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The Salvation Army Harrisburg’s Lauren Sheeler shares Girl Scouts’ impact on career choice, passion to help others

A nonprofit resource development director from Cumberland County works to build a better community for others.

By Catherine Amoriello

Many girls have found and nurtured their passion through Girl Scouts, and Lauren Sheeler, director of resource development at The Salvation Army Harrisburg Capital City Region, is no exception.

Lauren Sheeler, director of resource development at The Salvation Army Harrisburg Capital City Region.

Sheeler began her Girl Scout journey in kindergarten as a Daisy and continued Girl Scouting until middle school. As a Girl Scout, she was given the opportunity to travel for the first time in her life when her troop took a road trip to visit the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah, Ga.

“I came from a small town and hadn’t ever traveled anywhere. Our whole goal was just to broaden our horizons,” Sheeler said. “It was such an eye-opening trip to learn how many things existed outside of our community.”

While the trip to Juliette Gordon Low’s house was a big highlight for Sheeler, the most impactful moment of her Girl Scout experience was when she earned her Bronze Award. Sheeler’s project was a book collection and book sale, and she donated the proceeds to a local senior center. Through the project she earned literacy and Across Generations badges which she said have stayed relevant with her throughout her career.

Sheeler’s involvement with Girl Scouts, as well as service-based activities she performed through her youth group, gave her a passion for projects that help others. And with some encouragement from one of her professors in college, Sheeler decided to put her business degree and skills to work in the nonprofit realm.

Sheeler on Good Day PA on ABC27 sharing information about The Salvation Army’s Celebration of Potential event.

Sheeler worked for The Salvation Army Serving the Greater Carlisle Area for seven years before joining The Salvation Army Harrisburg in November 2021. The story of the organization’s founder General William Booth sending a one-word telegram saying, “Others!” to encourage and inspire Salvation Army soldiers at a convention in 1910 continues to encourage and inspire Sheeler today.

“It’s such a privilege to be involved in an organization that’s focused on helping others and that’s what I get to do for a living. I just love hearing how their lives have been blessed and changed because of The Salvation Army,” Sheeler said.

Sheeler accepting a gift on behalf of The Salvation Army from Traditions Bank to support the Summer Youth Enrichment Program.

As director of resource development, Sheeler contributes to the organization’s mission by securing funds to deliver services to the community, writing grants, meeting with funders and donors and overseeing a team of four that work in various fields. Having to manage a five million dollar budget is a stressful task, Sheeler said, but thanks to her natural high energy she’s able to stay motivated and keep driving forward toward her main goal: others.

“It is very challenging. You get very emotionally invested in your career. But the internal reward and the fulfillment is why you do the job.”

Does your girl need some inspiration in finding her passion? Check out the Girl Scouts Badge Explorer to find activities that align with her interests!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

Mission Moment Recap – September

Girl Scouts in Cumberland, Lycoming, Perry, Wayne, Wyoming, and York counties give back to community

*All Mission Moment information is submitted by volunteers/members. Should you have any questions regarding a submission, please email camoriello@gshpa.org.

By Catherine Amoriello

We love getting to see all of the great things our Girl Scouts are doing in their local communities! In September, our girls were busy making an impact by donating to a local animal shelter, helping the environment, completing Highest Award projects, and so much more.

Daisies and Brownies give back to a local animal shelter.

Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts from Troop 52238 in Wayne County helped homeless pets in their neighborhood by collecting supplies and donations for the Dessin Animal Shelter. The shelter staff and volunteers were grateful for the large donation of pet food, treats, toys, leashes, carry cases, and cleaning supplies.

A Senior Girl Scout improves her local environment with a pollination project.

Senior Girl Scout Maia from Wyoming County took action for her Sow What journey by researching ways to benefit local insect pollinators. Using her Girl Scout Cookie Season funds, she distributed native sunflower seeds and educational materials to over 100 local residents to help provide early resources for pollinators in the spring.

Perry County troop partners with PA Game Commission to build bluebird houses.

Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 10494 in Perry County completed their Animal Habitat badge by building Pennsylvania Game Commission bluebird houses. The girls learned about different animal habitats from the Commission to earn the badge.

Juniors use their Bronze Award project to help senior residents.

Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 20387 in York County helped a local retirement home for their Bronze Award project. They assembled two raised garden beds for the residents to use to plant vegetables.

Girl Scouts revamp an unused church room for preschoolers for their Silver Award project.

Girl Scouts Gabby, Paige, and Sophia from Troop 11640 in Cumberland County earned their Silver Award by converting an unused preschool room at a church into a new preschool lunch room. They painted the room, created educational posters about healthy nutrition to display in the room, and designated a special wall for students to showcase their art.

Girl Scouts of all age levels gather for an investiture and bridging ceremony.

Girl Scouts from Service Units 628 and 624 in Lycoming County kicked off the new Girl Scout year with an investiture and bridging ceremony. Thirty girls from eight troops spanning all age levels celebrated their commitment to Girl Scouts through the special event at Indian Park.

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! Visit our Mission Moment Recap webpage on the GSHPA Blog to see more Mission Moments from previous months.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

How entrepreneur and former Girl Scout Hilarie Bohdel left her 9-5 to pursue her passion for teaching art

A craft party business owner in York County shares her journey to entrepreneurial success.

By Catherine Amoriello

Hilarie Bohdel, business owner and entrepreneur.

Some entrepreneurs know they want to be their own boss early on in life, but for Hilarie Bohdel, she stumbled into her business venture by chance.

Bohdel was on the traditional career path – she had earned her business degree, got a steady job, and found her place in the workforce. But eventually Bohdel felt she was stuck in a rut in her career. It was not until her friend took her to a paint party she discovered a new passion she would ultimately turn into a livelihood.

“It was about the experience of everyone coming together to take time for themselves and start something new,” Bohdel said of her introduction to paint parties. “My friend said, ‘You need to do this.’”

Make a Masterpiece participants show off the creations Bohdel helped them create.

In 2013, Bohdel established her paint party business Make a Masterpiece. What initially began as a side hustle took only two years to become her full-time job. Her business has evolved in many ways since its inception almost a decade ago, mainly due to Bohdel’s ability to identify new opportunities and adapt to the needs and wants of her customers.

“Sometimes the steps to success will be challenging. There’s going to be hard stuff, but you have to get through it to get to the reward.”

Hilarie Bohdel, owner of Make a Masterpiece

At the beginning, Make a Masterpiece was mainly focused on canvas painting. Bohdel realized the potential for wood-stencil craft parties and added them to her repertoire of services. Since adding wood signs as a craft option, 75 percent of the parties she leads are focused on wood sign art. Bohdel pivoted yet again in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world. She was able to keep Make a Masterpiece relevant by switching to DIY kits and virtual parties. Next, she plans on offering memberships for those who love to paint frequently.

“You really have to be passionate about your business to be successful. It does take so much to run a business time and patience wise, so you really have to love it or you will get burnt out,” Bohdel said.

Bohdel leads a paint party for children.

To say Bohdel puts in the work to be successful is an understatement. She manages all event logistics, from creating schedules, preparing supplies, working with vendors, and planning her events. She’s even learned woodworking and developed software and coding skills to improve the success of her business.

Although Bohdel entered the professional world with a business degree, she’s had an interest in the arts since childhood. As a former Girl Scout who participated as a Daisy through Junior, Bohdel remembers her favorite part of scouting was crafting and learning how to tie-dye and bead. Now, her 10-year-old daughter is following in her footsteps as she enters her second year of scouting as a Brownie.

“I think Girl Scouts is wonderful. I think it’s a great opportunity for girls to experience something they might not have otherwise,” Bohdel said.

For girls looking to hone art skills like Hilarie’s, there are multiple badge opportunities to explore! Check out a few of the options available below.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

GSHPA’s Women of Distinction Celebration honors five inspiring local women, raises over $150,000 for Girl Scouts

By Catherine Amoriello

The Country Club of York was filled with excitement and gratitude on Sept. 14 as Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) hosted its Women of Distinction Celebration event which raised over $150,000 for Girl Scouts.

More than 200 guests attended the celebration to support Girl Scouts and honor five outstanding women who represent the foundation of Girl Scouting. GSHPA recognized Marion Nivert as this year’s recipient of the GSHPA Generational Award which celebrates those who have lived by and shared the values of Girl Scouts with their community and future generations. Dr. Pamela Gunter-Smith, president of York College, was recognized as the STEM honoree; Kim Lemon, former senior anchor for WGAL, was recognized as the life skills honoree; Betsy Hamm, CEO for Duck Donuts, was recognized as the entrepreneurship honoree; and Shannon Gority, owner and principal consultant for Raindrop to River Consulting, was recognized as the outdoors honoree.

STEM, life skills, entrepreneurship, and outdoors are all components of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). As champions of women in leadership roles, Gunter-Smith, Lemon, Hamm, and Gority each embody a component of Girl Scouting and serve as positive role models and figures of inspiration to girls and women in our local communities.

At the event, guests enjoyed a cocktail reception and served dinner while they heard from speakers Deb Bogdanski, GSHPA COO; the Women of Distinction honorees; and 2020 Gold Award recipient and former Girl Scout Carley Furlow. The program finished with an exciting live auction.

The fun continued after the event as guests made their way outside to take part in a Girl Scout tradition – s’mores around a camp fire! Attendees gathered around fire pits to close out the evening of celebration in true Girl Scout fashion – by enjoying a tasty treat alongside new friends in the outdoors.

Didn’t get a chance to attend this year’s celebration? Check out the photo gallery below to experience GSHPA’s 2022 Women of Distinction Celebration event for yourself!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

Meet the Women of Distinction: Outdoors honoree Shannon Gority

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to recognize Shannon Gority, owner and principal consultant for Raindrop to River Consulting, as its outdoors honoree for the 2022 Women of Distinction Celebration.

Shannon Gority, owner and principal consultant for Raindrop to River Consulting
GSHPA will recognize Shannon Gority as this year’s Women of Distinction outdoors honoree.

Gority has years of experience working for clean water in Pennsylvania, having served as the first CEO of Capital Region Water, and most recently, as executive officer of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Pennsylvania office. She said her heart for public service, problem-solving brain and love of nature led her to pursue degrees in civil and environmental engineering from Juniata College and Penn State University.

“When I learned that I could help people and the environment in a sustainable way, I had no question that environmental engineering was the right fit for me,” Gority said.

Her drive to help others comes from her mother, who Gority said works hard for her community and inspires her to do the same. Both her mother and her grandmother were Girl Scouts, and her two nieces are in Girl Scouts today. While Gority herself was never a member, she witnessed firsthand the effect of Girl Scouts on her loved ones.

From left to right: Gority’s uncle Bob, grandmother Marion, and mother Donna.

“I have seen the positive impact Girl Scouts has made on my nieces and recognize the attributes in my mother and grandmother developed through their time scouting. They all have a zest for learning and helping others,” Gority said.

While Gority focused on engineering to make an impact in her field, she said a career in environmental science can come in many different forms. She believes environmental sciences are critical to the future of our planet and humanity, and encourages individuals to look into various avenues to join the cause.

“A career in environmental science doesn’t need to be math or science focused. It could be psychology or sociology to better communicate problems and solutions; political science or law to advocate for the environment; history to understand past failures and successes; or education to inspire the next generation of environmental heroes.”

Gority currently resides in Dauphin County. She lives steps away from the Susquehanna River where she enjoys boating with her daughter.

GSHPA’s Women of Distinction Celebration will be held on Sept. 14, 2022, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Country Club of York. Visit GSHPA’s Women of Distinction registration page to purchase tickets.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

Get to know our 2022 Virtual Volunteer Conference speakers

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to officially announce its Virtual Volunteer Conference (VVC) speaker lineup!

The third annual VVC will be held Nov. 5 and will feature three different tracks geared toward Service Units, troop leaders, and girls. Each track will take a deeper dive into a multitude of topics led by guest speakers. And additionally, for the first time ever, there will be an all-girl panel so volunteers and girls can learn more about the Girl Scout experience from the best possible source – our Girl Scouts!

Get ready for this information-packed event by learning more about our guest speakers below.

Becca Zelner
Becca Zelner, lobbyist at Greenlee Partners, LLC.

Becca lives in New Cumberland, Pa., in Cumberland County. She serves as a lobbyist at Greenlee Partners, LLC. Becca will be speaking to the topic of mental health under the girl track and will cover information related to the difficulty of mental health in young women and how to overcome barriers, as well as self-care and how to express emotions revolving around mental health. Becca is a former Girl Scout and participated for eight years as a girl. During her Girl Scout journey, she received the Bronze Award for creating a community garden with her troop.

Belinda S. Stefl
Belinda Stefl, retired graphic designer and long-time Girl Scout volunteer.

Belinda lives in Milton, Pa., in Northumberland County. She is a retired graphic designer who worked for Geisinger and the Times Leader newspaper. Belinda will be speaking to the topic of planning events for Service Units under the Service Unit track and will cover information related to event planning, utilizing resources available in one’s own community to host events, and identifying individuals who are willing to share their skills and volunteer for Girl Scouts. Belinda currently provides special event support for multiple Service Units. She has been volunteering for Girl Scouts since 1979 and has received several recognitions, including the Thanks Badge, for her dedication to building girls of courage, confidence, and character. Belinda is a former Girl Scout and began as a Brownie in 1966 and has been involved with the organization since. During her Girl Scout journey, she received the First Class award in 1973, now known as the Gold Award.

Carissa Burgett
Carissa Burgett, assistant to the president and board administrator at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.

Carissa lives in Shippensburg, Pa., in Cumberland County. She serves as assistant to the president and board administrator at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. Carissa will be speaking to the topic of new troops under the troop leader track and will cover information related to getting past first-year hurdles, building relationships with Service Units and other leaders, using available technology and processes to stay organized, and leveraging personal strengths to build and lead a troop with courage. Carissa served as a troop leader for five years, and is a former Girl Scout and participated for five years as a girl.

Caroline Ross
Caroline Ross, therapist at Susquehanna University.

Caroline lives in Selinsgrove, Pa., in Snyder County. She serves as a therapist at Susquehanna University within the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services. Caroline will be speaking to the topic of supporting a friend through mental health issues under the girl track and will cover information related to learning how not only to support yourself, but how to support loved ones through trying times. Caroline served as GSHPA’s community initiatives coordinator and initiated the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program (now defunct) at SCI Muncy. Caroline is a former Girl Scout and participated as a Daisy and Brownie when she was a girl.

Faith Hall
Faith Hall, cookie program consultant at Hearthside-ABC.

Faith lives in Zionsville, Ind. She serves as cookie program consultant at Hearthside-ABC. Faith will be making a special presentation on ABC Bakers, GSHPA’s new Girl Scout Cookie baker. She will take attendees on a deep dive into the cookie line-up, discuss the new cookie for the 2023 season, and unveil the cookie theme and mascot. Faith is in her second year as a lifetime member of Girl Scouts. She also participated as a girl for three years as a Daisy and Brownie on Grissom Air Force Base in Indiana.

Jennifer Betts, Psy. D.
Jennifer Betts, Psy. D., clinical director and psychologist at Evergreen Behavioral Intervention for Children.

Jennifer lives in Plains, Pa., in Luzerne County. She serves as clinical director and psychologist at Evergreen Behavioral Intervention for Children and as a psychologist-evaluator for the IMA Group. Jennifer will be speaking to the topic of girl behavior management at troop meetings under the troop leader track and will cover information related to positive ways to prevent problem behaviors, intervention methods for problem behaviors, and focusing on girls’ strengths and troop retention. Jennifer is currently a troop leader for Service Unit 331 and is involved with a sister Junior troop. She has been volunteering for Girl Scouts for seven years and received the Volunteer Appreciation Award in 2021 for her dedication to building girls of courage, confidence, and character. She has also served as a Service Unit Delegate in the past and is currently an alternate Service Unit Delegate. Jennifer is a former Girl Scout and participated as a Brownie and Junior.

