5 Million Trees in 5 Years

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania and Keystone 10 Million Tree Partnership share in protecting the environment.

Five million trees planted in the next five years.

It’s a bold nationwide initiative and one that the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is proud to support.

GSHPA is also honored to have a bold partner in this effort: Keystone 10 Million Tree Partnership, a program of Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

The Heart of Pa Council kicked off its local initiative in April by hosting its first tree-planting event at Camp Small Valley in northern Dauphin County. GSHPA Gold Award Girl Scout, Lauren Braught, led the charge.

Gold Award Girl Scout Laren Braught, left, assists a fellow Girl Scout in planting a tree at Camp Small Valley in Dauphin County.

Lauren’s Gold Award Project in the fall of 2020 involved planting 50 trees at Camp Small Valley. Topping that effort, she helped to plant 100 trees at the April event, which kicked off Girl Scouts USA Tree Promise. Lauren, a recent high school graduate from Cumberland County, provided instruction on tree planting to Girl Scout members and volunteers. Adults also joined in on the fun.

Gold Award Girl Scout Lauren Braught, from Cumberland County, helps plant trees at Camp Furnace Hills during an open house in Lancaster County in May.

“We were honored to have Lauren’s experience with Chesapeake Bay Foundation Student Leader program and dovetail that experience into our council’s Tree Promise kickoff,” said Lutricia Eberly, GSHPA Director of Outdoor and Program Experiences. “The power of that moment is that younger Girl Scouts are able to look up to Lauren, learn how to correctly plant trees, and be inspired for their own Gold Award project.”

A month later, Lauren was helping young Girl Scouts again as she assisted in planting dozens more trees at Camp Furnace Hill’s open house celebration on May 16.

Check out GSHPA’s event calendar for future opportunities to plant trees in your neighborhood.

What is the Tree Promise?

GSHPA Girl Scout preps a tree for planting during a open house at Camp Small Valley in Dauphin County.

Girl Scouts joined forces with the Elliott Wildlife Values Project and American Forests. What better person to ask to help plant, protect, and honor trees than the Girls Scouts? Members “use resources wisely” and “make the world a better place” every day by following the Girl Scout Law and Girl Scout Promise.

What is the Gold Award?

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable — proof that not only can she make a difference, but that she already has. Seniors and Ambassadors who earn the Gold Award tackle issues that are dear to them and drive lasting change in their communities and beyond.

28 New Girl Scout Badges for all Ages!

We are excited to introduce you to 28 new badges for Girl Scouts of all ages.

You can become a digital activist, make your own Cookie Business plan, and explore the natural world around you through math.  It is time to try something new.  Girl Scouts will have the opportunity to take new adventures with these 28 new badges in Math in Nature, Entrepreneurship, and Digital Leadership, along with new Global Action Awards.  No matter their passions, Girl Scouts will find a way to break new ground and share their experiences. 

See the new badges below with the dates we are offering badge days and as always take a look at the Badge Explorer to start planning.

The Brand New Badges

New for All Levels

All Girl Scouts in grades K-12 can now earn Digital Leadership and Cookie Business badges.

6 Digital Leadership Badges

Sponsored by Instagram

Girl Scouts of all ages who are looking to explore the power of being online and social media will find the Digital Leadership badges for them.  They will learn to be safe online and manage their screen time, create a social impact and become a digital activist, and connect with their communities, local and global.

Check out GSHPA’s Event list to sign up for our Virtual Badge Days focusing on Digital Leadership.

13 Cookie Business Badges

Daisies to Ambassadors will be challenged to think outside the cookie booth to become Cookie Goal Setters, Bosses, and Influencers.  Digital sales and marketing are just a part of all the new curriculum to help the girls learn how to make the most of their cookie season and the Digital Cookie platform.

2 Global Action Awards Badges

There are now two new major awards for all levels of Girl Scouts: World Thinking Day Award and Global Action Award.  Girl Scouts will be able to start their global impact with these awards, one for each level.

