Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bring A Buddy contest winner announced!

Emily Ruggieri, a Brownie Girl Scout who brought a buddy to camp this summer, is the winner of the Bring a Buddy camp contest!

Not only did Emily connect another Girl Scout with all the fun and adventure camp offers, she also won a free week of camp for this summer! Her buddy gets a free week at the same session! 

Congratulations, Emily!

Check out Emily's video and learn about why she wanted to share Girl Scout camp with a new friend:

Want a chance to win a free week at camp, too? Invite a buddy to join your Girl Scout at camp this year through Bring a Buddy!

Girls can gain self-confidence and a free patch through 'Free Being Me'


Did you know that six out of 10 girls stop doing what they love because they feel bad about the way they look?
GSUSA and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) are teaming up with Dove to address that issue by launching the Free Being Me campaign, a global leadership program designed to give girls a safe space to strengthen their self-confidence.
Girls ages 7-14 use the It's Your Story, Tell It! Journeys, along with the Free Being Me curriculum, to explore issues of beauty and body confidence and build their leadership skills. 

Girls who complete the Free Being Me activities and a Take Action project receive a Free Being Me patch! The program and offer expires March 31, so get started today! 

Here's how to participate: 

  • Download the program curriculum on the Free Being Me website
  • Then, request your patches by contacting Holly Barrett, Girl Event Coordinator, at hbarrett@gswpa.org, or 800-248-3355. This offer expires March 31, 2016.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Pack your bags for some amazing travel destinations with Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts make awesome memories and learn amazing things with every activity. But some of the most memorable moments--and the biggest learning experiences--come from the life-changing travel opportunities offered through Girl Scouts.

Where can your Girl Scout go? Check out these upcoming travel opportunities and resources:

Girl Scout Destinations
Girl Scout Destinations is the ultimate adventure program for girls ages 11 and older. There are a ton of trips offered each year that take girls all over the country and the world, from working with pandas in China to writing and directing a film in Hollywood! The deadline for girls to submit their Round 2 application to GSWPA is February 17, 2016.

NYC Adventure
Join girls from all over western Pennsylvania on an amazing trip to the Big Apple, July 6-10, 2016! This fun-filled adventure includes the most famous sites in NYC: a backstage tour of Radio City Music Hall, a NYC comedy tour, a visit to the Statue of Liberty, the Today Show and, of course, a Broadway play! Check out the full details and registration information.

Costa Rica

Pack your bags and get out your passport--GSWPA is headed to Costa Rica in 2017! Girls will spend ten days exploring all that Costa Rica has to offer, to include ecological paradises, lush rainforests, towering volcanoes and sensational waterfalls and hot springs. Register by March 31 for a $200 discount! Get more information about this thrilling adventure.

Travel Resources

Planning a trip with your troop for the first time? Be sure to watch Let’s Go! Travel Training. This introductory training provides all the information volunteers need to take girls on a domestic trip focusing on Daisy, Brownie and Junior troops. It includes a video presentation, a travel checklist, packing lists and suggested activities to get girls ready for travel. 

The Gold standard: Women share their stories of earning the highest award

Emily Nadik
As part of our celebration of the Gold Award 100th anniversary, we're sharing stories of women--from the business community, council staff, GSWPA volunteers and our own Girl Scouts--who have earned the highest award in Girl Scouting.

Today we're featuring an interview with Emily Nadik, GSWPA grants coordinator.

  • What are some of the lessons you’ve learned through Girl Scouting and earning the highest award?
    • Some of the lessons I've learned during my numerous years as a Girl Scout include, of course, being prepared, as well as how to assume leadership and ownership in things that I do and wish to accomplish. I realized many things were processes and you had to follow them through until their completion. Earning the Gold Award taught me that hard work and involvement is fulfilling and very well worth it to achieve your goals. The amount of opportunities to take action and lead an activity definitely helped develop my leadership skills.
  • What role has Girl Scouts played in your life?
    • Girl Scouts was and continues to be a huge part of my life. (Since kindergarten I participated in at least one Girl Scouts activity a week. From cookie sales, to volunteering at the geriatric center, to the countless badges and projects, MagNut sales, and overnighters and camping, Girl Scouts was a constant.) Everything that I did with Girl Scouts definitely helped me grow into the person I am today. I'm more courageous and confident, and have developed my character because of Girl Scout program.
  • Has earning the highest award helped you in your career?
    • The amount of responsibility and dedication that is required to complete the Gold Award has definitely helped me in my career. One of the main components of the Gold Award is time management. I've learned how to budget my time and prioritize.
  • Can you provide a brief summary of your Gold Award project?
    • For my Gold Award, I created Reading Literacy Packs for the Child Development class at my school. My overall goal for this project was to encourage reading at a young age with family for a small portion of the day. Each child in the class received a personalized bag (which I sewed and created) filled with age-appropriate books and activities. When I distributed the packs to the class, the children were so excited to have something with their name on it and could not wait to take it home. Through parental evaluation forms, the feedback was phenomenal. The parents stated that they were reading with their children and that the children were so excited to sit with their parents and read. Having an impact on these children made me feel like I truly made a difference!

