WebsiteAbout UsContact UsVolunteersProgramsGirlsCampNuts/CookiesDonate
Be Connected
Dear Volunteers,


What a thrill it was to celebrate our council's Gold Awardees and scholarship recipients on June 22nd. Forty of this year's eighty Gold Awardees and eight of 12 scholarship recipients were on hand with their families.


Through the lens of the Gold Awards we can see the mission of Girl Scouts so clearly. The awardees themselves have evolved from girlhood into young women leaders through their Girl Scout experience and have taken action to make the world a better place through their community projects. And through their projects they have gone through an intensive practical leadership experience by planning, mobilizing others and carrying out those projects.


We encourage you to maintain contact with all of the Gold Awardees and all of the graduating seniors you know. Together we have provided them with the invaluable Girl Scout leadership experience, turning today's girls into tomorrow's leaders. These young women are an invaluable asset for building Girl Scouting in our second century.



Signature - Jane Ransom
Carolyn Warman 
Jane Ransom 
Board Chair  
President & CEO 
A Shift from Service Units to Girl Scout Communities  

Last month, we shared that less than 50% of our service units have volunteers serving as their service unit managers and that even fewer service units have active service unit teams. Rather than continuing down a path that has more than half of our service units led by a GSHPA staff person and offers an inconsistent approach to engaging volunteers at a local level, we asked for volunteer insight into our current service unit model.


Thankfully, you responded. Volunteers representing over 86% of our current service units throughout all five regions responded to our call for help by either completing an online survey or participating in focus group discussions.


Your feedback confirmed that service units continue to offer a huge opportunity to localize the Girl Scout experience for both girls and volunteers. You and your peers also confirmed that the majority of the confusion, challenges and frustrations faced by service units across our council may be minimized and/or alleviated with a clearer and more consistent purpose - especially one that builds upon the strengths that exist within our current model and better aligns the needs and interests of today's volunteers with bringing our Girl Scout mission to life at a local level.


As a result, the following service unit purpose has emerged:


GSHPA volunteers representative of a designated geographic portion of the 30 county Girl Scout council who plan and implement local events & activities for girls, organize local volunteer support, networking & appreciation efforts, assist in the recruitment of new girl and adult members from throughout the local area and help raise local funds in support of financial assistance for girls all in accordance with current Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA policies and procedures and the shared goal of making the local Girl Scout experience great.


But a clearer purpose is only the beginning.


Your feedback further confirmed that those service units that function the best have two key ingredients in common: strong volunteer leadership and members who feel a strong connection to the other members of their service unit. In order to cultivate these strengths among 100% of our service units and incorporate many of the suggestions that came from you and your peers, the following four key shifts will start to occur this month:

  • Renaming service units something that better reflects their true purpose and encourages the natural cultivation of local connections among all Girl Scouts. Moving forward, we will call service units Girl Scout Communities.
  • Merging together service units who lack a current or potential service unit manager with those who share geographic boundaries and have strong volunteer leadership in place.  By doing so, the number of Girl Scout Communities will total 84. Of the 113 service units that currently exist across GSHPA, more than 50% are staff-led. With this shift to Girl Scout Communities 100% will be volunteer led.
  • Renaming the Service Unit Manager and updating her/his position description to better reflect a renewed focus on leading, facilitating, coordinating and delegating Girl Scout Community efforts around the newly defined purpose. Moving forward all Service Unit Managers will be called Community Leads.
  • Creating a clearer delineation between the responsibilities of a Membership Associate, the Community Lead and the Membership Recruiter so that we can return to a truly volunteer-led model of organizing local Girl Scout efforts for girls and adults regardless of troop affiliation.

Later this month, all service unit managers who have been appointed or re-appointed for next year will attend one of four mandatory trainings to learn more about this new Girl Scout Community concept and their role as a Community Lead. In addition, we will continue to share updates with you through e-blasts, future issues of the volunteer newsletter, presentations at the four Volunteer Kick-Off events and informational webinars on August 15 and 21 (look for webinar registration info in your Inbox on July 23). In the meantime, if you have feedback you'd like to share, please send an email to


Volunteer Kick-Off offers Workshops for New & Returning Leaders  

Whether you're gearing up for your first or your fifteenth year as a troop leader, every troop leader and volunteer will benefit from attending one of this year's Volunteer Kick-off events on either August 3rd or August 10th.


Each of the four Kick-Off events will follow the same agenda and will offer 3 sessions of workshops with 12 different workshop topics to choose from.


Volunteer Kick-Off Agenda

9:30 a.m. - Registration Opens

10:00 - 10:30 a.m. - Welcome

10:45 - 11:30 a.m. - First Session of Workshops

11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Second Session of Workshops

12:30 - 1:15 p.m. - Lunch*

1:30 - 2:15 p.m. - Third Session of Workshops

2:30 - 3:00 p.m. - Wrap up

*Please bring your own bagged lunch. Unfortunately, refrigeration is not available.


There is no fee to attend, but please remember to bring a bagged lunch. Space is limited so don't wait to register. Registration closes on Sunday, July 28 at 11:59 p.m.


