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!

Stay tuned next week for our next feature in our camp property blog series where we’ll explore Camp Archbald in Susquehanna County!

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!

Mission Moment Recap – April

Girl Scouts in Dauphin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Monroe, Perry and York counties give back to the community and wrap up Cookie Season.

*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 April, our girls were busy making an impact by donating items to animal shelters, addressing period poverty, learning ways to reduce trash waste and so much more.

Girl Scouts work with state police to capture Cookie Thief

Girl Scouts from Troop 10970 in Perry County helped the Pennsylvania State Police interrogate, apprehend and hand-cuff the Cookie Thief! The girls participated in the investigation to earn their Detective Girl Scout Badges. They learned about DNA, finger printing, finger-print lifting, investigation techniques and more.

Daisy Girl Scouts provide supplies for animals seeking “furever” homes

Daisy Girl Scouts from Troop 11339 in Dauphin County collected donations for the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area. After delivering the donations, humane society staff gave the girls a tour of the shelter.

Girl Scouts use cookie booths to help meet troop goal

Girl Scouts from Troop 51005 in Monroe County hosted several cookie booths to raise money for a trip to NYC in June. The girls’ determination was evident as they braved snow, rain and wind to keep their booths open!

Older Girl Scouts get creative with unique cookie booth theme

Girl Scouts from Troop 20443 in York County got innovative with their cookie booth to attract customers. Believing they lack the “cute factor” of younger Girl Scouts, the older girls created a theme and used inflatables to make their booth stand out to customers. Their efforts proved successful as many customers were drawn in by their creativity.

Senior Girl Scouts address period poverty with successful donation drive

Senior Girl Scouts from Troops 10235 and 10238 in Dauphin County held a supply drive and made period product packs to address period poverty. The Take Action Project resulted in more than 7,000 individual items being donated to the Healthy Steps Diaper Bank which sponsors the program.

Girls gather to make Earth Day crafts in York

Girl Scouts participating in the Extended Community Outreach Program in York County spent one of their weekly meetings making an Earth Day craft. The girls also did some coloring, played a few rounds of bingo and welcomed new girls who were attending the program for the first time.

Girl Scouts “MacGyver” cookie lift to deliver to second-floor resident

Girl Scouts from Troop 70070 in Lancaster County made a special Girl Scout Cookie delivery to a second-floor resident so they wouldn’t have to come down the stairs.

Girl Scouts below window selling cookies.
Girls sell out of cookies with help of Lancaster pet store

Girl Scouts from Troop 70070 in Lancaster County had a successful last cookie booth at Finnegan Farms in Lancaster. Finnegan Farms’ owner even dressed up as a dog to help the girls attract more customers. By the end of the day the girls were sold out of cookies.

Girl Scouts selling cookies at Finnegan Farms in Lancaster, PA.
Troop studies litter patterns to help reduce waste in community

Girl Scouts from Troop 50866 in Lackawanna County participated in a community clean up and litter study with Valley Community Library and the Sierra Club. The girls helped collect more than three bags of trash, two and a half bags of recyclables and multiple large items from a local park. The girls counted litter to study what is being dropped in the community where they live to learn how to reduce waste and educate the community.

Girl Scouts picking up trash and litter.
Daisies learn how to give back with funds earned from Cookie Season

Daisy Girl Scouts from Troop 10729 in Dauphin County decided to use some of their Cookie Season proceeds to give back to Chambers Hill United Methodist Church’s food pantry. The girls decided how much of their cookie proceeds to use and went shopping for items using the church’s needs list, such as cereal, pasta and sauces.

Girl Scouts shopping.
Brownies and Juniors grant animal shelter “wishes” with money raised during Cookie Season

Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 10286 in Dauphin County used some of their proceeds from Cookie Season to give back to the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area. The girls shopped for items on the organization’s wish list such as cat food, litter, treats, hay and toys. The troop enjoyed getting to decide how to use their funds for good.

