Monday, August 31, 2015

Flags and books and costumes, oh my! Resource Centers offer fun supplies for troops

Looking for a bridge for your troop's next bridging ceremony or candles for an investiture ceremony? Or maybe you're marching in a parade and would like some flags, cookie costumes, or vintage Girl Scout uniforms.
Look no further than the Girl Scout Resource Centers at our GSWPA offices!

Troops can borrow a variety of items to use during activities, community events, ceremonies and more. Selection and availability varies by office, but can include international and Girl Scout flags; books like Girl Guides, Journeys, song books, or ceremony books; bridges to use for bridging ceremonies; candles for investiture ceremonies; and cookie costumes and vintage Girl Scout uniforms for cookie sales, parades or other events.

For more information, stop into our any of our GSWPA offices or call 800-248-3355. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Help us bring Girl Scouting to more girls through the Family Partnership

As a member of our Girl Scout family, you know Girl Scouting provides girls with amazing experiences that help them today and in the future. Please help us give those same experiences to even more girls here in western Pennsylvania by making a tax-deductible donation through our Family Partnership Campaign.

What does your contribution do?
Your contribution benefits girls in need of financial assistance and resources, helping us to honor our promise to offer the Girl Scout experience to all girls no matter the circumstances. Whether they decide to participate in Girl Scouting through a troop, school-based program, camp, or educational programs, they each gain courage, confidence and character. Your contribution fosters their development in a girl-led environment where they learn skills that will serve them all their lives.
  • $15: Can sponsor membership for one girl in GSWPA
  • $25: Can purchase a life vest for camp water activities
  • $50: Can offer girls STEM programming
  • $100: Can help send a girl to a night at camp

And, if you donate $15 or more to the Family Partnership Campaign, you'll  receive a patch!

How to donate
It's easy! Simply select the donation amount of your choice when registering or renewing your membership. (You'll be asked to do so before getting to the final payment screen.)

Already registered/renewed? Make your donation through our online giving form. Just be sure to type "Family Partnership Campaign" in the Donation Notes section.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Girl Scout Camp fun for moms, too!

by Lisa Shade

Troop 30188
After camping with troop 30188 and their super-cool moms recently at Singing Hills, I’ve created the Top 10 reasons why every mom should attend camp with Girl Scouts.

10. It’s a girls-only weekend. ‘Nuff said.

9. Make new friends. This is something that girls do in Girl Scouting, but it goes for the moms, too!

8. Get out(side). GSWPA camps are located in spectacularly scenic spots throughout western Pennsylvania. Kick back and enjoy the fresh air.

7. S'mores. Go ahead, have two!

6. Comfort. We stayed in a modern lodge complete with a full kitchen and attached bathrooms and showers. Of course, platform tents and yurts are available, too.

Preparing for dinner.
5. The girls do most of the cooking and cleaning. Girl Scouts is all about building skills and trying new things, which for our troop included making a killer lasagna for dinner and a breakfast that rivaled Eat ‘n’ Park.

4. You get to carry on like a kid. Our group of moms did the low ropes course together and we laughed like hyenas. We played cards and games with the girls, stayed up late, and giggled after lights-out.

3. Feel like a super hero. Completing the challenges on the low ropes course left us all feeling like we can do anything!

Fun and teamwork on the low ropes course.
2. You’re the cool mom. So, you got hoisted by your mom friends through a giant tire at Girl Scout camp? You rock!

1. Make fun memories with your daughter. Going to Girl Scout camp brings us closer together every time. The shared fun gives us tons of stories to laugh about for years to come!

Moms balancing the "ship" on the low ropes course.

Girls work as a team on the "ship."

Thursday, August 13, 2015

New Outdoor Badges now available!

What makes the new Outdoor Badges so special? They were chosen by you

Now, you have the chance to earn five unique badges that represent your favorite outdoor activities--including Outdoor Adventurer, Horseback Riding, Archery, Paddling and Ultimate Recreation Challenge. 

Stop by our store, or shop online for the chance to wear a badge voted on and designed by girls! 

More Girl Scout Shop Talk

Need some help beginning your Girl Scout adventure? We have just the thing. 
Starter Kits include the basic essentials that every girl needs to start out, or to move to the next grade level. 

Kits start at $50.35, and include: FREE drawstring eurosack (black or lilac), Flag Patch, Troop Numerals (5) GSUSA ID Set, Insignia Tab, Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting, and Journey Book (Choose one from any series including It's Your World--Change It!, It's Your Planet--Love It!, or It's Your Story--Tell It!)

Let's get started! 

Check out August's Patch of the Month--It's only available for a limited time, so grab it while you can!

Monday, August 10, 2015

It's National S'mores Day: Think Outside the Graham Cracker Box!

Few sweet treats are as beloved as the campfire staple, the s'more. And no one knows s'mores like Girl Scouts! Not only have these gooey, chocolately creations been enjoyed at Girl Scout camps for generations, but the first known s'mores recipe can be found in an official Girl Scouts publication from 1927.

The original recipe as printed in "Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts." The treat was referred to as "Some Mores" in Girl Scout publications until around 1971, when it was changed to "S'more."

