Thursday, March 23, 2017

High adventure camp sessions perfect for challenge-seeking campers

Does sleeping outside under the stars, hiking through the forest with only the supplies on your back, or flying high on a zipline sound like a good time? Then you'll want to check out our high adventure resident camp sessions at Camps Conshatawba, Hawthorne Ridge and Skymeadow!
These five-day sessions also include all the other favorite camp activities like swimming, arts and crafts, hiking, campfires and much more. Check out the sessions below and register today. (Save 10% when you register by March 31!)
Ninja Warriors - June 25-30
Camp Conshatawba
Grades: 4-7

Scale to the top of the climbing wall, zip to your next obstacle, prove to yourself that you are a ninja warrior.
Skillz & Thrillz - June 25-30
Camp Conshatawba
Grades: 6-9

Sleep in a tent, cook a meal or two, and learn outdoor basics, and take on the challenge course, zip line, swimming and archery.
Hammock Hangout - June 25-30
Camp Hawthorne Ridge
Grades: 6-9

Hike, explore and sleep in hammocks during this awesome session. 
Backpacker - July 9-14
Camp Conshatawba
Grades: 7-11

Experience the amazing adventure of spending the night outdoors, only carrying what’s on your back. 
Amazing Race - July 9-14
Camp Hawthorne Ridge
Grades: 4-8

Compete in an amazing race through camp finding clues, solving puzzles and using your newly discovered orienteering, geocaching and archery skills.
Thrill Seekers - July 9-14
Camp Skymeadow
Grades: 6-9

Ride roller coasters at Kennywood Park, go white-water rafting and fly down a zip line!
Wilderness Explorers - July 30-Aug. 4
Camp Skymeadow
Grades: 5-9

Spend plenty of time learning to canoe like a pro, then explore the outer boundaries of Camp Skymeadow by bike.

Daisy troop shows what it means to be a Girl Scout

Amy Hart fondly recalls the nine years she spent as a Girl Scout growing up. But when her daughter, Sophie, was in kindergarten last year, Amy accepted that she wouldn't be able to pass those same experiences on to her daughter.  
"Sophie is on the autism spectrum and I thought it would be too difficult for her to keep up with the other girls," Amy said. 
But that all changed when Beth Ansell, leader for Troop 36817 of Bethel Park, asked if Sophie would like to join Girl Scouts. Amy decided to give it a try, and what she discovered surprised her.  
"These girls are patient with Sophie and teach her by doing," said Amy. "If Sophie cries, they try to comfort her and make her happy. They are her friends in and outside of Daisies."
Sophie has experienced many "firsts" through Girl Scouts, and there are many more to come, said Amy. The six girls in the troop, all in first grade at Ben Franklin Elementary, have toured a veterinary clinic and the Bethel Park Fire Department, stuffed stockings for soldiers, collected yarn for homeless cats and made Valentines for veterans. They went to Disney on Ice, painted "Mommy and Me" hand print pictures, and sold cookies. 
And with every activity, the girls and volunteers in her troop always keep Sophie in mind. Beth even made a sensory sandbox to help calm her, if needed. 
"Sophie's biggest struggle is communication. If she is frustrated, hungry, thirsty or tired, she is unable to say so," explained Amy. "The girls have seen her have a meltdown and were not judgemental. They are unbelievably compassionate!" 
The doubt Amy once had that Sophie could keep up in Girl Scouts has been replaced with a certainty that Girl Scouts has given Sophie a place to thrive.
She credits Beth, co-leader Tiffany Willetts, the five girls in the troop, and their moms, for making that possible for Sophie. 
Added Amy, "This is what it means to be a Girl Scout!"

Monday, March 20, 2017

Get Outdoors Challenge Kickoff

GSWPA's first-ever Get Outdoors Challenge kicked off on March 11 with a day of fun and exploration at Camp Skymeadow. Girls of all ages braved the cold temps and snow to come out and work on different challenge activities like fishing, making s’mores, completing a scavenger hunt, learning about native plants, finding animal tracks and more. Special guests included macroinvertebrates from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, flies hand-tied on site by International Angler, and scaly, furry friends brought by the Pittsburgh Zoo!

Special thanks go out to all of our program partners: the Tri County Trout Club, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Nature Abounds!, International Angler, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, and Point State Park.

Didn't make it to the event? No problem! You can still get in on the Get Outdoors Challenge!  This is a chance for you to learn new skills, build connections with friends and family, and have fun, all while exploring outdoor spaces that are down the street or across the country. Find out more at

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Girl Scout Week - Day 7: Girl Scout Sabbath

On the last day of Girl Scout Week, observe the Girl Scout Sabbath: the perfect time to reflect on your faith and what it means to be a Girl Scout.
  • Say or sing grace before each meal.
  • Explore how to earn your My Promise, My Faith pin.
  • Attend your place of worship and offer a greeting or perform a flag ceremony.
  • Reflect on the Girl Scout promise and law and write down ways you can practice it throughout the year.

    Find more ideas on Pinterest

Friday, March 17, 2017

Girl Scout Cookie Program extended until March 26!

Good news, Girl Scouts!

Is your troop still working toward that big trip or service project?  We’ve got some great news for you! AND we’re giving your troop an incentive to get more cookies from a cookie cupboard. Sweet!

We're extending the time you can sell cookies door-to-door, online through Digital Cookie, and have booth sales until March 26! So, think outside the cookie box! Cookie booths are great at fish fries during Lent, at senior housing communities, sporting events and more. Cookies are also great for Easter baskets!

