The Perfect Girl Scout Experience, Staff Stories.

I like to say I have had the perfect Girl Scout experience. My mom signed me up to join a troop as soon as I started Kindergarten, and Girl Scouts has been in my life ever since. I am a lifelong Girl Scout who has tried pretty much everything Girl Scouts has to offer. I earned my Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards, helped run a troop my senior year of high school, served as a camp counselor, and am now interning with Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania as a Product and Retail intern. Even with all the ups and downs in life, I can confidently say Girl Scouts has always been my constant. Girl Scouts has truly come full circle for me and I have loved every minute of it. 

My troop in elementary school quickly became my closest friends. I found girls that I instantly clicked with and we almost immediately became friends. When I moved from California to Washington in middle school, I felt lost. I didn’t know who I was going to be friends with or what I was going to do; but Girl Scouts saved me again. I found a new troop and new friends. I learned that new things don’t always have to be scary if there are people who are there to support you. Girl Scouts has never failed to support me. 

I truly don’t think I would be the confident, intelligent, and compassionate leader I am today without the foundations Girl Scouts gave me. I learned confidence through empowerment seminars and observing the leadership of strong women above me. I learned how to balance my internal need for academic success with the necessity of breaks and flexibility. I learned leadership skills through the numerous opportunities Girl Scouts provided. Whether that be serving as a troop leader or a camp counselor, I learned the importance of leading with kindness and understanding. Girl Scouts also taught me how to be compassionate, even when it is hard to. 

I am so beyond grateful for everything Girl Scouts has done for me, which is why I was ecstatic to join the team at Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. I selfishly wasn’t ready to lose the support system Girl Scouts had given me. Even still I continue to learn and grow because of the organization as a whole. Girl Scouts truly never ends; you will learn things you always use, and they will always be there for you. That is true loyalty, and precisely what it means to be a Girl Scout.


Written by: Samantha Griffin, GSHPA Product Program Intern, 2021

SPOTLIGHT: Wellness Wednesday

Welcome to our newest spotlight, Wellness Wednesdays! Each month we will be posting a health and wellness tip to help you be your best self! To start out this new series, we’re going to talk about our mental health, and how fitting, May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

Mental Health Awareness Month and is devoted to recognizing the importance of mental health! In 1949 Mental Health Awareness Week was created! Throughout the years the awareness turned from being just a week to being a full month for hospitals and health-based institutions to raise awareness of the importance of our mental health and end the stigma around mental health needs.   

As the years progress, and as we have experienced a global pandemic and a year of unprecedented changes, we are continuing to recognize how important mental health awareness is for not just adults, but all ages, all genders, and how each person’s mental health varies greatly.  

How do we recognize Mental Health as Girl Scouts?  

There are a number of badges that girls can earn in which they focus on mental health with a main theme of overall wellness, but also with a specific mental health requirement:   

My Best Self – Brownie Try-It 

Staying Fit – Junior Badge 

Science of Happiness – Cadette Badge 

Women’s Health – Senior Badge 

If you’re like me, you are probably looking for additional ways to take care of your mental health.  There are so many resources out there for people to choose from.  The GSHPA Staff has been talking about the best ways that they care for their mental health.  One of our favorites has been a mid-day meditation session.  We followed along to this session and this one as well.  Another suggestion has been crafting!  There are so many craft kits and subscriptions services available to find a new crafting hobby you love.  Don’t be afraid to try different things until you find something that brings you joy!   

A favorite self-care method in my family is kayaking.  We spend our Sunday afternoons in our kayaks exploring new waterways or floating on old favorites.  It’s a great way to combine our mental health, the calm that comes from being in the water, and exercise to really have a great full body and spirit workout.   

Will you share your favorite mental health tips with us?  We can all benefit from trying new ways of relaxing and recentering to ensure our bodies, and our minds, stay healthy for a long time.  


