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Suburban Life: More than just cookies, Girl Scouts expand offerings, experiences for area troops

Suburban Life: More than just cookies, Girl Scouts expand offerings, experiences for area troops

omega watches By Barb Krebs For the Weekly Record

Updated:   06/23/2014 05:18:26 PM EDT
Girl Scout Junior Constance Brown of Turbotville watches as Lena Bell of Shenandoah, scales a portable rock wall during their Girl Scout council's "Healthy Promise" kick-off event at Central York High School. Girl Scouts offer a variety of enriching experiences from field trips and community service projects to cultural exchanges and environmental stewardships, all part of the effort "to inspire, challenge, and empower girls everywhere." (File photo — Weekly Record)

fake omega If you haven't looked lately, Girl Scouts offer a variety of enriching experiences from field trips and community service projects to cultural exchanges and environmental stewardships, all part of the effort "to inspire, challenge, and empower girls everywhere."

omega watches Girl Scouting is international and generational. Here, local grandmothers, mothers and granddaughters share their experiences.

Counselor aspirations

omega replica watches Gretchen Ludwig, 15, of Dallastown, joined Brownies when she was in first grade, in part because her sister was a Girl Scout and in part because her best friend's mother created a troop.

omega watches "I began going to Girl Scout camp when I was about 8 or 9. I have gone every year since then. Camp has always been one of my favorite experiences with Girl Scouting," Gretchen said.

Joscelynne Stalnecker a Girl Scout and student at New Covenant Christian School waves to passersby along Cumberland Street in Lebanon. She set up a cookie in front of her parents' store. (File photo — Weekly Record)

fake omega watches She will spend her summer in the counselor-in-training, or CIT program, where she will learn the skills needed to fulfill her dream become camp counselor.

"It's been a goal ever since I began attending camps. The counselors who have helped me while I was a camper have inspired me to do the same. I hope to make the same impact on campers as they did to me," Gretchen said.

Girl Scouting has made a great impact on her life, she said, and she can't imagine life without scouting and camping.

"Scouts is a perfect opportunity to learn new things, make great friends, and be able to make a difference in your community, all while empowering girls," Gretchen said. "It has helped shaped me throughout my adolescence and will continue to do so."

She is a student at Dallastown Area High School where she is a member of the field hockey team and the Latin Club.

Gretchen also plays field hockey for Lanco Premier and enjoys art, music, and photography and various outdoor activities, such as kayaking, hiking and camping she said.

Hooked on the great outdoors

Lyn Mendlowitz, 15 of York, joined Girl Scouts when she was in first grade.

"My mom was a leader and it was just me and some other classmates," she said.

As part of the low ropes challenge at Camp Echo Trail during Adventure Day, the Girl Scouts start out on one platform and must move to the other platform without touching the ground, only using their teamwork skills and two planks. (Submitted)

She want to camp for the first time when she was in seventh grade, and even though she had her doubts about the whole thing, she was hooked on camping.

"I really had not wanted to go away for an entire week but my parents said that it would be a good experience so then I went," Lyn recalled. "I came back after the week with a huge smile. I absolutely loved camp. It was so much fun. So, in the summers after that I went to camp for more than one week."

She will spend part of this summer as a counselor-in-training, learning the ropes to become a camp counselor and teach other girls the joys of the great outdoors.

"To me, Girl Scouts is about having new experiences and making new friends. Throughout my years at camp, I have done so many new things that I would have never gotten the chance to do. I have conquered so many fears and done so many things. I would not have been able to do this without the friends I made," Lyn said.

In addition to becoming a camp counselor, Lyn plans to complete her gold award, attend college to become a high school history teacher and eventually teach at the college level and to "continue going to camp."

Lyn attends Central High School and in addition to camping and scouting, she enjoys "reading, photography, acting, singing, improv, theatre, costume design, music and writing."

At Camp Echo Trail outside Felton, Girl Scouts practice a "trust fall" exercise to prepare them for the low ropes course during an Adventure Day in the fall of 2013. (Submitted) Family tradition

Sharon Hedrick, of York is the first of three generations to become a Girl Scout.

She was 9 years old and joined along with her twin sister. Their mother, who was helping with the troop, signed them up, Hedrick said.

"We wanted to experience Girl Scouting and do things, too. The idea of going camping sounded like fun. Little did we know just all girls could do at this point," she said.

While Girl Scouting means camping, experiencing nature, crafts, singing, working together, love of country and all people and fun, it also means tradition, leadership, friendship, serving others and communities, learning, respect, and having moral standards, she said.

