December 2021 Calendar

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

Financial Literacy Nights

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

Robotics at Camp Small Valley

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

STEM Career Exploration Badge Workshops

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

And so many more!

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

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

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

Collective Community – Adia

Adia Walker is a Regional Director at GSHPA.

Girl Scouts have many opportunities to serve their communities and learn to be stronger leaders. Our staff is no exception to that advice.

Adia Walker, one of GSHPA’s Regional Directors, is a part of Leadership Harrisburg Area this year and has taken some time to share in her words about her experience.

GSHPA: What gets you excited about your new group?

Adia: I really love connecting with these amazing leaders in the Harrisburg area who are passionate about serving their community. Collectively we have such diversity of experiences and insights that I know will help me grow professionally and personally. 

GSHPA: How did you get involved? 

Adia: I have heard about this Community Leadership Series for many years, and participated in other leadership programs in the area.  This year I was at a place in my career where it was a good fit for both me and my organization to join this group and continue growing my leadership skills.

GSHPA: What are the goals for you and this group? 

Adia: The mission of LHA’s Community Leadership Series is to teach servant leadership and effective community service through discussion, demonstration, and experiential practices. 

They stress that leadership is a journey, not a destination, and my goal is to learn as much as I can throughout this journey, while also giving back to those who are on the journey with me.

GSHPA: What can GHSPA learn from your experiences? 

Adia: We can learn more about how other organizations in the community give back as well as some ways we can work together to support each other while making the world a better place.

Adia (backrow, right) and her class at Leadership Harrisburg.

GSHPA: What are you looking forward to most about your work with this group? 

Adia: I am really looking forward to working on my team project – a dozen of us will be working directly with a dynamic local leader to help her transform her nonprofit organization from a personal passion to a high-functioning organization with governing documents and a board of directors.

GSHPA: What advice do you have for girls who want to get involved with their communities? 

Adia: Ask trusted adults and role models about organizations they recommend.  Do some independent research and focus on groups whose mission you feel a connection with.  Try new things and don’t let setbacks keep you down – you’ve got this! 

Gathering for the holidays!

As most of you are taking a much-needed break this holiday season, we decided to share a little bit of our “work holiday” time with staff at Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.

Last year, we were unable to gather in person because of COVID, this year we returned to our tradition and came together for a day of reflecting and fun.

We gathered together in early November at Camp Small Valley near Halifax in Dauphin County, and had a lot of fun. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect: a crisp, sunny, autumn day. We made sure to dress warmly and with appropriate footwear.

Some of us had never met in person, only on Zoom and online, so we made the best of this holiday gathering to get to know one another. After a little bit of business, we were working, we had lunch, played games, honored staff members and got to know everyone on a more in-person level.

We enjoyed getting to know each other better so we can serve you better! Please enjoy some photos from our day and share with us some fall traditions you do with your troops or family!

2021 Holiday Gift Guide

This season the GS Shop has some new and fun items for the girls in your life.

We are excited to be rereleasing our in-house website!  Check out our new QuickFlip Hoodies. From the playground to the park, kids lose their hoodies when they take them off and don’t know what to do with them. Using our patented Quikflip® conversion technology, every lightweight kids’ Hero Hoodie transforms into a functional backpack in a matter of seconds, so there is always an easy (and cool) way to carry it, regardless of the weather! The QuickFlip Hoodies also come in ADULT SIZES!!

There are sales going on, $5.95 shipping and tons of gift ideas for the people in your life.

The Black Friday Sale is a continuation of the current up to 50% off select items, plus further discounts on select items from the categories below:                                         

  • Up to 25% off Puzzles
  • Up to 25% off Sports & Family Games
  • Up to 25% off Arts & Crafts
  • Up to 25% off STEM Activity Kits                                                                                                                                                                                                                         =

Here are a few of our favorites gadgets, gear, and games and make sure to explore more choices at our online store!

Gifts Under $10

Gifts Under $25

Gifts Under $50

Gifts Under $100

What’s on your list? Let us know in the comments what items you have on your wish lists!

Shooting for the Stars Starts at Home

By Elizabeth Bodvin

Elizabeth Bodvin was awarded the title of Miss Pennsylvania High US 2021 in July.

Hi.  My name is Elizabeth Bodvin and I’m a Juliette Girl Scout in South Central, PA.  One thing that I have always taken from my Girl Scouts experiences is to always leave the world a better place than when you arrived.  This phrase ties in and fosters my love of community service and giving back to society. 

In 2016, I partnered with the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey, PA for my Bronze Award and filled their Toy Treasure Chest right before the holidays.  I worked with my school, my dance studio and some organizations my parents and grandparents were involved with to make this happen.  This endeavor did require me to work on my speaking skills and get over those “nervous jitters” when talking to larger groups.  The Ronald McDonald House was so thankful for my efforts I knew I wanted to help them more! 

In 2019, Elizabeth created “Glam Bags” for girls utilizing the Ronald McDonald house, helping them feel special.

The next big impact I had on the Ronald McDonald House Organization was in 2019, when I partnered again with the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey, PA and also Baltimore, MD for my Silver Award creating “Glam Bags” for pre-teen and teenage girls who are utilizing the Ronald McDonald House for either their treatment and/or a family member’s care. 

The Glam Bags contained makeup, hair products and nail care products, all placed in a cosmetic bag for the girl to help them feel special about themselves.  In doing so, I also educated the attendees at my function about Ehlers Danlos Syndrome which was a hereditary disorder that a pageant friend of mine suffers with on a daily basis.  The Glam Bags were so well received at both locations and I was told that a lot of times the older kids don’t have things to comfort them because many of the toy donations are for the younger children.  When I returned several months later to serve a meal at the Baltimore facility, they remembered me as the girl who brought the makeup bags.  It put a huge smile on my face knowing that I did make an impact.