Post by Erica Hildabridle

PA’s State Parks

As we gear up for a summer of camping and getting outdoors, I’m excited to share about some of our State Parks within our council footprint for Girl Scouts to check out this summer! Did you know that the parks of America go by many different names? The most common is usually a state or national park, but names can also include national forests, wildlife areas, recreation trails, natural areas, as well as many other names. Yosemite became the first national park in 1872, and not too long after Pennsylvania designated its first state park Valley Forge in 1893. Today Pennsylvania has 121 state parks, many of which can be found right inside our council. My list below is only a few of our state parks, but you can check out a full list here to plan your summer outdoors! 

Codorus State Park 

Located in the southern part of our council, the land of Codorus was originally used for industry, and had the first coal burning furnace west of the Susquehanna River. One of the founders of the area, George Ross, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and even introduced George Washington and Betsy Ross! With over 3,500 acres, visitors can experience fishing, bird watching, swimming, hiking, camping and more.  

Pine Grove Furnace State Park 

Also in the southern part of our council is Pine Grove Furnace State Park. Originally used as an Iron Works during the Civil War and beyond, John Birkinbine became the lead engineer for the company in 1878. Dismayed by the dwindling forests in Pennsylvania, Birkinbine eventually went on to be a founding member of the PA Forestry Association after the Iron Works was shut down. In 1913 the land was sold to the state and was turned into the state park we know today. Some of the original buildings from the Iron Works are still standing today and can be visited. This park is the halfway point of the Appalachian trail, so you can also hike the trail and visit the Appalachian Trail Museum! 

Rothrock State Forest 

Named after Dr. Joseph Trimble Rothrock, also known as the “father of forestry” in Pennsylvania, this state forest boasts more than 96,000 acres! This is a great place to visit to see a forest “at work”. Protecting rare plant communities, timber harvests and gypsy moth containment are all examples of this.  

Frances Slocum State Park 

Located in the northern part of our council near Scranton, this park is named for Frances Slocum, a young girl from Wilkes-Barre who was kidnapped by a group of Delaware Indians in 1778. The Native Americans traveled north and west, and Frances traveled with them, eventually assimilating to life with the tribe, and even refusing to return home with her brothers when they finally found her 59 years later. This park features the Patrick J. Solano Environmental Education Center, which features ecology programming and an exhibit on the indigenous people of the area.  

Badges You Can Earn 

2021 Global Action Award 

  • This award has several steps to it, however visiting a state park to learn about how climate change has impacted the trees, wildlife, marine life, and other parts of the environment is one of the steps! 

Daisy Trail Adventure  

  • Girls will plan and go on a hiking adventure for this badge, and a short trail for beginners at a state park would be a great introduction to hiking and our state parks.  

Brownie Hiker  

Brownie Outdoor Art Creator 

Brownie Trail Adventure 

Junior Animal Habitats 

Junior Camper  

Junior Trail Adventure 

Junior Outdoor Art Explorer 

Cadette Trailblazing 

Cadette Primitive Camping 

Cadette Eco Trekker 

Cadette Trail Adventure 

Senior Adventurer 

Senior Trail Adventure 

Senior Paddling 

Ambassador Trail Adventure 

Ambassador Survival Camper 

Ambassador Ultimate Recreation Challenge 

This list contains only 4 of the many state parks available to us in Pennsylvania. This summer I challenge you to check out a few of our awesome state parks, and get outside and moving. You can even take your state park trip and use it as an experience toward earning one of the badges I mentioned above. Let us know in the comments which state park is your favorite to visit! 


Written by Colleen Sypien

STEAM Snack: Exploring the Science of Sound

I am going to apologize right now for this one, I am very sorry for the noise, it will likely drive you nuts but, it is totally worth it, I promise!  If there is one thing all kids like to do it is to make noise, it could be banging pots and pans, tapping their feet, whistling, or talking continually.  This activity plays right into that love of noise, and by saying that we have just made it a science experiment to demonstrate how sound works.  See there was a point to the noise.  

Why Music?  

