Thursday, September 17, 2020

Is that Take Action project award-winning?

Every day, Girl Scouts in western Pennsylvania are making the world a better place through meaningful Take Action projects. Now, these girls have a chance to be honored for their hard work by applying for the 2021 Prudential Spirit of Community Award.

Girls Scouts in grades 5-12 can apply online at Application Certifications should be emailed to GSWPA by Nov. 10, 2020, to Be sure to use Prudential Award in the subject line. Applications will be reviewed and one or more Girl Scouts will be selected to represent our council in the state-level judging by Nov. 20, 2020.

Top state-level honorees will receive special recognition from Prudential; the top high school and middle school volunteers will receive silver medallions, $1,000 awards, and an all-expense-paid trip to the nation's capital for several days of national recognition events. State-level winners will be announced Feb. 9, 2021. The top 10 youth volunteers for 2021 will be announced at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in May 2021. National Honorees will receive an additional $5,000, engraved Gold medallions, trophies for their school or organization, and a $5,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation for a charitable nonprofit organization of his or her choice.

For more information, please visit or call 877-525-8491 if you need a paper application.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Ready for a wild time at GSWPA Zoo Day

>> Register now for GSWPA Zoo Day

Girl Scouts are taking over the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium on September 12—a day packed full of fun activities with your favorite animals and special, Girl Scout-only experiences.

Important notes:

  • In order to social distance, we will have timed entries.  Please do not arrive any earlier than your registered time.  Also, to assist in maintaining social distance, we will NOT be accepting any walk-ins this year and there will not be any photographers with the Giraffe.
  • Face masks will be required for all participants who attend any Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania events. Face masks are to be worn in both indoor and outdoor locations. This state mandate will apply to individuals over the age of 2
  • Events will following guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all attendees will need to stay at least six feet away from others and practice everyday safety steps such as washing hands often and covering coughs and sneezes.

All Girl Scouts will receive 10% off merchandise in all Zoo gift shops. Please wear your Girl Scout uniform or shirt! This discount does not apply to already discounted items, rentals, or media.

Are you a member of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium? If so, you are eligible for a discounted rate of $1 per person for Girl Scout Day at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. You must submit this form in advance!

There will be NO walk-In registrations this year, so register in advance!

Event Schedule

Garden Tent 10 a.m.–2 p.m.—Meet several small animal ambassadors from the Education Department. Bring your camera!

Special Feedings and Activities

  • PPG Aquarium 10:30 a.m.—Penguin feeding
  • PPG Aquarium 11 a.m.—Divers in the Open Ocean...with a special message for Girl Scouts!
  • Kids Kingdom 11:30 a.m.—Sealion feeding—See Smiley, our newest sea lion pup born on June 10, 2020!
  • Water’s Edge Noon—Polar bears feeding (in the water)
  • Water’s Edge 12:30 p.m.—Sea otter feeding
  • Water’s Edge 1 p.m.—Northern elephant seal feeding
  • Water’s Edge 3 p.m.—Sea otter feeding
  • Kids Kingdom 3:30 p.m.—Sealion feeding—See Smiley, our newest sea lion pup born on June 10, 2020!

Enrichment Activities (treats and toys for the animals)

See if you can spot the Girl Scout Cookie boxes! (Cookie boxes are filled with apples and carrots—not cookies.)

  • African Savanna 10:30 a.m.—Elephant enrichment
  • Gorilla Overlook 11 a.m.—Gorilla enrichment
  • Cheetahs 11:30 a.m.—Cheetah enrichment & Meet the keeper
  • The Islands 1:30 p.m.—Visayan warty pigs enrichment
  • The Islands 2 p.m.—Clouded leopard enrichment & Meet the Keeper
  • Gorilla Overlook 2:30 p.m.—Gorilla enrichment

