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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.