Friday, April 24, 2015

GSWPA at 2015 Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon

At Girl Scouts, we know a lot about perseverance. And goals. And trying new things. Whether you are a seasoned runner or aiming for a first-ever distance, we congratulate you on participating in the 2015 Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon!

At the our booth at the race's expo, we highlighted two programs that may be of interest to runners, their families and friends.

Run, bike and run at the Lake Erie Duathlon

Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania presents the 2014 Lake Erie Duathlon on Sunday, August 2, 2015.

This unique race format consists of a 5K run, followed by a 20K bike, then another 5K run, all at scenic Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Pa. The bike is one entire loop of the park. The race starts at 7 a.m. on Presque Isle's Beach 11.

Athletes can compete as an individual or as a two-person relay team (one runner and one cyclist). Each entrant receives a high-quality race premium.

Click here to learn more about the Duathlon or to register.

All proceeds benefit Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania—the premier local leadership organization for girls. Learn more at

Operation: Sweet Appreciation

For many years, Girl Scouts has used Girl Scout Cookies and snacks as a way to show appreciation for our military men and women. Through Operation: Sweet Appreciation, you can help GSWPA send cookies to our military at-home and overseas.

Simply purchase additional boxes (with a donation of $4 for each item) and we'll ship the products directly to the service men and women!

How to donate:

Click here to make a donation through May 25 using Paypal. If you'd like your donation to be credited to a particular girl or troop, please enter that information on the 'Review Your Donation' screen. Also, please make your donation in multiples of $4.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Girl Scouts receive Spirit of Appreciation Award

Girls from three Girl Scout troops were presented the 2015 Spirit of Appreciation Award by the Arbutus Park Senior Spirit Awards Committee at a special luncheon at The Conference Center, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

The Girl Scouts were honored for creating “Generation Mingle” events at Arbutus Park Retirement Community. At the monthly events, girls and residents make wreaths and quilts together, put on fashion shows and play games together. Residents look forward to seeing the girls each month, especially those who don’t receive many visitors. As a result, special friendships and bonds have formed between the residents and Girl Scouts.

Lois Pudliner, Girl Scout volunteer and Arbutus staff member, nominated the Girl Scouts in appreciation of their time and commitment to serving others.

View this video to see pictures from Generation Mingle:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Camp Corner: Get a true camping experience at Redwing!

For nearly more than 90 years, Camp Redwing has been the place where girls go for a traditional resident camp experience. Just 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, Camp Redwing is a natural oasis on 123 acres along Connoquennessing Creek. Whether you stay for two nights or two weeks, and take part in just a couple or all of the awesome activities that are available, there's something for every camper at Redwing!

Camp Redwing at a Glance

Location: Renfrew, Pa., Butler County. Only 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. (See map.) 
Types of Camping: Girls can camp overnight with their troop, family, by herself or with a buddy.
Amenities: Archery range, canoeing, horseback riding, swimming pool with water slide, GaGa pit, hiking, volleyball court, amphitheater

Event Spotlight

Pretty, Pretty Princess
June 17-20
Girls Grades: 4-5
Make yourself a crown like Sleeping Beauty or earn your Jeweler badge by crafting your own princess jewels, splash around in the pool like Ariel, be adventurous like Mulan and shoot archery like Merida! Everywhere you go, sing songs like your favorite royalty! Learn proper things a princess does and work toward earning your Social Butterfly badge too!

Splish Splash
June 17-20 and July 26-29
Splish in the pool. Splash in the creek. Chill out at a poolside party. Experience all things water, along with other splash-tastic camp activities like nature, archery and arts and crafts!

Yurt Adventures
June 17-20 and July 29-31
Have a yurt-tastic time while you slumber in these big round tents. Your week will also be chock-full of your fave camp activities. Swim, do archery, explore the creek, go canoeing, get crafty in arts and crafts – the possibilities are endless! 

Lazy River
July 5-10
Girls Grades: 4-7
Prepare yourself for some paddling on the majestic Connoquenessing! Perfected that stroke? You’re ready for a day trip to Moraine State Park for some paddling, sun bathing and general chillaxing! (This fulfills the prerequisite session for River Runners.)

River Runners
July 26-31
Girls Grades: 7-12
Get ready, get set … canoe! Ensure paddling perfection and solid safety techniques by taking a trip to big rock and swamping your canoe in the pool! The mighty Allegheny River is calling your name! Spend three days and two nights paddling and camping your way down its shores. (Prerequisite: Completion of a Level 1 canoeing programs Lazy River or Boat and Bike, or equivalent documented experience.)

Wranger 101
July 5-17
Girl Grades: 10-12
Ready to learn the real tricks of the trade? Darn tootin’! Learn the tricks to training and schooling your horse, health concerns and how to keep you equine friend healthy.Become a sturdy rider during private and group lessons, and of course, trail rides! (Prerequisite: Completion of Western Fun and Games or equivalent documented experience.)

Meet the Camp Staff

Amy "Chief" Goodrich
Camp Director

Tell us about yourself: I've worked at camps since I was in middle school, and before that I also attended all sorts of camps! I love animals and have two dogs, Molly and Fenway, two cats, Buttercup and Kiki, and sometimes I watch my dad's dog Splash also! Fun fact about my cat Buttercup: She will be 24 years old this summer! I'm hoping she'll make it long enough to win the Guinness World Record for oldest cat!  I'm also an avid horseback rider; the horse I ride is named Gator and he loves to jump!

