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

Monday, May 11, 2015

Fourth generation volunteer remembered

"Miss Betty" McDade was 74 years old when she became a Girl Scout volunteer to help with her great-granddaughter Elizabeth's Daisy troop, along with her daughter Virginia McDade-Foster and granddaughter Linda Brison. The four generations are shown here at the Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary celebration parade in downtown Pittsburgh in 2012. 

"She was truly an inspiration to our girls," says Virginia, of Washington. "Even when she was no longer able to be a regular volunteer, she made frequent visits to see the girls and help them, whether showing them a simple sewing stitch or helping them earn their Brownie Fair Play badge by talking about athletics of the past and how they differ today."  

Betty passed away on April 29. Our condolences are with her family, along with all the Girl Scouts who were fortunate enough to have "Miss Betty" as a mentor. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Camp Corner: Tune into adventure at Singing Hills

Are you the adventurous type? Want to challenge yourself to try something new? 
Head to Camp Singing Hills, where you'll find high adventure activities in a gorgeous, wooded setting. 
Located in Venango County, between Franklin and Oil City, the 221-acre camp is set in the foothills of the Allegheny River, French Creek and Oil Creek. It has a beautiful wooded hiking trail and an awesome outdoor amphitheater with a babbling brook running alongside. 
But it's the exciting and seemingly endless things to do at Singing Hills that make it a favorite among campers. The low ropes team course, high ropes challenge course, and zipline with climbing wall are perfect for older Girl Scouts ready to take on new physical and mental challenges. Singing Hills also features a GaGa ball pit (similar to dodge ball), a swimming pool, archery and rifle ranges, and more classic camp activities to keep campers of all ages and skill levels happy. 

Camp Singing Hills at a Glance

Location: Oil City, Pa., Venango County. Approximately 60 miles from both Erie and Butler,
and 90 miles north of Pittsburgh. (See map.) 
Types of Camping: Girls can camp with their troop or family and stay in a tent, yurt or lodge.
Amenities: High and low ropes course, climbing wall, zip line, canoeing and "funoeing," target shooting/rifle range, archery range, outdoor amphitheater, swimming pool, hiking trails, and nature center. 

Program Spotlight

It's Your Call CORE Camp  
Sun. June 28-Tue. June 30
Girl Grades: 4-8
This customized troop camp will be just how you want it. Choose any camp amenties, from the teams course, challenge course, climbing wall and zip line, as well as archery, rifles, canoeing, backpacking, hiking, theater, swimming and arts and crafts. Work on a Journey or earn badges, then sit back and enjoy because it’s your call! 

Camp U Choose CORE Camp
Sun. July 5-Tue. July 7
Girl Grades: 6-12
This is YOUR time at Camp Singing Hills! Help choose many of the activities your group will do. What will it be? Hang out by the pool, shoot archery, express yourself in art, challenge yourself on the ropes course, and soar through the air on the zip line? Or maybe you’ll cook a meal over a campfire or enjoy a lunch while canoeing at Two Mile Lake. You might take a twilight hike for some fantastic star gazing or plan a dance party. And at the end of the day, you can share late night talks around a flickering campfire with new friends. Anything goes!

C.A.P. Camping at Singing Hills
Fri. July 10-Sun July 12
Girls Grades: K-12
Bring your troop to camp this summer to work on badges, get started on a Journey or simply strengthen the bonds of sisterhood while enjoying swimming, archery, canoeing and more. Programming is provided, but troops are responsible for their own meals.

See all the awesome programs planned at Camp Singing Hills! 

Meet the Camp Staff

Bob Curzi
Camp Ranger

Tell us about yourself: I have several hobbies; I enjoy building all sorts of things from machines to structures--anything that challenges my brain and that I can learn from. 

What's your favorite camp activity? The multi-level challenge course. I love seeing the girls overcome their fears and conquer the course! 

What do you like best about working at camp? Providing a positive camping experience for the girls. 

Do you have a favorite camp memory? My first night a camp, I was sitting on the porch steps and bear walked within 20 feet of me before I saw it. I stood up and said, "Get out of here!" and it turned around and walked away.

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 gswpa.org.

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!