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  • Now Is the Time to Register for Girl Scouts: GSWPA Calls for Girls and Volunteers to Join in the Fun


    [Edinboro, PA]—As summer draws to a close and parents and caregivers begin preparing for back to school, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) is inviting girls to join the fun and register for Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts gives girls a supportive space to take chances, try new things, and learn to succeed through failure—improving all aspects of their lives.

    When girls are given a safe and supportive environment to take chances, despite the potential for failure, they’re able to experience the emotional impact of risk without damaging consequences. Girl Scouts is the premier place to provide girls with a safe environment for trying new things and overcoming fears, making them greater challenge-seekers, more academically proficient students, and, eventually, more successful adults.

    Feeling empowered to take action is difficult for girls, but experiencing the benefits of girl-led programming like Girl Scouts can lead to significant growth in girls’ leadership skills—and, according to the Girl Scout Research Institute, Girl Scouts have more leadership experiences than other girls and boys. Of girls, 84 percent say that they learned or did new things in Girl Scouts, and 80 percent reported that in Girl Scouts they were able to do things that they could not have done in other places. Through experiences like these, girls bec...



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  • Girl Scouts can see Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and more!


    You can see top U.S. Gymnasts including Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, 2008 All-Around Gold Medal winner Nastia Liukin and many more when the Kellogg's Gymnastics Tour of Champions comes to Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center on Sunday, October 23 at 5 p.m.

    Girl Scouts and their guests can purchase special discounted tickets for only $20 each plus service charge. (Discounted tickets in other sections are also available, please call for details.) Each Girl Scout receives a fun patch, too! For this show, there is no minimum number of tickets required to attend, so troops can attend together, or individual girls and their families.

    Girl Scouts can also participate in the Kellogg’s Fitness Zone, which will be set up on the concourse before the show, where they can test their balance, flexibility and strength.

    For more information or to purchase your tickets, please contact Jake Sullivan directly at 412-804-7904 or use this order form.

  • GSWPA Announces Addition of S’mores Cookie to 2017 Cookie Lineup


    New Variety Commemorates 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts Selling Cookies and Organization’s Historical Tie to the Campfire Treat

    Today, National S’mores Day, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announced, in celebration of 100 years of Girl Scouts selling cookies, the organization will introduce two commemorative Girl Scout S’mores™ cookies. Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) will add one of the new cookies to its 2017 lineup, where it will join classics like Thin Mints®, Samoas, and Trefoils®.

    GSWPA will offer a s’mores-inspired crunchy graham sandwich cookie with creamy chocolate and marshmallowy filling. The last new Girl Scout Cookies®, including the gluten-free Toffee-tastic, were introduced in 2015.

    “We are so excited to introduce the new Girl Scout S’mores cookie to western Pennsylvania,” said Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of GSWPA. “The flavor pays tribute to the tradition of outdoor adventures in Girl Scouts and also provides a new and delicious way for cookie customers to support girls’ leadership development.”

    This s’mores-inspired cookie made with specialty ingredients was created with emerging consumer trends in mind. It contains no artificial flavors or colors, high fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. This newly introduced cookie is the first of its kind for Girl Scouts.

    T...



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  • GSWPA awarded $25,000 grant from the EQT Foundation


    [Pittsburgh]–Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the EQT Foundation to help more girls in grades 4-12 connect with the fun and challenges of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through programs in Allegheny, Greene and Washington Counties.

    The grant will provide hands-on STEM experiences in a supportive, all-girl environment through resources for Girl Scout troops and GSWPA-sponsored programs through July 2017.

    “The EQT Foundation believes it’s important to encourage more girls to explore and eventually pursue STEM careers, as there are currently more jobs in these fields than in any other industry,” Charlene Petrelli, president of EQT Foundation said. “By partnering with the Girl Scouts, we can create programs and events that give children the opportunity to explore and embrace all that the STEM-related fields have to offer.”

    Nearly half (48%) of this country’s work force is comprised of women, yet women are still underrep­resented in science and engineering careers. Less than one-fifth of American engineers are women.

    A study conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) found that 81% of all high school girls are interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), but only 13% say it is their first choice, with about half of all girls believing that STEM isn't a typical career path for girls.

    “STEM programs in Girl Scouts help girls realize...



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  • Meet Sylvia Acevedo, Interim CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA


    On June 15, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announced that Sylvia Acevedo, a lifelong Girl Scout, former Secretary of GSUSA's Board of Directors, and longtime advocate for Hispanic, girls', and women's causes, was appointed interim chief executive officer of GSUSA, succeeding Anna Maria Chávez.

    Anna, who is departing to pursue a return to public service, served our Movement for eight years—including at GSUSA since 2011. We thank Anna for all of her efforts, locally and nationally, to build our Girl Scout brand, align our Movement, and lead our digital transformation.

    Over the course of more than a century, our organization has been led by devoted individuals who have honored the legacy of Juliette Gordon Low, a visionary pioneer.

    And now we welcome Sylvia, whose enthusiasm for Girl Scouts—our powerful mission and the important role we play in girls’ lives—is infectious. She cites the enormously positive impact Girl Scouts has had on her life and her family members’ lives, and she proudly “bleeds green.”

    Indeed, Sylvia credits Girl Scouts with helping her to become the woman she is today—nurturing her love of the outdoors and science and giving her the skills needed to propel her to success in the corporate and philanthropic sectors. And did you know she’s an actual rocket scientist? It’s true—and according to her it’s du...



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  • GSWPA Announces Richard King Mellon Foundation’s $1 million Commitment to Connect More Girl Scouts to the Outdoors


    [Pittsburgh, PA]—In the spirit of National Get Outdoors Day on Saturday, June 11, today Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) is pleased to announce Richard King Mellon Foundation’s $200,000 pledge and commitment to getting more girls from western Pennsylvania outdoors in unique and exciting ways.

