S’more for Everyone

In honor of National S’more Day we here at GSHPA wanted to share some of our top s’more recipes! We have included twists on your classic s’mores and some brand new creations! We are especially excited about our fall-themed s’mores! We hope these recipes help you celebrate National S’more Day in style! Maybe you will even find your new favorite from our recipes below!

Chocolate Covered Pretzel

You Will Need:

  • Two Pretzels (medium to large in size)
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Chocolate

Once you have cracked your graham cracker add your chocolate and your freshly toasted marshmallow!

Autumn Apple

You Will Need:

  • Two Ginger Snap Cookies
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Sliced Apples (we recommend Honey Crisp)
  • Apple Pie Spice

Top your ginger snap cookie with apple slices and a toasted marshmallow. Sprinkle with Apple Pie Spice and enjoy!

Peach Cobbler

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Sliced Peaches or Peach Pie Filling
  • Ground Cinnamon

Start by cracking your graham cracker in half then top it with your freshly toasted marshmallow and peaches. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Chocolate
  • Sliced Strawberries

Once you have cracked your graham cracker start piling it high with chocolate and sliced strawberries. Then finish it up with your freshly toasted marshmallow!

Caramel Apple

You Will Need:

  • One Cinnamon Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Caramel Sauce

Simply crake your graham cracker in half, top with your freshly toasted marshmallow and drizzle with as much caramel sauce as your heart desires!

Pumpkin Spice

You Will Need:

  • One Cinnamon Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Pumpkin Puree or Pumpkin Pie Filling
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice

Start by spreading your pumpkin puree or pie filing on a graham cracker cracked in half. Then top it with a toasted marshmallow and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice. Try adding chocolate if you’re feeling bold! 

Mexican Hot Chocolate

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Chocolate
  • Chili Powder

Add your chocolate and toasted marshmallow to a cracked graham cracker then sprinkle with chili powder and enjoy!

Salted Caramel

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Flaky Salt

Crack your graham cracker in half then add your toasted marshmallow. Once assembled drizzle with caramel sauce and finish with a sprinkle of flaky salt!

Chocolate Covered Cherry

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Chocolate
  • Slice Cherries or Cherry Pie Filling

Simply crake your graham cracker in half, top with chocolate, cherries and your freshly toasted marshmallow!

Peanut Butter and Banana

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Chocolate
  • Peanut Butter
  • Sliced Bananas

Once you have cracked your graham cracker start piling it high with chocolate and sliced bananas. Spread peanut butter on your other graham cracker then put it all together!

We hope you enjoy our s’more recipes! Be sure to share your favorite s’more recipes in the comments below!

2021 National Product Program Conference

Looking back and looking ahead

Earlier this summer, GSHPA hosted more than 400 Girl Scout professionals, virtually, from across the globe as they hosted the National Product Program Conference. The mission of the conference was to focus on learning, collaborating and networking to operationally build and grow consistent, sustainable programs in partnership with GSUSA and vendors. 

GSHPA President and CEO, Janet Donovan kicked off the conference with opening remarks. 

GSHPA staff also presented different sessions during the conference. Director of Product Program and Retail Jessica Delp led “Collaborating with All Departments During Cookie Season” as well as co-leading “How Marketing Helps the Cookie Program” with GSHPA Marketing and Communications Director, Cathy Hirko. Other sessions included Cookie Forecasting, Rewards Strategy and Guidance, Cookie Program 101 and more!  

“We were so excited and honored to be the virtual host council this year,” said Delp. “We already have plans in the works for next year’s conference – in person at the Sweetest Place on Earth, Hershey, PA.” 

Vendors and sponsors led informative and interactive virtual expo booths. Not only were the national Girl Scout Cookie bakers present, but other groups such as Disney on Broadway and The Shoe That Grows; a leather sandal invented by inventor Kenton Lee that can adjust its size, allowing children in third-world countries to grow up without having to go barefoot.  

In addition to these items GSHPA wanted to ensure that our attendees felt connected while meeting virtually. We planned a variety of activities such as a Cookies & Cocktails event and S’more Fun Networking!  

In 2022, GSHPA will again host this national conference, but this time in person at the Hershey Lodge! GSHPA is honored to partner with GSUSA, the national Girl Scout organization, to offer this amazing opportunity two years in a row.  

