Thursday, June 11, 2015

New online shop coming July 1!

The Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania Online Shop is getting a makeover on July 1, 2015! GSWPA online sales will now be processed from the Girl Scouts of the USA Online Store using a custom GSWPA Shop page. Expect an improved online and mobile shopping experience, a full assortment of Girl Scout merchandise available to you shipping directly from the GSUSA distribution center in New Jersey.

What is the link to the new online store? Starting July 1, the new site can be accessed at the same address as the previous one: A hyperlink to the new Shop site can also be found on the homepage of

Will I need to create a new user name and password? If you have not previously shopped on the national online shop, you will need to create a user name and password. When you first visit the new site after July 1, click on the "Register" button to create your account. After that, you'll just need to log in using the email address and password you provided when setting up your account. 

Will online sales benefit our local council? Yes, GSWPA will still benefit from every purchase made locally. A portion of any purchase made within one of the council’s zip codes will automatically be credited to our council.

Can I still buy GSWPA merchandise online? Yes, you will be able to purchase GSWPA branded merchandise online. Council specific merchandise will ship locally from one of our GSWPA council shops.

What about shipping fees? GSUSA’s official online store offers a variety of shipping options from which to choose. The shipping cost is based on the value of the entire order. Standard shipping times range from five to ten days.

If you have additional questions, feel free to contact us!
Phone: 1-800-811-9342, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Fox Chapel volunteers receive awards

The Fox Chapel Service Unit 5903 presented awards to two amazing volunteers recently. Thank you to these outstanding role models for helping build girls of courage, confidence and character!

Amulya Garimella, Appreciation Pin recipient Kathy Demetri, and Satya Venneti
Satya Venneti and her daughter Amulya Garimella presented the Appreciation Pin to troop leader Kathy Demetri.

This was Amulya's last year with the troop and she thanked Kathy for being an outstanding troop leader.

Appreciation Pin Criteria: The candidate is a registered Girl Scout Adult Volunteer and has provided outstanding service to ONE or MORE geographic or program delivery audience in a way that furthers the Council’s goals. The candidate has significantly contributed to meeting one or more council goals in membership growth and retention, fund development, or increased community visibility in two or more geographic areas. And the candidate activity recognizes, understands and practices the values of inclusive behavior.

Wow! Congratulations Kathy on your award!

Troop leader Sue Stiger was presented with the Volunteer of Excellence Pin by co-leader Kathy Jerich. The girls in their troop attend Christ the Divine Teacher Catholic Academy.

Sue Stiger and Kathy Jerich
Volunteer of Excellence Pin Criteria: The candidate has successfully completed a term of service and fulfilled all requirements of the position. She/he has performed beyond expectations for the position to deliver the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to girls using the national program portfolio or has gone beyond the expectations of the position and supported council’s mission delivery goals in one or more of the following areas: Membership Development/Community Cultivation, Volunteer Relations/Support, Program, Leadership and Governance, Fund Development, and Council Support Services. She/he actively recognizes, understands, and practices the values of inclusive behavior in her/his troop and service unit. 

Awesome! Congratulations Sue!

Want to honor Girl Scout volunteers who are doing amazing things for girls? Check out the awards criteria and how to nominate on our Adult Awards section of our website.

Thursday, June 4, 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.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"Du" something fun!

On August 2, GSWPA is hosting a special event at Presque Isle State Park in Erie called the Lake Erie Duathlon. 

This run-bike-run event is popular among local weekend athletes, and draws many cyclists and runners from the Pittsburgh region as well. 

The race kicks off at 7 a.m. sharp and the event will last until approximately 11 a.m. You can learn more about the race at


Adult and girl volunteers are needed for these super-fun opportunities:
  • Courage Corridor—a tunnel of cheering Girl Scouts and families will encourage our participants to finish strong! Bring your whole troop and any accessories that can help fuel the fun, like pom-poms, signs, small flags, etc.
  • Hydration Stations—hand cups of water to thirsty runners at one of our two water stops on the race course. Cheering is welcome at Hydration Stations, too, so your whole troop can be involved.
  • Three Miles of Smiles—grab some sidewalk chalk and help us cover the last 5K of the race with inspirational messages to runners. They’ll be glad you did!

Girls and adults who register to volunteer by July 1 are each guaranteed to get a snazzy volunteer t-shirt, so don’t wait!  Click here to register or contact Lisa Shade at

Debuting this week...The new!

New and improved GSWPA website is now live! 

We’re so excited about the changes coming this summer that will make being a member of GSWPA easier, more manageable and more enjoyable. 

So, we're thrilled to announce the first piece of the initiative is now up and running: the new GSWPA website!

The brand new has a fresh, new look, easy-to-navigate design and improved features and functionality. Some of the highlights of the new site include:
  • a mobile-friendly design so it can be easily viewed and navigated on any device;
  • a searchable forms library that will allow you to find forms and files based on category or keyword;
  • an events calendar with advanced search capabilities and a convenient calendar view; 
  • banner ads throughout the site to promote seasonal initiatives, and much more!
We’re one of nearly 30 councils from across the country that have transitioned to this new national web platform, which features both up-to-date national content from GSUSA, along with important resources and information specific to our council.

Questions or comments about the new site? Reach out to us! 