    The funding is part of a $1 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation that will benefit Girl Scouts from five councils: GSWPA, Girl Scouts of Alaska, Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, Girl Scouts of Greater New York, and Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan.

    Over the next two years, the funding will help launch a pilot outdoor internship program at GSWPA and create a summer Girl Scout Destinations trip to a national park.

    GSWPA is proud to collaborate with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) toward meeting these goals. SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.

    Regular exposure to the outdoors provides significant benefit to Girl Scouts and is a key driver of leadership, according to the Girl Scout Research Institute's...



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  • Girl Scouts celebrate "Going Gold"


    [Pittsburgh, PA]— Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) recognized 63 Girl Scouts who earned the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting, at a special ceremony on Saturday, May 14 at the Pittsburgh Marriott North.

    According to the Girl Scout Research Institute’s (GSRI) report, The Power of the Girl Scout Gold Award: Excellence in Leadership and Life, Girl Scout Gold Award recipients receive greater lifetime benefits than their peers with regard to positive sense of self, life satisfaction, leadership, life success, community service, and civic engagement thanks to their experience in Girl Scouting, including earning their Gold Award.

    When compared to non-Girl Scout alumnae, Gold Award recipients soar when it comes to seeing themselves as a leader, providing service to others through volunteerism, and positive attitudes about themselves and the lives they lead. More generally, over ninety percent of Girl Scouts not only attributed their success in life to Girl Scouts, but they also said they could not have had access to the same experiences anywhere else. 

    “Girls who earn the Gold Award do more than achieve recognition,” said Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of GSWPA. “Through their Gold Award projects, they create meaningful and lasting changes that make their communities better places to live.”

    Over the course of the last century, millions of Girl Scout alumnae have positively impacted their communities and the wo...



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  • Girl Scouts honors leadership at annual awards luncheon


    Pittsburgh—Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) honored outstanding service and leadership to the Pittsburgh community at the annual Awards of Distinction luncheon on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, at the Omni William Penn, 530 William Penn Place, Pittsburgh.

    The 2016 Woman of Distinction award winners in each category are:

    • Arts & Education: Dr. Linda Hippert, Executive Director, Allegheny Intermediate Unit
    • Athletics: Teresa Conn, Co-Owner, Pittsburgh Passion
    • Business: Doris Carson Williams, President & Chief Executive Officer, African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania (AACCWP)
    • Community & Non-Profit: Yvonne Cook, President, Highmark Foundation
    • Entrepreneur & Small Business: Rebecca U. Harris, Director, The Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
    • Government & Law: Victoria B. Kush, Attorney at Law, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
    • Health Care: Melissa McNeil, MD, MPH, Associate Chief, Division of General Internal Medicine; Chief, Section of Women's Health, University of Pittsburgh/UPMC
    • Technology & Communication: Joyce Gannon, Business Reporter, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

     Three other awards were also presented:

      Girl of Distinction: Marie Erickson, Mt. Lebanon High School Girl Scout Humanitarian: <...


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  • Support girls on a mission to make the world a better place


    Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) is participating in The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Day of Giving—a 16-hour, online giving event created to inspire philanthropy in our region.

    The Day of Giving will take place Tuesday, May 3 from 8 a.m. to midnight. Online donations can be made to GSWPA during this 16-hour period through pittsburghgives.org, butlergives.org or westmorelandgives.org.

    Why give? When you support Girl Scouts, you’re supporting girls on a mission to make the world a better place.

    Big changes can start with just one girl. You may be surprised to learn that these projects were created, developed, and executed by girls earning the Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting:

      A community garden that provides 200 pounds of food to a local food pantry, helping serve 550 families in need The construction of a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk extension over wetlands in North Park that serves as an observation point to learn about the area’s delicate ecosystem Free self-defense training in Mount Lebanon for girls preparing to leave for college Tra...


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  • Lake Erie Duathlon registration now open


    The Erie Sports Commission is pleased to announce the Lake Erie Duathlon will take place at Presque Isle State Park on Sunday, August 7, 2016. The event will be hosted by and benefit Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA).

    The Duathlon consists of a 5K run, followed by a 20K bike ride, then another 5K run. All events start and finish at the Presque Isle State Park Beach 11 parking lot. The bike portion of the race will be one entire loop of the park, and each 5K will be a different loop.

    Each participant receives a premium featuring the race logo and each finisher receives a medal. Awards donated by Dick's Sporting Goods will be presented to overall female and male finishers, first place in each age group, and first place in each relay category.

    All proceeds of the race benefit Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania.

    Individuals can enter to complete the entire course. Two-person teams, consisting of one cyclist and one runner, can compete in one of three relay divisions: male, female or mixed relay.

    To register or learn more, visit lakeerieduathlon.org.

    For Girl Scouts who wish to volunteer for this fun event, please contact Lisa Shade.

  • Help Girl Scouts send cookies to our military


    Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) aims to send 45,000 boxes of the brand’s iconic cookies to men and women serving our country overseas in the U.S. Military and community veterans’ groups

    Donations to the program – called Operation: Sweet Appreciation – will be collected online now through Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, at gswpa.org/military.

    Anyone who donates online to Operation: Sweet Appreciation can choose a specific Girl Scout troop or individually registered girl (also known as Indie Girls) to benefit from the donation, just as they would through the traditional Cookie Program.

    “Every year, Girl Scouts make military men and women a priority by sending care packages of Girl Scout Cookies, much-needed personal items and letters to U.S. servicemen and women around the globe,” said Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of GSWPA. “Operation: Sweet Appreciation helps amplify their efforts and sends tens of thousands of cookies to active-duty soldiers overseas as well as veterans right here at home.”

