Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Intern returns to GSWPA to help girls enjoy the outdoors

Christina enjoys the view at Weminuche Wilderness near Silverton, Colorado.
Give a big Girl Scouts welcome to Christina Spohn, who joined GSWPA recently as a Education and Outreach Intern in the council’s Pittsburgh headquarters.

Christina is no stranger to western Pennsylvania or Girl Scouts. A Pine-Richland graduate from Pittsburgh, Christina was a Girl Scout from kindergarten until she earned her Gold Award as a high school senior. She attended resident camp every summer and worked at Camp Redwing.

While a student at Pennsylvania State University’s main campus, she stayed active in Girl Scouts through a campus program called On My Honor, working with girls from the Heart of Pennsylvania council. She conducted badge workshops and participated in coordinating Journey weekends.

Her experiences in Girl Scouts inspired her to continue seeking outdoor adventures. Christina was drawn to outdoor recreation all through college, participating on three trail crews with the Student Conservation Association (SCA), and eventually serving as an apprentice SCA leader.

While in college, Christina also conducted surveys for Penn State’s department of recreation.

After Christina graduated with her B.S. in recreation, park and tourism management in 2014, she headed west to Colorado where she worked for Outward Bound, a provider of experience-based outdoor leadership programs for youth and adults.

Her westward travels included visits to iconic national parks, including Joshua Tree and Death Valley.

Christina was interested in the position at GSWPA because she was excited to help girls and volunteers in her hometown Girl Scout council feel more confident outdoors. She especially likes working behind the scenes, researching and creating memorable moments in the outdoors.

“I enjoy looking at outdoor recreation objectively,” Christina said. “I explore what we’re offering now and see how we can improve or enhance experiences for the future.”

Christina looks forward to sharing her love for the outdoors with Girl Scouts and helping build the foundation for outdoor program delivery. She sees community partnerships as an important opportunity to support volunteers and connect more Girl Scouts with outdoor adventures.

Not unlike the spirit of the Gold Award, the work she does today will positively impact girls for years to come.

“I hope that future interns can build upon the work we’re doing now,” she said.

Christina is happy to be back in western Pennsylvania, and so is her Pittsburgh-based family.

“My mom loves that I’m not living in Colorado,” she laughed.

Christina’s intern position is part of 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. Christina is the second intern hired through this program. Curriculum and Training Intern Ariel Barasch joined GSWPA in August.

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