Mission Moment Recap – June

Girl Scouts in Centre, Columbia, Dauphin, Lancaster, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Perry and Wyoming counties give back and participate in Girl Scout events in their communities.

*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 June, our girls were busy making an impact by donating snacks to elementary school students, beautifying senior living homes, sharing their Girl Scout pride at events and so much more.

Service Unit represents Girl Scouts at Memorial Day parade.

Girl Scouts from Service Unit 175 in Dauphin County participated in the Hummelstown Memorial Day parade. The girls did a great job representing Girl Scouts for the two-mile long walk.

Girl Scouts donate tasty snacks to students taking state exams.

Girl Scouts from Service Unit 301 in Columbia County helped sort and deliver Girl Scout Cookies to students taking state tests at a local elementary school. The donation was well received!

Daises visit Girl Scout Camp for the first time.

Daisy Girl Scouts from Troop 10730 in Dauphin County traveled to Camp Happy Valley for their annual camping trip. The camping theme was fairies which saw the girls create wands, flower headpieces and their very own fairies. The troop also had a campfire and made s’mores. It was the first time many of the girls attended camp.

Cadettes beautify senior home for Silver Award Project.

Cadette Girl Scouts from Troop 50015 in Wyoming County designed, built and installed two large raised garden tables at a local senior home for their Silver Award Project. The girls also cleaned up a large courtyard area that had overgrown due to staff shortages at the facility.

Troop takes a page out of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ for their end of year party.

Girl Scouts from Troop 61238 in Lycoming County held their end of year celebration Alice in Wonderland-style with a Happy Un-Birthday tea party. The girls reflected on their year and made goals for the next Girl Scout year.

Perry County Girl Scouts prepare to embark on new Girl Scout journeys.

Daisy, Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts from Troops 10495, 10479 and 10481 in Perry County held their bridging ceremony. Six Daisies, eight Brownies and four Juniors bridged to the next Girl Scout level and two Cadettes were initiated through an investiture ceremony.

Troop celebrates milestones and achievements at bridging and badge ceremony.

Girl Scouts from Troop 52282 in Monroe County held their bridging and badge ceremony at Ice Lake Park in Cresco. The troop leaders, parents/caregivers and girls were excited to celebrate all the achievements the girls accomplished throughout the past year. The troop began with just five girls in 2020 and has grown to a group of 18.

Girl Scouts use media design tools to bring awareness to environmental issues.

Girl Scouts from Troop 70525 in Lancaster County created digital posters as part of their Media Journey Take Action Project.

Girl Scouts enjoy a night of fun and baseball at Girl Scout Night.

Girl Scouts from the Friendly Valley Service Unit in Lancaster County attended Girl Scout Night at the Lancaster Barnstormers. Girl Scout volunteer Carol Caddick and former Girl Scout Delaney Castagna from the Gold Award Class of 2021 participated in the first pitch. Girls from Troop 70105 presented the flag and Troops 70122 and 71308 led the crowd in a dance party during the seventh inning stretch.

Daisies and Brownies celebrate the end of their Girl Scout year with vesting and capping ceremony.

Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts from Troop 60271 in Lycoming County were celebrated at an end-of-year vesting and capping ceremony. The girls received their age-level vest and vintage cap, a bouquet of flowers representing the Girl Scout Promise and Law and a certificate. The troop is led by Ambassador Girl Scout and S’mores Executive Club member Sarah K., and Senior Girl Scout and S’mores Executive Club member Brylea S. served as MC for the ceremony.

Cadette finds her passion after joining Girl Scouts.

Cadette Girl Scout Sophia from Troop 33206 in Luzerne County found her calling in woodworking through joining Girl Scouts. After some initial hesitation to join, Sophia learned to enjoy Girl Scouting and found her passion after working on a woodworking badge with her troop. Her experience inspired her to enroll in the carpentry program at Wilkes-Barre Area Career & Technical Center when she entered high school.

Adult members are honored at a volunteer appreciation pinning ceremony.

Volunteers Barb John, Connie Gehman, Debbie Shue, Faith Irwin, Flora Poulos and Katie Knaub in Lancaster County were awarded the Volunteer of Appreciation Award pin. The award recognizes a registered adult Girl Scout member’s exemplary service in support of delivering the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. GSHPA Volunteer Strategy Committee Chair Stacey Irwin awarded the members their pins.

Girls earn Silver Award by creating calming space for health care staff.

Girl Scouts from Troop 40034 in Centre County earned their Silver Award by establishing a “Less-Stress Space” at Mount Nittany Medical Center for the staff to enjoy and relax in during their breaks. The girls created a mobile stress-relief cart and decorated the space with plants and local art work to create a calming area.