    In 2015, more than 38,000 boxes of cookies were donated through Operation: Sweet Appreciation. By the end of booth sales on March 20, more than 40,000 boxes were already donated.

  • Girl Scouts, Highmark partnership aims to teach young girls the importance of healthy living


    PITTSBURGH (Feb. 26, 2016) – Young girls at Westinghouse Academy in Homewood, Sto-Rox Middle School in McKees Rocks, Penn Hills Middle School and Woodland Hills Middle School are exploring the fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle while discovering the fun of Girl Scouting traditions as the result of a Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield partnership. The eight-week program for Girl Scouts, made possible by a $10,000 Highmark grant, promotes healthy living by encouraging consistent exercise and positive attitudes. 

    “Girl Scouts is committed to fostering healthy lifestyles for girls,” said Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of GSWPA. “By providing active outdoors programs, encouraging healthy relationships and working with expert partners like Highmark, Girl Scouts helps girls build the foundation for a lifetime of wellness.”

    The program not only promotes physical fitness and the development of healthy relationships, it also provides a safe, supportive place for girls to discuss health-related topics. During the program at Westinghouse, participants discussed many aspects of healthy and unhealthy living, including relationships, stress, eating habits and exercise.

    True to the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place, the girls plan to share what they’ve learned with their fellow students. The girls will promote healthy living tips and share nutritious sna...



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  • Celebrate National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend, Feb. 26-28


    GSWPA will join councils across the country February 26-28 to participate in National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend 2016, which celebrates the world's largest girl-led business--and happens to coincide with the kick-off of cookie booth sales in western Pennsylvania.

    Girl Scouts will be selling cookies at locations around Pittsburgh, Erie, Indiana, Greensburg, Kittanning and DuBois throughout the weekend. Cookie lovers can buy Girl Scouts Cookies on-site or order cookies to send to our troops via Operation: Sweet Appreciation. 

    Check out the list of scheduled locations below. You can also download our Mobile Cookie App to find cookies on the go, or search for cookies by zip code through the Cookie Locator.

    National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend Booth Locations

     

    Friday, Feb. 26: 

    Pittsburgh: (All locations open 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., un...



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  • 2016 Girl Scout Cookie Program begins January 8


    Thousands of girls in the Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) council are gearing up for the annual Girl Scout Cookie Program that begins January 8.

    Samoas, Thin Mints, Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos, Tagalongs, Savannah Smiles, and Rah-Rah Raisins return for the 2016 season. Rah-Rah Raisins, which joined the lineup for the 2015 sale, are hearty oatmeal cookies packed with raisins and Greek yogurt-flavored chunks.

    Girl Scouts will again offer a gluten-free cookie. Toffee-tastic Girl Scout Cookies are crispy, buttery cookies packed with golden toffee bits. Toffee-tastic cookies will be offered at booth sales beginning February 26 for as long as supplies last. Visit girlscoutcookies.org in February to find booth sale locations in western Pennsylvania.

    For the second year, GSWPA is participating in Digital Cookie, a web platform that lets girls sell cookies from their own protected, personalized websites. This means consumers who know Girl Scouts participating in Digital Cookie will receive e-marketing materials from them this season with invitations to visit their cookie websites and make purchases. Cookies ordered through Digital Cookie are shipped from the baker directly to the customer. 

    Local girls are excited to participate in Digital Cookie 2.0, which will provide a more robust hands-on, and entertaining learning experience, including an enhanced cookie website....



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  • GSWPA set to unveil Digital Cookie 2.0


    Last year, nearly 160,000 Girl Scouts experienced a revolutionary update to the iconic Girl Scout Cookie Program: the Digital Cookie™ platform. With Girl Scouts’ first-ever national digital platform, Digital Cookie 1.0 gave girls the opportunity to sell cookies via website.

    Bringing 21st-century technology to the classic piece of Americana that is the Girl Scout Cookie Program, this initiative was a first step in preparing girls to be leaders in the high-tech, fast-paced, e-commerce world of today.

    This is the second year Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) is participating in Digital Cookie. As the 2016 Girl Scout Cookie season gets underway January 8, local girls are excited to participate in Digital Cookie 2.0, which will provide a more robust, hands-on, and entertaining learning experience, including an enhanced cookie website.

    ‘Science of play’ helps build skills

    Upgrades to the girl-facing website include a goal-setting calculator to help girls track the number of boxes they need to sell to reach their goal—instilling the importance of setting both short- and long-term financial goals—and new ways to organize orders. Girls will be able to further personalize their pages during setup and access improved cookie sales data, with colorful charts showing sales by cookie type as well as week-by-week trends.

    A fun new arcade game cal...



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  • The Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania and Goodwill Team Up for the “Give A Little Love” Holiday Clothing Drive & Community Service Project


    PITTSBURGH, December 1, 2015 – Two well-known and well-respected nonprofit organizations, the Girls Scouts Western Pennsylvania and Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania, are teaming up this year for the holidays. Together, they will conduct the “Give A Little Love” Holiday Clothing Drive and Community Service Project during the month of December. Girl Scouts will be collecting gently used items for donation to Goodwill for the winter months when donations are needed most. Items donated will be sold in Goodwill stores to support the agency’s mission to provide job training and education to help people with barriers to gain employment. 

    “We are so very pleased to work with the Girl Scouts on this donation drive project,” said Danielle Hardy, Community Donations Specialist at Goodwill SWPA. “They have been a wonderful partner of Goodwill for decades because of their commitment to the community. Their support this year is greatly needed.”

