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.

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.

5 ways to show your Girl Scout volunteer you appreciate them

By Catherine Amoriello

It’s Volunteer Appreciation Month which means it’s time to show the individuals who volunteer their time and energy to Girl Scouts how much we appreciate their support!

There are many ways to recognize a volunteer and tell them you care about them, but in case you’re struggling with ideas, we’ve rounded up our list of top five ways to show your Girl Scout volunteer you appreciate them. So read on, get inspired and then go out and thank your volunteer for all that they do!

1. Make a thank you video.

Use your digital skills to thank your Girl Scout volunteer with a unique, heart-felt video. You’ll get the opportunity to tell your volunteer directly how much you appreciate them and they’ll get to keep and share your virtual thank you wherever they go. If you have the resources, get creative and add in music, special effects or even additional video clips of others who you know appreciate the volunteer.

Girl Scouts working on computer.
Girls get techy to create a one of a kind virtual thank you.
2. Throw a party.

Round up a party-planning committee to throw your Girl Scout volunteer an appreciation bash! Get creative with decorations, prep some tasty snacks and curate a special playlist of all your volunteer’s favorite songs. For added excitement, make it a surprise party!

3. Purchase your volunteer some Girl Scout swag.

This is a great time to get your Girl Scout volunteer some upgraded swag as GSUSA is running a special promotion from April 15-25 where customers get 15% off orders of $75 or more*. Every time they use their new apparel, they’ll be reminded of how much they’re appreciated. Visit the GSUSA Online Store to pick out something special.

*Excludes earned awards and badges, Council’s Own badges and patches, gift certificates and customized uniforms.

Girl Scout Retro Legacy T-Shirt.
Pick out something cool from the GSUSA Online Store for your volunteer, like this Retro Legacy T-Shirt.
4. Make a special treat.

Arguably everyone’s favorite way to learn they’re appreciated, make your volunteer a tasty treat! If you know their favorite snack or dessert, whip it up for them to enjoy. If you’re unsure what to make, you probably can’t go wrong with this delicious Thin Mint Brownie recipe.

5. Write a letter.

Possibly one of the easiest ways to let someone know how you feel, take the time to write a thank-you letter to your volunteer. Share with them the impact they’ve made on you and why you value having them as part of your Girl Scout experience. For added appreciation, take the time to hand write the letter instead of typing it up.

Girl Scout hand writing card.
Buy or hand make a special card for your volunteer and let them know how much you appreciate them!

Whether you decide to celebrate your volunteer with an idea from our list or in your own unique way, don’t forget to nominate your volunteer for a Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) Volunteer Award! A long-standing tradition dating back to the beginning of Girl Scouts, Volunteer Awards acknowledge volunteers who are peer-nominated to receive honors for their outstanding dedication and service to Girl Scouts. Volunteers can be nominated for an award any time during the year by submitting a GSHPA Volunteer Award Nomination Form. All nominations are reviewed in February each year with nomination notices being distributed around April.

And remember, thank your Girl Scout volunteer not just in April, but every month of the year. It’s always a good time to show appreciation for the people who go above and beyond to serve the Girl Scout mission and help build girls of courage, confidence and character.

GSHPA Volunteers – thank you for all that you do!

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 announces Volunteer Award winners

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) has a very busy month ahead of itself. Between an extended Cookie Season (buy your cookies before April 24!) and some awesome Early Bird membership renewal promotions (we’re looking at you $10 GO! Dough for all returning girls who renew before April 30), GSHPA has a full docket. But this won’t keep the organization from taking time to recognize a month-long event that celebrates those who breathe life into Girl Scouts – Volunteer Appreciation Month.

Volunteer of Excellence Girl Scout Award
The Volunteer of Excellence Award recognizes volunteers who have contributed outstanding service to the Girl Scouts mission.
Appreciation Girl Scout Award
The Appreciation Award recognizes volunteers who have contributed exemplary service and have gone above and beyond to deliver the Girl Scouts mission.

There are many ways to say “thank you” to a volunteer making a difference, and one way Girl Scout volunteers can be thanked and recognized is through a nomination for a Volunteer Award. A long-standing tradition dating back to the beginning of Girl Scouts, Volunteer Awards acknowledge volunteers who are peer-nominated to receive honors for their outstanding dedication and service to Girl Scouts.

As part of its Volunteer Appreciation Month celebration, GSHPA will distribute Volunteer Awards to nominators throughout April to present to their nominees at a later date of their choosing. This year, 57 GSHPA volunteers were nominated and approved by a volunteer review committee to receive an award. Be sure to share your own note of congratulations to these volunteers for earning these awards!

