Savannah Ross, 2021 Silver Award Girl Scout of Distinction

For her Silver Award, Savannah Ross, a junior at Brockway Jr/Sr High School, was inspired by her passion for making and giving homemade cards and the desire to create connections across generations.

Through a coordinated effort, students attending local elementary schools provide special occasion, handmade greeting cards to the residents living at senior care facilities in Savannah’s community. She hopes that the program continues to grow and bring joy to those creating the cards and those receiving them.

Savannah has been involved with Girl Scouts since kindergarten. Each year, her troop has completed a service project, including cleaning up rails to trails, packing food boxes at the Helping Hands Food Pantry, serving meals at the American Legion spaghetti dinners, and volunteering at local nursing homes.

She was also the recipient of the Presidents Volunteer Service Award in 2016 in recognition and appreciation of her commitment to strengthen our nation through volunteer service. She assisted the Parkside Community Center with collecting and clipping coupons for the Troops. They were able to collect over $1 million worth of “troopons” to help support the military and their families.

Outside of Girl Scouts, Savannah also enjoys volunteering at Camp Friendship sponsored by the Jefferson Country ARC. Camp Friendship is a summer camp for individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities in addition to learning disabilities. As a counselor she is responsible to motivate and encourage campers to complete activities, and she assists them throughout the day.

In addition to volunteering, Savannah also participates in her high school’s volleyball, competitive cheer, softball, and track and field sports seasons. She is also a manager and statistician for the wrestling team.

Savannah was recently inducted into the National Honor Society and selected by her peers to serve on student council. She is a member of FCCLA and Chemistry Club. She is entering her junior year of high school, taking AP courses, college credits through Butler County Community College, and enrolled in the Dale Carnegie Course. She has also began working on her Gold Award.

Savannah is honored to receive the first-ever Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania’s Silver Award Girl Scout of Distinction. She proudly accepts the honor and will continue to promote Girl Scouts and the positive effects it has on young women in our local community and throughout the whole country.

Join us virtually on Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 11:30 a.m. as we celebrate Savannah and our other honorees at our 2021 Community Awards of Distinction.

Silver Award creates paws-ative change

Troop 52466 focused their Silver Award on helping the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and its animals after learning there were financial struggles due to the pandemic.

The troop discussed ideas with an education specialist at the zoo and researched different zoo animal enrichment toys. The girls designed and built six types of zoo animal enrichment toys including:

  • multiple puzzle feeders for the kinkajou, lemurs, porcupines, macaw, river otter, and sea lion
  • a fire hose raft for the river otter
  • a mobile for the penguins
  • a cheeta-pult (catapult for cheetahs)

The Girl Scouts then educated zoo patrons on the work they had was done its importance for the animals. Check out this awesome video of the cheeta-pult in action!

If you have been working on your Silver Award, don’t forget the deadline to have your final paperwork submitted is September 30. Send your documents to customercare@gswpa.org. The earlier you send in your paperwork, the faster the review time! We can’t wait to see the amazing things you’ve done, so remember to include all the awesome details!

Reminder: Girl Scout Day at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is Sunday, Sept. 19. There will be no walk-ins this year, and registration ends soon!
>> Details and registration

Girl Scout 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 girls and bring them closer together.

When you participate in Girl Scout Service Day on Saturday, September 25, 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 Girl Scout 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 Girl Scout 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 Girl Scout 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 Girl Scout 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 smarshall@gswpa.org.

Participating

Pledge your participation for 2021 Girl Scout Service Day!

There is always s’more than one way

In celebration of National S’more Day, we’re honoring the history of the snack and inviting Girl Scouts to put their own twist on the tradition. The only way to properly celebrate this day is with a delicious s’more snack. Let us know what kind of treat you come up with.

A piece of Girl Scout history:

The first-ever recipe for the classic fireside treat can be traced back to a publication from 1927 titled “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts.” Filled with tips for Girl Scouts to enjoy a nature hike, the book quietly holds the recipe for “Some More” in its 118 pages—just below how to perfectly roast an apple.


Twisting tradition

Girl Scouts always honor tradition, but they are innovators too. While the historical, gooey s’more is delicious, we asked our Girl Scouts what they have tried to add a new twist to the old s’more. Here are a few of their suggestions for substitutes of the three, time-tested ingredients. Mix and match to create the next world-famous dessert!

For graham crackers
  • Fudge-striped cookies
  • Cinnamon graham crackers
  • Chocolate graham crackers
  • Nilla Wafers
  • Pancakes
  • Sugar cookies
  • Mini-Eggo waffles
  • Rice Krispies treats
  • Flour tortillas dipped in melted butter and coated in graham cracker crumbs
For chocolate
  • An Andes mint (or two!)
  • Chocolate chips
  • Chocolate syrup
  • A Thin Mint or two
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
  • Peanut butter
For marshmallow
  • Banana slices
  • Strawberry slices
  • Marshmallow fluff
  • Pineapple
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Any flavor jam/jelly

Gold Award Girl Scouts receive honorable mentions from GSWPA

GSWPA’s annual Awards of Distinction in May celebrated remarkable women in leadership in Pittsburgh, as well as the accomplishments of incredible Gold Award Girl Scouts. The following Gold Award Girl Scouts were recognized with honorable mentions for Girl Scout Humanitarian and Girl Scout of Distinction.

