Monday, September 29, 2014

Shop on AmazonSmile, help GSWPA

Attention Amazon shoppers: Did you know you can have a percentage of your Amazon purchases donated to GSWPA at no extra cost?

We’re participating in AmazonSmile. It’s a way for people to support their favorite nonprofit automatically every time they shop, at no cost and by taking just a few simple one-time steps. Awesome, right?

Just go to, log in to your Amazon account, and you’ll be asked to select a charity. Type in Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania and select it from the list. And if you’re already participating in AmazonSmile and want to change your charity to GSWPA, simply click on “Supporting” in the upper left side of the page when you’re logged in and select “Change your charity.”
After that, all you have to do is make sure you go to every time you shop and Amazon will donate .5% of your purchase to GSWPA! Your account is the same as your account, so your shopping cart, wish list, registries and other account settings are the same no matter which one you use. Want to learn more? Here are some AmazonSmile FAQs.
Thank you for shopping—and supporting GSWPA!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Volunteer shares favorite hobbies through Girl Scouting

For Girl Scout volunteer Jodi Sando, seeing the joy girls get from mastering a new skill is icing on the cake, especially since Jodi is the one who teaches them how to ice the cake.

Cake decorating is just one of the programs Jodi leads as a volunteer program facilitator. In addition to leading a multilevel troop, Jodi teaches girls cake decorating, outdoor cooking, geocaching, crochet and cross stitch to Girl Scouts through S’more programs by request.

Girls gain confidence from trying new things, and that’s what Jodi enjoys about leading programs. “I love watching them go from nervous about trying something new to excited about what they’ve accomplished,” she said. “I’m so proud of them. Every time.”

Even when things don’t exactly go as planned, girls still have fun and learn important lessons. During one outdoor cooking session, Jodi recalls, the rack in a cardboard oven fell, sending raw eggs sliding in all directions. “There was egg ooze on the picnic table and eggs frying right on the charcoal,” she said. “The girls loved it—they thought it was cool.” They cleaned up, started again, and made sure the cooking rack was secure. “Live and learn!” she said, smiling.

Jodi loves sharing her own skills and hobbies with girls, especially cross stitch and cake decorating. “I feel they are lost arts, so I’m glad they can still learn them in Girl Scouts.” They are also her favorite programs to teach. “Nothing can get burned,” Jodi laughed.

A volunteer for 32 years, Jodi loves the opportunities Girl Scouts offers her. “Girl Scouts keeps me young,” Jodi said. “I do things in Girl Scouts that I wouldn’t do on my own, because the girls want to do them.”

She is impressed with the adventures available to today’s Girl Scouts. Girls can try zip lining, archery, shooting sports, all things Jodi said she would have never considered trying as a child.

“And travel,” Jodi added, “These girls can go anywhere in the world.”

Jodi will travel with Ambassador Girl Scouts from her own troop in 2015 to Savannah, Ga., the birthplace of Girl Scouts founder Juliet Gordon Low. The girls will be presented with their Gold Award pins while visiting the place where Girl Scouting began.

“They are finishing their Girl Scouts years with a great moment,” Jodi said. “I can’t wait.”

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Prediction comes true for GS volunteer

Amy Learn’s Girl Scout troop leaders saw it coming.

“Dee and Henrietta, my troop leaders when I was a Cadette, predicted that I would be a Girl Scout volunteer someday,” Amy laughed.

They recognized Amy’s love of Girl Scouting and knew she would be back after high school graduation. They were right, but Amy did not return right away.

Amy reconnected with Girl Scouts years later, when she stepped up to lead her own daughter’s troop. That was 14 years ago, and though her daughter has since graduated from high school, Amy is still involved the organization she loves today.

In addition to leading her daughter's troop, Amy has had other roles in Girl Scouts, too, including managing product sales programs and organizing phone-a-thons. Amy currently serves as registrar and a delegate for her Meadville service unit.

In her role as delegate, Amy attends council Kick Offs, Town Hall Meetings and the Annual Meeting—all forums where volunteers are updated on council initiatives and programs.

Amy enjoys keeping up with what’s new in Girl Scouting. “I want to stay informed. I want to know how the movement is doing.”

Lifelong learning

While she is no longer leading a troop, Amy still has a direct effect on girls’ leadership development. Last year, Amy led a Journey Weekend at Camp Elliott, helping two troops of Junior Girl Scouts navigate the Get Moving! Journey, helping them learn about various forms of energy and finding out what it means to be energy efficient.

“I loved working with the girls and getting to know more about them,” Amy said.

Amy also enjoyed learning new things, both from the Journey activities and from the girls she led. “The girls were very knowledgeable about what’s going on in their communities,” she said. “I learned a lot from them.”

Those “a-ha” moments keep Amy coming back to Girl Scouts as a volunteer.

“We never stop learning.” Amy noted. “That’s what’s great about Girl Scouting.”

Great for grown-ups, too

While building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place is the mission of Girl Scouts, girls aren’t the only ones who benefit from the experience. Girl Scouting enriches the lives of volunteers as well. Ninety-four percent of volunteers have made new friends, 88 percent believe their life is better because they volunteer with Girl Scouts, and two-thirds believe their volunteer experience has helped them professionally. Ninety-five percent of Girl Scout volunteers are happy knowing they are making girls’ lives better.

Girl Scout volunteers come from all walks of life; they are men, women, young professionals, retirees, college students, and more. To join or volunteer, please visit: