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GSHPA helps girls overcome hurdles to join Girl Scouts through Academic Edge program

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Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is offering a unique opportunity for schools, girls and parents to participate in Girl Scout programming on-site at schools for free through the Academic Edge program.

Established at GSHPA in 2018, Academic Edge blends the Common Core State Standards of education with Girl Scout programming to bring the Girl Scout experience to school grounds.

“The inspiration for running Academic Edge comes from not all girls have the opportunity to participate in Girl Scouts. We want to go where the girls are, specifically in schools, to bring Girl Scouts directly to them,” said Katie Swiglo, GSHPA’s Program Manager who oversees the program.

Academic Edge programming lasts for five weeks and can be held either during the school day or directly after school. GSHPA offers four different programming tracks, similar to the four pillars of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) – science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM), life skills, outdoors and leadership skills. Participating schools will see their girls learn about a variety of topics, from robots and coding, to Leave No Trace principles, to digital leadership.

The program comes at no cost to schools, girls or their parents, and is funded through grants secured by GSHPA’s Fund Development Department. All programming is conducted by GSHPA staff, and they lead the program with a fresh perspective of what girls want and like. By enrolling in the program, girls who are non-members will receive their first year of Girl Scout membership for free and are eligible for all Girl Scout programming opportunities throughout their first year of membership. At the conclusion of the five-week program, GSHPA will then connect girls to a pre-established troop in their area, or create a troop from the girls who participated in the program so they may continue learning and growing through Girl Scouts.

Academic Edge programming is available now. For more information about how you can participate in the program, contact GSHPA Program Manager Katie Swiglo at or by phone at (717) 884-4220.