Jen Zarko
Jen Zarko, GME program manager at Geisinger Medical Center.

Jen lives in Elysburg, Pa., in Northumberland County. She serves as a GME program manager at Geisinger Medical Center. Jen will be speaking to the topic of safe zones for older girls under the troop leader track and will cover information related to how to support LGBTQ girls to provide an inclusive experience for all girls in the troop; identifying types of discrimination and bullying LGBTQ teens often experience; and learning how to be an ally to the LGBTQ community. Jen is currently a troop leader for Troop 32922 and a Service Unit Leader for SU 303. She has been volunteering for Girl Scouts for six years. Her troop was nominated for a Columbia Montour Pride Community Award in 2022 for her troop’s Bronze Award work to increase resources at SCA Middle School for LGBTQ students.

Kathy Leight
Kathy Leight, retired teacher and long-time Girl Scout volunteer.

Kathy lives in East Stroudsburg, Pa., in Monroe County. She is a retired health and education teacher and taught in the Pocono Mountain School District for 30 years. Kathy will be speaking to the topic of engaging volunteers in the Service Unit to provide assistance under the Service Unit track and will lead an open discussion on roles within the Service Unit. Kathy is a long-time Service Unit lead and a lifetime Girl Scout member. During her time as a Girl Scout volunteer she has been recognized as an outstanding leader and an outstanding volunteer for her dedication to building girls of courage, confidence, and character. She has also served as a Service Unit Delegate and a National Delegate. Kathy is a former Girl Scout and has been involved since she first began as a Brownie in second grade. During her Girl Scout journey, she received the First Class award, now known as the Gold Award.

Marianne S. Davis

Marianne lives in Scranton, Pa., in Lackawanna County. She serves as a life skills special education teacher at Commonwealth Charter Academy. Marianne will be speaking to the topic of disability inclusion under the troop leader track and will cover information related to addressing disability issues in troops and making every girl feel included in activities.

Michelle Fox
Michelle Fox, development director at Olivia’s House: A Grief and Loss Center for Children.

Michelle lives in York, Pa., in York County. She serves as development director at Olivia’s House: A Grief and Loss Center for Children. Fox will be speaking to the topic of guiding girls through loss under the troop leader track and will cover information related to supporting grieving children and facilitating healing through grief and loss education.

Sarah Baldwin-Monelli
Sarah Baldwin-Monelli, property and outdoor manager at GSHPA.

Sarah serves as property and outdoor manager at Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania and works out of the Harrisburg headquarters in Dauphin County. Sarah will be speaking to the topic of new outdoor opportunities under the girl track and will cover information related to Trailblazer Troops, property updates, camp programs, and grant-funded programs. Sarah is a former Girl Scout and participated for three years as a girl.

Girl Panel Speaker – Brylea S.
Brylea S., Senior Girl Scout from Troop 60041.

Brylea lives in Lycoming County and is a member of Troop 60041. She is a Senior Girl Scout and has been in Girl Scouts for four years. Her Girl Scout interests and areas of expertise include Product Program and marketing. Brylea is a member of the S’mores Executive Club and is a Very Involved Camper (VIC). She served as a speaker at the National Product Program Conference in Hershey in May 2022 and will represent GSHPA as a National Delegate at the 56th annual Girl Scout Convention and National Council Session in Orlando, Fla. in July 2023.

Girl Panel Speaker – Josephine V.
Josephine V., Senior Girl Scout from Troop 40429.

Josephine lives in Centre County and is a member of Troop 40429. She is a Senior Girl Scout and has been in Girl Scouts for 10 years. Her Girl Scout interests and areas of expertise include travel and Girl Scout destination trips. Josephine is a member of the GSHPA 2023 Destination Committee, is a Bronze Award earner, and is on track to earn her Silver Award in November 2022.

Girl Panel Speaker – Lindsey R.
Lindsey R., former Girl Scout from Troop 11592.

Lindsey lives in Cumberland County and was a member of Troop 11592. She is a former Girl Scout and was a girl member for 13 years and is in her first year as a lifetime member. Her Girl Scout interests and areas of expertise include Product Program, international travel, camp counseling, and serving as a girl delegate. During her time in Girl Scouts Lindsey was a Bronze and Silver Award earner, a National and Service Unit Delegate, a Very Involved Camper (VIC), and a member of the S’mores Executive Club.

Girl Panel Speaker – Sarah K.
Sarah K., Ambassador Girl Scout from Troop 60041.

Sarah lives in Lycoming County and is a member of Troop 60041. She is an Ambassador Girl Scout and has been in Girl Scouts for 13 years. Her Girl Scout interests and areas of expertise include the Very Involved Camper (VIC) program and serving as a troop leader for Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts. Sarah is a member of the S’mores Executive Club and is a VIC.

For only $5 per person, don’t miss the opportunity to learn more from these knowledgeable speakers and register for the VVC today!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

Meet the Women of Distinction: STEM honoree Dr. Pamela Gunter-Smith

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to recognize Dr. Pamela Gunter-Smith, president of York College, as its STEM honoree for the 2022 Women of Distinction Celebration.

Pamela Gunter-Smith, president of York College
GSHPA will recognize Pamela Gunter-Smith as this year’s Women of Distinction STEM honoree.

Gunter-Smith has served as president of the college since 2013 and will complete her decade-long tenure when she retires from her role in June 2023. As president, she has advanced programs that serve the greater York community and provided high impact engagement and learning for the college’s students.

“I take great pride in contributing to the successful outcomes of my students,” Gunter-Smith said. “As I have moved forward in administration, I have done so with a consideration of using my role to have a greater impact on those in the campus community and York region.”

Before Gunter-Smith forged her path in academic leadership, she began her career in science. At just five years old, Gunter-Smith knew she wanted to be a scientist and was interested in learning about human anatomy. Her interests led her to Spellman College where she received her bachelor’s degree in biology, and then Emory University where she earned her Ph.D. in physiology.

Throughout her STEM journey, Gunter-Smith found inspiration in many mentors. She sought out individuals with attributes she wanted to improve in herself or would prove useful to have in her skillset, she said. But her most important mentor came right from her own family.

“My mother was a trailblazer – she was the first woman of color to receive a doctorate in her field from her institution. From her I learned how to navigate both a career and family,” Gunter-Smith said.

Along with pursuing her science-related interests as a girl, Gunter-Smith also participated in Girl Scouts. Her favorite memory from her Girl Scout experience was camping as both a camper and camp counselor.

“I still remember the campfire song, ‘Rise Up O Flame.’ I hum it when we have an evening fire in our fire pit at home,” Gunter-Smith said.

For Gunter-Smith today, Girl Scouting means building the skills and attributes that contribute to developing women leaders, including self-confidence, risk taking, learning and exploring. She encourages girls to take every opportunity to explore what they are passionate about and stay excited to learn.

“Yes…girls and women can do science and math! Be confident about what you know and what you want to learn. And sit in the front of the room and raise your hand!”

Gunter-Smith currently resides in York County. She is active in her community by serving as a board member for Central Region Board of Directors of WellSpan, York County Industrial Development Authority, and Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP). She is also a member of the Better York Executive Committee and Pennsylvania State Board of Education, and serves as president of the William Townsend Porter Foundation. Gunter-Smith is married to J. Lawrence Smith and together they have two sons, Lealand and Philip.

GSHPA’s Women of Distinction Celebration will be held on Sept. 14, 2022, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Country Club of York. Visit GSHPA’s Women of Distinction registration page to purchase tickets.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

Mission Moment Recap – August

Girl Scouts in Centre, Dauphin, and York counties give back to community.

*All Mission Moment information is submitted by volunteers/members. Should you have any questions regarding a submission, please email camoriello@gshpa.org.

By Catherine Amoriello

We love getting to see all of the great things our Girl Scouts are doing in their local communities! In August, our girls were busy making an impact through an international service trip, a mental health-focused Silver Award project, and a back to school night recruitment event.

York County Girl Scouts travel to Bermuda to complete a service project and gain new cultural experiences.

Girl Scouts from Troop 20078 in York County participated in a cruise to Bermuda with 115 other Girl Scouts and families. The girls met Girl Guides from Bermuda and participated in a beach clean-up service project and engaged in a cultural exchange ceremony. The trip also included a visit to the Bermuda history museum and a dolphin experience.

Girl Scouts address middle school students’ mental health for Silver Award project.

Girl Scouts Abigail and Lacey from Troop 40429 in Centre County focused on student mental health at Park Forest Middle School for their Silver Award project. The girls worked with the school to curate a collection of mental health books for the school library and created a calming room for students in the counseling office.

Dauphin County troop spreads the word about Girl Scouts at a back to school night event.

Girl Scouts from Troop 10010 in Dauphin County hosted a table at Upper Dauphin Elementary’s back to school night event. The troop got many new girls to sign up for Girl Scouts and shared information about GSHPA’s upcoming Girl Fest event on Oct. 15 at Camp Small Valley. The troop also bought Pennsylvania Farm Show milkshakes to support the school’s PTO.

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! Visit our Mission Moment Recap webpage on the GSHPA Blog to see more Mission Moments from previous months.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

Real estate agent Elle Hale leads the field in York and Adams counties

A York County real estate agent shares her journey from stay-at-home mom to president of the Realtors Association of York and Adams Counties.

By Catherine Amoriello

Contrary to what Netflix’s “Selling Sunset” will have us believe, selling real estate is not all million-dollar mansions, designer wardrobes, and endless girl drama. In reality, the profession requires a lot of hard work, a willingness to put yourself out there, and the support of others to make it in the competitive industry. Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) was able to get the real scoop on being a successful female real estate agent from Elle Hale, an agent from York County licensed to sell in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Elle Hale, a real estate agent for Century 21 Core Partners.

Hale began her real estate career nine years ago and has been a member of the Century 21 Core Partners team for the past four years. After spending many years as a stay-at-home mom, Hale was ready to get back to work and felt real estate was the right avenue to re-establish her career. But making the transition into real estate was no easy feat.

“I think everyone thinks selling real estate is easy, but once you get into it, it’s a lot of work,” Hale said.

As a Philadelphia native, Hale quickly discovered the challenges that come with not being a local from the area you’re selling in. She learned she had to prioritize getting to know community members to gain their trust in her expertise.

“You have to put yourself out there and get your name and face in the community so they know who you are,” Hale said.

Hale with fellow real estate agent Carman Banzaca.

After experiencing her own challenges with establishing connections in the community, she’s made a point to look out for agents just getting their start in the field because she knows how vital an initial introduction can be. She’s also been a member of the Young Professionals Network (YPN) in both Pennsylvania and Maryland since the start of her real estate career.

“Mentorship is very important. Having someone who can introduce you to people is important. Everyone needs support and sometimes it’s difficult to find,” Hale said.

After experiencing a slow start in her new real estate career nine years ago, Hale’s hard work and leadership have shined through and earned her board approval as the 2022 president of the Realtors Association of York and Adams Counties (RAYAC). She is the first black woman to be installed as president in RAYAC’s 99-year history and hopes her appointment will show others what is possible.

Hale at a RAYAC event.

“[I hope] I get people to see themselves in the same leadership position. We really need to show membership that leadership looks like them as well,” Hale said.

Based on her professional experiences, Hale feels all girls would benefit from learning negotiation and communication skills. And for girls interested in a career in real estate, Hale advises to use proper networking techniques and stay eager to keep learning.

“Network the correct way – don’t just push yourself on others. Ask what you can do for them,” Hale said. “Go to college first if the opportunity is there. Get as much education as you can in the industry. I think learning as much as you can is important.”

For older girls looking to explore skills that would prove useful in the real estate field, check out the Cadette Public Speaker badge and Senior Business Etiquette badge.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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Meet the Women of Distinction: Life skills honoree Kim Lemon

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to recognize Kim Lemon, former senior anchor at WGAL-8, as its life skills honoree for the 2022 Women of Distinction Celebration.

Kim Lemon, former anchor at WGAL-8
GSHPA will recognize Kim Lemon as this year’s Women of Distinction life skills honoree.

Lemon joined WGAL-8 in 1979 and was the station’s most tenured employee until she retired in 2021. Her 42-year career saw her earn a dozen Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards, including Best Host, and be named to the prestigious Silver Circle Society of Emmy award-winning journalists.

Lemon’s successful career in media probably came as no surprise to her peers at Manheim Township Middle School in Lancaster County who grew up with a young Lemon delivering their school news.

“When I was in seventh grade, I read the morning announcement on closed circuit television. I was hooked and knew right then what I wanted to do!” Lemon said.

As a young girl, Lemon not only discovered her strengths in public speaking and media, but also her passion for Girl Scouts. She was first exposed to Girl Scouts as a Brownie, and it was the first time she encountered a program designed to empower and encourage young girls. Lemon has since continued her Girl Scout experience as a Lifetime Member, hoping to set an example for young girls and other women.

“It’s crucial for those of us with established careers and families to hold our lives up as proof of what is possible in life,” Lemon said of her responsibility as a Lifetime Member.

Lemon values the concept of mentorship, and said it was critical in the newsroom. Inspired by her own mentors, her late mother Shirley Lemon and her middle school teacher Joan Billet, she hopes she has been able to provide guidance to other young women throughout their career journeys.

“I think I know what it means to work hard and establish yourself, and to stay hopeful and kind. I also know what it means to lift fellow female co-workers up. There is room at the top for each of us.”

Lemon currently resides in Lancaster County. She has helped support her community by raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network, The Salvation Army, The Silent Samaritans and The Extraordinary Give. She is an active voice for families struggling through dementia, and is care partner and advocate for her husband John who was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia. They are parents to two children, Meg and Morgan.

GSHPA’s Women of Distinction Celebration will be held on Sept. 14, 2022, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Country Club of York. Visit GSHPA’s Women of Distinction registration page to purchase tickets.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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85-year-old sisters prove Girl Scouts is not just a hobby, but a way of life

By Catherine Amoriello

“Oh my goodness, how much time do you have?”

This was Virginia “Ginny” John’s response after being asked to share her favorite Girl Scouting memories. It’s appropriate given that Ginny and her sister Barbara “Barb” John have many years of Girl Scout memories. Seventy-five to be exact.

“This being the 75th year for both of us, that has to be very unusual. I think we are probably the only sisters in the world who are in their 75th year [of Girl Scouts],” Ginny said.

Barb and Ginny joined Girl Scouts in 1947 when their mother started a troop in Bucks County. From the start, both sisters loved the outdoors aspect of Girl Scouting, which led to many camping trips and outdoor excursions. Together, Barb and Ginny have hiked part of the Appalachian Trail twice, took a camping trip to New England and went on a 30-day jaunt out west, camping at friendly Girl Scout camps along the way. During this trip, the sisters and their troop mates traveled places such as the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon and Yellowstone national parks. They also got a taste of western wildlife.

“I’ll never forget Barb saying, ‘Look at that huge tarantula going across the road!’ Then I drove past and saw it. Holy mackerel were they large!” Ginny said.

The sisters continued their Girl Scout involvement into adulthood, serving as troop leaders to the next generation of Girl Scouts. They even attended Girl Scout Roundups in the 1960s, an event that brought thousands of Girl Scouts together for two weeks of activities, fun and friendship. The John sisters acted as supervisors during these events, and provided guidance to the visiting troops.

There came a point in time when Barb and Ginny went their separate ways in life, but the split did not sever their familial or Girl Scout sisterhood.

Ginny John with Jess Mislinski, GSHPA’s former regional director of the northeast, at her 75-year pinning ceremony at Camp Archbald.

Barb began volunteering at Camp Furnace Hills in 1958 and Ginny found her place at Camp Archbald in 1964. For the next several decades, the John sisters continued to work alongside other volunteers to bring the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) to life for girls.

“I think adults who are in Girl Scouting are generally a special breed of people and they’re exciting to be with. It’s exciting to know that they are continuing on Girl Scouting and it keeps going,” Barb said.

