Tuesday, April 30, 2019

GSWPA Volunteers Lead On: Patricia Dewalt & Carrie Lute

The work Girl Scout volunteers put in every day helps girls unleash their most confident selves. Thank you, volunteers, for all you do to make a lasting impact at Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania.


Patricia Dewalt

Crawford County
2019 Appreciation Pin Recipient

As a Council Delegate, Co-Cookie Manager and Finance Manager for the SU, Patricia provides guidance and support to all the troops in Meadville.

Carrie Lute

Cambria County
2019 Appreciation Pin Recipient

In addition to leading two troops, Carrie coordinates events and participation in community events.


James Carona

Allegheny County
2019 Honor Pin Recipient

Jim has been instrumental in supporting archery training throughout council, in addition to serving as the coordinator of a large Cookie Count N- Go serving seven service units.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Shop Talk in May: Spring patches are here!

Here are special announcements for May from the GSWPA Shops!


New Spring Patches and More:

Browse the catalog or shop online.
AND: $4.75 flat rate shipping on $60+ orders, placed MAY 20-28, at shop.gswpa.org.


Featured Item—Unicorns are real(ly popular)!:

This magical shirt is available in shops now for $17!


Shop Hours

Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Friday: Closed
Second Saturday each month (Sept.-May only): 9 a.m.- noon

Upcoming extended hours:


  • All shop locations (Edinboro, Greensburg, and Pittsburgh): 
    • Saturday,  May 11: 9 a.m.-noon
  •  Greensburg: 
    • Monday, May 6: Open until 7 p.m. (prior to scheduled service unit meetings)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

All I really needed to know, I learned in Girl Scouts

On Monday, April 1, the following speech was delivered by retired Colonel Karen Esaias at the 42nd annual Awards of Distinction dinner in Johnstown as the keynote address for the evening. 

Colonel Esaias stands with Johnstown area Girl Scouts, who officially commenced the evening's events by leading attendees in a traditional flag ceremony.
When I was invited to speak at this event, memories of my own Girl Scouting days ran through my head: earning badges, selling cookies, and overnight camp at Camp Conshatawba. All I really needed to know, I learned in Girl Scouts.

In the Girl Scout Promise, I pledged to do my duty to God and my country. I chose to do my duty to my country by serving 27 years in the U.S. Air Force. There are many ways to serve, with more opportunities open to girls and women unavailable even a decade ago. When I entered the Air Force, only 7% of the service branch were women, some of whom thought they had to be like one of the guys to fit in. In the course of my career, I saw that change. Women and men began to realize that diversity in the unit was a strength—and now, the Air Force is 20% female. The lesson is that each unique person on a team brings skills and insight that makes the whole more powerful.

I do have a confession to share: I was a quiet and shy kid. My sister Kathy loved selling cookies door to door—I did not! In the end, my father made Kathy take me with her and made her split the sales with me.

I don’t know what makes someone grow into a leader. Once, I was talking to my commander and I mentioned my being quiet and shy. He looked me square in the eye and said, “Captain, you may have been quiet and shy in the past, but you most certainly are not now!”

We have mentors in Girl Scouts, older girls willing to share skills and experience with the younger girls. In the Air Force, I saw the importance of mentors—and the particular importance to mentor people that don’t look like you! I was in a small group of women in the Air Force and was blessed to have officers who were kind enough to take the time to mentor me.

Let me circle back to how the influence of Girl Scouting affected my life. Girl Scouts pledge to do our duty to God. In the military, our oath of enlistment for the last 200 years has us swear to protect the Constitution of the United States against all enemies and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same. Our nation and the Girl Scouts are anchored in the belief that through our service, we are serving God. This has never been more important in our country than it is right now. It is truly the bedrock upon which our Constitution was founded and is a bedrock of Girl Scouting.

The Girl Scout Law is called the Girl Scout Law for a reason—these are founding principles. If all of us lived up to these principles every day, the world would be a better place. Let’s talk about a few of those principles: honor, helpfulness, and self-reliance. I carried these principles during my military career and they still define me.

