Friday, September 14, 2018

Preparing volunteers to get more girls outdoors

Last weekend, September 7-9, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania hosted over 100 volunteers at Camp Redwing for the annual Outdoor Training Summit, which is made possible by a generous grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

Volunteers were able to brush up on old skills and learn brand new ones as they gear up for a new year of Girl Scout camping and outdoor experiences and other great adventures!

"This weekend is such a great opportunity for our volunteers," said Dana Young, GSWPA Director of Outdoor Experience. "We're able to set them up with the skills they need to keep getting their Girl Scouts outdoors, and they get time to share ideas and experiences with volunteers from all across the council."

Topics included: outdoor cooking, geocaching, knife skills, naturalist knowledge, first aid and CPR, and small craft canoe training.

Check out photos from the weekend!


Thursday, September 6, 2018

GSWPA announces first-ever Spirit Week

The new Girl Scout year is here, so let’s celebrate! Join in the fun for our first-ever GSWPA Spirit Week.
Sunday, Sept. 23-Saturday, Sept. 29
 We’re asking you to show your Girl Scout spirit by participating in the activities listed below. And, make sure to share it with the world! Every time you share your Spirit Week experiences on social media using #GSWPAspiritweek, you'll be entered to win daily prizes! (Tip: To maximize your entries and your chance to win, make multiple posts of the daily activities using #GSWPAspiritweek in each one!)

Visit gswpa.org/difference for more tools to help you spread the word about Girl Scouts. Once there, you can also join our Girl Scout Champion Rallyhood where you can connect with our recruitment team and other Girl Scout members and find resources, such as flyers and posters to hand out in your community.

Here's our list of daily activities that will help all of us come together as one very proud Girl Scout community.

Sunday, Sept. 23
Share why you love Girl Scouts.
Whether you're a girl member, leader, alum, volunteer, or staff member, share on social media why you're proud to be a Girl Scout. Use #GSWPAspiritweek to be entered to win daily prizes. Talk to your friends and family about your love for Girl Scouts, too!

Monday, Sept. 24
Flaunt your favorite.
Share a photo on social media of your favorite or most meaningful badge or patch that you have and tell us why it's important to you. Was it a new experience? An awesome memory? Did it teach you something new or peak your interest in a new hobby? Use #GSWPAspiritweek on social media to be entered to win daily prizes. Write about it for a school project or share your memories with friends and family.

Tuesday, Sept. 25
Show how you're making the world a better place.
Share a photo on social media of something you've done to make your community a better place. Whether it was a community service project, a Take Action project, a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award, or volunteering with a local organization, we can’t wait to see what you’ve done to benefit your community! Use #GSWPAspiritweek to be entered to win daily prizes. Consider sharing a photo from a recent community service event or project with the community editor at your local newspaper—you’re contributing to your hometown in a special way, and that’s an awesome story!

Wednesday, Sept. 26
Share what you've done #becauseofGirlScouts.
Tell the world something you've experience or accomplished because of Girl Scouts. It could have been a STEM activity, an outdoor experience, an entrepreneurial opportunity, and/or a civic engagement project that you were a part of because you’re a member of Girl Scouts. Share a photo of this memory or take and share a photo holding our #becauseofGirlScouts printable. Use #GSWPAspiritweek to be entered to win daily prizes and #becauseofGirlScouts to share your story with GSUSA.

Thursday, Sept. 27
Help us promote Girl Scouts.
Take some time to promote Girl Scouts by hanging Girl Scout posters and flyers on billboards at local establishments like libraries, churches, restaurants, and more. Take a photo while you’re spreading the word about Girl Scouts and post it to social media using #GSWPAspiritweek to be entered to win daily prizes.

Friday, Sept. 28
Wear your Girl Scout spirit.
Wear your Girl Scout uniform or your favorite Girl Scout shirt to school, work, and around your community. Take a photo and use #GSWPAspiritweek when you share it on social media to be entered to win daily prizes.

Saturday, Sept. 29
Place Girl Scout rocks.
Find the perfect location in your community for your Girl Scout-themed rock that you've decorated. You’ll spread your love for Girl Scouting and make someone’s day when they find your work of art! Show us your rock on social media by using #GSWPAspiritweek to be entered to win daily prizes.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

To do: 6 simple tasks for a strong start to your Girl Scout year



After a wonderful summer of camping, traveling, and outdoor adventures, school is back in session. And, that means that our new Girl Scout year has begun, and we're excited to keep the fun times coming!

Here are 6 things that will help GSWPA Troop Leaders get ready for troop meetings and other Girl Scout adventures:
  1. 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.
  2. 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 and Information Update Form with your current troop information.
  3. Set up your Volunteer Toolkit. The Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) is a web app that is accessible from any device. Get access to planning tools and resources to get the most out of every troop or group meeting. If you aren’t currently using the VTK to plan your Girl Scout activities, you’re missing out on this super helpful tool!
    • Plan the troop’s calendar year.
    • Email parents with one click.
    • View the troop roster, renew girls’ membership, and update girls' contact information.
    • View Daisy through Ambassador Journeys and badges (to plan for troop meetings), including prepopulated tracks for younger and older Multi-Level troop groups (K–5 and 6–12).
    • Customize meetings by troop year with other badge and Journey options.
    • Explore individual meeting plans that show a breakdown of every meeting, including a list of materials needed and editable time allotments for each activity within a meeting.
    • Record girls’ attendance at meetings and their badge and Journey achievements.
    • Add council or custom troop events to the troop’s calendar.
    • Enter the troop’s finances (depending on the council’s process).
    • Easily locate resources both national and local council resources, such as Safety Activity Checkpoints.

      If you are a Troop Leader that has renewed your membership and role for the 2018-19 year, you can access the VTK now to begin planning for the new year. You will also be able to view or print any plan you created last year.
  4. Gear up to head out. Planning any outdoor activities this year? Be sure to check out the 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 collection of online videos to help you introduce girls to the joys of the great outdoors, covering everything from campsite setup to camp cookery.
  5. Review council news. Check out our most recent editions of Patched In to make sure you're up-to-date on council activities, programs, and news.
  6. Fund the fun with MagNut. Build up your troop’s funds at the beginning of the year through the MagNut Program. These magazine, nuts, and candy products are perfect for stocking stuffers! 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 customercare@gswpa.org.

Have a great Girl Scout year!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Girls in grades 5-12 invited to apply for community service award

http://spirit.prudential.com/view/page/soc

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 2019 Prudential Spirit of Community Award.

  http://spirit.prudential.com/view/page/soc
This 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 2019.

Girl Scouts in grades 5-12 can apply online at spirit.prudential.com. Application Certifications must be submitted to Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania by November 6, 2018 emailing it to customercare@gswpa.org with the subject line, Prudential Award.