Music helps kids in all areas of development and skills, intellectual, social/emotional, motor, language, and literacy.  Music helps our brains and bodies work together, it can help us relax and focus.  Music for children can help them learn sounds and meanings of words.  

What if I’m not an expert? 

During this activity the girls will learn that when things vibrate, they make sound, vibrations are what let us hear each other speak, and if you are interested in the additional demo below, they will be able to see that sound can also make things vibrate.  

Some Vocabulary 

  • Vibrating: moving back and forth really fast 
  • Sound wave: a vibration that travels through the air.  
  • Sound: a noise we can hear 
  • Hearing: Using our ears to listen to sound  
  • Eardrum: Part of the inside of your ear that allows you to hear vibrations.  

Here is some science you can share with your girls.  

A common misconception is that sound is made directly by our mouths, actually sound is the movement of air in the form of sound waves. These waves are produced by our vibrating vocal cords, or the vibration of a musical instrument.  This can be a tough concept for younger girls, so giving them the chance to “see” sound is helpful.  

Sound is the result of vibrations; all instrument sounds are the result of vibrations and make different sounds based on the speed of the vibrations and the material being vibrated.  

Sound can also cause vibrations; this is because the waves made by the sound can be strong enough to move other objects.

Additional activity to demonstrate this.  https://www.generationgenius.com/activities/introduction-to-sound-activity-for-kids/ 

Here are some discussion questions to get the girls thinking about the science of sound:  

  • Close your eyes for a minute. What are some things that you can hear? 
  • How are you able to hear things? 
  • What are some examples of things that vibrate?  
  • What kinds of musical instruments have you heard before? 
  • Are you able to make sounds?  

How do I get started? 

Materials you need: 

  • Craft sticks – both thick and thin, you can experiment 
  • Rubber bands – ideally the thinker ones, they work better 
  • More rubber bands – smaller, think the small hair bands you use with toddlers that just hide around the house.  
  • Scissors 
  • Paper 
  • Toothpicks 
  • Straws 

We are sharing two ways to build your harmonica one is easier for younger children, try them out, you know your girls and what they will be able to handle.  If you feel that you will need some help guiding the younger girls through the steps, don’t be afraid to ask additional adults to stick around to help.  

The science behind the harmonica 

When you blow into the harmonica you are causing the paper or elastic to vibrate.  These vibrations need a medium like air in order to travel and produce the sound that reaches their eardrums.  The frequency of this vibration is called Hertz.  The quicker it vibrates, the higher the pitch will be.  If you squeeze the two sides of the harmonica together it will change the pitch of the noise produced.  

A few warnings about these harmonicas, be careful with splinters, they are not like traditional harmonica where you can run your mouth along it.  Also be careful if you are using colored craft sticks, the color tends to run once they get wet, more likely to happen with smaller kids.  The best way to play them is by pulling our lips over your teeth and placing the harmonica on the skin just under your lips (which should be over your teeth if you pull you lips in). Clear as mud? Great let’s get started.  

The Badges:

  • Daisy:
  • Brownie:
  • Junior: Musician Step 4
  • Cadette:
  • Senior:
  • Ambassador:

Older Girl Variation:  

When you are working with older girls ask them to experiment with what would happen if they changed the width of the paper or elastic band? Higher or lower pitch? What should happen is the thinner paper the higher the pitch. What would happen if they made a paper that was thinner on one end and became thicker as you moved to the opposite end?  They should be able to make different pitches while using the same harmonica.  

The Activity!  

Technique one – better suited to smaller children. 

  • Take one of your craft sticks and put an elastic band around it (length ways) 
  • Cut the straw into 2 pieces so that they are the width of the craft stick.  If you don’t have straws folded paper will work as well.
  • Put the straws under the elastic band, one at either end. 
  • Put the other craft stick on top and use the loom bands to keep everything in place by wrapping them around each end. 

