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  • Pennsylvania Girl Scout Travels to Rural India to Provide First Aid Lessons to Over 1,000 Students

    September 25, 2015 (Hummelstown, Pa.) –Ambassador Girl Scout Shreya Thakur, 17, from Hummelstown, Pa. didn’t let over 6,000 miles or a language barrier stop her drive to provide rural students in Bihar, India essential lifesaving skills. She saw it as a challenge, which inevitably earned her the most prestigious and highest award in Girl Scouting, the Girl Scout Gold Award, through Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA).  

    “Although I knew that it would be hard to create a Gold Award Project so far away from home with unfamiliar people speaking an unfamiliar language, I knew that nothing was impossible if I believed that what I was doing was beneficial and important to people,” said Shreya.

    And it is important to the people of rural Bihar, India, where hospitals are far away and hard to access while injuries happen frequently. “If someone falls unconscious or severely injures him/herself, it takes approximately 28 minutes, if not more, due to traffic and availability, for an ambulance to arrive. In that much time, a severely injured or unconscious person can possibly die.”

    Bihar holds a special place in Shreya’s heart because it is the village where her mother grew up. Enlisting the help from her grandparents, who live in Bihar, Shreya pulled together a list of eight middle and high schools where she could teach essential First Aid lessons to the students. With locations established all she had to do was translate her Cardio Pulmonary Re...

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  • Unity Binds Girl Scouts Together

    Unity is an idea that is widespread in Girl Scouts from sporting badges, sashes and Girl Scout green; holding hands in a Friendship Circle; and promising to always being there for one another. And GSHPA made just that promise to its volunteers by announcing UNITY, the word of the year, during the 2015 Volunteer KickOff, held on Sept. 12th in Harrisburg.


    Every attendee was asked to think of word that would inspire them throughout the Girl Scout year. “As a membership team, our word is unity,” said Suzanne Moore, Girl Scout in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s (GSHPA) Chief Operations Officer (COO) as she opened the event. “We will never be successful in growing membership, creating exciting programs, or building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place unless the relationship between every volunteer and our staff is stronger.”


    And with that the strength training began. Hundreds of Girl Scout volunteers and staff came together to prepare for a strong start to a new Girl Scout year. Staff shared exciting programs and volunteers explored new-happenings like outdoor programs, Change It Up! Year 2, camp properties, and strategic sharing.  


    Discussion and networking stirred up brainstorming ideas as volunteers and staff got energized to serve over 20,000 Girl Scouts across the council over the next year. And in true Girl Scout fashion, silliness ensued as volunteers...

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  • Elysburg girl wins Scouting's Gold Award

    ELYSBURG - Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) announced Jessica Henrichs from Troop 60399 in Elysburg has earned the Girl Scouts' highest honor, the Gold Award. The Southern Columbia Area High School junior completed her Gold Award project titled "Help for Grieving Children."

    Henrichs developed coping programs for Camp Courage, a camp that helps grieving children ages 8 to 18. During this weekend camp, she led activities that allowed the campers to express their emotions. One activity, "Dissolving Paper," involved each camper writing down a fear or regret about the loss of their loved one on a special type of dissolving paper.

    "Each camper could decide to hold onto it or place it into a bowl of water. If they placed it in the water, it "magically" disappeared, symbolizing the letting go of fear and regret," said Henrichs. At the end of the weekend, she provided each camper with a turtle, which symbolizes the campers' protection, courage and strength as they continue through their stages of grief.

    The Gold Award challenges Girl Scouts from ninth to 12th grades to change the world, no matter how big or small their impact might be.

    "Through the Gold Award, girls get passionate about a cause, collaborate with fellow community members, and take on a challenge," says Kelsey Evans, GSHPA's program manager. "We're excited to see how the Gold Award experience has inspired recipients to...

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  • More Than Cookies: York County Girl Scouts Recruiting

    Eleven years ago, Gillian DeWit put on her Girl Scout Daisy uniform for the first time. The small light-blue tunic would eventually be adorned with leadership leaves and petals, showing her understanding of the Girl Scout Law.

    Gillian, now a junior at Kennard-Dale High School, is still a Girl Scout today but now dons a khaki vest, the uniform of an Ambassador, the highest tier of Girl Scout membership.

    "I started when I was 5 or 6 and never missed a year," she said. "The program itself is just very good. You find a lot of friends through Girl Scouts; the friends I made when I was 5 I'm still friends with today."

    Joining: Girl Scouts is open to any girl from kindergarten through grade 12, and anyone over the age of 18 can become a Girl Scout volunteer. There will be several opportunities across York County to sign up through the end of September.

    Gillian encouraged anyone thinking about joining to "go for it."

    "Not only will you make friends that will last 11, 12-plus years, it will teach you how to get out of your comfort zone," she said. "I'm definitely ahead of the curve in public speaking and leading groups and giving in work that is above average ... that kind of stuff comes from Girl Scouts."