Applications will be reviewed and one or more Girl Scouts will be selected to represent our council in the state-level judging. State-level winners will be announced on Feb. 5, 2019.

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Girl Scout Day at the Pittsburgh Zoo—Can you 'bear' the excitement?

It's 'giraffing' us wild!

The Girl Scouts are taking over the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium on September 16! GSWPA and zoo staff have planned a day packed full of fun activities with your favorite animals and special Girl Scout-only experiences.

Important notes:
  • All Girl Scouts will receive 10% off merchandise in all Zoo gift shops. Please wear your Girl Scout uniform or shirt! This discount does not apply to already discounted items, rentals or media.
  • Are you a member of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium? If so, you are eligible for a discounted rate of $1 per person for Girl Scout Day at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. You must submit this form in advance!

Schedule of  Events

Admissions Plaza:
10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Registration
Village Plaza:
10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Girl Scout Travel Shop
10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Girl Scout displays and SWAPS table
10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Zoo Education activity station

TOUCH TABLES

Red Panda Overlook:
10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Celebrate International Red Panda Day and try your hand at the prize wheel.
Gorilla Overlook:
11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Stop by the gorilla overlook for an up-close look at gorilla biofacts. See the newest member of the gorilla troop, a male infant born on May 25, 2018.
PPG Aquarium:
10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Take the plastic pledge and find out how to use less plastic in your everyday life.
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Meet the shark mascot and some of our aquatic animal friends.
11:30 a.m. Diver in the large open ocean tank with a special message for Girl Scouts

GIRL SCOUT ONLY EVENTS:

Giraffe Overlook: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Special giraffe photos (Must be in line by 12:15 p.m.)
Education Complex: 11 a.m. - Noon & 1-2 p.m.
Monarch Madness · Learn about the monarch butterfly, tag a monarch, and meet animal ambassadors. Bring your cameras! (Tagging activity is for Girl Scouts only, while supplies last)

SPECIAL FEEDINGS:

Water’s Edge:
11 a.m. Polar bear feeding (in the water)
12:30 p.m. Sea otter feeding
1 p.m. Northern elephant seal feeding
Kids Kingdom:
1:30 p.m. Beaver feeding · See the six beaver kits (born June 27) swimming in their exhibit

ENRICHMENT ACTIVITY (Treats and toys for the animals)

African Savanna:
11:30am Elephant enrichment
Gorilla Overlook:
Noon Gorilla enrichment
The Islands
1:30 p.m. Visayan warty pigs enrichment

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Annual Camp Creepy fall festivals return



Fall is just around the corner, and that means our favorite Halloween happening will be here soon!

Camp Creepy is an annual festival that occurs at three GSWPA camps through the month of October.

Girl Scouts and their families will enjoy Halloween-themed games, crafts, and activity stations created and staffed by sister Girl Scouts. There will also be trick-or-treating, glow-in-the-dark games, a haunted hike, and s'mores and stories over the campfire. Children will receive a Camp Creepy patch, a Halloween bag, a glow necklace, candy, prizes, and crafts they make at the craft area.

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 is $20 per girl and $4 per adult. A meal of a hot dog, chips, cookie, and drink is included in each ticket price. (Children ages 3 and under are free and do not need to register for the event.)

Volunteers needed

We need your help to make Camp Creepy spook-tacular! We're looking for adult volunteers and Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador troops to help 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. As a "thank you" for all of your help, volunteers will receive a free dinner and free lodging for Saturday evening after the Camp Creepy event.

Interested? Contact us at customercare@gswpa.org or 800-248-3355.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Girl Scout perks for upcoming PPG Paints Arena Events

There are great Girl Scout discounts available for upcoming events at the PPG Paints Arena!


Shrine Circus

Saturday, September 15 at 7 p.m.
Don't miss this fun-filled family extravaganza featuring The Amazing Spiderman, spectacular thrill acts, elephants, tigers, camels, and even a singing pig! The special Girl Scout price is $15 and is available to anyone attending with the Girl Scout, including friends and family. There is no minimum number of tickets needed to order or attend, but groups who wish to sit together should place a single order. The seats are in the 100 level. A one-time handling fee will be applied to your grand total—$6 for 1-9 tickets and $10 for 10 or more tickets.

The deadline to receive the discount is September 7. Buy tickets online or by phone at 412-804-7904.

Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes

Friday, October 26 at 7 p.m.
Marvel fans, assemble for this live, action-packed, legendary battle to defend the universe from evil. Spider-Man, the Avengers, and the Guardians of the Galaxy join forces with Doctor Strange, master of the mystic arts, in a race against time to recover the Wand of Watoomb before it falls into Loki's hands. All Girl Scouts in attendance will receive a free Marvel Universe LIVE patch. The special Girl Scout price is $15.75 per ticket for groups of 15 or more. Groups of less than 15 will pay normal prices of $25-$80 per ticket. This offer expires on October 19 and is subject to availability, restrictions, and exclusions. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 412-804-7904 or email groupsales@ppgpaintsarena.com.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

GSWPA Ambassador from Evans City participates in a West Coast project crew


We are excited to announce that GSWPA Ambassador Lyndsey Butler, 17, has begun her journey as part of the all-Girl Scout crew with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in the Olympic National Forest in Washington State.

Lyndsey attends Seneca Valley High School, and she is currently in her eleventh year of Girl Scouting.

The project crew traveled to the Olympic National Forest on July 29 and will be staying through August 11. The crew will complete environmental service projects and learn about ecology and preserving habitats. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these Girl Scouts to expand leadership skills and practical knowledge of the environment.

Entering her senior year at Seneca Valley High School, Lyndsey is an active hiker and backpacker. She aspires to hike the Appalachian Trail in its entirety and has hiked trails across the United States. She enjoys all aspects of the outdoors, from the ocean to the mountains. Lyndsey hopes to follow this path throughout her adult life, and is committed to pursuing a career devoted to conservation, research, and study in environmental science or marine science.

"Lyndsey has always had a passion for the outdoors," says Dennis Butler, Lyndsey's father. "From a very early age, she was always fascinated with the natural world around us and spent many hours and days exploring forests and trails around our home."

“I strive to promote conservation and appreciation of nature,” Lyndsey says. “The Girl Scouts have given me many chances to explore and pursue my love of nature.”

Dennis adds, "The Girl Scout organization fit into this evolution from a very young age. Camp Redwing in Renfrew PA, just a mile down the road, presented many amazing adventures and experiences with other Girl Scouts from around the world."