New for Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors

Girls Scouts in grades K-5 can now earn brand-new Math in Nature badges.

9 Math in Nature Badges

Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson

Girls are going to get outdoors and explore the world around them through nature and math all at once.  These new badges will help Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors discover the links of science and nature, including, the Fibonacci sequence, patterns, and so much more.

Getting Started Today!

Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA are ready for you to try these out we have Badge workshops scheduled for a selection of these new badges that you can sign up for virtually and in person

GSUSA has free self-guided activities available online through Girl Scouts at Home.

You can also access the Volunteer Toolkit, for a variety of programming, including troop meeting plans, tips for volunteers, and other resources.

Explore all of these amazing new badges online using the Awards and Badge Explorer.

2021 National Product Program Conference

Looking back and looking ahead

Earlier this summer, GSHPA hosted more than 400 Girl Scout professionals, virtually, from across the globe as they hosted the National Product Program Conference. The mission of the conference was to focus on learning, collaborating and networking to operationally build and grow consistent, sustainable programs in partnership with GSUSA and vendors. 

GSHPA President and CEO, Janet Donovan kicked off the conference with opening remarks. 

GSHPA staff also presented different sessions during the conference. Director of Product Program and Retail Jessica Delp led “Collaborating with All Departments During Cookie Season” as well as co-leading “How Marketing Helps the Cookie Program” with GSHPA Marketing and Communications Director, Cathy Hirko. Other sessions included Cookie Forecasting, Rewards Strategy and Guidance, Cookie Program 101 and more!  

“We were so excited and honored to be the virtual host council this year,” said Delp. “We already have plans in the works for next year’s conference – in person at the Sweetest Place on Earth, Hershey, PA.” 

Vendors and sponsors led informative and interactive virtual expo booths. Not only were the national Girl Scout Cookie bakers present, but other groups such as Disney on Broadway and The Shoe That Grows; a leather sandal invented by inventor Kenton Lee that can adjust its size, allowing children in third-world countries to grow up without having to go barefoot.  

In addition to these items GSHPA wanted to ensure that our attendees felt connected while meeting virtually. We planned a variety of activities such as a Cookies & Cocktails event and S’more Fun Networking!  

In 2022, GSHPA will again host this national conference, but this time in person at the Hershey Lodge! GSHPA is honored to partner with GSUSA, the national Girl Scout organization, to offer this amazing opportunity two years in a row.  

SPOTLIGHT- Alumni, Always a Sister

Chloe Wegrzynowicz: Girl Scouts creates spark in building confidence in self and in helping others 

Taking the time to learn about some of GSHPA’s Alumni is probably, hands-down, one of the most favorite aspects of my work here in the marketing and communications department for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.  

The day-to-day duties are also rewarding, but when I get a chance to learn more and be inspired by our members, especially those Girl Scouts that have taken action to the next level, it’s the perfect reboot that I need.  

The story of Harrisburg native and recent high school graduate, Chloe Wegrzynowicz, is one such reboot. Here’s her story in the making. She speaks loudly for those who might need a voice. We are lucky to have her in our ranks.  

GSHPA: Tell us a little about yourself: Where did you grow up? Siblings? Your current schooling and your career track. 

CHLOE: I am from Central Pennsylvania, but was born in Harrisburg, PA.  I have a younger sister and three half-brothers. I am especially close with my sister Haley. I am currently enrolled at Emory University (Go Eagles!). I will hopefully be double majoring in Spanish (BA) and Philosophy, Politics, and Law (BA PPL) or Spanish (BA) and Anthropology & Biology (BS). After Emory, I aspire to continue my education and become an immigration lawyer or oncologist. I’m a little unsure yet but I definitely want to use my life to learn more and help others.  

GSHPA: What are some of your favorite memories regarding your Girl Scout experience? 

CHLOE: Being a Girl Scout was one of my favorite things from high school. I made some of my best friends through Girl Scouts. Every fall we would go to a festival, which was especially memorable. My favorite memories are the ones in which I was with my sister scouts, which is just about all of my memories. But, I wouldn’t be where I am without their support and encouragement. 

