side menu icon

News Room

  • GSWPA celebrates Girl Scouts “Going Gold”


    Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) will celebrate 45 Girl Scouts who earned the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting, at a special ceremony on Sunday, May 21 at the Chestnut Ridge Golf Resort & Conference Center, 132 Pine Ridge Rd., Blairsville, 2–4 p.m.

    The Gold Award recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects that address important community needs. 

    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—by creating a STEM team at school, planning a mental health awareness fair, or restoring a local hiking trail, just to name a few of their amazing projects. 

    For many Girl Scouts, the leadership skills and sense of community gained from the Gold Award process cements the foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship.

    The 2017 recipients who will be honored at the ceremony are:

      Hope Catherine Bailey, Tarentum, Deer Lakes High School Rachel Bartuska, North Huntingdon, Norwin High School Cassidy Calabrace, Mt. Pleasant, Mt. Pleasant Area High School Kaitlin Alice DeOre, Dunbar, Connellsville Area High School...


    Read Full Article ]
  • GSWPA honors Johnstown couple for service, leadership at annual Awards of Distinction dinner


    Johnstown, Pa.—Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) honors outstanding service and leadership to the Johnstown community at the annual Awards of Distinction dinner on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at the Sunnehanna Country Club, 1000 Sunnehanna Drive, Johnstown, at 6:15 p.m. 

    This event has honored men and women from the Johnstown area for their efforts in the community for the past 40 years. The 2017 recipients of the Joyce M. Murtha Excellence in Community Service Award are Jack and Jodie Babich.

    The couple was chosen for this award for their extensive professional and personal involvement in the Johnstown region. Their commitment to service aligns with Girl Scouts’ efforts to develop girls and young women who contribute to their communities in purposeful and meaningful ways, just as Mrs. Joyce Murtha, after whom the award is named, had done for decades.

    "It’s extremely important for Girl Scouts to have positive, successful role models who are committed to serving their communities, so they can see what it means to give back and what’s possible for themselves,” said Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of GSWPA. “Leaders like Jack and Jodie Babich and Mrs. Murtha inspire girls to get involved in their communities and take action to help make their corner of the world a better place.” 

    Girl Scouts welcomes keynote speaker, Alexis Miller, senior vice president, individual & small group markets, Highmark, Inc.

    In her current p...



    Read Full Article ]
  • GSWPA, WLD Ranch announce partnership to offer horse programs at local camp


    Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) announced a new partnership that will provide summer horse programs for Girl Scouts at Camp Hawthorne Ridge, 7755 Hawthorne Ridge Rd., Girard.

    WLD Ranch, less than three miles from the camp at 7351 Woolsey Rd, Girard, will provide four horse programs for Girl Scouts registered for special resident camp sessions at Hawthorne Ridge.

    Girls will stay at Hawthorne Ridge and enjoy traditional camp activities like campfires, archery, hiking and swimming, and will be transported to WLD Ranch for the horse riding sessions.

    “Horseback riding is high on the list of Girl Scouts’ favorite activities, but these programs are more than just fun,” said Dana Young, GSWPA Director of Outdoor Program. “Like Girl Scouts, WLD Ranch is committed to helping build confidence and character in girls, so the partnership with them helps our mission while providing memorable and meaningful camp experiences.”

    Resident camp sessions at Hawthorne Ridge that feature WLD Ranch programs are designed for girls in grades 2-8, from beginners to more advanced riders, and vary in duration from a two-night stay to five nights.

    Anna Beall, director of health and safety and director of the horse program at WLD Ranch, feels the partnership programs are a chance for girls to be free from the pressures they often face. “Girls don’t have to be worried about how they look or what clothes they wear,” Beall said. “Girls can be themselves. Horses ac...



    Read Full Article ]
  • Cambria County woman takes the lead at Girl Scout camp as director


    Johnstown, Pa.—Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) announced Amber Peretin as director of Camp Conshatawba, 288 Oaks Road, Summerhill.

    Peretin is a familiar face at Conshatawba. She visited the camp at least once a year during her 10 years as a Girl Scout, and was a member of the camp’s seasonal staff for the past four years.

    As camp director, Peretin is responsible for the day-to-day operations of camp programs, including development and management of activities and programs for Girl Scouts in grades K-12 and leading the seasonal staff.

    “Conshatawba is such a great camp because it feels like home,” Peretin said. “It's a safe space for campers, staff and volunteers to grow and learn. Camp is all about unplugging, learning new skills, making new friends, growing as a person, and keeping things fun.”