Currently, Barb spends majority of her time at Camp Furnace Hills as a member of the Foxfire House team. In her volunteer role, she teaches toy making to girls of all ages. From humdingers to ring toss, Barb takes participants back in time to enjoy leisure activities of the 1800s.

“Our goal is to be a living museum for them to be a part of,” Barb said.

As for Ginny, she stays current on Camp Archbald activities and remains vigilant of any maintenance the camp may need. She is determined to keep the second-oldest Girl Scout Camp in the United States running, and she even established the Ginny John Camp Archbald Fund in 2005 to preserve the camp.

Barb (left) and Ginny (right) with Lutricia Eberly, GSHPA Director of Outdoor and Program Experience, at a Foxfire House meeting where Barb received her 75-year pin.

These days, Barb and Ginny do not stray far from Lancaster and Susquehanna counties, respectively. But they still make time to connect with their former troop mates over lunch. They also made a trip to Harrisburg in 2012 to be recognized for their lifetime commitment to Girl Scouts for the 100th anniversary at the annual meeting.

Seventy-five years later, the John sisters show no signs of slowing down when it comes to supporting Girl Scouts. They both recently received their 75-year membership pins, a testament to their dedication to live out the Girl Scout Promise and Law. For them, if there are girls to lead, there is still work to be done.

“I just can’t speak enough about what Girl Scouts has done for me and us,” Ginny said. “I have no idea what I’d be like without Girl Scouting. I think most Girl Scouts would tell you that.”

“People when they know my age almost collapse when they learn I’m still in Girl Scouts,” Barb said. “My goal for them is that they stay in Girl Scouts like I have and they bring about the changes the world needs because if they’re Girl Scouts, they’ll do that.”

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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Meet the Women of Distinction: Entrepreneurship honoree Betsy Hamm

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to recognize Betsy Hamm, CEO of Duck Donuts, as its entrepreneurship honoree for the 2022 Women of Distinction Celebration.

Betsy Hamm, CEO of Duck Donuts
GSHPA will recognize Betsy Hamm as this year’s Women of Distinction entrepreneurship honoree.

Hamm gained 15 years of marketing experience at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts before joining Duck Donuts as its marketing director. She was later promoted to Chief Operating Officer and then Chief Executive Officer of the renowned donut company. As CEO, Hamm oversees the overall direction of the company and leads the development of long- and short-term goals and strategic initiatives.

“I wouldn’t have dreamed that I would be CEO of an international donut franchise! Marketing is all about growth and ultimately that is what I am passionate about,” Hamm said of her career journey.

With natural strengths in marketing, Hamm pursued a bachelor’s degree in communications/journalism and a master’s degree in business administration from Shippensburg University. Hamm also gained knowledge and benefitted from the support of a few key mentors. She said mentorship is important in any field of work and critical to personal growth.

“A good mentor provides accountability and motivation. In addition, a mentor does more than guide you – they cheer for you, often when you need it most,” Hamm said.

Building relationships, connecting with people, learning how to listen and being willing to provide perspective in a productive way are skills she has developed and used to find success throughout her career. According to Hamm, these skills align closely with what Girl Scouts teaches girls.

“Girl Scouts is a wonderful organization that teaches girls the importance of relationships, connecting, leadership and citizenship. The focus on these key skills for young girls is critical to help strengthen our future leaders,” Hamm said.

For girls interested in pursuing a career in entrepreneurship or business, Hamm said connections, communication, internships and networking are valuable tools to finding success.

“You may think you know where you are going, but stay open to future and different possibilities!”

Hamm currently resides in Dauphin County. In addition to her leadership at Duck Donuts, she is active in the community by serving on the Board of Directors for The Salvation Army Harrisburg Capital City Region, Harrisburg’s Capital Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC) and Central Penn College.

GSHPA’s Women of Distinction Celebration will be held on Sept. 14, 2022, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Country Club of York. Visit GSHPA’s Women of Distinction registration page to purchase tickets.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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Meet the Women of Distinction: Generational Award honoree Marion Nivert

By Catherine Amoriello and Cathy Hirko

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is honored to recognize the legacy of Marion Nivert as this year’s recipient of the Generational Award at the 2022 Women of Distinction Celebration.

Marion Nivert, GSHPA Generational Award honoree
GSHPA will recognize the legacy of Marion Nivert as this year’s recipient of the GSHPA Generational Award.

This award celebrates those who have lived by and shared the values of Girl Scouts with their community and future generations. As a former Girl Scout troop leader who made Girl Scouting a family affair, Marion is a prime example of the power one individual can have in spreading the Girl Scout mission to others.

Marion embodied Girl Scout principles not only as a troop leader, but in the way she lived her life and raised her daughters Doris Stamper, Leslie Manning and Amy Williams. Marion’s family could not afford to send her to college when she finished high school during the Great Depression, but she persevered toward her dream of getting an education and earned her college degree in the 1960s. Marion stressed the importance of women needing their own careers and raised her daughters to be independent during a time when that was not the predominant cultural value.

Marion brought her passion for female empowerment to Girl Scouts as a troop leader where she connected with many girls. She was always interested in helping girls become more knowledgeable about their religion and was instrumental in helping girls earn their Menorah Award, her daughters said. Manning and Williams got to witness their mother in action as their own troop leader during their time as Girl Scouts.

“I remember a troop camping trip in May waking up to snow. I could tell how stressed mom was but she worked hard not to let the others see. She was a true leader,” Williams said.

Marion’s daughters shared they all loved being in Girl Scouts. They learned a lot from the badge work they completed and also had fun earning them. Camping was also a favored activity and brings fond memories for the sisters today.

“Summer Camp was absolutely the highlight of my summers,” Stamper said. “The scout troop was a community. We each went to camp for many years as kids and teens.”

Marion’s husband, Harry Nivert, was also involved in Girl Scouts as a board member. The sisters recounted their father delighted in talking about being on the cookie-tasting committee to select the flavors the troops would sell.

The Girl Scout connection also spread to the Nivert’s son and daughter-in-law, Lou, and his wife, Barbara.

In 1971, Barbara Weinberg married Lou and joined the Nivert family. Their children became involved in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and Barbara was an active volunteer as well.

She remembers the pride felt by Marion and Harry when they visited the Nivert Pavilion for the first time at Camp Archbald in Susquehanna County. The pavilion was a gift from the family to the camp.

“We drove them up (to camp) to see it. They stood there with smiles on their faces. It was just a beautiful site. They were thrilled to be there,” she said.

Many years, grandchildren and great-grandchildren later, the love of Girl Scouts Marion instilled in her family is still present today. The Niverts continued camping trips for several years, sharing the tradition and Camp Archbald experience with Marion’s granddaughters. Manning followed in Marion’s footsteps to serve as a Girl Scout troop leader for many years, from Brownies to Seniors, and especially loved taking girls camping. And today, some of Marion’s great-granddaughters are now Girl Scouts.

“I think she would say it was all fun,” Stamper said of how Marion would have responded to receiving the Generational Award. “Our mother was so special and loving and giving. She was always happy to help others, and did a lot for the Temple and the community, as well as Girl Scouting. It made her feel good to help Girl Scouts and others.”

Girl Scouts held a special place for Marion, Barbara said.

“The Niverts were a scouting family, and Marion just loved the Girl Scouts. She loved the organization,” Barbara said. “That was in her heart; that was Marion Nivert.”

GSHPA’s Women of Distinction Celebration will be held on Sept. 14, 2022, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Country Club of York. Visit GSHPA’s Women of Distinction registration page to purchase tickets.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Cathy Hirko is the Marketing and Communications Director for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at chirko@gshpa.org.
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Girl Scouting done her way – have your girl join as a Juliette

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) believes all girls should have the opportunity to participate in Girl Scouts. But what if there’s no local troop available for your girl to join? Or what if she enjoys participating in sports or other activities that don’t allow her time to attend troop meetings?

Luckily, where you choose to live or your girl’s busy schedule does not have to keep her from experiencing the benefits of Girl Scouting. If joining a troop is not an option for your girl, consider having her participate as an individually registered member, otherwise known as a Juliette.

Juliettes’ get their name from Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low and follow in her footsteps of shaping their own Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). Juliettes embark on their Girl Scout journey individually, allowing them to experience Girl Scouts on their own time.

“If a girl is busy with extracurricular activities or has travel issues, she has the opportunity to participate in Girl Scouts as a Juliette without having to attend troop meetings,” said Gina Naticchi, GSHPA Volunteer Support Coordinator.

Juliettes can do anything Girl Scouts in a troop would do, such as earn badges and complete journeys; earn Highest Awards; go to camp; participate in the Fall Product and Cookie programs; and attend Girl Scout events and activities. They can still receive adult support and guidance through their Juliette Mentor, who is either a parent/caregiver or another trusted adult, and Juliettes also have the opportunity to connect with each other through volunteer-led Facebook groups.

Cadette Girl Scout Freyja enjoys all the fun of Girl Scouts as a Juliette.

GSHPA had 180 girls registered as Juliettes during the 2021-2022 membership year, and Juliette Girl Scout Freyja was one of these independent girl members.

Freyja is a 12-year-old Cadette from Wyoming County. She’s been a Girl Scout for seven years and was encouraged to join by her mother Suzanne Fisher. Freyja has had many experiences through Girl Scouts, including learning about different outdoor and indoor activities, exploring women’s history through visiting the museum at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y., and gaining skills and knowledge that will prove useful when she grows up. And she’s accomplished all of this as a Juliette.

“Freyja goes to multiple Girl Scout events in addition to working on awards and badges herself. Because of this, I feel she gets to socialize with a wider variety of Girl Scouts than if she was with a dedicated troop,” Fisher said. “She continues to grow in confidence through Girl Scouts – this is a sisterhood of people who she knows will work together and be thinking of each other, even if it’s a single Juliette she meets online or at an event.”

Freyja works on a bench at Camp Archbald for her Bronze Award project.

For every challenge Freyja faces as a Juliette, or Fisher and her husband face as her Juliette Mentors, the family has a solution. While Freyja does not have regular meetings and may struggle to complete badges because of a lack of a consistent Girl Scout schedule, the family works together to plan ahead and schedule time for Freyja to complete her activities and attend events. And since Fisher and her husband cannot drop Freyja off at Girl Scout events individually and must also attend as parent chaperones or adult members, the couple ensures they are up to date on their Girl Scout memberships and volunteer clearances.

For girls or parents/caregivers who are hesitant about joining Girl Scouts as a Juliette and fear missing out on the “traditional” troop experience, Freyja and Fisher assure families won’t miss out on any of the Girl Scout fun.

Freyja participates in a rock climbing activity at Camp Archbald.

“You get to try a lot of new things, and you get to do more stuff you like,” Freyja said.

“Juliettes have a big advantage. I see Juliettes as a great way for kids in remote areas of the council to join and become Girl Scouts, and they can do it their own way,” Fisher said.

Do you think the Juliette Girl Scout experience is right for your girl? Join GSHPA on Aug. 18 at 6:30 p.m. for our Juliette Open House to learn more about this unique membership opportunity. Attendees will learn more about what Juliettes can do in Girl Scouts and participate in a live Q&A session with GSHPA staff. GSHPA will also host a Juliette roundtable discussion on Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m. Both of these events will be great opportunities for girls and parents/caregivers to ask questions, access helpful resources, and network with other Juliette families.

GSHPA knows your girl has many interests – so let her keeping doing what she loves best AND watch her grow in Girl Scouts as a Juliette!

For troop leaders who would like to engage Juliettes in their local area, or Juliettes who would like to engage with local troops, please contact your VSC to learn more.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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Author and publisher Phyl Campbell brings an inclusive vision to life

A York County creative mind shows how writing can be used to uplift others.

By Catherine Amoriello

At Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA), we encourage girls to pursue their passions, whatever they may be. While Girl Scouts focuses a lot on outdoors, life skills, entrepreneurship and STEM, creativity and the arts go hand in hand with these programming tracks. Demonstrating the success that can be found in creative arts, as well as the impact creative skills can have on the community, is Phyl Campbell, a York County-based author, editor and publisher.

Phyl Campbell, founder of Phyl Campbell Press.

Campbell owns her own publishing company, Phyl Campbell Press, and serves as chair of the Splash! Book Carnival event. The carnival provides local authors opportunity to share aquatic-themed works with proceeds benefitting Autism at Face Value (AFV), a comic book publishing company that promotes neurodiversity acceptance by using comic books to demystify Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Looking to provide a more engaging vendor event for authors, Campbell teamed up with AFV co-founders Angela and Dave Kot to bring the carnival to life.

“We already had authors who were local [and] ‘othered,’ whether by autism or something else, and were writing with aquatic themes. And we knew we had artists with talents to share. All we had to do was provide an event where they could all shine,” Campbell said.

AFV’s mission hits close to home for Campbell as she herself has autism. After navigating her own self-development, she hopes through her work she can help others, regardless of if they have a disability or not.

“I used to worry that when people knew I was autistic, they would use it against me. Angela especially has helped me affirm and embrace my autism, and use my autism and need to self-advocate as a way to help advocate for all. Even people that aren’t autistic often need some form of accommodation,” Campbell said.

While Splash! Book Carnival had been Campbell’s brainchild for years, she recognizes the event would not have come to fruition without the support of others. She said after sharing her vision with the Kots, they didn’t hesitate to join her and back her idea. This partnership, in addition to others involved with AFV, has provided Campbell a support system that makes following her passion that much more enjoyable.

“Being part of AFV has given me a group of people with whom to share my ideas, hopes, frustrations and successes. It is really good to work together toward a goal [and] be doing something for others in a larger avenue of service,” Campbell said.

Phyl Campbell reads a book to children at Sonnewald Natural Foods event.

Following a pay it forward concept, Campbell supports aspiring authors by coaching girls and women throughout their writing process. She balances transparency with not overwhelming her mentees with too much information, saying meeting people where they are and trying to help them grow is very important.

For girls and young people who are interested in a career in writing or publishing, Campbell said it’s never too early or late to start. She said business smarts are key to successfully marketing yourself and your work, and much can be learned from self-published individuals. But her main piece of advice is applicable to anyone, no matter their interests or passions.

“Be bold and fearless in your pursuit. If you can tell a story that captures people’s attentions, you can leverage that to any aim you have. When you’re the writer, you control the narrative. That’s a very powerful position to be in.”

For older girls looking to explore their writing talents, check out the Cadette Screen Writer and Comic Artist badges, the Junior Scribe badge and the Senior Novelist badge.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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Take your outdoor interests to the next level; join a Girl Scout Trailblazer Troop

By Catherine Amoriello

Is your favorite part about Girl Scouting the outdoor adventures? Could you spend all day swimming, hiking, camping or learning about the outdoor world around you? Are you an enthusiastic outdoorswoman looking to level up your skills? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to join a Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) Trailblazer Troop!

Girl Scouts from Troop 81597 in Fulton County earn their Trailblazer pin while working on their hiking badge at Blue Knob State Park. The girls climbed 2,000 feet to earn the badge and learned about wilderness first aid, stewardship and hiking skills.

Trailblazer Troops are special interest troops focused on the great outdoors. The troops zero in on five outdoor core competencies which include adventure sports, stewardship, hiking, camping and survivorship. For each competency, girls will strive to learn more about the activity, apply what they learn through participating in the activity, and share the activity in a way that engages others. Girls can focus on one concentration area or all five of them. The choice is theirs!

Trailblazer Troops are just like any other Girl Scout Troop. They still do badge work, complete Journeys, earn Higher Awards and go on trips – they just complete all of these tasks through an outdoors lens. While Trailblazer Troops are only available to girls in eighth through twelfth grade, there are no other requirements or prerequisites to join a troop. Trailblazer Troops are open to girls of all ability levels who are willing to complete the curriculum to earn their Trailblazer pin. But Sarah Baldwin, GSHPA Outdoor Program Manager, provides a dose of reality of what it means to be a Trailblazer.

Girl Scouts work on their survivorship skills by learning how to build a shelter with materials only found in nature.