Honor: Adherence to what is right. I recently had to decide whether to withhold troubling information from a life-long friend. I could not—I had to do what was right despite the potential repercussions. A girlfriend of mine in the Air Force used to say, “We are the people who stop at stop signs in the middle of the night, even when there is no one around.” Listen to the Girl Scout Law and do what you believe to be the honorable thing in every circumstance.

Helpfulness: A Girl Scout is helpful, so look for ways to help others in your community. In my world, the focus of my efforts since returning to Johnstown eight years ago has been helping veterans—those who have served need and have earned our support.

And finally, self-reliance: As a Girl Scout, I learned how to make things, how to build a fire, and how to follow a trail. In the Air Force, I learned how to make decisions, how to light a fire in my troops to encourage them to do what they believed impossible, and to blaze a trail, not simply follow one. Loyalty, honor, leadership, duty to God and country—all I needed to know, I learned in Girl Scouts!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Girl Scout Volunteers Lead On: Jo Ann Messett & Jeanie George

What would this world be without Girl Scout volunteers? It’d be a lot less bright, that’s for sure! Thank you, volunteers, for all you do to make a lasting impact at Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania. You’re everyday superheroes.


Jo Ann Messett

Mercer County
2019 Appreciation Pin Recipient

Jo Ann has been able to find creative and engaging ways to keep a troop of 18 Cadette and Senior girls involved in Girl Scouting. She serves on her Service Unit team, setting up programs and community service projects. She has coordinated a resource of all programs being offered in the area, stengthening relationships between troops and businesses throughout Mercer.

Jeannie George

Cambria County
2019 Honor Pin Recipient

Jeannie serves as council delegate, providing timely information and feedback for council governance, as well as on the CAT team and as Girl Scout Champion for her SU. She volunteers at many council events, such as Camp Creepy and Junior Jamboree. She is a certified lifeguard and offers that service at Camp Conshawtawba.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Girl Scout Volunteers Lead On: Darlene Beatty & Kimberly McCullough

Girl Scout volunteers help ignite curiosity while inspiring girls to dream big—talk about a lasting impact!

The volunteers of GSWPA are the reason that girls in western Pennsylvania are benefiting from the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Your time, commitment, and energy are deeply valued. Thank you so much!


Darlene Beatty

Indiana County
2019 Honor Pin Recipient

In addition to leading two troops, Darlene serves as her SU Cookie Manager, A multi-SU Day Camp Director, Outdoor Skills trainer, a CAT team member and part of the SU Program team. Some of her planned programs were so popular, that she also offered them in Pittsburgh. In these roles, she provides critical service to her service unit, support to leaders throughout region 3 - and dynamic programming to a wide geographical area of girls.

Kimberly McCullough

Indiana County
2019 Appreciation Pin Recipient

Kimberly is the troop leader to her sister's troop and helps plan programs in the Su area, and is the co-director of the DU Day Camp, all of which is opened up to girls in nearby SUs.

Girl Scout Volunteers Lead On: Holly Kress & Jennifer Horgan

Girl Scouts is the BEST leadership development program in the world for girls—and it wouldn’t be possible without incredible volunteers.

We are truly grateful for each GSWPA volunteer—for the time, energy, and resources they commit to delivering the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to local Girl Scouts. Thank you!


Holly Kress

Erie County
2019 Appreciation Pin Recipient

As Communications Coordinator, Holly was instrumental in impacting the success of the newly merged SU. This included recruitment efforts, meetings and communication to and from leaders.

Jennifer Horgan

Allegheny County
2019 Appreciation Pin Recipient

A former SUM, Jennifer has organized the Service Unit Community Day Camp for three years. She does this while leading a troop of Seniors and Ambassadors and mentoring new troop leaders.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Winners from Goodwill's Give a Little Love

Brownie Troop 28843 dropping off 38 bags of
donations at the Butler Goodwill. (File photo)
Girl Scouts across western Pennsylvania showed that giving some love in February isn't just for Valentine's Day.  Girls teamed up with Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania and Goodwill Southern Alleghenies for the annual "Give a Little Love" clothing drive.

And give they did! Over 2,260 bags of donations were collected by over 140 GSWPA Girl Scouts during the month of February!

While all girls who participated should be proud of their hard work, these girls went above and beyond. These four girls are the winners of a paid trip to camp, courtesy of Goodwill!