GSHPA: Has your experiences in Girl Scouting affected your leadership style/experience now. If so, can you explain? 

CHLOE: Yes. Before I joined Girl Scouts I was incredibly shy. However, when I went to my first meeting everyone was kind and open to hearing what I had to say. Throughout the years, I learned to have a voice, which has helped me to be a better leader. Now, I have the confidence to be who I am, as I am, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.  

GSHPA: Tell us a bit about your Gold Award project. 

CHLOE: I wanted to address bullying, and more specifically peer pressure as it relates to self-validity amongst high school students. There was a great deal of bullying, peer pressure, depression, and party-culture at my high school, and I wanted to do something to address that. Confidence was something I also really struggled with, especially as a Type One Diabetic I often felt very self-conscious. After two of my peers passed away, I decided to dedicate my project to helping students “Believe” in themselves.  I painted a mural inspired by one of my favorite quotes by Dante Alighieri, “From a Little Spark May Burst a Flame”.  I also filmed a documentary addressing how exactly those issues affected students from three different schools/backgrounds. Lastly, I gave a speech in front of my student body about my experiences with confidence and the path to learning to not only love others but to love yourself, too.  

GSHPA: What are some ways you can recommend participating in the Girl Scouts as a volunteer? 

CHLOE: There are so many ways to volunteer with Girl Scouts. I think the best way to volunteer is to go through the Girl Scouts webpage.  Troops need help with field trips, cookie sales, and sometimes guest speakers for badges.  It’s also nice to give advice to younger Girl Scouts who are looking to work for a Gold Award.  

GSHPA: If you have any particular hobbies that you would like to share, we would love to hear about them! 

CHLOE: 

  • I love creative writing. It is one of my favorite things to do.  
  • I also exercise every day; I love lifting and yoga especially. My goal is to learn Titthibasana  
  • I play the piano for fun and am currently teaching myself the Ukulele.  

Written by Cathy Hirko

Happy National Siblings Day!

In honor of National Siblings Day we asked GSHPA staff to share their stories! Be sure to share your favorite sibling stories in the comments!  

What is a favorite memory with you and your sibling(s)?  

“The time we spent growing up together with my older sibs were the best days.  Laughing in the summer in our backyard pool with friends, or wintertime ice skating at a local pond were times I’ll never forget and experiences we love to talk about when we get together.” – Tom Long (Major Gifts Officer)  

Becoming an aunt with my older brother and watching my youngest brother become a US Marine. – Caitlyn Ridge (Fund Development Data Specialist)  

“Going to Lake Wallenpaupack every summer!” – Rebecca Spencer (Volunteer Support Coordinator)  

“Going to Hilton Head Island every summer!” –  Erika Carpin (Troop/Group Banking Specialist)  

“Easter basket hunts at our grandparents!” – Adia Walker (Regional Director)  

“I have three younger brothers. All four of us were born within five years. We are lucky to all be friends and enjoy each other’s company. Camping is our favorite way to all get together!” – Jenny Boyles (Member Registration Specialist)  

“My brother was younger and we fought all the time.  However, once I got my license, my parents didn’t allow me to drive with friends.  I decided my brother was good for something and he could be my sidekick.  He was willing to tolerate it because he got to go places.  One favorite memory was going to the drive in.  We’d take all the cushions off the couch, throw them in the back of the truck, and go watch the latest release.”  – Lutricia Eberly (Director of Outdoor and Program Experiences)  

“My favorite memory with my siblings was waking each other up really early on Christmas morning to go see what Santa brought. I’ll always be thankful for those magical memories!” – Kelly Simonelli (Marketing Communications Coordinator)  

“I am the baby of nine siblings. I have five brothers and three sisters. Christmas morning was the best. We all waited at the top the stairs until Mom and Dad gave the OK for us to come down and open presents. It was mad dash to our basement/rec room. Fun chaos.” – Cathy Hirko (Director of Marketing and Communications)  

