GSHPA is heading to Disney World for the Girl Scout Convention and National Council Session – and so can you!

By Catherine Amoriello

It might only be October, but Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is already gearing up for the 56th annual Girl Scout Convention and National Council Session (NCS) slated for July 16 -23, 2023, in Orlando, Fla.!

GSHPA is sending two girl delegates, Brylea S. from Lycoming County and Cara C. from Lancaster County, and two adult delegates, Carol Thornton from Cumberland County and Karen Zercher from Lancaster County, to represent our council at the triennial event. Brylea, Cara, Thornton, and Zercher will join National Delegates from across all 50 states to review and debate proposals that govern Girl Scouts. But you don’t have to be selected as a National Delegate to get in on the action!

Early bird registration is open now for girls to secure their spot for Phenom by Girl Scouts, the largest in-person gathering of Girl Scouts in the world. Girls will spark new friendships, celebrate epic achievements, and explore with their new Girl Scout besties from around the country. Take advantage of the early bird registration special and register now to experience the magic of both Girl Scouts and Walt Disney World® Resort during the week-long event.

Check out the video below for a preview of what’s to come at the 2023 Girl Scout Convention and NCS!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Erica Koup Logsdon
Erica Koup Logsdon, self-employed marketing strategist

Erica lives in Harrisburg, Pa., in Dauphin County. She serves as a self-employed marketing strategist and is Mrs. Harrisburg Pennsylvania 2022. Erica will be the moderator for the girl panel. Erica is a former Girl Scout and participated for 18 years as a girl. During her Girl Scout journey, she received her Silver and Gold Awards.

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.

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.

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.

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.