Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Camp Corner: The sky's the limit at Camp Skymeadow!

Looking for exciting new adventures in the great outdoors? The sky’s the limit at Camp Skymeadow!  
Situated on 371 acres of grassy meadows along with a stand of evergreens, Camp Skymeadow offers the perfect location for its two most popular activities: horseback riding and tree climbing. But the options don’t stop there! Skymeadow also offers archery, canoeing, fishing, swimming, hayrides, backpacking, creek hikes and more. 
This is the camp for girls entering grades K-6 to experience CORE Camp and Family Camps, and campers can stay in one of the camps lodges, platform tents or pop-up tents. 

Camp Skymeadow at a Glance

Location: Avonmore, Pa., Armstrong County. 35 miles east of Pittsburgh. (See map.)
Types of Camping: Girls can camp with their troop (CORE Camping) or with their family. Girl Scout members and non-members can also reserve Camp Skymeadow 
Amenities/activities: Canoeing, archery range, horseback riding (summer camp only), tree climbing, hayrides, fishing area, swimming pool with water slide, hiking and nature trails and a playing field.

Meet the Camp Staff

Tim Shank, Sr.
Camp Ranger

Tell us about yourself
I’ve been Camp Ranger at Camp Skymeadow for 7 years. My wife, Sheri, is what I call a "camp girl.” She loves living at camp! I have two sons and three grandchildren. Tom is a baker at Oakmont Bakery and has two sons, Will and Gabe. My other son, TJ, is the Ranger at Camp Conshatawba and has one daughter, Zoe. Fast cars used to be my hobby but now it is my grandchildren. I truly enjoy spending time with my family!

What's your favorite camp activity?
Hay rides

What do you like best about camp? Being outside most of the time and being able to see the campers having fun. In particular, seeing the smiles on the girls' faces when they get to ride a horse for the first time.

Do you have a favorite GSWPA camp memory? In 2010, we had 28" of snow in one day. It took me 6 hours to dig my way to Alpine Lodge with the tractor. When I finally got to the lodge, the campers had the porches and steps shoveled and were having a blast sled ridding. The parents could hear the tractor making its way toward them and were completely confident that I would get the road cleared so they could get home. Some were even joking that they hoped they were snowed in so they could stay at camp another day.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Gold Award project shows the fun side of math

Francesca Kavalir loves math. For her Gold Award project, she set out to ensure that other students discover fun ways to love it, too.

On March 14 (otherwise known as 3-14), Francesca held Pi Day, an event for local middle school students celebrating the mathematical constant Pi (3.14).

According to, Pi is a name given to the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter. That means, for any circle, you can divide the circumference (the distance around the circle) by the diameter and always get exactly the same number. It doesn't matter how big or small the circle is, Pi remains the same. Pi is pronounced "pie," just like the dessert.

Francesca Kavalir
Francesca coordinated a group of volunteers to help her create a day that felt more like fun and less like learning.

Approximately 70 students learned new skills, gained new perspective on the subject and enjoyed math activities. The event also included raffle prizes and, of course, pie.

The event was preceded by a smaller practice Pi Day at her church and a Pi Day T-shirt contest with her student council.

“While science has its labs, and English has various projects, I’ve often seen math lack interactive activities for students,” Francesca said. “Though math is highly promoted, it’s often masked with the fa├žade of being only equations and tests. The math activities my volunteers and I ran helped to change this view.”

Francesca is an Ambassador Girl Scout with Troop 50740 in Mt. Lebanon and graduates from Mt. Lebanon High School in the spring. She is the daughter of Jack and Michele Kavalir.

Celebrating 100 years of changing the world through the Gold Award
The Gold Award has been known by many names—the Golden Eagle of Merit, Golden Eaglet, Curved Bar or First Class—but the spirit of the award has remained unchanged for a century: for girls to use their extraordinary courage and kindness to take action to make the world a better place.

Are you Gold?
Whether you earned the honor last year or decades ago, join our network to connect with other award recipients and receive invitations to events for Girl Scouts’ top advocates, donors and supporters. Join today at

Monday, March 7, 2016

Camp Corner: Camp Redwing Rocks!

For nearly more than 90 years, Camp Redwing has been the place where girls go for a traditional resident camp experience. Just 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, Camp Redwing is a natural oasis on 123 acres along Connoquennessing Creek. Whether you stay for two nights or two weeks, and take part in just a couple or all of the awesome activities that are available, there's something for every camper at Redwing!

