Monday, October 31, 2016

Girls celebrate Founder's Day with service

Girl Scouts’ founder, Juliette Gordon Low, left a legacy that has inspired millions of girls over the last century to confidently and courageously help make the world a better place.

In honor of Low’s birthday, also called Founder’s Day, local Girl Scouts put her mission into practice at the Fort Necessity Founder’s Day Service Celebration.

Sixteen girls and 10 adults participated in the service project, weeding and mulching around nearly 100 trees and improving the natural aesthetic of the meadows surrounding Fort Necessity and the Veteran’s Memorial.

The participants learned about the conservation plan for Fort Necessity and the desire to have the landscape look as if the visitor was stepping back into the 1750s.

Through hands-on activities, the girls explored how the local Seneca tribe of Native Americans dressed and communicated with wampum.

A walk out to the fort to taught the girls more about the trial and error young George Washington went through during the battle of Fort Necessity.

“The girls learned not only about how to protect
resources, but also about the history of the park,” said Christina Spohn, GSWPA Education and Outreach Intern. Spohn said the adult volunteers enjoyed the project, too, and showed interest in finding more outdoors activities for Girl Scouts.

"This project is a perfect fit to celebrate Founder's Day, as well as the centennial of both the Girl Scout Gold Award, which is all about taking action to help the community, and the National Park Service," said Jackie Dineen, Director, Partnerships and Girl Events at GSWPA.

"It’s important for girls to see that giving back and enjoying the outdoors can go hand in hand." 

Through this project, girls earned the Girl Scout Ranger certificate, and a few even earned the Girl Scout Ranger patch.

Spohn'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.

Visit for more information.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Keep the MagNut momentum going!

It's not too late to earn funds for Girl Scouting adventures through the MagNut Program--even if you haven't started yet!

In-person ordering has come to a close, but there's plenty of time is left to sell nuts, candy, magazines and photo keepsakes online. Online orders will be accepted through Friday, November 18.

How do we promote the MagNut Program to friends and family?

The great thing about online sales is that friends and family can support your Girl Scout, no matter where they live! Here are some ways to spread the word:

1. Send emails to friends and family right from your Girl Scout's personalized sales site. If you send 12 emails through the site, your Girl Scout will receive a special online sales patch!

2. Share the link on social media. We've even created this great video that you can include that explains the MagNut Program.  

3. Encourage customers to send cans of honey roasted peanuts to our military men and women through Operation: Sweet Appreciation. They can donate online at Just be sure to tell them to include your Girl Scout's name on the "Review Your Donation" screen when donating so she and her troop gets credit.

My Girl Scout hasn't yet participated. How do we get started?

It's easy! If your troop is participating in the MagNut Program, just set up her online sales site and promote it via social media or email.

1. Visit

2. Select "Returning Participant" if you participated last year, or "First Time Visitor" if you're new to the MagNut Program.

3. Walk through the simple steps to set up her online page. (Did you know adding a photo or video can help your Girl Scout's sales?) Send emails to friends and family right from your Girl Scout's personalized sales site. If you send 12 emails through the site, your Girl Scout will receive a special online sales patch!

4. Share her page on Facebook or Twitter. Your followers can place orders simply by clicking on the story about your Girl Scout's page.

That's all there is to it! You can set up alerts to know when orders are placed so your Girl Scout can thank her customers for their support. There's no paperwork to send your troop leader, either.

What's so special about the MagNut Program? 
  • Troops can earn revenue to start their Girl Scout year before the Cookie Program. 
  • Girls can earn Girl Scout Bucks, which double in value when used toward any GSWPA sponsored camp in 2017. That's double the fun!  
  • MagNut proceeds subsidize programs and services for our members and maintain our beautiful camps.  
  • Girls gain first-hand business experience and learn important skills like goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics. 
  • All of the items available through the MagNut Program make perfect gifts for teachers, family, friends and neighbors! Customers can choose from: 
    • 25 different nut & candy items ranging in price from $6 to $8; 
    • Five nut & candy corporate gifts (online only); 
    •  Hundreds of popular magazine titles; 
    • and one-of-a-kind photo keepsake creations.
Questions? Email or call 800-248-3355. We're happy to help!

Saving and giving at the GS Shop Holiday Open House

Get ready for the most wonderful time of the year!

Visit the Girl Scout Shop Holiday Open House, Saturday, Nov. 12 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at our Edinboro, Pittsburgh and Greensburg locations to begin your holiday shopping early with new seasonal merchandise and special savings.

The Girl Scout Shop features gifts for current Girl Scouts, troop leaders, parents and alumnae, as well as all the gear and uniform basics needed for adventures in Girl Scouting.

Get a free gift with any $50+ purchase (while supplies last). 

