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.

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.

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.

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.

Take your outdoor interests to the next level; join a Girl Scout Trailblazer Troop

By Catherine Amoriello

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Mission Moment Recap – July

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

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

By Catherine Amoriello

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lycoming County Girl Scouts get an equestrian education.

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

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

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

Lackawanna County troop gives back through several community service projects.

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

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

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

Do you have a Girl Scout Mission Moment to share? Submit it now so we can showcase your passion and hard work in next month’s recap! Visit our Mission Moment Recap webpage on the GSHPA Blog to see more Mission Moments from previous months.

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

GSHPA committee member Susan Smith talks importance of embracing the world around us, learning life skills

By Catherine Amoriello

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why is being involved in Girl Scouts important to you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.