“Going on adventures.  My brother and I used to run around the neighborhood and make up different adventures we were on.  One time we went to the coal mines and got lost.  That one was scary.  But other than that one, our adventures were always fun.” – Angela Jefferies (Director of Human Resources)  

“It’s rare as we get older that we can get together often, especially being spread out across PA. Last year I got married and was able to hang out with them for a full weekend! We caught up on what was going on in our lives, enjoyed the quaintness of my at-home wedding reception, laughed, and played games! We’ve become closer as adults which has been a huge help as I navigate my way through “adulting”! We were even able to plan a week-long trip to Eagle’s Mere, a lake we visited every summer as kids, for this summer.” – Olivia Novak (Volunteer Support Coordinator)  

“Five of my siblings are from my father to a previous marriage so they are much older than me and didn’t live in the same country as I did. My fondest memory with them was always having them come to visit when I was little and staying for several weeks with us because they traveled from so far away. My other sister from my mom was put up for adoption before I was born. My mom spoke of her to me from a very young age so the best memory I have was meeting her mother’s day weekend the year before my mother passed away. She was pregnant with her first child and it was so special to not only celebrate her first mother’s day with her, but to be able to see the joy on my mom’s face to have both her girls with her on mother’s day when we didn’t know how many more she would get to celebrate.” – Sheri Kline (Volunteer Support Coordinator)  

“The memory of how I used to despise my sister. When I was younger we were mortal enemies. We are 13 months apart so she would steal my clothes, my friends, and hobbies. After growing up and realizing that she is my built in best friend, we can finish each other thoughts, know what we are thinking with a look, and laugh at the silliest things for hours. I could not live without her and we talk every day. I still can’t believe I used to despise her but I guess that is a part of growing up! I wish I would have realized she was my built in best friend sooner for then we could have had so many more memories.” – Jordan Lowe (Member Services Specialist)  

“My brother and I are both big sports fans, so we always make time to go to Hershey Bears games and Harrisburg Senators games!” – Brynne Hall (Volunteer Support Coordinator)  

“My sister is 5 years younger than me. We fought all the time as kids. For my birthday when I was about 8 years old I got a sparkling pink magic wand. It was long, made of plastic, and had a star at the top. It even lit up! One day our mom heard me yelling outside and looked out the window to find my toddler sister beating me up with my magic wand. I am sure I said something to instigate it. Our mom ran outside to stop it, but also laughed about my little sister’s behavior, especially the image of the sparkling wand being used as a weapon. My sister and I share this story ALL THE TIME. We are so close now that we are older and love to reminisce about the ‘good old days’.” –  Jess Delp (Director of Product Program and Retail) 

“My brother is the reason I only ever wanted 1 child; we fought a lot as kids.  We get a long much better now as adults.  But one of my favorite memories was almost every Christmas morning, we would get up early and just talk.  For hours.  It was like a flag of truce was up for that time and we talked about everything and anything.  I really liked that.” – Diane Bateman (Member Services Specialist)  

“Over the last year we have stayed very connected through Facetime and have done weekly ‘Masterminds’ conversations where we talk about books we’re reading, listen to philosophy podcasts and then discuss the topics, and just have deep-thinking conversations. It’s been a really fun way to stay connected with my siblings even though we live all over the country. It will be a very special memory for life! – Caroline Jaegar (Product Program Specialist)  

When we were between the ages of 4 and 10 – my three sisters and I waiting for my Dad to return from work to to take us every Friday for our weekend movie treats, and sitting all together watching a movie, munching on the treats and enjoying each other’s company!  – Raksha Authar  (Executive Assistant to the President and CEO)

We can’t wait to hear your favorite sibling stories!


Post by the GSHPA Staff

Girl Spotlight – Nya Rosa

Staying Calm in a Crisis

Throughout the years Girl Scouts have strived to be “Go-Getters, Risk Takers, Innovators and Leaders” and today we are highlighting a GSHPA Girl Scout who went above and beyond for her family. On August 18 2020 a local Cadette Girl Scout from GSHPA’s Troop 14000, Nya Rosa, jumped into a lifesaving situation. Nya showed extraordinary courage in the face of challenging circumstances.  