    In addition to all that Scouting has taught her, she also has turned to her fellow Scouts for guidance, she said.

    "You never feel alone, even if you're in a small troop,...

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  • Girl Scouts Not Just for Young Girls; Adult Volunteers Celebrate Success

    September 14, 2015 (Harrisburg, Pa.) – Hundreds of Girl Scout in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s (GSHPA) members joined together to celebrate girl power, but not one girl was in attendance.  It was the nonprofit’s team of passionate adult volunteers who gathered together to gear up for another year of Girl Scouting during the annual Volunteer KickOff, Sept. 12th at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Grantville.

    “When people think Girl Scouts, they probably see a little girl sporting a green vest selling cookies or out in their community completing service projects,” said Susan Kreidler, GSHPA’s Acting CEO. “What people might not see are the thousands of adult volunteer members who empower our Girl Scouts and make our mission possible.”

    GSHPA has over 20,000 Girl Scouts who range in ages from 5-17 years old. These 20,000 girls cannot experience the positive impact of Girl Scouts without adult volunteers. GSHPA is a 99% volunteer-run nonprofit organization. The annual Volunteer KickOff is a day where women and men can celebrate their impact on Girl Scouts’ lives, get a sneak peek into the upcoming programs, and get access to resources before the start of the new year (Oct. 1).

    Whether they are Girl Scout Troop Leader or a short-term service opportunities, Girl Scout volunteers find themselves benefitting from the same fun and educational experiences that the girls they are helping do. Girl Scout of the Unite...

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  • Girl Scout Rolls Out 'Pack to School' Service Project

    NEWVILLE—A local high school student demonstrated her support for the community last week by providing school supplies to students in Big Spring School District.

    Brooke Kiner, 17, of Newville, and a member of the Newville Girl Scouts Troop 10516, finished up her Pack to School project Tuesday by handing out more than 130 backpacks to students in her school district who were in need of school supplies.

    Kiner, a senior at Big Springs High School and a part-time HACC student, conducted her project in hopes of gaining the Girl Scouts’ top honor: the Gold Award.

    Already a recipient of the bronze and silver award, Kiner is expected to receive the Gold Award sometime during the spring for her work with the Pack to School project.

    Conducting the project was a time-consuming ordeal, filled with extensive planning and pre-approval requirements from the Girl Scouts Council, but Kiner found time between her course work and the Girl Scouts to successfully complete the project and help those in need.

    Now on her last year in high school, Kiner is nearly finished with her general education courses at HACC, and plans to pursue a nursing degree in college.

    With that in mind, The Sentinel was able to catch up with Kiner for its weekly feature, “5 Questions,” to discuss her Pack to School project and the effect the Girl Scouts has had on her life.

    Q: In the grand scheme of things, what is the overall result you hope will come of your Pack to...

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  • Vitrano Earns Gold Award

    Kaitlyn Vitrano recently earned her Gold Award, the highest honor given to Girl Scouts. Vitrano, a former member of Girl Scout Troop 70356, is the daughter of James and Rona Vitrano of Lancaster.

    Her project was called "The Inter-Generational Experience." She worked with adviser Elaine Campbell, activities director at Willow Valley's Meadow Ridge community. Vitrano organized a variety of events, including a picnic, during which she led a discussion with Willow Valley residents about their experiences in Girl Scouts. She also organized Christmas caroling with the residents and girls from various levels of Scouting, taught crafts and made snacks, and led talks on a variety of marine biology topics. Additionally, Vitrano interviewed many residents about their lives and created a slideshow presentation showcasing their similarities and differences.

    Vitrano was a Girl Scout for 13 years. She is a recent graduate of J.P. McCaskey High School. She attends Susquehanna University, where she is studying biology, with a minor in Asian studies.

  • Chambersburg teen earns Girl Scouts' highest honor

    CHAMBERSBURG >> A Chambersburg teen has earned the highest honor in Girl Scouting.

    Suzanne Crider was recently named the recipient of the Gold Award, for her water-safety project, "Use Your Noodle; Save A Life," according to a news release from Chambersburg Area School District.

    Centered around teaching young children skills they can use to save someone from drowning, the Chambersburg Area Senior High School junior recently presented the project to 250 kindergartners and first-graders at Ben Chambers Elementary.

    Crider explained the many things she had to do to get the award. "The award requires you to recognize a need in the community and create a plan to address that need that continues on. The first real challenge was to earn the funding I needed to go through with this project."

    Crider obtained most of the funding by selling Girl Scout cookies.

    Since becoming a Daisy Scout in kindergarten, she sells an average of 800 boxes of cookies a year. Crider's mother, also named Suzanne, has been her Girl Scout leader since she started and together they have been sending cookies overseas to deployed soldiers for 11 years.

