Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Girl Scouts donate Cookies to local military units through Operation: Sweet Appreciation

Every year, customers help Girl Scouts from GSWPA send delicious Girl Scout Cookies to our U.S. military active duty and veteran service member organizations by donating to Operation: Sweet Appreciation.

The local Pennsylvania National Guard Family Program was one of those organizations to receive donated Girl Scout Cookies.

Recently, two units that were mobilizing for several weeks of training received Girl Scout Cookies donated through the program.

Those units were the Pennsylvania National Guard Cambridge Springs Readiness Center, Crawford County Bravo Company 1/112th who were heading to Louisiana, and the UA Army Reserve Center, Franklin, Venango County 298th Transportation Company heading to New Jersey.
Dorothy Staub, the Family Assistant Center Specialist for the Pennsylvania National Guard Family Program, helped GSWPA in delivering donated cookies to these units. "I sincerely appreciate being able to facilitate the delivery of smiles to the faces of these service members on behalf of western Pennsylvania Girl Scouts." Dorothy said. "Thank you to all who included us, and were involved in making this happen."

ROTC Cadet Brennon Miller and Dorothy Staub 
Donations are currently closed for the 2017 Girl Scout Cookie program, but you can donate tasty snacks to our military in the fall through the MagNut Program!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Council's Own Badge for Cadettes celebrates local historical figure

Rachel Carson
A new badge is available through Girl Scout Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) for Girl Scouts in middle school that celebrates an important local historical figure.

Rachel Carson was a prolific biologist, writer, and one of the founders of the modern environmental movement – and she was born and raised right here in western Pennsylvania!

The Rachel Carson badge encourages girls to get outside and teaches girls about conservation and environmental stewardship.

Through the work to earn the badge, girls can explore the outdoors, learn how to study environmental health through hands-on science, and discover ways to quantitatively find out their own environmental impact.

Download the badge requirements to get your Cadettes started on this unique program.

As part of our generous grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the first 1,000 girls who earn the badge will receive it for free. Details on receiving the badge will be available soon. Watch our website for updates!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A note from Ranger Greg

My youngest daughter Emily was just a baby when I first started working for Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania as the ranger at Camp Hawthorne Ridge in Girard.

 I remember taking Emily, her two sisters, and two brothers down the Falk Run gorge to explore the creek. I carried her in the baby backpack on the way down, and on the steep climb up, I had to carry my second youngest, Sarah, in my arms. Now, my girls have grown into confident individuals, and they don't need their father to carry them anymore. Instead, I watch proudly as they forge their own paths.

My family has called Camp Hawthorne Ridge home for many years now, but campers and visitors who only spend a few days - or even a few hours - here can experience the deep peace that only nature can provide.

My daughters enjoy camp all year, and so can you.

As a father of daughters, I recognize that every girl deserves and needs time to unplug, find balance, and take in Erie County's uniquely beautiful natural surroundings. When Girl Scouts are hiking, learning archery, or snowshoeing at Camp Hawthorne Ridge, they are also building life skills. They grow more confident in themselves, stretch their limits, and encourage one another in all they do.
We need your support to keep Camp Hawthorne Ridge an affordable and welcoming place for our daughters and our Girl Scouts to call their own. Will you join me?

Tuesday, August 8 is Erie Gives Day from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Your donation to Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania at www.eriegives.org will help me keep Camp Hawthorne Ridge's buildings and grounds safe and maintained for Girl Scouts and community members to enjoy year-round.

It costs about $200,000 to run this camp each year. To keep the camp experience in reach for all families, we look to the generosity of community members like you. You not only help us to keep camp open year after year, you make sure that our camp is accessible to every Girl Scout, even those whose families are experiencing financial hardship.

My hope for my children, especially my daughters, is that their experiences at Camp Hawthorne Ridge have given them the skills and abilities they need to empower themselves, and the strength and confidence to know that they are important, and what they're doing is worthwhile. I want every Girl Scout who visits Camp Hawthorne Ridge to leave more confident and ready to achieve her goals.

Tell all our daughters and Girl Scouts that the world is theirs to explore and that they deserve a camp to call their own through your gift on Erie Gives Day.

With thanks,
Greg Kirschner
Ranger, Camp Hawthorne Ridge

P.S. If you can’t wait to make a difference in the life of a Girl Scout, click here to make a direct gift to Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania now.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Save the Date for Erie Gives!

Please remember Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania on Tuesday, August 8 during Erie Gives Day. 

