Friday, June 17, 2016

Snap camp: Share photos of camping adventures for your chance to win

Parents, troop leaders and volunteers: Are you heading to one of GSWPA's nine camps this summer? Send us up to five of your best photos from your time at camp and you could win one of three $25 gift certificates to the Girl Scout Shop!

Just visit and fill out the form and upload your five best camp photos. Winners will be randomly drawn from all entries received by Aug. 31. 

Going to more than one camp? You can submit up to five photos for each camp, which means an extra entry into the contest! 

An added bonus: Your submitted photos may be used in upcoming GSWPA publications, featured on Facebook, Twitter, our blog or, or in local media! Please make sure all Girl Scouts pictured have opted in to allowing us to use their photos. 

Here are some suggestions for the types of photos we are always looking for: 
  • Girls doing camp activities (both wide and close-up shots)
  • Girls with volunteers or parents
  • Girls in small groups (2-5 girls)
  • Girls with camp staff
  • Smiling, happy faces! 
Have a happy, snappy camp season! We can’t wait to see all the photos!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hard-earned: No one wins a Gold Award

Girls celebrated earning the Gold Award in Cranberry in May.
The mistake is understandable. The Girl Scout Gold Award is an award after all, and awards are often won. That makes sense. Doesn’t it?

Not when it comes to the Gold Award. Girls earn this distinction—the highest achievement in Girl Scouting—through hours of research, planning, community organizing and relationship building. The recommended minimum number of hours for girls to spend on their take-action projects is 80. That means that the 97 Girl Scouts who earned the Gold Award this year logged a minimum of 7,760 hours making the world a better place.

The word “win” also implies that someone else—maybe several people—lost.

No one loses when Girl Scouts answer the call to “go Gold.” Girls gain valuable leadership skills and the experience can set them on a path of community service for life. Also, some universities and colleges offer scholarships for award recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. armed forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their Gold Award achievement.

Communities win, too, because through the Gold Award process, girls seek out the work that needs doing—whether that’s creating a garden for a local food bank, developing programs to help more girls explore STEM careers, or building a wheelchair-accessible playground. 

So when you meet a Gold Award recipient, congratulate her on her hard work. She’s earned it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

FORE! Girl Scouts invited to golf event this Friday in Oakmont

Aspiring girl golfers are invited to come out to Oakmont Country Club this Friday, June 10 for an afternoon of fun and engaging golf activities at "Inside the U.S. Open," an event hosted by LPGA-USGA Girls Golf.

This event, being offered FREE for girls, will be held from 4-6 p.m. and will cover the "Five Es" of girls' golf. No clubs necessary!

Online registration is required (the deadline has been extended). Register here or contact Annie Miller at or 908-326-1844 for more information.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Let's Go Bucs! Important info about Girl Scouts Day at the Pittsburgh Pirates

Joining us on Sunday for Girl Scouts Day at the Pittsburgh Pirates? Be sure to stop by our office at 30 Isabella St. (right next to PNC Park) for some 'tailgating' fun before the game! Our Pittsburgh shop will also be open if you'd like to do some pre-game shopping.

Here's what you need to know to have a great time before and during the game:
Before the game:
  • The Girl Scout Shop will be open from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Stop by and stock up!
  • GSWPA tailgating fun starts at 11:30 a.m. outside the GSWPA office. (Note: We'll be on the Isabella Street side of the building, not E. General Robinson Street.) 
  • Check out our SWAP station and make your own baseball-inspired SWAP to keep or trade.
  • Get some free stuff! The 50 girls who renew memberships or sign up for camp that day get a goodie bag! 
    •  If you haven't renewed your membership for the next Girl Scout year (which starts Oct. 1, 2016), GS staff will be on-hand to help you register online. 
    • Camp fun is right around the corner! Have questions about camp? Want to sign up that day? We've got you covered. 
  • Don't forget to wear your favorite Girl Scout gear! (That goes for moms and dads, too!)
During the game:
  • Take lots of pics and share them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using #GSWPADayPirates. Have a Snapchat account? Look for the special Girl Scouts Day at the Pirates geo-filter that you can add to your pic! 
  • Have a blast! You're going to be sitting in a section with lots of your sister Girl Scouts from all around our council, so be sure to say hello and always remember the Girl Scout Law:
Girl Scout Law
I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.
 See you on Sunday!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Honoring awesome: Volunteers presented with awards at annual meeting

Karen Facteau, a Girl Scouts volunteer in Indiana, earned the Thanks Badge I, a national award, from Girl Scouts of the USA.