This crew and Lyndsey’s participation have been made possible by a generous grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Girl Scouts invited to special screening of Christopher Robin

**ALL PASSES FOR THE FREE MOVIE SCREENING OF CHRISTOPHER ROBIN HAVE BEEN CLAIMED AT THIS TIME.

Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) members are invited to a free screening of Disney's Christopher Robin at AMC Waterfront in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, July 31!

Christopher Robin
Tuesday, July 31, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, catch a free screening of Christopher Robin at AMC Waterfront in Pittsburgh. Register for up to 4 free movie passes online. Once you register, you'll be redirected to a page where you can print your passes. A link to print the tickets will also be sent to the email you used to create your account. Please have your pass ready to show at the door.

In this heartwarming live action adventure, the young boy who shared countless adventures with his stuffed animal friends in the Hundred Acre Woods has grown up and lost sight of what’s important in life. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher Robin rediscover the joys of family life, the value of friendship and to appreciate the simple pleasure in life once again. Christopher Robin will be released in theaters August 3, 2018.

The first 100 attendees to arrive with their pass will be admitted. Please arrive early for the best seating options.

Girls are encouraged to wear their uniforms since this is a special screening for GSWPA Girl Scouts! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Lake Erie Duathlon 5K descriptions

The Lake Erie Duathlon is a scenic course on beautiful Presque Isle State Park consisting of a 5K run, a 20K bike, followed by another 5K run.

Signs and volunteers will be at every turnaround to help you stay on course.

Each leg of the race begins and ends at Beach 11.

Below are the descriptions of the 5K courses.

If you have any questions, please contact lshade@gswpa.org. See you at the Du!

First 5K: Perry Monument

Participants will run NW from the starting line on the main Beach 11 parking lot access road to Presque Isle Drive (PID). They will turn left at PID towards the Perry Monument and will run on the multi-purpose path. They will stay on the multi-purpose path all the way to the Perry Monument area. They will run past the first entry way to Perry Monument to the second entrance and then turn left to cross over to the multi-purpose path that runs along the bay shore. They will follow this path that will lead them to the Perry Monument obelisk where they will run counter clockwise around this moated exhibit before exiting that area on the large concrete sidewalk that passes in front of the restrooms in that area. Upon exiting the sidewalk end they will bear left on the roadway (NOT right through the parking lot) that will lead them out to PID where they will turn right and head back over the bridge towards Beach 11. They will turn right on the Beach 11 parking lot access road and proceed to the first paved/tar and chip isle on the left and turn left. Shortly thereafter is the finish line (white paint across isle).

Starting Line: The starting line has moved beginning in 2015 to the main access road that leads back to the pavilion and then on to the Coast Guard Station. The actual starting line is between the third and fourth parking isle from the south end of the parking lot down near the pavilion. A pink starting line is painted across the entrance lane.

Mile 1: Located about 1/10th of a mile before mile marker 2 (see below) and about 20 before a red fire hydrant on the west side of the roadway. The exact spot is marked with one large dot of PINK paint on the white paint line that separates the roadway from the multipurpose path.

Mile 2: Located on the return trip from Perry Monument near the bottom of the bridge “hill”. It is about 25 feet before the end of the bridge guard rail that is right of the multi-purpose path. The exact spot is marked with two large dots of PINK paint on the white paint line that separates the roadway from the multipurpose path.

Mile 3: Located just before (35 ft) the right turn off PID to the Beach 11 parking lot access road. The exact spot is marked with three large dots of PINK paint on the white paint line that separates the roadway from the multipurpose path.

Finish Line to Transition Area: After entering the Beach 11 parking lot access road and proceeding to the first paved/tar and chip isle on the left they turn left into transition area.



Bike course: one counterclockwise loop of Presque Isle State Park.

Next: The Pines 5K

Participants will start the second 5k upon exiting the transition area on the east end of the transition area – white start line on roadway. They will bear left going out of the lot and then turn left on to “Coast Guard Drive” and proceed to PID. They will turn right onto the multi-purpose and proceed to the turnaround point that is located in the Pine Tree Area just beyond the 8.2 painted mile marker on the multi-purpose path. The participants do a 180 turn and retrace their path using the multi-purpose path back to “Coast Guard Drive”. A left turn there and then back to the entrance to the parking lot where they started. Straight ahead to the finish line (pink line) that is adjacent to a wooden fence on the left and about 30 ft before a parking lot road/lane on the left.

Start: Located at the east end of the transition area and doted by a white line across the roadway.

Mile 1: Located in the sunset beach area and only a few feet from the 7.7 painted mile marker on the multi-purpose path. The exact spot is marked with one large dot of PINK paint on the white paint line that separates the roadway from the multipurpose path.

Turnaround Point: Located in the Pine Tree Area between multi=purpose path mile marker 8.2 and 8.3 (closer to 8.2). The exact spot is marked with 10” high “T” painted in pink along the right edge of the multi-purpose path.

Mile 2: Located in the sunset beach area and only about 25 feet from the 7.8 painted mile marker on the multi-purpose path. The exact spot is marked with two large dots of PINK paint on the white paint line that separates the roadway from the multipurpose path.

Mile 3: Located on “Coast Guard Drive” about 80 ft before reaching a dirt access road on the right. The exact spot is marked with three large dots of PINK paint on the right side of the roadway. This is the only mile marker not painted on a white roadway painted line – because there was no white paint lines on this roadway.

Finish line: It is located adjacent to a wooden fence on the left and about 30 ft before a parking lot road/lane on the left. A pink finish line is painted across the left lane.


Lake Erie Duathlon: Important race day deets!

The Lake Erie Duathlon is just around the corner!

Please read the race details below carefully. If you have any questions, contact Lisa Shade at lshade@gswpa.org.

Packet pickup—Since timing chips are only available for pickup on race day, we are not having an early packet pickup.

Your premiums and timing chips are available beginning at 6 a.m. at Beach 11 on the morning of the race, Sunday, August 5. 


Race day
START
Pre-race instructions will be announced 15 minutes prior to race start.
While our race uses chip timing, it’s a gun start, so please make sure you are ready to go by our 7 a.m. start time.
Leave ample time to arrive at Beach 11, which is toward the eastern tip of Presque Isle State Park. The speed limit at the park is 25 mph, so it can take up to 20 minutes to reach the Beach 11 parking lot depending on traffic.

TRANSITION AREA
Please note, you are not permitted to ride your bike within the marked transition area. Volunteers will alert you to when you can mount/dismount your bike. PARTICIPANTS MUST BE WEARING HELMETS PRIOR TO EXITING THE TRANSITION AREA.
Relay teams:
Bikers wait in designated place for runners within the transition area (bikes remain on racks).
Runners enter transition area, then transfer chip to biker (chips are on a strap). Biker can then retrieve bike from rack and walk to start. After doing one loop, biker dismounts at entrance to transition area, places bike on rack, and transfers chip to runner waiting in designated space within the transition area.