Nya Rosa, 2021

In Nya’s own words, here is what she remembers from the morning of August 18, 2020. 

“It was a beautiful Tuesday morning and my dad had gotten home from the hospital after two weeks of intensive care. My mom asked me to make pancakes for the four of us; my brother was still sleeping when I started the pancakes. I was on my third round of pancakes when I heard the bang. Boom. Boom. The loud fall was clearly heard over the sound of the T.V. My mom quickly paused the show she was watching and went straight to my dad’s bathroom door. I did not even realize he was awake yet until I heard the bang. My mom sounded very worried, which sparked some fears within me. “Mike, are you okay?” she sounded a bit panicked. No response. “Is he okay?” I asked, flipping the last pancake on the pan. “Nya get me a folding chair.” She told me. I turned off the stove and went to the dining room where the chair was. I brought her the chair through my side of the bathroom. Our bathrooms connect with the shower, not knowing if he was on the door or not, I brought it through. I asked again “Is he okay?” I don’t remember if I got a response, but I went back to the kitchen. I started making another pancake in case his sugar was low and he needed carbs. “Nya call 911!” I heard my mom call mid flip. I turned off the stove again and I asked her where her phone was. I quickly found it and I was able to call. I gave the operator what he needed, trying not to freak out. My heart was going a mile a minute not knowing if my dad was doing all right. I asked my mom for the information that I did not know, like the township and stuff that she would know being in the same room as him. She was able to step out of the room, but by the time she got the phone, I had already answered all the questions that he needed. The ambulance was coming for him and all I needed now was to tell my grandma to come stay with me and my brother. By this stage, my brother was awake and he was packing the stuff my dad needed to stay just in case he was staying overnight. The ambulance came and he was able to get to the hospital.” 

Here is what Nya’s mom and Troop Leader, Isabel, had to say about Nya’s actions. 

“Nya called 911 and got an ambulance to come for my husband. She gave them the necessary information to get help for her father. To call 911 is very scary. As adults, we become nervous in these situations and Nya was no exception. She did not let her nerves get the best of her and she gave clear information that was needed. Only a week earlier my husband was in ICU, so this fall was a huge deal and very scary for everyone. After the dispatcher hung up, Nya and my son helped gather my husband’s things to be taken to the emergency room. Nya called my mother to inform her what had happened to her father. During this ordeal Nya was cooking. She showed maturity and clear headedness to turn off the stove before walking away. She was courageous in making that call without hesitation.” 

Once GSUSA learned of this situation Nya received a letter of recognition from Judith Batty, GSUSA’s Interim Chief Executive Officer.  An excerpt from this letter states: “Your incredible confidence, sound judgement, and willingness to take decisive action in the midst of an emergency deserves recognition and serves as a shining example for Girl Scouts everywhere.”  

In addition to this recognition from GSUSA, GSHPA will be presenting Nya with a Certificate of Merit for her quick thinking and calm actions during her father’s medical emergency.  

Great Job Nya!


Post by Debbie

Alumni Spotlight – Amy Beamer

Girl Scouting Sows the Seeds of Community

I met Amy Beamer Murray through a former colleague, Michele Engle, when I was busy with publishing work at the Central Penn Business Journal. Michele told me that I was going to love Amy immediately. She was not wrong.  

Amy is smart, kind and has a dry sense of humor that is perfect for late fall afternoon porch conversations. During her daylight hours, Amy is the COO at Pavone Marketing Group, which has its headquarters in Harrisburg and other offices in Philadelphia and Chicago.  

Amy is a prolific letter writer and I just recently found out that she was Girl Scout.  

I just joined the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania organization in early November. Part of what I want to do with the GSHPA is find former Girl Scouts to share their stories about leadership and the impact Girl Scouts had on their lives. 

Here is snapshot of my friend, Amy Beamer Murray.  