    During the “Give A Little Love” Holiday Clothing Drive and Community Service Project, Girl Scouts will distribute donation bags to family, friends and other partners throughout the community. Later, they will collect the donation bags and deliver them to their local Goodwill store and donation center by December 31st. Goodwill SWPA and the Girls Scouts Western Pennsylvania are calling on the public to support the project by cleaning out their closets to help to Girl Scouts fill the donation bags.

    Participating Girl...



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  • No price increase for Girl Scout Cookies in GSWPA!


    Good news, Girl Scout Cookie fans! GSWPA is happy to report that the price of cookies in our council will not be increasing. Prices for all of your favorites remain the same: Samoas, Thin Mints, Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos, Tagalongs, Rah-Rah Raisins and Savannah Smiles cost $4 per box.

    Gluten-free Toffee-tastic Girl Scout Cookies are $5 a box and will be available at booth sales.

    Girl Scouts begin taking orders for the 2016 Cookie Program on January 8. The countdown is on!

  • Great gifts for Girl Scouts!


    Visit the Girl Scout Shop Holiday Open House, Saturday, Nov. 21, 9 a.m.—1 p.m., to find gifts for current Girl Scouts, troop leaders, parents and alumnae, as well as all the gear needed for adventures in Girl Scouting. Enjoy a free gift with a purchase of $50 or more and enter to win a Girl Scout Cookie oven! Bring in a non-perishable food donation and receive 15% off your entire order (some exclusions apply). Daisy-Ambassador Girl Scouts who make a donation receive a free Food Drive patch.

    Stop by a location near you on Nov. 21, 9 a.m.—1 p.m.:

      Beaver, 443 Third Street Beaver, PA 15009 Edinboro, 5681 Route 6N Edinboro, PA 16412 Greensburg, 126 East Otterman Street Greensburg, PA 15601 Johnstown, ...


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  • Troop leaders: Share the awesome!


    The benefits for girls who join Girl Scouts are well-known—like leadership skills, friends for life, outdoor experiences and tons of fun, just to name a few. But did you know that girls aren’t the only ones who benefit from Girl Scouting?

    Girl Scouting enriches the lives of volunteers, as well. Check out these incredible stats:

    • Ninety-four percent of volunteers have made new friends
    • Eighty-eight percent believe their life is better because they volunteer with Girl Scouts
    • Two-thirds believe their volunteer experience has helped them professionally
    • Ninety-five percent of Girl Scout volunteers are happy knowing they’re making girls’ lives better

    The numbers speak for themselves! Leading our awesome Girl Scouts is a rewarding, beneficial (and fun!) experience.

    Why not invite the inspiring people you know to join the fun?

    This November, when you invite a friend to start a new Girl Scout Daisy, Brownie, or Junior troop, everyone wins!

    Once your friend…

    1. Joins Girl Scouts as a troop leader
    2. Completes the volunteer process
    3. And starts a new Girl Scout troop…you’ll get $50 to spend in our Girl Scouts' Official Online Store and they’ll get a Volunteer Resource Pack to get their Girl Scouts experience off to a great start!

    Once your friend joins Girl Scouts as a troop leader, completes the volunteer application, and starts a new Girl Scout Daisy, Brownie,...



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  • Girl Scout helps girls explore their Catholic faith


    Girl Scouts make a promise to serve God and to help people at all times. Girl Scout Christine Mellick, 16, brought that promise to life during a workshop she organized for Catholic Girl Scouts at Seton-La Salle High School in Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 10.

    During the Family of God workshop, Christine brought Brownie Girl Scouts together to celebrate the relationship between their Catholic faith and Girl Scouting.

    “The Family of God Emblem is offered to second and third grade Girl Scouts, making it the youngest national Catholic religious emblem girls can earn,” Christine explained.

    “Girls who might not otherwise devote a day to their Catholic faith were able to come together as a family united in Christ, and have a fun time earning a Girl Scout award."

    Family of God offers a bilingual activity series developed to complement the catechetical efforts of the parish and families with children in the second and third grades. It also helps children discover the presence of God in their daily lives as members of their family and parish.

    Each Girl Scout earned a religious emblem at the end of the workshop.

    The Brownies weren’t the only ones learning at the workshop that day. Christine’s experience organizing the program adds to the leadership skills that she’ll use her entire life.

    “I learned that when you're determined, you can accomplish just about anything!”

    A student at Seton-La Salle High School and a Girl Scou...



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  • Join the GSWPA Media Team!


    You already know Girl Scouts is fun and awesome—help us spread the word!

    GSWPA is looking for girls to join our Media Team to represent the Girl Scouts organization in your community. 

    Girls (Junior through Senior) may apply. No experience necessary! 

    What will girls do as part of the Media Team?  

    Depending on their interests and skills, girls can expect to: 

    • Participate in TV, radio, and newspaper interviews 
    • Write articles and submit photos for the GSWPA blog or newsletters 
    • Create videos to promote Girl Scout programs and mission 
    • Represent the council at high-profile events in the community, including speaking engagements and appearances  
    • Conduct official flag ceremonies 
    • Report on special Girl Scout events during the year 

    What are the participation requirements? 

    • Be a Junior, Cadette, Senior or Ambassador Girl Scout registered for the 2015-2016 school year 
    • Agree to a one-year participation commitment 
    • Have a full Girl Scout uniform (vest or sash, white blouse, khaki pants) 
    • Attend one Media Team training session provided by GSWPA and local media experts (dates to be announced)

    No experience necessary! Girls will be selected for media opportunities based on their skills, interests and availability. 

    Interested? ...



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  • Girls to learn how to maintain healthy lifestyles


    Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) has been awarded a $10,000 grant from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield to support Healthy Living Educational Initiatives which help girls learn about ways to develop physically, socially, and emotionally healthy lifestyles.

