April is Volunteer Appreciation Month. Volunteers are the backbone of Girl Scouts. Through the support of parents, troop leaders and many other volunteers, Girl Scouts is able to build girls of courage, confidence and character. Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania thanks all volunteers, past and present, for their service.
The video below is dedicated to our volunteers who work so hard to uplift our girls. Thank you!
Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to announce Adia Walker as its new Chief of Staff.
Walker enters the role with more than two years’ experience as GSHPA’s former regional director.
“I am so excited to have Adia Walker step into the role of Chief of Staff at GSHPA. As Girl Scouts’ former regional director, she demonstrated great leadership ability. I know she will wholly embrace this new role and continue leading our organization to great places,” said Janet Donovan, GSHPA President and CEO.
As Chief of Staff, Walker will provide organizational support for the president and CEO of GSHPA and function as an intermediary between GSHPA’s executive team and stakeholders. She will also assist and communicate with executives in decision making, program management and initiative implementation. With her comprehensive knowledge of GSHPA’s overall functions, Walker will assist in implementing major goals and oversee strategic business initiatives.
“I’m really looking forward to learning a whole new aspect of the organization. I was embedded in the membership side of things, and that helps to motivate me to learn more about the organization and keep lifting GSHPA up to new successful heights,” Walker said of her recent appointment.
Walker applied for the position seeking a new challenge and opportunity for growth. Guided by her passion for Girl Scouting and her belief in its positive impact, Walker looks forward to her next chapter with Girl Scouts.
“I’m very much personally invested in the Girl Scout mission. I have an almost 11-year-old daughter who’s been in Girl Scouts since kindergarten. I’ve seen the amazing foundation Girl Scouts has laid for her and I know how important Girl Scouting can be for girls and their families which creates a ripple effect for the whole community,” Walker said.
Editor’s note: The Community Leadership Series Class of 2022 elected Walker as the Class Representative to the Leadership Harrisburg Area (LHA) Board of Directors in early May 2022. Her term will officially begin July 1, 2022.
In recognition of Volunteer Appreciation Month, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to celebrate Patricia ‘Trish’ Leib joining its Finance and Audit Committee and Amy Beamer Murray and GSHPA Board Member Gina Suydam joining its Volunteer Strategy Committee.
“We are very excited to be working with our dedicated board leadership and committee members to continue making a difference in our local communities by building girls of courage, confidence and character,” said Janet Donovan, GSHPA President and CEO.
Leib, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., recently retired from a 44-year career in financial services with PNC Bank. She began her career at a community bank holding various positions until the bank was acquired by PNC Bank in 1988. She held several positions within PNC and spent the last 20 years in the Institutional Asset Management Group. She was a portfolio manager and relationship manager for charitable and non-profit organizations and corporate pension plans. In that role she was an advocate for clients providing solutions for the achievement of their financial goals. Leib currently serves on the congregation council of her church and is a board member of nonprofit cemetery. A lifelong resident of central Pennsylvania, she resides in Silver Spring Township.
Murray, of Harrisburg, Pa., is chief operating officer and partner at Pavone Marketing Group, a Harrisburg-based advertising agency. Pavone was founded in 1992 and she was the company’s first employee. Over the years, she worked at Pavone in a variety of roles, including project management, accounting, account service, media planning and public relations. Murray serves the community in numerous ways: as a member of the board of Caitlin’s Smiles; as a seminar volunteer for Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY); as a classroom volunteer for Junior Achievement of South Central Pennsylvania; and as a guest speaker at numerous high schools, colleges and universities, and community groups. She has been named one of the Central Penn Business Journal’s Forty under 40, as one of the Top 50 Business Women in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and as Rising Star by the Elizabethtown College Business Alumni. She has also been named as one of the Top 25 Women of Influence in Central Pennsylvania.
Suydam, of Tunkhannock, Pa., is the President/CEO of the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, where she works with a variety of businesses in rural northeast Pennsylvania. Suydam serves as a board member for the Pennsylvania Association of Chamber Professionals, Northeast Sight Services and Wyoming County Community Alliance, participates with the Northern Tier Partnership for Regional Economic Performance assisting with economic development of a five-county region, and represents the county on the regional Economic Development Agency at the request of the Wyoming County Commissioners. She was named one of Northeast Pennsylvania’s Top 25 Women in Business in 2017 by the Northeast PA Business Journal. Currently, Suydam is collaborating with several other Wyoming County organizations on a Community Heart & Soul initiative, a humanities-based approach to community planning sponsored in part by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. She is also facilitating the sixth annual class of Leadership Wyoming, a regional leadership program which she implemented to develop a more complete awareness of Wyoming County’s industries among local professionals.