    Peretin, 23, is a 2012 graduate of Forest Hills High School. She earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in history from Susquehanna University in 2016.

    Camp Conshatawba, located about 15 miles from Johnstown, sits on nearly 300 acres of wooded, hilly terrain in the Allegheny Mountain Range, with a stream running through the camp.

    The camp offers a full residential summer camp program for girls, with both specialty sessions offering traditional camp favorites like hiking, swimming, arts, archery and theater, and high-adventure sessions that include the low and high ropes course, zip line and climbing wall....



    Read Full Article ]
  • Join us at the 2017 GSWPA Annual Meeting on April 8


    All Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania members 14 years and older are invited to attend the GSWPA Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 8. The meeting will be held at the Kovalchick Convention & Athletic Complex at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, with six satellite locations across the council. Registration will be held from 8:30-9 a.m., and the meeting from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

    This is an opportunity for members to receive updates and provide input into council business and governance decisions made by the board of directors. Delegates will vote on the board of directors slate and bylaws, and awards will be presented to outstanding volunteers. 

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

    Meeting Agenda

    Board Slate

    Click on the links below to register. 

     

    Main Location: 

    Kovalchick Convention & Athletic Complex at IUP 711 Pra...



    Read Full Article ]
  • Camp Closing Ceremonies Scheduled


    Current and former Girl Scouts, volunteers, friends and family are invited to pay tribute to camps closing this spring. Each closing ceremony will include time-honored camp traditions, including songs, s’mores and a flag ceremony. Bring a container along if you’d like to take home keepsake campfire ashes. 

    All ceremonies will be held from 1-4 p.m.

    • Camp Singing Hills - Saturday, April 1 
    • Camp Elliott - Sunday, April 2 
    • Camp Roy Weller - Sunday, April 9
    • Camp Resting Waters - Saturday, April 29 
    • Camp Curry Creek - Sunday, April 30

    Please complete this form if you plan to attend.

  • Add girls to your troop in March to win membership and program credits!


    Spring into Girl Scouts!

    Hey Troop Leaders!

    Make the most out of this spring by bringing the Girl Scout experience to more girls. March is a great time to make sure all girls who want to be in Girl Scouts can be a part of the fun!

    All you need to do is ensure a new girl’s guardian completes her online membership in March. For every girl who joins your troop in March for the 2016-17 Girl Scout year, here’s what you could get:

    • Be one of the first 100 troops to get two new girls to join your troop in March for the 2016-17 membership year, and you'll get two troop leader memberships for the 2017-18 membership year (Oct. 1-Sept. 30).
    • For every girl who joins your troop in March for the 2016-2017 Girl Scout year, you’ll receive an entry into a drawing for $100 credit toward any activity listed on our website through Sept. 30, 2017. We know adding new members to your troop can sometimes mean adding a new adult as well. If that’s the case for your troop, we’ll add an extra entry for a new adult, too! 

    We’ll announce the winner it in the April issue of Patched In

    Questions? Contact Customer Care at customercare@gswpa.org or 800-248-3355.

  • "e" is for Cookie!


    EMTA and the "e" are helping girls kick off National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend in Erie!

    Erie area Girl Scouts will be aboard the "e" Cookie Bus this Friday, Feb. 24, stopping at locations throughout Erie to sell cookies and take donations to send cookies to the U.S. military through Operation: Sweet Appreciation. (Cash and credit/debit accepted.)

    Planned stops for the "e" Cookie Bus include:

      City of Erie Municipal Building, State Street/South Park Row, 10:30-11 a.m.  Mercyhurst University, between Garvey Park and Baldwin Hall, 11:15-11:45 a.m. JMC Ice Arena/Erie Zoo parking lot, corner of West 38th and Cherry Streets, 11:55 a.m.-12:15 p.m....


    Read Full Article ]
  • Celebrate National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend, Feb. 24-26


    GSWPA will join councils across the country February 24-26 to participate in National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend 2017, celebrating all the fun, learning, and excitement Girl Scouts have experienced selling cookies for 100 years. 

     

  • Members invited to upcoming Leadership Meetings


    Girl Scout volunteers, parents and girl members are invited to attend an informational meeting to learn how we can work in partnership to provide meaningful and fun programs, including outdoors and camp programs, to more Girl Scouts in western Pennsylvania. Register now for a meeting near you:

    Tuesday, Feb. 7, 6 p.m.: GSWPA Office, Edinboro

    Thursday, Feb. 9, 5:45 p.m.: St. Mary's Public Library, St. Marys

    Saturday, Feb. 11, 10 a.m.: Cranberry United Presbyterian Church, Cranberry

    Saturday, Feb. 11, 2 p.m.: GSWPA Office, Kittanning

    Tuesday, Feb. 14, 6 p.m.: GSWPA Office, Greensburg

    Thursday, Feb. 16, 6 p...



