Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Guest blogger: Girl Scout for life

by Brittany McCartney

Imagine this: A six-year-old girl with short blonde hair and bright blue eyes entering Neason Hill Elementary School on a Tuesday night in September of 2003. That would be the start of something that would change her life. That Tuesday night, was the first Girl Scout meeting she ever attended. 

The meeting began by saying the Girl Scout Promise and Law, making crafts, singing Girl Scout songs, eating delicious snacks and then the meeting ended with the Friendship Circle. She was hooked. 

The little girl had talked about the Girl Scout meeting every day and every night until the following Tuesday evening when she would be able to walk through those doors again. Those doors opened her to a world of courage, confidence, and character. 

The little six-year-old who had walked into her first Girl Scout meeting started off lacking all three, she was shy, she was timid, and she was terrified. Courage is defined as the ability to do something that frightens one. The amount of courage it had taken her to stand in front of the family and friends of her troop during her first Girl Scout awards ceremony was immense. That ceremony had taught her that anything was possible. She knew that she would be able to talk in front of the five girls in her troop or the nearly five hundred adults, girls, business leaders, and community members during the 100th year Anniversary Celebration. 

Courage does not come alone; undoubtedly courage comes is hand-in-hand with confidence. 

Confidence is defined as a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities. This sweet and lovable six year old starting her Girl Scout experience had begun with the smallest amount of self-confidence, since she was afraid of what others would think about her. 

After years of being told of the astounding things she has accomplished in Girl Scouts and what an asset she has become to the organization, she had finally gained the confidence to stand up for herself and for those around her. Courage and confidence stand as the foundation to a person’s character. 

Character is defined as the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. She will do what is right, even when she is the only one doing it. She stands up against those who do not follow the Girl Scout Promise and Law or are not acting as a Girl Scout should. Her leaders and fellow Girl Scouts have taught her to use the courage, confidence and character that was instilled within her to always be the best her that she could be. 

Fast forward twelve years and that little six-year-old girl is now an eighteen-year-old young adult with long blonde hair and hazel eyes who entered through the doors of United Methodist Stone Church one Monday night in June of 2015. 

That Monday night, was the last Girl Scout Meeting she will ever attend. 

The meeting started with her showing up late with dinner in her hand, sitting around the tables talking with the younger girls in her troop, tears streaming down her face and then for the last time, her mom passed out the badges, the Journeys and the patches she had earned throughout the year. 

That girl is me. I was a Brownie. I was a Junior. I was a Cadette. I was a Senior. I was an Ambassador. However, I will always be a Girl Scout. 

Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout.

Girls benefit from time spent outdoors

According to a study by the Girl Scouts Research Institute (GSRI), Girls who regularly spend time outdoors eclipse their peers who spend less time outdoors in environmental stewardship, challenge seeking and problem solving—all important traits in twenty-first century leadership.

But camp gives girls benefits beyond problem-solving and leadership skills—here are what Girl Scouts had to say about their camp adventures:

“Camp helped me be brave. It was the first time I was on my own and away from my parents for that long.”—Libby H. 
“Going to camp has helped me make new friends, become more adaptable to change, become a leader and talk more and not be shy.”—Cheyenne R. 
“The thing I love most about Girl Scout camp is meeting new people and getting to go on a mini-vacation! Each time I go camping I come back with a thousand new memories.”—Brittany M.
Girl Scouts keeps up-to-date with the interests of today's girls, which is evident in its wide range of camp offerings— everything from beginner horse camps to high-adventure rafting trips.

You can see all the fun that awaits girls at summer camp in 2016 at

GSWPA 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.

You can help preserve camp experiences for girls with your donation to GSWPA.

Donate Now


Source: National Study of Girls & the Outdoors (Girl Scouts Research Institute, 2014)

Girls on a mission to make the world a better place

From tent camping to beach cleanup, the Girl Scouts experience offers a variety of opportunities for girls to appreciate the natural world around them.

Investing in girls through the Girls Scouts provides girls with outdoor experiences they may not get in other places, further developing problem solving skills and environmental stewardship through unique service projects.

To earn their Bronze Award—the highest achievement a Girl Scout in grades 4-5 can earn—troop 55127 planted and maintained a vegetable garden to benefit the West Deer Food Bank in Cheswick.

Thanks to their efforts, 45 families received fresh vegetables twice a month throughout the season.

By taking action, these girls not only added a beautiful garden to their community, they helped families access the health benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Well done, girls!

You can help more girls connect with the life-changing experiences in Girl Scouting with your donation to GSWPA today.

Donate Now


Monday, November 23, 2015

Support the next generation of female business owners and leaders

Investing in girls through the Girl Scouts will support financial literacy and entrepreneurship programs that empower girls through the development of five essential skills: goal setting, money management, people skills, decision-making and business ethics. 