This honor is given to a registered Girl Scout volunteer whose service continues to impact the entire council of Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania or the Girl Scout movement in extraordinary ways and is separate from service that has been previously recognized.
A Girl Scout volunteer for 25 years, Facteau is a Service Unit team member in Indiana, a Program Team member, and co-director of Blue Spruce Day Camp.

Lindy Fails, co-director of Blue Spruce Day camp, nominated Facteau for the award. "Karen is always enthusiastic about Girl Scouts and gives it her all," Fails said. "She has a Girl Scout heart."

Fails isn't the only one singing Facteau's praises. GSWPA staff also applauds her hard work and commitment to the Girl Scout movement.

"Karen is amazing," said Brandy Varner, GSWPA Recruitment Specialist. "Her love of Girl Scouting and commitment to supporting our mission is evident in all that she does."

Annie Wardrop, Girl Experience Specialist, added, "Karen is 110 percent dedicated to helping girls reach their full potential. I admire her dedication and enthusiasm!"

Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania CEO Patricia A. Burkart presented the award to Facteau at the annual meeting in April.

Several other amazing Girl Scouts volunteers were presented with awards at the annual meeting as well:

Volunteer of the Year
This award celebrates the work of a volunteer who has made a significant impact on the entire council with their time, talent, and treasure in the last service year and which merits council-wide recognition. This award is only given to one volunteer per year, and candidates may not receive the award more than once.

Elizabeth Schendel, Allegheny County, nominated by Sharon Enslen

Previous Awards: Appreciation Pin. Honor Pin. Thanks I. President's Award.

“In the past year, Betty was instrumental in forming the council-wide Travel Committee for GSWPA. The goal is to offer girls the trip of a lifetime and the Travel Committee will ensure that these adventures will be fun, full of learning, and safe,” said Enslen. “Betty's hard work and determination made this committee happen.”

Appreciation Pin
This pin recognizes an individual’s exemplary service in support of delivering the Girl Scout Leadership Experience primarily within one geographic service area.

Amy Dobbins, Cambria County, nominated by Leslie Adams 

Adams said that Dobbins “works to provide Service Unit programming based on the girls' interests.”

Shelda Repko, Blair County, nominated by GSWPA staff member Davina Bixby 

Bixby said that Repko “is a mentor to her fellow leaders and has taught them the core fundamentals of what Girl Scouts is all about.”

President's Award
The President’s Award recognizes the efforts of a service-delivery team or committee whose exemplary service in support of delivering the Girl Scout Leadership Experience surpassed team goals and resulted in significant, measurable impact toward reaching the council’s overall goals.

5904-Gateway SU, Allegheny County, nominated by GSWPA staff member Deb Gerhard

“They encourage the GSLE, set goals, travel every other year and work with the community: clothing drives, caroling for cans to support food pantries, birthday bags for Salvation Army,” Gehrard said.

5306-National Pike, Fayette County, nominated by GSWPA staff member Janelle Upole 

Upole said, “National Pike mentored another Service Unit, offering guidance, support and strong communication, offering financial management planning so that the other SU could stay on its feet.”

2642-Freeport Area, Butler County, nominated by GSWPA staff member Deb Gerhard

“This service until works tirelessly to give the girls the programs they want” Gerhard said. “All SU team members are Outdoor, Archery, American Canoe association level 2 trained.”

Celebrate the outstanding work of Girl Scout volunteers!
Consider nominating the outstanding volunteers in your area for a Girl Scouts award. The deadline to nominate is Wednesday, August 10! Learn more about adult awards on our website.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Get ready to wrap up your Girl Scout year!