“I think when people think of girls going outdoors, they don’t think of the skills. They think of girls going camping for a quick overnight or Girl Scout camp. It’s not getting dirty or roughing it in the woods, but it is. Especially with Trailblazers,” Baldwin said.

Like a traditional Girl Scout troop, Trailblazers have troop leaders to lead them through one adventure to the next. Any current troop leader can complete trainings to become a Trailblazer Troop Leader, and GSHPA welcomes new volunteers to sign on as leaders as well. Under the guidance of their troop leader, girls will have the opportunity to focus on outdoors skills such as diverse hiking and camping styles, orienteering, conservation practices, outdoor preparedness and safety, survival techniques and more.

Joining a Trailblazer Troop will not only improve girls’ outdoor competence, but will prove valuable in a multitude of career paths down the road. From environmental educator, to park ranger, to environmental advocacy lawyer, Trailblazer Troops open the door for girls to turn their passion for the outdoors into a lifestyle.

Girl Scouts prepare for their hiking expedition on the Appalachian Trail.

“There’s plenty of girls and women who hike the Appalachian Trail every year. The goal is to give girls confidence to do something similar,” Baldwin said.

For girls and troop leaders interested in learning more about Trailblazer Troops, be on the lookout for informational events this fall and winter. GSHPA will also be hosting a Trailblazer informational session at this year’s Virtual Volunteer Conference on Nov. 5.

Ready to get started now? Find a Trailblazer Troop to join near you by visiting GSHPA’s Trailblazer webpage and completing the Trailblazer Troop interest form.

Face a new outdoor challenge, get dirty, and embrace the wild – are YOU ready to be a Trailblazer?

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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GSHPA board and committee member Stacey O’Neal Irwin shares importance of communication skills, personal impact of Girl Scouts

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is honored to have so many volunteers supporting Girl Scouts’ mission in our local communities. And we not only have external volunteers working hard to build girls of courage, confidence and character, but we also find support internally from our many board and committee members.

GSHPA invites its members to learn more about the philanthropic professionals who help guide our organization and why they dedicate their time to serving Girl Scouts. This week, we’re recognizing Stacey O’Neal Irwin, GSHPA Board Member-At-Large, Volunteer Strategy Committee Chair, and former Board Development Committee member. Read on to learn more about this passionate volunteer!

Stacey O’Neal Irwin is a GSHPA Board Member-At-Large, the Volunteer Strategy Committee Chair, and a former Board Development Committee member.
What advice would you give to girls interested in a career in communication education?

I have learned over the course of my career that communication is a very versatile and useful topic to study. Learning about public speaking, group, interpersonal and non-verbal communication, leadership communication and media content creation are skills you can use for many kinds of careers. Studying communication also helps you become a better writer. Many companies and careers are looking for strong oral and written communication skills.

What can we do to have more girls/women in communication education?

Being a good communicator starts when you are young. Getting involved in clubs and activities like Girl Scouts helps young girls learn to use their voice in positive ways and allows them to practice verbally sharing their perspective in large and small groups. This also helps girls learn to become advocates for the ideals they believe in and the ideas they have. Fostering the idea that people want to listen to what girls have to say is important, because it leads to women who are strong communicators. Encouraging girls and young women to share their voice means we need to develop good listening skills so they feel heard. This builds confidence.

Why is being involved in Girl Scouts important to you?

I will always be grateful to my mother for being my Brownie troop leader. As I grew in Girl Scouting, I visited a TV studio with my troop and decided I wanted to study media and communication. I learned leadership and camping skills that helped me gain courage and confidence. I traveled and met Girl Guides from other countries. And I sold lots of cookies to pay my way. I became a leader of my daughter’s troop and watched girls earn their Gold Award like I did. I am grateful for the experiences I had and the volunteers who helped me along the way. I want to give back to the organization that helped me become who I am today and to give other girls those opportunities.

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

I think it’s great to really think about the kinds of things you’re interested in. Brainstorm and write them down. Then think about community groups or non-profit organizations that have those same interests. Go to their events and volunteer. Then let others know of your interests so they can get you connected. Gather a few friends and start a club to help others in your community where you see a need. Or take a class to learn a new skill others might need, then volunteer using that new skill.

Of the four components of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (STEM, Life Skills, Outdoors and Entrepreneurship), which one resonates with you the most, or you find most valuable to girls’ success?

I like all four components and the way they intertwine to give a solid, unique foundation for programming experiences for girls and young women. I can share that I learned a lot of life skills from outdoor experiences. I gained confidence collaborating and planning trips, learning how to organize and budget my time and money, and learning water safety and first aid skills. I memorized the tour guide script and created my costume to be a tour guide at Foxfire House at Camp Furnace Hills. I gained confidence traveling, trail riding on horseback, kayaking, camping, hiking, and exploring in a safe environment at Girl Scout camp. I learned entrepreneurship skills selling cookies and fundraising. And certainly, STEM and the arts were intertwined in all of that. It combines for a unique leadership experience unlike any other.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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Mission Moment Recap – July

Girl Scouts in Centre, Cumberland, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lycoming, Monroe and York counties give back to community and participate in learning experiences.

*All Mission Moment information is submitted by volunteers/members. Should you have any questions regarding a submission, please email camoriello@gshpa.org.

By Catherine Amoriello

We love getting to see all of the great things our Girl Scouts are doing in their local communities! In July, our girls were busy making an impact by assembling birthday bag kits, learning how to care for horses, improving the safety features of a camp and so much more.

A York County troop improves a play space for children in their community.

Girl Scouts from Troop 20278 in York County created a play space in an underused parking lot for their Silver Award project. The girls created a project plan which they presented to and received approval from the church board. The troop then revamped the space by adding hopscotch, a four square court, a basketball key, a sensory walk, coloring space and outdoor toys.

Cumberland County girls honor Flag Day with a flag retirement ceremony.

Girl Scouts from Troop 10662 in Cumberland County held a flag retirement ceremony for the veterans of Marine Corps League of New Cumberland in honor of Flag Day. The girls led the Pledge of Allegiance, shared what the flag means to them and retired 27 flags.

Troop earns their Bronze Award by making birthday bag kits for a local food bank.

Girl Scouts from Troop 70255 in Lancaster County earned their Bronze Award by creating birthday bag kits for a local food bank. The group donated a total of 20 kits along with 10 additional bags of collected donations for the food bank. The troop also hosted a Juliette Gordon Low birthday party for Brownie and Daisy Girl Scouts where they taught the younger girls the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

Service Unit brightens annual picnic at senior community with chalk art.

Girl Scouts from Service Unit 416 in Centre County “chalked the walk” to welcome families and friends to the annual summer picnic at Juniper Village senior living community. The girls drew pictures and wrote welcome messages for the residents and their loved ones.

Lycoming County Girl Scouts get an equestrian education.

Girl Scouts from Troop 61238 in Lycoming County visited the Stoney Creek Chincoteagues farm in Hughesville, Pa., to learn about horses and their care, and ride some of the horses. The stable is known for its Chincoteague Ponies that are cared for and rehabilitated at the farm. The girls loved getting to learn more about the unique breed.

Seniors demonstrate their travel skills with a trip to New York City.

Senior Girl Scouts from Troop 70569 in Lancaster County planned, budgeted for, and organized an end of year trip to various sites in New York City. The troop visited locations such as Girl Scout Central, the Cathedral of St. John the Devine, Hamilton Grange National Memorial, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, and Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The group also participated in a free flamenco dance lesson at Lincoln Center and learned how to read the train schedules and navigate the subway.

Lackawanna County troop gives back through several community service projects.

Girl Scouts from Troop 50070 in Lackawanna County learned how to make quilts at the Factoryville Methodist Church, helped at the United Neighborhood Center food pantry, and donated hygiene kits for the homeless to the Community Intervention Center. Their community service efforts helped the troop earn their Bronze Award.

Juniors take a road trip to improve safety features at a local camp.

Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 52296 in Monroe County identified a need for painted safety lines to raise awareness of elevated areas at a local camp. The girls used their Cookie Season funds to purchase paint and supplies and made a two-hour trip to the camp to get the job done.

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! Visit our Mission Moment Recap webpage on the GSHPA Blog to see more Mission Moments from previous months.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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GSHPA committee member Susan Smith talks importance of embracing the world around us, learning life skills

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is honored to have so many volunteers supporting Girl Scouts’ mission in our local communities. And we not only have external volunteers working hard to build girls of courage, confidence and character, but we also find support internally from our many board and committee members.

GSHPA invites its members to learn more about the philanthropic professionals who help guide our organization and why they dedicate their time to serving Girl Scouts. This week, we’re recognizing Susan Smith, GSHPA Board Development Committee member. Read on to learn more about this passionate volunteer!

Susan Smith is a GSHPA Board Development Committee member.
What advice would you give to girls interested in a career in grant writing?

Being a grant writer is so much more than just writing. It’s being a part of creating something new or growing something already existing. It is the opportunity to tell a story and show impact. It is building new relationships as you interact with people from diverse backgrounds. If you are pursuing a career in grant writing, be prepared to approach projects from different angles. You also need to be open-minded, a team player, and adaptable. And resilience is also important – the grant world is highly competitive with many great causes and limited funding. Do not let a decline knock you down. Instead use it as a learning experience to help you develop stronger proposals in the future as you forge ahead in your mission.

What can we do to have more girls/women in grant writing?

Securing funding through grants is vital in so many industries and it is especially crucial to the survival of non-profits. This results in a high demand for individuals with grant writing skills. Volunteering and being actively engaged in the community helps girls gain a broader perception of the world and how it works, including the importance of financial stability for organizations trying to make a difference, and the impact on others if they are forced to close their doors due to a lack of funding. In addition to writing and grammar skills, research, marketing, financials, business acuity and relationship skills are also important.

Why is being involved in Girl Scouts important to you?

I strongly believe in and support the Girl Scout mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. I value the fact the organization seeks to empower all girls to lead their best lives regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, socio-economic status or any other group affiliation. Girl Scouts helps girls realize their potential as they embark down the path to pursing their self-defined goals and living a meaningful life, however they may define it. Over forty years later, I still recall lessons I learned when I was a Girl Scout, and how those lessons helped to influence different aspects of my life and continue to do so to this day.

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

Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’ Community engagement not only makes an impact on those around you, but it also impacts you directly as you develop new skills, meet new people, and learn more about the world around you. It helps you gain insight into challenges faced by others, while simultaneously helping you come to understand, and respect, different perspectives and ways of life, which is especially important in today’s world. Community involvement is a great way to help you discover your passions and is a great tool to help you gain experience and explore career opportunities.

Of the four components of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (STEM, Life Skills, Outdoors and Entrepreneurship), which one resonates with you the most, or you find most valuable to girls’ success?

STEM opens the door to a plethora of rewarding careers; outdoors leads to healthy living and preserving our planet, and entrepreneurship skills help you take control of your destiny. But as I reflect back on my life, life skills have always been at the forefront, both personally and professionally. I have had the opportunity to live, work, and travel all over the world. Wherever I went, I found life skills to be universal. Tapping into them helped me face obstacles head on and overcome challenges of each new place – whether it was adapting to a different culture, learning a new language, making friends, or simply getting lost when driving somewhere new. Life skills helped me to persevere.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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Board and committee member Anthony Billet shares importance of nurturing artistic talent, developing next generation of female leaders

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is honored to have so many volunteers supporting Girl Scouts’ mission in our local communities. And we not only have external volunteers working hard to build girls of courage, confidence and character, but we also find support internally from our many board and committee members.

GSHPA invites its members to learn more about the philanthropic professionals who help guide our organization and why they dedicate their time to serving Girl Scouts. This week, we’re recognizing Anthony Billet, GSHPA Board Member-At-Large, Fund Development Committee Chair, Women of Distinction Committee member, and former Strategic Planning Committee member. Read on to learn more about this passionate volunteer!

Anthony Billet is a GSHPA Board Member-At-Large, Fund Development Committee Chair, Women of Distinction Committee member, and former Strategic Planning Committee member.
What advice would you give to girls interested in a career in visual marketing?

Be passionate! My best advice to anyone going into any career is to love what you do. Passion and confidence will take you to great lengths.

What can we do to have more girls/women in visual marketing?

It starts with funding art programs in our schools and nonprofits. Art, along with music, are some of the first programs to get cut within under-funded districts. The earlier we can identify artistic ability and nurture it, the better chances individuals will have pursuing their innate artistic passion.

Why is being involved in Girl Scouts important to you?

I have been very fortunate to be involved with Girl Scouts. I see the passion everyone involved brings to the organization. From staff, to board members, to volunteers, and of course the Girl Scouts themselves. Having a small part in developing tomorrow’s women leaders in a world that needs them now more than ever is extremely rewarding.

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

Find a mission you are passionate about! Find something that you want to make a difference in. There are so many meaningful initiatives to get involved with, and they will welcome you with open arms.

Of the four components of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (STEM, Life Skills, Outdoors and Entrepreneurship), which one resonates with you the most, or you find most valuable to girls’ success?

I feel like STEM is maybe the most underserved component. I think there are years of systemic reasoning for that. It has been my mission during my time as a board member to try and advocate for more opportunities and acceptance of women in those industries.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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GSHPA Treasurer and Executive Committee member Bridget Casher talks importance of mentorship, passion for volunteering

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is honored to have so many volunteers supporting Girl Scouts’ mission in our local communities. And we not only have external volunteers working hard to build girls of courage, confidence and character, but we also find support internally from our many board and committee members.

GSHPA invites its members to learn more about the philanthropic professionals who help guide our organization and why they dedicate their time to serving Girl Scouts. This week, we’re recognizing Bridget Q. Casher, GSHPA Treasurer, Executive Committee member and ex-officio member of the Finance and Audit Committee. Read on to learn more about this passionate volunteer!

Bridget Casher is the GSHPA Treasurer, an Executive Committee member, and an ex-officio member of the Finance and Audit Committee.
What advice would you give to girls interested in a career in investment consulting?

The best advice I can provide is advice I once received which helped shape my career and still something I lean on today: Seek out, work alongside, and keep in touch with a strong mentor. My two mentors helped me navigate my industry, pushed me to be my best self, and provided honest, yet fair, feedback. My career has been rewarding, challenging, and successful thanks to strong mentors who helped me develop a career path within the investment industry.

What can we do to have more girls/women in investment consulting?

We can help share our experiences and help mentor a girl/woman earlier. I personally get out to volunteer in my child’s elementary school to explain my career and introduce financial topics. The more we expose girls to the importance of this industry and saving/investing, the better for everyone.

Why is being involved in Girl Scouts important to you?

I believe we need to support, encourage, and build the next generation to be great. My passion to coach and volunteer developed right out of college. Girl Scouts was an opportunity to be involved locally, support our community, and help build the Girl Scouts organization into a long lasting program for many more generations.

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

Giving back is a passion and a true calling. Before just jumping into something, test the waters with an organization, it’s important to get involved with a program that means something to you or aligns with your value system. It will help feed your soul and make it easier to show up each time with a smile on your face if you like what you’re doing. All of our communities need extra help right now. Step up and be the reason your community needs one less volunteer!

Of the four components of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (STEM, Life Skills, Outdoors and Entrepreneurship), which one resonates with you the most, or you find most valuable to girls’ success?

For me, the Outdoors is my most important component and helps me be a strong leader every day. It allows me to develop leadership skills and disconnect from technology to unwind. This in turn allows me to dial into my other skills – mathematics, creativity, being an entrepreneur, and positively working with others. I find such freedom in the outdoors. It’s amazing if you take a hike you must be focused to stay on the right trail yet be willing to try new adventures. Hiking also teaches us about being prepared to weather any storm. Working in the investment industry is a lot like a good or bad hike (ups/downs) will happen. You must be prepared for the unexpected. You really gain a sense of independence, learn to create your own path, bring a group together to lead a new adventure, and learn to deal with the unexpected. These are all important skills in business that translate in everyday life.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

Perry Media Group’s Marcia Perry Dix shows girls, women what’s possible with perseverance

A marketing and public relations company founder in Dauphin County proves unshakeable in her entrepreneurial pursuits.

