Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Girl Scouts earn religious awards

Pastor Gino Cosentino presented Serena Shotts
with the God and Me award at One Hope Church
For Girl Scouts, religious recognition programs reinforce many of the values they learn through Girl Scouting and help them grow stronger in and learn more about their chosen faith.

Congratulations to these western Pennsylvania Girl Scouts who recently earned recognition through P.R.A.Y. programs!

God and Me:
  • Serena Shotts, Marion Center
"God and Me" is designed to help children become best friends with Jesus and tell their story of “God and Me” together.

God and Family:
  • Ariana Schwab, Irwin
"God and Family" helps youth understand the importance of family and God’s role in a healthy family and provides an opportunity for young people and their families to explore their faith together.

God and Church:
  • Elaina Hamer, Altoona
  • Olivia Saylor, Mars
  • Victoria Saylor, Mars
  • Mackenze Spence, Cheswick
  • Jocelyn Schwab, Irwin
The "God and Church" program leads girls on a faith journey with three parts: meeting Jesus, worshiping God, and witnessing and ministering for Christ.

Learn more
You can learn about these awards as well as other faith-based recognition and emblems at

Girl Scouts of all levels can earn the My Promise, My Faith pin, which invites them to experience a faith journey through exploration of the Girl Scout Law and teachings from their faith. Girls can earn this national pin each year.

The National Catholic Committee for Girl Scouts & Camp Fire offers religious recognitions for girls throughout many counties in the GSWPA council.

Also, the Catholic Committee on Scouting serving the Pittsburgh region offers several events for Girl Scouts, including an annual Girl Scout/Boy Scout retreat, as well as information on earning special patches, awards and religious emblems. For more information, visit the committee's website or read the most recent Catholic Committee on Scouting newsletter.

Win passes for your troop to Splash Lagoon!

UPDATE: This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Troop 36650 of Millcreek and Troop 55221 of Sewickley for being chosen as the winners of the passes! 
Get more girls to join the fun and you could win big during the MagNut Program! Thanks to our friends at the Erie Community Foundation, two troops will make a big splash as they start the new Girl Scout year with passes to Splash Lagoon in Erie.

Here’s what you need to do: 

  • List your troop in our Troop Opportunity Catalog. Complete this form if you aren't listed, or to update your troop information.
  • Add at least two new girls to your troop by Oct. 31.
  • Participate in Operation: Sweet Appreciation (OSA) through the MagNut Program by selling 20 cans of Honey Roasted Peanuts for OSA.
That’s it! The contest ends on Oct. 31, and we’ll announce our two winning troops (up to 10 passes per troop) on Nov. 10 on Facebook, so be sure to like us on Facebook.

Monday, August 29, 2016

How you can shine with the MagNut Program

The Cookie Program is still a few months away, and there’s a lot of fun stuff to do right now! Build your troop’s funds at the beginning of the year through the MagNut Program, which helps girls set and achieve goals by selling magazines, photo keepsakes, nuts and candy.

The MagNut Program kicks off on October 1, so get ready! Here are all the ways the MagNut Program can help you “Be Brilliant and Shine On!”

Fund the fun
The 2016 MagNut patch
Troops receive 15 percent of all sales, which totaled more than $300,000 last year! Council proceeds are used to subsidize programs and services for our members and maintain our beautiful camps. Plus troops receive an additional 2 percent in troop proceeds for online magazine/photo keepsake, nuts and candy orders.

Earn Girl Scout Bucks and awesome recognitions
Girls can earn Girl Scout Bucks to use for GSWPA camps and activities, service unit-sponsored day camps, council shops and Girl Scout registration fees. Girl Scout Bucks earned through the MagNut Program DOUBLE in value when used toward GSWPA-sponsored camps, and girls can also earn fun Recognitions!

Choose your participation

Girls can customize their participation in the MagNut Program to make it work for them. Sell online, sell in person, or both. Sell only nuts and candy, or add magazine and photo keepsakes to the mix to boost your sales even more. And the Reach Out Booklets are an easy way for girls to help her troop earn funds. Do it all, or just some. It’s up to you! And girls don’t even have to be part of a troop to participate. 

Develop the Five Skills
Like the Cookie Program, the MagNut Program helps girls to develop Five Skills they'll use throughout their lives: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

Simplify holiday shopping

Camp Pack Tin with Mint Treasures
All of the products sold through the MagNut Program make fantastic stocking stuffers and holiday gifts for family, friends, teachers, neighbors and anyone else on your customers’ shopping lists! And the online exclusive corporate gifts are great for those looking for gifts for clients, employees and colleagues.

Send treats to the military

Help us send Honey Roasted Peanuts to our military at home and overseas while earning more MagNut funds by encouraging customers to donate to Operation: Sweet Appreciation. It’s a win-win! BONUS: Sell at least 20 cans for OSA and you could be eligible to enter to win passes to Splash Lagoon!

Find more information and resources on the MagNut Program on our MagNut Product Sellers page.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Intern aims to connect more girls, volunteers to the outdoors

Please give a warm Girl Scout welcome to Ariel Barasch, our council’s new Curriculum and Training Intern.

Ariel's role is to help GSWPA staff enhance outdoor and conservation activities for girls and volunteers, organize local service opportunities for family and community members, and assist in increasing girl participation levels and volunteer confidence in the outdoors.

Ariel was born in Connecticut, spent her young childhood in New Jersey, and graduated from high school in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a December 2015 graduate of Auburn University, where she earned two degrees: a B.S. in Natural Resources Management and a B.A. in English.

Ariel is no stranger to outdoor adventures. She loves to hike, ski, kayak, canoe and camp. She’s a world-traveler, too, having trekked through most of Europe, much of Central America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Ariel’s passion for exploring the outdoors was sparked in fifth grade during a five-day school trip to the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, an educational center that provides hands-on learning experiences in the National Park. “I thought what they did there was so incredibly cool,” Ariel said. “I went back to summer camp there every year I could.”

During her internship at GSWPA, she hopes to inspire girls and volunteers to love the outdoors, too. Luckily, western Pennsylvania provides plenty of destinations.

“One of the great things about this region is that you’re never very far from a state park,” she said.

Ariel added that while proximity isn’t a barrier, lack of familiarity prevents many people from enjoying the outdoors. Her job is to help volunteers and girls build confidence gradually.

“It’s like a staircase,” Ariel said. “You build higher-level skills and gain confidence, one step at a time.”

Research shows that outdoor experiences benefit Girl Scouts and are a key driver of leadership. Nonetheless, nearly 60 percent of girls are not getting frequent contact with the outdoors in Girl Scouts.

Ariel hopes to change that by creating outdoors-based programs that encourage girls and volunteers to try outdoor activities more often.

“Educating volunteers is vital to helping girls,” she said.

Ariel’s intern position is the first of its kind at GSWPA. It’s part of a collaboration between GSUSA and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) that is funded by a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation. This pilot program include five councils: GSWPA, Girl Scouts of Alaska, Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, Girl Scouts of Greater New York, and Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan. Visit for more information.