Monday, February 26, 2018

Camp S'more Flashlight Feature: Better Than Fiction

Spend a week living in the world of the characters you've come to know and love. Girl Scouts moves at the speed of girls, and that's why we developed these camps sessions featuring popular stories and characters.

From living like Laura Ingles Wilder as a pioneer to the magical world of Hermione and Harry Potter or the fighting the Capitol with Katniss and Prim, the story never ends at GSWPA resident camp!

We’re shining our Flashlight Feature on the sessions below.

Little House on Laurel Run - Conshatawba
What would it take to be a pioneer on the great frontier? While learning skills like candle and soap making, weaving clothing, and navigation, you're sure to be a trailblazer!
Girls Grades: 2-5
Dates: July 22-27 Sun.-Fri. (5 nights)
Cost: $350 per person

Kamp Katniss - Hawthorne Ridge
The odds are most definitely in your favor! This session shoots straight into into fun at the archery range and learning outdoor skills to prepare for the games. 
Girls Grades: 4-8
Dates: July 1-6 Sun.-Fri. (5 nights)
Cost: $350 per person

Harry Potter Sessions - Hawthorne Ridge
Whether your a first-year or seventh-year at Hogwarts, there's a magical camp for you at GSWPA. The three sessions for the grade levels below are: A Week at Hogwarts, Triwizard Tournament and O.W.L.s Ordinary Wizarding Levels.
Girls Grades: 2-5, 5-8, 8-12
Dates: July 15-20 Sun.-Fri. (5 nights)
Cost: $350 per person

Other camp sessions with dragons and princesses, as well as pirates and lost treasure can be found in 2018 Camp S’more magazine. Check it out!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Seeking Girl Scout artists in western Pennsylvania

Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania has began a council-wide search for a remarkable, original piece of art to feature on the organization's annual holiday card.

The theme for the contest is Girl Scout Winter Adventurer. We're looking forward to seeing your best works of art that show what Girl Scouting during the winter season means to you.

Remember that as part of the Get Outdoors Winter Challenge, Girl Scouts in western Pennsylvania were challenged with various tasks to help capture the beauty of winter. With activities like drawing or taking pictures of winter trees, making snow paint and snow sculptures, or going on a winter landscape photo expedition, you should have ended up with some really special works of art! Consider submitting these works to the Holiday Card Art Contest.

Or, create a brand new masterpiece the next time the season sparks inspiration! Here are the details of the contest:

ELIGIBILITY: Artwork must be an original and created by a Girl Scout from the Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania council. The contest is open to Daisies through Ambassadors! All mediums and formats are encouraged and accepted. The deadline for submissions is Monday, April 30.

ENTERING THE CONTEST: To officially enter the Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania Holiday Card Art Contest, use the form below (or click here to open the form in a new window) to submit your information and your work of art or a photo of your work of art. If for any reason you have trouble uploading your file, please contact Melissa Gawlinski at Also, if your masterpiece is selected as a finalist, you may be asked to bring it to one of the GSWPA offices. This excludes works that are digital photos or videos.

Fill out my online form.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Three Girl Scouts Named GSWPA’s Top Youth Volunteers of the Year

Girl ScoutsWestern Pennsylvania (GSWPA) has named three Girl Scouts its top youth volunteers of the year. The honor was granted to Maria Ciao, 17, of Pittsburgh, Megan Sennett, 16, of Erie and Rebecca Shissler, 13, of Greensburg, as part of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

The honor was granted as part of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide youth volunteer recognition program sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

A nationwide youth volunteer recognition program, the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards are sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Ciao, a twelfth-grade student at North Hills Senior High School, earned her Girl Scout Gold Award, by working with her local government and the Autism Society of Pittsburgh to improve an existing playground to make it more sensory friendly for children with autism and other disabilities. Since age 12, Ciao has volunteered in a program that offers children with autism the opportunity to participate in activities such as riding horses and gardening. The beneficial experiences of these children inspired her to bring that joy to her neighborhood. As the project planner, volunteer coordinator, and fundraiser, Ciao has created a lasting improvement to her community playground by acquiring new sensory panels for the play area and benches and flowers to beautify the area. Her project created a more visually stimulating and sensory friendly place for children with autism and other disabilities.