6 Tips to Help New Volunteers

We are just a few short months away from the start of the new Girl Scout year, and with a new year comes new leaders! For those of us who have been Girl Scouts for life, or are seasoned leaders, the cycle of the Girl Scout year comes naturally to you, and the only new things you may need to adjust to occasional changes and updates. You’ve had the opportunity to learn how to best lead a troop, how to network with other leaders, use the Volunteer Toolkit and give the best Girl Scout experience to the girls as possible. New leaders not only have the challenge of learning about all the resources available, but also learning the ins and outs of Girl Scouts and Girl Scout lingo. They also often do not know other leaders, and that is often one of the hardest parts of being a new leader.  

As Girl Scouts we encourage our girls to “make new friends”, “to help people at all times”, be “friendly and helpful”, and “be a sister to every Girl Scout”. What better way to set an example for our girls than to practice these values ourselves and be a sister and friend to our new leaders? We have such awesome networks within our Service Units, and working together to welcome new leaders, and provide them with the knowledge that they have a network of volunteers just like them to look to for support and help is a great gift we can give to our new leaders! Check out my list below for ways we can be a friend to our new leaders, and best support them as they start their Girl Scout journey: 

1. Invite new leaders to the next Service Unit meeting. If you don’t know the new leaders, go introduce yourself. Share your details, the level you lead, meeting places, and your contact information for when they have questions. This will give them a friendly face at future meetings and events, and also someone to go to with questions. 

2. Service Unit Contact Info: New leaders start their time as a leader by meeting with their Volunteer Support Coordinator, as well as participating in trainings. While having experienced leaders reaching out is helpful for new leaders to build up their contacts, another way to do that could be through a Service Unit wide directory. This directory can be given to all leaders, new and old, within your Unit.  

 
3. Planning Committees: Inviting new leaders to join your Service Unit planning committees get them involved immediately and helps the Service Unit as a whole. Many Service Units often see the same people volunteer to help plan and organize, so involving new leaders will help to build up the volunteers and infuse new ideas to help the Service Unit.  

 
4. Make New Friends: Invite new leaders and their troops to join your troop to a meeting, field trip, or event. This gives the new leader a break from planning, and allows them to see how your troop operates! It also gives the girls a chance to connect. A lot of new leaders are leading new troops, so everyone involved can benefit from making new friends.  

 
5. Offer to help the new leader with a ceremony or tradition. These are the backbone of Girl Scouts, and can be hard to learn just through reading about them. Demonstrating the traditions for a new leader is much more personal and helps them learn how to carry on the traditions while building relationships! 

 
6. Similarly, invite a new leader to join you and your troop on a camping trip. As a leader they have all clearances and can help toward your troop ratio, and they can learn tips and tricks. Working together gives the leaders new and old to learn on the go during the trip that the internet and online training can miss. For an added bonus, you could invite their entire troop on a camping trip, have the girls teach the girls, and provide a unique hands-on experience for the entire troop.  

Working together to help new leaders feel connected and part of our Girl Scout sisterhood is something that we can all do. Have you ever connected with a new leader in a way not included on my list? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!  

Making a Difference

Our Girl Scout Troop in Mechanicsburg is making a difference in the world.

By Ellie Peters 

It is incredible what Girl Scouts can do when they put their minds to it. Troop 15089 located in Mechanicsburg, PA, is an amazing example of what Girl Scouts can do.  I have been a part of this troop since I was a brownie, and I have had so many amazing experiences. 

One example is that when we were Juniors, we built native bee boxes to protect the native bees.  The population of the native bees are declining, so our troop decided that it was time to make a change.  With the help of our leaders, and a partnership with the Carlisle Tool Library, we were able to build 14 bee boxes to place throughout the community. After doing this, we received our Bronze Awards.  These bee boxes will hopefully help bring back pollinators to our community. 

Other things our troop has done includes picking up trash in parks and neighborhoods and helping people in need.  Two examples of this are when we sent water purification tablets to people in Puerto Rico after a hurricane, and when we sewed together craft draft dodgers (draft stoppers) to donate to Habitat for Humanity. They prevent outdoor air from seeping into homes and helps to decrease electricity costs.   

