Get Creative! Girl Scouts shine as entrepreneurs

By Cathy Hirko

This time of year my social media feeds have been BLOWING UP with all things Girl Scouts. From customers looking to buy Girl Scout Cookies to members sharing their favorite Girl Scouts memories, the digital world is pulsing with Girl Scout life.

Our Girl Scout Entrepreneurs are also using online platforms to market their cookies and demonstrate the fun of our Cookie Program.

Take this gem of a video:

It 100 percent will make you smile. The music, the fun, the creativity — the cookie shopping!

It all resonates with anyone who is passionate about what they do. And as the days grow more hectic and busy, we need to remember to breathe, and remember that having fun should always be a part of our day.

If you know of a Girl Scout, or Girl Scouts who you think we should highlight on the blog, please reach out. We would love to share their story or stories, and their videos!

That’s it for this post. Short and sweet.

Enjoy your Friday and your weekend. Soon, you will be enjoying Girl Scout Cookies!

Tips and Tricks for 2022 Cookie Season

This time of year there are more ways than ever for girls to participate in Girl Scouts by learning new skills and reaching new goals. We have some tried and true tips to share with you to make this cookie season the best one yet! Use the tips on this blog post along with the following resources for a very successful season.

GSHPA Volunteer Resources

GSHPA Cookie Seller Resources

GSHPA Product Program Toolkit

Cookie Rookie and Cookie Captain Program

Girl Scouts marketing their booth during the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

2022 Booth Tips

We are always so proud of how creative our girls are and how well they think outside of the box when it comes to cookies. Check out these tips for COVID-19 safe cookie booths:

  1. Print a QR code to your Digital Cookie site on labels, and add those labels to every box sold, or on a thank you card included with each purchase. This way the customer knows how to order more!
  2. Set up a Cookie Drive Thru – work with a local business to secure a safe spot to set up such as a parking lot and offer a drive thru service
  3. Consider using the Digital Cookie App or a credit card processing app to accept payments in a no-contact way. If you collect cash, be sure to use gloves to retrieve the money to allow for minimal customer contact.
  4. Host a virtual booth via social media or Zoom. Be sure to have adult supervision during the booth, as well as a payment and delivery plan in place before the event!
  5.  Take advantage of holidays and bundling cookies. Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to tie a bow around a couple of boxes as a fun holiday promotion, or run a 4 for $20 sale with boxes already grouped together for easy buying.
  6. Create social distance signage for your booth so customers can see from a distance exactly what you are selling. Use a creative booth setup to encourage packing of cookies happening in one spot while payment transactions can happen in another.
Girl Scouts collecting payment at their booth in the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

Extra Tips for Extra Sales

  • Dedicate a day of sales to Gift of Caring – call 10+ people and ask them to order cookies that can be delivered to essential workers, military or others.
  • Reach out to local businesses such as restaurants, car dealerships, etc. to buy cookies from your troop to give to employees or customers as a thank you!
  • Share recipes with your customers to show them all the delicious things they can do with their cookies, other than just eat them straight from the box!
  • Go back to the basics and fill a wagon with cookies and take a walk around your neighborhood
  • Create an order form station at your mailbox to encourage neighbors out for a walk or mailmen and delivery service employees to order cookies in an easy no contact way.

Start Selling Today!

Every girl in Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania benefits from the Cookie Program. From Girl Scout camp to programs to trips and activities with their troop, each girl gets an amazing Girl Scout experience as a result of the program. Not a Girl Scout yet? Join today!

GSHPA Volunteer Conference Preview

By Colleen Buck

January is fast approaching, and with the new year comes the Virtual Volunteer Conference! GSHPA is excited to offer this virtual opportunity for volunteers across our 30 counties to learn, grow and network together. We connected with two staff members who are leading the team responsible for this event to learn more. Jess Mislinski, Regional Director, and Janelle Brewer, Volunteer Training Manager, have spent this year working with a team of other staff members to bring this event to fruition.

GSHPA: Why is it important for GSHPA to hold a Volunteer Conference?