Your donation to GSWPA at www.eriegives.org will help keep Camp Hawthorne Ridge's buildings and grounds safe, maintained, and affordable for Girl Scouts and community members to enjoy all year-round.

Plus, every donation will receive a generous partial match from the Erie Community Foundation!

Camp and outdoor programming is not only fun, it:
  • provides real-world STEM experience; 
  • fosters an appreciation and respect for our environmental resources; and 
  • enables Girl Scouts to grow their confidence as they learn new skills. 
Can't wait? Click here to support Camp Hawthorne Ridge now.

Thank you for your support!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Enter our Council SWAPS Contest for G.I.R.L. 2017 National Convention

Here's your chance to create the official GSWPA SWAP to share at G.I.R.L. 2017!

Enter your SWAP design for a chance to be used as the official council SWAP for the G.I.R.L. 2017, our Girl Scout National Convention, held Oct. 4-8 in Columbus, OH. 

Submission Guidelines: 

  • SWAP submissions should be made with normal household/crafting material that other Girl Scouts can access to replicate your SWAP.
  • How does your SWAP represent GSWPA?  National Convention brings girls from all over, so make your SWAP something that represents our entire council.  Make sure to add a tag or note saying GSWPA or Western Pennsylvania -- or incorporate it into your design.
  • Build a SWAP and take a picture to show it off! Submit your entries through this simple form. Be sure to include your instructions on how you made this awesome creation. If your SWAP is selected, we’ll send out those instructions so everyone knows how to make it.
  • SWAP submissions must be completed by midnight on Aug. 14. (Deadline extended!)
  • Five finalists will be selected and posted on our Facebook page on Aug. 23 so you can vote for the winning SWAP to represent GSWPA at G.I.R.L. 2017! Voting closes Sept. 6. The finalists and winner will each receive a GSWPA prize, and the winner will receive a 2017 GSWPA National Convention T-shirt and a GS prize pack!

Wait! What's a SWAP?

Girl Scouts often make small tokens of friendship to exchange with the Girl Scouts they meet while traveling. These little gifts are called SWAPS, which stands for Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.

Need some inspiration?

Check out our SWAPS Pinterest board for lots of ideas to help get your creative juices flowing. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Adventure Squad event now open to Juniors!

We're happy to announce that Geocaching & Mine Magic at Wingfield Pines, Sunday, July 16, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., is now open to Girl Scouts entering fourth and fifth grade!

Through this joint program with GSWPA and Allegheny Land Trust, girls will geocache for a patch and enjoy a picnic lunch. Then they'll take a walk to watch the drainage from a former strip mine transition from murky orange to clean, clear water flowing into Chartiers Creek, thanks to the magic of a passive treatment system.

Trust us, it's super cool stuff!

This exciting program is part of the GSWPA Adventure Squad series, and is jam-packed with fun! 

Here are 10 reasons to sign up today!
  1. It's a one-day deal! Tons of adventure wrapped up in 7 fun-filled hours.
  2. Wingfield Pines is a top spot for hikers, so get ready for some great scenery!
  3. Geocaching. Enough said.
  4. Geocaching fun patch. Even better.
  5. Free gift. You'll get a Girl Scouts water bottle, perfect for your next hike!
  6. A former strip mine from the 1940s is now a fabulous green space. Yessss!
  7. It's a bargain. Thanks to a generous grant from the RK Mellon Foundation, this awesome event is only $20.
  8. Inspiration. Whether you're thinking Bronze, Silver or Gold Award, you'll get plenty of ideas if you want to Take Action for conservation.
  9. You'll check more boxes off for the Get Outdoors Challenge!
  10. Friends, of course! Every Girl Scouts activity is an opportunity to make new connections, and forge lasting friendships!
Register now! This awesome adventure is open to Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors. Hope to see you there!

Gear up for a year of excitement at Fall Kickoffs!

Learn about the resources available to help you plan an awesome Girl Scout year, ask questions, and exchange ideas with other troop leaders and volunteers at our Fall Kickoffs happening in August and September!