THE COURSE

First 5K
Runners start at beach 11 and head west on the multi-purpose trail (paved surface) past the Perry Monument to the turnaround, then return to the Beach 11 transition area. The entire course is on the multipurpose trail. Please be alert for the turn into Beach 11. Volunteers will be there to guide you.
View a detailed description of the 5K courses.

20K Bike—one loop of Presque Isle State Park
Please remain in the right hand lane the entire loop. Crossing into the other lane may result in disqualification.
The turnaround is near the Beach 1 bathhouse, then you head back to Beach 11. Please be alert for the turn into Beach 11. Volunteers will be there to guide you.
Cyclists must wear an ANSI-approved helmets during the entire bike segment of the race
The race course will not be completely closed to automobile, pedestrian or bicycle traffic.
Participants must be alert at all times.
NO drafting.

Second 5K
Runners exit the east side of the transition area and head north on the multipurpose trail (paved surface) toward Beach 10 to turnaround, then back to Beach 11 for the finish. Please be alert for the turn into Beach 11. Volunteers will be there to guide you to the finish.
View a detailed description of the 5K courses.

Water
Water is located in the transition area and at the first mile of the second 5K. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

GSWPA Girl Scout prepares for trip of a lifetime

Lizzie Foster of Harrisville has been selected to represent Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania on the upcoming Student Conservation all-Girl Scout project crew in the Olympic National Forest in Washington State.

We are excited to announce that GSWPA Ambassador Lizzie Foster, 16, has been selected to participate in the all-Girl Scout crew with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in the Olympic National Forest in Washington State.

Lizzie attends Slippery Rock Area High School, and she is currently in her thirteenth year of Girl Scouting. Lizzie is a member of GSWPA Troop 20462, which serves the Slippery Rock and Harrisville areas.

“As soon as I heard about the opportunity, I said yes,” said Lizzie. “I knew I wanted to do it right away.”

The project crew will be made up of eight girls who will travel to the Olympic National Forest for two weeks from July 29-August 11, during which they will complete environmental service projects and learn about ecology and preserving habitats. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Girl Scouts from these councils to expand leadership skills and practical knowledge of the environment.

“With my history as a Girl Scout,” said Virginia Foster, Lizzie’s mother and troop leader, “and living so close to resources like Jennings Environmental Education Center, Moraine State Park, and McConnell’s Mill State Park, our troop has worked on many service projects focused on environmental science and conservation.” 

Entering her junior year at Slippery Rock Area High School, Lizzie enjoys backpacking and camping with her Girl Scout troop and her family, which she has been doing since she was a small child. She is passionate about environmental stewardship and conservation and has participated in several local camps and projects that focused on these topics. After graduating high school, Lizzie plans on attending college to earn her Master of Science in parks and resource management.

Both Lizzie and Virginia are getting excited for the trip and working on packing lists and paperwork. GSWPA will stay in touch with Lizzie on her upcoming adventure, so we can continue to support our sister Girl Scout as she takes off on the awesome opportunity!

This crew and Lizzie’s participation have been made possible by a generous grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Get the chocolate! National S'mores Day celebrations happening Aug. 9 & 10



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, chocolaty creations been enjoyed at Girl Scout camps for generations, but the first recorded version of the recipe can be found in an official Girl Scouts publication from 1927.

All K-12 girls and their families are invited to these celebrations throughout Western Pennsylvania. At these events, attendees can make tasty s’mores, enjoy fun activities, and learn more about Girl Scouts and our mission of building courage, confidence, and character in girls.

Girls who participate will get a free National S'mores Day patch if they're registered for the 2018-19 Girl Scout year or if they register to join Girl Scouts at the event! Council staff or members of local Service Units 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.

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

Check out these GSWPA National S'mores Day celebrations that are being held council-wide!


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Early bird incentive winners announced

You know what they say: “The early bird gets the worm!”

 GSWPA is thankful for our Early Birds who renewed their Girl Scout memberships between April 1 and June 15. They will receive exclusive Power of G.I.R.L. patches!

In addition, some very lucky girls, troops and service units will receive great prizes and incentives for their early renewal.

The following girls renewed before April 10 and received a complimentary GSWPA-sponsored activity of their choice in 2019 (to include their parent/guardian.)

  • Emma Dirocco 
  • Mackenzie Felouzis 
  • Katt Neill 
  • Sydney Kerekes 
  • Serena Elbel 
  • Macie Kindler-Matthews 

The following girls renewed before June 15 and were randomly selected to win tickets to local entertainment and sporting events:

  • Riley Patton – Washington Wild Things 
  • Julia Teagarden – Washington Wild Things 
  • Paige Masci – Washington Wild Things 
  • Rachel Friday – Washington Wild Things 
  • Kendra Popiesh – Washington Wild Things 
  • Savanna Fink – Phipps Conservatory 
  • Charlotte Boyle – Altoona Curve 
  • Izabella Guaglianone – Clearfield County Fair 
  • Rylee Karnes – Heinz History Center 
  • Audrey Royer – Erie Seawolves 
  • Autumn Hunt – Woodsman Show 

Also, congratulations to the following service units who had at least 50 percent of their girls renew. They will receive 25 cents per renewed girl for their service unit ACH account:

  • 1603-Scrimshaw 
  • 1631-RNR 
  • 1640-980/Freedom 
  • 2632-Petroleum Valley 
  • 2660-Cameron County 
  • 3641-Mercer 
  • 4654-Forest Hills 
  • 5207-Tingoocquia 
  • 5808-Baldwin/Whitehall 

In addition to the winners listed above, there are even more!

  • 500 girls and 50 troop leaders received $10 shop coupons.
  • 10 troops that renewed at 100% received $50 for their troop account. 
  • The first 105 troops that had at least two leaders renew their membership and role will receive $25 for their troop ACH account. 
  • 10 first-year troop leaders will receive a staff-led meeting with volunteers and girls to help build an annual activity plan for the 2019 membership year. These troops will also receive badges for one badge they plan to earn in the 2019 year. 


 All incentive winners were sent notification via email that they (or their troops) have been selected.

Haven't renewed your membership yet? You can still renew for another year of AMAZING Girl Scout experiences. Renew today.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Why Girl Scouts?