The classic chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker combo will always be first in our hearts. But sometimes it's fun to think outside the graham cracker box! So, in honor of National S'mores Day, August 10, we asked our staff to share their most creative s'mores recipes. Here are some of the delicious creations they came up with, including some made with delicious Girl Scout Cookies!

Trefoil Strawberry Shortcake

This recipe combines the s'more with another favorite summertime taste--strawberry shortcake--and makes it even more amazing by using everyone's favorite shortbread cookie! Just top your roasted marshmallow with either fresh strawberries or strawberry jam and use Trefoils instead of graham crackers. Can't have a s'more without chocolate? Feel free to add a piece of chocolate bar or a smear of chocolate hazelnut spread like Nutella. 

-Submitted by Courtney Soder, Volunteer Support Specialist

Samoas S'mores

Pretty much any Girl Scout Cookie would make an awesome S'more, but the chocolate, caramel and coconut combination of the Samoa pairs perfectly with toasted marshmallow. 

A roasted marshmallow and two Samoas are all that's needed to make a delicious s'more, but here's a recipe for an Super Ultimate S'more that sounds completely out of this world: Start with a graham cracker, add a layer of  Nutella, top with a Samoa,  a roasted marshmallow, a row of Hershey's chocolate (3 squares), and another layer of nutella on the top graham cracker. WOW! - Submitted by Kate Davis, Girl Experience Specialist

Swapped S'mores
Swap out the chocolate for a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup!

Several GSWPA staffers suggested keeping the s'more mostly traditional but swapping out or adding ingredients to add some extra pizazz! 

  • "A Reese's cup instead of Hershey's or a slice of pineapple and some coconut with the toasted marshmallow give a fun twist!" -Franne Carnahan, Director of Recruitment and Retention
  • "I love s'mores with Ghirardelli sea salt and caramel dark chocolate squares. We've also used roasted marshmallow peeps before. Not my favorite, but the girls loved them!" -Lisa Shade, Public Relations Manager
  • Raspberry filled Ghirardelli chocolate with strawberry flavored marshmallows. Yum yum! -Jennifer Domowicz, Recruitment Specialist
  • "I have two favorites: A S'moreo which is an Oreo cookie instead of the graham crackers. I also love a classic s'more with a peppermint patty instead of the Hershey bar." -Jennifer Sizemore, Director of Recruitment and Retention
  • If you're living a gluten-free life, the new Girl Scout Toffee-tastic cookies make a great substitute for graham crackers. We taste-tested them with our gluten-free family this weekend! -Nancy Irwin, Director of Communications
  • Top a graham cracker with a chocolate bar or Nutella, sliced banana, sliced strawberries or strawberry jam, and a roasted marshmallow for a Banana Split S'more. Or, use peanut butter instead of (or in addition to) the chocolate plus the banana for a Funky Monkey S'more! -Jen Duda, Digital Media Manager  

Banana Split S'more

But wait--There's more! Here are some ideas for s'mores-inpsired desserts that you don't need a campfire to make: 
  • S'more wrap: To a flour tortilla, add crushed Tag-alongs and mini marshmallows and wrap in foil. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or place in the campfire until melted. -Nancy Crossen, Recruitment Specialist
  • "My mother just made a S'more cake and it was amazing. She used ginger ale, a devil's food cake mix and marshmallows. The icing was whip cream frosting and chocolate pudding with crushed graham crackers on top." - Amber Carson, Girl Experience Specialist
  • "Smore pudding pie: Graham cracker crust, one box of chocolate pudding. Put in 1/2 the pudding and let it start to set while you mix some cool whip in with the remaining half. Cover the top half with the remaining pudding/cool whip mixture. Chill for 4 hours or until completely set. Cover the top with mini marshmallows and then broil until the marshmallows become browned right before serving. Add chocolate shavings on top if you're feeling fancy!" -Kate Davis, Girl Experience Specialist

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Lake Erie Duathlon a success for participants, Girl Scouts

The Lake Erie Duathlon presented by Girl Scouts WesternPennsylvania (GSWPA) took place on Sunday, August 2 at 7 a.m. at Presque Isle State Park in Erie.

More than 200 people registered to compete in the race, which consisted of a 5K run, a 20K bike and another 5K run, completed in that order by individuals or two-person relay teams.

Participants were from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and New York.

Each registered race participant received a hat featuring the race logo, coupons and a water bottle from Dick’s Sporting Goods, and other local coupons. Every finisher received a medal and a box of Girl Scout cookies.

Winners received gift certificates from Dick’s Sporting Goods and awards featuring artwork by Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts and leaders volunteered at the event, handing out water, finisher medals, setting up post-race refreshments, cheering on participants, and covering as much ground as they could on the second 5K with inspirational messages for runners (photos attached). Nearly 60 total volunteers helped make the event a success.

Event sponsors were GEICO, UPMC Health Plan, Highmark, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Erie Times-News/, Tungsten, and the Erie Runners Club.
Feedback from the event has been very positive, and many participants are already planning to return in 2016.

All proceeds from the event benefit GSWPA.