*All Mission Moment information is submitted by volunteers/members. Should you have any questions regarding a submission, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Catherine Amoriello
We love getting to see all of the great things our Girl Scouts are doing in their local communities! In March, our girls were busy making an impact by collecting donations for an animal shelter, giving back to veterans, leading a donation collection for a nursing home and so much more.
Junior Girl Scouts host pet supply drive for Bronze Award project
Junior Girl Scouts Leah and SkyLee from Troop 11570 in Dauphin County hosted a pet supply drive for their Bronze Award project. The supplies will be donated to the Perry County Animal Rescue. They also hosted a bake sale and used the proceeds to buy more supplies to donate.
Girl Scouts assist with church service
Girl Scouts Sophia, Lily and Kelsey from Troop 32817 in Luzerne County volunteered at Firwood United Methodist Church in Luzerne County. The girls participated in the service by reading, assisting with the offertory collection and extinguishing candles.
Juliette rallies community to give back to nursing home residents
Juliette Junior Girl Scout Callie in Northumberland County packed 156 care packages for the residents of Mountain View, A Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, for her Bronze Award project. Callie chose this project to show the nursing home residents that their local community cares about them. After identifying resident needs, Callie reached out to local businesses, friends, family, her school and national businesses for donations needed for her collection.
Troop learns about money; has sweet outdoor adventure
Girl Scouts from Troop 20376 in York County visited Boscov’s for a lesson on money to earn a cookie badge. As part of the activity, the girls were tasked with finding three outfits they could get for $50 each.
Troop 20376 also teamed up with Girl Scouts from Troop 21195 for an adventure at Nixon County Park for the Maple Sugar Festival weekend. The girls had lots of fun at the event learning how syrup is made.
Troop faces snow to hold successful cookie booth
Girl Scouts from Troop 70070 in Lancaster County braved wintry weather to host their cookie booth. The snow couldn’t keep customers away as the girls sold 57 boxes of cookies.
Troop supports military troops with cookie donation event
Girl Scouts from Troop 52140 in Lackawanna County participated in a Girl Scout Cookie donation event. Customers at the event could buy boxes of cookies for themselves and then donate boxes of cookies to veterans at the Gino J. Merli Veterans’ Center. The troop is aiming to get more than 200 boxes donated this year. The girls were also able to meet and speak with veterans at the event.
Girl Scouts partner with Amazon for International Women’s Day talk
Girl Scouts Mari and Paige from Troop 51445 in Lackawanna County visited an Amazon site to present an International Women’s Day talk about the history of Girl Scouts and its impact on women.
Girl Scouts don cookie suits to draw customers to cookie booth
Girl Scouts from Troop 21077 in York County dressed up in cookie suits to advertise their products during their cookie booth sale.
Girls learn about engineering design process through Academic Edge program
Girls in first and second grade in Dauphin County learned about and applied the engineering design process to help Mario design a new race track in honor of National Mario Day. The girls completed the same steps used by scientists, inventors and engineers. The girls completed the activity through a STEAM-focused Academic Edge program.
Do you have a Girl Scout Mission Moment to share? Submit it now so we can showcase your passion and hard work in next month’s recap!
Autism has its challenges, but one York mom sees how Girl Scouts has opened up opportunities for her daughter.
By Catherine Amoriello
Since Girl Scouts’ inception in 1912, the organization has been focused on inclusiveness, encouraging girls to be confident in themselves and their abilities and to support and lead one another. Years later this sentiment still rings true, and 10-year-old Junior Girl Scout Mara is just one of thousands of girls who has benefitted from the welcoming environment of Girl Scouts.
Mara joined Girl Scouts in 2019 as a Brownie at the suggestion of her third grade autistic support teacher. Mara has high-functioning autism, which her mother Becca Thiec described as facing certain challenges with communication but being able to function with minimal assistance in a general education classroom. When Mara joined Girl Scout Troop 20484 in York County, she was welcomed by her troop mates who encouraged her and helped her overcome those challenges.