Bring a non-perishable food donation and receive 15% off your entire order (some exclusions apply), or receive a free Food Drive fun patch if you're a Daisy-Ambassador (girls must be present to receive patch).

Browse our online shop to start making your list, and we'll see you on Nov. 12!

New! Emoticon pillow

New! Inspirational shirt

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Share how you lead to build a better world through the Girl Scout Challenge!

Girl Scouts make the world a better place. It's who we are. It's what we do. It's as much a part of being a Girl Scout as camp, cookies, and badges (maybe more!).

This year, Girl Scouts is participating in the 90th Anniversary Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade®, where we'll celebrate our girls and all the amazing things they do. It's going to be amazing! We'll show everyone how G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-Takers, Leaders)™ take action to build a better world----and we want every Girl Scout to be part of this magical experience.

So, how can you join in?

Now through December 27, we invite you to show the world how Girl Scouts get things done through the ToGetHerThere Girl Scout Challenge! GSUSA wants to hear about our girls' projects, can-do attitude, and all the inspiring results. When girls share their story, they'll automatically be entered for a chance to win a $500 scholarship sponsored by MetLife Foundation.

Want to take on the challenge? Just visit, upload a selfie and explain what you do to take the lead to build a better world. 

Girls must be 13 or older to submit their own stories. Girls under 13 should ask an adult for help.

Give the gift of Girl Scouting on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are days to remember those special people on your holiday list.

But do you know about Giving Tuesday? That's the day to remember the community organizations, like Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania, that make a difference in the lives of your family and so many others.  

Now in its sixth year, Giving Tuesday has become a global movement to celebrate and encourage giving. Since its start in 2012, Giving Tuesday has spread to 71 countries and raised nearly $117 million online.

Starting on Tuesday, Nov. 28 and extending through the holidays, GSWPA will be joining charitable organizations from all over the globe to show that the world gives as good as it gets

Why support GSWPA on #GivingTuesday?

Last year, more than $45,000 in financial assistance was awarded to 2,200 girls in Western Pennsylvania so they could have these life-changing experiences with Girl Scouts.

We rely largely on donations--both big and small--to make this possible.

Please consider kicking off your holiday giving season with an end-of-year charitable gift on or before Giving Tuesday, and help us bring Girl Scouting to more girls. We appreciate your support! 

Donate now >






Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Aspiring photographers invited to workshop at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

©Stephanie Sinclair/National Geographic
Calling all girls of vision! Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors are invited to learn about photography at one of three workshops, "Photography: Science, Nature & Culture," at Carnegie Museum of Natural History on Nov. 5 and 6.

First, get inspired by visiting “Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment," a traveling exhibition that highlights the influential photography of 11 award-winning female photojournalists. 

Then, grab your camera to tackle several photography challenges throughout the museum that will build your skills and share your story! 

The museum will provide a light snack and all additional required materials. Ambassadors will earn the Photographer Badge and younger girls will receive a patch. Registration fee includes same-day admission to Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History.

All girls must attend with a troop or parent/guardian. All adults must be registered and approved volunteers.

Three sessions will be held: 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

St. Vincent Foundation invites Girl Scout troops to help make the 2017 holidays merry and bright!

Sign your troop up today to decorate a color tree at the 2017  Festival of Trees, an annual holiday event, which will be held at the Bayfront Convention Center, Nov. 24-26.

Troops can reserve one or more trees to decorate in a Girl Scout theme.

Visitors will view your uniquely decorated tree(s), browse the professionally decorated trees in the main gallery, visit Santa’s Castle, take part in interactive events for children and enjoy a host of local entertainment from the area’s top performers.

Here are some important details about decorating a tree at this event:
  • Troops who sign up to decorate a tree must supply all of their own decorations, including a tree skirt.
  • The Festival of Trees will provide a prelit tree which will be available and ready for decorating at the Bayfront Convention Center.
  • Trees are 7.5-foot slim trees. Decorated trees must not be higher than 12 feet.
  • A sign displaying your troop number is recommended.
  • Trees may be decorated on-site Tuesday, Nov. 21, noon-9 p.m. and Wednesday, Nov. 22, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Trees will not be available to decorate after this time.
  • Due to the limited amount of trees available to Girl Scouts, sign-up is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Please note: All supplies, set-up, and removal of decorations are the responsibility of the troop who signs up to decorate a tree. All trees must be decorated to allow 360 degree viewing.

Complimentary Tickets: Each troop will be given two (2) general admission tickets per tree that they have decorated. Additional tickets will be available for purchase by calling Children’s Miracle Network at 814.452.5961.

Email for more information or to sign up your troop.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Founder's Day Service Celebration at Fort Necessity

Fort Necessity National Battlefield
Many troops and girls pay tribute to Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low through service projects in honor of Low's birthday on Oct. 31. 