    Through the grant, GSWPA promotes healthy living through encouraging positive relationships with food, consistent exercise and positive attitudes.  The programs offer girls opportunities for exploring and mastering the fundamentals of sports and nutrition while discovering the fun of Girl Scouting traditions.

    “We are proud of our ongoing partnership with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield,” said Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of GSWPA. “Working together enables us to offer these much needed programs to girls throughout our 27-county service region in western Pennsylvania.”

    Offered in partnership with area schools, the Healthy Living Initiatives promote physical fitness, leadership and the development of healthy relationships while providing a safe place for girls: contributing to the creation of engaged students. 

    Above all, these programs give girls leadership opportunities so they can see first-hand how their involvement has the power to change the future, and arm them with a “can-do” spirit that carries seamlessly into many other aspects of their lives.

    With the support of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, GSWPA will offer four separate eight-week programs that will serve 50-7...



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  • Girl Scouts explore fun, challenges of STEM


    Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to help girls experience the fun and challenges of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through hands-on, cooperative learning opportunities.

    Women are still underrep­resented in higher-paying positions, especially in science and engineering. Despite the higher earning potential, many girls don’t see themselves in STEM careers. A study conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) found that 81% of all high school girls are interested in pursuing STEM careers, but only 13% say it is their first choice, with about half of all girls believing that STEM isn't a typical career path for girls.

    “Helping girls explore STEM careers through the Girl Scouts can help change the perception that science and math aren’t for them,” said Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of GSWPA. “With help from community partners like the Verizon Foundation, GSWPA can connect more girls to STEM experiences relevant to everyday life and show them that their dreams are possible.”

    With the support of the Verizon Foundation, GSWPA will offer a series of programs aimed at promoting STEM concepts through inventive, girl-led scientific discovery coupled with real-world activities.

    Using the STEM Journey “It’s Your Planet—Love It,” girls in grades 2-5 will participate in programs that explore grade-appropriate environmental issues such as clean water, noise pollution, glob...



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  • Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania celebrates leadership in Erie


    Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) honored outstanding service and leadership to the Erie community at the annual Awards of Distinction luncheon on Wednesday, September 23 at the Ambassador Banquet & Conference Center.

    GSWPA’s Awards of Distinction recognize a local female leader, impressive Girl Scout troop and a community-champion organization.  Proceeds of this event support Girl Scouts’ mission to develop courage, confidence and character in girls and to inspire the next generation of young women to become the leaders of tomorrow.

    Karen S. Seggi was named the 2015 Woman of Distinction award. She is the executive director of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania, the largest nonprofit food distribution organization in the region. The agency serves 442 partner organizations in 11 counties.   

    Seggi is a board member of Feeding Pennsylvania and serves as President of Hunger Free Pennsylvania, two statewide anti-hunger organizations. She is also a member of the Emergency Food and Shelter Board in Erie and Clarion Counties. 

    A former Girl Scout Troop Leader, Seggi led her daughter’s troop at Robison Elementary for three years.

    GSWPA presented the Erie Times-News as this year’s Organization of Distinction Award. 

    The Erie Times-News has been a consistent partner of GSWPA through financial support, event sponsorship, media partnership, and by continuously selecting...



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  • Now Is the Time to Register for Girl Scouts: GSWPA Calls for New Girls to Join in the Fun


    As families start thinking about their children returning to school, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) is inviting girls to join the fun and register for Girl Scouts.

    Providing countless opportunities for making friends, trying new things, and exercising leadership skills through activities like building robots, participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, playing sports, and more, Girl Scouts is an exciting way to engage girls all year round. 

    National studies from the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) show it’s not just what girls do, but how they do it that makes Girl Scouts so beneficial. Girl Scouts is unique because girls get to learn by doing, and they do so in a girl-led environment. This means that, in addition to girls learning in a hands-on and active way, they are encouraged to choose their activities, decide which topics they want to explore, and determine how they want to go about exploring them. Girl Scouts is the largest girl-led organization in the world, and it is a significant contributor to its members’ success in and enjoyment of life.

    Girl Scouts also provides benefits that directly complement all of the great work girls are already doing in school every day. Girls who experience learning by doing and who are a part of a girl-led program learn not to avoid things that are hard for them, but rather to take these challenges head on, practice creative problem solving, learn from mistakes, and grow—all skills that wi...



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  • Volunteers required to complete new PA state clearances


    In Girl Scouting, safety is our #1 priority. Due to new legislation (PA Act 153) there are some new rules we all need to follow as a volunteer organization.

    Nonprofits, like the Girl Scouts, must ensure that our volunteers complete the required background clearances starting July 1. 

    There is no charge to obtain these clearances, with the exception of the FBI Criminal Background Check ($27), which is required only if you've lived outside Pennsylvania anytime in the past 10 years. 

    Since these processes can be confusing, we've outlined everything below so you know exactly which clearances you need to volunteer with Girl Scouts.

    A few things to note: 

      If you received the required clearances for another organization within the last 36 months, they are valid and we can accept a copy of your results along with your online affidavit. Just send them to the address or email indicated below. The fastest way to do all of this is to follow the guidelines for electronic submission and send copies to us by email. Paper forms are available as a last resort (and it’s going to take a lot longer for the State of Pennsylvania to process them). We have a lot of clearances to collect, so please submit ALL copies along with the affidavit at one time to avoid your paperwork being separated. Send copies of all co...


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  • Ninety-three Girl Scouts earn Gold Awards


    The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting; it recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable take action projects that have sustainable impact in their communities and beyond.