Registration is now open! Sign up today!
  • Aug. 24 - West View Presbyterian Church, 146 Cornell St., Pittsburgh
  • Aug. 28 - Johnsonburg Borough Building, 100 Main St., Johnsonburg
  • Aug. 28 - Calvin Presbyterian Church, 615 Crescent Ave., Ellwood City
  • Aug. 29 - Camp Hawthorne Ridge, Thompson Hall, 7755 Hawthorne Ridge Rd, Girard
  • Aug. 29 - Coudersport Elementary, 802 Vine St., Coudersport
  • Aug. 29 - First United Methodist Church, 200 Market St., Warren
  • Aug. 30 - Plum Creek Church, 550 Center New Texas Rd., Pittsburgh
  • Aug. 30 - Pleasant Hills Borough Building, 410 E. Bruceton Rd., Pleasant Hills
  • Aug. 31 - Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, 65 W. Main St. #107, Uniontown
  • Sept. 5 - Stone United Methodist Church, 956 S. Main St., Meadville
  • Sept. 6 - Trinity Point Church of God, 180 W. Trinity Dr., Clarion
  • Sept. 6 - GSWPA Greensburg Office, 126 Otterman St., Greensburg
  • Sept. 6 - Glade Run Church, 1091 Pittsburgh Rd., Valencia
  • Sept. 6 - Christ Lutheran Church, 875 Sunflower Dr., DuBois
  • Sept. 7 - Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Mercer
  • Sept. 7 - GSWPA Johnstown Office, 612 Locust St., Johnstown
  • Sept. 7 - Range Resources, 3000 Town Center Blvd., Canonsburg
  • Sept. 9 - Hollidaysburg Library Community Room, 1 Furnace Rd., Hollidaysburg

Celebrate National S'mores Day on Aug. 10

S'mores have long been a staple around the campfire, but did you know this delicious treat is rooted in Girl Scout history? That's right! The recipe for s'mores dates back to the 1925 Girl Scout Leader magazine and the 1927 Girl Scouts of the USA handbook, “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts,” which featured a "Some More" recipe.

Aug. 10 is National S’mores Day, and to celebrate, all K-12 girls and their families are invited to make their own tasty s'mores during our special events in Edinboro, Clearfield, Johnstown and Pittsburgh from 5-7 p.m. At these open events, which are FREE to the public, girls, and their families, you can also enjoy hot dogs, fun activities, and learn more about Girl Scouts and our mission of building courage, confidence, and character in girls.

Know someone who is interested in joining Girl Scouts?  Girls can bring friends to National S’mores Day to show her all the fun she can have as a Girl Scout. Your Girl Scout will receive a special Invite-a-Friend reward if her friend signs up at the event.

Plus, girls will get a free National S'mores Day patch if they're registered for the 2017-18 Girl Scout year or if they register to join Girl Scouts at the event! Council staff will be on hand at the National S’mores Day events to help girls renew or sign up. Those interested in becoming a volunteer are also invited to attend.

Free National S'mores Day events:
  • Edinboro: GSWPA Office, 5681 Rt. 6N, Edinboro
  • Clearfield: VFW Picnic Grounds, 1102 Industrial Park Rd.
  • Johnstown: 1889 Park, Pavilion 3, 132 Park Road, South Fork
  • Pittsburgh: North Park, Harmar Pavilion, S. Ridge Dr., Allison Park
  • Venetia: Peterswood Park, 750 Bebout Rd, Venetia (Get more info on this event only)
Due to an overwhelming response, RSVPs are now closed. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Early Bird incentive winners announced!

As the old saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. 
Thankfully for our early birds (those who renewed their Girl Scout memberships between April 1 and June 15), they'll be receiving exclusive Power of G.I.R.L. patches instead! And some very lucky girls, troops and service units will receive great prizes and incentives for renewing early. 

The following girls who renewed before June 15 were randomly selected to win tickets to entertainment spots/events:

  • Isabella Korey- "The Little Mermaid" at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh 
  • Raina Little - GSWPA Day at the Pittsburgh Zoo
  • Nora Anderson - Lincoln Caverns   
  • Makayla Murphy & Ellie Richter - Altoona Curve
  • Chalcie Gervasoni - Clearfield County Fair
  • Faith Giannamore & MacKenzie Dunn - Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park

Congratulations to the following service units, which had at least 50% of girls renewed. They'll receive 25 cents per renewed girl for their service unit ACH account:
  • Baldwin/Whitehall
  • Bellwood
  • Bethel South
  • Cameron County
  • Corry
  • Glendale
  • Grove City
  •  Lakeview
  • Mercer
  • Petroleum Valley
  • Scrimshaw

In addition to the winners listed above, the first 500 girls and 105 troop leaders to renew will receive $10 shop coupons; the first 10 troops to renew at 100% will receive $50 for their troop ACH account; and the first 105 troops to have at least two leaders renew their membership and role will receive $25 for their troop ACH account. All incentive winners will receive notification via email by the end of June that they have been selected.

Didn't renew your membership yet? Even though you're no longer eligible for Early Bird incentives, you can still renew for another year of amazing Girl Scout experiences. Renew today

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Camp in the outfield at Erie SeaWolves Girl Scout Sleepover!