    Read Full Article ]
  • GSWPA Camp Properties Plan


    Our vision

    Who we are: 

    Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) provides nearly 23,000 girls from 27 counties and many different backgrounds and beliefs with the resources to become tomorrow’s leaders. And all of this is made possible thanks to the help of 11,500 adult members, 100 full time staff, 20 board members and countless supporters, all believing in the power of girls. 

    Our goal:

    We want to deliver the amazing benefits of outdoor experiences in Girl Scouts to more girls in western Pennsylvania.

    The challenge:

    The Council Camp Advisory Team (Council CAT), which includes volunteers representing each GSWPA camp, along with the Property Committee of the Board, and council staff, have been reviewing camp data including usage, revenue and expenses.

    Currently, only about 13% of council membership attend camp, and overall, camps bring in revenue of approximately $600,000 but have expenses of nearly $2 million. 

    This data shows that our membership does not support having nine camps.

    Our solution:

    We are committed to providing the best possible outdoors experience that Girl Scouts want and expect while using council resources wisely. To accomplish this, we are retaining four camps that are accessible to the different areas within our council and can best provide meaningful, safe and fun adventures for girls: Conshatawba in Cambria County, Hawthorne Ridge i...



    Read Full Article ]
  • GSWPA Celebrates 100th Anniversary of the First Known Sale of Cookies by Girl Scouts


    Pittsburgh (January 6, 2017)—Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) announced today the movement-wide celebration of the 100th season of Girl Scouts selling cookies. A century ago, girls started participating in what would evolve into the largest entrepreneurial training program for girls in the world: the Girl Scout Cookie Program®, through which girls learn the essential skills they need to become effective leaders, manage finances, and gain self-sufficiency and confidence in handling money.

    To commemorate this banner year for the organization, the highly-anticipated Girl Scout S’mores™ cookies will be available, joining classics like Thin Mints and Trefoils. Girl Scouts in western Pennsylvania begin taking orders for cookies on Friday, January 6.

    The sale of cookies by Girl Scouts had humble beginnings, born as a way for troops to finance activities. The first known sale of cookies by Girl Scouts occurred in 1917, when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project.                            

    As the Girl Scout Cookie Program developed and evolved, it not only became a vehicle for teaching five essential skills—goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics—it also enabled collaboration and integration, as early as the 1950s, among girls and troops of diverse...



    Read Full Article ]
  • Watch our new PSA: “I’m Prepared… to lead like a Girl Scout”


    Girl Scouts has been around for a long time. Although the organization is always evolving, the symbols that have come to represent it have not. People still associate Girl Scouts with cookies, sashes, badges, and friendship bracelets.

    The truth is, Girl Scouts are groundbreakers. They program robots, start garage bands, and change their communities. A Girl Scout is a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)—and yes, these G.I.R.L.s are still selling the best cookies known to (wo)man.

    Girl Scouts are prepared to tackle the big and small moments in their lives—those moments when they are up against a challenge, trying something new, making their dreams a reality, or breaking out of their comfort zones. Girl Scouts lead through practicing grit, problem solving, risk-taking, and leading with empathy.

    Ready to lead like a Girl Scout? Watch our new PSA: “I’m Prepared… to lead like a Girl Scout”

  • GSWPA Camp Analysis Underway


    The Council Camp Advisory Team (Council CAT), which includes volunteers representing each GSWPA camp, along with the Property Committee of the Board, and council staff, have been reviewing camp data including usage, revenue and expenses.

    This team, along with our property consultant Mark Allsup, has reviewed all data and details to determine our next steps related to our camps. We are in the final review of all data to determine how many and which camps will remain in place.

    Currently, only 12.71% of council membership attend camp, and overall, camps are bringing in revenue of only about $500,000 but have expenses of around $1.5 million. Council subsidy over recent years has been nearly 70%, while the Council CAT has recommended a maximum council subsidy of 50%. This data shows that our membership does not support having nine camps.

    Recommendations surrounding the number of GSWPA camps that our council can support, as well as which camps they will be, will be presented to the Board of Directors in January. We’ll keep our membership up-to-date as this process continues. Look for summer camp programs and opportunities for 2017 in Camp S’more later this winter.

