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!

Kristian Beverly is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in digital media for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at kbeverly@gshpa.org.

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.

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.

Girl Scout Mission Moment Recap – March

*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 March, our girls were busy making an impact by collecting donations for an animal shelter, giving back to veterans, leading a donation collection for a nursing home and so much more.

Junior Girl Scouts host pet supply drive for Bronze Award project

Junior Girl Scouts Leah and SkyLee from Troop 11570 in Dauphin County hosted a pet supply drive for their Bronze Award project. The supplies will be donated to the Perry County Animal Rescue. They also hosted a bake sale and used the proceeds to buy more supplies to donate.

Girl Scouts assist with church service

Girl Scouts Sophia, Lily and Kelsey from Troop 32817 in Luzerne County volunteered at Firwood United Methodist Church in Luzerne County. The girls participated in the service by reading, assisting with the offertory collection and extinguishing candles.

Girl Scouts in church.
Girl Scouts assist Rev. Craig Gommer with the Sunday service held at Firwood United Methodist Church.

Juliette rallies community to give back to nursing home residents

Juliette Junior Girl Scout Callie in Northumberland County packed 156 care packages for the residents of Mountain View, A Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, for her Bronze Award project. Callie chose this project to show the nursing home residents that their local community cares about them. After identifying resident needs, Callie reached out to local businesses, friends, family, her school and national businesses for donations needed for her collection.

Troop learns about money; has sweet outdoor adventure

Girl Scouts from Troop 20376 in York County visited Boscov’s for a lesson on money to earn a cookie badge. As part of the activity, the girls were tasked with finding three outfits they could get for $50 each.

Troop 20376 also teamed up with Girl Scouts from Troop 21195 for an adventure at Nixon County Park for the Maple Sugar Festival weekend. The girls had lots of fun at the event learning how syrup is made.

Troop faces snow to hold successful cookie booth

Girl Scouts from Troop 70070 in Lancaster County braved wintry weather to host their cookie booth. The snow couldn’t keep customers away as the girls sold 57 boxes of cookies.

Troop supports military troops with cookie donation event

Girl Scouts from Troop 52140 in Lackawanna County participated in a Girl Scout Cookie donation event. Customers at the event could buy boxes of cookies for themselves and then donate boxes of cookies to veterans at the Gino J. Merli Veterans’ Center. The troop is aiming to get more than 200 boxes donated this year. The girls were also able to meet and speak with veterans at the event.

Girl Scouts and veterans.
Girl Scouts from Lackawanna County give back to veterans at the Gino J. Merli Veterans’ Center.

Girl Scouts partner with Amazon for International Women’s Day talk

Girl Scouts Mari and Paige from Troop 51445 in Lackawanna County visited an Amazon site to present an International Women’s Day talk about the history of Girl Scouts and its impact on women.

Girl Scouts and Amazon.
Girl Scouts visit an Amazon site to share the impact of girl scouting for International Women’s Day.

Girl Scouts don cookie suits to draw customers to cookie booth

Girl Scouts from Troop 21077 in York County dressed up in cookie suits to advertise their products during their cookie booth sale.

Girl Scouts selling Girl Scout Cookies.
Girl Scouts display their Girl Scout pride at their cookie booth.

Girls learn about engineering design process through Academic Edge program

Girls in first and second grade in Dauphin County learned about and applied the engineering design process to help Mario design a new race track in honor of National Mario Day. The girls completed the same steps used by scientists, inventors and engineers. The girls completed the activity through a STEAM-focused Academic Edge program.

Academic Edge participants test their race track for a STEAM activity.

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.

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.

Girl Scouts get robotic, learn outdoor skills through GSHPA camp workshops

By Kristian Beverly

The sky is the limit for Girl Scout activities, and this week we’re highlighting STEAM Saturday robotics and Troop Adventure Day workshops that were held on Feb. 5 at two of our camp properties!

Earlier this month, girls participated in a Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) STEAM Saturday workshop focused on robotics at Camp Happy Valley in Adams County. The girls drew and decorated their own paper robot before sharing their creations with each other.

They then received a lesson about Botley the robot. Botley is a robot that’s perfect for learning about the basics of coding. Botley is controlled by a remote that sends instructions such as “go forward” or “turn.” After their lesson, the girls broke up into groups before being handed their own robot.

Teamwork and friendship allowed the girls to learn and have fun. Some groups created obstacle courses for Botley. Others had it spin! Much fun and education was had in whatever capacity the girls choose to do with Botley. When asked if they had fun, there was a resounding “YES!”

On the same day as the STEAM robotics workshop, Daisies, Brownies and Juniors participated in Troop Adventure Day at Camp Furnace Hills in Lancaster County, where the girls learned about different outdoor skills.

Doesn’t it look like a lot of fun? 

Kristian Beverly is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in digital media for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at kbeverly@gshpa.org.

Girl Scout Mission Moment Recap – January and February

By Catherine Amoriello

*All Mission Moment information is submitted by volunteers/members. Should you have any questions regarding a submission, please email camoriello@gshpa.org.

