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!
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”