Thursday, August 31, 2017

Girls invited to apply for Prudential Spirit of Community Award

Every day, Girl Scouts in western Pennsylvania are making the world a better place through meaningful Take Action projects. Now, these girls have a chance to be honored for their hard work by applying for a 2018 Prudential Spirit of Community Award. unique youth recognition program, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, has recognized more than 115,000 middle and high school students--including thousands of Girl Scouts-at the local, state and national level for outstanding acts of volunteerism over the past 21 years. Top winners receive sizable cash awards, engraved medallions and an all-expense-paid trip with a parent or guardian to Washington, D.C., for the national awards ceremony in April 2018.

Girl Scouts in grades 5-12 can apply online at Applications must be submitted to Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania by November 7, 2017 by emailing it to with the subject line, Prudential Award.

We will then review applications and select one or more Girl Scouts to represent our council in the state-level judging.

For more information, please visit, or call 877-525-8491 if you need a paper application.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Camp Creepy needs your creativity!

We need your help to make Camp Creepy spooktacular! We're looking for adult volunteers and Cadette, Senior and Ambassador troops to help out at our three Camp Creepy events:
Oct. 14 at Redwing, Oct. 21 at Hawthorne Ridge, and Oct. 28 at Camp Conshatawba.

Troops in grades 6-12 can plan and host an activity or station, and adults are also needed to help with registration, food and more. Volunteers will receive dinner and free lodging for Saturday evening after Camp Creepy.

We will be having a volunteer meetings on the following dates for each Camp Creepy.

Camp Creepy – Redwing – Monday, September 11, 2017, 2017, 6:30 p.m. in Mary Lodge--We still need volunteers at Redwing, even if you couldn't attend the meeting!

Camp Creepy – Hawthorne Ridge – Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 6:30 p.m. in Thompson Hall

Camp Creepy – Conshatawba – Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 6:30 p.m. in Memory Lodge

If you are unable to attend the meeting at the camp you wish to volunteer, please contact Amber Peretin at for Camp Creepy Redwing and Camp Creepy Conshatawba. For Camp Creepy Hawthorne Ridge, please contact Dana Young at You may also call Customer Care at 1-800-248-3355.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at one of our volunteer meetings!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Troop Leaders: A few to-dos to kick off an awesome Girl Scout year!

The summer is winding down and school is back in session, which means another year of Girl Scout fun is ahead! Here are a few things you need to do as a troop leader to make sure you're ready for all the awesome adventures that await.

Make sure you’ve renewed your membership. Keep the Girl Scout party going! If you haven't already, take a few minutes renew your membership so you can get started on your plans for the upcoming Girl Scout year! And please be sure all girls in your troop are also renewed before Oct. 1.

Get fired up at a Fall Kickoff. 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 these events happening in September and October. Find one near you.

Update your troop information. Please help us make sure our troop opportunity catalog information is up-to-date, so that we can help connect more girls to Girl Scouting! Whether you have open spots in your troop, or are no longer accepting new members, please fill out the Troop Opportunity Catalog andInformation Update Form with your current troop information. 

Set up your Volunteer Toolkit. If you aren’t currently using the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) to plan your Girl Scout activities, you’re missing out on this super helpful tool! This web app, which is accessible from any device, makes it easy for troop leaders to get the most out of every troop or group meeting and places everything you need in one easy to access place. 

Already using the VTK? Just a reminder that last year’s plans have been moved to the new VTK Archive, so they are viewable but no longer editable. If you’ve renewed your membership and Troop Leader role for next year, a brand new 2017 Year Plan will be pushed to the main screen you see when you open the toolkit.

Gear up to head out. Planning any outdoor activities this year? Be sure to check out the newly updated Safety Activity Checkpoints, and register for an upcoming Outdoor Skills Training if you haven’t yet completed one. 

And, be sure to check out this new collection of online videos to help you introduce girls to the joys of the great outdoors, covering everything from campsite setup to camp cookery. 

Fund the fun with MagNut. The Cookie Program is still a few months away, and there’s a lot of fun stuff to do right now! Build up your troop’s funds at the beginning of the year through the MagNut Program. Find out how the MagNut Program can help your troop shine!

As always, we're here to support you! Reach out by calling 800-248-3355 or email

Have a great Girl Scout year!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Going to Girl Scout Day at the Pittsburgh Zoo? Check out this awesome schedule of fun!

The Girl Scouts are taking over the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium on September 10! GSWPA and zoo staff have planned a day packed full of fun activities with your favorite animals and special Girl Scout-only experiences. Get ready for a wild time!


Admissions Plaza:

  • 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.  Registration and cell phone recycling drop off.

PNC Pavilion: 

  • 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.  Zoo education activity station
  • 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Girl Scout Travel Shop. Stop by to see the selection of Girl Scout accessories and novelties.
  • 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Girl Scout displays and SWAP table.

Dino Exhibit: 

  • 10 a.m.– 5 p.m.   FREE to Girl Scouts! The dino exhibit is located near the Education Complex. Please wear your Girl Scout uniform or shirt.


Lion Overlook: 

  • 10 a.m. - Noon Examine tiger fur, an elephant tusk, and a rhino horn to learn more about these endangered species.

Safari Amphitheater: 

  • 10:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.  Meet some of the education ambassador animals.
Gorilla Overlook: 
  • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Stop by the gorilla overlook for an up-close look at primate biofacts and learn how recycling your old cell phone can help gorillas.


Giraffe Overlook: 

  • 11 a.m. - Noon Special giraffe photos. Please wear your Girl Scout uniform or shirt.

PNC Pavilion: 

  • 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.  Polar Bear Mascot

Education Complex: 

  • 1:30 - 2 p.m.  Join Director of Animal Health, Dr. Ginger Sturgeon to hear about a day in the life of a Zoo Vet.  (Girl Scouts and their families only)
  • 2:15 - 2:45 p.m. Special animal show in the lecture hall. (Girl Scouts and their families only)


Kids Kingdom: 11:30 - 11:45 a.m.  Sea lion feeding

ENRICHMENT ACTIVITY treats and toys for the animals

  • African Savanna: 11:30 a.m.  Elephant enrichment
  • Gorilla Overlook: Noon   Gorilla enrichment
  • The Islands: 1:30 p.m.  Visayan warty pigs
  • Jungle Odyssey: 1:45 p.m.   Pygmy hippo

Monday, August 21, 2017

Camps get creepy for annual Halloween celebrations!

It's time again for Girl Scouts' favorite Halloween happening: Camp Creepy!

Come to these annual festivals at three of our camps to enjoy Halloween-themed games, crafts and activity stations created and staffed by sister Girl Scouts. 

You’ll also go trick-or-treating, play glow-in-the-dark games, take a haunted hike, make s’mores and hear stories at the campfire.

The Girl Scout Shop will be open at each event from 5-8 p.m. for you to stock up on gear for the new school year.

Camp Creepy has three haunts this year:

All three camps offer family-friendly frights, suitable for children in grades K-12. Come as a troop or with family! Chaperoned siblings are also welcome. Plan to spend at least two to three hours to see everything. Registration costs $16 per girl (no adult fee). A meal option of a hot dog, chips and a drink is available for an additional $4 each.

Volunteers needed

We need your help to make Camp Creepy spooktacular! We're looking for adult volunteers and Cadette, Senior and Ambassador troops to help out at our three Camp Creepy events.

Troops in grades 6-12 can plan and host an activity or station, and adults are also needed to help with registration, food and more. Volunteers will receive dinner and free lodging for Saturday evening after Camp Creepy.

Interested? Contact us at or 800-248-3355

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 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.