These activities helped to raise awareness about important issues like water conservation, helping others, and pollution/littering.  

Troop 15089 has had plenty of exciting and thrilling trips and adventures too!  Some of my favorites were camping (of course!), having a sleepover at the Baltimore Aquarium, horseback riding, and hiking trips. We paid for most of these trips with the money we made from cookie sales. After all, there wouldn’t be Girl Scouts having fun without hard work coming first! 

The current project of Troop 15089 is planting potatoes. It sounds kind of strange at first, but we are planting them in burlap sacks from local coffee shops. So, instead of throwing the sacks away, we are upcycling the burlap sacks. Troop 15089 is going to donate some of the potatoes we grow to a local food bank.  We are also working on a website and a pamphlet to teach others how to do this. 

It is obvious that Troop 15089 is making a difference in the world, and having lots of fun too! 

Remembering Memorial Day

Memorial Day was originally observed to honor the men lost during the Civil War. Throughout our history this holiday has changed to honor both the men and women that we have lost in all wars, including World Wars I and II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Over the years, the traditions of honoring those we have lost have evolved. Since Girl Scouts traditions and ceremonies are so important to us, we heard from Girl Scouts across the nation for ideas of ways to celebrate Memorial Day. Even though COVID has changed the way we are able to do some things, honoring our fallen soldiers can still be done. If your troop needs ideas for how to observe Memorial Day this year, check out these ideas from other troops!  

  • As a troop, visit a cemetery to clean trash and debris 
  • Contact your local American Legion to look into placing flags on soldiers graves, or holding a flag ceremony 
  • Work with local Women Veterans of America, VFW’s, Veteran Affairs or military posts to not only honor those who have fallen, but also to help those dealing with the loss of their comrades 
  • Hold a flag retirement ceremony 
  • Participate in a local parade that commemorates fallen soldiers 
  • Contact your local American Legion to find and attend a salute at a monument 

Other ideas could include holding a troop flag ceremony for the girls and their families to honor family members who served and are no longer with us. Honoring the men and women who have fought for our country and are no longer with us is important, no matter how little or big the ceremony or parade.

For troops who choose to take this time to learn more about Memorial Day and our soldiers, leaders can use the resources below to help their girls learn more.  

 
Is your troop commemorating Memorial Day this year? Let us know in the comments how you will be honoring the men and women who died serving our country! Don’t forget, we love to see what your troop is up to. Fill out a Mission Moment form so we can see the great things your girls are doing in and for their communities. 


Written by Colleen Sypien

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

Happy Birthday Girl Scouts!

On March 12th we will be celebrating the 109th anniversary of when Juliette Gordon Low registered the first 18 Girl Scouts in Savannah, Georgia.  I’m sure Juliette could have never imagined the impact she would have on Girl Scouts, over a century later. With the organization turning 109 years old this year, has anything changed from Juliette’s original vision? 

During a time when women still could not vote in 1912, Juliette wanted to defy standards of the time, and give girls the chance to gain skills, and become more independent.  Skills including knot tying, harvesting food, and canning goods.  The first Girl Scouts were encouraged to get outdoors, to camp, to hike and to play basketball. Community service projects and Take Action projects became a huge part of Girl Scouts especially when the Great Depression and World War II started.  The cookie program was also started by Juliette, as a way to raise funds for her Girl Scout troops.   

Looking at the Girl Scout values of today, not much has changed.  Girl Scouts continue to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.  Girl Scouts can explore interests and learn new skills while working on badges that center around STEM, outdoors, life skills and entrepreneurship.   The organization empowers girls to make connections so that they can make a difference in their community.  All these years later, you cannot mention Girl Scouts without someone asking about buying Girl Scout cookies.  We want girls to continue to chase their curiosity and dream big, in a girl only safe space. 

The only changes we have seen in the last 109 years is the number of Girl Scout members, going from the original 18 in 1912 to over 2 million today. We need to celebrate not only because Girl Scouts is turning 109 years old next week, but also because our values and goals have changed very little since Juliette Gordon Low first registered the original 18 members.  During the next week, take the time to celebrate this achievement.  Leading up to March 12th, your troop could celebrate by having a small party at their troop meeting.  What would a party be without eating some cake or cupcakes (maybe try incorporating your favorite Girl Scout cookies like this S’more campfire cupcake recipe from Little Brownie Bakers)? During your party your troop could sing their favorite Girl Scouts songs like “Make New Friends” and “Princess Pat”.  To end this celebration, play a game of pin the petal on a daisy.  No matter how you decide to celebrate this year, take the time to reflect on the Girl Scout first meeting, all those years ago.  

