December 2021 Calendar

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

Financial Literacy Nights

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

Robotics at Camp Small Valley

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

STEM Career Exploration Badge Workshops

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

And so many more!

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

Don’t forget to take a look at our January events coming up too! We have a full schedule in January, including cookie badges, Troop Adventure opportunities and more. Check it out on our  council calendar to find the program that is right for you. 

If there are older girls that want to be involved in the activities we are hosting- please reach out to Dana Taylor at dtaylor@gshpa.org and we can connect you to ways you can volunteer!

Women in STEAM: Dr. Joe Hill-Kittle, NASA

By Liz Bleacher

Today we are talking with Dr. Joanne (Joe) Hill-Kittle, Deputy Director Engineering and Technology Directorate at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Dr. Joe and I have been communicating back and forth for a while now for GSHPA events, she has joined us to talk engineering and space a few times and we thought it would be fun to get a little more in-depth about what inspired her to get into STEM.

GSHPA: First and most important questions, when did you first become interested in STEM? Bonus points if you were in Girl Scouts. Was there a moment where you knew you were going to go into STEM?

Dr. Joe: I have a clear memory of sitting on the gate to the farmers field across from my house with my best friend at the age of 7 stating I wanted to be the first woman on the moon. I remember being worried that by the time I was old enough lots of people would be at the moon. Now I hope to play a part (however small) of putting the first women and first person of colour on the moon. I knew this dream would mean I would have to study hard in STEM. I was a Brownie and a Girl Guide (kind of a UK equivalents to Girl Scouts) for many years and learnt a lot about leadership and perseverance which helped me on my path.

GSHPA: With your early start with STEM and dreams of the moon, what is your favorite memory of STEM at school?

Dr. Joe: It’s hard to say as I loved all the classes that were STEM. I was good at Maths, so I always enjoyed those classes and projects. In one class we were devising an experiment to measure the acceleration of a rocket and then launching the rocket to test it which was really cool.

Dr. Joe studying early on in her STEM life.

GSHPA: What is your current career and how do you use your interests on a day-to-day basis?

Dr. Joe: I trained on the edge of Physics and Engineering, building and designing instruments for new missions. This got me started in the Science area and just recently I move to help lead the Engineering organization. My job now is to help decide what technologies are needed to answer science questions of the future, like are we alone and to help understand our own planet. All of this is fascinating, looking for answers to questions.

Dr. Joe Hill-Kittle at the launch site (Cape Canaveral) for the Magnetic Multiscale Mission (MMS)

GSHPA: Working with rockets, and new technology is pretty exciting for us to hear about. What gets you excited about what you do?

Dr. Joe: Who doesn’t like launching rockets, trying to save the planet and learning about the whole universe? I love all of it. We get to design missions that will help us understand climate change and provide early disaster warnings for fires and hurricanes, missions that will help us understand the very beginnings of the universe and search for other Earth’s outside of our Solar System, build instruments that will look for life on planets in our solar system and help us understand our Sun.

GSHPA: What is your favorite thing about your current job and what do you find the most challenging?

Dr. Joe: My favourite thing is thinking about what we can do in the future and how we get there. The biggest challenge is bringing change to a big organization. It can be very slow and frustrating but if you have a team around you to rally each other on, it can also be very rewarding when you start to see the results of your efforts.

Dr. Joe standing in front of the James Webb Space Telescope at Goddard, which will launch in December of this year.

GSHPA: Girls are facing challenges and successes every day in their STEM journeys. What advice would you give to girls interested in a career in STEM?

Dr. Joe: Study hard, look for opportunities like internships to get some experience so you can figure out what you like and don’t like and what interests you.

GSHPA: What can we do to have more girls/women in science like you?

Dr. Joe: Dream big! Encourage each other. Believe in yourselves. I was fortunate to have mentors encouraging me along the way. Look for opportunities and encourage girls and women to apply.

GSHPA: For girls who are now starting in STEM, what skills will help them in their journeys?

Dr. Joe: There are so many opportunities for everyone at NASA, from turning wrenches, writing software to model the Earth, building instruments. One of the common skills that is important, and you will get from Girl Scouts is team leadership and building teams. Understanding how to listen to everyone’s inputs before making a decision. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room but you do have to be smart enough and open enough to listen and value everyone’s ideas to get the best solutions

GSHPA: How does your work at NASA and in the community, help encourage more diversity in STEM fields?