Jess & Janelle: Holding a Volunteer Conference provides our volunteers the opportunity to learn more about how they can provide the best experience for our Girl Scouts, as well as the opportunity to network with fellow volunteers from across our council. Hosting the conference virtually arose out of necessity due to the pandemic, but we quickly saw the benefits of providing a virtual conference. It allows so much flexibility for our volunteers who already devote so much of their time to Girl Scouts and other activities. We wanted to make learning and networking as easy as possible for as many people as possible, regardless of geographic location.

GSHPA: What are some of the topics volunteers can look forward to from our conference speakers?

Jess & Janelle: This year we will be featuring specialized tracks on a variety of topics including Product Program, Outdoors, Service Unit, New Troop Leader, Girl Support, and Girl Programming. Each track has several sessions available for volunteers to choose from. There is something for everyone. And the best part is that all attendees will have access to recordings of all of the sessions! The learning can continue beyond the day of the conference!

Sharmi Albrechtsen, creator of SmartGurlz
Sharmi Albrechtsen, creator of SmartGurlz

GSHPA: Who is the featured speaker, and why did we choose them?

Jess & Janelle: We are so excited to feature Sharmi Albrechtsen as our Featured Speaker. While Sharmi may have closed on a deal on Shark Tank in 2017 for her creation of SmartGurlz, we are most excited about Sharmi’s journey as an entrepreneur, just like our Girl Scouts! Why did we choose Sharmi?  Sharmi is a female entrepreneur that founded a robotics company out of not having a toy that worked for her daughter.  After watching Sharmi speak on a Ted Talk, we knew she was the one!  Watch it here: https://youtu.be/zkK0TlJr8Co

GSHPA: What is the draw of this conference that volunteers can be excited for?

Jess & Janelle: We are so excited about so many aspects of this conference! This year we have Sharmi as our keynote speaker and we have no doubt she will inspire our volunteers! In addition to our keynote speaker, we have so many incredible presenters for this year’s conference. Our volunteers will get to learn directly from their peers, current volunteers who have years of Girl Scout experience. We even have some outside speakers who are experts in their field, such as Michelle Fox from Olivia’s house who will be presenting resources for Grief & Loss and Anne Norgren from Little Brownie Bakers, who is an expert on eBudde.

In addition to the learning opportunities this conference provides, our volunteers will get the opportunity to network with one another! We know how important it is for our volunteers to feel connected and this is a great opportunity to make new friends and share ideas!

The 2nd Virtual Volunteer Conference is on Saturday, January 15, 2022, 9am-2pm. Virtual doors will open at 8:30am, with Opening Remarks kicking things off at 9am. Registration closes January 8th, so register today: https://www.gshpa.org/en/sf-events-repository/2022/virtual-volunteer-conference.html

Comment below if we will see you there!

In the New Year

Can you believe it is already the middle of December Girl Scouts? This year has flown by and we have had some incredible programs and events. Since October 1st we have had more than 53 programs with our Program and Outdoor team, and it has been so exciting to be able to add in-person events to that lineup! As we end 2021 and look to welcome in the New Year we have even more programs to share with you coming up in 2022.

The first event of the year is actually an ongoing one. 2022 will be spent celebrating the 110th anniversary of Girl Scouts!

Girl Scouts Donate to the Juliette Low Birthday Fund, 1946

Juliette Gordon Lowe began Girl Scouts with just 18 girls in 1912, and we have grown to 2.5 MILLION Girl Scouts today, and that is just in the USA! Keep an eye out for some exciting events to celebrate throughout next year on our event calendar.

To kickoff this celebratory year, we have a jam packed schedule coming up in January. We are so excited to host another Virtual Volunteer Conference on January 15th. This is open to all volunteers, and registration is live. This year we have many more sessions to enjoy and you will have access to ALL the recorded sessions afterwards.  In addition to a swag bag for conference participants, you will receive an exclusive code to use at the GSHPA Retail shop!

Girls can dive into the New Year by joining us for a number of great programs. Check out the exciting opportunities below:

Badge Days

January brings both in person and virtual badge opportunities, including Cookie Entrepreneur badges and Outdoor Experience badges. Take a look at all we are offering and register on our event calendar.

