Thursday, March 30, 2017

Your voice counts! Take the Girl Scout Voices Count survey


At Girl Scouts, we care about your experience, good or bad, and we want to hear from you! This month, Girl Scouts of the USA is conducting a national survey with girls, parents/guardians and troop volunteers called Girl Scout Voices Count to find out what's working, and what's not, in Girl Scouts. Your feedback will be used to help improve our services and programs.

The survey is now open. Be sure to check your email for the invitation to participate. Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a raffle to win a $50 gift card!

Questions? Check out the survey FAQs or contact GSVoicesCount@girlscouts.org.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Girl Scout volunteers are the best!


Every day, Girl Scout volunteers make it possible for girls to enjoy and benefit from an adventure-having, skill-building, lead-taking, life-changing good time. It’s undeniable: without our volunteers’ commitment to unleashing the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ in every girl, we couldn’t and wouldn’t be the largest girls’ leadership organization in the world. But we are. Thanks to them. And we love them for it.

That's why in April (National Volunteer Month!), we celebrate the powerful and inspiring contributions volunteers make all year long. And on April 22, the party is especially big, as we celebrate Girl Scout Leader’s Day.

So please join us in recognizing our amazing Girl Scout volunteers this month. Here are some ways you can show your appreciation for everything they do:

Send an e-greeting. Share your thanks with a special volunteer by sending them a customized e-greeting through email or social media. Just visit girlscouts.org/ShareThanks, choose one of the card designs, personalize it and hit send!

Create a hand-drawn picture card with this printable template. Make it personal by adding a little color and drawing a picture within the frame, write a message on the inside and then give to your troop leader.

Make them a memory book. What troop leader wouldn't love an album or scrapbook filled with troop memories? Include messages or artwork from each girl and pictures from troop excursions or activities.

Give them a "pampering" gift. Our volunteers work hard and give so much of themselves all year long. Give them something that's just for them! Put together a spa basket with bubble bath, a manicure set, candles and a book, or a goodie basket with their favorite snacks and beverages.

Make a 'thank you' video message. Record a video of all the girls singing or each one saying "thank you" in her own way.

Plan a surprise 'thank you' party. At your next troop meeting, surprise your troop leader with a 'thank you' party, complete with special treats, activities and decorations. 

Nominate him/her for an Adult Award. Consider nominating an outstanding volunteer for a national Girl Scout award. Find out more about the awards and how to nominate.

Want more ideas? Check out Pinterest for tons of inspiration.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

High adventure camp sessions perfect for challenge-seeking campers

Does sleeping outside under the stars, hiking through the forest with only the supplies on your back, or flying high on a zipline sound like a good time? Then you'll want to check out our high adventure resident camp sessions at Camps Conshatawba, Hawthorne Ridge and Skymeadow!
These five-day sessions also include all the other favorite camp activities like swimming, arts and crafts, hiking, campfires and much more. Check out the sessions below and register today. (Save 10% when you register by March 31!)
Ninja Warriors - June 25-30
Camp Conshatawba
Grades: 4-7

Scale to the top of the climbing wall, zip to your next obstacle, prove to yourself that you are a ninja warrior.
Skillz & Thrillz - June 25-30
Camp Conshatawba
Grades: 6-9

Sleep in a tent, cook a meal or two, and learn outdoor basics, and take on the challenge course, zip line, swimming and archery.
Hammock Hangout - June 25-30
Camp Hawthorne Ridge
Grades: 6-9

Hike, explore and sleep in hammocks during this awesome session. 
Backpacker - July 9-14
Camp Conshatawba
Grades: 7-11

Experience the amazing adventure of spending the night outdoors, only carrying what’s on your back. 
Amazing Race - July 9-14
Camp Hawthorne Ridge
Grades: 4-8

Compete in an amazing race through camp finding clues, solving puzzles and using your newly discovered orienteering, geocaching and archery skills.
Thrill Seekers - July 9-14
Camp Skymeadow
Grades: 6-9

Ride roller coasters at Kennywood Park, go white-water rafting and fly down a zip line!
Wilderness Explorers - July 30-Aug. 4
Camp Skymeadow
Grades: 5-9

Spend plenty of time learning to canoe like a pro, then explore the outer boundaries of Camp Skymeadow by bike.

Daisy troop displays what it means to be a Girl Scout

Amy Hart fondly recalls the nine years she spent as a Girl Scout growing up. But when her daughter, Sophie, was in kindergarten last year, Amy accepted that she wouldn't be able to pass those same experiences on to her daughter.  
"Sophie is on the autism spectrum and I thought it would be too difficult for her to keep up with the other girls," Amy said. 
But that all changed when Beth Ansell, leader for Troop 36817 of Bethel Park, asked if Sophie would like to join Girl Scouts. Amy decided to give it a try, and what she discovered surprised her.  
"These girls are patient with Sophie and teach her by doing," said Amy. "If Sophie cries, they try to comfort her and make her happy. They are her friends in and outside of Daisies."
Sophie has experienced many "firsts" through Girl Scouts, and there are many more to come, said Amy. The six girls in the troop, all in first grade at Ben Franklin Elementary, have toured a veterinary clinic and the Bethel Park Fire Department, stuffed stockings for soldiers, collected yarn for homeless cats and made Valentines for veterans. They went to Disney on Ice, painted "Mommy and Me" hand print pictures, and sold cookies. 
And with every activity, the girls and volunteers in her troop always keep Sophie in mind. Beth even made a sensory sandbox to help calm her, if needed. 
"Sophie's biggest struggle is communication. If she is frustrated, hungry, thirsty or tired, she is unable to say so," explained Amy. "The girls have seen her have a meltdown and were not judgemental. They are unbelievably compassionate!" 
The doubt Amy once had that Sophie could keep up in Girl Scouts has been replaced with a certainty that Girl Scouts has given Sophie a place to thrive.
She credits Beth, co-leader Tiffany Willetts, the five girls in the troop, and their moms, for making that possible for Sophie. 
Added Amy, "This is what it means to be a Girl Scout!"