We love getting to see all of the great things our Girl Scouts are doing in their local communities through our Mission Moment submissions! In January and February, our girls were busy making an impact by making hats for children in need, addressing food insecurities in their local community, connecting with residents at senior living homes and so much more.

Cadettes recognize Higher Award recipients in library display

Cadette Girl Scouts from Troop 10265 in Cumberland County helped plan, design and set up a Girl Scout display at Fredricksen Library. The display highlighted recent Gold, Silver and Bronze Award recipients from Service Unit (SU) 157 in Cumberland County. The display included new and old uniforms from friends and family members of SU 157, pictures, borrowed awards, cookie boxes and plush cookie prizes. The display also included QR codes that led to information about Higher Awards and joining Girl Scouts.

Girl Scout apparel displayed in case.
Girl Scout memorabilia rests in a display case at Fredricksen Library.

Girl Scouts honor military members with wreaths

Girl Scouts from Troops 34671, 30301, 33206 and 30130 in Luzerne County honored deceased military members at the Hanover Green Cemetery by placing wreaths for National Wreaths Across America Day.

Girl Scouts holding wreaths.
Girl Scouts prepare to honor diseased military members by placing wreaths on their grave markers.

Girl Scouts make hats for children in need

Girl Scouts from Troop 40418 in Centre County held a virtual party with The Brave Beanie Project, a local organization that donates beanies to children across the country who are chronically ill or are disabled. The girls made six beanies that will go to children in need.

Girl Scout holding hat.
A Girl Scout displays the beanie she made for The Brave Beanie Project.

Juniors get history lesson from historical society, museum

Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 10645 in Cumberland County learned about early settlers in Pennsylvania through a presentation from the Cumberland County Historical Society. The girls also visited the Oakes Museum of Natural History at Messiah University to complete activities to earn their Math in Nature badges.

Girl Scouts dressed in early Pennsylvania settler clothing.
Girl Scouts immerse themselves into a history lesson and dress up as early Pennsylvania settlers.

Daisies, Brownies and Cadette join forces to help food bank

Daisy Girl Scouts from Troop 60070, Brownies from Troop 60071 and a Cadette from Troop 60073 in Lycoming County learned about needs versus wants at the Footprints of Montgomery food bank. The girls helped package 40 bags to be handed out to local residents in need and also contributed to the food bank’s diaper drive.

Girl Scouts at food bank.
Girl Scouts from troops 60070, 60071 and 60073 donate diapers to kick off their day at Footprints of Montgomery food bank.

Troop participates in record-breaking toy collection for children in need

Girl Scouts from Troop 71518 in Dauphin County volunteered at the Hershey Bears Teddy Bear Toss night to sort, count, bag and load trucks full of stuffed animals collected at the game in partnership with the Children’s Miracle Network. The girls and their troop leaders were part of the world record for collecting over 52,000 bears.

Girl Scouts with stuffed animals.
Two Girl Scouts nearly disappear in the pile of plush toys collected during the Teddy Bear Toss.

Girl Scouts make holiday cards for SpiriTrust Lutheran residents

Girl Scouts from Troop 81659 in York County made Valentine’s Day cards for residents at SpiriTrust Lutheran during a trip to Camp Happy Valley.

Valentine's Day cards.
Girl Scouts show their creativity and kindness through Valentine’s Day cards for SpiriTrust Lutheran residents.

Girl Scouts and Providence Place of Lancaster residents connect through song and camp memories

Girl Scouts from Troop 71348 and Juliettes from Service Unit 715 in Lancaster County visited Providence Place of Lancaster to help residents make Valentine’s crafts. During their visit, the girls and residents shared snacks, sang Girl Scout songs and exchanged stories and memories of camp.

Girl Scouts with Valentine's Day crafts.
Girl Scouts showcase the crafts they made with residents at Providence Place of Lancaster.

Girl Scouts learn healthy habits with Franklin & Marshall College sorority

Girl Scouts from Troop 71348 and Service Unit 715 in Lancaster County earned their Healthy Habits patch with the help of sorority Kappa Delta at Franklin & Marshall College. The sorority hosted a workshop for the girls to share information about eating healthy and staying active, as well as a Zumba session.

Girl Scouts with sorority.
Sorority sisters and Girl Scouts gather to explore healthy habits.

Junior hosts collection drives for Bronze Award project

Junior Girl Scout Ava Lebo from Troop 11570 in Dauphin County hosted a clothing and food drive for Bethesda Mission for her Bronze Award project. She also hosted a bake sale and used the proceeds to purchase more items needed by the homeless shelter.

Girl Scout Ava Lebo and Bethesda Mission volunteer Donald Koch load donated supplies for Koch to distribute to places in need.

Juniors, Seniors and Ambassadors participate in community service project to help nonprofit

Junior, Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts from troops 33206, 34671 and 30130 in Luzerne County volunteered at Parenting Autism United to assist with painting projects for the organization’s new office.

Girl Scouts get hands on at Parenting Autism United’s new office to help the organization complete painting projects.

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.