STEAM with the Program Team

Our fan favorite program continues! Join the Program Team every Wednesday for new and exciting STEAM activities, from Lego Masters to Pixel People and Master Chef, STEAM with the Program Team has something everyone will love.

STEAM Saturdays

Come get outdoors with the Program Team to get Wild with Animals! We will offer this program at two different camp properties in January, Camp Small Valley and Camp Furnace Hills. Each program will also offer a morning and afternoon session for girls to choose from. Register on our event calendar today, and come ready to get WILD!


We hope everyone has a wonderful December, and we cannot wait to see you all at programs in January to bring in 2022 with a bang! Take a look at the event calendar for more events, and let us know in the comments which programs you’re most looking forward to!

Holiday Dinner: Girl Scout Style

By Rebekah Stefl

As we move through the holidays there is one important thing on all our minds: food! While you may already have your favorite holiday treats in mind, we wanted to share some new ones on our tables this year! Of course, we had to add a Girl Scout twist! All the recipes below were created using our delicious Fall Fundraiser products!

Everything Seasoned Cheese Ball

You will need:

  • 16 Oz. softened cream cheese
  • 2 Cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1-2 scallions chopped
  • 1 tsp. Worscestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried minced onion
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2/3 Cup Everything Seasoned Cashews finely chopped

Instructions:

Start by putting softened cream cheese to a mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Add grated cheese, scallions and seasonings then mix well to combine. Begin forming the mixture into a round ball, we recommend creasing your hands. Place the finely chopped Everything Seasoned Cashews on a plate and begin pressing them gently into the mixture to coat all the sides. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to all to firm.

Honey Roasted Peanut Crusted Chicken

You will need:

  • 1 Cup Honey Roasted Peanuts finely chopped
  • ½ Cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ Cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb uncooked chicken tenders

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a shallow dish, beat eggs. In another shallow dish place flour and in another mix breadcrumbs and finely chopped Honey Roasted Peanuts. Coat chicken with flour, then egg, then breadcrumb mixture. Place coated chicken on baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes until chicken is fully cooked and coating is golden brown.

Roasted Green Beans & Cashews

You will need:

  • 1-2 lbs fresh green beans trimmed
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Cashews chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic chopped (or to taste)  
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Add oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add chopped garlic to skillet and begin browning then add green beans; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add water, bring to boil then reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 7-10 minutes until green beans are tender stirring occasionally. Add cashews, salt and pepper to taste then toss to combine.

Peanut Butter Penguin Blossoms

You will need:

  • ½ Cup granulated sugar
  • ½ Cup packed brown sugar
  • ½  Cup butter softened
  • ½ Cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Extra granulated sugar for coating
  • 36 Peanut Butter Penguins

Preheat oven to 375°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine ½ cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter and egg. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until dough forms. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, roll in granulated sugar and place on baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown then immediately press 1 Peanut Butter Penguin in the center of each cookie. Remove from baking sheet to cool.

Dulce Daisy Sugar Cookies

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/34 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 36-48 Dulce Daisies

Preheat oven to 375°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth then add egg and vanilla. Slowly add flour, baking soda and baking powder until well combined. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden. Immediately press one Dulce Daisy in the center of each warm cookie. Remove from baking sheet and allow to fully cool.

What are you making this season? Share your favorites in the comments!

Rebekah Stefl is a Volunteer Support Coordinator at GSHPA.

GSHPA Winter Challenge

The weather is starting to get chilly and we have even seen the first snow flakes of the year. This is the time of year we all start to think of staying warm and indoors. That does not mean that you need to get cabin fever and bored with the winter weather, GSHPA’s program team have a solution for you. Our 2021 Winter Challenge! This is a list of fun activities for all ages that will keep you busy indoors and out through the cold weather months.

Between December 1 and January 31 choose your adventure, try something new and get out and explore. GSHPA’s program team has collected 75 activities that cover a range on interests and badge requirements. This challenge is designed to be done independently, with your friends and family, or with your troop and is similar to the Summer Scavenger Hunt GSPHA Program hosted last year!

Adults can save and/or print the guide so their girls can cross off each activity as they complete their adventure. The number of activities girls will need to complete is based on their Girl Scout level- there is a number of activities required to earn the patch. When you have completed the activities, just fill out this form to submit your entry and purchase a snow fun patch for $3.

