Meet the Trainers!

We're proud that our volunteers receive sage advice, knowledge and skills from experienced and diverse facilitators.

We’d like to introduce you to these helpful adult Girl Scouts! Trainers interested in submitting bios email their info to volunteer@gswpa.org.

Are you interested in becoming a Volunteer Facilitator/Trainer? Not sure what they do? Contact us for more information.


THELMA ALBRIGHT (Northern Bedford County)

What Thelma enjoys most about being a facilitator for 19 years is having the chance to share her love for the outdoors, and also get to work with young Girl Scouts to help them reach their goals. In 2003, she became a Master Trainer, and has led workshops in Outdoor, Leave No Trace, Ceremonies, Crafts, First Aid/CPR, Instructor of Trainers, and Train the Trainers. In addition the training she provides to Girl Scouts, she also contributes her time and talents to her local Penn State extension office.


DEBBIE CLAWSON (Blairsville Area)

Debbie has served as a facilitator for 10 years and has more than 20 years of experience as an adult Girl Scout, former troop leader and assistant leader for Junior, Cadette and Senior grade levels. She facilitates Basic, Leadership Essentials and Outdoor workshops and enjoys meeting new volunteers and introducing them to the world of Girl Scouting. Debbie loves to conduct outdoor trainings with day camp volunteers and says, “Day camp is a wonderful opportunity for our local girls to have a safe, enjoyable adventure in the out-of-doors.”


PATRICIA A. COYLE (Charleroi / Bentworth Areas)

A love of the outdoors, camping (both tent and lodge) sharing the wonders of nature with the girls, and singing, gives Patricia the enthusiasm to keep leading Grade Level and Outdoor Training after 15 years. As a Girl Scout herself, she attended the International Round-Up in 1965 in Idaho. Helping new leaders become comfortable with sharing their talents, ideas and time with the girls; and her dedicated belief in Girl Scouting helps her find the time to volunteer.


LINDY FAILS (Blairsville/Saltsburg Area)

Lindy has served as a facilitator for 15 years and brings with her a wealth of knowledge, experience, enthusiasm and a strong belief in the Girl Scout program. She has conducted workshops for Leadership Essentials and Day Camp training. When facilitating a training, Lindy always reminds the Girl Scout adults that there is no other aspect of your adult life where you can have so much fun and act like a kid again!


LORI FITZGIBBON (Ligonier Area)

Lori has been a Girl Scout Volunteer for the past 10 years. She has received the Outstanding Leader Award and the Volunteer Appreciation Award. She is currently the Service Unit Manager for the Ligonier area, and has also been a troop leader for every age level. Lori is well-known in the Ligonier area for bringing trainings close to home for her leaders. She trains First Aid/CPR, camping, outdoor cooking, leadership essentials, age level training and PA training for girls.


ANNE MARIE HULL (Waterford Area)

Anne has been a Girl Scout Leader for 21 years and a council trainer for 11. Her favorite workshop is Raccoon Run Riches. Several trainers and adult volunteers get together and plan this workshop for adults. Each person teaches something different to the group such as flag etiquette, Roberts Rules, outdoor hiking, outdoor safety, compassing, cooking and more. Anne enjoys sharing the wisdom she has attained over the years with new leaders. In addition to being a talented council trainer, Anne has a Masters in Counseling and is in private practice. She also enjoys family therapy, group presentations and loves to garden!


FRAN JACOBS (Greater Johnstown Area)

Leadership Essentials, Outdoor Training I & II, Ceremonies, Songs/Games, Thinking Day, and Go Green workshops are all offered by this facilitator who also takes advantage of other council workshops and educational experiences herself so that she can continue to learn, grow and pass along ideas. After 24 years, Fran’s personal favorite workshop or enrichment to facilitate is Outdoor Training, she enjoys cooperating with GSWPA’s volunteer development staff, and has been told that she has “green blood that comes from channeling Juliette Low”.


DARLENE KINNEAR (Fort LeBoeuf Area)

Darlene has served as a facilitator for the past four years and conducts workshops such as, Outdoor, Leadership Essentials, Program Aide and Encourlators. Her favorite workshop to do is Encourlators. Encourlators is a group that was started back in the 1950’s when Ester Bundy, a Girl Scout Volunteer, met a Puerto Rican encourilation (adult Girl Scout Group) at the Edith Macy Conference Center. Sally is also the Day Camp Director at Camp Hawthorne Ridge.