Girl Scouts and their families are invited for a full night of fun at UPMC Park at the Erie SeaWolves Girl Scout Sleepover on Friday, June 30.
Cheer on the Seawolves as they take on the Altoona Curve starting at 7:05 p.m., After the game, meet some SeaWolves players and get their autographs before pitching your tent in the outfield and watching a family-friendly movie on the video board! Donuts and refreshments will be provided in the morning. And all girls will receive a special SeaWolves patch!
Tickets are $14 per person for upper box seats, Smith's hot dog, Utz chips and a drink, or $8 per person for upper box seat tickets only.
To order tickets, please complete this form or contact Brendan O'Neill at (814) 456-1300 or brendan@seawolves.com.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

New barn, new adventures at Camp Skymeadow

Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) officially opened a new horse barn at Camp Skymeadow, 164 Skymeadow Lane, Avonmore, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the camp on Tuesday, June 6, at 4:30 p.m.

The barn will be the hub of the camp’s 17 equestrian resident camp programs, which serve girls in grades 2-12.

Girls in the horse programs learn about western riding, grooming techniques, and horse safety, while also enjoying Girl Scout camp traditions like campfires, songs, swimming, and archery.

By building this new barn at Camp Skymeadow and taking full advantage of its miles of beautiful woodland trails, girls of all riding levels can progress in skill and adventure this summer at resident camp.

“Equestrian programs here will help girls build confidence, master problem-solving skills, and inspire an appreciation for nature,” said Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of GSWPA, as she welcomed the crowd.

Jon Colburn, member of the GSWPA board of directors and chair of the board’s property committee, also addressed the audience before the ribbon-cutting. “This barn is an example of the board of Girl Scout Western Pennsylvania’s commitment to providing the best camp experience it possibly can.”

Girl Scouts from troop 52359 cut the ribbon to officially open the barn and kick off the 2017 summer camp season, which begins June 16.

It's not too late to register for horse programs at Camp Skymeadow! Visit our website to register today.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Let's go Bucs! Important info about GSWPA Day at the Pittsburgh Pirates

Joining us on Sunday, June 11 for Girl Scouts Day with 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.

Still need tickets? It's not too late! Get yours now!

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 to stock up on some summer Girl Scout gear!
  • GSWPA tailgating fun starts at 11 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 your face painted and snap some pics at our selfie station! 
  • Get some free stuff! If you haven't renewed your membership for the next Girl Scout year (which starts Oct. 1, 2017), GS staff will be on-hand to help you register online. The first 25 girls who renew their membership that day get a goodie bag! 
  • Don't forget to wear your favorite Girl Scout gear. (That goes for moms and dads, too!)
During the game:
  • Game time is at 1:35 p.m.
  • Take lots of pics and share them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using #GSWPADayPirates. 
  • 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 next Sunday!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Deadline extended! Older girls invited to apply for the Trailblazin' and Stargazin' team

Ready to make your mark? Willing to roll up your sleeves and blaze a trail for those who will come behind you? Yes? Then we’ve got the perfect opportunity for a go-getter like you.

Join us at Camp Skymeadow August 7-18 for an awesome hands-on adventure that will make a lasting impact for Girl Scouts for years to come. Adventurous explorers who have completed the ninth grade are invited to apply for this unique experience. 

As part of a 10-girl team, you’ll get your hands dirty upgrading current horse trails and helping manage trail erosion. You’ll also put your outdoors skills into practice by backcountry camping—cooking, laughing, singing, and sleeping under the stars! 

You’ll work hard, but you’ll play hard, too. Relax with your team during two just-for-fun activities away from camp.  

Are you in? Complete the application by July 14 to be considered for this opportunity. If selected, you'll only need to pay a $50 deposit to hold your spot, which will be refunded once you’ve completed your adventure. Team selection will take place by July 20.

This program is being held in partnership with Student Conservation Association as part of the RK Mellon Outdoor Initiative. 

Tracy DeCock: 2017 Women of Distinction Award - Business

Eight inspiring women from the Pittsburgh area, two outstanding Girl Scouts, and Girl Scout community-champion corporation GEICO will be honored at our Pittsburgh Awards of Distinction Luncheon on Wednesday, May 31 at the Omni William Penn Hotel. Proceeds of this premier event support Girl Scouts’ mission to develop courage, confidence and character in girls and to inspire the next generation of young women to become the leaders of tomorrow. Register now

Congratulations to Tracy DeCock, recipient of the 2017 Women of Distinction Award in the Business category!