Girl Scouts shopping.

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.

A look back: Our 2022 Girl Scout Cookie Season

By Catherine Amoriello

Girls, volunteers and parents/caregivers of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) – WE DID IT! We made it through yet another successful Girl Scout Cookie Season. And not only did our girls persevere through challenges thrown their way, but they increased their total number of packages sold from last year!

In March, GSHPA asked girls to share their cookie booth adventures with us on social media and girls delivered! What better way to end the sweetest time of the year than through a recap of all the amazing cookie booths our girls led this season?

Cadette Troop 20322

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Juliette SU 715

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 10645

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 10734

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 11410

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 11411

Troop 20030

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 20393

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 21229

Troop 22125

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 32105

Troop 32109

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 32725

Troop 32727

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 33013

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 33203

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 50603

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 50829

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 51005

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 51441

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 52144

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 52286

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 52299

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 60041

Troop 60413

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 70110

Troop 70430

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 70479

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 71348

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 80065

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 80088

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 80338

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troops 32525 and 33203

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troops 40377, 40374 and 40375

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troops 70417 and 70050

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

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.

HRG’s Erin Letavic shows the value in being a STEM problem solver

A civil engineering senior project manager in Dauphin County shares her journey in STEM.

By Catherine Amoriello

Erin Letavic, Civil Engineering Senior Project Manager at Herbert, Rowland & Grubic Inc. (HRG)
Erin Letavic, Civil Engineering Senior Project Manager at Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG)

STEM – we see this word everywhere nowadays, and for good reason. Nearly everything we use is a result of one or all of the components of STEM – science, technology, engineering and math. We can thank a STEM professional for the bridges we drive over, the apps we tap on our phones and even the food we eat every day. Its prevalence in our society is a leading factor for why STEM is one of the four pillars of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE).

With so many opportunities to learn and foster an interest in STEM fields, it may be surprising to learn that women and girls are underrepresented across all levels of the STEM pipeline. But Erin Letavic, a former Girl Scout and a Civil Engineering Senior Project Manager at Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG) based in Harrisburg, proves girls and women can and should have a seat at the table in STEM fields.

Letavic has been with HRG for 15 years and offers experience in engineering and consulting, focusing on municipal services, grant funding solutions and stormwater permitting. Her position as project manager has provided her the opportunity to lead a team and share the importance of her team’s work with the community.

Erin Letavic planting trees.
Letavic participates in a tree planting activity.

“A lot of these projects take multiple years to come to fruition. It takes some fortitude to keep things on track,” Letavic said. “You end up doing a lot of storytelling. I enjoy building the team and also conveying the reason behind the improvement and benefit to the local community.”

With a role that’s very client-focused, Letavic also spends a lot of time working with others to develop solutions for water-related problems.

“I tend to be more focused on strategy. I talk with clients about typical water issues that they have, or partners they have that have those issues and they want to help. I help them develop strategies to work through those issues and fundraise for solutions to help solve the problems,” Letavic said.

Letavic is a natural problem solver who has always had a desire to understand how things work. As someone who grew up having to do many tasks manually, such as hand-drawing maps for projects, but now having the luxury of digital tools to accomplish those same tasks faster, Letavic feels she brings a different perspective to problem solving. Through her assistance with LandscapeU, a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship at Penn State University, Letavic has identified a lack of initiative to problem solve which she credits to most of society having answers at their fingertips through phones and computers.

“I’ve noticed with these students, and I’d bet it happens with Girl Scouts as well, in society we’ve been accustomed to just looking the answer up,” Letavic said. “The majority of STEM problems are not straight forward. You might know math, you might know the chemistry, but when we’re trying to solve really complex STEM problems, rarely is there one right answer. I think we can be most successful doing a small project, or even solving climate change, by coming up with an answer and being ready to defend it.”

Brownie Girl Scout.
Letavic as a Brownie Girl Scout.

