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!!! 

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.

Fall Fun with Friends

By Colleen Buck

Fall is a busy time of firsts – first day of school, first soccer practice, first time meeting new friends, the list goes on! With all of those firsts, it is also a great time for Girl Scouts to experience some firsts together while embracing the change of seasons and getting to know new and old Girl Scout friends. You can even add an additional layer of fun to your troop’s fall activities by incorporating a fun patch that goes along with the activity for the girls to remember the fun they had.

As you are thinking of fun fall activities to share with your girls, we have compiled a list of ideas for you to use. Some of our favorite well-known and not so well known ideas are listed. If your troop is extra-adventurous, you can take our challenge of completing all of these activities!

  • Experience a hayride
  • Go to an orchard to pick apples
  • Try some delicious apple cider at the apple orchard
  • Hold a troop investiture
  • Go to a pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins together
  • Have a pumpkin decorating showcase or contest
  • Attend a GSHPA program in person or virtually
  • Go on a nature walk to find items to use while working on your Outdoor Art badge!
  • Compile recipes for the best fall drink, shop for the ingredients, then have a taste test party
  • Plan and throw a big birthday party for Juliette Gordon Low (Oct 31)
  • Attend or participate in a fall community parade
  • Combine fun and community service, and offer to rake the leaves for an elderly neighbor
  • Plan and make a Troop “Friendsgiving” Dinner and invite families to join in the fun of eating it
  • If all of the girls in your troop celebrate Halloween, have a costume troop meeting and take lots of pictures
  • Plan a community service project together
  • Pair up with another troop to exchange SWAPS
  • Have a bonfire
  • Learn how to cook over a fire – s’mores or popcorn are good fall campfire snacks!
  • Go on a hike
  • Learn how to sew, knit or crochet
  • Visit a GSHPA camp property and get outdoors
  • Have a movie night
  • Have a fall themed craft party
  • Plan a Take Action Project

If your troop takes our challenge of completing all of these fabulous fall activities, you can use the attached PDF to keep track of what you have completed. If your troop is going to take the challenge, sound off in the comments to let us know what you are most looking forward to!

Colleen Buck is a Program Coordinator at GSHPA.

Jess Delp: GSHPA’s Rising Star

By Cathy Hirko

A couple weeks ago the team here at Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania found out that one of our own has been named to the 2021 Class of Forty Under 40 from the Central Penn Business Journal.

Jess Delp, our Director of Product Program and Retail, now stands with some of the brightest rising stars in our midstate community.

While we all happily congratulate Jess, we thought it was a perfect time to have Jess share a bit about herself, the award and all the goodness surrounding this honor.

Read on:

GSHPA: Congrats on being named to CPBJ’s Forty Under 40. You are now among a class of high-profile leaders in the Harrisburg business community. Tell us a little bit about your last couple years with GSHPA. What are some of your proudest moments? What are some of your biggest accomplishments?

DELP: Working for GSHPA has introduced me to some of the most incredible volunteers and girls. I am constantly inspired by all they do. During 2020 it was incredible to watch our Girl Scouts adapt to the ever-changing world to continue to build their cookie businesses, meet their goals and make the world a better place- all while staying safe!

GSHPA: Spill the beans on how you manage your workload with GSHPA. How do you stay on top of your projects and the new projects bubbling to the top every day?

DELP: I am full of energy so I am constantly working, connecting and creating. While completing one project I am already thinking of three other things I want to do. I am passionate about my work and that makes every day fun!

GSHPA: If you had a chance to share one need that GSHPA needs to fill, what would it be and how can your fellow Forty Under 40 class help out?

DELP: It is important to me that our community know how relevant and important Girl Scouts is. We love our history and traditions, but we also embrace the new world and work tirelessly to support our members and to make the world a better place. Having other community stakeholders speaking on our behalf and invested in our work is imperative.

GSHPA: I know the GSHPA team is very lucky to have you as a leader on our team and you inspire many. Want to give any shoutouts to those folks who inspire you, both in and outside the organization?  

DELP:  Lauren Linhard (Brittany Insider), Meghan Kahler (Northwestern Mutual) and Jen Hicks (Central Bark) are amazing entrepreneurs in the York community who I have the pleasure of working with and being friends with. JT Hand is the CEO of York Water Company and I love his work ethic and passion for the community. I also very much respect Jon Taffer. His business acumen is unmatched and he recognizes that the people are the most important piece of any business.

Cathy Hirko is the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennyslvania. You can reach her at chirko@gshpa.org.