“We were doing fun patch work for the 110th celebration. One of the activities was doing puzzles which can be a difficult thing for her,” Thiec said. “The girls encouraged her and got her involved with the activity.”
The girls in Mara’s troop have become genuine friends. Mara said seeing her friends every other week is her favorite part about being in Girl Scouts, and after listing off a stream of names when asked who her friends are, Thiec confirmed Mara had just named every girl in her troop.
“Rose and Jazz in particular will literally say, ‘Hey Mara, what’s up?’ ‘Mara come on!’ They made sure she was along with them for whatever we were doing as a troop that the other girls then saw how to get Mara more involved and help boost her confidence,” Thiec said.
Along with many friendships, Mara has also gained confidence, independence and communication skills since joining her troop. Thiec credits the Girl Scouts.
“She has opened up more socially than before, which is related to autism. We did a skating party at the beginning of February and she saw a couple that fell. I think between maturity level and the Girl Scouts, she actually went out and said, ‘Are you OK?’ She wouldn’t have done that before,” Thiec said.
Thiec is a big supporter of her daughter’s Girl Scout experience. She usually stays at the troop meetings to provide one-on-one assistance for Mara if needed, but Mara has become increasingly more independent.
“There’s times she’s pushing me away – that’s a good thing if she’s pushing me away. She doesn’t want mommy’s help for certain tasks that’s being asked of her in troop meetings or troop functions,” Thiec said.
Through Girl Scouts, Mara has been able to participate in a multitude of activities she wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. From completing a Take Action Project with her troop where they collected donations for a homeless shelter, to visiting Foxfire House at Camp Furnace Hills in Lancaster County, to going indoor camping, Girl Scouts has provided Mara the opportunity to challenge herself. She even went horseback riding.
“She was definitely afraid,” Thiec said of her daughter’s first introduction to equestrianism. “[But] she actually got on a horse and did horseback riding. If there wasn’t somebody there that she already knew, she wouldn’t have done it.”
Thiec is looking forward to seeing Mara continue to apply the life skills she’s learning in Girl Scouts in her everyday life.
“[I’m] just hoping that with what she has gained social-skill wise, [she] keeps pushing forward, that she doesn’t regress which I don’t think she will,” Thiec said. “Overall I can see social interaction growth, and overall growth. She’s doing so well.”
While Mara’s Girl Scout experience may differ from others because of her autism, Thiec believes the inclusiveness of Girl Scouts reaches all girls.
“It doesn’t matter if a girl has a disability or not,” Thiec said. “As long as you can find the troop that is open-armed, like mine is, they’ll accept her no matter what.”
As the Russia-Ukraine war continues in Europe, Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) has shared opportunities for Girl Scouts to raise money in support of our sister Girl Guides and their volunteers and families who are being impacted by the war in Ukraine.
Here are some ways that girls can offer their support.
CARE – Ukraine Crisis Fund — Collecting funds to send immediate aid such as food, water, hygiene kits and services. The initiative prioritizes support for women, girls and the elderly.
Save the Children – Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund — An international humanitarian organization that is focused on improving the lives of children around the world in addition to providing emergency aid in natural disasters, war and other conflicts.
United Help Ukraine — A Maryland-based volunteer organization that funds first aid kits, humanitarian relief and emergency medical care.
Voices of Children — A Ukrainian organization supporting children with psycho-social support.
GSHPA applied for funds to build more yurts at Camp Small Valley because the current structures are its most popular lodging option and serve as a unique draw to the camp property. Yurts are circular-dome structures with walls that are built on platforms. This design dates back nearly 3,000 years to Central Asia. GSHPA’s yurts comfortably accommodate larger groups and are available to rent any season of the year making them an ideal lodging option year-round.
“Our girls love the yurts because their round shapes, bunk beds, screen doors and high ceilings make them fun to hang out in,” said Ginger Aurand, a troop leader for Service Unit (SU) 646. “I would recommend the yurts for all other Scouts, but especially to young Scouts who are experiencing camp for the first time. The yurts have a comfortable feel and almost feel home-like.”