I began participating in pageantry as well because of the community service opportunities and passion that each woman has around their personal platforms and helping others.  Not many people understand the amount of work someone competing in a pageant must do, it’s not all about being a pretty face.   I started my pageant journey as a princess with the Miss Maryland system.  A princess is mentored by one of the older girls and gets to go along with them to appearances, community service events and even cheer them on when they compete for the title of Miss Maryland or even Miss America! 

Elizabeth collected thousands of can tabs to help raise funds for her local Ronald McDonald House in 2020.

After I became too old to participate in the Princess and Pre-Teen programs at Miss Maryland, I found myself looking for a pageant system that had the same foundation of community service.  It was then that I found The National United States Scholarship Program which also supports the Ronald McDonald House by collecting soda pop tabs for them!!!  My first year with the National United States Pageant I was awarded the title of Miss Pennsylvania Junior High United States 2020.  I served an entire year representing the State of Pennsylvania and Junior High Students and when I competed at the National Pageant, I received a first runner up placement to the National Title of Miss Junior High United States. 

The motivation to serve continued and had me requesting an additional year to serve under the National United States Scholarship Program and in 2021 I was awarded the title of Miss Pennsylvania High United States 2021.  In July 2021, I competed for the title of Miss High School United States 2021 and I won the National Title.  Not only did I win the National Title and get to represent High School students all across the country but I also won Best Interview, the High School Overall Community Service award, the High School Academic Award and the President’s Gold Level Volunteer Service Award among others. 

Girl Scouts provides such a wonderful foundation for young women of all ages.  The encouragement that they provide to get involved in your communities, speak to others in your community, achieve academically and strive to be the best version of yourself has helped me reach the goals I have achieved for myself. 

What’s next?  I will continue serving as Miss High School United States until July 2022 when I will have the pleasure of crowning the next young woman to have this title.  After that, I’ll likely turn my focus on obtaining my Gold Award, applying for colleges and seeing what lies ahead in my future!  Always remember, you can shoot for the stars but it’s likely you are already among them!!! 

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

By Liz Bleacher

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Joe studying early on in her STEM life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PA Commission for Women spotlights STEM, Girl Scouts


The Pennsylvania Commission for Women hosted a National STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Day Event at the Pennsylvania State Museum on Nov. 8 to highlight women in various STEM careers and encourage girls to consider a future in STEM. The commission received 13 videos from women across the Commonwealth that showcased their careers in STEM.


The Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania partnered with the commission to bring girls to the museum to participate in STEM-related activities provided by the Pennsylvania State Library.


“The goal of this project is to allow girls and young women to explore STEM opportunities and spark their interest in pursuing a career in STEM,” said Commission for Women Executive Director Moriah Hathaway said in a news release. “We know that women are less likely to have careers in STEM, so we wanted to be a part of the solution by hosting this event.”


Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Wolf were also in attendance at the event and encouraged the girls to pursue their STEM interests.
“As one of the four pillars in Girl Scouting, STEM programs – girl-focused STEM programs — lead to critical thinkers, better grades and the foundation for a successful future. We are so proud to be part of that experience,” said Janet Donovan, President and CEO of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.


Enjoy the photos from this event.

Troop PA kicks off in Harrisburg

State Representative Karen Boback speaks at Troop PA event in Harrsiburg on Nov. 9.

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) joined Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania and Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania to kick off the Troop PA Girl Scout Caucus in Harrisburg on Nov. 9.

State Representative Karen Boback played host to the event, along with Girl Scout leadership representatives and the Governor’s office in an effort to share how female members of the General Assembly can support and join the Girl Scouts.

The event also held a ceremony, recognizing honorary members of the General Assembly to join Troop PA.

Moving forward, the Troop PA Girl Scout Caucus will be a bicameral caucus comprised of female Republican and Democrat members of the General Assembly who have served as Girls Scouts and/or support the Girl Scout Program.  The purpose of this caucus is to bring together legislators of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and reinforce and promote the Girl Scout Program.

Enjoy the photos taken at the event.

Celebrating STEM, one social post at a time

By Cathy Hirko

It’s exciting to learn about women in your community who love their careers and are happy to share a part of themselves with us.

With National STEM Day on Monday, we are celebrating the day by highlighting just those very women on our social media channels.

Look for a series of profiles of these women on our social media channels on Monday.

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania and the PA Chamber Foundation have partnered up to share some brief snippets of information from women who have successful and fulfilling careers in STEM in our state.

STEM is one of the four pillars of Girl Scouts, so anytime we can highlight and share the good work of women loving and learning in their STEM careers, it’s important for us to do so. You have to see it, to be it, good leaders say.

So, keep an eye out on GSHPA’s social media channels, in particular our Facebook pages and LinkedIn pages, on Monday. We’ve never done a campaign like this before and we are excited to be a part of it.

Starting at 8 a.m., we are going to be sharing posts at the top of every hour of some local career voices in STEM. Look for them and, please, share them on your social channels.

If there is a young girl in your life who is interested in a STEM career, we are happy to give this snapshot of what it’s like in the real world.

The women pictured above are among the women who will be sharing a little bit about their careers on Monday.

Look for these hashtag on all the posts: #PAWomeninSTEM.

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Cathy Hirko is the marketing and communications director for the Girl Scoucouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email: chirko@gshpa.org.

A Month of Gratitude

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

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

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

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

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