Get to know the best leadership experience in the world for girls.
  • Girls-only. Everything we do is girl-led and girl-focused and takes place in the safe space of an all-girl environment.
  • Inclusive. We welcome girls of all backgrounds and interests who want to develop the courage, confidence, and character to make the world a better place. 
  • Proven. Our data-backed, time-tested programs are designed to meet the unique needs and specific interests of girls, including the way they learn best.
  • Leadership. We are the organization creating—through our skill-building Girl Scout Leadership Experience—the female leadership pipeline. The go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders of tomorrow. 
  • Safe. Our leaders, camp counselors, and volunteers are all thoroughly vetted and our safety record is impeccable.
  • Successful. Women who were Girl Scouts have more successful careers, higher household and personal income, and are better educated.
  • Adventure. Activities such as hiking, camping, canoeing, and archery offer girls opportunities to have exciting, girl-led outdoor adventures while learning important skills that teach valuable life lessons, like self-reliance, leadership, and perseverance.  
Simply put, Girl Scouts works! For more information, visit gswpa.org/difference.

Friday, June 8, 2018

10% more thanks for soldiers


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 (OSA).

On behalf of everyone at GSWPA, from girls to volunteers and staff, we're so grateful for each donation received this year. OSA donations during the 2018 Girl Scout Cookie Program increased by 4,588 packages from last year! Donations totaled 50,461 packages that each carry a super sweet message of thanks to U.S. military women and men.

Soldiers and veterans aren't the only ones who benefit from this initiative. Check out this video about why girls at GSWPA love participating in OSA:




Donations are currently closed for the 2018 Cookie Program, but you can donate tasty snacks to our military in the fall through the MagNut Program!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Last chance for camp!

It's not too late to sign up for Girl Scout camp! Maybe you just realized that summer break has begun, or maybe she doesn't have any plans yet—don't let her miss the opportunity to come to Girl Scout summer camp with Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania.

There are camp programs for a variety of interests! From a traditional camp experience to building robots, there are adventures just waiting for your Girl Scout this summer.

We've listed some sessions that still have availability here, and you can check out all of the available camp programs at Camp ConshatawbaCamp Hawthorne Ridge, and Camp Skymeadow.



Conshatawba

Outdoor Artist CORE (Lodge) 06-29-18
Me & My Gal- 4th of July Summer Bash (Lodge) 07-01-18 (NEW)
Spa Retreat 07-22-18 (NEW)
Me & My Guy- Messy Mayhem - Camp Conshatawba - 08-10-18

Hawthorne Ridge 

Back to the Basics CORE 07-13-18 
Slumber Party CORE (Lodge) 07-13-18 (NEW) 
Pony Party 2.0 07-22-18 (NEW) 
Hogwarts Summer School 07-22-18 (NEW) 
Me & My Guy- Messy Mayhem - Camp Hawthorne Ridge - 07-27-18 
Adventure Squad Camp Set Sail 07-29-18 (NEW) 


Skymeadow 

Pony Party (Introduction Level) 07-15-18 (NEW)
Horse Lovers --CORE 07-18-18 (NEW)
Skymeadow Sampler -- CORE 08-01-18 (NEW)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Do you want to make a difference at a national park this summer?

UPDATE: We are no longer taking applications for a GSWPA Girl Scout crew member. Stay tuned to meet this year's national crew!

Girl Scouts is partnering with The Student Conservation Association (SCA) to create an incredible opportunity for service-minded, outdoor-loving 15-18 year old Girl Scouts.

Join Girl Scouts from nine different states and put your skills to work improving our public lands as you enjoy the beauty of Olympic National Forest in Washington State.

WHAT IS A “NATIONAL CREW?"

Every summer, SCA brings teens together on two-to-five-week experiences to complete maintenance and restoration projects in national, regional, state, and local parks. Led by experienced adult leaders, SCA crews get to visit new places, camp with new friends, and enjoy nature as they conserve habitats and protect natural resources. Learn more about SCA’s National Crews.

WHY SHOULD I APPLY? 

If you love the outdoors and have a passion for service, this experience is for you! The Crew Experience will be an immersive outdoor experience. You will be camping, learning new outdoor skills, and spending most of your days outside. You will also be making a difference by completing a service project that will help future generations enjoy the park. Throughout the experience, you will be applying and learning new leadership skills and making lifelong connections with Girl Scouts from across the country. Find out what your daily Crew Experience will be like.

Katherine, a Girl Scout from Pittsburgh, was on the first all-Girl Scout crew at Shenandoah National Park in 2016.

For any girls that are thinking about doing this trip in the future, I definitely recommend this,” Katherine said. “I had so much fun and I made lifelong friends.” 

Check out Katherine’s video about her adventure on the crew:

TELL ME ABOUT THIS SPECIFIC GIRL SCOUT CREW!


  • Location: Olympic National Forest in Washington State 
  • Dates: July 29-August 11 
  • Projects: Restoring infrastructure in the park while enjoying nature and learning about public lands careers! 
  • Participants: 10 Girl Scouts, ages 15-18, from nine different states 


WHAT ARE THE COSTS? 

This is an experience, not an expense! Thanks to a generous grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, costs for 10 Girl Scouts to participate in this crew on the ground at Olympic are fully paid! There is no program fee for this experience. Your only costs to participate will be gear needed for your trip (i.e. sturdy boots, backpack, long work pants, etc.).  Gear rentals may be available from SCA for a small fee.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS?


  • Enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and a commitment to give this experience everything you’ve got! 
  • Comfortable sleeping in a tent and spending time outside (no significant experience required – just a willingness to experience the outdoors!) 
  • You must be 15-18 years old at the time of the Crew (July, 29 2018) 
  • Be a registered Girl Scout with one of the following six councils: 
    • Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania 
    • Girl Scouts of Alaska 
    • Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine 
    • Girl Scouts of Greater New York
    • Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan 
    • Girl Scouts of Black Diamond (West Virginia) 
    • Girl Scouts of Maine o Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming 


HOW DO I APPLY? 

This is a competitive application, as there are only 10 total spaces for this experience. Tell us about who you are and why you would enjoy this opportunity.

Questions? Contact GSWPA Customer Care at 800-248-3355 or customercare@gswpa.org.

Monday, June 4, 2018

New Girl Scout Elected to Participate on Board of Directors

Chianne Boburchock poses with her mother, Krystal Boburchock, at the Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) Annual Meeting where Chianne was elected to the Girl Advisory Panel with GSWPA’s Board of Directors.
Chianne Boburchock, 16, was recently elected to serve on the Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) Girl Advisory Panel at the council’s annual governance meeting in April. With three other Girl Scouts from the council on the panel, it is a leadership accomplishment to be elected to the Girl Advisory Panel.

Girl Scouts is a girl-centered organization, from troop meetings to board meetings. As a member of the panel, Boburchock will attend the GSWPA Board of Directors meetings to provide an important girl perspective during discussions. She will be a part of decision making for the GSWPA council, which is made up of nearly 21,000 girl members, 11,000 adult members, close to 100 full-time staff spread across 27 counties of western Pennsylvania.

