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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!