Riley Lewis, Troop 52419– collected 238 bags of donations
Rory Thomas, Troop 26100 - collected 129 bags of donations
Heidi Brower, Troop 39829 – collected 114 bags of donations
Chloe Rogers, Troop 39829 – collected 72 bags of donations

Well done, girls!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Girl Scout Volunteers Lead On: Joan Emanuel & Roxanne Tuinstra

No mask or cape needed: Girl Scout volunteers are the REAL superheroes! Every single day, they’re making an impact and inspiring girls to dream BIG.

We are truly grateful for each GSWPA volunteer—for the time, energy, and resources they commit to delivering the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to local Girl Scouts. Thank you!


Joan Emanuel

Fayette County
2019 Thanks I Badge Recipient

As a council trainer, Joan has provided leaders the tools and resources they need to succeed in their troops and at camp. As a Council and National Delegate, she provides girl and adult voice to all governance matters. She is a visible and well-known Girl Scout in the her community, as well as throughout GSWPA. She was recently awarded the ATHENA award for her success in impacting girls' lives.

Roxanne Tuinstra

Cambria County
2019 Appreciation Pin Recipient

Roxanne is a dedicated member of her SU team, panning reruitment events and program events that provide amazing opportinuties to girls and volunteers alike. She steppped up t lead a troop when no other leader could be found - a troop that now serves girls K-4 that would not otherwise have this opportunity.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Your voice counts! Take the Girl Scout Voices Count survey!


Girl Scout Voices Count is a national survey of girls, parents or caregivers, troop leaders, and service unit volunteers that is conducted each year by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), a group of researchers who work at Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA). At Girl Scouts, we care about your experience, good or bad, and we want to hear from you! The survey results help GSUSA and local councils figure out how to improve and grow Girl Scouts so you can have the best Girl Scout experience.

The survey is now open. Be sure to check your email for the invitation to participate. It will take about 15–20 minutes to complete a survey, depending on how detailed you are when answering the open-ended questions. As a thank you, all participants who complete the survey will be entered into a raffle to win a $50 gift card! There will be twenty cards raffled off per survey (i.e., 20 cards for girls, 20 cards for parents, and 20 cards for troop volunteers), so make sure to complete your survey on time! The survey open the entire month of April.

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

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

GSWPA announces Service Unit Growth Incentive Winners

Congratulations to all Service Units who worked hard to grow their membership to reach more girls in their communities! The following Service Units have won some fantastic prizes!

Those that had an increase of 10 percent or more since October 1, 2018 will receive a Girl Scout flag or tablecloth:

  • SU4601-Armagh (Indiana County)
  • SU3610-Shenango Valley (Mercer County)
  • SU4636-Northern Cambria (Cambria County)
  • SU5704-Peters Township (Washington County)
  • SU3623-Albion/Springfield (Erie County)
  • SU2657-Northern Star (McKean County)
  • SU4683-Philipsburg (Clearfield County)
  • SU5100-Greater Pittsburgh (Allegheny County)
  • SU3601-H.I.S (Erie County)
  • SU2638-South Butler (Butler County)
  • SU3655-Jamestown (Mercer County)
  • SU3641-Mercer (Mercer County)
  • SU3644-Reynolds (Mercer County)
  • SU2646-Rimersburg/Sligo (Clarion County)

Those that had an increase of 15 percent or more October 1, 2018 were entered to win a Splash Pad party at Camp Redwing. The randomly drawn winner of this prize is SU3601-H.I.S! We can’t wait to help them plan the party and see the pictures!

Those that achieved an increase of 25 percent or more will receive a patch party in a box for all their girls!

  • SU4601-Armagh
  • SU3610-Shenango Valley
  • SU4636-Northern Cambria
  • SU5704-Peters Township
  • SU3623-Albion/Springfield


And finally, the Service Unit with the highest percentage of membership growth October 1, 2018 has won a special celebration event – one we will plan with the volunteers and girls in the Service Unit.

Congratulations to the Armagh Service Unit, who has grown in girl membership this year by almost 34 percent! Stay tuned to hear what they planned and see photos of the celebration.