Did you know? Eighty-five percent of girls developed money management skills through the Girl Scout Cookie program, the largest girl-run business in the world.

Planning pays off

Troop 50099
Troop 50099 created a two-year business plan for selling Girl Scout Cookies at a workshop hosted by The Hill Group, and increased their sales to “Super Troop” status in that year's Cookie Program. 

This summer, the girls got to enjoy the result of their hard work. Just as they planned, the troop saved Cookie Program proceeds for two years to fund a five-day trek in the Great Smoky Mountains!
Purposeful product

Cheyenne Rhone, a Senior Girl Scout from West Mifflin, was recently featured as a young Pittsburgh entrepreneur.

Cheyenne started Hopes for the Best, her own business where she creates and sells bracelets that double as survival tools.

She made similar bracelets with her Girl Scout troop which inspired her to create her own business.

Help girls succeed

Girls envision a future where they are financially independent and empowered. Help them get there by donating to Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania today.

Donate Now


Cookies are coming!

Order taking begins Jan. 8

Our favorite time of year is almost here: Girl Scout Cookie season! Cookie order taking starts on Friday, Jan. 8, with National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend and booth sales starting on Friday, Feb. 26.

Cookie Lineup
All the favorites will be available on this year's order card, including Do-si-dos, Rah-Rah Raisin, Samoas, Savannah Smiles, Tagalongs, Thin Mints and Trefoils. The gluten-free Toffee-tastic will also be offered again during booth sales and by ordering through Digital Cookie. Although customers can't order these on the order card, troops can get these at Cookie Cupboards. See the full cookie lineup.

Digital Cookie
Through Digital Cookie, girls can email friends and family to purchase and pay online for cookies. (shipping and handling fees will apply.)   A number of enhancements have been made to Digital Cookie this year to make it easier to use for volunteers, girls, parents and customers. Also, girls will have some new tools to market their cookie business online. We're also happy to report that this year there will be no processing fees for Operation: Sweet Appreciation donations!

National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend -  Feb 26-28
National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend celebrates the world's largest girl-led business--and happens to coincide with the kickoff of cookie booth sales in western Pennsylvania! Girl Scouts will be kicking off the weekend on Friday, Feb. 26 with a cookie blitz in Pittsburgh, Erie, Greensburg, Johnstown, Kittanning and Beaver, along with booth sales all over our council throughout the weekend. 

Troop Leaders and Service Unit Cookie Managers: Be sure to check your email for Cookie Bytes, which will give you all the info you need on eBudde and much more.  

"Give A Little Love" this holiday season

"Give A Little Love" Holiday Clothing Drive & Community Service Project 
December 1-31

Do your family members and neighbors have items collecting dust that someone else could use? With the Goodwill "Give A Little Love" Holiday Clothing Drive and Community Service Project, Girl Scouts are encouraged to collect gently used items for donation to Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania. 

Collected goods will be sold to benefit Goodwill's more than fifty programs and services. Participating Girl Scouts will have the opportunity to earn a patch recognizing their commitment to their community. Additionally, the top three Girl Scouts who collect the most donations will win a paid trip to camp courtesy of Goodwill! 

Find out more and register to participate.

Nominate a deserving Girl Scout for Pittsburgh Girl of Distinction Awards

2015 Girl of Distinction Bianca Li
We think ALL Girl Scouts are amazing, but do you know one that goes above and beyond? Nominate her for a Girl of Distinction or Girl Scout Humanitarian Award. 

GSWPA will present the 2016 Awards of Distinction at a luncheon on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at the Omni William Penn Hotel.

The Awards of Distinction Luncheon event will recognize two Girl Scouts in the following categories:

The Girl of Distinction is a current Girl Scout who:
  • is active in her community and education institution
  • exhibits strong leadership efforts through school functions, Girl
    Scout activities
  • continues to strive for higher learning
  • emulates a healthy life style for herself
The Girl Scout Humanitarian Award is a current Girl Scout who:
  • demonstrates outstanding volunteer community service
  • promotes friendship, cooperation and community spirit among all people
  • displays compassion, self-sacrifice, leadership, and creativity in her humanitarian work for their classmates, schools, communities or charitable organizations
*Nominees for both awards should be in high school grades 9-12 and reside in the Allegheny, Beaver and Butler service areas.
Each award recipient will receive a $500 scholarship toward her academic pursuits. 
Honoree selections are the responsibility of the Awards of Distinction Committee, which is comprised of a diverse group of professional and community volunteers.

Submission Requirements:
Please complete the nomination form for the Girl of Distinction or the Girl Scout Humanitarian Award

If you have any questions or to provide additional nomination material, please contact Anne Stokes, Events Manager, Fund Development at or 412-594-2210.
Deadline for Submission: January 15, 2016
And if you know an inspiring woman in the Pitsburgh area, nominate her for a 2016 Women of Distinction Award!