Join us!

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 Scout Gold Award.

Join our network to connect with other award recipients and receive invitations to events for Girl Scouts’ top advocates, donors and supporters. Join today at gswpa.org/highest-award.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's a Super Troop!

Power up your Cookie Sales by setting a goal to become a Super Troop!

No, you don’t need capes (or the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound) to become a Super Troop. Just reach a Per Girl Average (PGA) of 160 boxes of cookies or more. Check your troop’s PGA on the Sales Report tab in eBudde throughout the sale to monitor your progress. All troop cookie orders—whether through the traditional order card, Goal Getter Order Card, Digital Cookie or booth sales—count toward your PGA.

Why be a Super Troop? Super Troops earn an additional 5 cents for every box of cookies they sell, and each girl selling and one adult volunteer per troop receives Super Troop t-shirts. Plus, the more cookies a girl sells, the more Girl Scout Bucks and Recognitions she receives. And Girl Scout Bucks double when used for GSWPA-sponsored camps!

Are you up to the challenge? We know you can do it! Here are some tips for achieving Super Troop status:

Goal Getter Cards

Door-to-door sales don’t have to end in January! Make sure all the girls in your troop are using Goal Getter Order Cards (available to download at vipetraining.littlebrownie.com). These can be used to take in-person orders after initial orders are submitted. Additional cookies are available at Cookie Cupboards through March 20 to fulfill customer orders.

Follow Up

Have girls reconnect with their customers toward the end of the sale. Customers may have eaten all their cookies and want to purchase more to last until next year. (We all know that Thin Mints are awesome frozen!)

Include an adult phone number or email address with initial deliveries in case customers want more cookies. Want to know an easy way to do this? Print out labels with parent/guardian contact information and stick them on each box.

Remember Operation: Sweet Appreciation

Girls who participate in Operation: Sweet Appreciation or another Gift of Caring program sell an average of 70 more boxes than girls who don't. Talk about a win-win! OSA donations can be made on the Goal Getter Order Card, Digital Cookie and at booth sales and all donations count toward each girl’s and/or troop’s overall sales.

Visit VIPeTraining for printables to use at booth sales to encourage people to donate.

Promote 5 for Five!

Encourage cookie customers to buy five boxes to be eligible to win five CASES of Girl Scout Cookies through our 5 for Five Contest! Just give them a 5 for Five certificate (available on vipetraining.littlebrownie.com), which includes instructions for entering the contest along with an exclusive code.

Bling Your Booth!

Not only will a blinged out booth draw customers and increase sales, but your troop could win either $250 or GS Shop certificates through the Bling Your Booth contests offered through GSUSA and GSWPA!

Check out our Pinterest board for some bling-y inspiration.

Take it Online

Social media is a great tool for boosting cookie sales. If a girl is 13 or older, she can post about cookies to social media channels herself, otherwise a parent will have to help. Just be sure to follow the guidelines on the Girl Scouts Internet Safety pledge and Safety Activity Checkpoints.

And, with the new Digital Cookie platform, it’s easier than ever for friends and relatives that live far away to support your cookie sales. Cookies can be ordered online and shipped directly to the customer, wherever they live, through March 20. Just send them an email through your Girl Scout's Digital Cookie site so they can place their order!

Think Outside the Box

Encourage your girls to get creative and come up with fun and new ways to market their cookie sales. Hand out recipes that use Girl Scout Cookies to customers to encourage them to buy one more box. Make flyers to give to customers that explain each girl’s cookie goals and how they will use their cookie proceeds, along with information on how they can buy more cookies. Have a mobile cookie booth (ex. selling from a cart, wagon or sled) or organize a neighborhood blitz with a “Cookie Caravan.” The possibilities are endless!

Our Pinterest page is filled fun and easy ideas for boosting your troop’s sales—and helping your girls learn marketing and creativity skills at the same time!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Girl Scouts collect nearly 30,000 pounds of donations for Goodwill

Girl Scouts across western Pennsylvania showed their generous spirit over the holiday season by teaming up with Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania for the "Give a Little Love" holiday clothing drive. 

And give they did! Close to 30,000 pounds of donated items were collected by GSWPA Girl Scouts during the month of December! 

Penn Wood Hills Troop 52570 dropping off their donations at Goodwill.
"Thanks to your commitment to the community and your generosity, Goodwill can provide much needed services to people in need throughout our area," said Danielle Hardy, Community Donations Specialist for Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania. "This was truly a win-win program and we are so grateful l to have been able to partner with the Girl Scouts of Western PA."

Daisy Girl Scout Naudia Zotter of Pittsburgh collected
84 bags of donations for Goodwill!
While all girls who participated should be proud of their hard work, three girls went above and beyond and together collected more than 200 bags of donations. These three girls are the winners of a paid trip to camp, courtesy of Goodwill!
  • Naudia Zotter, Troop 52611 – collected 84 bags of donations 
  • Casey Krugh, Troop 54058 – collected 82 bags of donations
  • Izzy Davanti, Troop 27038 – collected 80 bags of donations

The girls were recognized at Girl Scout Day with the Pitt Panthers on Jan. 17. Well done, girls!