Technique two – older kids 

  • Cut out a piece of paper so that it is the same length and width as your craft stick. 
  • Place the paper onto one of the craft sticks. 
  • Place the other craft stick on top and wrap one loom band around an end. 
  • Cut your toothpick to the width of the craft stick. 
  • Put your cut toothpick between one of the craft sticks and the piece of paper, run it down until it is next to the loom band and then push it in so that none of it is sticking out. 
  • Put the other toothpick in the same position at the other end and then finally wrap the final loom band around the other end. 

Wrap up:  

How can changing the colors change your pattern? How did you work through your challenges working with the template?  

A musically inspired snack  

Collect a variety of snacks that the girls can make into musical symbols. Then the girls can create their own musical creations, and even try to play them on their harmonica before eating.  

Food examples: pretzel sticks, raisins, cucumbers slices, chocolate chips, nuts, ect.

Make sure to post photos of your STEAM Snack or musical tunes in the comments, we can’t wait to see them!


Post by Liz Bleacher

Let’s Get Outside – Girl Scout Style!

7 Awesome Outdoor Activities

As we enter the fifth month of the year, and have learned over the past year how important outdoor experiences are, we have 7 self-led ideas for you and your Girl Scout to get outdoors!  Below are some links/activities to explore a variety of fun related to the outdoors.  Be sure to read all the way to the end for an edible campfire!   

  1. Earn the “Clean Water Grows on Trees” fun patchvia our partners Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Keystone 10 Million Tree Partnership. Trees provide habitat and improve the air we breathe. But did you know that clean water grows on trees? Earn this fun patch by learning about the trees in your neighborhood and then taking action to protect them. 
Lauren Braught, GSHPA Gold Award Girl Scout holding “Clean Water Grows on Trees” fun patch
  1. Soundscape Scavenger Hunt- A soundscape is the acoustic environment as perceived by humans. In this activity, you will explore your backyard for a variety of sounds! This activity satisfies parts of both Daisy: Outdoor Art Maker – Step 2 and Brownie: Senses – Step 2 
  1. Bug Bingo– Discover the wonder and joys of nature through bugs! This activity satisfies step 3 of the Brownie: Bugs Badge.   
     
  1. Learn more about Knots with this Girl Scouts USA blog post:  10 Essential Knots for Girl Scouts  
  1. Backpacking Skills Videos - Learn the basics of backpacking and then learn more about GSHPA’s backpacking programhere
  1. Virtual Constellation Discovery Series - Learn about the stars, constellations, and the stories written in the night sky with Sarah, our Outdoor Program Manager, through a series of fun videos. 
  1. Activity: Edible Campfires 
    (This activity is courtesy of Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington council) 

Learn about fire building and safety by making edible fires! 

Supplies 

  • A plate (to build your edible fire on) 
  • A small cup of water (to represent your fire bucket) 
  • A spoon or fork (to represent your shovel/rake) 
  • Small roundish snacks (to represent your fire ring) 
  • M&M’s, cheerios, and mini marshmallows 
  • Any sort of small, slim snacks (to represent tinder) 
  • Thin, twig-like snacks (to represent kindling) 
  • Pretzel sticks and veggie straws 
  • Thicker, branch-like snacks (to represent fuel) 
  • Jumbo pretzel sticks or tootsie rolls 

Directions  

  • When we make a campfire, we need a clear area free of dried grass and sticks and we should be using an established fire pit. Begin making your fire by making sure you have your plate clean and ready!  
  • Create a fire ring on your plate with your “rocks.” 
  • Do we have the right safety equipment on hand? Ensure that your fire “bucket” is filled with water and that you have your “shovel” nearby. Pull back your hair and make sure you’re not wearing anything that could hang into the fire. 
  • The next step is to collect your tinder, kindling, and fuel. 
  • Tinder is your smallest piece of wood, about the size of your pinky finger. This wood catches quickly and its main purpose is to get your initial flame. 
  • What edible items could these be?  
  • Kindling is the next piece, about the size of 1-2 fingers. This type of wood is the second stage, it burns longer than tinder and can get that necessary initial fire started. Once you get enough kindling burning, it should begin to generate enough heat and flame to get your big pieces lit. 
  • What edible items could these be?  
  • Fuel is the biggest log, the ones that keep your fire burning all night. Some styles of fire have it in their initial formation, while others have to begin to add it as your fire builds up enough heat to catch them. 
  • What edible items could these be?  
  • When building your fire, consider what you want to use it for.  
  • To cook food, to keep you warm in harsh weather, or simply to provide a space to gather around and sing songs and tell stories.  
  • There are hundreds of styles of campfires, here are some easy examples to start. 