    Please submit any questions or feedback to our online Suggestion Box.

  • New Volunteer Toolkit features aim to Get Girls Outside!


    NEW! Get Girls Outside! Badge Activities

    We're giving you and your girls options...outside options! Outside activities have recently been added to ten badges in the Volunteer Toolkit. Research shows nature-based activities challenge girls and support their social development by encouraging them to become more self-aware and to cooperate, communicate, and solve problems more effectively. 

    New Get Girls Outside! badge activity options:

    • 2 Daisy Petals: Lupe, Clover
    • 4 Brownie Badges: First Aid, Snacks, Making Games, Senses 
    • 4 Junior Badges: First Aid, Simple Meals, Staying Fit, Detective

    Log in to the VTK and click on the new Get Girls Outside! banner at the top of the Year Plan and Meeting Plan tabs for details on the new features and how to access them. 

    Nature-based activities often place girls in new physical, psychological, and social situations that motivate curiosity and foster a sense of discovery, so Get Girls Outside! 

     

    Additionally, several other VTK enhancements/bug fixes were made during the recent update: 

      Calendar Download Function Now Properly Syncing: Users reported that the download calendar functionality of Year Plan tab was downloading, but with no data associated...


    Read Full Article ]
  • 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 2016-2017 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? ...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • GSWPA Headlining Collaboration Between Girl Scouts of the USA and Student Conservation Association


    The launch of a new collaboration between the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) has placed a member of Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) in the spotlight – and on a two-week Conservation Destinations Trip to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

    GSUSA and SCA recently announced a two-year effort to expose more girls to the benefits of spending time in nature. As a first step, SCA is leading an all-Girl Scouts volunteer trail crew at Shenandoah National Park and among the ten-girl team is Katherine Stancil.  

    “Through separate studies, SCA and the Girl Scouts have each identified the transformative impact of immersive, team-based experiences in the outdoors,” states SCA President Jaime Berman Matyas. “By working and exploring in a national park, together we are instilling a constellation of leadership skills that will enhance Scouts’ success in their lives and careers.”

    A recent Search Institute study shows SCA’s nature-based experiences foster optimal advancement and continuous growth. GSUSA research notes girls' outdoor experiences are positively linked to challenge seeking, problem solving, and environmental stewardship. 

    “Enjoying the outdoors is much more than a fun tradition for Girl Scouts,” says Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of GSWPA. “Outdoor adventures help girls become more environmentally aware, explore leadership roles,...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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: <...


    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...


    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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, ...


    Read Full Article ]
  • 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,...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...


    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...


    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • Register for Fall Town Hall Meetings in October

    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

    ...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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)&...



    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...


    Read Full Article ]
  • 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...


    Read Full Article ]
  • 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!  


    Registration

    Registration and housing blocks for the convention will open on March 14, and will remain open until Sept. 15. Early bird discounts will be offered for those that register by summer.

    Visit the 2017 National Convention page for more information.

    And, please take this quick, three-question survey to help us gauge interest in the National Convention topics. 

    Delegate Information 

    The delegate application period has closed. 

    Delegate Position Description

    Girls chosen to be one...



    Read Full Article ]
  • New Journeys and Badges from Girl Scouts of the USA

    This summer, GSUSA is rolling out new Journeys in the Volunteer Toolkit with a focus on the four pillars, specifically outdoors and STEM. This new programming will add on to the choices that girls and volunteers already have. All badges and Journeys (whether new or old) will be topic-specific, include hands-on activities, and incorporate Discover, Connect and a Take Action project. Details and roll-out dates for the new content are still being finalized, but we'll be sure to keep you updated as more information is available. In the meantime, check out the information below to learn more. 

    Themes for the new content will include:

    • Outdoor: Outdoor Skills, Outdoor Adventure, Environmental Skills
    • STEM: Think Like an Engineer, Think Like a Programmer, Think Like a Citizen Scientist
       

    For Back to Troop, the following badges will be available on the VTK and for purchase in council shops:

    • Daisy Outdoor badge
    • Daisy Citizen badge
    • Girls’ Choice Troop Camping badges for Daisy-Ambassador (C/S/A content to be available on VTK as PDF resources)
    • Robotics - Three progressive badges for each level for Daisy-Junior
       

    FAQs

    Q: When will this new content be available?

    A. The exact release dates are still being determined, but according to GSUSA, the content will be released in summer 2017.

    Q. What are the “four p...



    Read Full Article ]