    Since 1916, girls have successfully answered the call to "Go Gold," an act that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

    Congratulations to these outstanding young women who have earned the Gold Award:

    First Name Last Name City Lauren Agnello Cranberry Twp. Kristen  Barczynski Wexford Grace Baumiller McMurray Taylor Beacom Russellton Allison Beck Pittsburgh  Jessie Beck Reynoldsville Brittany  Becker New Kensington Tiffany Behanna New Eagle Bailyn  Bench...


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  • GSWPA celebrates "Going Gold"


    For Girl Scouts, “Going Gold” means earning the highest achievement in Girl Scouting—the Gold Award. This award recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects that address important community needs.

    Thirty Girl Scouts from around the Pittsburgh region will receive their Gold Award pins at a special ceremony on June 13 at the Pittsburgh Marriott North, 100 Cranberry Woods Drive, Cranberry Township, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

    A Girl Scout who earns a Gold Award has sought out the work that needs doing in her community and put a plan in action—addressing childhood obesity, connecting more girls to STEM, or creating a much-needed neighborhood playground.

    Allison Love, a junior at Seneca Valley Intermediate High School, earned her Gold Award by helping kids make new friends and try new things at Dr. Bill Neches Heart Camp for Kids.

    Heart Camp has always held a special place in Allison's life, as a camper and now as a camp counselor. She is a survivor of complex congenital heart disease and heart camp was a place where she could be with other kids who understood her struggles.

    It was that feeling of belonging that drove Allison to choose the camp as the focus of her Gold Award project.

    “I noticed over the years that kids were afraid of getting involved in activities at heart camp,” Allison noted, “They were afraid of being judged.”

    Allis...



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  • GSWPA Announces New Board Members


    Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA), a nonprofit organization that offers opportunities for girls to develop positive values and to contribute to society as leaders and responsible citizens, announced that two new members have been selected to serve on the organization’s Board of Directors.

    The new members are John Polacek and Michelle Maccagnan. They were installed at GSWPA's annual meeting in April with terms ending in 2018.

    John Polacek is the Chief Operating Officer of JWFDefense Systems and JWF Industries. JWF is a full-service, processbased, metal fabrication and metal processing contract manufacturer located in Johnstown. He has been with the company since 2007.

    Prior to joining JWF, John was Vice President and General Manager of the Defense Solutions Group at BAESystems – IT. John also served in the United States Marine Corps as an Electronics Intelligence (ELINT) Analyst. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management with high honors from the University of Phoenix.

    Michelle Maccagnan is a consultant with Resources Global Professionals (RGP) in Pittsburgh where she works with the BNY Mellon AML Due Diligence Team.

    Prior to joining RGP, Michelle served as Associate Director of WHQ/Global Pension and Equity Accounting at the H.J. Heinz Company where she actively participated in the preparation of the $28 billion f...



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  • Girl Scout Camp is for every girl!


    Many know that camping is an important Girl Scout tradition, but few are aware that any girl in grades K-12 can attend Girl Scout camp. Girls do not have to currently be in a troop to make new friends and experience new things at Girl Scout camp.

    Why should I choose Girl Scout camp for my daughter this summer?

    Girl Scout camp is a chance to break away from everyday experiences and enjoy outdoor adventures. It's often the first time a girl gets to ride a horse or challenge herself on a ropes course. All camp programs are girl-centered and designed to help each girl find her confidence, discover her leadership potential and make new friends in a supportive, all-girl environment.

    Will my daughter feel left out at camp if she isn’t already part of a troop?

    Most girls who participate in troops during the school year attend resident camp by themselves, so there are many opportunities to make new friends. Girl Scouting is all about being supportive and inclusive, so every girl is made to feel welcome.

    Isn’t Girl Scout camp just for younger kids?

    Girl Scout camp offer programs for girls from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Older girls have
    access to the high-adventure activities they love –like whitewater rafting, horseback riding, challenge
    courses, archery and more.

    Where are the Girl Scout camps in my region?

    Resident camp programs are available at the following locations:

    Cam...



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  • Shop on AmazonSmile, help GSWPA


    Attention Amazon shoppers: Did you know you can have a percentage of your Amazon purchases donated to GSWPA at no extra cost? 

    We’re participating in AmazonSmile. It’s a way for people to support their favorite nonprofit automatically every time they shop, at no cost and by taking just a few simple one-time steps. Awesome, right?

    Just go to smile.amazon.com, log in to your Amazon account, and you’ll be asked to select a charity. Type in Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania and select it from the list. And if you’re already participating in AmazonSmile and want to change your charity to GSWPA, simply click on “Supporting” in the upper left side of the page when you’re logged in and select “Change your charity.”

    After that, all you have to do is make sure you go to smile.amazon.com every time you shop and Amazon will donate .5% of your purchase to GSWPA! Your smile.amazon.com account is the same as your amazon.com account, so your shopping cart, wish list, registries and other account settings are the same no matter which one you use. Want to learn more? Here are some AmazonSmile FAQs [LINK TO: http://smile.amazon.com/about].

    Thank you for shopping—and supporting GSWPA!

     

  • Girl Scouts Westerns Pennsylvania celebrates local girls during National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend


    This February 27 through March 1, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA), along with its sister councils across the country, will participate in National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend, a celebration of all the fun and excitement girls have selling Girl Scout Cookies. National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend will give girls from GSWPA a chance to show off their cookie-selling skills by participating in booth sales throughout 27 counties in western Pennsylvania.

    National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend will also give the GSWPA council an opportunity to highlight some of its most innovative and successful cookie entrepreneurs and what they plan on doing with their cookie money to benefit their communities. Through the Cookie Program’s five skills—goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics—each amazing young #cookieboss develops creative and resourceful ways to sell cookies. And the more cookies girls sell, the more money they have to invest in community service projects, learning experiences, and travel opportunities.