Once you’ve fully enjoyed your fire, the most important thing to do is ensure that it is completely put out. Eat your snack, or pack it away into a plastic baggie to enjoy later! 


Post by Lutricia Eberly

Happy Mother’s Day from GSHPA!

Mother’s Day is a wonderful time to celebrate the women in our lives who are mothers or have been mother figures to us. I’m sure we are all accustomed to this holiday, and usually spend it giving flowers, gifts or even allowing the women in our lives to spend the entire day relaxing. We celebrate this holiday every year, but have you ever heard how Mother’s Day came to be?  

In the late 1800’s, several women around the United States tried to inspire local Mother’s Day celebrations, and are considered to be early Mother’s Day pioneers. It wasn’t until 1905, with the death of one of those pioneers that the official Mother’s Day holiday that we celebrate today really took off. After the passing of her mother, Anna Jarvis worked with a Philadelphia department store to hold the first Mother’s Day celebration in 1908. Thousands of people attended, and this inspired Anna to fight to have the holiday added to the national calendar. Her argument was that American holidays were biased toward male achievements. She worked to organize a letter writing campaign to newspapers and politicians to adopt a special day to honor motherhood. Finally, after persisting for several years, President Woodrow Wilson officially signed Mother’s Day as we know it into existence in 1914.  

Mother’s Day is also widely celebrated around the world, though not always on the same day as here in the states. For example, in Thailand Mother’s Day is celebrated in August on the birthday of their queen. In Ethiopia families gather in the fall to celebrate mothers with a large feast that lasts several days! In France, Mother’s Day is at the end of May or early June, and is typically celebrated very similarly to the way we celebrate.  

Daises: Jeannette, Genevive S., and Rosalina S. 

GSHPA Troop 70304 in Lancaster worked together to create handmade cards to give to their moms!  

No matter how you celebrate Mother’s Day, it is important to recognize and thank the women in our lives for all that they do for us. If you’re still looking for ideas of what to give for Mother’s Day, check out a list of my favorite ideas below! 

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas 

  • A handmade card or letter 
  • A fresh, summery scented candle (you could even make this yourself!) 
  • Breakfast in bed 
  • A pressed flower card or framed arrangement  
  • A day of relaxation – doesn’t have to be at a spa, this could be letting her enjoy a day to herself at home! 

Let us know in the comments what your favorite Mother’s Day gifts to give or receive are! 


Written by Colleen Sypien

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

The Perfect Pairing: Girl Scout Edition

When you think of a perfect pairing for a Girl Scout cookie, what comes to mind? For me, it’s usually a glass of milk. But have you ever considered pairing your cookie with a glass of wine, beer, or even a whiskey?

Well, we did! As a thank you to our volunteers on Volunteer Appreciation night in April, we held a virtual Girl Scout Cookie Pairing and we’ve compiled our favorite tips below to share. Let us know what you think!

Toffee-tastic

  • Beers: For a buttery cookie such as Toffee-tastics, you’ll want to pair this with a scotch ale to bring out the caramel flavor.
  • Wines: To pair a Toffee-tastic with a wine, we recommend something with a stronger flavor. You could even pair this with a local cider!
  • Spirits: For a spirit, we suggest pairing with a flavored vodka (think caramel, vanilla, or anything sweet).

Bonus tip: If you prefer something non-alcoholic, we recommend dipping a Toffee-tastic in your coffee or hot chocolate!