Letavic believes learning through STEM and developing STEM skills is important for girls because it will teach them how to problem solve independently, a skill that will prove valuable to girls interested in a future STEM career. For girls leaning toward an engineering career path, Letavic advises to be practical and remember that every level of engineering work is important in the big picture.

“There’s a lot of jobs in STEM and I think a lot of us get stuck in the advanced areas,” Letavic said. “We still need people interested in computer programming and AutoCAD work. If I had a wish, [it would be] more engineering students would come out wanting to do more traditional engineering work.”

Girl Scouts provides endless opportunities for girls to get involved in STEM. From coding robots to exploring math in nature to learning forensic science elements, there’s a hands-on activity for all girls. Visit the GSHPA Events webpage to explore all STEM and STEAM events.

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.

Donate Girl Scout Cookies to Operation Gratitude and make a military member’s day

By Catherine Amoriello

Operation Gratitude President and CEO General James Johnson
Retired Maj. Gen. of the U.S. Air Force James Johnson, Operation Gratitude President and CEO

As Cookie Season nears its end, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) would like to remind all you cookie lovers that not only are you able to buy cookies to enjoy yourself, but you have the unique opportunity to buy cookies to give back to others through GSHPA’s Gift of Caring donation program in partnership with Operation Gratitude.

Operation Gratitude is a nonprofit that provides care packages to deployed troops, recruit graduates, veterans, military families, first responders and health care heroes. By donating to Operation Gratitude, Americans are able to express their appreciation to all who serve and protect our nation.

Operation Gratitude anticipates sending out 30,000 care packages by the end of May. Through donations received through GSHPA’s Gift of Caring program, each package will include two boxes of tasty Girl Scout Cookies along with other donated goods such as snacks, hygiene products, handmade items and a paracord bracelet. Retired Maj. Gen. of the U.S. Air Force James Johnson, Operation Gratitude President and CEO, said the cookies provide a special taste of home for package recipients.

“When people talk about this feel of home – Girl Scout Cookies are definitely the type of thing that transmits that. I think we all have an experience with Girl Scout Cookies,” Johnson said.

GSHPA has partnered with Operation Gratitude for its Gift of Caring program for the past two years. The partnership was born of GSHPA’s own connection to the military through Janet Donovan, GSHPA President and CEO, who served as a U.S. Navy Two Star Rear Adm. and holds more than 30 years of military experience. Between Donovan’s military history and Operation Gratitude’s mission to provide quality products that bring joy to its recipients, it was the perfect blend of common interests.

In 2021, GSHPA donated 46,000 boxes of cookies to Operation Gratitude. This year, the organization has a goal of donating 50,000 boxes of cookies. In an effort to reach this goal and spread awareness for the Gift of Caring program, Jess Delp, GSHPA Director of Product Program and Retail; Nancy Levy, Operation Gratitude Director of Donor Relations; and Johnson have all agreed to get a Girl Scout Cookie pie in the face if GSHPA hits its target for donations!

“Normally this wouldn’t be my thing. I’m actually excited that this may generate donations. I think it will be fun for the Girl Scouts,” Johnson said at the prospect of being pied in the face.

The idea for the cookie pie in the face incentive came from none other than a group of Girl Scouts during the Operation Gratitude phonathon event. They decided one lucky Girl Scout will have the pieing honors, selected through a random drawing of all girls who participated in the Cookie Program this year.

As of April 11, more than 32,000 boxes of cookies have been donated to the Gift of Caring program. With less than one week of Cookie Season left, GSHPA encourages customers to use the Girl Scout Cookie Finder to donate cookies online through a troop near them. For those who need help donating through the Cookie Finder, check out the slideshow below to see how you can donate in just five simple steps! You can also reach out to the GSHPA Member Services team at 800-692-7816 or at MemberServices@gshpa.org for assistance.

Donate today and help GSHPA meet its donation goal before Cookie Season ends!

How to Donate Girl Scout Cookies to Operation Gratitude in 5 Easy Steps

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.