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! Visit our Mission Moment Recap webpage on the GSHPA Blog to see more Mission Moments from previous months.

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.

Bereavement services founder Leslie Delp speaks to importance of responding to children’s grief, loss

A York County bereavement specialist uses her own close encounters with death to help others navigate loss, grief and mourning.

By Catherine Amoriello

For our girl members, Girl Scouts is an avenue for fun, friendship and facing challenges in a supportive environment. Troop meetings bring big toothy grins, Summer Camp sessions echo with girl laughter, and weekly programming events buzz with the excited chatter of members eager to learn. But unfortunately, these happy, carefree girls are not immune to tragedy and loss. The school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in May is just one of many recent reminders that children are just as likely as adults to be exposed to violence and death. And if they’re lucky enough not to witness it firsthand, they’re seeing it on the news, hearing it being discussed by their caregivers, or experiencing loss at home in other ways.

Leslie Delp, founder of and bereavement specialist at Olivia’s House Grief and Loss Center for Children.

While it’s taken until recent years for children and teen mental health issues to come to the forefront, Leslie Delp, founder of and bereavement specialist at Olivia’s House Grief and Loss Center for Children in York County, identified in the 1990s that children confronted with death and loss require unique support.

“Children mourn differently than adults. Grief is inside, mourning is outside. The body keeps score, and it doesn’t forget,” Delp said.

After surviving two nearly-fatal accidents as both a child and an adult, and then experiencing a miscarriage in her first pregnancy, Delp is sadly well-acquainted with death and near-death experiences. But instead of allowing these devastating events to become her full story, she opted to change the narrative.

“I always wanted to prove to myself that the reason I’m still here is because I have something that I’m supposed to do,” Delp said. “That’s what’s going to keep this world afloat. Yes this happened to me, but here’s what I’m going to do to turn it around.”

As she pursued her master’s degree in counseling psychology, Delp began researching death and dying and developed a curiosity about life after death and connections to passed loved ones. She enrolled as a volunteer at a hospice and gained additional insight by learning from the residents who passed their final days there. The day after Delp graduated, she opened her own private practice, Grief and Bereavement Services.

Olivia’s House clients release balloons during a Celebration of Life Graduation event. This has been a ritual since the organization’s inception in the 1990s.

In 1996, Delp founded Olivia’s House to help children who suffer losses, whether they be death losses or non-death losses, such as a divorce in the family. From bereavement camps for children that teach them healthy coping mechanisms, to family-based programs focused on educating both children and caregivers about how their body grieves, Delp sought to create an open place of resource and support in a topic area generally regarded as taboo. She hopes her life’s work will help push away stigmas surrounding depression, suicide and death.

“Mental health is important. And without an understanding of how your brain processes life’s disappointments and traumas, we’ll suffer. And we’re not meant to suffer. We’re meant to enjoy life,” Delp said.

Olivia’s House Grief and Loss Center for Children has two locations in York, Pa. (pictured) and Hanover, Pa.

A career in bereavement services is not for everyone – it’s a high burnout environment that calls for a unique ability to balance the trauma of the field with other work responsibilities. Delp advises those interested in going into bereavement services to choose their school wisely, shadow people already in the field and keep a realistic mindset that the journey will not be easy. But accruing the knowledge and experience necessary to give families the gift of goodbye will be worth it.

“You don’t get paid very well, but you get paid by the children and families in buckets,” Delp said. “You know you made a difference – you know you healed a heart.”

For volunteers and parents/caregivers interested in having their girl learn more about mental health issues, check out GSHPA Program Partner Byrnes Health Education Center for their available mental health programming for youth. For volunteers and parents/caregivers interested in learning more about stressors that may impact girls’ mental health, register to attend GSHPA’s Virtual Volunteer Conference Nov. 5 to participate in a mental health awareness informational session.

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.

S’mores Executive Club members lead Fall Fundraiser, Girl Scout Cookie efforts

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to recognize and celebrate its 2022-2023 S’mores Executive Club (SEC) members! Our S’mores Executives hit it out of the park during the Fall Fundraiser and Girl Scout Cookie programs in 2021-2022 and have earned themselves some awesome exclusive gifts and rewards. Get to know these savvy entrepreneurs in the photo galleries below!