Girl Scouts take part in one of the outdoor programs at Camp Echo Trail outside Felton. (Submitted)

"Knowing that each of us, regardless of nationality, ethical background, or given talents is important in the future of our world is Girl Scouting to me. Girl Scouts means having sisters that you can count on at any given time and moment," Hedrick said.

She saw scouting as an excellent way to teach her daughter and other girls important life values and for that reason she became a Girl Scout volunteer.

"I hoped that my daughter and other girls would realize that girls can do anything if they put their hearts and minds to it. It was important to me to share with girls that they are each very valuable and have talent to offer," Hedrick said.

"I also must confess that I loved Girl Scouts as a child so much that I wanted to personally experience scouting again," she added.

Hedrick said she loves sharing and observing nature, and watching girls experience nature first-hand "fills ones heart."

"Another thing that makes this extra special for me is the fact that I often get to experience nature with my twin sister, my daughter, and my granddaughters through Girl Scouting," Hedrick said.

It is her hope that, through Girl Scouting, her daughter and granddaughters will understand the value its traditions and to gain enough knowledge to be able to pass it on to others.

"I would hope that they would learn to respect themselves, others, and the world around them. I also want them to gain the confidence and knowledge to be able to be a leader and to serve and help others. I want them to be proud of all of their endeavors and accomplishments," Hedrick said.

Hedrick runs the Nature Explorers program that provides girls with many opportunities to experience nature through the use of hands-on activities and observing replica specimens, they learn how to appreciate the world around them.

They learn to respect the living creatures and natural resources, as well as leadership and survival skills while enjoying quality time with their friends. The program also allows the girls to work together for a common goal and gain the love of nature.

Staying involved

Kris Fleming of Seven Valleys, the daughter of Sharon Hedrick, does not remember why she joined Girl Scouts but is "guessing it sounded like fun and Mom signed me up."

When Fleming was a Brownies, her mother assisted as a parent and when she move on to become a member of the Junior Girl Scout Troop, her mother became the troop leader.

"She is the one who pushed me to earn my Gold Award, for which I am very thankful. She kept me involved as an older scout as much as she could since my troop wasn't very active. She instilled the love of Girl Scouts in me by showing me her love of scouting," Fleming said.

When she had daughters of her own, Fleming remembered the fun she had as a Girl Scout and wanted her girls to have the same opportunity, she said.

Fleming followed in her mother's footsteps and became a scout leader.

"I wanted my girls to have the same experiences I had as a scout — if not better," she said. "I also wanted to share those experiences with other girls who may not have the opportunity to enjoy them otherwise."

Fleming is hopeful that through scouting her daughters will learn to be independent, productive members of society who are comfortable in their own skin. She also hopes the girls will have many memorable experiences and form friendships that will last a lifetime.

"Not only is it a sisterhood I have belonged to since I was in first grade, but it is a great 'school' for learning about how the world works and how you fit into that world while having fun," Fleming said of scouts. "It is not only an opportunity for me teach girls what I have learned, but also to keep learning as an adult, as well — not only from other adults but from the girls, too."

Fleming added that she loves what scouting teaches the girls and that all girls are accepted, no matter what.

"I love that it is fun for the girls and allows them to have experiences they may not have without scouting," she added.

Career goals

Gloria Fleming's daughter, Gloria, age 10, oined Girl Scouts because she likes being in the great outdoors.

"Girl Scouts means having fun and learning about nature and camping," she said.

Scouting will also help her in her future career.

"I plan to become a paleontologist which will involve many of the skills I am learning in scouts," she said.

Gloria is a student at Dallastown Area Intermediate School, and her interests include dinosaurs, animals of all kinds, climbing trees and reading.

Once she is no longer a Girl Scout, she has plans to register as an adult so she can continue to be part of the program.

Following in footsteps

Gloria Fleming's other daughter, Allison, age 8, is also learning the benefits of being a Girl Scout.

"Mom signed me up," she said.

She joined because Girl Scouting is a "family tradition," she said. And she was able to see how much fun her sister was having since she attended most of the meetings with her mom.

To Allison, Girl Scouting means "learning to be a better person."

Allison is a student at Loganville-Springfield Elementary School, and in the future she would like to own her own camp, in addition to being an explorer and Girl Scout leader.

Her interests include coloring, reading and princesses.

Spiders and opportunities

Carolyn Warman, chair of the board of directors for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, fondly recalled her days as a Girl Scouts.