By Catherine Amoriello

Throughout her 28-year entrepreneurship journey, Marcia Perry Dix has been told “no” a lot. But she didn’t let the naysayers keep her from her dream of establishing Perry Media Group (PMG) and building her marketing, public relations and advertising empire.

Marcia Perry Dix, founder and CEO of Perry Media Group (PMG).

Dix founded her company in 2014 and has served as principal for eight years. She oversees strategic marketing direction for every client, relationship and project that comes through PMG’s doors, and she considers maintaining her personal brand an additional work responsibility.

“I’m representing myself, my family, girls, black women and women of color. You have to uphold a positive image for your community,” Dix said.

Dix is hyper focused on serving the community through her company, seeking to create a positive impact and uplift others. She describes her work as projects with a purpose – from tobacco-use, to opioid awareness, to diabetes prevention, Dix said PMG is an ad agency that brings hard conversations to the community to help better the lives of its inhabitants.

“We work on campaigns that are culturally competent and help the community be better residents of PA. Everyone’s battling something,” Dix said.

Dix’s love of helping others is clear in the work PMG produces, the companies she works with and the people she invites on staff. Dix purposefully supports minority and women-owned businesses, and she established the Mom Squad at PMG as a support system for working moms at her company who sought an opportunity to experience entrepreneurship as individuals, not as a corporation.

In addition to the support she provides through the Mom Squad, Dix has mentored many young women throughout her career. She believes it is her responsibility to pass on what she’s learned to others so they can continue the work.

“I give them my time, my love and my support and it has been amazing to see some of the people I’ve mentored throughout my career grow and do amazing things with their lives,” Dix said.

“We believe in our dream so much that nothing can shake us.”

Marcia perry dix, founder and CEO of Perry Media group (PMG)

Dix preaches consistency and storytelling are key to being a successful entrepreneur/business woman, and that you must find ways to reinvent or upgrade your product or service to keep it fresh. She also identified good listening skills, communication skills, grace under pressure, and kindness and a warm tone as traits that have helped her find success in the field. But most importantly, she said aspiring entrepreneurs have to be OK with starting on the bottom and learning the ropes to work their way up.

“I moved to Hershey 17 years ago. I went to every event. I shook as many hands as I possibly could. I got on as many boards as I could. I did a lot of work in the community at no charge,” Dix said of the hustling she had to do to get where she is now.

So yes, Dix got told “no” a lot more than she was told yes while pursuing her dream of owning her own business. But with determination, perseverance, hard work and patience, Dix proved the grind is worth it to finally hear that one “yes.”

“You have to be all in. I believe in myself so much, I believe in what I’m saying. Every no I get, I’m closer to the yes. When I win, everyone will win.”

For girls interested in learning more about entrepreneurship or business, there are multiple badge opportunities to explore! Check out a few of the options available below.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

Camp-inspired breakfast sandwiches and life-long memories

By Cathy Hirko

By day, York County resident Victoria Connor is helping support legal professionals and connecting countless families and individuals with lawyers to help address their legal concerns.

Connor has been the CEO of both the York County Bar Association and the York County Bar Foundation for more than 10 years. Prior to that, she spent 11 years with the American Red Cross as director of communications and public support. She has been bestowed with many leadership honors, including the Circle of Excellence Award from the Central Penn Business Journal and the York ATHENA Leadership Award. In May, she will be recognized as the 2022 Spring Honoree for Martin Library Honors in York County.

But this column isn’t about that.

It’s about fond Girl Scout memories of camp, creative outdoor breakfasts and a fun nickname.

Connor herself was not a Girl Scout. She thanks her daughter Brittany for her Girl Scout experiences.

Victoria Connor, left, with her daughter Brittany.

“I became involved when my daughter joined Brownies and then the troop later needed a leader,” she said.

The camp memories with Brittany, now 33, are still a highlight when they look back to their Girl Scout days. They attended both Camp Echo Trail and Camp Furnace Hills in Lancaster County.

“She still talks about the singing steps and horseback riding,” Connor said.

Connor’s favorite memory as a mom/volunteer happened when she attended a weekend-long “learn how to camp” troop leader training with her co-leader. On that trip she remembered there being torrential downpours and those sharing a tent with Connor “laughed until our sides hurt.”

“It was a wonderful bonding experience, not to mention educational with all the tips, tricks, hacks and recipes we learned,” she said.

Among those skills Connor acquired were how to make a hand-washing station out of a recycled bleach bottle and the famous Egg McMuffin copycat sandwich by placing the ingredients in recycled tuna cans over a campfire.

Those tips now serve Connor well when she is with her girlfriends venturing out on their annual camping and tubing trips.

“We have been going for 30 years and the McMuffins…are a staple,” she said.

Connor proudly boasts that her friends have since given her the “Vicguyver” moniker, which stuck and it’s now her Twitter handle.

“They gave me the nickname as a result of all the ingenious Girl Scout camping inventions I put into practice on our trips,” she said.

To learn more about Girl Scout in the Heart of Pennsylvania camping opportunities, visit our website.

Cathy Hirko is the Marketing and Communications Director for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at chirko@gshpa.org.
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Mission Moment Recap – June

Girl Scouts in Centre, Columbia, Dauphin, Lancaster, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Perry and Wyoming counties give back and participate in Girl Scout events in their communities.

*All Mission Moment information is submitted by volunteers/members. Should you have any questions regarding a submission, please email camoriello@gshpa.org.

By Catherine Amoriello

We love getting to see all of the great things our Girl Scouts are doing in their local communities! In June, our girls were busy making an impact by donating snacks to elementary school students, beautifying senior living homes, sharing their Girl Scout pride at events and so much more.

Service Unit represents Girl Scouts at Memorial Day parade.

Girl Scouts from Service Unit 175 in Dauphin County participated in the Hummelstown Memorial Day parade. The girls did a great job representing Girl Scouts for the two-mile long walk.

Girl Scouts donate tasty snacks to students taking state exams.

Girl Scouts from Service Unit 301 in Columbia County helped sort and deliver Girl Scout Cookies to students taking state tests at a local elementary school. The donation was well received!

Daises visit Girl Scout Camp for the first time.

Daisy Girl Scouts from Troop 10730 in Dauphin County traveled to Camp Happy Valley for their annual camping trip. The camping theme was fairies which saw the girls create wands, flower headpieces and their very own fairies. The troop also had a campfire and made s’mores. It was the first time many of the girls attended camp.

Cadettes beautify senior home for Silver Award Project.

Cadette Girl Scouts from Troop 50015 in Wyoming County designed, built and installed two large raised garden tables at a local senior home for their Silver Award Project. The girls also cleaned up a large courtyard area that had overgrown due to staff shortages at the facility.

Troop takes a page out of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ for their end of year party.

Girl Scouts from Troop 61238 in Lycoming County held their end of year celebration Alice in Wonderland-style with a Happy Un-Birthday tea party. The girls reflected on their year and made goals for the next Girl Scout year.

Perry County Girl Scouts prepare to embark on new Girl Scout journeys.

Daisy, Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts from Troops 10495, 10479 and 10481 in Perry County held their bridging ceremony. Six Daisies, eight Brownies and four Juniors bridged to the next Girl Scout level and two Cadettes were initiated through an investiture ceremony.

Troop celebrates milestones and achievements at bridging and badge ceremony.

Girl Scouts from Troop 52282 in Monroe County held their bridging and badge ceremony at Ice Lake Park in Cresco. The troop leaders, parents/caregivers and girls were excited to celebrate all the achievements the girls accomplished throughout the past year. The troop began with just five girls in 2020 and has grown to a group of 18.

Girl Scouts use media design tools to bring awareness to environmental issues.

Girl Scouts from Troop 70525 in Lancaster County created digital posters as part of their Media Journey Take Action Project.

Girl Scouts enjoy a night of fun and baseball at Girl Scout Night.

Girl Scouts from the Friendly Valley Service Unit in Lancaster County attended Girl Scout Night at the Lancaster Barnstormers. Girl Scout volunteer Carol Caddick and former Girl Scout Delaney Castagna from the Gold Award Class of 2021 participated in the first pitch. Girls from Troop 70105 presented the flag and Troops 70122 and 71308 led the crowd in a dance party during the seventh inning stretch.

Daisies and Brownies celebrate the end of their Girl Scout year with vesting and capping ceremony.

Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts from Troop 60271 in Lycoming County were celebrated at an end-of-year vesting and capping ceremony. The girls received their age-level vest and vintage cap, a bouquet of flowers representing the Girl Scout Promise and Law and a certificate. The troop is led by Ambassador Girl Scout and S’mores Executive Club member Sarah K., and Senior Girl Scout and S’mores Executive Club member Brylea S. served as MC for the ceremony.

Cadette finds her passion after joining Girl Scouts.

Cadette Girl Scout Sophia from Troop 33206 in Luzerne County found her calling in woodworking through joining Girl Scouts. After some initial hesitation to join, Sophia learned to enjoy Girl Scouting and found her passion after working on a woodworking badge with her troop. Her experience inspired her to enroll in the carpentry program at Wilkes-Barre Area Career & Technical Center when she entered high school.

Adult members are honored at a volunteer appreciation pinning ceremony.

Volunteers Barb John, Connie Gehman, Debbie Shue, Faith Irwin, Flora Poulos and Katie Knaub in Lancaster County were awarded the Volunteer of Appreciation Award pin. The award recognizes a registered adult Girl Scout member’s exemplary service in support of delivering the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. GSHPA Volunteer Strategy Committee Chair Stacey Irwin awarded the members their pins.

Girls earn Silver Award by creating calming space for health care staff.

Girl Scouts from Troop 40034 in Centre County earned their Silver Award by establishing a “Less-Stress Space” at Mount Nittany Medical Center for the staff to enjoy and relax in during their breaks. The girls created a mobile stress-relief cart and decorated the space with plants and local art work to create a calming area.

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! Visit our Mission Moment Recap webpage on the GSHPA Blog to see more Mission Moments from previous months.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

Bereavement services founder Leslie Delp speaks to importance of responding to children’s grief, loss

A York County bereavement specialist uses her own close encounters with death to help others navigate loss, grief and mourning.

By Catherine Amoriello

For our girl members, Girl Scouts is an avenue for fun, friendship and facing challenges in a supportive environment. Troop meetings bring big toothy grins, Summer Camp sessions echo with girl laughter, and weekly programming events buzz with the excited chatter of members eager to learn. But unfortunately, these happy, carefree girls are not immune to tragedy and loss. The school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in May is just one of many recent reminders that children are just as likely as adults to be exposed to violence and death. And if they’re lucky enough not to witness it firsthand, they’re seeing it on the news, hearing it being discussed by their caregivers, or experiencing loss at home in other ways.

Leslie Delp, founder of and bereavement specialist at Olivia’s House Grief and Loss Center for Children.

While it’s taken until recent years for children and teen mental health issues to come to the forefront, Leslie Delp, founder of and bereavement specialist at Olivia’s House Grief and Loss Center for Children in York County, identified in the 1990s that children confronted with death and loss require unique support.

“Children mourn differently than adults. Grief is inside, mourning is outside. The body keeps score, and it doesn’t forget,” Delp said.

After surviving two nearly-fatal accidents as both a child and an adult, and then experiencing a miscarriage in her first pregnancy, Delp is sadly well-acquainted with death and near-death experiences. But instead of allowing these devastating events to become her full story, she opted to change the narrative.

“I always wanted to prove to myself that the reason I’m still here is because I have something that I’m supposed to do,” Delp said. “That’s what’s going to keep this world afloat. Yes this happened to me, but here’s what I’m going to do to turn it around.”

As she pursued her master’s degree in counseling psychology, Delp began researching death and dying and developed a curiosity about life after death and connections to passed loved ones. She enrolled as a volunteer at a hospice and gained additional insight by learning from the residents who passed their final days there. The day after Delp graduated, she opened her own private practice, Grief and Bereavement Services.

Olivia’s House clients release balloons during a Celebration of Life Graduation event. This has been a ritual since the organization’s inception in the 1990s.

In 1996, Delp founded Olivia’s House to help children who suffer losses, whether they be death losses or non-death losses, such as a divorce in the family. From bereavement camps for children that teach them healthy coping mechanisms, to family-based programs focused on educating both children and caregivers about how their body grieves, Delp sought to create an open place of resource and support in a topic area generally regarded as taboo. She hopes her life’s work will help push away stigmas surrounding depression, suicide and death.

“Mental health is important. And without an understanding of how your brain processes life’s disappointments and traumas, we’ll suffer. And we’re not meant to suffer. We’re meant to enjoy life,” Delp said.

Olivia’s House Grief and Loss Center for Children has two locations in York, Pa. (pictured) and Hanover, Pa.

A career in bereavement services is not for everyone – it’s a high burnout environment that calls for a unique ability to balance the trauma of the field with other work responsibilities. Delp advises those interested in going into bereavement services to choose their school wisely, shadow people already in the field and keep a realistic mindset that the journey will not be easy. But accruing the knowledge and experience necessary to give families the gift of goodbye will be worth it.

“You don’t get paid very well, but you get paid by the children and families in buckets,” Delp said. “You know you made a difference – you know you healed a heart.”

For volunteers and parents/caregivers interested in having their girl learn more about mental health issues, check out GSHPA Program Partner Byrnes Health Education Center for their available mental health programming for youth. For volunteers and parents/caregivers interested in learning more about stressors that may impact girls’ mental health, register to attend GSHPA’s Virtual Volunteer Conference Nov. 5 to participate in a mental health awareness informational session.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

S’mores Executive Club members lead Fall Fundraiser, Girl Scout Cookie efforts

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to recognize and celebrate its 2022-2023 S’mores Executive Club (SEC) members! Our S’mores Executives hit it out of the park during the Fall Fundraiser and Girl Scout Cookie programs in 2021-2022 and have earned themselves some awesome exclusive gifts and rewards. Get to know these savvy entrepreneurs in the photo galleries below!

Ambassador S’mores Executives

Ambassador S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Mikayla M. from Troop 70220

Senior S’mores Executives

Senior S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Rebecka D. from Troop 30406
  • Rebekah W. from Troop 20404
  • Sritanvi K. from Troop 11436

Cadette S’mores Executives

Cadette S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Alina S. from Troop 50252
  • Aviana G. from Troop 20078
  • Emily K. from Troop 52141
  • Roxie M. from Troop 71518
  • Jean M. from Troop 60073

Junior S’mores Executives

Junior S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Abigail H. from Troop 80181
  • Anna M. from Troop 32725
  • Charley C. from Troop 20387
  • Kayleigh W. from Troop 20376
  • Kileigh K. from Troop 70430
  • Nicole M. from Troop 80160

Brownie S’mores Executives

Brownie S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Geneva-Nichole Z. from Troop 61117
  • Lena K. from Troop 20672
  • Rylie C. from Troop 70050
  • Shilo F. from Troop 50843

Daisy S’mores Executives

Daisy S’mores Executives Not Pictured:

  • Aria D. from Troop 50603
  • Aubree K. from Troop 31167
  • Brenna I. from Troop 11111
  • Clara M. from Troop 32105
  • Elena G.-V. from Troop 20365
  • Kendra B. from Troop 10495
  • Lyndsay M. from Troop 33203

Congratulations SEC members for your hard work and dedication this year! We can’t wait to see what you accomplish next through Girl Scouts.

Want to learn more about the S’mores Executive Club? Visit GSHPA’s Cookie Sellers webpage.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania celebrates 2022 Gold Award Class at Bucknell University

By Cathy Hirko

The 40 Girl Scouts in attendance at the Gold Award Ceremony gather for a photo at the conclusion of the event.

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) recognized and celebrated its Gold Award Class of 2022 on June 12, 2022, at Bucknell University.