S’mores

  • Beers: For a beer pairing, you can’t go wrong with a Russian imperial stout. Pairing the sweetness of the cookie with the roasted flavor of a dark stout will make you feel like you are roasting marshmallows over a campfire! For a beyond perfect pairing, don’t miss the local S’mores stout from Maxie’s in Cumberland County.
  • Wines: For wines, S’mores appeals to two flavor pallets, anything from a more subtle rosé to a drier merlot. You can’t go wrong!
  • Spirits: A unique spirit that pairs with several cookies, but especially S’mores, is peanut butter whiskey. We recommend Ole Smokey or Skrewball.

Bonus tip: Put your S’mores cookie in the microwave for 10 seconds to get the same gooey marshmallow as if you roasted it over a campfire!

Lemon-ups

  • Beers: For a unique cookie like Lemon-ups, you’ll want something light and airy to bring out the citrus flavor. Lemon-ups pair well with an IPA or a Hefeweizen which brings out the bright, citrus flavors of the cookie. For a local brew, head up to Troegs and check out First Cut or Joyous, which packs the perfect fruity punch.
  • Wines: For wines, you can’t go wrong with your favorite sparkling or white wine.
  • Spirits: The ultimate spirit pairing for Lemon-ups—a limoncello Moscow mule! For this easy perfect pairing, you’ll need limoncello, vodka, lemon juice, ginger beer, and lemon slices (for serving, of course).

Trefoils

  • Beers: For beer, we recommend an IPA but steer clear of anything bitter since the cookie doesn’t have as much sugar to counteract the flavor.
  • Wines: The Trefoil cookie’s light buttery flavor makes it the perfect match for a wine that is bright, fun, and lively. We recommend a semi-sweet Riesling.
  • Spirits: For spirits, you can mix and match a flavored vodka! And, if you are looking for a local option, check out Mason Dixon Distillery in Gettysburg. Their perfect pairing? Lavender lemonade!

Do-si-Dos

  • Beers: The Do-si-Do is a unique, versatile cookie that pairs well with nearly anything—from blonde ale to a dark coffee porter! The porter will accentuate the peanut butter flavor, while bringing out the sweetness of the oatmeal cookie.
  • Wines: For a wine, we recommend a merlot or zinfandel to highlight the cookie’s oatmeal caramel flavor.
  • Spirits: For spirits, we paired our Do-si-Dos with a butterscotch spirit. If you want to go local, head up to Hazards Distillery in Mifflintown to try their butterscotch flavored moonshine.

Samoas

  • Beers: For Samoas, you want to be sure to pair the cookie with something that won’t take away from its flavor. For beer, we recommend steering clear of a blonde or pale ale. Try out a chocolate stout, brown ale, or amber ale instead.
  • Wines: We recommend pairing a Samoa with a sparkling wine or a dessert wine. This is especially perfect for those with a sweet tooth!
  • Spirits: Of course, with a coconut cookie, you can’t go wrong with a coconut rum or even a cream liqueur, such as Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Tagalongs

  • Beers: For a perfect beer pairing, you’ll want something that compliments the sweetness of the cookie without overpowering it. We recommend a Vienna lager or imperial stout.
  • Wines: You’ll want a wine with an assertive flavor, but not overpowering. Think cabernet, madeira, or anything with a bold flavor to cut with the sweetness of the cookie.
  • Spirits: The ultimate perfect spirit pairing with a peanut butter cookie? Peanut butter whiskey, of course! Test out this Skrewball martini recipe to mimic the Tagalong cookie: Skrewball, chocolate syrup, and vanilla vodka.

Thin Mints

  • Beers: Similar to Tagalongs, Thin Mints pair perfectly with an imperial stout.
  • Wines: For a wine, steer clear of anything that will overpower the cookie. Try out a dry merlot, malbec, or port wine.
  • Spirits: Check out the Bailey’s with Mint or a Coffee Liquor, it will elevate the mint flavor for you.

Bonus Tip: If you are looking for a fun, kid friendly pairing, have some Thin Mints and Cheddar cheese, it’s so tasty!

