Site Teams

Since I arrived at GSHPA in the summer of 2019, I have been amazed and humbled by the passion of our members for our four camp properties.   

I quickly got involved with the Camp Furnace Hills site team, hearing their questions and ideas for the future use of the camp, and sat in on phone calls between GSHPA and Supporters of Camp Archbald on a monthly basis, dialoguing about areas of priority focus in maintaining the second oldest Girl Scout camp in the United States. 

My holiday season in 2019 kicked off with the Foxfire Open House at Camp Furnace Hills.  Foxfire House is a Swiss German bank house, built in the 1800’s.  The volunteer led Foxfire Team cooked goodies for the open house, arranged for a string duo to perform in the living room, and conducted tours of the house for attendees.  Foxfire House programming and tours are a gem, and true resource for Girl Scouts to learn about the life of girls long long ago. 

At the Foxfire Open House I met a number of lifetime Girl Scout members who all shared their story of connection with Camp Furnace Hills and now I’ve gotten to know them all well through monthly site team meetings.  This group of volunteers has compiled a detailed excel spreadsheet of projects at Furnace Hills, ranging from repairing fascia, to removing dead trees, and blazing new trails.  Through a network of relationships we’ve now found new vendors for accomplishing work at Camp Furnace Hills and connected troops for Bronze and Silver Awards.   

The Furnace Hills Camping Association and GSHPA are partnering together for an open house on May 16th at camp.  The details are still being finalized but tours of Foxfire House, the chance to practice archery, learn about the history of Camp Furnace Hills, and plant trees are all on the list of possibilities for the afternoon event. 

The second site team I’ve had the delight to get to know, passionately cares for Camp Archbald.  This amazing group of volunteers has shared the history of the beginning of camp, and their personal stories of how camp impacted their life over the years, culminating in the time they’re now bestowing to repair Greenwood and the Caretaker’s House, along with numerous other projects on property.  Beginning in September of 2020, the Archbald site team arranged twice monthly work days, ranging in attendance from 10 to 60!  Their excel spreadsheet of projects, with a tab for every single building on property, is an inspiration for any project manager!  Supporters of Camp Archbald execute a sold out resident camp experience each summer, and planned a yearlong acknowledgement of camp’s 100th anniversary with a celebration scheduled for the weekend of September 18, 2021. 

The paragraphs above cannot begin to describe my awe and respect for the volunteers passionately involved with Camp Furnace Hills and Camp Archbald.  Next, I hope to tap into the passion of volunteers who are connected to Camp Small Valley and Camp Happy Valley, to re-invigorate site teams at those camp properties.  If anyone wants to join the site teams for any of our properties, please reach out to me at leberly@gshpa.org or 717-461-6947. 


Post by Lutricia Eberly

Ready to Camp in the Cold?

Winter camping can be a challenge, but we are here to tell you that winter camping can be fun for any age Girl Scout! When getting ready for your Winter Camping Adventure, it is important to remember the first step of Leave No Trace: plan ahead and prepare!  

Winter Camping Shelters 

  1. Quinzhee – Snow Shelters! 
    • A quinzhee is a snow cave, constructed from hollowed-out piles of snow.  
    • These winter shelters originate from the indigenous people of North America.  
    • Snow can be a great insulator and these shelters keep in heat and block the wind! 
    • See here for how your troop can make a – Quinzhee!  
  1. Tent 
    • Keep in mind the weather when choosing your tent!  
    • If the weather is cold, but little wind, then most tents work. 
    • If you will be camping during a snowstorm or blizzard, you will want a ‘four-season’ winter tent. 
  1. Indoor Camping: Cabin/Yurt 
    • Cabin or Yurt camping is the best choice for younger Girl Scouts (Daisy-Junior) or new campers as indoor camping provides a warm, snowless place to sleep. 
    • Check out your local and State Parks for indoor camping options!  
    • GSHPA properties also have a variety of options for winter camping at our four properties. 
    • Interested in renting out a GSHPA camp property? Click here! 

What to Pack:  

Before you set out on your camping trip, you need to prepare your supplies! The National Park Service lists the following “Ten Essential Items” recommended for all weather camping:   

Ten Essentials:

  1. Navigation 
  2. Sun Protection 
  3. Insulation 
  4. Illumination 
  5. First-Aid 
  6. Fire 
  7. Repair Kit/Tools 
  8. Nutrition 
  9. Hydration 
  10. Shelter 

When planning a winter camping adventure you will need a few additional items!  

  • Sleeping in the Cold 
  • Bring two sleeping bags or one sleeping bag specifically made for cold weather 
  • Down or synthetic sleeping bags work fine, but must be stored in a dry place to be most effective.  
  • Cold weather sleeping bags are insulated and reflect your body heat. 
  • Bring at least two sleeping pads 
  • Don’t be afraid to test your sleep system to ensure it is warm enough! We recommend trying it out in your backyard first! 
  • Additional items can be found by clicking here! 

What to Wear: 

  • Layers! 
    • When preparing for winter activities, layers are essential!  
      1. Base Layer 
        • This layer is should be tight to the body and quick to dry.  
        • It is important to avoid cotton in cold temperatures, as this absorbs moisture, like sweat, and it will not dry quickly! 
        • Nylon, wool, and polyesters are the best options!  
      2. Middle Layer 
        • A good option for the second layer is a lighter jacket, sweatshirt, or fleece.  
        • Remember, avoid cotton! 
      3. Outer Layer 
        • Your last layer will ultimately depend on the weather and outdoor conditions.  
        • Typically a waterproof jacket or insulated puffy jacket is best! 
        • And remember that insulation is important – it must protect you from the wind and precipitation in addition to keep you warm!  
  • Stay DRY! 
    • Keeping dry is essential!  
      • Wet and cold makes for cranky campers! So pack extra layers! 
    • Remember that a Girl Scout is always prepared. It is better to pack too many layers and not utilize them all, than to realize you do not have enough on hand.  
    • When you are done playing in the snow, make sure to change out of any wet clothes immediately and hang them to dry! 

Cooking and Fueling Your Body for the Cold 

Your body burns more calories than normal when trying to keep warm. You need to double your normal calorie intake when winter camping. 

  • We recommend foods high in carbohydrates, fat, and protein.  
    • And you should eat often!  
  • During winter activities, keep snacks with you to keep your body fueled and warm! 

Remember to stay hydrated too! We don’t always feel thirsty in the cold, but you can very easily become dehydrated on a cold day.  

  • Always keep at least one full water bottle nearby and drink water regularly.  
  • Insulated water bottles recommended! 
  • And include warm drink options 
  • Teas and hot chocolate, are great options to drink when campers come in from the cold! 

Benefits to Winter Camping  

  • Winter camping is a unique experience and provides several exclusive activities for you to try! 
    • Winter Hiking  
    • Winter Scavenger hunts  
    • Snowshoeing 
    • Cross Country Skiing 
    • Down Hill Skiing  
    • Sledding  
    • Winter Shelter Building 

Winter camping can be a great new adventure for you! Remember, you can always make changes based on your group’s needs, safety, and comfort. It’s all about having a positive outdoor experience! Enjoy your winter camping!