Sennett, in eleventh grade at McDowell Senior High School, helped coordinate local volunteer efforts in Erie for the Toys For Tots organization. Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. Sennett recruited fellow cadets from her Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) unit, as well as members from her Girl Scout troop, to donate their time to the organization during the unloading of donations, sorting, repacking, and distribution of donated toys. Hundreds of families in the Erie area benefit every year from the work of Toys for Tots and their supporting volunteers like Sennett.

An eighth grade student at Greensburg-Salem Middle School, Shissler earned her Girl Scout Silver Award by building the Veteran’s Memorial Garden at Eastview Union Cemetery in Delmont. Until this project, there was no memorial for the 243 veterans laid to rest at the cemetery, nor a way to access the records for a family member buried there. Shissler worked with business owners, veteran’s groups, local government officials, and members of the Cemetery Board to develop a memorial to honor these veterans. The memorial includes a granite bench designed by Shissler, a 25-foot flag pole, a garden, inscribed paver stones, and an outdoor information center that displays the details the veterans buried there, dating back to the Civil War. Shissler obtained $3,700 in community donations for the project.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents America’s largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer service. Since 1995, the program has honored more than 115,000 youth volunteers at the local, state and national level. Learn more at or

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Camp S’more Flashlight Feature: First-Time Camper

As they say, every journey begins with the first step, and the same idea rings true at Girl Scout camp. We believe in helping girls progress in their adventures and skills by acknowledging when she masters a skill and always inviting her to challenge herself further.

So, what is the first step for a Girl Scout who is a first-time camper? From first grade to tenth, our 2018 camp lineup offers over a dozen sessions that make the perfect introduction to camp. These sessions are two or three nights long and are filled with the traditional activities like hiking,  swimming, campfires, and crafts. Each session includes additional unique activities to tie into the theme of the session.

We’re shining our Flashlight Feature on the sessions below.

Mini Explorers - Conshatawba
On this full exploration of camp, girls will hike, visit the creek, chase fireflies, and learn how to set up a pop up tent and build a campfire.
Girls Grades: 1- 3
Dates: August 8-10 Wed.-Fri. (2 nights)
Cost: $175 per person

Midnight Madness - Hawthorne Ridge
Soak up the stars through a telescope, peer into the weird quirks of nocturnal nature, and plan an after-dark glow party.
Girls Grades: 6-10
Dates: July 22-25 Sun.-Wed. (3 nights)
Cost: $225 per person

Splish Splash - Skymeadow
From playing in the creek to swimming in the pool, this one is about all things water like super soakers, water balloons, and slip 'n slide.
Girls Grades: 2-5
Dates: August 1-3 Wed.-Fri. (2 nights)
Cost: $175 per person

More sessions for first-time campers can be found in 2018 Camp S’more magazine. Check it out!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Troop 36002, all aboard the Cookie Bus!

To kick off National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend in the Erie area, Cadette Troop 36002 from North East will be selling cookies on this year's Cookie Bus on Friday, February 23.

The girls are excited for this opportunity to help them reach their cookie goals. The troop is hoping to sell 1,000 boxes during booth sales to help them power an upcoming outdoor excursion. The Cadettes are planning a camping trip to Ohiopyle, PA to hike, sleep in tents and go white water rafting.

"Most of the girls have never been tent camping, and they all have white water rafting on their Girl Scout bucket list," said troop leader Emile Carver.

Additionally, the girls are planning on teaming up with a local organization to help provide Christmas presents to high-school and middle-school aged children in their community who may not otherwise receive gifts due to financial harship.

The Cookie Bus, now in it's fourth year, is a result of a wonderful partnership between Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority (EMTA) and Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA). The bus will be stopping at locations to sell cookies and take donations to send cookies to the U.S. military though Operation: Sweet Appreciation.

Planned stops for the “e” Cookie Bus include:
  • 10:30-11 a.m.
    • City of Erie Municipal Building, State Street/South Park Row, 
  • 11:15-11:45 a.m.
    • Mercyhurst University, between Garvey Park and Baldwin Hall
  • 11:55 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
    • JMC Ice Arena/Erie Zoo parking lot, corner of West 38th and Cherry Streets
  • 12:30-1 p.m.
    • Millcreek Mall, Food Court entrance

Put a little bling on that booth, girls!

