Taking in 100 Years of Girl Scouts in Northeastern PA

By Cathy Hirko

The second-oldest operating Girl Scout camp in the world is right here in the regional footprint for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. And our camp has had a lot to celebrate recently.

Camp Archbald, like GSHPA’s other camps, re-opened this year as Pennsylvania started easing its way out of COVID and the regulations surrounding outdoor, public activities. While providing a safe environment, girls and their families were once again able to enjoy what the Girl Scout outdoor experience had to offer.

In September, Camp Archbald marked a major milestone by celebrating its 100 year anniversary.

According to the Supporters of Camp Archbald (SOCA) website, the camp was founded in 1920 by the Scranton Pocono Girl Scout Council.  The site noted that the Scranton council initially started in 1918 at Lake Coxton, but the location was not right for a permanent home. In 1920, Mrs. Thomas Archbald, the chairwoman of a committee tasked to find land,  visited the Ely Lake site in Susquehanna Township and eventually made it the permanent home of the council’s first residential camp. Named after Mrs. Archbald, it’s the second-oldest operating Girl Scout Camp in the world.

Fun fact also from SOCA: The first camp ran eight weeks of resident camp, with approximately 76 girls attending each week. The cost? Seven dollars a week.

COVID delay

Camp supporters initially had planned to host the 100 year anniversary in September 2020, but a global pandemic forced the anniversary celebration to be held a year later on Sept. 18, 2021.

Camp attendees dating back to the 1940s attended the anniversary ceremony and celebration. In addition to tours and a full day of activities, organizers showed camp history memorabilia and led an opening ceremony.

The video below, highlights the September celebration.

To learn more about GSHPA camps and activities, please visit our website.

Have a great memory to share about Camp Archbald? Share in the comments or email Cathy Hirko at chirko@gshpa.org.

Cathy Hirko is the director of Marketing and Communications at GSHPA.

Photos: Planting Trees for a Promise

The Elliott Wildlife Values Project, American Forests and Girl Scouts have launched a tree planting and conservation initiative, and GSHPA Girl Scouts are stepping up.

Girl Scouts is setting out to plant five million trees around the country in the next five years. Girl Scouts here in Central Pa have already started! Girls had the opportunity with their family and volunteers to plant trees at Camp Furnace Hills in Lancaster County and Camp Small Valley in Dauphin County this summer.

Join our mission to protect the plant and the effects of climate change and learn more.

Click on the photo to view larger.

5 Million Trees in 5 Years

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

Five million trees planted in the next five years.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the Tree Promise?

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

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

What is the Gold Award?

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

Tips and Tricks For Girls Scout Camp

Meet Buzz and Dazzle, two of GSHPA’s summer camp staff and learn how to make this summer at camp your best yet!

Buzz, left, and Dazzle are two of amazing staff you will see at GSHPA camps all summer.

Buzz: Hey, my name is Buzz!

Dazzle: And I’m Dazzle!

Buzz: We’re two counselors for the 2021 summer camp season for GSHPA!

Dazzle: Recently we have been getting a lot of questions from incoming campers about what they need to pack, how to make friends, and so much more.

Buzz: As people who have been going to camp for many years, we have the answers to all of your questions! Dazzle, do you want to take the first one?

Dazzle: Sure! The first question we have is about packing. When packing, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Pack your items in a tote or bin, rather than three or four backpacks.
  • Label the inside of your items in case they get lost.
  • Find a way to keep everything organized. Some campers will separate their outfits so they can just grab and go each morning!
  • Bring a draw-string bag or backpack for daily activities.
  • Remember to pack only the items you need! Camp is a big place where items can be lost easily.

Below is the link to our premade packing lists. Make sure to check it out! The lists can be found in the link below under the About Summer Camp heading, and under the Get Ready for Camp tab!

https://www.gshpa.org/en/camp/summer-camp.html

Buzz: Those are some great tips! And don’t worry if you forget to pack something! We have extra sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitizer, and books for rest hour!

Dazzle: What if someone doesn’t want to read a book during rest hour?

Buzz: Well that’s where we come in! Rest hour doesn’t have to be full of books and naps. Counselors are there all day to play games, have conversations, or supervise. At camp, you’ll always have someone to talk to! Remember, staff members are not only your counselors, but also your friends.

Dazzle: Didn’t we have a question about friends?

Buzz: We sure did! Our next question is from someone who is a little worried about coming to camp alone. “What can I do to make friends at camp?”

Dazzle: Making friends at camp can be easier than you think. Most of the time you are spending quality time with the same counselors and campers.

Try things like:

  • Being yourself. This will allow you to have the most fun!
  • Finding other campers with similar hobbies!
  • Stepping out of your comfort zone. Trying new things can be scary, but they can also lead to the best camp memories.
  • Take a deep breath. Making friends on camp can be overwhelming, but keep in mind there are counselors and staff members here to support you.

Buzz: Exactly! All of the staff members make sure every camper gets included! Being a part of the group and having fun is something that automatically comes with camp! If there ever is an issue, remember that you’re always welcome to have a chat with a counselor. Did I miss anything?

Dazzle: Sounds like you covered it all. We are so excited to have all of you at camp this year. Don’t forget to bring your loud singing voices and camp spirit!