The addition of these new yurts will create opportunity for more girls and camp visitors to use the property and enjoy their outdoor experience. GSHPA anticipates the new yurts being completed and ready for use by fall 2023.
Camp Small Valley hosts GSHPA’s summer resident camp and year-round, council-sponsored outdoor events. The yurts are a component of overnight camping with Girl Scouts, which is a longstanding and well-established element of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). We know that participation in outdoor programs promotes a higher level of engagement in environmental stewardship, and Girl Scouts who have monthly outdoor experiences are stronger problem-solvers and better challenge-seekers.
Camp Small Valley, its yurts and its other amenities are not only available to Girl Scouts but to any and all looking for a unique camping experience. Families, schools, organizations and individuals are welcome to rent lodging and amenities through GSHPA and are encouraged to learn more about GSHPA Summer Camp properties.
EDITOR’S NOTE (March 29, 2022) David Ross Orthodontics pledges to purchase two cases of Girl Scout Cookies per troop, not per girl.
By Catherine Amoriello
Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is more than halfway through its Girl Scout Cookie Season and our girls are going stronger than ever! While Girl Scouts work hard to sell their cookies and hone their entrepreneurship skills, it’s important to remember that Cookie Season would not be possible without the support of many individuals. From our bakers, to our volunteers, to our cookie-loving customers, we appreciate all who support our Girl Scouts in reaching their cookie goals. One such supporter of the Girl Scout Cookie Program is Dr. David Ross of David Ross Orthodontics out of Hanover, Pa., and Lutherville-Timonium, Md.
This year will be the fourth year the practice is pledging to purchase two cases of Girl Scout Cookies per girl. As an orthodontic practice that serves a mostly younger demographic, supporting girls aligns with Ross’ philanthropic goals.
“The core of our practice is children. Anything that comes into our focal point of supporting kids, supporting programs that support children or supporting schools has always been the main focus of David Ross Orthodontics,” Ross said.
Ross began the practice’s cookie initiative as a way to eliminate the challenge girls face of having to go door-to-door, or wait for customers to come to them to buy cookies. The initiative not only provides direct support to Girl Scouts and their troops, but gives back to individuals making a difference in the community as well. All cookies purchased by Ross are donated to first responders in Hanover, including police officers, firefighters, nurses and other community heroes.
“We support them [Girl Scouts] and take the cookies to support others in a pay it forward concept, which is how we run our business,” Ross said. “We have always done this, but the pandemic adds to the ‘thank you’ for all the hard work they do. Giving back to them has been so great and something that we want to do.”
In 2021, the practice purchased and donated more than 35 cases, or about 420 boxes, of Girl Scout Cookies. The practice does not have a limit to how many girls it will support through buying cases of cookies, and it welcomes any girl from any troop to get involved by emailing email@example.com or calling/texting their office in Hanover at 717-637-4131.
And in case you were wondering, yes, Ross not only donates cookies but enjoys them himself as well! The orthodontist’s favorite Girl Scout Cookie is Thin Mints (but they have to be frozen).
As we continue our Cookie Season here at Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA), we remain focused on bestowing entrepreneurship knowledge and skills upon girls to help them succeed in their cookie endeavors. As our young entrepreneurs are busy out in the field promoting and selling cookies, we got the chance to chat with former Girl Scout and entrepreneurship guru Lisa Hall Zielinski, Director of The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
Zielinski kindly imparted valuable entrepreneurship advice for us to share with all of you future female business leaders, so read on to learn how to take your passion for entrepreneurship to the next level!
According to your online profile, you were raised in a family business. Can you describe what that experience was like and how it influenced your career path?
Growing up in my family’s automotive business, I learned a little bit about everything! I helped out with everything from finances to inventory to changing tires and rebuilding engines. I was voted Most Mechanical in my high school class – maybe not what every girl dreams of, but not every girl is the same. I learned to appreciate small businesses and how important they are to families and communities and, while I was not always clear about exactly what I wanted to do for a career, I knew small businesses would be an important part.
What are some of your responsibilities as director of The University of Scranton SBDC?
