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!

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!!!!!

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!!! 

A Fortnite at the Farm in Felton, York County

Dozens of Girl Scouts, friends and families joined GSHPA at the teaching museum in Felton Pennsylvania for a fun afternoon of Fortnite activities! Girls participated in archery, structure building, healing by the campfire and meeting some of the farm animals including llamas. No wait… they weren’t llamas, they were alpacas! Girls learned the differences between llamas and alpacas at the event as well.

For more information about fun upcoming GSHPA fun visit our events calendar!

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!