Step #2 - Choose your date and location:

  • August 3rd Kick-Off Locations:
    • Watsontown United Methodist Church, 1319 Eighth Street Drive, Watsontown, PA, 17777
    • Farm & Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster, PA 17601
  • August 10th Kick-Off Locations:
    • Stroudsburg Junior High School, 1901 Chipperfield Drive, Stroudsburg, PA, 18360
    • Grantville Holiday Inn, 604 Station Road, Exit 80 off I-81, Grantville, PA, 17028

Step #3 - Choose your workshops for each of the three sessions. Workshop topics include:

  • Grade Level Workshops
  • Fall Product Training
  • 10 Essential Elements for troops & the Girl Scout Leadership Experience
  • Girl Scout Curriculum
  • Traditions
  • Troop Admin
  • Program Preview
  • Event Planning

Click here for the workshop descriptions. 

80 Girls Earn Prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award

80 Gold Award recipients from across central and northeastern Pennsylvania were honored by Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania at a special Gold Award luncheon on Saturday, June 22nd at Founders Hall on the campus of the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, PA. These 80 girls join an elite group of an average of 5,000 girls from across the country who earn the Girl Scout Gold Award each year.


The Gold Award is the highest honor that an individual girl can achieve in Girl Scouts. To earn the award, Girl Scouts in grades 9 - 12 are challenged to identify an issue within their community, investigate its causes and impact, develop a plan to help address it, generate greater awareness about it and/or lead a call to mobilize the community to help change it.


There are seven steps to completing a Gold Award project:

  1. Identify an issue
  2. Investigate it thoroughly
  3. Get help and build a team
  4. Create a plan
  5. Present the plan and gather feedback
  6. Take action
  7. Educate and inspire

"Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award designation is truly a remarkable achievement, and these young women exemplify leadership in all its forms," stated Jane Ransom, Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.


For a complete listing of this year's Gold Awardees, please click here.


Click here to view 2013 Gold Award event photos.    


Troop/Group Finance Reports Due July 31

Don't forget to submit your troop and/or service units end of the year Finance Report along with a copy of your most recent bank statement to your service unit manager or membership associate by Wednesday, July 31st! Need the form, click here.  


Check out the Flat Water Canoeing Course This Fall


Always wanted to take your troop canoeing but lacked the right certification to able to do so? Sign up now for the American Canoe Association Level 1 (Introduction to Canoeing) course at Camp Golden Pond in September. After successfully completing this course, you will be certified to rent canoes with your troop at any of our council-owned camps*. By the end of the course, you will be able to pass a skills assessment that will include basic flat-water strokes and maneuvers, rescue/safety concepts and basic technical knowledge. Included in the course is a six-month introductory membership with the American Canoe Association (ACA). Course space is limited.

*Please remember that you also need to have a lifeguard present when canoeing on council-owned lakes.


Dates: September 7- September 8 

Times: 8 a.m. Saturday - 6 p.m. Sunday
Cost: $65
Location: Camp Golden Pond 


 Click here to register. 


Registration Deadline: 11:59 p.m. on August 22, 2013.


In This Issue
A Shift from Service Units to Girl Scout Communities
Volunteer Kick-Off offers Workshops for New & Returning Leaders
80 Girls Earn Prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award
Troop/Group Finance Reports Due July 31
Check out the Flat Water Canoeing Course This Fall

Like us on Facebook
View our videos on YouTube
Save the Date!
July 20 - 24 - Lifeguard Certification Course at Camp Furnace Hills


July 31 - Troop & Service Unit Financial Reports Due  

August 3
- Volunteer Kick-Off at the Watsontown United Methodist Church


August 3 - Volunteer Kick-Off at the Lancaster Farm & Home Center


August 10 - Volunteer Kick-Off at the Stroudsburg Junior High School


August 10 - Volunteer Kick-Off at the Grantville Holiday Inn


August 15 - Girl Scout Communities webinar at 7 p.m.


August 21 - Girl Scout Communities webinar at 12 p.m.

August 21 - Girl Scout Communities webinar at 7 p.m.


September 7 - 8 - Flat- Water Canoe Training Course at Camp Golden Pond   


September 19 -

Governance training webinar (for Service Unit Delegates & Alternates Only) 


September 14 - Archery Instructor Certification Course at Camp Louise


October 5 - Traveling Store at York office from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.


October 12 - Traveling Store at Montoursville office from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.


October 14 - Fall Regional Governance Meeting at 6 p.m. in State College   


October 15 - Fall Regional Governance Meeting at 6 p.m. in York    


October 16 - Fall Regional Governance Meeting at 6 p.m. in  Montoursville

October 17 - Fall Regional Governance Meeting at 6 p.m. in Harrisburg    


October 19- Traveling Store at State College office from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.


October 22 - Fall Regional Governance Meeting at 6 p.m. in Scranton  


October 23 - Fall Regional Governance Meeting at 6 p.m. via webinar  


October 26 - Traveling Store at Scranton office from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania | 350 Hale Avenue | Harrisburg, PA 17104 | | 1.800.692.7816