    Prior to earning the Gold Award, Crider had to complete the prerequisites required to meet the Girl Scout Journey and Girl Scout Silver Award.

    "Both of these prerequisites are time consuming and really make you think. The Journey Award took me about eight weeks to comple...

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  • Girl Scouts Shed Light on Unrealistic Beauty Standards

    (via York Dispatch)

    Four York County Girl Scouts have felt the sting of exposure to altered photos in the media, having unrealistic expectations of their bodies because of what they'd seen portrayed on TV and in magazines.

    So to encourage other young girls to celebrate their bodies rather than compare them to impossible standards, the girls from Troop 20033 made it the focus of a project.

    The Scouts — Gillian DeWit, 16, and Madison Reinsel, Maria Hilbert and Sarah Philbin, all 15 — were honored recently with the Senior Visionary Award for that project, which shed light on how the media affects girls' body images.

    'The Perception': The award is available to ninth- and 10th-graders whose projects present real-life opportunities to make a positive difference in other girls' lives.

    Girl Scouts are asked to consider the world's imperfections and their effects on girls around the world, and to envision an ideal world that respects their needs, values and interests as females.

    The project requires Scouts to develop an artistic representation of their ideal world, for which Troop 20033 made a 16-minute film, "The Perception."

    They conducted research for the short film by interviewing students from Stevenson University and other Scouts about their perceptions of the relationship between body image and the media.

    The Scouts' research found that young adults are aware of how much photos in the media are altered,...

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  • Centre County Girl Scout Saves Grandmother’s Life

    (via WJACTV)

    A Centre County Girl Scout was awarded one of the highest scouting honors Tuesday. Robin Sharp, 15, of Centre County received the Medal of Honor, which is only presented to Girl Scouts who have saved or attempted to save a life.

    Sharp and her grandmother went for a bike ride on a trial in Scotia. Sharp's grandmother crashed suffering, suffering a severe concussion, broken elbow, and fractured ribs.  Sharp administered first aid, called 911 and directed emergency personnel to where they were located. 

    "I am very, very proud to be her grandmother, and I am proud that she has all this knowledge and is able to put it to use. When the chips were down and grandmom was laying there, she didn't get upset, she just followed through and took over," said Barrie Kitner, Robin's grandmother.

    Sharp's family said they are so proud and are grateful for the skills she learned in scouting.

  • Be a Girl Scout Ranger

    (via Girl Scout Blog)

    Girl Scouts is excited to announce a partnership with the National Park Service to launch the Girl Scout Ranger Program, a joint venture connecting girls with National Park Service sites throughout the United States, including monuments, seashores, and urban sites.

    Through the program, girls can participate in a variety of organized educational or outdoor service projects. Additionally, Girl Scouts may design their own project that aligns with their Girl Scout Journey experience, various badge activities, or a Take Action (“highest award”) project. Girls who successfully complete projects will be awarded certificates from the National Park Service and Girl Scout patches.

    “Providing girls with access to the outdoors is one of the cornerstones of the Girl Scout mission,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of GSUSA. “Through terrific partnerships and programs like the Girl Scout Ranger Program, we offer girls a chance to engage in outdoor activities that encourage a healthy, active lifestyle and a respect for the environment. We are proud to be teaming up with the National Park Service to help more Girl Scouts in more places experience everything the outdoors has to offer.”

    Girls and troops who wish to participate in the Girl Scout Ranger Program can visit the National Park Service website to locate a park (“Find Your Park”) near their home. There, they can a...

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  • Girl Scouts get lesson in safety

    Girl Scouts of Northeastern Pennsylvania were able to add a new badge to their vests this weekend while also gaining real world knowledge of first aid.

    Approximately 80 Junior and Cadette Girl Scouts from the region gathered at Wilkes University on Sunday afternoon to speak with different medical professionals about their jobs and the importance of knowing basic first aid.

    The Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania and Wilkes University’s pharmacy fraternity, Lambda Kappa Sigma, teamed up to create an event for local girl scouts to not only earn a badge, but also to develop skills they can use in case of an emergency.

    Lambda Kappa Sigma created this event to celebrate Hygeia Day, a holiday in the fraternity which calls attention to the profession of pharmacy and to help advance the knowledge of the health science.

    Courtney Calamia, the president elect of Lambda Kappa Sigma and Amanda Gerberich, the chaplain of Lambda Kappa Sigma, were both involved in the creation of the chapter’s first collaboration with the Girl Scouts.

    Calamia said the idea came from another chapter of the fraternity, but they changed up parts of it and added their own ideas.

    “One idea was the meet a pharmacist station,” Gerberich said. “They learned about medication safety, like an EpiPen and an inhaler for emergency situations to get the girls familiar with them, just in case.”

    Six stations were in rotation in the Henry Student Center; a bandage wrapp...

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