“The opportunity to honor and thank our dedicated volunteers is so very important. These sister Girl Scouts have gone above and beyond to uphold and share the Girl Scouts’ mission, and they deserve recognition for the significant work they are doing for our girls and communities. On behalf of GSHPA and our membership, congratulations to all Volunteer Award recipients!” said Deb Bogdanski, GSHPA Chief Operating Officer.

Volunteers can be nominated for an award any time during the year by submitting a GSHPA Volunteer Award Nomination Form. All nominations are reviewed in February each year with nomination notices being distributed around April.

Juliette's Pearl Girl Scout Award
Juliette’s Pearl recognizes volunteers actively giving outstanding service to one or more Service Units or groups for an extended period of years.

Although April is designated as Volunteer Appreciation Month, we should remember volunteers deserve to be recognized and celebrated year-round. Appreciation is an ongoing everyday process for anyone, anywhere, anytime. People do not volunteer because they expect a reward – they see a job to be done, and they do it. So THANK YOU volunteers, for all that you do to make a difference not just in April, but all year long!

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 Volunteers – we thank YOU!

by Kristian Beverly

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month. Volunteers are the backbone of Girl Scouts. Through the support of parents, troop leaders and many other volunteers, Girl Scouts is able to build girls of courage, confidence and character. Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania thanks all volunteers, past and present, for their service.

The video below is dedicated to our volunteers who work so hard to uplift our girls. Thank you!

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania announces Adia Walker as new Chief of Staff

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania Chief of Staff Adia Walker
Adia Walker, GSHPA’s new Chief of Staff

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to announce Adia Walker as its new Chief of Staff.

Walker enters the role with more than two years’ experience as GSHPA’s former regional director.

“I am so excited to have Adia Walker step into the role of Chief of Staff at GSHPA. As Girl Scouts’ former regional director, she demonstrated great leadership ability. I know she will wholly embrace this new role and continue leading our organization to great places,” said Janet Donovan, GSHPA President and CEO.

As Chief of Staff, Walker will provide organizational support for the president and CEO of GSHPA and function as an intermediary between GSHPA’s executive team and stakeholders. She will also assist and communicate with executives in decision making, program management and initiative implementation. With her comprehensive knowledge of GSHPA’s overall functions, Walker will assist in implementing major goals and oversee strategic business initiatives.

“I’m really looking forward to learning a whole new aspect of the organization. I was embedded in the membership side of things, and that helps to motivate me to learn more about the organization and keep lifting GSHPA up to new successful heights,” Walker said of her recent appointment.

Walker applied for the position seeking a new challenge and opportunity for growth. Guided by her passion for Girl Scouting and her belief in its positive impact, Walker looks forward to her next chapter with Girl Scouts.

“I’m very much personally invested in the Girl Scout mission. I have an almost 11-year-old daughter who’s been in Girl Scouts since kindergarten. I’ve seen the amazing foundation Girl Scouts has laid for her and I know how important Girl Scouting can be for girls and their families which creates a ripple effect for the whole community,” Walker said.

Editor’s note: The Community Leadership Series Class of 2022 elected Walker as the Class Representative to the Leadership Harrisburg Area (LHA) Board of Directors in early May 2022. Her term will officially begin July 1, 2022.

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 PA welcomes new committee members to Finance and Audit, Volunteer Strategy committees

By Catherine Amoriello

In recognition of Volunteer Appreciation Month, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to celebrate Patricia ‘Trish’ Leib joining its Finance and Audit Committee and Amy Beamer Murray and GSHPA Board Member Gina Suydam joining its Volunteer Strategy Committee.

“We are very excited to be working with our dedicated board leadership and committee members to continue making a difference in our local communities by building girls of courage, confidence and character,” said Janet Donovan, GSHPA President and CEO.

Patricia Leib, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania Finance and Audit Committee Member
Patricia Leib, GSHPA Finance and Audit Committee Member

Leib, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., recently retired from a 44-year career in financial services with PNC Bank. She began her career at a community bank holding various positions until the bank was acquired by PNC Bank in 1988. She held several positions within PNC and spent the last 20 years in the Institutional Asset Management Group. She was a portfolio manager and relationship manager for charitable and non-profit organizations and corporate pension plans. In that role she was an advocate for clients providing solutions for the achievement of their financial goals. Leib currently serves on the congregation council of her church and is a board member of nonprofit cemetery. A lifelong resident of central Pennsylvania, she resides in Silver Spring Township.