    “Cookies mean confidence for Girl Scouts,” said Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania. “Every time you buy a box, you show a Girl Scout that she can reach her goals.”

    “For you it’s a box of delicious cookies,” she added. “For the girl, it’s her first taste of success in business.”

    One hundred percent of the net revenue raised through Girl Scout Cookie sales in the Warren area stays with...



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  • Help Girl Scouts send cookies to the U. S. Military!


    Brian Castner received a box of Thin Mints on a cramped transport aircraft over western Iraq while he served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer in the US Air Force. On his blog Fever Dreams, Castner called the gift from a Girl Scout troop from Irwin “one of the dearest kindnesses that has ever been shown to me.”

    Girl Scouts want to share more of that kindness to men and women serving our country overseas in theU.S. Military through a new addition to the annual Girl Scout Cookie Program called Operation: Sweet Appreciation.

    “Girl Scouts have sent cookies and care packages to men and women in our military every year,” said Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania. “Operation: Sweet Appreciation expands on their efforts, sending more cookies to more of our servicemen and women, giving them a welcome taste of home on behalf of Girl Scouts in western Pennsylvania.”

    Anyone who donates online to Operation: Sweet Appreciation can choose a specific Girl Scout troop or individually registered girl (also known as Indie Girls) to benefit from the donation, just as they would through the traditional Cookie Program.

    Girl Scout Cookies purchased with the donations from this program will be shipped directly from the baker, Little Brownie Bakers, to military troops serving overseas.

    Donations to the program will be collected online thr...



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  • Research Affirms the Overwhelming Benefits of Outdoor Experiences for Girls


    According to a new study by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), More Than S’mores (2014), girls benefit immensely from time spent outdoors. Girls who regularly spend time outdoors eclipse their peers who spend less time outdoors in environmental stewardship, more readily seek challenges, and are better problem solvers—all important traits in twenty-first century leadership.

    Outdoor experiences are also particularly beneficial to girls of comparatively low socioeconomic status (SES). More Than S’mores finds that lower-SES girls who have regular outdoor exposure through Girl Scouts are likely to credit Girl Scouts with helping them become leaders.

    Additionally, outdoor experiences through Girl Scouting, such as camp, are beneficial to girl leadership development across ethnicities. Latina (38 percent) and African American (40 percent) girls are more likely than their peers (28 percent) to say they overcame a fear of the outdoors through Girl Scouting; seventy-nine percent of Latina girls say they first tried an outdoor activity in Girl Scouts, and an overwhelming 59 percent of Latina girls say Girl Scouts has offered them outdoor activities they would not have otherwise had access to.

    “In this study, we expected to see that girls were having fun in the outdoors,” says Dr. Kallen Tsikalas, lead researcher on the study. However, we were surprised by just how important it was for them how much they appreciated having opportunities...



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  • GSWPA Calls for New Girl Scout Members and Volunteers to Join in the Fun


    Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) is making its back-to-school push for girls and adult volunteers to join Girl Scouts, the country’s preeminent leadership development organization for girls. With families already thinking about how to allocate their free time during the coming school year, Girl Scouts of theUSA (GSUSA) released new data showing the organization’s benefits for both girls and volunteers. 

    Results of a 2014 pulse poll conducted with more than 3,500 volunteers and parents of Girl Scouts in grades K−5 show positive effects on members of all ages. Ninety-seven percent of parents agree that Girl Scouts has been a positive activity for their daughter, that she has had fun and exciting new experiences (95 percent), and that she has learned or tried something new (96 percent). In addition, 94 percent of parents say that because of Girl Scouts their daughter feels special, has more friends (95 percent), and is happier (89 percent).

    The data shows it is not just girls who benefit: 94 percent of volunteers have made new friends, 88 percent believe their life is better because they volunteer with Girl Scouts, and two-thirds believe their volunteer experience has helped them professionally. Ninety-five percent of Girl Scout volunteers are happy knowing they are making girls’ lives better.

    "Girl Scouts has provided a safe, fun, and engaging place for girls and adult volunteers to lead and thrive for over 100 years," said...



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  • Celebrate 100 Years of the Gold Award

    2016 marks the 100th Anniversary of Highest Award in Girl Scouts!

    Starting in 1916, the best and brightest undertook projects that improved their communities – and the world. The Golden Eaglet insignia, the highest award in Girl Scouting from 1916 to 1939, marked the beginning of a long tradition of recognizing the extraordinary efforts of extraordinary girls. From 1940 to 1963, the Curved Bar Award was the highest honor in Girl Scouting. From 1963 to 1980, the highest award was called the First Class. And since 1980, the Gold Award inspired girls to find the greatness inside themselves and share their ideas and passion with their communities.

    Gold Award 100th Anniversary Reception

    Join us for an evening of fun and celebration in honor of the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting, and those who've earned it. Enjoy heavy appetizers, cocktails, and live music!
    Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016
    Pittsburgh Opera
    Learn more and register

    Join the Network

    Are you a member of this elite group of women who have achieved the Highest Award in Girl Scouts? Since 1916 these women have earned the Golden Eagle of Merit, Golden Eaglet, Curved Bar, First Class and the Girl Scou...



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  • 2017 National Convention to be held in Columbus

    Meet Girl Scouts from across the country and enjoy an experience you'll never forget at the 2017 Girl Scout National Convention, scheduled for Oct. 4-8 in Columbus, Ohio!  

    All members ages 14 and older are invited to apply to represent GSWPA as a delegate at the convention. (Must be 14 by April 8, 2017, which is the date of our Annual Meeting, when they would assume the delegate role.)

    The delegate application period has closed. 