Happy Birthday Girl Scouts! We hope you had the BEST Girl Scout week. We want to see how you celebrated. Tag us on Facebook or on Instagram. You could be featured in an upcoming blog post!


Written by Gina
cid:image024.jpg@01D383EC.EA4160B0
cid:image025.jpg@01D383EC.EA4160B0
cid:image026.jpg@01D383EC.EA4160B0
cid:image027.jpg@01D383EC.EA4160B0
cid:image028.jpg@01D383EC.EA4160B0

Alumni Spotlight – Amy Beamer

Girl Scouting Sows the Seeds of Community

I met Amy Beamer Murray through a former colleague, Michele Engle, when I was busy with publishing work at the Central Penn Business Journal. Michele told me that I was going to love Amy immediately. She was not wrong.  

Amy is smart, kind and has a dry sense of humor that is perfect for late fall afternoon porch conversations. During her daylight hours, Amy is the COO at Pavone Marketing Group, which has its headquarters in Harrisburg and other offices in Philadelphia and Chicago.  

Amy is a prolific letter writer and I just recently found out that she was Girl Scout.  

I just joined the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania organization in early November. Part of what I want to do with the GSHPA is find former Girl Scouts to share their stories about leadership and the impact Girl Scouts had on their lives. 

Here is snapshot of my friend, Amy Beamer Murray.  

Tell us a little about yourself: Where did you grow up? Your schooling and how you ended up in the career that you have now with Pavone? 

I grew up in a small town – Newport, Pennsylvania – which is about 30 miles northwest of Harrisburg. From there, I went to Elizabethtown College and graduated with a degree in business administration. When I graduated in 1990, the country was in the midst of a recession, and, while I’d love to be able to say I had some grand plan, the truth is I just wanted to find a job that was interesting to me, get some experience and figure it out from there. I started working at an advertising agency in Harrisburg, working in traffic and project management. When the creative team left the agency to start their own shop, I followed about a year later as their first employee. And the rest is history. I’ve been with Pavone Marketing Group for 29 years and am currently its chief operating officer, working with almost 100 marketing and communications professionals. 

What are some of your favorite memories regarding your Girl Scout experience? 

My mom got me involved in Girl Scouting as a way for me to be more social. Even at an early age, I was an introvert who was in my own head and who enjoyed the company of adults . . . “that Amy, she’s eight going on 80,” they’d say.  

So, my mom thought it would be good for me to interact more with kids my own age. As Brownies, we did all kinds of arts and crafts, learned patriotic songs, and made sit-upons and foil packets for our day camp excursions.  

We were lucky to have the picturesque Little Buffalo State Park in our backyard – and we did hiking, picnicking and swimming activities there. As Girl Scouts, we did more of the same, but also started volunteering in different ways around the community and we went to overnight camp.  

I remember winter camp especially well because I took a transistor radio with me so we could hear if the US hockey team beat the Russians in the 1980 Winter Olympics (that seems very quaint now, doesn’t it?). Cadettes and Senior involvement meant more opportunities to earn badges and volunteer. And there were cookie sales at each level!  

Has your experiences in Girl Scouting affected your leadership style/experience now? If so, can you explain? 

I think those experiences sowed the seeds of community service at an early age. When you grow up in a small town, many of the town’s activities center around the school, churches and community groups. In Newport, the adults were involved in the Lions’ Club, Jaycees, and the volunteer fire company and EMS service, and youth sports. And, for the kids, church youth groups and Girl and Boy Scouts were our vehicles for volunteerism. There was a spirit of teamwork and camaraderie within our troops, while instilling the responsibility to give back to the community by identifying needs (like picking up litter, packing food for distribution, visiting nursing home residents and organizing activities for younger kids) and doing something about it. In my role as COO, that’s pretty much the ball game – identifying needs and doing something about it! 

You are a prolific letter writer (which I love about you) How did this habit start and why is it important for you. Also, share, on average, how many letters that you write a month? 