Dr. Joe: I hope by sharing my story people will see their own opportunity. I also spend time advocating for diverse applicant pools for opportunities and look for leadership opportunities for minorities to get the experience needed to move into more senior positions.

GSHPA: Would you say that the environment has changed since you started in STEM? What would be different for girls now?

Dr. Joe: There are already more women in STEM than when I started and that’s great. There is also recognition that barriers do exist, and we need to break them down. We are not done yet but at least there is awareness of the challenges so we can start to address them.

GSHPA: What message do you have for girls and women in STEM?

Dr. Joe: Don’t hold back, you can do more than you think!

GSHPA: Thank you Dr. Joe we look forward to watching the launch of the the James Webb Space Telescope this December and thinking about all the things we steps we can take to do fun and exciting things in the STEM world.

A Month of Gratitude

Happy November Girl Scouts! This month is a good time to reflect and remember everything we have to be grateful for. Gratitude is another word we can use, which means a readiness to show appreciation for something, and to return kindness. Since November is a month full of giving thanks and being reminded of everything and everyone we have, we have a special gratitude challenge for all of our Girl Scouts!

During hard times it can be easy to start feeling overwhelmed. Negative feelings can make it difficult see all of the positives in our life. Practicing gratitude can help us to remember the good things that we have, even when time are hard. Being grateful is a choice, and gratitude can help us to have a happier and kinder attitude.

As we go through November, try to check off everything on this Gratitude Challenge. There are many ways to practice gratitude, and we can do them all year long! One easy way to practice gratitude is a gratitude journal. Every day, you can write a list of three to ten things that you are grateful for. Another way to practice gratitude is by writing a letter of thanks to someone. One of the harder ways to practice gratitude could even be to take a challenge to go 21 days without complaining…do you think you could complete that challenge?

Remembering to be grateful for things that we usually take for granted is also a very important part of practicing gratitude. Things like having food to eat, or a bed to sleep in are things that we usually every day, but not everyone does. Remembering that we have the ability to go to school to learn, or that we get to be a part of a Girl Scout troop are things that we may not think of as particularly special all the time, but not everyone gets to have those experiences the way we do. Even things like having drinkable water, a running bathroom, pets, and toys to play with are all things that we often take for granted.

Now is the time to remember and take the time to be grateful for everything we have. Let us know what is on your gratitude list in the comments, and have fun with our November Gratitude Challenge!

What a Yummy Adventure!

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, its members, family and friends attended a number of Open House celebrations in September that highlighted Girl Scouts’ newest member of the Cookie family: Adventurefuls!

The brownie and salted-caramel Girl Scout Cookie was the star of the show for parties that we held in York, Scranton and Hershey. Attendees were able to sample the Cookie and try Cookie-inspired recipes.

Take a look at some of the highlights from the parties:

Didn’t get a chance to attend? We have another party coming up in Gettysburg on Nov. 7. Hope to see you there!

Taking in 100 Years of Girl Scouts in Northeastern PA

By Cathy Hirko

The second-oldest operating Girl Scout camp in the world is right here in the regional footprint for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. And our camp has had a lot to celebrate recently.

Camp Archbald, like GSHPA’s other camps, re-opened this year as Pennsylvania started easing its way out of COVID and the regulations surrounding outdoor, public activities. While providing a safe environment, girls and their families were once again able to enjoy what the Girl Scout outdoor experience had to offer.

In September, Camp Archbald marked a major milestone by celebrating its 100 year anniversary.

According to the Supporters of Camp Archbald (SOCA) website, the camp was founded in 1920 by the Scranton Pocono Girl Scout Council.  The site noted that the Scranton council initially started in 1918 at Lake Coxton, but the location was not right for a permanent home. In 1920, Mrs. Thomas Archbald, the chairwoman of a committee tasked to find land,  visited the Ely Lake site in Susquehanna Township and eventually made it the permanent home of the council’s first residential camp. Named after Mrs. Archbald, it’s the second-oldest operating Girl Scout Camp in the world.

Fun fact also from SOCA: The first camp ran eight weeks of resident camp, with approximately 76 girls attending each week. The cost? Seven dollars a week.

COVID delay

Camp supporters initially had planned to host the 100 year anniversary in September 2020, but a global pandemic forced the anniversary celebration to be held a year later on Sept. 18, 2021.