Also knows as Founder's Day, this traditional Girl Scout observance is an opportunity for girls to make their corner of the world a better place.

This year, Girl Scouts can also honor the beauty and history of a local national park at the Founder's Day Service Celebration at Fort Necessity in Fayette County on Saturday, Oct. 29.

During the event, girls can get their hands dirty at a national battlefield while also learning about the history and ecology of the site. 

The morning will be spent on a service project to restore the great meadows around the fort back to the time of battle in 1754 and the afternoon will include a presentation and tour of the site. By the end of the day, girls will earn a Girl Scout Ranger certificate and will be halfway to earning their Girl Scout Ranger patch.

"Working on a conservation project at a historical site can help girls understand that national parks often preserve many facets of America’s history and natural beauty," said Christina Spohn, GSWPA Education and Outreach intern. "Fort Necessity captures how important our region was in the creation of the United States."

Christina says that she hopes the Founder's Day event educates people about the national parks in our council. "Many people in western Pennsylvania don’t realize that we have several national parks right in our backyard." Learn more and register for the Founder's Day Celebration at Fort Necessity.

National Parks in our backyard

In addition to Fort Necessity, here are a few other national parks located within GSWPA's council:

Christina is eager to help Girl Scouts discover more national treasures in Pennsylvania and nearby states. "I'm working on a resource guide to help troop leaders find county, state and national parks in our region and connect to the people who can help girls go on amazing adventures," she said.

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.

Visit for more information.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Girl Scouts have a blast at Behrend STEM program

Tracy Halmi guides a hands-on activity.
Photo by Rob Frank.
Nearly 100 Girl Scouts—from Daisy to Ambassador—enjoyed a day exploring the fun and challenges of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at Penn State Behrend in Erie.
Brownies, troop leaders and parents watch the exciting
finale at the Home Scientist presentation.
Photo by Rob Frank.

Girls had the opportunity to earn two badges by participating in engaging and exciting sessions like Geocaching, Computer Expert, Product Designer, Water and more.

A total of 16 badge sessions were offered, all created and presented by Penn State Behrend faculty and students.

During the Home Scientist session, senior lecturer in chemistry Tracy Halmi and her students helped Brownies see the science all around them through fun demonstrations on bubbles, electricity and density. 

Girls learned by doing through hands-on activities making polymer “worms,” creating their own cold and hot packs, and learning ways that electricity is conducted.

The session ended with a bang, literally, as Halmi tested the girls’ hypothesis about what would happen if she placed a plastic bottle filled with liquid nitrogen in a trash can full of ping pong balls. Halmi then prepared a cool dessert for the girls, using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream.

More STEM-tastic fun for Girl Scouts
Junior and Cadette Girl Scouts are invited to join female engineering students at the University of Pittsburgh to learn about different engineering fields and participate in fun STEM activities.

Girl Scout Engineering Day at Pitt on Saturday, Oct. 22 will feature exciting science demonstrations, four interactive science activities and the opportunity to meet women engineers. Lunch and our brand new patch and certificate of completion are also included. Register for this free program today.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

SCA interns make conservation connection for girls

Christina guides Girl Scouts and volunteers through a
watershed activity at Journeypalooza.
Student Conservation Association (SCA) interns Ariel Barasch and Christina Spohn teamed up to bring a watershed moment to Girl Scout Journeypalooza at Camp Redwing on Sept. 23.

Ariel, who is the Curriculum and Training intern at GSWPA, created a curriculum to help Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts understand how people impact a community's watershed and its freshwater supplies.

Christina, the council's Education and Outreach intern, conducted the hands-on activities at Journeypalooza based on Ariel's curriculum.

During one activity, girls used aluminum foil and washable markers to create a model of how watersheds are formed.

"Watersheds help girls see the bigger picture of where they live and how what goes in their local creek will end up traveling across the country and into the Gulf of Mexico," explained Christina.

The interns' work at GSWPA focuses on conservation education, which Christina says is best taught by connecting conservation to girls' everyday lives.

"Talking about the pollutants in the huge Ohio River watershed while standing next to the small Connoquenessing Creek at Redwing can help girls make that connection," she said

The SCA internships at GSWPA are 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.

Conservation gets Creepy

Don't miss the SCA interns at Camp Creepy, the annual Halloween festival at GSWPA camps.

Ariel will be all about bats at Camp Redwing on Saturday, Oct. 8, sharing bat facts and fun activities including making "Bat Bites" snacks. She'll also be on hand for the "Ask Ariel" station to answer in-depth questions about conservation.

Christina has partnered with the Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center to provide a live owl program Camp Hawthorne Ridge's event on Saturday, Oct. 22. The center will be bringing a few owls and a hawk along with educational materials so participants can learn about raptor adaptations and the work that the center does to care for injured wild animals.