Tracy J. DeCock is a senior vice president in corporate finance for PNC Bank, N.A. She serves as a senior relationship manager for large corporate clients headquartered in Pittsburgh/western Pennsylvania. She advises her clients on financial decisions they encounter in areas such as capital raising, treasury management, mergers and acquisitions, foreign exchange, and interest rate management. Tracy joined PNC in January 2007 as manager of professional services. In addition, she served as sponsorship liaison for several key PNC sponsorships, including the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Allegheny County Bar Association and Tech Council.

Tracy, a graduate of Indiana University with a B.S. in finance, also serves as the local executive sponsor for PNC Pittsburgh Women’s EBRG, Women Connect. In this role, she coordinates with the local leadership team and executive management. She helps drive diversity and inclusion objectives and assists with professional development and personal growth initiatives for women at PNC.

Prior to joining PNC, she worked in Pittsburgh with Colonial Gallery/Joseph M. Alfery and Associates, her family business in the real estate and retail industries. She participated in all aspects of running the business including finance, purchasing, advertising, and facilities infrastructure. She also held several roles with Bank of America in Chicago, including as a senior vice president and managing director, where she was the team leader for the Healthcare, Higher Ed, and Non-Profit Group for the midwest market.

Tracy has received numerous performance awards including Market All-Stars, Chairman’s Circle, Pittsburgh Gorillas, PNC Summit Honoree, and Debt Capital Markets Million Dollar Club. Additionally, She was PNC’s Working Mother of the Year in 2013, featured in Working Mother magazine’s December 2013 issue, Oakland Catholic Leading Lady in 2014, and Women of Achievement Honoree in 2016. Currently, she is a member of the World Affairs Council.

Tracy serves on the board of directors for Little Lake Theatre, and is on the finance committee and is the co-chair of the theatre’s Apprentice Program. She represented PNC for three years on the executive committee of the Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) of the United Way of Allegheny County, and remains a WLC member. She is married and has two teenage children.

Lynn Banaszak: 2017 Women of Distinction Award - Technology & Communication

Eight inspiring women from the Pittsburgh area, two outstanding Girl Scouts, and Girl Scout community-champion corporation GEICO will be honored at our Pittsburgh Awards of Distinction Luncheon on Wednesday, May 31 at the Omni William Penn Hotel. Proceeds of this premier event support Girl Scouts’ mission to develop courage, confidence and character in girls and to inspire the next generation of young women to become the leaders of tomorrow. Register now

Congratulations to Lynn Banaszak, recipient of the 2017 Women of Distinction Award in Technology & Communication!

Lynn M. Banaszak is the executive director of the Disruptive Health Technology Institute (DHTI) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). She is a one of Pittsburgh’s most connected executives with national reach: guiding, mentoring, and coaching professionals and startup
technology companies.
Since 2013, DHTI has invested $5 million in 38 projects led by CMU researchers who are working with industry, payers and providers striving to create disruptive healthcare solutions. Prior to her appointment at CMU, Lynn was vice president and chief relationship officer at the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, where for nearly a decade, she worked with 400 startup companies, helped deploy nearly $20 million in direct investment in 75 companies leveraging over $900 million in additional capital to the region.
Lynn was also one of the original directors of the $8.1 million Accelerator Fund, LLC life sciences venture firm. Lynn was recently recognized as one of only three Pittsburgh businesswomen on the national American Business Journals “Women to Watch” list— selected from 1,000 women across the country. She was designated one of the “Best Personalities of Pittsburgh,” was selected as a Pittsburgh Business Times 2016 Business Women First Award winner and was the 2015 Athena of Greater Pittsburgh Award Winner. In addition, Lynn was recruited by the University of Pittsburgh in 2013 to facilitate the first Bench to Bedside course for the $5 million Coulter Program that funds and mentors translational research by clinician-bioengineer teams that address unmet clinical needs through innovative technologies. Lynn is a national innovation thought leader for events like the Louisville Innovation Summit, a coach for the AARP Miami Innovation Competition, the SXSW Vegas and Impact Pediatric Health Pitch Competitions and the Jewish Healthcare
Foundation Health Fellows Program.
Lynn, along with her sisters, founded The Caileigh Lynn McDowell Foundation in honor of the beautiful life of her precious niece Caleigh, who tragically passed away in April 2016 due to catastrophic injuries from undiagnosed Crohn’s Disease. The foundation is working to transform political, social and economic systems and institutions to create a kinder, more equitable, and just society for all, while also advocating specifically about issues that affect teenage girls.