-home worksheets and activities they can do on their own time.

Girl Scout cooking.
A Girl Scout makes a delicious French toast dish during a STEAM Master Chef session.

GSHPA’s goal is to show girls that learning and participating in activities they enjoy does not need to end when the STEAM Summer Kickoff event wraps for the week. Many Program Partners provide opportunities to continue learning and staying active with their group through events they host. For example, Program Partner Whitewater Challengers will be offering a Raft-O-Ree Weekend for girls to attend that same weekend to follow their water and boating interests.

“Don’t let this learning stop this week, this is only one piece of the puzzle. You learn about it and apply your interests and we provide the tools for girls to keep doing it,” Wilbur said.

As a virtual series, STEAM Summer Kickoff provides flexibility for participants – girls are encouraged to sign up for all sessions that interest them, but aren’t required to attend every session. And with two sessions a day in both the morning and evening, girls will still have plenty of time in the afternoon to get outside and enjoy the warm weather without missing a beat!

Girl Scout eating ice cream.
A Girl Scout enjoys a sweet treat with her friends, made during one of GSHPA’s STEAM programs.

“It’s a great way for Girl Scouts to communicate with girls from all over the state. If girls aren’t Girl Scouts, this is a great way to see the culture and get a taste of it,” Wilbur said.

STEAM Summer Kickoff registration is open now and free to ALL girls from anywhere in the U.S. Check out the list of featured programs, mark your calendars and get ready to watch your girl explore just how far her passion can take her!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Camp Small Valley: Your best bet for a traditional Pennsylvania outdoor experience

With yurts, a swimming pool, programming space and more, Camp Small Valley delivers for those looking for a limitless outdoor adventure.

By Catherine Amoriello

The wait is finally over – spring is here and summer is just around the corner! As we pack away our winter attire and welcome back our flip flops and swimsuits, girls from near and far are getting ready to attend Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) Summer Camps in Adams, Dauphin, Lancaster and Susquehanna counties. But here’s a little secret many don’t know – girls aren’t the only ones who can have fun at a GSHPA campground!

While GSHPA camp properties are home to many girls for Girl Scout events and camps, any individual, school group or small club/hobby group is welcome to rent GSHPA camp properties for their needs. In an effort to share all the great opportunities GSHPA camps offer to EVERYONE, we’re hosting a camp property blog series throughout the month of May! In the next couple of weeks, we’re going to feature each GSHPA camp property and fill readers in on everything from lodging options to activities offered to features that can be found at all four properties.

From veteran outdoor thrill seekers, to Live Action Role Play (LARP) lovers, to novice campers looking to ease into the outdoors – you have a home at GSHPA camps.

CAMP SMALL VALLEY

We’re kicking off this blog series by featuring GSHPA’s largest campground, Camp Small Valley. Nestled in the mountains of Dauphin County, Camp Small Valley totals 792 acres with lodging options including cabins, tent platforms, yurts and lodges. This campground is home to GSHPA’s resident campers during the summer, providing a dining hall with a full commercial kitchen to meet the needs of longer-term stays.

Camp Small Valley has a lot to offer groups of various interests and needs with a few standout characteristics. Read on to learn why visitors can’t get enough of this limitless outdoor adventure option!

Camp Small Valley is the only GSHPA camp with yurts.
Girl Scout Camp Small Valley yurts.
Camp Small Valley’s yurts are a great lodging option for any group.

The camp’s yurts are its most popular lodging option and serve as a unique draw to the camp property. Yurts are circular-dome structures with walls that are built on platforms, a design that dates back nearly 3,000 years to Central Asia. The yurts comfortably accommodate larger groups and are available to rent any season making them an ideal lodging option year-round. GSHPA will be building two more yurts at the camp within the next year after having received funds allocated by the Dauphin County Commissioners.

Camp Small Valley is the only GSHPA camp with a pool.