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spots still available through Girl Scout Destinations


Girl Scout Destinations are the ultimate travel experience for girls 11 and older! Although the official application period for Girl Scout Destinations is now closed, applications are still being accepted for several trips that have remaining spots.

Availability of spots could change quickly. If you're interested in any of the trips listed below, please visit the Destinations website and reach out to the contact person listed on the trip to check availability before applying.

Rainforest, River & Reef
July 15-29, 2017
Costa Rica

Catching Waves
Two Sessions: June 17-27, 2017; July 1-11, 2017
Costa Rica

Costa Rica & Panama Service Challenge
Three sessions: June 17-July 1, 2017; July 1-15, 2017; July 15-29, 2017
Panama and Costa Rica

Scuba & Sea Turtle Adventure
Three sessions: June 17-July 1, 2017; July 1-15, 2017; July 15-29, 2017
Panama and Costa Rica

Sea Turtle Retreat
Dec. 27-Jan. 6, 2018
Costa Rica

A Little Bit of Country & A Little Bit of Rock n' Roll: a Southern Tradition
July 16-26, 2017
Tennessee

Advanced Space Camp
June 25-30, 2017
Huntsville, Alabama

Art of Theatre
July 9-15, 2017
Ashland, Oregon

Belize - Land and Sea
July 22-31, 2018
Belize

Biking Denmark & Sweden: Cycle the coast and castles of Scandinavia
June 15-22, 2017
Denmark

CampHERO
July 23-28, 2017
Madison, Wisconsin

Caribbean Land and Sea Adventure
July 23-29, 2017
Puerto Rico

Channel Island Adventure
July 9-15, 2017
Ventura, Santa Cruz Island

Escape to Iceland
June 12-19, 2017
Iceland

Germany: Castles in the Sky
July 16-25, 2017
Munich, Germany

Get Ready for Galapagos!
July 3-11, 2018
Ecuador

Greece - Sea Kayaking Kefalonia and the Ionian Islands
June 21-30, 2017
Greece

Hollywood Dreamin'
July 2-8, 2017
Hollywood, California

Horseback Rising Mongolia: An adventure through the land of Genghis Khan
July 5-13, 2017
Mongolia

I Dream of Bluegrass
June 11-18, 2017
Kentucky

Lake Erie Island Exploration
July 23-29, 2017
Gibraltar Island, Put-In-Bay, Ohio

Land of Enrichment High Adventure
July 20-August 3, 2017
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Majestic Alps: France, Switzerland and Italy
July 27-August 4, 2017
Chamonix, France

Manes, Cranes, & Preserving the Plains
July 7-21, 2017
Nebraska

Mediterranean Adventure: Greece, Italy, & Spain
July 17-31, 2018
Florence, Italy

Mexico: Mountains to the Sea
June 16-July 1, 2018
Cuernavaca, Mexico

North Country Rock and Wilderness
July 5-16, 2017
Duluth, Minnesota

San Juan Islands Kayaking
July 23-29, 2017
San Juan Islands, Washington

Costa Rica & Panama Service Challenge
July 1-15, 2017
Costa Rica

Space Camp
June 25-30, 2017
Huntsville, Alabama

STEM: Energy Solutions in Germany
July 25-August 6, 2017
Germany

The Great Panda Adventure
July 2-11, 2017
Ya'an, China

Wilderness Adventure Photography
July 3-9, 2017
Yosemite, California

Wyoming Wildlife Wonders
July 16-22, 2017
Jackson Hole, Wyoming



Monday, March 20, 2017

Get Outdoors Challenge Kickoff


GSWPA's first-ever Get Outdoors Challenge kicked off on March 11 with a day of fun and exploration at Camp Skymeadow. Girls of all ages braved the cold temps and snow to come out and work on different challenge activities like fishing, making s’mores, completing a scavenger hunt, learning about native plants, finding animal tracks and more. Special guests included macroinvertebrates from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, flies hand-tied on site by International Angler, and scaly, furry friends brought by the Pittsburgh Zoo!



Special thanks go out to all of our program partners: the Tri County Trout Club, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Nature Abounds!, International Angler, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, and Point State Park.

Didn't make it to the event? No problem! You can still get in on the Get Outdoors Challenge!  This is a chance for you to learn new skills, build connections with friends and family, and have fun, all while exploring outdoor spaces that are down the street or across the country. Find out more at gswpa.org/getoutdoors.