Ambassador S’mores Executives

Ambassador S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Mikayla M. from Troop 70220

Senior S’mores Executives

Senior S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Rebecka D. from Troop 30406
  • Rebekah W. from Troop 20404
  • Sritanvi K. from Troop 11436

Cadette S’mores Executives

Cadette S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Alina S. from Troop 50252
  • Aviana G. from Troop 20078
  • Emily K. from Troop 52141
  • Roxie M. from Troop 71518
  • Jean M. from Troop 60073

Junior S’mores Executives

Junior S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Abigail H. from Troop 80181
  • Anna M. from Troop 32725
  • Charley C. from Troop 20387
  • Kayleigh W. from Troop 20376
  • Kileigh K. from Troop 70430
  • Nicole M. from Troop 80160

Brownie S’mores Executives

Brownie S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Geneva-Nichole Z. from Troop 61117
  • Lena K. from Troop 20672
  • Rylie C. from Troop 70050
  • Shilo F. from Troop 50843

Daisy S’mores Executives

Daisy S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Aria D. from Troop 50603
  • Aubree K. from Troop 31167
  • Brenna I. from Troop 11111
  • Clara M. from Troop 32105
  • Elena G.-V. from Troop 20365
  • Kendra B. from Troop 10495
  • Lyndsay M. from Troop 33203

Congratulations SEC members for your hard work and dedication this year! We can’t wait to see what you accomplish next through Girl Scouts.

Want to learn more about the S’mores Executive Club? Visit GSHPA’s Cookie Sellers webpage.

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.

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania celebrates 2022 Gold Award Class at Bucknell University

By Cathy Hirko

The 40 Girl Scouts in attendance at the Gold Award Ceremony gather for a photo at the conclusion of the event.

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) recognized and celebrated its Gold Award Class of 2022 on June 12, 2022, at Bucknell University.

More than 150 family members and friends joined GSHPA to honor its Gold Award Girl Scouts at a reception and ceremony. The afternoon event highlighted the important projects completed by the honorees, honored the Girl Scouts with a formal pinning ceremony and gave girls a chance to meet their Gold Award classmates. Attendees also heard from Janet Donovan, GSHPA President and CEO, and Adrienne Vicari, GSHPA Board Chair, on the significance of the Gold Award.

This year, 68 Girl Scouts earned their Gold Award, and 40 attended the program to receive recognition for the differences they made in their communities. This year’s Gold Award class represents 20 of the 30 counties in GSHPA’s council footprint.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. The award provides Girl Scouts in high school the opportunity to select a community issue important to them and use their passion to make a difference. Eligible Girl Scouts are required to devote a minimum of 80 hours to problem-solve, plan and implement their ideas for change to earn the Gold Award.

Cathy Hirko is the Marketing and Communications Director for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at chirko@gshpa.org.

2022 Gold Award Ceremony approaches, former Girl Scout reflects on earning Gold Award

Class of 2012 Gold Award Girl Scout Janelle Almond shares her Girl Scout experience.

By Catherine Amoriello

It’s a big weekend for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) as we prepare to recognize and honor 68 Girl Scouts at the Gold Award Ceremony at Bucknell University this Sunday!

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn and provides Girl Scouts in high school the opportunity to use their passion to make a difference. This year’s Gold Award Class represents 20 of the 30 counties in GSHPA’s council footprint, and we are so excited to celebrate the girls for their accomplishments.

Janelle Almond, former Gold Award Girl Scout.

In honor of this special time, we asked former Class of 2012 Gold Award Girl Scout Janelle Almond of Cumberland County to share her experience of going Gold and what Girl Scouts means to her.

Can you share what your Gold Award project was and why you chose to pursue it?

My Gold Award project involved developing a curriculum for an event for elementary aged girls. My church had hosted a girl’s sleepover event annually for many years, which I had always enjoyed attending. When I was in high school there was no leadership for that event, so I revived it with this curriculum entitled “True Beauty, Inside and Out.”  Games, crafts and activities all focused on celebrating the girls’ inherent value and beauty and empowering them to live confidently, courageously and kindly. I have long been passionate about finding and celebrating the beauty in everything and everyone, but sometimes that is hardest to see and celebrate in myself. With a passion for teaching and mentoring as well, coming alongside younger women with what I have learned along the way in my journey is one of my greatest joys.

What are some of your favorite Girl Scout memories?

Some of my favorite memories of Girl Scouting involve camping with my troop, especially sitting around the fire making mountain pies and s’mores and singing and laughing together. Some of the best memories stem from things that didn’t go quite right – like when we went winter camping and all the bananas froze because the unheated portion of the cabin got so cold. Also taking on new challenges I might not have otherwise, including white water rafting.

This year, we have 68 girls in our council who earned their Gold Award. What career and young adult advice would you give them as they take this next step in their journey?