Let us know your favorites in the comments below!


Written by Rachel Lilley, Volunteer

SPOTLIGHT: Happy Mayday!

Have you ever heard of May Day? May Day is a public holiday usually celebrated on the first of May. It is an ancient festival of spring and a current traditional spring holiday in many European cultures. Do you enjoy dancing? Singing? How about eating sweets? Then you will love May Day traditions!

In the 19th and 20th centuries people would create May Day baskets to leave at their neighbor’s doorsteps. They were often handmade paper baskets or cones, filled with flowers and sweet treats. The idea was to go to the door of a neighbor, often where a child or significant other lived, leave the basket on the step, knock on the door and then run away yelling “May Basket!”.

Since May Day is all about the arrival of spring, there are lots of fun ways to celebrate! One such way is to dance and sing outside! Some people even dance around a maypole. A maypole is a tall pole, usually made of wood, that has long ribbons connected to it. Everyone grabs a ribbon and dances around the pole in a circle. After some time the ribbons are wound around the pole and create a beautiful wrap! Maypoles were a part of many European folk festivals, and they are still sometimes used in parts of Europe and the Americas today!

Here are more ways to celebrate May Day…

  1. Light a bonfire. Always build fires with an adult present and remember your campfire safety tips!
  2. Gather wildflowers and green branches and decorate your house. Traditionally this was called “Bringing in the May”. You can take beautiful blooms and green items from outside and spread them around your home. Consider putting them in jars or vases.
  3. Make and dance around your own maypole. Get creative! If you don’t have the ability to make or use an actual pole, consider tying some ribbons to a bush instead.
  4. Make a flower crown! Gather flowers with long stems and weave them together in a circle to create a crown.
  5. Take off your shoes and go outside! This is called “grounding” and is a great way to connect with nature. Take a few deep breaths. Feel the sun on your skin and the wind in your hair. What do you hear? Birds? A barking dog down the street? Nothing?
  6. Leave a May Basket for your neighbors, just like they did in the 19th and 20th centuries. Follow these directions to make a May Day Basket Cone

Now that you know more about May Day, consider celebrating every year. WELCOME SPRING!


Written by Jess Delp

Thank you Volunteers!

Happy National Volunteer Month! Here at GSHPA, it’s the volunteers that make everything we do possible. We have over 2,900 volunteers that dedicate countless hours to making sure every girl has opportunities of a lifetime. To all of our volunteers, we thank you!

This past year, especially, we’ve leaned on you more than ever. A global pandemic isn’t something that we ever imagined happening, but with all of the extra support of our volunteers, we were able to persevere! Our volunteers stepped up when we needed it most, for that we are very grateful.

We closed our camp gates, office doors, canceled our in-person cookie booths, stopped meeting in person, and went 100 percent virtual. This was something new to all of us, and we had to learn how to navigate a digital world together. The transition wasn’t perfect. In fact, we’re still working on some things, but you and your support and participation were with us every step of the way.

“Despite a pandemic, despite the downturn in the economy, despite all the obstacles ever imagined, Girl Scout Volunteers were still serving and volunteering for the girls,” said Chief Operating Officer Deb Bogdanski. “It is such a testament to the dedication and focus of our volunteers – thank you for everything that each and every volunteer contributes!”

Your efforts do not go unnoticed. We see you encouraging your Daisy troop to be their best selves. We see you putting in extra hours of your personal time to ensure that each girl in your Girl Scout troop is selling cookies to meet their goals. We see you inspiring the next generation of leaders, engineers, artists, teachers and beyond!

This National Volunteer Month (and every day), we want you to know just how vital you are to the success of the best girl leadership development program in the world – a place where every G.I.R.L. can unleash her full potential and make amazing things happen on her terms, largely because of you!

Thank you from our GSHPA leadership team!

Janet Donovan, President and CEO

Deb Bogdanski, COO

Krystell Fox, CFO

Nancy Venner, Chief of Strategy and Public Policy