More than 150 family members and friends joined GSHPA to honor its Gold Award Girl Scouts at a reception and ceremony. The afternoon event highlighted the important projects completed by the honorees, honored the Girl Scouts with a formal pinning ceremony and gave girls a chance to meet their Gold Award classmates. Attendees also heard from Janet Donovan, GSHPA President and CEO, and Adrienne Vicari, GSHPA Board Chair, on the significance of the Gold Award.

This year, 68 Girl Scouts earned their Gold Award, and 40 attended the program to receive recognition for the differences they made in their communities. This year’s Gold Award class represents 20 of the 30 counties in GSHPA’s council footprint.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. The award provides Girl Scouts in high school the opportunity to select a community issue important to them and use their passion to make a difference. Eligible Girl Scouts are required to devote a minimum of 80 hours to problem-solve, plan and implement their ideas for change to earn the Gold Award.

Cathy Hirko is the Marketing and Communications Director for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at chirko@gshpa.org.
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2022 Gold Award Ceremony approaches, former Girl Scout reflects on earning Gold Award

Class of 2012 Gold Award Girl Scout Janelle Almond shares her Girl Scout experience.

By Catherine Amoriello

It’s a big weekend for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) as we prepare to recognize and honor 68 Girl Scouts at the Gold Award Ceremony at Bucknell University this Sunday!

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn and provides Girl Scouts in high school the opportunity to use their passion to make a difference. This year’s Gold Award Class represents 20 of the 30 counties in GSHPA’s council footprint, and we are so excited to celebrate the girls for their accomplishments.

Janelle Almond, former Gold Award Girl Scout.

In honor of this special time, we asked former Class of 2012 Gold Award Girl Scout Janelle Almond of Cumberland County to share her experience of going Gold and what Girl Scouts means to her.

Can you share what your Gold Award project was and why you chose to pursue it?

My Gold Award project involved developing a curriculum for an event for elementary aged girls. My church had hosted a girl’s sleepover event annually for many years, which I had always enjoyed attending. When I was in high school there was no leadership for that event, so I revived it with this curriculum entitled “True Beauty, Inside and Out.”  Games, crafts and activities all focused on celebrating the girls’ inherent value and beauty and empowering them to live confidently, courageously and kindly. I have long been passionate about finding and celebrating the beauty in everything and everyone, but sometimes that is hardest to see and celebrate in myself. With a passion for teaching and mentoring as well, coming alongside younger women with what I have learned along the way in my journey is one of my greatest joys.

What are some of your favorite Girl Scout memories?

Some of my favorite memories of Girl Scouting involve camping with my troop, especially sitting around the fire making mountain pies and s’mores and singing and laughing together. Some of the best memories stem from things that didn’t go quite right – like when we went winter camping and all the bananas froze because the unheated portion of the cabin got so cold. Also taking on new challenges I might not have otherwise, including white water rafting.

This year, we have 68 girls in our council who earned their Gold Award. What career and young adult advice would you give them as they take this next step in their journey?

Live out the Girl Scout Law. When people know they can trust you to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and to take responsibility for what you say and do, doors will open for you. Respect yourself. Advocate for yourself and don’t be afraid to offer what you have to give confidently. Also know that it’s OK to ask for help when you need it. To ask for help is to show humility and a willingness to learn, which is a strength and not a weakness. Respect others and authority, and operate with integrity. Use resources wisely, make the world a better place by putting beauty into the world in how you speak, act and create. Be a sister to every Girl Scout and every human you meet. Seek to truly see and understand others and want the best for them, and surround yourself with community who see and want the best for you, too.

What was your biggest takeaway from your time in Girl Scouts?

Girl Scouts definitely had an impact on me in terms of helping me develop leadership and people skills, as well as my teaching and training skills that serve me so well now. I learned a lot about confidence and goal setting, and the value of community, civic engagement and connectedness with others. Also, survival skills, from car maintenance and repair, to self-defense and fire building, have been so practical and given me confidence for facing everyday life. It was also a gift in encouraging me to explore the arts, like music and dance!

For more information about the Girl Scout Gold Award, visit GSHPA’s Gold Award webpage.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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Camp Furnace Hills: A history buff’s perfect outdoor adventure

Go back in time to 1800s Pennsylvania life with a visit to Camp Furnace Hills.

By Catherine Amoriello

It’s the final week of our camp property blog series! This week we’re traveling to Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s (GSHPA) Camp Furnace Hills.

CAMP FURNACE HILLS

Camp Furnace Hills is located in Lancaster County near Refreshing Mountain Retreat and Adventure Center and Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. The property offers a wide range of lodging options including houses, rustic cabins and a modern lodge. Between unique historical programming and the capacity to host groups ranging in size from 17-40 people, this small camp has a lot to offer. Read on to learn more!

Camp Furnace Hills is home to historic Foxfire House.

Arguably the camp’s biggest draw, Furnace Hills Tenant House, more commonly known as Foxfire House, is a restored 19th century Swiss-German stone bank house. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this unique site features a ten-plate stove, squirrel tail bake oven, spring house and four-square garden. The property represents the historic early settlement of Swiss immigrants in Lancaster, Lebanon and Berks counties.

Camp Furnace Hills takes visitors “back in time” with historical programming.

With a piece of history right on the property, of course Camp Furnace Hills provides unique historical programming for visitors! Led by the Foxfire Team volunteers, visitors can learn how to cook and bake food without modern day appliances; try their hand at scherenschnitte (paper cutting design), tin punching, quilting, weaving, and paper stars; make simple toys; and discover (and possibly wear!) 1800s Pennsylvania German clothing.

Is Camp Furnace Hills the outdoor experience option for you? Make a reservation now and start planning your next adventure!

If you missed our other property feature stories, go check out Camp Small Valley, Camp Archbald and Camp Happy Valley on the GSHPA Blog now.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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Schuylkill County troop opens up communication for all at local park and elementary school

Girl Scouts use their Take Action Project to help individuals with disabilities in the Pine Grove community.

By Catherine Amoriello

At Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA), we are always encouraging girls to use their voices and speak up for themselves and others in their communities. But for some, certain ways to communicate can be challenging.

Girl Scout Troop 32840 introduces their first communication board at Pine Grove Township Recreation Park.

Girl Scout Troop 32840, based in Schuylkill County, decided to advocate for individuals who struggle to communicate through their Take Action Project: Communication Board. Their project resulted in two communication boards being installed at Pine Grove Township Recreation Park and Pine Grove Elementary School in early May. The communication boards display simple pictures and words to help non-verbal individuals communicate with others in a public setting. This includes people with disabilities, children who are shy, and young children who aren’t able to fully communicate yet.

The troop, comprised of 20 girls ranging from Daisies to Juniors, found inspiration in a girl from the Pine Grove School District who has Angelman syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes delays in development and problems with speech. And with many of the troop members having some form of special needs themselves, they understand what it’s like to struggle to effectively communicate with others.

“We wanted something that would help girls like themselves because we had a lot of issues at the beginning of the Girl Scout year communicating with adults and each other,” said Lindsay Strouphauer, one of the troop’s leaders.

The six-month long project required the girls to do research, problem-solve, and test out their idea using non-verbal communication. The girls raised all the money needed to fund their project through cookie season and fundraising proceeds, and they received support from a local sign-maker who helped them create the final sign.

A few troop members gather around their Take Action Project display.

“A lot of people’s minds are just blown because this is something that you see from Seniors,” Strouphauer said of her troop’s efforts.

Throughout the process, the girls learned about acceptance, how to be helpful to others, and the importance of showing patience. But maybe most importantly, the troop learned how good it feels to help someone.

“To see a project like this with how much uncertainty and anger there is in the world really gives us a lot of hope,” Strouphauer said. “These girls came up with a project to not only better people, but benefit people with disabilities and have acceptance for others.”

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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Camp Happy Valley: Prime location lodging for your south central Pennsylvania adventures

Return from your local explorations to welcoming, affordable lodging at Camp Happy Valley.

By Catherine Amoriello

It’s week three of our camp property blog series and this week we’re venturing to Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s (GSHPA) Camp Happy Valley!

CAMP HAPPY VALLEY

Camp Happy Valley is located in Adams County near Gettysburg and Liberty Mountain Resort. The camp boasts multiple year-round lodging options including a house, modern lodges, a rustic cabin and tent sites. Ideal for individuals or groups looking for a place to stay while exploring south central Pennsylvania attractions, Camp Happy Valley is home away from home for any visitor. Read on to learn what this camp has to offer!

Camp Happy Valley offers dual lodging and programming spaces.

The camp is home to Aspen and Skyloft lodges, two spacious units that guests can both sleep in and use for activity space. Aspen can sleep up to 23 people in its loft, and a peek over the edge reveals an expansive, open area below perfect for crafts, games or any other group needs. Skyloft offers two separate sleeping quarters in Sunrise and Sunset units that can sleep up to 19 people in each area. With a shared common space in the middle, this unit is perfect for groups looking to collaborate but require separate sleeping spaces, like school/youth groups or traveling co-ed companies.

Camp Happy Valley homes a unique slingshot course.

Test your aim by taking a run through the camp’s recently installed slingshot course! Built by a Girl Scout Troop, the course offers guests an outlet for some outdoor games and fun and also serves as a colorful art display. Challenge your buddies to a competition or test your own skills individually on the course and let your spirits be lifted by this vibrant Girl Scout creation!

Camp Happy Valley is a stone’s throw away from popular Pennsylvania attractions.

Fifteen minutes away from the heart of Gettysburg, the camp lodges visitors just down the road from one of Pennsylvania’s most historic cities. Your stay at Camp Happy Valley makes your adventure to the Jennie Wade House, Gettysburg National Military Park or any of the city’s quaint shops, restaurants and museums that much easier. Are you interested in an outdoor adventure at Liberty Mountain Resort? Staying at Camp Happy Valley puts you less than 10 minutes away from the resort at a fraction of the cost of other available nearby lodging options.

Is Camp Happy Valley the camping option for you? Make a reservation now and start planning your next adventure!

If you missed our other property feature stories, go check out Camp Small ValleyCamp Archbald and Camp Furnace Hills on the GSHPA Blog now.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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GSHPA hosts 2022 National Product Program Conference

Girl Scout Councils across the country came together for a week of collaboration and learning in the ‘Sweetest Place on Earth.’

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) welcomed representatives from Girl Scout Councils across the nation for the 2022 National Product Program Conference May 18-20 at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

This year’s conference saw over 300 attendees from more than 100 councils come together to network, hear from GSUSA representatives and vendors, and most importantly, collaborate and generate ideas to better serve girls and volunteers.

The annual conference serves as a way for Girl Scout Product Program teams to gather and learn new ideas from one another to improve the success of their own Fall Fundraiser and Girl Scout Cookie programs. In addition to full group presentations, the conference provided more than 20 breakout sessions touching on topics such as team collaboration, social media strategy, market segmentation and more. And thanks to generous sponsorships from ABC Bakers, Ashdon Farms, Little Brownie Bakers, M2 Media and Trophy Nut Company, attendees were well-fed with delicious meals and snacks!

GSHPA also received some assistance from a few special guests, including Senior Girl Scout Brylea Starr who shared her cookie program experience, Belinda Stefl who led the Eternal Flame and closing ceremonies, and Brownie Girl Scout Cambria Gamble who served as a member of the color guard.

We came, we learned, we ate many Girl Scout Cookies – but most of all we had fun! Check out the photo gallery below to see what GSHPA staff and attendees were up to during the conference!

Thank you to all staff, sponsors and attendees for making this amazing conference possible. After a two-year break from in-person events, it was so sweet to be together again!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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Camp Archbald: Your northern Pennsylvanian getaway in the outdoors

Whether you’re looking to relax lakefront or immerse yourself in nature through a rustic camping experience, Camp Archbald welcomes you.

By Catherine Amoriello

We’re back again with the second feature of our camp property blog series! This week we’re taking a dive into Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s (GSHPA) Camp Archbald.

CAMP ARCHBALD

Camp Archbald is located in Susquehanna County less than 30 miles from the New York state line. The camp’s lodging options include platform tents, rustic cabins and lodges, and modern cabins and lodges. Camp Archbald has many unique features with a few standout characteristics. Read on to learn why this camp is held near and dear to so many visitors!

Camp Archbald is the only GSHPA camp with a lake.

The camp features Ely Lake, providing visitors the opportunity to engage in aquatic activities such as canoeing, kayaking and swimming. The lake provides water-lovers ample space for a range of water activities.

Camp Archbald provides unique lodging through Treetops and Friendship units.

Looking to be one with your natural surroundings? Stay in Treetops, a modern cabin. Perched atop a hill, this cabin provides an immersive nature experience. Another great lodging option is the camp’s Friendship modern lodge. Ideal for larger groups, Friendship can accommodate up to 40 people on mattresses and provides a large space for program activities.

Camp Archbald is a living piece of American history.
Camp Archbald is the second-oldest Girl Scout camp in the U.S.

The camp boasts rich history as the second-oldest Girl Scout camp in the U.S. The camp was founded in 1920 by the Scranton Pocono Girl Scout council and the camp’s Trading Post, a building that was developed in 1921, still stands today. While more modern developments have since been added to the camp, including Laura Muia Dining Hall and outdoor adventure amenities, Camp Archbald still retains many of its original historic roots for visitors to enjoy.

Is Camp Archbald the camping option for you? Make a reservation now and start planning your next adventure!

If you missed our other property feature stories, go check out Camp Small ValleyCamp Furnace Hills and Camp Happy Valley on the GSHPA Blog now.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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Top five outdoor activities girls can do with GSHPA this summer

By Catherine Amoriello

Does your girl have some gaps to fill in her summer plans? Look no further than Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s (GSHPA) summer programming! From independent activities at home to group outings with her best Girl Scout pals, GSHPA provides an array of opportunities for your girl to make this summer her best one yet!

Read on for our list of top five outdoor activities your girl can do with GSHPA this summer.

1. Attend a GSHPA Camp Excursion.

Older Girl Scouts.
Older girls connect through a GSHPA outdoor program session.

New this year, GSHPA’s Camp Excursions are designed for Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts. Your girl will spend a weekend “away” to explore unique areas and activities available right in Pennsylvania. Following the Girl Scout travel progression model, girls will gain the confidence to adventure locally and foster travel competency to become future independent travelers. With a session at Camp Happy Valley July 29-31 and at Camp Small Valley Aug. 19-21, your girl will have the freedom to explore domestically alongside her fellow Girl Scouts.

2. Participate in the GSHPA Outdoor Challenge.

The GSHPA Outdoor Challenge is returning for the third summer in a row…but with a special twist! In honor of GSHPA’s 110th anniversary, there will be 110 challenges available for girls to complete. This year’s challenge will also have a state park focus and will be available to use during Girl Scouts Love State Parks events in September. By participating in the Outdoor Challenge, girls will try new experiences and have the opportunity to win some awesome prizes! Stay tuned for the release of this year’s activity sheet.

3. Join the Girls Go Summer Club.

Girl Scout participating in virtual programming.
A girl participates in one of GSHPA’s many virtual programming opportunities.

Does your girl enjoy staying active well into the evening hours? Sign her up for Girls Go Summer Club programming. This virtual series has girls meet weekly to explore different topics about life skills, entrepreneurship, the outdoors, citizenship, health and Girl Scout traditions. Daisies and Brownies will meet 5-6 p.m. and Juniors and Cadettes will meet 6:30-8:00 p.m. After spending all day outside in the sun, your girl will look forward to cooling off indoors with her fellow Girls Go Summer Club friends!

4. Get a taste of Girl Scouts through day camp.

Girl Scouts singing songs outside.
Girls sing Girl Scout songs together during a day camp summer session.

A great option for all girls, but especially girls with busy schedules or who aren’t quite ready for an overnight camp experience, GSHPA’s day camps provide flexibility and fun! Day camps are held at Camp Happy Valley and Camp Furnace Hills and are available to all girls in kindergarten through fifth grade. With themes like Vintage Girl Scout and Fairy Garden Discovery, your young Girl Scout will have a blast adventuring through camp, learning new things and making new friends. An added bonus? GSHPA is offering bus transportation to the camps and registration discount opportunities are available!