Tell us a little about yourself: Where did you grow up? Your schooling and how you ended up in the career that you have now with Pavone? 

I grew up in a small town – Newport, Pennsylvania – which is about 30 miles northwest of Harrisburg. From there, I went to Elizabethtown College and graduated with a degree in business administration. When I graduated in 1990, the country was in the midst of a recession, and, while I’d love to be able to say I had some grand plan, the truth is I just wanted to find a job that was interesting to me, get some experience and figure it out from there. I started working at an advertising agency in Harrisburg, working in traffic and project management. When the creative team left the agency to start their own shop, I followed about a year later as their first employee. And the rest is history. I’ve been with Pavone Marketing Group for 29 years and am currently its chief operating officer, working with almost 100 marketing and communications professionals. 

What are some of your favorite memories regarding your Girl Scout experience? 

My mom got me involved in Girl Scouting as a way for me to be more social. Even at an early age, I was an introvert who was in my own head and who enjoyed the company of adults . . . “that Amy, she’s eight going on 80,” they’d say.  

So, my mom thought it would be good for me to interact more with kids my own age. As Brownies, we did all kinds of arts and crafts, learned patriotic songs, and made sit-upons and foil packets for our day camp excursions.  

We were lucky to have the picturesque Little Buffalo State Park in our backyard – and we did hiking, picnicking and swimming activities there. As Girl Scouts, we did more of the same, but also started volunteering in different ways around the community and we went to overnight camp.  

I remember winter camp especially well because I took a transistor radio with me so we could hear if the US hockey team beat the Russians in the 1980 Winter Olympics (that seems very quaint now, doesn’t it?). Cadettes and Senior involvement meant more opportunities to earn badges and volunteer. And there were cookie sales at each level!  

Has your experiences in Girl Scouting affected your leadership style/experience now? If so, can you explain? 

I think those experiences sowed the seeds of community service at an early age. When you grow up in a small town, many of the town’s activities center around the school, churches and community groups. In Newport, the adults were involved in the Lions’ Club, Jaycees, and the volunteer fire company and EMS service, and youth sports. And, for the kids, church youth groups and Girl and Boy Scouts were our vehicles for volunteerism. There was a spirit of teamwork and camaraderie within our troops, while instilling the responsibility to give back to the community by identifying needs (like picking up litter, packing food for distribution, visiting nursing home residents and organizing activities for younger kids) and doing something about it. In my role as COO, that’s pretty much the ball game – identifying needs and doing something about it! 

You are a prolific letter writer (which I love about you) How did this habit start and why is it important for you. Also, share, on average, how many letters that you write a month? 

My mom was always sending greeting cards to sick people and shut-ins in our church and I picked up the knack early on. Once I got to college, writing letters was the only way other than telephone calls to stay in touch with my friends (remember the days of no email or internet?), and so that’s when it really took off. And now I do it because I know people really appreciate it because it’s so uncommon in this day and age. It really has become something between and ministry and an obsession for me. On average, I probably send between 20 and 40 cards per week for a myriad of reasons – birthdays, thank you, thinking of you, get well, sympathy. And I send cards for all holidays and occasions. I’ve become a connoisseur of all different card companies and have even befriended a few of their owners and artists along the way. I simply can’t imagine not doing it! 

A few years ago, you started sharing publicly how practicing mindfulness has helped you mentally and physically. Can you explain that and elaborate a little? 

About a decade ago, I was dealing with some serious issues with chronic fatigue syndrome, and I started looking at alternative therapies as a way to manage it. Having a mindfulness practice has certainly helped. I think a lot of times people think mindfulness means doing meditation, but that’s only a small part of it. And a form of meditation can be as simple as taking a walk with a friend or your dog. Our pets are wonderful teachers when it comes to mindfulness, in that being mindful really means being present in the current moment – not thinking about the past with regret or the future with anticipation or dread. I do devotions and prayer each morning and try to take time throughout the day to move/walk and do some intentional breathing. I also seek out periods of silence (no tech/media) which is also helpful in calming the mind. And an opportunity for gardening is just around the corner! I believe that having a mindfulness practice has been essential to my ability to deal with the pandemic and the anxiety and uncertainty that it has brought to so many folks. 