A blinged out and bedazzled cookie booth is a great way to draw in cookie customers. But it can also be a way to earn awesome prizes for your troop when you enter GSWPA's Bling Your Booth contest! Here's the low down: Bling Your Booth
Spice up your booth sales and get a chance at winning great prizes for your troop! All you have to do is let girls use their imagination and get creative about ways to decorate your cookie booth. Then, snap a photo of your troop in action at their cookie booth and upload it at by Sunday, March 25 at 11:59 p.m.

Photo entries will be posted to the GSWPA Facebook page the week of March 26, and voting will be open for one week after the photos are posted. Share the photo of your favorite booth and encourage friends to vote by "liking" your photo. The three photos receiving the most votes (likes) will win a $100, $75 or $50 gift certificate to the Girl Scout Shop!

Visit the official contest page, and be sure to check out Pinterest or Little Brownie Bakers for ideas and printables.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Girl Scouts spend a purr-fect afternoon with Pitt Lady Panthers

It was nothing but net and fun times at Girl Scout Day with the Pitt Lady Panthers on Sunday, February 4. The Pitt Lady Panthers took on Florida State at the Petersen Events Center on University of Pittsburgh's campus.

With great pre-game activities and hanging out with the coolest Girl Scout Panther in western Pennsylvania, these girls from Slippery Rock area Troop 20462 think this event was a slam dunk.

Thanks you, Pitt Women's Basketball, for the wonderful invitation. See you next time!

Check out this recap video from Pitt Women's Basketball Facebook page.

Friday, February 9, 2018

A whole new winter wonderland

One of the wonderful things about being a Girl Scout is embracing the "new." It could be cooking over a campfire, visiting a science center, crafting a homemade present, or bird watching. For Dakotah Vincent, it has been playing in the snow.

That's right! Dakotah, a 6-year old Daisy Girl Scout, recently moved with her family from Texas to McMurrary in Washington County. Dakotah joined Troop 52941 in November 2017 shortly after the move.

She jumped right into the fun by participating in the Get Outdoors Winter Challenge. "The list gave me ideas of fun things to do," Dakotah said. "It did not feel like I was working for something."

Dakotah likes the snow because it means sled riding and icicles. "It doesn't snow in Texas, so I have never seen an icicle until I moved here, but I like the icicles everywhere!" she said.

More than 300 individual girl and adult participants, as well as nearly 25 troops, have completed their requirements for the Get Outdoors Winter Challenge. Check out the album below for photos of other Girl Scouts exploring the snowy outdoors, and share your photos of the activities! 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Special Girl Scout Discount for Disney on Ice

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy set the stage for a star-studded talent extravaganza as Disney On Ice presents Reach For The Stars. The show will be hosting a special Scout Night on Friday, Feb. 23 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh at 7 p.m.

Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania members can take advantage of a special discounted group ticket price of $12.50.* Plus, each Girl Scout in attendance will receive a special Disney on Ice commemorative patch. This offer extends to anyone attending with a Girl Scout, so bring along your friends and family!

For more information or to reserve your tickets, call 412-804-7904 or email

*A 15-ticket minimum is required to qualify for the discount, and a single $10 handling fee will be added to the group total. The discount is valid on select 100 and 200 level seats. Restrictions, exclusions and additional charges may apply. Subject to availability. Discount is not valid with other offers. Offer expires 2/16/18.

About Disney on Ice
Reach For The Stars is a brand new show featuring a host of beloved Disney characters and stories. Join familiar faces like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, as well as new characters like Rapunzel from Tangled, Elsa from Frozen, and Belle from Beauty & the Beast as they sing and glide effortlessly over the ice. Suitable for all ages, Disney On Ice is a spectacular combination of highly talented skaters, dazzling costumes and vibrant light displays that recreates much loved moments and songs from the Disney catalogue. Although it's in an ice rink, little spirits are lifted and warmed with fun sing-alongs in the company of their favorite fairy tale heroes.