5. Explore through Girl Scouts Love State Parks initiative.

Girl Scouts Love State Parks is a national event celebrated in over 400 state parks across 50 states and Puerto Rico. Girls are encouraged to explore their local state parks by participating in activities such as self-guided tours, family hikes, watersports, stargazing and special events. The event will be held Sept. 10 and 11 – stayed tuned to learn which Pennsylvania state parks will be offering Girl Scout-specific activities!

New adventures, friendships and experiences await through GSHPA this summer, so what are you waiting for? Explore what summer experiences GSHPA has to offer your girl and turn her summer plans from “I don’t know,” to “Yes let’s go!”

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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Finding inspiration in history: Women leaders of Cumberland Valley

By Lutricia Eberly

I have such a strong connection to Cumberland County – friendships, business relationships and an endless desire to learn and develop my own skills from some very smart people. Cumberland County has not disappointed. Part of that journey, and my journey with Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, is to gravitate to leadership that our Girl Scout community can also look up to.

I reached out to the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau (CVVB) to see if they had any leader’s stories that I could share with our blog readers. They pointed my in the right direction. Here are a few of the very impressive women who played important roles in Cumberland Valley’s rich history.

Rosemarie Peiffer

Rosemarie Peiffer
Rosemarie Peiffer was the first female Cumberland County Commissioner.

The Peiffer Memorial Arboretum and Nature Preserve, in Lower Allen Township and New Cumberland, is dedicated to the memory of Rosemarie Peiffer, the first female Cumberland County Commissioner, and her husband, Howard. Rosemarie was raised on a farm in Schuylkill County and was a licensed registered nurse. She developed an interest in politics and was elected to the New Cumberland Borough Council before being elected as a county commissioner in 1979. Both Rosemarie and Howard were strong advocates of land preservation and the arboretum and nature preserve consist of 35 wooded acres with nature trails and some of the largest trees in the state.

Evelyn G. Sharp

The arboretum and nature preserve also honors the memory of aviatrix Evelyn G. Sharp, from Nebraska, who received her first commercial pilot’s license at the age of 18 and became an airplane instructor at the age of 20. She was one of the original Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron pilots and served until April 3, 1944, when the P-38 Lightning she was piloting lost an engine on takeoff from what is now Capital City Airport and crashed into land now owned by the arboretum, saving the lives of countless civilians by choosing an uninhabited location. Only 24 years old at the time of her death, she was a squadron commander and only three flights from her fifth rating, the highest certificate then available to women. Her fellow aviators, some of the best fliers in the country, raised money to pay for her coffin to be returned to Nebraska. Whistlestop Bookshop in Carlisle carries the only biography of her, “Sharpie: The Life Story of Evelyn Sharp, Nebraska’s Aviatrix,” by Diane Ruth Armour Bartels.

Marianne Moore

Marianne Moore
Marianne Moore was a Pulitzer Prize winning author from Carlisle.

Poet Marianne Moore was born in Missouri, eventually moving with her mother and older brothers to Carlisle in 1896. After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, Moore made her way back to Carlisle where she taught business subjects at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School from 1911 to 1914. Her first professionally published poems appeared in the spring of 1915 and, in 1916, she moved with her mother to New Jersey. After a distinguished career as an eminent poet, author, essayist and teacher, including the Pulitzer Prize for Literature and the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, she died in 1971 and her ashes were interred at the family’s burial plot at Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg. A state historical marker was dedicated to Moore in 2002 and is located at 343 N. Hanover Street in Carlisle.

To learn about more women who have made an impact in Cumberland Valley, check out CVVB’s blog post for Women’s History Month. To learn more about historical attractions or other things to see and do in Cumberland Valley, visit CVVB’s visitor’s webpage.

Source note: Cumberland Valley history and visitor’s information courtesy of Stacey Cornman, Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau Content Marketing Manager.

Lutricia Eberly is the Director of Outdoor and Program Experience for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at leberly@gshpa.org.
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GSHPA prepares to host third annual STEAM Summer Kickoff event

Girls called for more engineering, nature and science programming and GSHPA answered!

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scout crafting.
A Girl Scout stays focused during a STEAM gemology session.

If there is one thing Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) prides itself on, it is being a girl-focused organization that strives to meet the wants and needs of its member base. For this reason, GSHPA is excited to announce that it will be hosting its third annual STEAM Summer Kickoff virtual event June 13-17 to provide more free STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) programming to girls because…well because they asked for it!

After surveying girl members in 2021, GSHPA discovered they were particularly interested in learning more about engineering, nature and science. In addition to providing great educational resources about these topics, STEAM Summer Kickoff also provides opportunities for girls to stay involved and make new friends during a time when many troops are taking a break from meeting.

Girl Scouts crafting.
Girl Scouts show off their crane design made during a STEAM engineering session.

“We want to stay girl-led, we don’t want to just pick and choose,” said Katie Wilbur, GSHPA Program Coordinator. “We try to make sure the programs are what the girls are interested in.”

With this in mind, GSHPA made the STEAM Summer Kickoff’s theme STEAM Career Exploration to help girls explore each facet of STEAM. The program will see girls learn how they can follow their own unique interests and passions to develop a successful career later in life. Embodying this sentiment will be keynote speaker Victoria Kageni-Woodward, Gusa owner and York-based fashion entrepreneur, who will kick off the week-long event by sharing her story of how she turned her passion for clothing design into her livelihood.

Girl Scout drawing.
A Girl Scout shares her animal drawings made during a STEAM winter animal program.

Led by Pennsylvania-based GSHPA Program Partners, short-term volunteers and GSHPA staff, girls will hear from professionals who are experts in their respective STEAM fields about topics such as native mammal wildlife, how to pitch an entrepreneurial idea, the impact of bees on our ecosystems and much more. Girls will have the opportunity to interact with these working professionals during the live sessions every day at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., as well as participate independently with take-home worksheets and activities they can do on their own time.

Girl Scout cooking.
A Girl Scout makes a delicious French toast dish during a STEAM Master Chef session.

GSHPA’s goal is to show girls that learning and participating in activities they enjoy does not need to end when the STEAM Summer Kickoff event wraps for the week. Many Program Partners provide opportunities to continue learning and staying active with their group through events they host. For example, Program Partner Whitewater Challengers will be offering a Raft-O-Ree Weekend for girls to attend that same weekend to follow their water and boating interests.

“Don’t let this learning stop this week, this is only one piece of the puzzle. You learn about it and apply your interests and we provide the tools for girls to keep doing it,” Wilbur said.

As a virtual series, STEAM Summer Kickoff provides flexibility for participants – girls are encouraged to sign up for all sessions that interest them, but aren’t required to attend every session. And with two sessions a day in both the morning and evening, girls will still have plenty of time in the afternoon to get outside and enjoy the warm weather without missing a beat!

Girl Scout eating ice cream.
A Girl Scout enjoys a sweet treat with her friends, made during one of GSHPA’s STEAM programs.

“It’s a great way for Girl Scouts to communicate with girls from all over the state. If girls aren’t Girl Scouts, this is a great way to see the culture and get a taste of it,” Wilbur said.

STEAM Summer Kickoff registration is open now and free to ALL girls from anywhere in the U.S. Check out the list of featured programs, mark your calendars and get ready to watch your girl explore just how far her passion can take her!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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Camp Small Valley: Your best bet for a traditional Pennsylvania outdoor experience

With yurts, a swimming pool, programming space and more, Camp Small Valley delivers for those looking for a limitless outdoor adventure.

By Catherine Amoriello

The wait is finally over – spring is here and summer is just around the corner! As we pack away our winter attire and welcome back our flip flops and swimsuits, girls from near and far are getting ready to attend Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) Summer Camps in Adams, Dauphin, Lancaster and Susquehanna counties. But here’s a little secret many don’t know – girls aren’t the only ones who can have fun at a GSHPA campground!

While GSHPA camp properties are home to many girls for Girl Scout events and camps, any individual, school group or small club/hobby group is welcome to rent GSHPA camp properties for their needs. In an effort to share all the great opportunities GSHPA camps offer to EVERYONE, we’re hosting a camp property blog series throughout the month of May! In the next couple of weeks, we’re going to feature each GSHPA camp property and fill readers in on everything from lodging options to activities offered to features that can be found at all four properties.

From veteran outdoor thrill seekers, to Live Action Role Play (LARP) lovers, to novice campers looking to ease into the outdoors – you have a home at GSHPA camps.

CAMP SMALL VALLEY

We’re kicking off this blog series by featuring GSHPA’s largest campground, Camp Small Valley. Nestled in the mountains of Dauphin County, Camp Small Valley totals 792 acres with lodging options including cabins, tent platforms, yurts and lodges. This campground is home to GSHPA’s resident campers during the summer, providing a dining hall with a full commercial kitchen to meet the needs of longer-term stays.

Camp Small Valley has a lot to offer groups of various interests and needs with a few standout characteristics. Read on to learn why visitors can’t get enough of this limitless outdoor adventure option!

Camp Small Valley is the only GSHPA camp with yurts.
Girl Scout Camp Small Valley yurts.
Camp Small Valley’s yurts are a great lodging option for any group.

The camp’s yurts 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, a design that dates back nearly 3,000 years to Central Asia. The yurts comfortably accommodate larger groups and are available to rent any season making them an ideal lodging option year-round. GSHPA will be building two more yurts at the camp within the next year after having received funds allocated by the Dauphin County Commissioners.

Camp Small Valley is the only GSHPA camp with a pool.

The camp’s main pool is 30×70 feet and includes a shallow end about three feet deep and a deep end about seven feet deep. Featuring a zero-depth entry into a splash pad area two feet deep, the camp provides a perfect place for visitors to cool off, no matter their swimming abilities. A major plus? The pool overlooks beautiful Pennsylvania mountains serving up photo-worthy landscapes.

Camp Small Valley’s Star Center serves as a perfect space for programming.

The camp’s Star Center building includes a spacious downstairs crafts center. The activity space can provide up to 30 people with chairs and table area, providing a great space for program-led groups. Crafters, artists, gamers and experimenters – the Star Center is your creative haven!

Camp Small Valley provides endless opportunity for adventure.

The camp’s size makes it home to a variety of outdoor activities including swimming, archery, hiking trails, a climbing wall, tree/high ropes courses and so much more. Camp Small Valley’s land is also part of a conservancy with Manada Conservancy, and the camp is near Weiser State Forest and the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art making it a great option for individuals seeking additional outdoor excursions.

Is Camp Small Valley the camping option for you? Make a reservation now and start planning your next adventure!

If you missed our other property feature stories, go check out Camp Furnace HillsCamp Archbald and Camp Happy Valley on the GSHPA Blog now.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
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Daisy Girl Scout serves as motivational figure for ‘lead by example’ Harrisburg city cleanup event

Girl Scout Aubriella and her mother Michelle Landolfa share their experience with gun violence to inspire others to create a safe community.

By Catherine Amoriello

It’s a chilly Saturday in April as I make my way up the steep slopes of Reservoir Park in Harrisburg. I follow the narrow, winding roads until suddenly the park pavilion comes into view. As I approach, the wind is brisk and biting and the clouds threaten rain. The only reprieve comes from brief bursts of sunlight through the clouds.

Reservoir Park pavilion in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Volunteers gathered at the Reservoir Park pavilion in Harrisburg for a community cleanup event April 9.

Despite the very unspring-like weather, a large group of adults and children assembles outside the pavilion. As I weave my way through the assemblage and reach the steps of the building, my eyes finally find what I’ve been seeking – a Girl Scout Cookie booth.

Not far from the booth I spot its owner, her identity given away by her bright blue Daisy vest which she wears proudly over a pink and purple ombré coat and a purple headband to match. Seven-year-old Aubriella darts about the pavilion, eager to join the group forming outside. Although selling Girl Scout Cookies is important work, Aubriella is also at the park to participate in a “lead by example” community cleanup.

Girl Scout selling cookies.
Daisy Girl Scout Aubriella hosts a cookie booth at Reservoir Park in Harrisburg.

The cleanup has brought Harrisburg community members together, many of them children, to disperse throughout the city streets to pick up trash. Tone Cook, founder of anti-gun violence group Michael’s Memory, organized the event to give children a safe space to socialize and show them they have power to influence change in their communities, including helping to decrease gun violence. It provides adults the opportunity to show their younger counterparts how to make an impact, which the children can then pass along to their peers.

I join Aubriella and her mother Michelle Landolfa at a picnic table covered with snacks and treats for the volunteers. Aubriella sits between us, and while she’s straining to keep the cleanup crew in her sights so as not to miss her opportunity to join them, she kindly gives me the time of day (much in thanks to Landolfa’s prodding). After proving to Aubriella that I can indeed spell her name with my eyes closed, we take a more serious turn to explore one of the reasons she and Landolfa are in attendance at the cleanup event today – to share their own recent experience with gun violence.

In early March, Aubriella and Landolfa set up their first cookie booth outside of a store in Steelton. As they were selling cookies, gun shots rang out nearby, prompting Landolfa to rush Aubriella inside the store for cover.

There was fighting in the parking lot and then someone had a gun, Aubriella recounted.

One would think this act of violence would cause Aubriella to host her booth elsewhere, or maybe even close up shop for good. But in true Girl Scout fashion, Aubriella tapped into her bravery and returned to the store another day to reestablish her booth.

“She was scared, but we had made a commitment. It’s her first year in Girl Scouts,” Landolfa said of their decision to return to the site. “I felt like that wasn’t something that normally happens in our community. We set a goal so we had to go back out.”

Girl Scout and mom selling cookies.
Michelle Landolfa supports Aubriella as she sells Girl Scout Cookies at the cleanup.

Landolfa was unprepared for the community support Aubriella would receive. With an initial goal of selling 50 boxes of cookies during her first Girl Scout Cookie Season, Aubriella sold more than 3,200 boxes.

“We had the mayor come out, the fire department…We received very overwhelming support. They [Steelton community] have such a huge heart. They came out and really supported her,” Landolfa said.

I’m hardly surprised when Landolfa tells me she’s also a former Girl Scout. Upon meeting her she holds her tall frame with confidence, rocks her edgy teal hair slicked back in a chic ponytail and her brown eyes are bright with kindness and warmth. Her own experience as a Girl Scout and a lack of available local programming for children is what brought her and Aubriella to Girl Scouts.

“She’s really young, not a lot of schools have much programming for inner city kids. That’s why we got involved,” Landolfa said. “She’s really grown so much since she’s been in Girl Scouts.”

As our conversation nears its end, volunteers begin gathering inside the pavilion. Cook takes a moment to speak about how the cleanup is one of many stepping stones to creating a safe and beautiful community. He reminds the adults of their responsibility as role models to not just tell children to make a difference, but to show them how to make a difference. Many in the crowd nod their heads and audibly confirm their agreement.

Girl Scout with mom.
Aubriella shares her story of resilience and mission to lead by example with community members.

Eventually, Cook waves Aubriella forward to stand before the volunteers. He asks her to share why she’s at the cleanup today. Her eyes dart across the crowd, taking in the faces and cell phones all pointed in her direction. She shifts nervously on her feet, and although quiet, she speaks.

“I’m going to be a good example. I’m going to clean up the park.”

Cook further clarifies Aubriella’s intent. “She’s going to be cleaning up to make a safe space for other kids in the community.”

Other children are then called to stand alongside Aubriella. Some appear as young as 2 years old, others are in their teens. Cook motions to the young group.

“This right here is what’s going to lead us.”

Girl Scout cleaning up the park.
Aubriella joins volunteers to participate in the community cleanup.
Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

Girls and volunteers gather at Pennsylvania College of Technology for Girl Scout Tree Promise event

Girl Scouts will plant, protect or honor 5 million trees by 2025

By Kristian Beverly

The weather on May 1 didn’t seem like the ideal weather to plant 400 trees. It was overcast, chilly, muddy and rainy. Those four adjectives could conquer the confidence of a girl – if they weren’t Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts Tree Planting sign at Penn College.