Coming Soon - New GSWPA Shop Website!
Just like our main website, the GSWPA online shop will undergo a makeover this summer. Launching in early July, the new site will offer an improved 24/7 online shopping experience, including a mobile-friendly design for shopping on the go. And because the site will be managed by GSUSA, this transition will help us to maintain consistent branding, pricing and a full assortment of Girl Scout merchandise.
  • GSUSA will process all online orders and ship them directly from their NJ distribution warehouse.

  • Customers can still purchase GSWPA merchandise online, and those items will be shipped directly from GSWPA. This will reduce council operating costs (inventory, freight, data hosting, mailing supplies and postage).

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Volunteers remembered for their service, kindness

With heavy hearts we say goodbye to two of our treasured Girl Scout sisters.

Ni Carlson
Naomi "Ni" Carlson of Bradford started her Girl Scouting journey in 1945. She served in many roles in Girl Scouts, from troop leader to member of the council board of directors.

In 1994 she received the Thanks Badge II, which is the highest Award in Girl Scouting for adults. 

Ni was beloved to girls, adult volunteers and staff at GSWPA.

Ni passed away on May 14. You can read Ni's obituary here.

Jackie Schoch

Dr. Jacqueline L. Schoch, DuBois, was a dedicated volunteer for many organizations in her community. She served on the board of directors for Keystone Tall Tree Girl Scout Council, one of the councils that merged to form GSWPA

She also received the council's Woman of Honor award.

Jackie's legacy to support Girl Scouts continues as hundreds of girls make new friends, try new things and make a lifetime of memories every summer at the lodge at Camp Curry Creek that bears her name. You can view her obituary here.

Both women will be deeply missed by our Girl Scout family.

Our thoughts and prayers are with their families during this difficult time.

Jackie Schoch Lodge at Camp Curry Creek

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Camp Corner: Ease into the outdoors at Hawthorne Ridge

Looking for a laid back camping experience? Check out Camp Hawthorne Ridge, the perfect place for new or less experienced campers to get a feel for camp life and the great outdoors.
Hawthorne Ridge is located in Erie County, just a 10 minute drive from Lake Erie and conveniently accessed from Interstates 79 and 90. One of the highlights of this camp is the 200-foot gorge with beautiful waterfalls and numerous fossil caches.
With hiking, swimming, creek stomping, archery, arts and crafts, geocaching and more, there's plenty to do at camp, and its close proximity to Erie makes Hawthorne Ridge an economical place to stay for those troops traveling to the tons of entertainment attractions the area has to offer (like Splash Lagoon, Presque Isle State Park, Waldameer and many others).  

Camp Hawthorne Ridge at a Glance

Location: Girard, Pa., Erie County. Just 15 miles south of Erie and 120 miles north of Pittsburgh. (See map.) 

Types of Camping: Girls can camp with their troop, family, by herself or with a buddy.(See descriptions.)
Amenities: Creek/gorge, hiking trails, swimming pool with water slide, archery range and a playing field.

Program Spotlight

Mystery of Presque Isle
July 15-19
Girl Grades: 4-8
Are you the next great detective or special agent? Hone your detective skills and help solve

the Mystery of Presque Isle. Someone is smuggling jewels into the bay, and now one of the marina owners has disappeared. We need your help to find out who’s behind all this mischief. Learn how to take fingerprints, examine blood spatters and process evidence at a crime scene. When your investigating is done, relax at camp, swim and shoot archery.

Program Aid Training
July 15-19
Girl Grades: 6-8
Are you a born leader? Ready to put your leadership skills to the test? If so, the Program Aide Training is the perfect opportunity to test those skills. Complete your training and work with younger girls in units and at activities around camp. Bond with other leaders and have fun at your own pool party. You must earn your LiA award (Leadership in Action) in order to earn the Cadette Program Aide pin. This doesn’t need to be completed before camp, but must be done before earning your pin.

Art Attack! 
July 16-19
Girl Grades: K-3
Art, art and more art! Brownies will work on the Painting and Pottery badges, while Juniors will work on the Drawing and Jeweler badges. Make ah-mazing projects to take home to your friends and family. Have fun with your new friends swimming at the pool, shooting archery, cooking and singing songs around the campfire.

Treasure Island
July 19-21

Girl Grades: K-3
Pirates made their way inland from the Atlantic Ocean and buried their treasure at camp. Don’t be a scallywag — help us find the treasure of Camp Hawthorne Ridge! Follow clues, read maps and avoid pirates to find the treasure. While you’re not hard at work looking for clues, make new pirate friends, hang out with your counselors, swim and try your hand at archery. Plus, you’ll earn your Letterboxing badge. Aarrr!

Mad Outdoor Skillz
July 26-29
Girl Grades: 4-8

You’re a survivor! Go home knowing things that will totally impress your friends and family. Not just how to build a one-match fire but how about a NO match fire?! Pitch a tent in record time … blindfolded! Learn how to find your way to civilization using a map and compass, GPS system or navigating by the sun and stars. Grab your gear, grab a friend and come learn some mad skillz!

Daisy and Brownie Sleepover
Aug. 1-2
Girl Grades: K-3
Grab your BFF and head to camp where you’ll swim, bike and so much more. Get creative with arts and crafts, play games and sing songs. Stay in one of the lodges for the evening with counselor supervision.

See all the awesome programs at Camp Hawthorne Ridge