The camp’s main pool is 30×70 feet and includes a shallow end about three feet deep and a deep end about seven feet deep. Featuring a zero-depth entry into a splash pad area two feet deep, the camp provides a perfect place for visitors to cool off, no matter their swimming abilities. A major plus? The pool overlooks beautiful Pennsylvania mountains serving up photo-worthy landscapes.

Camp Small Valley’s Star Center serves as a perfect space for programming.

The camp’s Star Center building includes a spacious downstairs crafts center. The activity space can provide up to 30 people with chairs and table area, providing a great space for program-led groups. Crafters, artists, gamers and experimenters – the Star Center is your creative haven!

Camp Small Valley provides endless opportunity for adventure.

The camp’s size makes it home to a variety of outdoor activities including swimming, archery, hiking trails, a climbing wall, tree/high ropes courses and so much more. Camp Small Valley’s land is also part of a conservancy with Manada Conservancy, and the camp is near Weiser State Forest and the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art making it a great option for individuals seeking additional outdoor excursions.

Is Camp Small Valley the camping option for you? Make a reservation now and start planning your next adventure!

If you missed our other property feature stories, go check out Camp Furnace HillsCamp Archbald and Camp Happy Valley on the GSHPA Blog now.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Daisy Girl Scout serves as motivational figure for ‘lead by example’ Harrisburg city cleanup event

Girl Scout Aubriella and her mother Michelle Landolfa share their experience with gun violence to inspire others to create a safe community.

By Catherine Amoriello

It’s a chilly Saturday in April as I make my way up the steep slopes of Reservoir Park in Harrisburg. I follow the narrow, winding roads until suddenly the park pavilion comes into view. As I approach, the wind is brisk and biting and the clouds threaten rain. The only reprieve comes from brief bursts of sunlight through the clouds.

Reservoir Park pavilion in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Volunteers gathered at the Reservoir Park pavilion in Harrisburg for a community cleanup event April 9.

Despite the very unspring-like weather, a large group of adults and children assembles outside the pavilion. As I weave my way through the assemblage and reach the steps of the building, my eyes finally find what I’ve been seeking – a Girl Scout Cookie booth.

Not far from the booth I spot its owner, her identity given away by her bright blue Daisy vest which she wears proudly over a pink and purple ombré coat and a purple headband to match. Seven-year-old Aubriella darts about the pavilion, eager to join the group forming outside. Although selling Girl Scout Cookies is important work, Aubriella is also at the park to participate in a “lead by example” community cleanup.

Girl Scout selling cookies.
Daisy Girl Scout Aubriella hosts a cookie booth at Reservoir Park in Harrisburg.

The cleanup has brought Harrisburg community members together, many of them children, to disperse throughout the city streets to pick up trash. Tone Cook, founder of anti-gun violence group Michael’s Memory, organized the event to give children a safe space to socialize and show them they have power to influence change in their communities, including helping to decrease gun violence. It provides adults the opportunity to show their younger counterparts how to make an impact, which the children can then pass along to their peers.

I join Aubriella and her mother Michelle Landolfa at a picnic table covered with snacks and treats for the volunteers. Aubriella sits between us, and while she’s straining to keep the cleanup crew in her sights so as not to miss her opportunity to join them, she kindly gives me the time of day (much in thanks to Landolfa’s prodding). After proving to Aubriella that I can indeed spell her name with my eyes closed, we take a more serious turn to explore one of the reasons she and Landolfa are in attendance at the cleanup event today – to share their own recent experience with gun violence.

In early March, Aubriella and Landolfa set up their first cookie booth outside of a store in Steelton. As they were selling cookies, gun shots rang out nearby, prompting Landolfa to rush Aubriella inside the store for cover.

There was fighting in the parking lot and then someone had a gun, Aubriella recounted.

One would think this act of violence would cause Aubriella to host her booth elsewhere, or maybe even close up shop for good. But in true Girl Scout fashion, Aubriella tapped into her bravery and returned to the store another day to reestablish her booth.