Camp attendees dating back to the 1940s attended the anniversary ceremony and celebration. In addition to tours and a full day of activities, organizers showed camp history memorabilia and led an opening ceremony.

The video below, highlights the September celebration.

To learn more about GSHPA camps and activities, please visit our website.

Have a great memory to share about Camp Archbald? Share in the comments or email Cathy Hirko at chirko@gshpa.org.

Cathy Hirko is the director of Marketing and Communications at GSHPA.

Sharing What They’ve Earned

Every fall Girl Scouts here in Central PA have the opportunity to start building on their entrepreneurial, communication and teamwork skills. The Fall Fundraiser Program, which includes nuts, candy, and magazines, provides girls with bonding fun that also generates important funds to support troop activities throughout the year. 

We checked in with Troop 52287 in Mount Pocono to see what they have been working toward and some of their favorite parts of participating with Fall Fundraiser Program.  Troop leader, Alexandra Mepham, shared that her troop made up of Daisies and Brownies worked hard to help pay for fun experiences like renting out a movie theater, snow tubing and maple syrup tour. The girls also decided that they wanted to use their money to help others, including local animals and those with medical challenges. 

Here is what the girls have to say about their experiences.

Cara Turk said her favorite part was getting orders ready for her friends and seeing the customers’ excited faces. She was happy to donate to animals and have some money for art supplies and a yummy pizza party.

Brianna Granberg loves the fact that we used our fundraiser money to help animals because of her love for animals.

Elliette Wilcox loved taking orders from friends and family. And she enjoyed helping the animals and getting to do fun things with her friends like snow tubing and learning about syrup.

Olivia Opris loved delivering to people including one of her mom’s coworkers with brain cancer. The treats made her happy and she is now cancer free and looking forward to more goodies.

What fun and amazing things have you done with your Girl Scouts?

October GSHPA Programs

GSHPA has a full calendar for you this month!  We have two amazing programs for girls and volunteers highlighted in this post and you can visit our online calendar for more programs offered all month.

Troop Adventure Days

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania is proud to offer not one, but two Troop Adventure Days for Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors! Hosted on two of our beautiful camp properties, Camp Small Valley in Dauphin County and Camp Happy Valley in Adams County.

Girl Scouts learn about the world around them and the connection between nature and STEM in the outdoors.

October’s Troop Adventure Days will feature a variety of fun outdoor activities: Girl Scouts will have the opportunity to learn about the science behind trees and forests on a STEM nature hike, create nature-themed wind chimes at an outdoor crafts station, practice their skills at the archery range, and much more! Visit our Event Calendar to register.

Troops have the opportunity to stay the night at camp the evening before and or after the TAD event through the property reservation.  Camp Small Valley and Camp Happy Valley both have a wonderful variety of rental options.  If you are interested please contact GSHPA Member Services at memberservice@gshpa.org.

New GS Year- New GS Badge

This fall GSHPA Program Team is going to hosting programs that allow girls to experience the NEW Digital Leadership badge sponsored by Instagram. The badge allows girls to explore what digital leadership is, how to become one, and safety first thinking skills for the internet. Girls will be part of challenges that practice being online in a safe, positive way that focuses on wellbeing and time spent.

Girl Scouts take the lead on Digital Leadership Badges online.

Every day people around the world are using the internet and technology to complete simple to complex things. The list is always growing of new ways for each girl. Our team built games and brand new activities to explore technology components that girls will be using. Many of our Girl Souts are already tech savvy and this badge will help them focus their activity and learn about their digital footprint and being a leader online.

This October we start with Daisy, Brownie, Juniors, and Cadettes. Each level meeting a different evening session during the month. Visit our Event Calendar to register.

So Much More

We have many more programs in October that range from outdoor adventures to STEAM with the Program Team.  Please take a look at our council calendar to find the program that is right for you. 

If there are older girls that want to be involved in the activities we are hosting- please reach out to Dana Taylor at dtaylor@gshpa.org and we can connect you to ways you can volunteer!

Crafting a Home for Small Fairy Visitors

By Colleen Sypien, GSHPA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My supply list.

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

Have fun creating your design!

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

A walking-path has taken shape.

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

It’s fun to see it come together.

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

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

A Fortnite at the Farm in Felton, York County

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

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

Photos: Planting Trees for a Promise

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

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

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

Click on the photo to view larger.