As Director of The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center (SBDC), I oversee the organization and lead an awesome team of staff and interns who provide educational programming and individual consulting to entrepreneurs in eight counties in Northeastern and Northern Tier Pennsylvania. Aside from leading the team, I manage our operation from start to finish. I make sure we are on task on every project, achieve goals and keep in compliance with all policies and grant guidelines. Collaboration is also a major part of my job, working with colleagues and partners across the region. I also teach some of our training classes, and I teach undergraduate classes in the Kania School of Management.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The people and the variety! My team, our university students, our partners and the clients we serve are what I love most about my job. I am an extrovert and get my energy from connecting with others. I also like the variety of my work. I get to do a little bit of everything and I use many of the skills and knowledge I learned through my education – leadership, marketing, psychology, accounting, math, and so on. Believe it or not, I even use algebra!
What challenges do you face in your job?
Running a nonprofit means lots of juggling. There is never enough time or funding to reach all of the people or do all of the projects. With so many people to serve, it can be really hard for me to prioritize and set boundaries and to help my team do so also.
Can you speak to the importance of mentorship within the field of entrepreneurship/business?
I think mentorship is positive in any field, but especially when it comes to entrepreneurship and business. Having someone else to talk to and learn from can be extremely helpful, especially when you are on your own trying to run a business. You don’t have to do everything exactly as a mentor would do, but hearing their experience and getting their input can be really helpful when it comes to overcoming challenges or pursuing opportunities.
Do you mentor any girls/women in the area of business and/or entrepreneurship?
I have worked with many women and young women over time, starting with my time at Keystone College where I ran a leadership center and continuing when I came to The University of Scranton through my work with the SBDC. I have closely mentored a handful of young women because I think it’s critically important that we help each other succeed. I think women of all ages can do amazing things when they put their minds to it, and we can achieve more by working together!
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world. What challenges do you think Girl Scouts face in the program that might mirror challenges adult entrepreneurs face?
No matter what your age, it’s hard work to market and sell products or services with all of the information and competition in our world today. Coming up with new and innovative ways to reach customers is something every entrepreneur should be thinking about these days and it’s not easy. The good thing is that Girl Scout Cookies are delicious! (I have two favorites, by the way, Caramel deLites and Lemonades!)
What benefits do you think entrepreneurship skills provide young girls?
I believe the skills young girls can learn through entrepreneurship are skills for life! Through entrepreneurship, girls can learn critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, innovation, self-discipline and much more. They can build skills in financial literacy and leadership and learn how to set and achieve goals. All of these things help build strengths that are important no matter what they choose to do in life. Also, we need more woman-owned businesses! Through entrepreneurship, women can create their own economic independence, create jobs for others and make a positive impact on our economy.
What advice would you give to girls interested in a career in business/entrepreneurship?
Try lots of things and don’t be afraid to fail! I keep quotes posted near my desk to create a motivating environment. This one is from Woody Allen: “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” While most of us strive for success and want to avoid the pain of failure at all costs, I think we often learn more from our ideas that don’t work and it often leads us to come up with even better ones!
Were you a Girl Scout? If yes, can you share your favorite memory from your time as a Girl Scout?
I was a Girl Scout and my mom was a leader. I have very clear memories of meetings, specific projects and outdoor adventures. I remember towers of cookies piled in our kitchen during cookie time! I also helped my mom when my younger sister was a Daisy. In fact, the day after I got my driver’s license, I drove a car full of Daisies to the airport for a tour!
Representatives from Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) were welcomed to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s office on March 9 to mark a milestone in the Girl Scouts’ history: the 110th birthday celebration.
March 12 marks the day that Founder Juliette Gordon Lowe organized the first Girl Scout Troop in Savannah, Georgia. Lowe was ahead of her time as she helped organize enrichment programs, service projects and outdoor activities. Since the time of the first meeting with 18 girls present, Girl Scouts has grown to over 3.7 million members.
Janet Donovan, GSHPA President and CEO, was joined by Hershey-area Girl Scouts and sisters Alexis and Scarlett, a sixth-grade Cadette and a Daisy in first grade, respectively; and Raina, a third-grader and Brownie from Middletown.
GSHPA presented Gov. Wolf with his favorite Girl Scout Cookie, Thin Mints, as well as the newest Girl Scout Cookie, Adventurefuls (full transparency: the governor did pay for the cookies). Gov. Wolf also signed the GSHPA Happy Birthday poster and stood for various photos with the visiting Girl Scouts.
We thank the governor and his team for their hospitality this past week.