It's been SUCH an exciting year filled with big fun, new adventures and lots of accomplishments! While there's still plenty of fun ahead (hopefully you're heading to camp this summer), time is running out for you to take care of a few important end-of-year "to-dos." Please take a few minutes to read below and check 'em off your list!

1. Renew your troop's memberships for next year:
There's just one month left to take advantage of Early Bird renewal! 
By renewing early, you and your troop will be ready for all the great things that happen in the fall! Your troop will automatically be uploaded into Nut-E so you'll be ready to start earning troop funds through the MagNut Program, and parents will know to include Girl Scouts in their fall activities, with fun events like Journeypalooza , Camp Creepy and so much more! 
Every girl that is renewed by June 15 gets an exclusive free patch.
Plus, if you renew 100% of your troop by June 15, you earn a chance to have two adult troop leader memberships paid! Renew today.

2. Update your troop information with us:
To prepare for this fall, we need all troops to fill out the Troop Opportunity Catalog and Information Update Form. This form allows troops to join the opportunity catalog and open up spots to new girls/volunteers OR just update their information.
All troops that fill out the form by July 1 will be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to spend at their local Girl Scout shop or on GSWPA camps and programs! There will also be a great prize raffled off to one of the top 10 service units with the highest percentage of forms completed. Find out more.

3. Complete your Annual Finance Report:
It's important that you submit your troop's Annual Finance Report to your Service Unit Finance Manager or Manager no later than June 30. Be sure to include the most recent troop bank statement at the time of reporting. For more information, see page 183 of Volunteer Essentials.

4. Hold a Bridging Ceremony or end-of-year celebration:
If your troop is moving to the next Girl Scout grade level, you might choose to hold a Bridging Ceremony. This is a great way to recognize the girls in your troop for their achievements over the past year and welcome them to the next level of Girl Scouting! Check out our Pinterest board for Bridging Ceremony ideas, or contact us at 800-248-3355 or to reserve one of the bridges we have available to borrow from one of our offices.

Not bridging to the next level this year? You can still have an end-of-year party to celebrate a successful year of Girl Scouting! Whatever you do, please share your fun pics with us by sending them to

5. Take your troop to camp:
Camp is just over one month away, but there's still plenty of time to plan a summer camp adventure with your troop!
  • Leave the activity and meal planning to us by coming to one of our CORE Camp sessions.
  • Camp on your own schedule and provide your own meals, but take part in programming provided by GSWPA staff at one of our C.A.P. camping sessions
  • Enjoy the freedom of your own camping experience by reserving any of our nine camps for Troop Camping.
Just remember, if you're camping on your own or staying overnight, at least one adult must have completed Outdoor Skills Training and First Aid/CPR.

And be sure to check out our adult training sessions to become certified in archery or canoeing, or a facilitator in the teams course/low ropes or high ropes.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Greensburg Girl Scouts to deliver cookies to local first responders

Girl Scouts from troops 27038 and 26831 in Greensburg delivered Girl Scout Cookies to local police, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency personnel in April.

The girls collected donations for the cookies at booth sales in the month of March during the annual Girl Scout Cookie Program.

They raised enough donations to purchase 300 boxes of cookies, which they will deliver in person to volunteer fire departments, the police department, the emergency room at Westmoreland Regional Hospital and other local agencies throughout the Greensburg area.

“The girls wanted to thank the men and women who work to keep us safe,” said Chrissy Schaeffer, leader of troop 27038. “We’ve always had great support from them, especially from the Crabtree Volunteer Fire Department, so the girls wanted to find a way to give something back.”

The two Girl Scout troops include 50 girls in kindergarten through 12th grade.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program not only helps Greensburg Girl Scouts say thanks to local first responders, it funds many exciting adventures for them this summer.

The girls are planning a trip to Savannah, Georgia, in July to visit the birthplace of Girl Scouts’ founder Juliette Gordon Low. They will also attend a day camp, visit Idlewild and Soak Zone and enjoy a day at the Pittsburgh Zoo this summer.