Camp Redwing at a Glance

Location: Renfrew, Pa., Butler County. Only 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. (See map.) 
Types of Camping: Girls can camp overnight with their troop, family, by herself or with a buddy.
Amenities: Archery range, canoeing, horseback riding, swimming pool with water slide, GaGa pit, hiking, volleyball court, amphitheater

Meet the Camp Staff

Kate Bailey
Camp Director

Tell us about yourself. I’m originally from Nebraska, and I grew up going to Girl Scout camp. My favorite sessions were nature-based camps and canoeing trips, and later I completed the CIT 1 and CIT 2 programs (counselor-in training). I started working at camp just as soon as I was old enough, and so far I haven’t had a summer without it! I love traveling, and as of this year I’ve been to 38 states. I also love going hiking and I do a bit of nature photography as well. I own two cats, named Louisa May Alcatt and Nathaniel Pawthorne, and a fish named Leonard.

What’s your favorite thing to do at camp?
I love outdoor cooking and primitive camping! I think it’s so much fun to figure out what you can cook over a fire, and it always tastes great when you make it yourself. It’s even better when you get to sleep out under the stars afterwards!

What do you like best about working at Girl Scout camp?

Definitely all the people you get to meet. Camp Redwing has an amazing community of campers, staff, parents, and volunteers that share an amazing bond through camp!

Do you have a favorite GSWPA camp memory?
Fireside Greetings at the Amphitheater is always my favorite, it’s hard to pick just one time though! I love singing songs with everyone, and getting to see both campers and staff show off how funny they can be.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Camp Corner: Get ready for high adventure at Camp Conshatawba

With activities like a climbing tower, zip line and a low ropes course, plus traditional camp favorites like swimming and archery, Camp Conshatawba has something for every camper! 
Camp Conshatawba camp sits on nearly 300 acres of wooded, hilly terrain in the Allegheny Mountain Range, with a stream running through the camp offering many opportunities for girls to make a splash. It boasts beautiful modern lodges, cozy cabins and platform tents for sleeping.

Camp Conshatawba at a Glance

Location: Summerhill, Pa., Cambria County. Less than 15 miles from Johnstown and approximately 70 miles east of Pittsburgh. (See map.)
Types of Camping: Girls can camp with their troop, family, by herself or with a buddy. 
Girl Scout members and non-members can also reserve Camp Conshatawba. 
Amenities: Climbing wall, traverse wall, low ropes course, zip line, challenge course, archery range, swimming pool, nature center, cross country ski trails, hiking trails, indoor theater stage, playing field and volleyball and basketball courts.

Meet the Camp Staff

Melissa "Rodeo" Anderson
Camp Director

Tell us about yourself: I love spending as much time outside as possible, sun, rain, or snow. I enjoy rock climbing, backpacking, skiing, and paddle boarding. I also play French horn and piano.
Camp has been a major part of my life from age seven on up. I grew up attending YMCA Camp MacLean in southern Wisconsin. I spent six years working on summer staff and volunteering for camp programs with Girl Scouts of Central Illinois. I am super excited to get to experience my first summer as director of Camp Conshatawba!

What's your favorite camp activity?

My favorite camp activity is teaching and participation in both low and high ropes. I also love singing songs and performing silly skits around the campfire!

What do you like best about camp?

I love getting to see and meet Girl Scouts who are first time campers and watch them grow throughout their time at camp. Seeing their smiles as they experience so many amazing opportunities and make new friends are truly priceless!

Do you have a favorite GSWPA camp memory?

So far, one of my favorite memories since starting with GSWPA, was at our January program, Frosty Fun. After taking some of the younger girls on a hike, many said their favorite part of the entire program was finding scat on the trail!

TJ Shank
Camp Ranger

Tell us about yourself: I have a wife, Toni, a nine-month-old daughter, Zoe, and a Border Collie named Buster. I like hiking and camping, playing video games and reading fantasy novels in my free time. 

What's your favorite camp activity? Archery has always been my favorite camp activity; when I was a program staff member as a teenager I was an archery instructor. 

What do you like best about camp? Taking a few moments to truly look around and appreciate the beauty around where I live and work.