What are some ways you can recommend participating in the Girl Scouts as a volunteer? 

Being a leader has to be a wonderful and fulfilling way to get involved. Working as a part-time chaperone is also a way to be involved. And as Girl Scouts are pursuing a variety of badges, I would imagine there are opportunities to volunteer as a subject matter expert as well. In the past, I volunteered as part of a partnership with Junior Achievement to work with Girl Scouts who were pursuing their business badge. 

I know you are big fan of cats. Tell us about your kitties. Their names and personalities. 

My husband, Paul, and I are parents to six cats. I always joke that three of them were unplanned, but we couldn’t say no when a kitty was in need. We have two pair of tiger brother/sister siblings and they’re our oldest and youngest cats. So, those four are Jasper (who is Paul’s boy) and Frances, age 12, and Ollie (who is a total train wreck) and Maude, age three. Sandwiched in between them are our two black cats, Otis Jones, age 6, who is totally a momma’s boy, and Fiona, age 10, who is our deaf girl and sleeps 23 hours a day. Truth be told, Frances and Maude are probably the best archetypal house cats that we have. The others are all just a little nuts. 


Post by Cathy Hirko

Happy International Women’s Day!

Did you know that March is Women’s History Month? What an amazing chance to celebrate the amazing things women have done! Not only is March a great month to learn about incredible women, but we also have a chance to celebrate as Girl Scouts during Girl Scout Week (March 7-13), including celebrating Girl Scouts’ Birthday on March 12. Perhaps the icing on the cake of Girl Scout Week is that International Women’s Day also falls during that time, on March 8.  

International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the achievements of women. The very first celebration of International Women’s Day was held in 1911, over 100 years ago! In the early 1900’s there was a lot of movement by women to overcome the gender oppression and inequality they were experiencing. In 1908, women really started to become more vocal in coming together to champion change on issues such as better pay and voting rights. The rise of women challenging inequalities was seen across the globe, and spurred the idea of celebrating an International Women’s Day.  

As a young girl I loved watching the Disney movie Mary Poppins, and in that movie there is a scene where Mrs. Banks comes home in a whirlwind singing about fighting for women’s rights. I used to feel so empowered by her excitement and passion for the cause, even before I truly understood what the suffragettes stood for. Now as an adult, I understand the inequalities that women faced, and still do face. I felt similar energy and passion when taking women studies courses in college, when reading about incredible women in history and in the news today, and I feel that energy every day as a Girl Scout celebrating the achievements of girls. 

The theme of International Women’s Day for 2021 is “Choose to Challenge”. The International Women’s Day website says “A challenged world is an alert world. From challenge comes change. So let’s all #ChooseToChallenge.” What a great reminder of where this day started and where we are now. Without our ancestors choosing to challenge voting rights and pay gaps and so many other inequalities, we as women would not have nearly as many opportunities as we do now. Their challenge to society has given us so much, but there is so much more we as women can do for the generations to come. I have a few favorite women that I would recommend learning about, who are continuing the work that generations before us started, and are creating new history every day.  

Greta Thunberg 

Greta is an 18 year old who has been making big waves. She has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize three times…three times! She has caught the attention of many leaders worldwide by speaking up about climate and environmental concerns. Gaining the attention of important world leaders may seem daunting, and I’d have to agree. But what is incredible about Greta is that her platform started with convincing friends and family to make changes to lessen their carbon footprint. From there she organized strikes at school and gave speeches to rally more people. Greta also has Asperger’s Syndrome, and I think she is the perfect example to show girls that they are capable of achieving great things, no matter what type of hurdles they may think they have to overcome.  