This is not Boburchock’s first time representing her Girl Scout council. In October 2017, she was asked to serve as a national delegate for GSWPA at the National Girl Scout Convention in Columbus, which occurs every three years. Boburchock participated in the National Board of Directors election other votes that would shape the next three years of the Girl Scout Movement across the country. Boburchock has also served as a local GSWPA delegate for the last two years representing Somerset area.

Boburchock has recently begun working on her Girl Scout Gold Award, which is the highest award achievement in Girl Scouting. She has been a dedicated Girl Scout for 11 years. Boburchock is also a program aide at her local Girl Scout day camp and is a member of GSWPA’s Camp Conshatawba’s Outdoor Club.

Boburchock is in tenth grade at Somerset Area High School and lives in Friedens, and in addition to Girl Scouting, Boburchock is active in her community and school.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Honoring remarkable women and their accomplishments


On Friday, May 18, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania honored oustanding community service and leadership at the annual Awards of Distinction luncheon at the Omni William Penn Hotel.

The prestigious event included special guest and CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA Sylvia Acevedo. She set the tone for the event by sharing her story of how she broke barriers and became one of the first Hispanic students, male or female, to earn their master's degree in engineering from Stanford University.

She spoke about growing up on a dirt road with parents who had not gone to college and were not wealthy ranchers. She shared how her experience in Girl Scouting made her see that cooking is no more than a chemistry experiment, and she learned that she was rather good at science and math.

"When it was time to go on to college," Acevedo said, "and the college counselor opened the door and looked at the lobby and looked around me, and she said 'What are you doing here?' and I said 'I'm going to college.'"

Acevedo continued, "She said 'Girls like you don't go to college.' And, unfortunately, statistically she was right. But, she wasn't right in my case."

Acevedo's personal history with growing courage, confidence, and character through Girl Scouting launched the event into impactful comments on female accomplishments, leadership, and wisdom.

The Girl Scout of Distinction, Alexis Mandell credited her experience in the Movement as inspiration to create the same opportunities for young girls in her community.

"Girl Scouts has provided me a supportive, all-girl environment to explore whatever my intention was in life," Mandell said. "Inspired by that all-girl environment, I created an all-girl science fair for my Gold Award project to encourage the younger girls excited by STEM."

Maurita Bryant, 2018 Woman of Distinction in government and law, spoke about her 39 years working on the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.

When considering advice for the future leaders in attendance she said, "The love you have for one another will always overshadow the ugly in this world."

Megan "Megs" Yunn, 2018 Woman of Distinction in entrepreneur and small business, was unable to attend due to the arrival of her baby boy. She sent her words of wisdom with Katelyn Livingston, Director of Community Engagement for her company Beverly's Birthdays. Yunn encouraged the audience to follow their gut and follow the path that feels right, even if the people around you think it's crazy.

The event left the room feeling inspired to make a difference in their community and beyond. For photos from the event, visit the photo album on GSWPA's Facebook page. The clips from Acevedo's keynote speech are included here: Part 1Part 2 Part 3.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

CAMP ANNOUNCEMENTS: New Sessions Added!

GSWPA has added more camp sessions to the 2018 summer line up. Below you’ll find a list of the recently added sessions with a direct link to their registration page.

We hope you and your camper will find something that hits the target, lights their campfire, or splashes adventure into summer!

Me & My Gal- 4th of July Summer Bash (Lodge)
July 1-3
Grades: 1-8
Camp Conshatawba

Spa Retreat
July 22-27
Grades: 4-8
Camp Conshatawba

 Adventure Squad Camp Set Sail
July 29-August 3
Grades: 4-9
Camp Hawthorne Ridge

Hogwarts Summer School
July 22-27
Grades: 2-8
Camp Hawthorne Ridge

Slumber Party CORE (Lodge)
July 13-15
Grades: 1-12
Camp Hawthorne Ridge

Pony Party 2.0
July 22-25
Grades: 2-5
Camp Hawthorne Ridge

Horse Lovers – CORE
July 18-20
Grades: 1-12
Camp Skymeadow

Skymeadow Sampler – CORE
August 1-3
Grades: 1-12
Camp Skymeadow

2018 Awards of Distinction | Girl Scout Honorees

2018 Girl Scout of Distinction Alexis Mandell, left, and 2018 Girl Scout Humanitarian Maria Ciao, right, received their awards at the Pittsburgh Awards of Distinction luncheon on Friday, May 18.
Girl Scout of Distinction
Alexis Mandell’s 12 years as a Girl Scout have helped her cultivate strong leadership skills, which inspired her to help other girls develop those skills as her Gold Award project. Pairing that inspiration with her passion for science, Mandell aimed to impact the lack of encouragement for young girls who are interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers.

“Sadly, girls are often shut out of STEM because of the preconceived notion that science and math are for boys. As a result, women represent only about one in five people employed in the fields of computer science, mathematics, engineering and the physical sciences,” said Mandell in her interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

For her Gold Award project, Mandell produced the Growing Girls’ Roots in STEM Science Fair, an all-girl science fair for fourth through eighth graders. Twenty-three participants followed the scientific method to research, hypothesize, test, and present on a topic in the fields of biology, environmental science, or physical science. Mandell coordinated STEM professionals to volunteer as judges, and her website, growinggirlsrootsinstem.org, provides educators and parents with resources to host more all-girl science fairs.

 Outside of Girl Scouts, Mandell participates in her high school orchestra, Irish dancing, and tennis. She is a member of the National Honor Society and is the public relations officer of North Hills’ Students Against Destructive Decisions Club. After graduation, Mandell will be continuing her education at Duke University with a plan to study neuroscience on a pre-medicine track.

She thanks her parents and her project adviser, Rebecca Watters, for their support and help in making her Gold Award project possible.

Mandell further thanks the Girl Scout Movement for allowing her to learn the leadership skills necessary to make a difference in today’s world and for helping her make lifelong friends along the way.

Girl Scout Humanitarian
Service to others and leadership come naturally to Maria Ciao, a Girl Scout since she was a Daisy in kindergarten. Ciao’s Gold Award project improved safety and accessibility of a local playground for children with autism and other disabilities.

Ciao is an avid equestrian and has combined her love of horses into years of community service at Glade Run Lutheran Services with a program that helps children with autism enjoy activities like riding horses. Inspired by seeing how animal therapy helped engage children with social challenges, Ciao earned her Girl Scout Silver Award by co-authoring a children’s book about autism that featured a friendly horse as the narrator.

Ciao saw further needs in her community for children with autism. From 2015 through spring 2018, she worked with her local government, the Autism Society of Pittsburgh, and community groups to make safety improvements and add sensory-friendly components to an existing playground at Allegheny County’s North Park. With consultation from experts, she coordinated the installation of tactile and musical sensory panels that are accessible to children with autism and children in wheelchairs, addressed safety issues, and made aesthetic upgrades to make the space welcoming.