>> Register now for GSWPA Zoo Day

Monday, August 10, 2020

S'more ways to make a s'more

In honor of National S'mores Day this year, GSWPA held a S'more Recipe Challenge. We wanted to highlight all of our participants because all of these sound so delicious! Enjoy these amazing recipes from some of GSWPA's s'more experts.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank receives donated Girl Scout Cookies

On July 13, GSWPA donated nearly 1,000 packages of cookies to the  Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank thanks to ingenuity from a local corporate leader. This initiative was led by Yvonne Cook, president of Highmark Foundation and vice president of community health and programs at Highmark Health, who challenged fellow corporate women leaders and the greater Pittsburgh community to donate remaining cookie inventory in support of the food bank and local Girl Scouts. Thank you, Pittsburgh community, for making a difference in your community and to the team at the food bank for their work!

Monday, July 20, 2020

GSWPA Service Day Ideas

There are so many ways to get your Girl Scouts involved in making the world a better place, and community service is an awesome way for girls to take on issues in their own neighborhoods and communities. Not only will it help set up interest for this year's Take Action projects, but community service projects strengthen the bonds between the girls and bring them closer together.

When you participate in GSWPA Service Day on Saturday, September 26, you'll be able to make an impact in a big way as we come together as a council to benefit our communities all across western Pennsylvania.

Tips for GSWPA Service Day projects

From a small project to maybe something bigger, start by reading through some of our best tips for a successful project.
  • Start by talking to your Girl Scouts about volunteering in the community. Be ready to take notes! They will most likely be overflowing with ideas on how to help others.
  • Once you have an idea, reach out to organizations for their specific needs to make sure your work will be as helpful as possible.
  • About 2-4 weeks before GSWPA Service Day, gather or purchase any supplies and be sure to receive permission when planning projects in public or private places.
  • Bring an expert to a troop meeting for the girls to interview, take them to potential sites for observation, or help them with internet research. 
  • Always refer to the Safety Activity Checkpoints for best practices and safe work.
  • Staying true to the girl-led aspect of Girl Scout programming, their GSWPA Service Day project should involve more than having girls show up and take direction from adults. Cultivate their leadership through active participation in all aspects from planning to execution!

Never underestimate the power of a Girl Scout! 

Girl Scouts of all ages can participate and make a difference. Whether you have troop money to put towards a project or if you are looking for a project with zero to low cost, here are just a few ideas to get you started!

Daisies and Brownies:
  • Make blankets or toys for a local animal shelter.
  • Decorate bags or placemats for a meal delivery service.
  • Learn to make shelters for bees, birds, or other animals and place them appropriately.
  • Plant a butterfly garden at your school or park.
Juniors and Cadettes:
  • Clean trails at a nature center by clearing brush and trash.
  • Volunteer for a community program at a library, youth organization, etc.
  • Repaint worn benches in a community park.
  • Make bird feeders for a senior living center, a local park, or other community area.
Seniors and Ambassadors:
  • Make and serve meals at a local shelter.
  • Pair up with younger Girl Scouts to teach a skill or help with a project.
  • Work with your local municipality to plant trees and flowers at a park, library, or school.
  • Paint over graffiti in public places with permission from businesses or local municipalities.
Ideas for all ages:
  • Assemble hygiene kits for a woman's shelter.
  • Organize a game night, ice cream social, or just a visit at a local senior living center.
  • Collect art supplies for your school or local children's hospital.
  • Offer to decorate a storefront, library, or municipal building for the coming fall season.
Remember to invite local media to cover your GSWPA Service Day activity. Your Girl Scouts are doing amazing work, and their community will be excited to celebrate with them! For help contacting media, reach out to Stef Marshall at


Pledge your participation for 2020 GSWPA Service Day!

Fill out my online form.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

2020 Joyce M. Murtha Excellence in Community Service Award recipient announced

GSWPA is pleased to announce our 43rd annual Awards of Distinction in Johnstown, a community dinner to benefit our council and celebrate excellence in community service.