Amy Beamer Murray, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania Volunteer Strategy Committee Member
Amy Beamer Murray, GSHPA Volunteer Strategy Committee Member

Murray, of Harrisburg, Pa., is chief operating officer and partner at Pavone Marketing Group, a Harrisburg-based advertising agency. Pavone was founded in 1992 and she was the company’s first employee. Over the years, she worked at Pavone in a variety of roles, including project management, accounting, account service, media planning and public relations. Murray serves the community in numerous ways: as a member of the board of Caitlin’s Smiles; as a seminar volunteer for Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY); as a classroom volunteer for Junior Achievement of South Central Pennsylvania; and as a guest speaker at numerous high schools, colleges and universities, and community groups. She has been named one of the Central Penn Business Journal’s Forty under 40, as one of the Top 50 Business Women in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and as Rising Star by the Elizabethtown College Business Alumni. She has also been named as one of the Top 25 Women of Influence in Central Pennsylvania.

Gina Suydam, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania Volunteer Strategy Committee Member
Gina Suydam, GSHPA Volunteer Strategy Committee Member

Suydam, of Tunkhannock, Pa., is the President/CEO of the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, where she works with a variety of businesses in rural northeast Pennsylvania.  Suydam serves as a board member for the Pennsylvania Association of Chamber Professionals, Northeast Sight Services and Wyoming County Community Alliance, participates with the Northern Tier Partnership for Regional Economic Performance assisting with economic development of a five-county region, and represents the county on the regional Economic Development Agency at the request of the Wyoming County Commissioners. She was named one of Northeast Pennsylvania’s Top 25 Women in Business in 2017 by the Northeast PA Business Journal. Currently, Suydam is collaborating with several other Wyoming County organizations on a Community Heart & Soul initiative, a humanities-based approach to community planning sponsored in part by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. She is also facilitating the sixth annual class of Leadership Wyoming, a regional leadership program which she implemented to develop a more complete awareness of Wyoming County’s industries among local professionals.

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.

How Girl Scout troops can help humanitarian crisis caused by Russia-Ukraine war

As the Russia-Ukraine war continues in Europe, Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) has shared opportunities for Girl Scouts to raise money in support of our sister Girl Guides and their volunteers and families who are being impacted by the war in Ukraine.

Here are some ways that girls can offer their support.

Additionally, below are resources for members and their families to help navigate discussions concerning the ongoing conflict.

Pennsylvania governor celebrates 110th birthday of Girl Scouts with GSHPA

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf receives Girl Scout Cookies from Janet Donovan, President and CEO of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s favorite Girl Scout Cookie is the Thin Mint. At right is Janet Donovan, President and CEO of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.

Representatives from Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) were welcomed to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s office on March 9 to mark a milestone in the Girl Scouts’ history: the 110th birthday celebration.

March 12 marks the day that Founder Juliette Gordon Lowe organized the first Girl Scout Troop in Savannah, Georgia. Lowe was ahead of her time as she helped organize enrichment programs, service projects and outdoor activities. Since the time of the first meeting with 18 girls present, Girl Scouts has grown to over 3.7 million members.

Janet Donovan, GSHPA President and CEO, was joined by Hershey-area Girl Scouts and sisters Alexis and Scarlett, a sixth-grade Cadette and a Daisy in first grade, respectively; and Raina, a third-grader and Brownie from Middletown.

GSHPA presented Gov. Wolf with his favorite Girl Scout Cookie, Thin Mints, as well as the newest Girl Scout Cookie, Adventurefuls (full transparency: the governor did pay for the cookies). Gov. Wolf also signed the GSHPA Happy Birthday poster and stood for various photos with the visiting Girl Scouts.

We thank the governor and his team for their hospitality this past week.

Below are some highlights from the visit.

Janet Donovan, President and CEO of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, selected as Female Veterans Day honoree

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is proud to announce its President and CEO and retired U.S. Navy Two Star Rear Adm. Janet R. Donovan has been selected as an honoree for the Pennsylvania Commission for Women’s sixth annual Female Veterans Day Ceremony.

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania President and CEO Janet Donovan.
Janet Donovan

As part of Women’s History Month in March, the Female Veterans Day Ceremony recognizes women in the commonwealth who have served their country through the military. Selected veterans will be honored for their bravery and service to the nation by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and first lady Frances Wolf at a ceremony and reception on March 31.

Donovan has completed numerous professional development and executive training courses in strategic planning, strategic communication and innovation, coalition-building, finance and accounting, cyber security, risk management and ethics.

As a retired U.S. Navy Two Star Rear Adm. and former Deputy Cmdr. in the Office of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the Navy, Donovan is a model candidate for this honor. Her broad professional background and history with the U.S. Navy spans more than 30 years. She has held many leadership positions throughout her naval career including, but not limited to, attorney, legal advisor, deputy commander and senior mentor. She also has more than 20 years of executive experience in strategy development, talent management and collaboration.

“I am excited and grateful to be selected as an honoree for the Female Veterans Day Ceremony. It has been a privilege to serve my country, and it will be an honor to stand alongside other exceptional female veterans who have also been selected for this recognition,” Donovan said.

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.