Ciao hopes that her project is a model for more public playgrounds to incorporate sensory-stimulating components so that all children, regardless of ability, can play together and have fun in a safe space.

To girls considering the Girl Scout Gold Award, Caio says, “Volunteer wherever you can and don’t fear the weight of the project—because in the end it’s worth it. I never realized the positive ripple effect this project would have—but then I saw the bigger picture.”

Ciao will pursue a degree in public relations at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio this fall, where she also plans to continue her advocacy for people with autism.

She is very honored to be named as 2018 Girl Scout Humanitarian and is most grateful for the support and guidance she has received from her parents and family, troop, and the Girl Scout Movement.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

2018 Women of Distinction Awards

Eight inspiring women from the Pittsburgh area, two outstanding Girl Scouts, and Girl Scout community-champion corporation, FedEx Ground, were honored at our Pittsburgh Awards of Distinction luncheon on Friday, May 18 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.

Health Care

Congratulations to Dr. Elizabeth Miller, recipient of the 2018 Women of Distinction Award in the Health Care category!

Elizabeth Miller, MD, PhD, is the director of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and professor of Pediatrics at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She is also the medical director for Ronald McDonald House Charities Care Mobile, Shuman Juvenile Detention Center, and the 412 Youth Zone.

Trained in medical anthropology, as well as internal medicine and pediatrics, Dr. Miller’s research has included examination of sex trafficking among adolescents in Asia, teen dating abuse, and reproductive health, with a focus on underserved youth populations, including pregnant and parenting teens, and foster, homeless, and gang-affiliated youth. Her current research focuses on the impact of gender-based violence on young women’s reproductive health.

She conducts research on brief clinical interventions to reduce partner violence and unintended pregnancy, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Justice. In addition, she is conducting a study of a sexual violence prevention program entitled “Coaching Boys into Men” that involves training coaches to talk to their young male athletes about stopping violence against women, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is also involved in projects to reduce gender-based violence and improve adolescent and young adult women’s health in India and Japan.

Miller is the recent recipient of the 2018 Visionary Award from Pittsburgh Action Against Rape.

A Japan native, Miller earned a bachelor’s degree in history of art at Yale and a master’s in medicine and a doctorate in anthropology at Harvard.

She and her husband reside in Pittsburgh. Her daughter, Hannah, is a student at the University of Chicago and her son, Joey, attends Taylor Allderdice High School.

Technology & Communications

Congratulations to Jennifer Bullano, recipient of the 2018 Women of Distinction Award in the Technology category!

Jennifer Bullano joined the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2006 as a graduate intern and spent the following two years as manager of media relations before being promoted to director of communications in 2008. She is entering her twelfth season with the team and currently serves as senior director of communications. She is presently the only female to hold her position in the National Hockey League.

Bullano oversees the daily operations of the Penguins communications department and is responsible for coordinating all player and management interviews. She travels full time with the team and was a part of the Penguins Stanley Cup championships in 2009, 2016, and 2017. Jennifer has been a key contact for behind the scenes shows, such as HBO’S 24/7 The Road to the Winter Classic, NHL Revealed, In the Room, and Showtime Sports ALL ACCESS: Quest for the Stanley Cup. She recently won an Emmy for her role in “There’s no Place like Home with Sidney Crosby” in the “sports program one-time special” category.

The native of New Castle, Pennsylvania, also teaches part-time as an adjunct professor at Point Park University. Bullano teaches Media Relations in Sports for the Sports, Arts, and Entertainment Management program within the School of Business.

Bullano earned a bachelor of arts degree in public relations from Penn State University in 2003, as well as a master of business administration with concentration in sports, arts, and entertainment management from Point Park University in 2007. Bullano and her husband, Eric Ridgley, reside in the north hills of Pittsburgh with their daughter, Harper.

This is the third of four installments published in recognition of the 2018 Women of Distinction and Girl Scout honorees.



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

2018 Women of Distinction Awards

Eight inspiring women from the Pittsburgh area, two outstanding Girl Scouts, and Girl Scout community-champion corporation, FedEx Ground, were honored at our Pittsburgh Awards of Distinction luncheon on Friday, May 18 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.

Arts & Education

Congratulations to janera soloman, recipient of the 2018 Women of Distinction Award in the Arts & Education category!

janera solomon is the Executive Director of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, a historic live arts venue in Pittsburgh now in its tenth year of presenting progressive, evocative, new works in dance, music, film, education, and cultural programming. Her curatorial work includes projects with some of contemporary performance’s brightest stars.

Recognized for her transformative leadership and contributions to the revitalization of East Liberty, janera managed the merger of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater and the Dance Alloy in 2011, while maintaining affordable dance instruction at The Alloy School and creating a series of diverse programs designed to inspire and engage a wide range of audiences.

An experienced arts and culture consultant, she has played a critical role in numerous cultural

projects, including the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, Brooklyn Museum of Art, the August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh and numerous others with the Toronto-based, cultural planning firm Lord Culture.

She has a passion for artists creating new work and the development of new art forms and has served as curator and advisor to a variety of artistic projects. janera maintains volunteer board positions for several organizations, including the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and The Ellis School. In 2014, she formed the August Wilson Center Recovery Committee. In 2015, janera was featured in Pittsburgh Magazine as one of the “50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh”, and in 2018, she was awarded a “2018 Women of Influence Award” by the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Athletics

Congratulations to Heather Lyke, recipient of the 2018 Women of Distinction Award in the Athletics category!

Heather Lyke is the director of athletics at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the first woman to hold the full-time director of athletics post.

Lyke has an exemplary record of 22 years in increasingly high-level roles in collegiate athletics administration. She served as vice president and director of athletics at Eastern Michigan University since 2013. Prior to her EMU tenure, she was a ranking athletic administrator at Ohio State for 15 years and additionally held posts at the University of Cincinnati and with the NCAA.

Lyke found the beginning of her professional path during her days as a scholarship student-athlete at the University of Michigan, where she captained the Wolverines’ Big Ten champion softball team. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Michigan and a juris doctor from the University of Akron School of Law.

At Eastern Michigan, Lyke oversaw a department that sponsors 21 varsity sports with more than 550 student-athletes. Her tenure witnessed high levels of achievement, not only in the competitive arena but also academically and from a fundraising standpoint.

A reflection of her undergraduate studies in education, Lyke is enthusiastically dedicated to helping younger professionals in their growth and advancement. She is a frequent speaker and presenter at national conferences and serves on the board of directors of Women Leaders in College Athletics.