Emma Gonzalez 

Emma survived the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. It would have been so easy for her to never go back to public school, to let the fear of her experience run her life. Instead, she managed to funnel the anger, sadness, fear and confusion that she and her classmates felt into not just a single speech, but into creating an entire movement advocating for gun control. She, along with a few classmates, co-founded the group Never Again to continue the fight for gun control. Regardless of political views, I think it is incredible that Emma took such a horrifying experience and channeled the energy she felt from that experience into doing something to help other students and schools.  

Sonita Alizadeh 

Sonita is currently 24 years old, but her incredible work to help girls started when she was only 16. Living in Afghanistan, she very narrowly avoided being sold into marriage, by her own family. Unfortunately, her situation is not unusual in many countries. In protest of this practice, Sonita wrote a rap song called “Brides For Sale” and shared it on YouTube. Her video went viral, and has since created international buzz, and prompted girls to speak out about their own similar experiences. Sonita continues to spread awareness about forced child marriage, and while it is an upsetting topic to learn about, her work empowering other girls to fight for an end to this practice is so inspiring! 

Malala Yousafzai 

In 2012, Malala was very seriously injured in an assassination attempt. The Taliban had taken control of her small home town in Pakistan, and banned many things, such as owning a TV, playing music, and girls attending school. There were extremely harsh punishments if anyone defied them. Malala loved going to school, and started to speak up against the ban keeping girls from going to school, and even found ways to continue going to school. On her way home from school one day, a gunman boarded her school bus and shot her in the head. Instead of this experience silencing Malala, she worked closely with her dad to create the Malala Fund, and has worked to fight for every girl’s right to go to school ever since. More than 130 million girls worldwide are not in school today, and I love this quote from Malala, stating that she tells her story “not because it is unique, but because it is the story of many girls”.  

Danielle Boyer 

19 year old Danielle found her passion in designing circuits and animatronics. When she realized that STEAM education isn’t available to everyone, she founded STEAM Connection, an organization to provide affordable and accessible STEAM materials to underserved students. Her robot, EKGAR (Every Kid Gets a Robot) has since been given to 4,000 kids at no cost! Danielle says of her passion, “I want girls to know they can find their superpowers, pursue what they love and help others.” 

Anna Lumsargis- York County GSHPA Girl Scout 

Anna worked with the York History Center to update their archives on past women’s history in York County as well as address the role of women in York County play in the present in all aspects of leadership, cultural awareness, and service. The York History Center identified that they needed help providing updated information and accessibility to the information, so she created a website focused on highlighting the women of York County in history, and created a documentary-style video highlighting current influential women in York County. 

Influential Women in York County 

Website

York Daily Record Article 

These girls are incredibly inspiring, and I encourage you to read more about the work that each of them are doing to help girls and women across the world. I think it is so important to celebrate their achievements on International Women’s Day, but also to celebrate that we as girls and women are capable of so much. Even the smallest action starting at home can turn into worldwide change, as many of the girl’s above demonstrate! Happy International Women’s Day, don’t ever lose sight of the incredible things women can do! 


Post by Colleen

News: GSHPA Volunteer Conference

GSHPA is getting excited about our upcoming virtual volunteer conference happening February 20th from 9am-12pm. The conference will feature inspiring speakers, breakout sessions with opportunities to expand personal development and Girl Scout expertise, as well as networking opportunities! 

Breakout sessions will explore how to plan a Journey in a day/weekend, outdoor programming, how to run a virtual meeting, how to keep girls engaged virtually, being a part of challenging conversations, as well as Girl Scout Traditions and Ceremonies.  

You can register through www.gshpa.org or hereMake sure to register by January 30th! An email with the breakout session registration will be sent to all participants at a later date. Each participant will receive a goodie bag in the mail with conference materials, resources and access to the recorded sessions. 

News: Girl Scouts collaborate with GrubHub for cookie delivery during COVID-19 pandemic

Girl Scouts knows it’s a challenging time for usual cookie selling techniques so we are getting creative! This year the Girl Scouts have announced a new collaboration with Grubhub. And, online ordering will be available nationwide beginning on Feb. 1 for people who don’t know a Girl Scout to order cookies and have them delivered directly to their home. Read more about the collaboration here.