    Delegate Position Description

    Girls chosen to be one of our voting delegates will:

    • represent GSWPA at the 2017 National Council Session/54th National Convention of Girl Scouts of the USA on Oct. 4-8, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio
    • help elect the National Board of Directors
    • make decisions about the future of the Girl Scout movement during a three-year term (April 2017 to April 2020)
  • Important Retail Shop Announcement

    July 14, 2016 -- Through our ongoing work with our Customer Engagement Initiative, we hope our members have noticed a streamlined approach to our customer service. As a council, we're always looking at ways to support the mission so more girls can experience the benefits of Girl Scouting. Most recently, we've taken a close look at our retail shops. National retail trends clearly show that more and more shoppers are going online. Along with that, we're seeing more and more volunteers and parents shopping online instead of in our traditional shops. Reviewing how and where our members shop has prompted some changes to the operation of our council shops. At the same time, it's opened up a new and exciting opportunity for our girls and volunteers. All Girl Scout shops are closed in July for inventory. All shops will reopen in August with new hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; closed on Fridays; and 9-noon on one Saturday each month, September through May. On Oct. 27, we will permanently close our Girl Scout shops in Beaver, Johnstown and Kittanning. As we move forward, we know that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills are critical building blocks for our girls. The current shop space in Beaver will be transformed into a troop meeting space and volunteer resource center with STEM-focused options this fall. Girls will be able to use the center as a space to fulfill badge requirements or to dig deeper into how STEM is a part of our dail...



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  • Deadline has passed for required PA clearances

    Due to legislation (PA Act 153), nonprofits like the Girl Scouts must ensure that all our volunteers have completed the state required background checks. 

    As of July 1, 2016, any volunteers who have not submitted all volunteer background screening requirements per council policy and PA Act 153 are no longer approved to volunteer with Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania. These individuals have been notified via email that they are no longer actively approved volunteers with GSWPA. If they wish to reapply for volunteer positions in the future, they would be able to do so and address any missing screening requirements during that volunteer-approval process. 

    TROOP LEADERS: Please follow these steps to check who is approved with your troop: 

    1. Log in to your Member Profile.

    2. View your troop roster under both the “Current” tab (2016 membership year) and “Next Year” tab (2017 membership year).

    3. If an individual is marked as “Current” on EITHER this year’s or next year’s tab, the individual is approved to volunteer. If an individual is NOT marked "Current" under either tab (she/he may be marked “Inactive”,  “In Progress” or not appear on your troop roster at all)&...



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  • Helping Hands Network volunteers now required to have background checks

    When we introduced the Helping Hands Network volunteer position, this role was not required to complete a background check. However, based on feedback from our volunteers and parents, we have re-evaluated these requirements. In order to ensure the safety of our girls and volunteers, we now require all volunteers working with girls or who have access to information about girls to complete the background check requirements. This now includes Helping Hands Network volunteers. 

    If you are a Helping Hands Network volunteer and would like to continue volunteering, you will need to submit the following background checks no later than May 20, 2016 in order to be processed for approval by the state's deadline of July 1, 2016. If this is not done, you will not be able to volunteer until the process is complete.

    1. Complete your National Criminal Background Check by logging on to our secure volunteer portal: (Free)

       Your code is the word "portal."  All red fields are required. If you have any additional addresses, please click "add address." Click 'Next' to review the Terms & Conditions for running your background check. Sign the application and click 'Done,' then click 'Submit.' You must actually sign (on a home computer hold down th...


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  • Check out the new one-stop Activities registration system!

    Registration for council programs, trainings and camp just got a whole lot better! Our new Activities registration system makes it easier for you to register for and keep track of all your Girl Scout activities.

    Girl Scout volunteers and parents/caregivers can now register for any open council-sponsored activity through the Activities tab on the council website as well through My GS, our member portal. Not only is there now a single log in for the member community and activities registration, but families and volunteers can see all membership and activity registrations all in one place. Troop leaders can also access Activities through the Volunteer Toolkit!

    Benefits of the new registration process include:

      Single log-in with MyGS: Complete activities and membership registration, access the Volunteer Toolkit, troop and family information and more using the same login information. Yay!  Activities can be added to your Volunteer Toolkit: Troop leaders using the Volunteer Toolkit can add activities and all their details can be populated to their Year-Plan, making planning for upcoming activities even easier! Easily view all activities you’re attending: Go to the My Activities tab in MyGS to see all of the activities you are currently registered for, including any activities for which you've not yet completed payment.   More robust event information: When browsing the Ac...


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  • Save the date for Fall Town Hall Meetings

    Hear important updates, ask questions and help us set strategic goals for the future by joining us at an upcoming Town Hall Meeting. 

    The purpose of the GSWPA Town Hall Meetings is to provide members (adults and girls 14 years and older) with the opportunity to:

    • receive updates and provide input into council policy and governance decisions made by the Board of Directors;
    • help set and support the strategic goals of the council;
    • and provide feedback and participate in discussions and forums necessary to ensure consistent, quality service-delivery of the Girl Scout program to members of Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania.

    Representation by members in every service unit encourages informed decision-making and improved two-way communication.


    Locations and Dates:

    Tuesday, Oct. 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Clarion area
    American Legion
    530 Main Street
    Clarion, PA 16214

    Wednesday, Oct. 19, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Indiana area
    First Christian Church
    500 Water St.
    Indiana, PA  15701

    Thursday, Oct. 20, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Robinson area
    Montours Presbyterian Church
    3151 Montour Church Road
    Oakdale, PA 15071

    Oct. 25, 6 p.m., Webinar

     

    Registration will open on Monday, Oct. 3. Please watch your inbox and the GSWPA Facebook page for upda...



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