Over 80 girls traveled to Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Earth Science Campus in Allenwood, Pa., for the Girl Scout Tree Promise event. Some came in troops and others attended with their families. The Girl Scout Tree Promise is a nationwide movement to plant, protect or honor five million trees by 2025.

Before the event started, girls registered and received a pair of Penn College/GSHPA branded gloves and a Penn College drawstring bag from GSHPA staff.

GSHPA employees pose with some of the items for girls.

After registering, girls created necklaces and bracelets while others opted to explore around the pavilion.


Around 1 p.m., the rain stopped. Attendees were welcomed and given instructions for the day by organizers.

Each attendee received native trees or shrubs to plant. There were many types of trees or shrubs to be had, along with friends to see.

The girls learned how to plant bare root trees or shrubs. The ones with long roots had them shortened so they could adjust easier to their new home. Once they understood the planting steps, the girls used teamwork and hard work to plant and anchor their plants.

Trees were covered and stabilized to protect them from wildlife such as deer.

After planting, attendees could complete environmental activities created by Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture visited with their The WoodMobile. Through interactive activities, children and adults learned about the impact of trees.

Thank you to everyone that attended to plant trees! It was definitely a success!

Featured

Mission Moment Recap – April

Girl Scouts in Dauphin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Monroe, Perry and York counties give back to the community and wrap up Cookie Season.

*All Mission Moment information is submitted by volunteers/members. Should you have any questions regarding a submission, please email camoriello@gshpa.org.

By Catherine Amoriello

We love getting to see all of the great things our Girl Scouts are doing in their local communities! In April, our girls were busy making an impact by donating items to animal shelters, addressing period poverty, learning ways to reduce trash waste and so much more.

Girl Scouts work with state police to capture Cookie Thief

Girl Scouts from Troop 10970 in Perry County helped the Pennsylvania State Police interrogate, apprehend and hand-cuff the Cookie Thief! The girls participated in the investigation to earn their Detective Girl Scout Badges. They learned about DNA, finger printing, finger-print lifting, investigation techniques and more.

Daisy Girl Scouts provide supplies for animals seeking “furever” homes

Daisy Girl Scouts from Troop 11339 in Dauphin County collected donations for the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area. After delivering the donations, humane society staff gave the girls a tour of the shelter.

Girl Scouts use cookie booths to help meet troop goal

Girl Scouts from Troop 51005 in Monroe County hosted several cookie booths to raise money for a trip to NYC in June. The girls’ determination was evident as they braved snow, rain and wind to keep their booths open!

Older Girl Scouts get creative with unique cookie booth theme

Girl Scouts from Troop 20443 in York County got innovative with their cookie booth to attract customers. Believing they lack the “cute factor” of younger Girl Scouts, the older girls created a theme and used inflatables to make their booth stand out to customers. Their efforts proved successful as many customers were drawn in by their creativity.

Senior Girl Scouts address period poverty with successful donation drive

Senior Girl Scouts from Troops 10235 and 10238 in Dauphin County held a supply drive and made period product packs to address period poverty. The Take Action Project resulted in more than 7,000 individual items being donated to the Healthy Steps Diaper Bank which sponsors the program.

Girls gather to make Earth Day crafts in York

Girl Scouts participating in the Extended Community Outreach Program in York County spent one of their weekly meetings making an Earth Day craft. The girls also did some coloring, played a few rounds of bingo and welcomed new girls who were attending the program for the first time.

Girl Scouts “MacGyver” cookie lift to deliver to second-floor resident

Girl Scouts from Troop 70070 in Lancaster County made a special Girl Scout Cookie delivery to a second-floor resident so they wouldn’t have to come down the stairs.

Girl Scouts below window selling cookies.
Girls sell out of cookies with help of Lancaster pet store

Girl Scouts from Troop 70070 in Lancaster County had a successful last cookie booth at Finnegan Farms in Lancaster. Finnegan Farms’ owner even dressed up as a dog to help the girls attract more customers. By the end of the day the girls were sold out of cookies.

Girl Scouts selling cookies at Finnegan Farms in Lancaster, PA.
Troop studies litter patterns to help reduce waste in community

Girl Scouts from Troop 50866 in Lackawanna County participated in a community clean up and litter study with Valley Community Library and the Sierra Club. The girls helped collect more than three bags of trash, two and a half bags of recyclables and multiple large items from a local park. The girls counted litter to study what is being dropped in the community where they live to learn how to reduce waste and educate the community.

Girl Scouts picking up trash and litter.
Daisies learn how to give back with funds earned from Cookie Season

Daisy Girl Scouts from Troop 10729 in Dauphin County decided to use some of their Cookie Season proceeds to give back to Chambers Hill United Methodist Church’s food pantry. The girls decided how much of their cookie proceeds to use and went shopping for items using the church’s needs list, such as cereal, pasta and sauces.

Girl Scouts shopping.
Brownies and Juniors grant animal shelter “wishes” with money raised during Cookie Season

Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 10286 in Dauphin County used some of their proceeds from Cookie Season to give back to the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area. The girls shopped for items on the organization’s wish list such as cat food, litter, treats, hay and toys. The troop enjoyed getting to decide how to use their funds for good.

Girl Scouts shopping.

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!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

A look back: Our 2022 Girl Scout Cookie Season

By Catherine Amoriello

Girls, volunteers and parents/caregivers of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) – WE DID IT! We made it through yet another successful Girl Scout Cookie Season. And not only did our girls persevere through challenges thrown their way, but they increased their total number of packages sold from last year!

In March, GSHPA asked girls to share their cookie booth adventures with us on social media and girls delivered! What better way to end the sweetest time of the year than through a recap of all the amazing cookie booths our girls led this season?

Cadette Troop 20322

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Juliette SU 715

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 10645

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 10734

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 11410

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 11411

Troop 20030

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 20393

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 21229

Troop 22125

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 32105

Troop 32109

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 32725

Troop 32727

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 33013

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 33203

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 50603

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 50829

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 51005

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 51441

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 52144

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 52286

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 52299

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 60041

Troop 60413

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 70110

Troop 70430

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 70479

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 71348

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 80065

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 80088

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troop 80338

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troops 32525 and 33203

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troops 40377, 40374 and 40375

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Troops 70417 and 70050

Girl Scouts at Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

HRG’s Erin Letavic shows the value in being a STEM problem solver

A civil engineering senior project manager in Dauphin County shares her journey in STEM.

By Catherine Amoriello

Erin Letavic, Civil Engineering Senior Project Manager at Herbert, Rowland & Grubic Inc. (HRG)
Erin Letavic, Civil Engineering Senior Project Manager at Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG)

STEM – we see this word everywhere nowadays, and for good reason. Nearly everything we use is a result of one or all of the components of STEM – science, technology, engineering and math. We can thank a STEM professional for the bridges we drive over, the apps we tap on our phones and even the food we eat every day. Its prevalence in our society is a leading factor for why STEM is one of the four pillars of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE).

With so many opportunities to learn and foster an interest in STEM fields, it may be surprising to learn that women and girls are underrepresented across all levels of the STEM pipeline. But Erin Letavic, a former Girl Scout and a Civil Engineering Senior Project Manager at Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG) based in Harrisburg, proves girls and women can and should have a seat at the table in STEM fields.

Letavic has been with HRG for 15 years and offers experience in engineering and consulting, focusing on municipal services, grant funding solutions and stormwater permitting. Her position as project manager has provided her the opportunity to lead a team and share the importance of her team’s work with the community.

Erin Letavic planting trees.
Letavic participates in a tree planting activity.

“A lot of these projects take multiple years to come to fruition. It takes some fortitude to keep things on track,” Letavic said. “You end up doing a lot of storytelling. I enjoy building the team and also conveying the reason behind the improvement and benefit to the local community.”

With a role that’s very client-focused, Letavic also spends a lot of time working with others to develop solutions for water-related problems.

“I tend to be more focused on strategy. I talk with clients about typical water issues that they have, or partners they have that have those issues and they want to help. I help them develop strategies to work through those issues and fundraise for solutions to help solve the problems,” Letavic said.

Letavic is a natural problem solver who has always had a desire to understand how things work. As someone who grew up having to do many tasks manually, such as hand-drawing maps for projects, but now having the luxury of digital tools to accomplish those same tasks faster, Letavic feels she brings a different perspective to problem solving. Through her assistance with LandscapeU, a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship at Penn State University, Letavic has identified a lack of initiative to problem solve which she credits to most of society having answers at their fingertips through phones and computers.

“I’ve noticed with these students, and I’d bet it happens with Girl Scouts as well, in society we’ve been accustomed to just looking the answer up,” Letavic said. “The majority of STEM problems are not straight forward. You might know math, you might know the chemistry, but when we’re trying to solve really complex STEM problems, rarely is there one right answer. I think we can be most successful doing a small project, or even solving climate change, by coming up with an answer and being ready to defend it.”

Brownie Girl Scout.
Letavic as a Brownie Girl Scout.

Letavic believes learning through STEM and developing STEM skills is important for girls because it will teach them how to problem solve independently, a skill that will prove valuable to girls interested in a future STEM career. For girls leaning toward an engineering career path, Letavic advises to be practical and remember that every level of engineering work is important in the big picture.

“There’s a lot of jobs in STEM and I think a lot of us get stuck in the advanced areas,” Letavic said. “We still need people interested in computer programming and AutoCAD work. If I had a wish, [it would be] more engineering students would come out wanting to do more traditional engineering work.”

Girl Scouts provides endless opportunities for girls to get involved in STEM. From coding robots to exploring math in nature to learning forensic science elements, there’s a hands-on activity for all girls. Visit the GSHPA Events webpage to explore all STEM and STEAM events.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

5 ways to show your Girl Scout volunteer you appreciate them

By Catherine Amoriello

It’s Volunteer Appreciation Month which means it’s time to show the individuals who volunteer their time and energy to Girl Scouts how much we appreciate their support!

There are many ways to recognize a volunteer and tell them you care about them, but in case you’re struggling with ideas, we’ve rounded up our list of top five ways to show your Girl Scout volunteer you appreciate them. So read on, get inspired and then go out and thank your volunteer for all that they do!

1. Make a thank you video.

Use your digital skills to thank your Girl Scout volunteer with a unique, heart-felt video. You’ll get the opportunity to tell your volunteer directly how much you appreciate them and they’ll get to keep and share your virtual thank you wherever they go. If you have the resources, get creative and add in music, special effects or even additional video clips of others who you know appreciate the volunteer.

Girl Scouts working on computer.
Girls get techy to create a one of a kind virtual thank you.
2. Throw a party.

Round up a party-planning committee to throw your Girl Scout volunteer an appreciation bash! Get creative with decorations, prep some tasty snacks and curate a special playlist of all your volunteer’s favorite songs. For added excitement, make it a surprise party!

3. Purchase your volunteer some Girl Scout swag.

This is a great time to get your Girl Scout volunteer some upgraded swag as GSUSA is running a special promotion from April 15-25 where customers get 15% off orders of $75 or more*. Every time they use their new apparel, they’ll be reminded of how much they’re appreciated. Visit the GSUSA Online Store to pick out something special.

*Excludes earned awards and badges, Council’s Own badges and patches, gift certificates and customized uniforms.

Girl Scout Retro Legacy T-Shirt.
Pick out something cool from the GSUSA Online Store for your volunteer, like this Retro Legacy T-Shirt.
4. Make a special treat.

Arguably everyone’s favorite way to learn they’re appreciated, make your volunteer a tasty treat! If you know their favorite snack or dessert, whip it up for them to enjoy. If you’re unsure what to make, you probably can’t go wrong with this delicious Thin Mint Brownie recipe.

5. Write a letter.

Possibly one of the easiest ways to let someone know how you feel, take the time to write a thank-you letter to your volunteer. Share with them the impact they’ve made on you and why you value having them as part of your Girl Scout experience. For added appreciation, take the time to hand write the letter instead of typing it up.

Girl Scout hand writing card.
Buy or hand make a special card for your volunteer and let them know how much you appreciate them!

Whether you decide to celebrate your volunteer with an idea from our list or in your own unique way, don’t forget to nominate your volunteer for a Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) Volunteer Award! A long-standing tradition dating back to the beginning of Girl Scouts, Volunteer Awards acknowledge volunteers who are peer-nominated to receive honors for their outstanding dedication and service to Girl Scouts. Volunteers can be nominated for an award any time during the year by submitting a GSHPA Volunteer Award Nomination Form. All nominations are reviewed in February each year with nomination notices being distributed around April.

And remember, thank your Girl Scout volunteer not just in April, but every month of the year. It’s always a good time to show appreciation for the people who go above and beyond to serve the Girl Scout mission and help build girls of courage, confidence and character.

GSHPA Volunteers – thank you for all that you do!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

GSHPA announces Volunteer Award winners

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) has a very busy month ahead of itself. Between an extended Cookie Season (buy your cookies before April 24!) and some awesome Early Bird membership renewal promotions (we’re looking at you $10 GO! Dough for all returning girls who renew before April 30), GSHPA has a full docket. But this won’t keep the organization from taking time to recognize a month-long event that celebrates those who breathe life into Girl Scouts – Volunteer Appreciation Month.

Volunteer of Excellence Girl Scout Award
The Volunteer of Excellence Award recognizes volunteers who have contributed outstanding service to the Girl Scouts mission.
Appreciation Girl Scout Award
The Appreciation Award recognizes volunteers who have contributed exemplary service and have gone above and beyond to deliver the Girl Scouts mission.

There are many ways to say “thank you” to a volunteer making a difference, and one way Girl Scout volunteers can be thanked and recognized is through a nomination for a Volunteer Award. A long-standing tradition dating back to the beginning of Girl Scouts, Volunteer Awards acknowledge volunteers who are peer-nominated to receive honors for their outstanding dedication and service to Girl Scouts.

As part of its Volunteer Appreciation Month celebration, GSHPA will distribute Volunteer Awards to nominators throughout April to present to their nominees at a later date of their choosing. This year, 57 GSHPA volunteers were nominated and approved by a volunteer review committee to receive an award. Be sure to share your own note of congratulations to these volunteers for earning these awards!

“The opportunity to honor and thank our dedicated volunteers is so very important. These sister Girl Scouts have gone above and beyond to uphold and share the Girl Scouts’ mission, and they deserve recognition for the significant work they are doing for our girls and communities. On behalf of GSHPA and our membership, congratulations to all Volunteer Award recipients!” said Deb Bogdanski, GSHPA Chief Operating Officer.

Volunteers can be nominated for an award any time during the year by submitting a GSHPA Volunteer Award Nomination Form. All nominations are reviewed in February each year with nomination notices being distributed around April.

Juliette's Pearl Girl Scout Award
Juliette’s Pearl recognizes volunteers actively giving outstanding service to one or more Service Units or groups for an extended period of years.

Although April is designated as Volunteer Appreciation Month, we should remember volunteers deserve to be recognized and celebrated year-round. Appreciation is an ongoing everyday process for anyone, anywhere, anytime. People do not volunteer because they expect a reward – they see a job to be done, and they do it. So THANK YOU volunteers, for all that you do to make a difference not just in April, but all year long!

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

GSHPA Volunteers – we thank YOU!

by Kristian Beverly

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!

Featured

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania announces Adia Walker as new Chief of Staff

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania Chief of Staff Adia Walker
Adia Walker, GSHPA’s new Chief of Staff

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.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.
Featured

Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA welcomes new committee members to Finance and Audit, Volunteer Strategy committees

By Catherine Amoriello

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.

Patricia Leib, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania Finance and Audit Committee Member
Patricia Leib, GSHPA Finance and Audit Committee Member

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.

Amy Beamer Murray, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania Volunteer Strategy Committee Member
Amy Beamer Murray, GSHPA Volunteer Strategy Committee Member

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.

Gina Suydam, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania Volunteer Strategy Committee Member
Gina Suydam, GSHPA Volunteer Strategy Committee Member

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.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.