Monday, September 28, 2020
Sunnehanna Country Club
Johnstown, Pennsylvania

Presented by:

Our annual community awards dinner in Johnstown has been a tradition for more than four decades. The event builds critical support to keep the Girl Scouting tradition strong in the greater Johnstown region, especially to reach new populations who may not otherwise have access to Girl Scouts' leadership programming.

The luncheon is presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and promises to be sponsored by numerous more national and regional companies. John Polacek of JWF Industries is the Event Chair along with Event Committee members Michele Adams, Jack Babich, Timothy Brown, Becky Styles, and David Zucco.

The dinner features a Girl Scout flag ceremony and testimonial, an inspiring keynote address by a local community leader, and the presentation of the Joyce M. Murtha Excellence in Community Service Award to an individual or couple who embodies the award namesake's values of improving the community through service, philanthropy, and leadership.

We are pleased to announce this year’s recipient of the Joyce M. Murtha Excellence in Community Service Award, Linda Thomson, President of Johnstown Area Regional Industries (JARI). JARI is a full-service economic development agency headquartered in downtown Johnstown. Thomson has worked personally and in her role at JARI to increase the quality of life in the Johnstown community.

“Linda has been instrumental in the strategy to revitalize the greater Johnstown area economy," says Event Chair John Polacek. "She has worked to put us on the map once again by bringing commerce, industry, and jobs to the area I am proud to call home. Not only does she excel in her role at JARI but gives back through her service on numerous boards and in her faith community. That captures the spirit of Girl Scouts who work to make the world a better place.”

Girl Scouts is committed to bringing the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to all girls. In addition to our traditional volunteer-led troop model, our grant-funded outreach team serves more than 100 girls in four public housing communities in the Johnstown area: Solomon Homes, Coopersdale, Prospect Homes, and Oakhurst. Proceeds from this event will continue to support programming in the region and initiatives such as these to make Girl Scouting accessible to more girls.

Tickets are $125 each, or $1,000 for a table of eight.  We invite you to also consider a program book advertisement or event sponsorship, which includes tickets to the dinner.  To learn more and purchase tickets, please visit

Fortunately, and before the public health crisis, we shifted the timing of our annual Awards of Distinction dinner benefiting Girl Scouts from spring to fall 2020 to accommodate Johnstown’s busy charitable calendar. We have every hope to host our full dinner program, but will be sure to monitor and abide by all safety guidelines and communicate to you any changes.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Your voice counts! Take the Girl Scout Voices Count survey!

At Girl Scouts, we care about your experience, good or bad, and we want to hear from you!

In May, we’ll be conducting a national survey with girls, parents/caregivers, and troop leaders called Girl Scout Voices Count. (Service unit volunteers will be surveyed in June.) We will use your feedback to find out what’s working and not and to improve our services and programs.

The surveys open May 6. Save the date and be sure to check your email for the invitation to participate. As a thank you, everyone who completes the survey will have a chance to win one of 20 $50 gift cards! We can’t wait for you to make your voice count!

Questions? Check out the survey FAQs or contact

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Another year for Girl Scouts to "Give A Little Love"

UPDATE: The registration deadline has been extended to Monday, March 9!

The "Give a Little Love" donation drive is back!  Registration has begun, and the donation drive runs March 1-31.

With the Goodwill “Give A Little Love” Donation Drive and Community Service Project, Girl Scouts are encouraged to collect gently used items for donation to Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Collected goods will be sold in 26 Goodwill Retail Stores to benefit Goodwill’s many programs and services to help individuals with barriers to employment.

April 30, 2020 Update: As a participant, you will have the opportunity to earn a Goodwill patch recognizing your commitment to your community. The top two Girl Scouts with the most donations will win GSWPA program vouchers courtesy of Goodwill! 
(This is a change from the paid trip to camp due to the COVID-19 closures of GSWPA camps until August 31, 2020.) 

Download a 2020 Give A Little Love Participation Kit to get started!