Here's everything you need to know:

How long do we have to keep selling cookies?
Encourage your girls to continue taking last-minute orders from customers in person and online, and having additional booth sales through March 26.  For booth sales, you don’t need to ask the council for permission, but you still need to run it by your service unit cookie manager.

What is the incentive and how does our troop get it?
Order and pick up cookies from a cookie cupboard beginning Monday, March 20 through Sunday, March 26.  For every 12 packages ordered, we’ll give your troop a $3 Troop Cookie Bonus Bucks. (No partial credit for less than 12 packages. Yes, it can be a mix of varieties. You must complete this quick form to let us know you picked up additional cookies to earn the incentive.)

What are Troop Cookie Bonus Bucks?  
Troop Cookie Bonus Bucks are similar to Girl Scout Bucks for girls.  Troop Cookie Bonus Bucks can be used as payment for council-sponsored programs and camps, service unit day camps, purchases at GSWPA shops and camp trading posts, and for annual Girl Scout memberships.  Unlike Girl Scout Bucks, Troop Cookie Bonus Bucks do NOT double for camp. But, they are great for helping your troop renew their memberships through Early Bird/Renewal.

Troop Cookie Bonus Bucks will expire September 30, 2017.  If the full face value of the Troop Cookie Bonus Bucks is not used at the time of redemption, no change will be given. GSWPA is not responsible for lost or stolen Troop Cookie Bonus Bucks.

What about recognitions for girls?
If your troop placed the order before the troop lockout on March 25 at 11:59 p.m., these cookies can count toward final recognitions, provided you distribute the cookies to the girls on the Girl Orders tab and select their recognitions on the Rewards tab. Additional cookie orders placed after the troop lockout will not count toward girl rewards; however, the troop will receive proceeds from these sales.

How does our troop pay for cookies ordered after the final ACH sweep?
Please note, we are not extending any financial or paperwork deadlines.  Pending orders placed before the report is generated for the final ACH sweep will be included in the final ACH sweep.  For orders placed after the report is generated for the ACH sweep, the troop will need to send in a check for the remaining balance due.  Troops should send a check or money order made payable to GSWPA and mail it to:

Cookie Sales Coordinator
Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania
5681 Route 6N
Edinboro, PA 16412

How soon will my troop receive the Troop Cookie Bonus Bucks?
Troops will receive their Troop Cookie Bonus Bucks in the mail in the beginning of May.

Can we sell cookies for a special event after March 26?
Yes! If there is a special event in your area after March 26 and you'd like to set up a booth sale, the troop must have permission from GSWPA. Cookies can be picked up at one of the GSWPA offices. (Cookie varieties may be limited.)

GSWPA Member Perk: Group ticket discount for Shrine Circus Scout Night at PPG Paints Arena

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Gather your troop or family for a night with the Shrine Circus on Friday, April 7 at 7 p.m. at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh!

Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania members can take advantage of a special discounted group ticket price of $10.*

The deadline to purchase tickets is March 31. Place your order early to get the best possible seats!

Order tickets online here.

For more information or ticket questions, contact Jake Sullivan at PPG Paints Arena at 412-804-7904.

*No minimum number of tickets is required to qualify for the discount but groups or families that wish to sit together should place a single order. A $10 handling fee will be applied to the group order total. The discount is valid for 100-level seats. Friends and family are welcome to attend with your group at the discounted price. 

This program/discount is being offered by a GSWPA program partner and is not being hosted or organized by GSWPA. Please contact PPG Paints Arena at the number above with any questions. 

STEM-based camp sessions help girls find their spark

Girl Scout camp normally conjures up images of s'mores, swimming and sing-alongs. Chemistry, forensics and engineering? Not so much.

But our STEM-based camp sessions at Camps Conshatawba and Hawthorne Ridge are changing that!

Whether she's an aspiring crime scene investigator, shines when she's solving puzzles or problems, is fascinated by the supernatural, or is a die-hard do-it-yourselfer, she'll find a session that will help her find her spark. 

And of course, these five-day sessions also include all the other favorite camp activities like swimming, arts and crafts, hiking, campfires and much more. Check out the sessions below and register today. (Save 10% when you register by March 31!)

Amazing Race - July 9-14
Camp Hawthorne Ridge
Juniors, Cadettes
Learn orienteering, geocaching archery and more, and then team up to compete in an amazing race through camp, finding clues and solving puzzles using your new skills. 

Troll Trouble - July 16-21
Camp Conshatawba
Brownies, Juniors
Girls will earn their Senses skill-building badge as they solve a mystery involving trolls, trouble and fairy dust!

The Search for Bigfoot - July 16-21
Camp Conshatawba
Juniors, Cadettes
Explore the legend of Bigfoot as you hike through remote areas of camp and learn about the various species of animals that live at camp.

CSI Academy - July 16-21
Camp Conshatawba
Cadettes, Seniors
Get hands-on experience in a variety of forensic science techniques like lifting fingerprints, making castings of footprints, analyzing blood spatter and more. Cadettes will receive their Special Agent skill-building badge.

DIY-namite - July 23-28
Camp Hawthorne Ridge
Cadettes, Seniors
Get your hands dirty as you hammer and saw your way through this DIY session, learning basic building skills and making camp-inspired projects and crafts.

Mad Scientist - July 30-August 4
Camp Conshatawba
Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes
Grab your goggles and get ready to get a little bit weird as you create your own slime, make the BIGGEST bubble, and mix up ice, salt, and milk into something that tastes delicious!