JANET KOVACS (Erie Area)

Janet has served as a facilitator for 3-4 years, and conducted workshops for Overnight, Outdoors, Camp Out, Cooking Outdoors, Bandanorama, Songs and Games, although her favorite is Outdoor Cooking. What she enjoys most is sharing her knowledge and teaching new leaders the Girl Scout way; then leaders can learn and take their troops camping so the girls can enjoy the camping experience. She’s been a Girl Scout for 48 years and, since second grade, have bas event taken Girl Scout Seniors on a Caribbean cruise.


DENISE LOESCH (Gateway Area)

As a Girl Scout leader for almost 18 years, and as an American Red Cross volunteer for almost 10 years, Denise provides Grade Level and First Aid/CPR training as a council facilitator. She enjoys networking with other leaders and sharing ideas, but also helping them on the first step in their Girl Scout journey. As a wife and mother of a 10-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son, Denise has served as a council facilitator for 4 years.


DEBORAH B. MASSAFRA (Greensburg/Salem Area)

When asked by new volunteers, “What do I do at meetings?”, Deborah has the answers. This facilitator of Grade Level training has served Girl Scouting for 17 years and been a positive role model, experienced mentor and friend to hundreds of Girl Scout leaders. One of the most important skills that Deborah brings to her volunteer role as facilitator is enthusiasm!


TECLA PONTIOUS (Ridgway Area)

Tecla has more than 40 years of experience in Girl Scouting and has facilitated many workshops including Girl Scout magic, Learning Essentials, trips, songs/games, green circle and outdoor. Her favorite trainings are the ones where the trainees are excited and she has met all of their needs. Tecla enjoys sharing her ideas and experiences –taking volunteers on a journey to achieve Courage, Confidence and Character so in turn they can pass it forward.


MARY LOU RIEGEL (Ridgway Area)

Mary Lou attributes her main skill for facilitating to her belief in the worth of the organization, its values and the results it achieves in the lives of girls. Because of this, she is enthusiastic and willing to share her knowledge in a variety of workshops: Outdoor, Outdoor Cooking, Camp Craft Skills, Leadership Essentials, Songs & Games, Girl Scout Traditions, What to Do Instead of Screaming. . . and “anything that needs someone”! After 33 years as a council facilitator, Mary Lou has fun to give leaders the tools they can use to work with girls and feels it is important to pass along Girl Scout traditions.


SALLY SNOW (Karns City Area)

What Sally enjoys most about being a facilitator for five years is being able to show someone something new, especially if they think they cannot do it. She likes being around people and if she can help them learn something new, then it’s a bonus. Sally loves Crafts of all kinds. She started doing crafts with girls with her troop and after she didn’t have a troop anymore, she did them with girls at her service unit special events. Now Sally does them at adult events as well.


NANCY VERDERBER (Washington County)

An ability to work with all types and ages of people, understanding of the needs, abilities and limits of volunteers, and seeing the potential in all leaders allows Nancy to instill a sense of adventure in Girl Scout leaders and adults. She has been a council facilitator for 10 years and conducts Travel Workshop and Leadership Essentials. Nancy taps into her own experience – traveling to all four World Centers, completing a variety of training courses herself (including Train the Trainer course from the American Cancer Society), and a commitment to service that began when she was a Girl Scout. This volunteer role give her the opportunity to stay in touch with Girl Scouting even though her work schedule and family responsibilities limit chances to get involved in other programs.


SALLY WILLIAMS (Johnstown Area)

Sally has more than 10 years of experience facilitating camp, outdoor skills, crafts, history, Trash to Treasures and Orienteering trainings. Her favorite learning opportunity is the Leader Weekend Trainings where more workshops are offered that help to train volunteers. Sally has her Camp Skills Certification from the American Camp Association (ACA), as well as 44 years of experience as a Leader working with Junior, Cadette and Senior grade levels, a Program Team member, day camp volunteer, operating a trading post, being a troop consultant and a troop organizer. The things Sally enjoys most about being a facilitator for GSWPA is, “The people (adults and children), the friendships I have made, working with the children and hopefully making a difference.”

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