In 2014, Lyke became the first woman to chair the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Committee. She additionally chaired the Mid-American Conference’s Cost of Attendance Task Force.

Born and raised in Canton, Ohio, Lyke starred at GlenOak High School in volleyball, basketball, and softball. She accepted a softball scholarship from Michigan, where she was a two-time team captain and helped Michigan to the 1992 Big Ten Championship.

Lyke and her husband, David Catalano, have three children: Elle, Sophie and Eli.

Business

Congratulations to Sylvia Diez, recipient of the 2018 Women of Distinction Award in the Business category!

Sylvia Diez is senior vice president and regional managing director for PNC Institutional Asset Management covering the central/east region. Her primary responsibility is leading sales and client service for the region. She is also chair of the Council of National Practice Groups that include Taft-Hartley/Public Funds, Endowment & Foundation, Healthcare and Insurance within Institutional Asset Management, and leads a team of segment specialists and business development officers.

She was previously the western region sales director for PNC Wealth Management. She was responsible for the sales process and the development and execution of the sales strategies for the western region.

Prior to joining PNC Wealth Management in March 2001 as a relationship manager, Diez was a retirement planning specialist with CitiStreet, a member company of Citigroup. During her ten years with CitiStreet, she served in positions of increasing responsibility from account executive to a regional manager in Anaheim, California and Pittsburgh offices. She was voted by CitiStreet’s Board of Directors to receive the Director’s Trophy, which was awarded to one employee for his or her company contributions.

Diez holds a bachelor of science degree in marketing earned from Robert Morris University. Her professional licenses have included the National Association of Securities Dealers Series 7, 6, 63, 65, and 26. She has also completed Duquesne University’s Executive Certificate in Financial Planning.

Diez is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh XXII. She was also a corporate team member of PNC’s Grow Up Great program and a current member of PNC Women Connect EBRG, where she is the executive sponsor for the External Connections committee. Diez is a mentor in Robert Morris University Women’s Leadership and Mentorship program. She has served on several boards and has been a host committee member for many local charitable organizations, including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Girls Scouts Western Pennsylvania, and Western PA School for the Deaf.

This is the second of four installments published in recognition of the 2018 Women of Distinction and Girl Scout honorees.


Monday, May 21, 2018

2018 Women of Distinction Awards

Eight inspiring women from the Pittsburgh area, two outstanding Girl Scouts, and Girl Scout community-champion corporation, FedEx Ground, were honored at our Pittsburgh Awards of Distinction luncheon on Friday, May 18 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.

Community & Nonprofit
Congratulations to Amy Hart, recipient of the 2018 Women of Distinction Award in the Community & Nonprofit category.

Amy Hart is the president and chief executive officer of the Center for Hearing & Deaf Services, Inc. (HDS).

HDS is the region’s only non-profit agency providing comprehensive services to people who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing, or have other communication needs. Her tenure at HDS has been known for growth and innovation in programs and services.

Prior to coming to HDS, she was the director of community relations at Mars Home for Youth and vice president of community investments at United Way of Allegheny County. She was founding executive director of the PA Service Corps, one of the original national service demonstration projects, and was founding executive director of PA Campus Compact. She also worked on the Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Treatment Unit at St. Francis Hospital and for the Collegiate YMCA of Pittsburgh.

Hart is known as an entrepreneurial leader who is effective at building winning relationships and effective partnerships, as well as supporting others in the field. She holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh, and a bachelor’s degree from Duquesne University.

Entrepreneur & Small Business
Congratulations to Megan "Megs" Yunn, recipient of the 2018 Women of Distinction Award in the Entrepreneur & Small Business category.

Megs Yunn is the founder and co-director of Beverly’s Birthdays, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit organization that provides birthday cheer for children experiencing homelessness and families in need. Yunn started the organization after meeting a young girl, Beverly, who shared with her that she had never had her own birthday party or even her own slice of birthday cake. Inspired by the story, Yunn submitted her idea for Beverly’s Birthdays to the 2011 Scholastic Be BIG in Your Community Contest and was named one of 10 first place winners. She received $2,500 in January 2012 to start Beverly’s Birthdays. Now, six years later, Beverly’s Birthdays has raised over $1.5 million, and Yunn and her team of five full-time staff members, a 13-member board of directors, and hundreds of volunteers/donors, have worked together to celebrate more than 25,000 children’s birthdays. Beverly’s Birthdays and Yunn were recently recognized on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt and on PEOPLE.COM for the inspiring work their team is doing to spread joy, cheer, and laughter for so many deserving children. Yunn is a Pittsburgh Magazine 40 under 40 recipient and was named by Next Magazine as one of five people “Making Pittsburgh a Happier Place.”

Outside of Beverly’s Birthdays, Yunn has served as an adjunct instructor at Point Park University in the communications department. She has a bachelor of arts degree in organizational communications from Marietta College and a master of business administration from Point Park University. Yunn is passionate about youth programming, servant leadership, and working with children in vulnerable communities.

Prior to starting Beverly’s Birthdays, Yunn did a term of service as an AmeriCorps volunteer and ran a character development program with adjudicated youth.

Yunn truly believes that we are all here on this earth to make a difference and to help one another. When asked about Beverly’s Birthdays and the work they are doing, she always says “I just want to dump birthday glitter on the city of Pittsburgh.”

Yunn and her husband, Mike Yunn, reside in Irwin and are the proud parents of three beautiful children—Wyatt, Lincoln, and Sadie—with their fourth son born just recently.

Government & Law
Congratulations to Maurita J. Bryant, recipient of the 2018 Women of Distinction Award in the Government & Law category.

Maurita J. Bryant is serving in her 40th year of law enforcement. After serving 39 years with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, she retired in May of 2016, as the assistant chief of the Investigations Branch. She joined the Allegheny County Police Department in June 2016 and currently serves as the assistant superintendent for the Uniform Division.

She is a 1970 graduate of George Westinghouse High School, and received her master’s degree in criminal justice from Point Park University, where she served as an adjunct professor. Superintendent Bryant is a 2004 graduate of the 218th session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, and has taught numerous criminal investigations and terrorism courses internationally.

Throughout her career, she has been passionate about issues impacting the victimization of women and children. She is most proud of serving as the executive director for a teenage intervention program called Save Our (little) Sisters (SOS); being the facilitator for the Bureau’s Moms and Cops program; serving on the executive boards for Gwen’s Girls, Pittsburgh Child Guidance Foundation, Birmingham Foundation, YES program, NOBLE, Standing Firm, Greater Pittsburgh Business and Professional Women, Inc.; and most of all for having two daughters, four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

This is the first of four installments published in recognition of the 2018 Women of Distinction and the Girl Scout Honorees.