My mom was always sending greeting cards to sick people and shut-ins in our church and I picked up the knack early on. Once I got to college, writing letters was the only way other than telephone calls to stay in touch with my friends (remember the days of no email or internet?), and so that’s when it really took off. And now I do it because I know people really appreciate it because it’s so uncommon in this day and age. It really has become something between and ministry and an obsession for me. On average, I probably send between 20 and 40 cards per week for a myriad of reasons – birthdays, thank you, thinking of you, get well, sympathy. And I send cards for all holidays and occasions. I’ve become a connoisseur of all different card companies and have even befriended a few of their owners and artists along the way. I simply can’t imagine not doing it! 

A few years ago, you started sharing publicly how practicing mindfulness has helped you mentally and physically. Can you explain that and elaborate a little? 

About a decade ago, I was dealing with some serious issues with chronic fatigue syndrome, and I started looking at alternative therapies as a way to manage it. Having a mindfulness practice has certainly helped. I think a lot of times people think mindfulness means doing meditation, but that’s only a small part of it. And a form of meditation can be as simple as taking a walk with a friend or your dog. Our pets are wonderful teachers when it comes to mindfulness, in that being mindful really means being present in the current moment – not thinking about the past with regret or the future with anticipation or dread. I do devotions and prayer each morning and try to take time throughout the day to move/walk and do some intentional breathing. I also seek out periods of silence (no tech/media) which is also helpful in calming the mind. And an opportunity for gardening is just around the corner! I believe that having a mindfulness practice has been essential to my ability to deal with the pandemic and the anxiety and uncertainty that it has brought to so many folks. 

What are some ways you can recommend participating in the Girl Scouts as a volunteer? 

Being a leader has to be a wonderful and fulfilling way to get involved. Working as a part-time chaperone is also a way to be involved. And as Girl Scouts are pursuing a variety of badges, I would imagine there are opportunities to volunteer as a subject matter expert as well. In the past, I volunteered as part of a partnership with Junior Achievement to work with Girl Scouts who were pursuing their business badge. 

I know you are big fan of cats. Tell us about your kitties. Their names and personalities. 

My husband, Paul, and I are parents to six cats. I always joke that three of them were unplanned, but we couldn’t say no when a kitty was in need. We have two pair of tiger brother/sister siblings and they’re our oldest and youngest cats. So, those four are Jasper (who is Paul’s boy) and Frances, age 12, and Ollie (who is a total train wreck) and Maude, age three. Sandwiched in between them are our two black cats, Otis Jones, age 6, who is totally a momma’s boy, and Fiona, age 10, who is our deaf girl and sleeps 23 hours a day. Truth be told, Frances and Maude are probably the best archetypal house cats that we have. The others are all just a little nuts. 


Post by Cathy Hirko

Happy International Women’s Day!

Did you know that March is Women’s History Month? What an amazing chance to celebrate the amazing things women have done! Not only is March a great month to learn about incredible women, but we also have a chance to celebrate as Girl Scouts during Girl Scout Week (March 7-13), including celebrating Girl Scouts’ Birthday on March 12. Perhaps the icing on the cake of Girl Scout Week is that International Women’s Day also falls during that time, on March 8.  

International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the achievements of women. The very first celebration of International Women’s Day was held in 1911, over 100 years ago! In the early 1900’s there was a lot of movement by women to overcome the gender oppression and inequality they were experiencing. In 1908, women really started to become more vocal in coming together to champion change on issues such as better pay and voting rights. The rise of women challenging inequalities was seen across the globe, and spurred the idea of celebrating an International Women’s Day.  

As a young girl I loved watching the Disney movie Mary Poppins, and in that movie there is a scene where Mrs. Banks comes home in a whirlwind singing about fighting for women’s rights. I used to feel so empowered by her excitement and passion for the cause, even before I truly understood what the suffragettes stood for. Now as an adult, I understand the inequalities that women faced, and still do face. I felt similar energy and passion when taking women studies courses in college, when reading about incredible women in history and in the news today, and I feel that energy every day as a Girl Scout celebrating the achievements of girls. 