Many of the activities on the list can be completed by attending a scheduled GSHPA event or one hosted by our partners. Please check out our calendar to see what fun activities you want to try to fight of the winter blues!

Tag your photos and videos with @gsheartpa and add #gshpawinter2021 as you complete tasks so we can see what everyone is doing this winter. Stay warm and have fun!!!!!

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! 

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!

Our Leaders Within GSUSA

Two of GSHPA’s amazing staff members have been chosen to participate on GSUSA committees — committees that will help influence future programs and expand girl’s experiences nationwide.

Jess Delp is our Director of Product Program and Retail and Lutricia Eberly is our Director of Outdoor and Program Experiences. Both women have a love for Girl Scouts and their jobs. Here, in their own words, are what they have been doing with the GSUSA committees.

First up is Jess, a member of GSUSA’s Product Sales Advisory Team.

GSHPA: What gets you excited about your new group? How did you get involved?

Jess: The Product Sales Advisory Team is a great group of Girl Scout professionals from across the country. They help mold the product programs for Girl Scouts all over the world! I am looking forward to having an influence on these programs and helping to shape the future of the product programs. My goal is to have product programs be fun and meaningful for our girl members.  

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

Jess: The team plans future programs, finding ways to better support volunteers and exciting ways to teach girls the 5 Key Skills. We also create trainings for new product program staff across the country, and provide support to the national product program conference(s).

GSHPA: What can GSHPA learn from your experiences?

Jess: As the PSAT rolls out new cookies and new program participation initiatives, it will be wonderful to see GSHPA members engage in the new endeavors.

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

Jess: I am looking forward to partnering with Girl Scout colleagues from around the country, learning how they run their programs, and enhancing the overall product program experience for all Girl Scouts.

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

Jess: Girl Scouts make the world a better place; it’s in our mission statement for a reason. And making the world a better place starts right at home, in our local communities. Never think that your action is too small to make a difference.

Now for Lutrica Eberly, who is a new member of the Property Strategy Advisory Committee.

GSHPA: What gets you excited about you new group? How did you get involved?

Lutricia: I am excited about the chance to both weigh in on property related conversations at the national level, as well as learn from others on the committee.  The committee is comprised of CFOs, CEOs, VPs of Property and myself as the Director of Outdoor and Program Experience.  I got involved because I saw the opportunity on an email from GSUSA and submitted 300 words about why I thought I was an ideal candidate for consideration on the committee.

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

Lutricia:  The goal of the Property Strategy Advisory Committee is to ensure that both GSUSA and councils are working together effectively to achieve overall sustainability and mission success.

GSHPA: What can GHSPA learn from your experiences?

Lutricia:  GSHPA as a whole will benefit from having a voice at the national table in conversations about service centers, office buildings and camps, and best practices related to each.  GSHPA will also benefit from the Director of Program and Outdoor Experience having an increased network of resources to gain insight from as we consider how best to support our leaders in providing fantastic outdoor and program experiences for girls.  GSHPA will also have access to results from national advisory panel results, and current trends related to girl leadership and development which will aid in guiding our decision making in providing the most relevant outdoor and program experiences for our girls

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

Lutricia:  My advice is to think about areas you want to grow in, and what skills you want to learn/develop for the next phase of your life, and then look to where you can get involved that will help you learn those skills. 

Do you want to learn more about working with kids?  Sign up to help plan a community day at your local library and run one of the activities.  Or come to a GSHPA program for younger girls and help lead activities.  Do you want to learn more about construction?  Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and ask the leader if there’s an advisory committee you can shadow for a year.  Want to learn how people are making a difference in their local environment.  Find a watershed or trail group and ask how you can get involved with one of their events or serve on a committee to plan a work day.  OR, plan your own tree planting and earn your GSUSA Tree Promise Patch and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Clean Water Grows on Trees patch. 

People often say to get involved with the causes and events you’re passionate about.  I say to get involved with the causes and events that help you develop and refine a new skillset.  Get involved in your community in a way that allows you to practice new things that aren’t taught in a classroom.