"It was a fabulous experience for me — an opportunity to do a lot of things. I loved tent camping. We had pup tents and my contribution was as the spider removal expert," she said.

Probably any Girl Scout can tell you that pup tents are often home to spiders, especially granddaddy long-legs, and it takes a brave person to remove the spider from the tent so that everyone is safe from its clutches.

While in scouting, Warman earned her First Class Award and her God and County Award.

Scouting offers a number of opportunities for young girls, she said.

"It is important to see women in leadership positions and I believe Girl Scouts contributes to leadership development for young girls and offers them the opportunity to try so many things," Warman said.

About Girl Scouts

Juliette Gordon Low organized the first Girl Scout Troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia.

Today, there are 3.2 million Girl Scouts made up of 2.3 million girl members and 890,000 adult members working primarily as volunteers.

There are more than 100 local Girl Scout councils in the U.S. and scout troops in more than 92 countries.

Through its membership in the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, Girl Scouts of the USA is part of a worldwide family of 10 million girls and adults in 145 countries.

More than 59 million American women were Girl Scouts during their childhood, and the number continues to grow.

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania

Girl Scouts is available to any girl in kindergarten through 12th grade in the Heart of Pennsylvania's 30 counties.

Daisies is for girls in kindergarten and first grade; Brownies is for girls in second and third grade; Juniors is made up of fourth and fifth graders; Cadettes are for girls in grades six through eight; Seniors is ninth and tenth graders and Ambassadors is for girls in grades eleven and twelve.

"Girl Scouting is for girls who are looking for fun adventures that cover a wide range of activities from the outdoors to serving the community. Girl Scouting is a great way to make new friends, discover new interests and build leadership skills that will benefit every part of girls' lives, at home, school, their community and in their future," said Jane Ransom, CEO of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, said.

Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence and character that make the world a better place, she added.

Adult leaders are an important part of Girl Scouting and those who step up and following a timeless tradition that allows volunteers to inspire, lead and be a role model to girls, she said.

In addition to camping and hiking and other activities, Girl Scouting "offers diverse programs that speak to every girl."

Girls can try new things and discover nature, create lifelong friends, and build confidence through programs such as the recent aMAZE weekend, part of an anti-bullying program.

"Girl Scouts are always working towards achieving goals, whether it is to sell a specific number of Girl Scout Cookies to finance a trip to Savannah to visit Juliette Gordon Low's birth place or a Girl Scout completing her Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting. This year we are pleased to announce that In our seven-year history we have a record-breaking 91 girls who earned their Gold Award," Ransom said.

A presentation ceremony, with various government officials from across Pennsylvania, was held on June 21 at the Founders Hall at Milton Hershey School in Hershey to recognize the award recipients.

Girls work through a leadership building program called Journeys. Throughout their Journey, the girls can earn badges that will help them build various skills that help them built various skills that tap into a wide range of interests, she said.

The mission of scouting "is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. At Girl Scouts, every day is an opportunity to grow and make a difference," she said.

More information is available at or by calling 800-692-7816.

More on camping

The Girl Scout camps closest to our area are Camp Echo Trail, near Felton in York County and Camp Happy Valley, near Fairfield in Adams County.

Recent outdoor programs at Camp Echo Trail included:

• Troop Adventure Camp for Brownies who could earn their Making Games Badge

• Troop Adventure Camp with a focus on primitive camping, outdoor cooking, hunter and gather techniques at camp to earn the TAC Patch.

• Adventure Day for Junior and Cadettes to tackle low ropes to overcome challenges and build leadership and team working skills.

Outdoor programs at Camp Happy Valley recently included:

• Nature Explorers-Stars and Constellations

• Troop Adventure Camp-Ready, Aim, Release to discover and master the sport of Archery

Summer camps are held at Camp Small Valley in Halifax, Dauphin County, and Camp Archbald in Kingsley, Susquehanna County.

View a camp guide online:

Read more

Anna Lipinski of Springfield Township earns Girl Scouts' highest honor, Gold Award, for project at Village Library in Jacobus

Bryna Mullins of Girl Scout Troop 20836 in Shrewsbury earns Gold Award

Dallastown's Lindsey Ellis of Girl Scout Troop 20857 earns Gold Award for lacrosse clinic project

From left, Girl Scout Brownies Jenna Donohue and Maya Eiben laugh as Weis Mystery Tour leader Shawn Gilgore, not pictured, talks to their Dallastown Girl Scout troop about the dairy food group at the Queensgate Shopping Center's Weis Market. (File photo — Weekly Record) Print    Email    Font Resize Return to Top