The theme of International Women’s Day for 2021 is “Choose to Challenge”. The International Women’s Day website says “A challenged world is an alert world. From challenge comes change. So let’s all #ChooseToChallenge.” What a great reminder of where this day started and where we are now. Without our ancestors choosing to challenge voting rights and pay gaps and so many other inequalities, we as women would not have nearly as many opportunities as we do now. Their challenge to society has given us so much, but there is so much more we as women can do for the generations to come. I have a few favorite women that I would recommend learning about, who are continuing the work that generations before us started, and are creating new history every day.  

Greta Thunberg 

Greta is an 18 year old who has been making big waves. She has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize three times…three times! She has caught the attention of many leaders worldwide by speaking up about climate and environmental concerns. Gaining the attention of important world leaders may seem daunting, and I’d have to agree. But what is incredible about Greta is that her platform started with convincing friends and family to make changes to lessen their carbon footprint. From there she organized strikes at school and gave speeches to rally more people. Greta also has Asperger’s Syndrome, and I think she is the perfect example to show girls that they are capable of achieving great things, no matter what type of hurdles they may think they have to overcome.  

Emma Gonzalez 

Emma survived the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. It would have been so easy for her to never go back to public school, to let the fear of her experience run her life. Instead, she managed to funnel the anger, sadness, fear and confusion that she and her classmates felt into not just a single speech, but into creating an entire movement advocating for gun control. She, along with a few classmates, co-founded the group Never Again to continue the fight for gun control. Regardless of political views, I think it is incredible that Emma took such a horrifying experience and channeled the energy she felt from that experience into doing something to help other students and schools.  

Sonita Alizadeh 

Sonita is currently 24 years old, but her incredible work to help girls started when she was only 16. Living in Afghanistan, she very narrowly avoided being sold into marriage, by her own family. Unfortunately, her situation is not unusual in many countries. In protest of this practice, Sonita wrote a rap song called “Brides For Sale” and shared it on YouTube. Her video went viral, and has since created international buzz, and prompted girls to speak out about their own similar experiences. Sonita continues to spread awareness about forced child marriage, and while it is an upsetting topic to learn about, her work empowering other girls to fight for an end to this practice is so inspiring! 

Malala Yousafzai 

In 2012, Malala was very seriously injured in an assassination attempt. The Taliban had taken control of her small home town in Pakistan, and banned many things, such as owning a TV, playing music, and girls attending school. There were extremely harsh punishments if anyone defied them. Malala loved going to school, and started to speak up against the ban keeping girls from going to school, and even found ways to continue going to school. On her way home from school one day, a gunman boarded her school bus and shot her in the head. Instead of this experience silencing Malala, she worked closely with her dad to create the Malala Fund, and has worked to fight for every girl’s right to go to school ever since. More than 130 million girls worldwide are not in school today, and I love this quote from Malala, stating that she tells her story “not because it is unique, but because it is the story of many girls”.  

Danielle Boyer 

19 year old Danielle found her passion in designing circuits and animatronics. When she realized that STEAM education isn’t available to everyone, she founded STEAM Connection, an organization to provide affordable and accessible STEAM materials to underserved students. Her robot, EKGAR (Every Kid Gets a Robot) has since been given to 4,000 kids at no cost! Danielle says of her passion, “I want girls to know they can find their superpowers, pursue what they love and help others.” 

Anna Lumsargis- York County GSHPA Girl Scout 

Anna worked with the York History Center to update their archives on past women’s history in York County as well as address the role of women in York County play in the present in all aspects of leadership, cultural awareness, and service. The York History Center identified that they needed help providing updated information and accessibility to the information, so she created a website focused on highlighting the women of York County in history, and created a documentary-style video highlighting current influential women in York County. 

Influential Women in York County 

Website

York Daily Record Article 

These girls are incredibly inspiring, and I encourage you to read more about the work that each of them are doing to help girls and women across the world. I think it is so important to celebrate their achievements on International Women’s Day, but also to celebrate that we as girls and women are capable of so much. Even the smallest action starting at home can turn into worldwide change, as many of the girl’s above demonstrate! Happy International Women’s Day, don’t ever lose sight of the incredible things women can do! 


Post by Colleen

Faith Like a Girl Scout

Happy almost Girl Scout Week GSHPA Blog Fam!  We are so excited to be gearing up for the 2021 Girl Scout Week which kicks off on Girl Scout Sunday, March 7th.  Make sure you keep an eye on the Blog next week, because there will be so many exciting posts celebrating Girl Scout Week as we lead up to our 109th Birthday!   