What's your favorite camp activity? I love everything about camp, but I think my favorite activity is a tie between riding and swimming!

What do you like best about camp? The thing I like best about working at camp is being at camp all summer! I love having my office be the great outdoors and being able to hang out with the campers! My favorite thing about Redwing is the drive in to camp; the long driveway lined with trees makes me fall in love with the camp every time and it looks beautiful in every season!

Do you have a favorite GSWPA camp memory? Oh my goodness--I don't know if I could pick a favorite! I do really love to spend time with the Counselors in Training (CITs).  They are all so enthusiastic and fun to be around all the time. I think my favorite moment with was last summer when they all picked their camp names. I just think its such an important moment for them, where they really make the transition from campers towards becoming counselors!

GSWPA honors service, leadership at annual Awards of Distinction dinner

 Event chair David Davis, Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of GSWPA,
John and Michelle Polacek, NRC Chairman Stephen Burns
and his wife Joan Burns, and Honorary Chair Mrs. Joyce Murtha
At the 38th annual Awards of Distinction dinner April 20 in Johnstown, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania honored leaders in the community who uphold the mission of Girl Scouting – to build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.

Honorary chair Mrs. Joyce Murtha and event chair David Davis presented the evening's awards.

The 2015 winners of the Community Service Award are John and Michelle Polacek. The Polaceks are being honored for their many volunteer roles in the Johnstown region.

Michelle Polacek focuses her service on Johnstown’s youth, through Girl Scouts and Belmont United Methodist Church. She first became a troop co-leader 12 years ago when her daughter Haleigh was in first grade, and she’s been leading Girl Scouts ever since. She is also the service unit’s cookie manager. At her church, she leads the youth group, serves on the wellness committee and teaches Sunday school.

Michelle is also on the committee for the Chef’s Auction which benefits different local charities every year.

John Polacek, who is the Chief Operating Officer of JWF Defense Systems and JWF Industries, has served on many boards, including the Red Cross, Arcadia Theatre, Problem Solutions, Arbutus Park Manor, Veteran Community Initiatives and as the Secretary and Treasurer of the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Chamber of Commerce.

He joins the Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania board of directors in April.

Girl Scouts welcomed keynote speaker, the Honorable Stephen G. Burns, Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Mr. Burns was sworn in as a Commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Nov. 5, 2014, to a term ending June 30, 2019. President Obama designated him as Chairman of the NRC effective Jan. 1, 2015.

He joined a long list of well-known leaders who have spoken at the event, including Dan Rooney, Tip O'Neill, Lee Iacocca, Leon Panetta, and Nancy Pelosi.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tour camp and discover the fun!

Camp Open Houses are a perfect opportunity to come to camp and see where your daughter may be staying and meet some of the staff. Girls who attend open houses are familiar with what camp looks like and already have friendly faces they know when they arrive.
Camp locations and contact information is available here. Families welcome!
Camp Skymeadow
Sunday, May 3
2-4 p.m.
Camp Singing Hills
Sunday, May 17
noon-2 p.m.
Camp Hawthorne Ridge
Sunday, May 17
4-6 p.m.
Camp Redwing
Saturday, June 13
10 a.m.-noon
Camp Conshatawba
Sunday, June 14
1-3 p.m.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Camp commentary: Girl Scouts share why they love camping!

The countdown to camp is on! 

It's no secret that camp is a favorite Girl Scout tradition, so we asked members of our Media Team to share why they love camping with Girl Scouts.

Libby is a Junior Girl Scout who has enjoyed camping with Girl Scouts for the past three years.

What's your camp name?

What's your favorite Girl Scout camp?

How many years have you been going to camp?
One year of resident camp; three years troop camping

What's your favorite activity to do at camp? Why?
My favorite activity is archery. Archery makes me feel strong and like I can do anything.

What kind of skills or qualities has going to Girl Scout camp helped you develop?
Camp helped me be brave. It was the first time I was on my own and away from my parents for that long.

Do you have a favorite camp memory? Tell us about it.
My favorite camp memory was canoeing at Redwing. It gave us time to talk and get to know each other better. And, I enjoyed the sights from the canoe.

What do you love most about Girl Scout camp?
I thought that meals were great! We sang and played games. I liked how everyone passed the food around the table and shared.

Girl Scout camp is a tradition central to Girl Scouts since 1912 and is still available to girls in all 50 states. Today’s camps are highly evolved, matching the interests of twenty-first-century girls. Girl Scouts moves at the speed of girls, which is evident in its wide range of camp offerings—everything from horses and whitewater rafting to Camp Katniss and Iron Chefs. 

Girl Scouts is committed to pursuing its mission through the camp experience, offering an astounding array of innovative, fun, and memorable camp activities that allow girls to build courage, confidence, and character, and make the world a better place. Learn more about Girl Scout camp at

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thank you, Volunteers!

What you do is amazing.

As a Girl Scout Volunteer, you know first-hand that the littlest voices can have a big impact. And girls with big ideas grow up to be courageous adults.

During National Volunteer Week -- and every week -- we're grateful for your passion and dedication to Girl Scouting. We made you a little video to show you how we feel. Hope you enjoy it!