Live out the Girl Scout Law. When people know they can trust you to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and to take responsibility for what you say and do, doors will open for you. Respect yourself. Advocate for yourself and don’t be afraid to offer what you have to give confidently. Also know that it’s OK to ask for help when you need it. To ask for help is to show humility and a willingness to learn, which is a strength and not a weakness. Respect others and authority, and operate with integrity. Use resources wisely, make the world a better place by putting beauty into the world in how you speak, act and create. Be a sister to every Girl Scout and every human you meet. Seek to truly see and understand others and want the best for them, and surround yourself with community who see and want the best for you, too.

What was your biggest takeaway from your time in Girl Scouts?

Girl Scouts definitely had an impact on me in terms of helping me develop leadership and people skills, as well as my teaching and training skills that serve me so well now. I learned a lot about confidence and goal setting, and the value of community, civic engagement and connectedness with others. Also, survival skills, from car maintenance and repair, to self-defense and fire building, have been so practical and given me confidence for facing everyday life. It was also a gift in encouraging me to explore the arts, like music and dance!

For more information about the Girl Scout Gold Award, visit GSHPA’s Gold Award webpage.

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 Furnace Hills: A history buff’s perfect outdoor adventure

Go back in time to 1800s Pennsylvania life with a visit to Camp Furnace Hills.

By Catherine Amoriello

It’s the final week of our camp property blog series! This week we’re traveling to Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s (GSHPA) Camp Furnace Hills.


Camp Furnace Hills is located in Lancaster County near Refreshing Mountain Retreat and Adventure Center and Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. The property offers a wide range of lodging options including houses, rustic cabins and a modern lodge. Between unique historical programming and the capacity to host groups ranging in size from 17-40 people, this small camp has a lot to offer. Read on to learn more!

Camp Furnace Hills is home to historic Foxfire House.

Arguably the camp’s biggest draw, Furnace Hills Tenant House, more commonly known as Foxfire House, is a restored 19th century Swiss-German stone bank house. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this unique site features a ten-plate stove, squirrel tail bake oven, spring house and four-square garden. The property represents the historic early settlement of Swiss immigrants in Lancaster, Lebanon and Berks counties.

Camp Furnace Hills takes visitors “back in time” with historical programming.

With a piece of history right on the property, of course Camp Furnace Hills provides unique historical programming for visitors! Led by the Foxfire Team volunteers, visitors can learn how to cook and bake food without modern day appliances; try their hand at scherenschnitte (paper cutting design), tin punching, quilting, weaving, and paper stars; make simple toys; and discover (and possibly wear!) 1800s Pennsylvania German clothing.

Is Camp Furnace Hills the outdoor experience 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 Valley, Camp 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.

Schuylkill County troop opens up communication for all at local park and elementary school

Girl Scouts use their Take Action Project to help individuals with disabilities in the Pine Grove community.

By Catherine Amoriello

At Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA), we are always encouraging girls to use their voices and speak up for themselves and others in their communities. But for some, certain ways to communicate can be challenging.

Girl Scout Troop 32840 introduces their first communication board at Pine Grove Township Recreation Park.

Girl Scout Troop 32840, based in Schuylkill County, decided to advocate for individuals who struggle to communicate through their Take Action Project: Communication Board. Their project resulted in two communication boards being installed at Pine Grove Township Recreation Park and Pine Grove Elementary School in early May. The communication boards display simple pictures and words to help non-verbal individuals communicate with others in a public setting. This includes people with disabilities, children who are shy, and young children who aren’t able to fully communicate yet.

The troop, comprised of 20 girls ranging from Daisies to Juniors, found inspiration in a girl from the Pine Grove School District who has Angelman syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes delays in development and problems with speech. And with many of the troop members having some form of special needs themselves, they understand what it’s like to struggle to effectively communicate with others.

“We wanted something that would help girls like themselves because we had a lot of issues at the beginning of the Girl Scout year communicating with adults and each other,” said Lindsay Strouphauer, one of the troop’s leaders.

The six-month long project required the girls to do research, problem-solve, and test out their idea using non-verbal communication. The girls raised all the money needed to fund their project through cookie season and fundraising proceeds, and they received support from a local sign-maker who helped them create the final sign.

A few troop members gather around their Take Action Project display.

“A lot of people’s minds are just blown because this is something that you see from Seniors,” Strouphauer said of her troop’s efforts.

Throughout the process, the girls learned about acceptance, how to be helpful to others, and the importance of showing patience. But maybe most importantly, the troop learned how good it feels to help someone.

“To see a project like this with how much uncertainty and anger there is in the world really gives us a lot of hope,” Strouphauer said. “These girls came up with a project to not only better people, but benefit people with disabilities and have acceptance for others.”

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.