I would be remiss if I did not also wish you a Happy International Women’s month!  We are excited to celebrate International Women’s Day on Monday, March 8th, the second day of Girl Scout Week.  There are so many exciting things happen in March I can barely stand it!  

Now, let’s talk about the first day of Girl Scout Week, the kick off for a full week of celebration that girls across the country celebrate, Girl Scout Sunday!  (Stay with me, there is a little bit of a history lesson before we get into the good stuff!) 

As we all know, Juliette Gordon Low (JGL), met and worked with Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts while in London.  She worked with him on creating the female equivalent while in London.  Together, they then came to America to build the Girl Guides of America movement.  Juliette learned so much from Lord Baden-Powell; how to run a youth organization, activities that were important for girls to learn including confidence, courage, and character, and the importance of creating a space for girls of any religion to participate together, as a unit.  Lord Baden-Powell made it a point to never tether the Boy Scouts to a specific Religion, and JGL followed suit.   

On March 12, 1912, Juliette Gordon Low hosted the first Girl Guides of America meeting (later the Girl Scouts of America) in her carriage house (it was the early 1900’s version of a garage).  There were 18 girls in attendance, that Juliette invited herself.  Some were from families of prominence in Savannah, and some from the local synagogue!  The mixing of religions was something that was seldom done in the early 1900’s.   

When the time came to recruit Troop Leaders for the newly established Girl Guides of America, JGL asked four women to lead the first troop.  Three of those four women were Jewish.  Two of the three of those original leaders went on to hold high ranking positions within the Girl Scouts of America in the first established councils.  Again, the mixing of religions was not something that was commonplace in the early 1900’s, but JGL did not care about the social norm, she cared the girls who joined her organization had the best possible experience, and she knew that would come from powerful female leaders.  

Random Fun Fact! Did you know that the first commercially baked Girl Scout Cookies were made in a Jewish Bakery?  Bonus points if you know what year the first cookies were made commercially!  (If you need a helping hand for your guess, take a look at this article!) 

Juliette Gordon Low was a woman of faith.  She was progressive in her thinking about religion and the relationship it should have in your social engagements, which made her an outcast.  However, her church, the Christ Church of Savannah, was no stranger to being ahead of the times.  The Christ Church was the first Georgian church to have a female ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons.  (To learn more about Susan W. Harrison take a look at the Christ Church of Savannah’s historical timeline!) 

While the Girl Scouts are still a non-denominational organization, and we welcome girls of any and all faiths. Girls are encouraged to recognize that faith can be a driving force for many.  What you put your faith in is where we all differ, and that’s what makes this such a great organization.   

Now, let’s talk about some of the awards girls can earn based on their faith! 

Girls are able to earn multiple different faith based awards.  The official Girl Scout awards include the My Promise, My Faith Pins.  These pins are able to be earned annually from first year Daisys through Graduating Ambassadors.  These pins are earned by choosing a line from the Girl Scout Law and studying how that line corresponds to their faith.  The girls are tasked with researching poems, songs, or stories in their faith that also show the line they’ve chosen from the Law.  They are also tasked with researching inspirational quotes from women and in talking to women within their faith or outside of their faith to discover how they live the line from the law.   

What makes this award unique is that it is not denominational.  Girls of any faith could earn these awards.  In our thirty county foot print we have had girls earn this award in almost every religion.  We currently have a troop finalizing their award in the Hindu Religion!   

Girls can also earn awards specifically focused on their individual religion.  To Serve God awards are created by members of Faith Based organizations who are also Girl scouts.  Girls work with advisors, whether spiritual or Girl Scout, to earn their religious award.  There are more than 29 different denominations with advanced awards offered through the Pray Pub organization in partnership with the Girl Scouts.   

These awards, like all of our awards, are unique to the girls who earn them.  No two projects ever look the same and no two girls ever bring the same experiences to their Girl Scout Experience.   

To learn more about the My Promise, My Faith Pins or the awards offered through the Pray Pub Partnership, check out here, or here, your place of worship, or your Girl Scout Handbook!  


Post by Erica