“She was scared, but we had made a commitment. It’s her first year in Girl Scouts,” Landolfa said of their decision to return to the site. “I felt like that wasn’t something that normally happens in our community. We set a goal so we had to go back out.”

Girl Scout and mom selling cookies.
Michelle Landolfa supports Aubriella as she sells Girl Scout Cookies at the cleanup.

Landolfa was unprepared for the community support Aubriella would receive. With an initial goal of selling 50 boxes of cookies during her first Girl Scout Cookie Season, Aubriella sold more than 3,200 boxes.

“We had the mayor come out, the fire department…We received very overwhelming support. They [Steelton community] have such a huge heart. They came out and really supported her,” Landolfa said.

I’m hardly surprised when Landolfa tells me she’s also a former Girl Scout. Upon meeting her she holds her tall frame with confidence, rocks her edgy teal hair slicked back in a chic ponytail and her brown eyes are bright with kindness and warmth. Her own experience as a Girl Scout and a lack of available local programming for children is what brought her and Aubriella to Girl Scouts.

“She’s really young, not a lot of schools have much programming for inner city kids. That’s why we got involved,” Landolfa said. “She’s really grown so much since she’s been in Girl Scouts.”

As our conversation nears its end, volunteers begin gathering inside the pavilion. Cook takes a moment to speak about how the cleanup is one of many stepping stones to creating a safe and beautiful community. He reminds the adults of their responsibility as role models to not just tell children to make a difference, but to show them how to make a difference. Many in the crowd nod their heads and audibly confirm their agreement.

Girl Scout with mom.
Aubriella shares her story of resilience and mission to lead by example with community members.

Eventually, Cook waves Aubriella forward to stand before the volunteers. He asks her to share why she’s at the cleanup today. Her eyes dart across the crowd, taking in the faces and cell phones all pointed in her direction. She shifts nervously on her feet, and although quiet, she speaks.

“I’m going to be a good example. I’m going to clean up the park.”

Cook further clarifies Aubriella’s intent. “She’s going to be cleaning up to make a safe space for other kids in the community.”

Other children are then called to stand alongside Aubriella. Some appear as young as 2 years old, others are in their teens. Cook motions to the young group.

“This right here is what’s going to lead us.”

Girl Scout cleaning up the park.
Aubriella joins volunteers to participate in the community cleanup.
Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

Girls and volunteers gather at Pennsylvania College of Technology for Girl Scout Tree Promise event

Girl Scouts will plant, protect or honor 5 million trees by 2025

By Kristian Beverly

The weather on May 1 didn’t seem like the ideal weather to plant 400 trees. It was overcast, chilly, muddy and rainy. Those four adjectives could conquer the confidence of a girl – if they weren’t Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts Tree Planting sign at Penn College.

Over 80 girls traveled to Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Earth Science Campus in Allenwood, Pa., for the Girl Scout Tree Promise event. Some came in troops and others attended with their families. The Girl Scout Tree Promise is a nationwide movement to plant, protect or honor five million trees by 2025.

Before the event started, girls registered and received a pair of Penn College/GSHPA branded gloves and a Penn College drawstring bag from GSHPA staff.

GSHPA employees pose with some of the items for girls.

After registering, girls created necklaces and bracelets while others opted to explore around the pavilion.


Around 1 p.m., the rain stopped. Attendees were welcomed and given instructions for the day by organizers.

Each attendee received native trees or shrubs to plant. There were many types of trees or shrubs to be had, along with friends to see.

The girls learned how to plant bare root trees or shrubs. The ones with long roots had them shortened so they could adjust easier to their new home. Once they understood the planting steps, the girls used teamwork and hard work to plant and anchor their plants.

Trees were covered and stabilized to protect them from wildlife such as deer.

After planting, attendees could complete environmental activities created by Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture visited with their The WoodMobile. Through interactive activities, children and adults learned about the impact of trees.

Thank you to everyone that attended to plant trees! It was definitely a success!