Gold Award Girl Scout Taylor Rechenmacher, a senior at North Allegheny Senior High School, accepts the award for the 2021 Honorable Mention, Girl Scout Humanitarian for her project: NICU Nonprofit Awareness.

Taylor addressed the stress that parents and families endure when a baby is staying in the neonatal intensive care unit by partnering with an organization called Project Sweet Peas. Taylor created videos for Sweet Peas to help promote their work and coordinated a donation drive of toiletry items. Taylor also led 37 volunteers to make more than 300 Halloween costumes to allow these families to celebrate their baby’s first Halloween.


Gold Award Girl Scout Ava Farrell, a senior at North Catholic High School, accepts the award for the 2021 Honorable Mention, Girl Scout of Distinction for her project: Adaptive Catholic Mass Resources for Children with Autism and Learning Disabilities.

To support the spiritual welfare of all members of her faith, Ava created two books to simplify the Catholic Mass for children and teenagers with autism and other learning disabilities. The books direct the worshiper through the Mass, providing explanation of the rich traditions and prayers.


Gold Award Girl Scout Katrina Schwab, a senior at Pine-Richland High School, accepts the award for the 2021 Honorable Mention, Girl Scout of Distinction for her project: Nest Box for Wood Ducks.

When Katrina realized the decline of the wood duck population in her area, she wanted to provide her community with education and resources to help. She made seven wood duck nesting boxes for Latodami Nature Center, installed them with her team of volunteers, and educated community members through workshops that taught others how to make the boxes. Additionally, she made and posted step-by-step instructional videos on constructing the boxes.

Troop Tuesday – June 29, 2021


Just like so many others, Girl Scout Troop 46136 knew this past cookie season would bring new challenges and new ways to overcome them. Of all the things they discovered though, their new success was the most surprising—and exciting!

When the troop faced restrictions on their plans for indoor booth sales, they ventured out….into the parking lots! With the permission of several local businesses, Troop 46136 found the sweetest spots with high visibility and opportunity.

“A customer in a grocery store, they may or may not be interested, but when a customer pulls up to your parking lot booth, you know they’re a Girl Scout Cookie lover,” said Heather Murphey, troop leader.

The troop achieved their cookie goals, and three of the Girl Scout achieved Super Seller status: Allyson S., Sierra N., and Addison F.

Sierra N., Addison F., and Allyson S., along with more than 480 GSWPA Super Seller Girl Scouts celebrated their remarkable accomplishments at the council’s annual Super Seller event. This year’s experience was a meal and an interactive mystery show. Congratulations, Girl Scouts!

Allyson says it was exciting to get back to selling cookies and to help cookie customers who stopped at their booths.

“Girl Scouts has had a positive impact on me by helping me overcome my fear of speaking in front of others,” says Allyson.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is part of learning people skills, as well as decision making and money management. Sierra N. says she spent this cookie season honing her ability to handle taking money and making change from multiple customers.

Troop 46136 is looking forward to using their cookie proceeds on their favorite Girl Scout pastimes—camping together, taking trips together, and just being together.

All GSWPA troops can submit their activities and adventures to be featured on the GSWPA Blog!

👉 Share your Girl Scout story!

Gold Award Girl Scouts receive GSWPA honors

GSWPA’s annual Awards of Distinction in May celebrated remarkable women in leadership in Pittsburgh, as well as the accomplishments of two incredible Gold Award Girl Scouts who received the honor of Girl Scout Humanitarian and Girl Scout of Distinction.

Gold Award Girl Scout Charlotte Menke, a senior at Pine-Richland High School, accepted the award for the 2021 Girl Scout Humanitarian for her project: Suicide Prevention & Mental Health: High School/Middle School Mentoring Program. Charlotte’s project combated teen suicide with a peer networking program.

In response to teen suicide in her community, Charlotte created a peer support network to encourage connection over isolation. Her program used Zoom, postcards, and online dialogue to achieve the initiatives of her campaign and connect high schoolers to incoming freshmen.


Gold Award Girl Scout Chintha Kathiresan, a senior at Avonworth High School, accepted the award for the 2021 Girl Scout of Distinction for her project: Hindu Pre-K Educational Resources. Chintha’s project created resources to support the Hindu education of youth in Pittsburgh and nationally.

To reinforce the cultural Hindu lessons taught to two- and five-year-old children attending Sunday School at Chinmaya Mission Pittsburgh, Chintha compiled and created a crafts and activities book with 26 projects that correspond to weekly lessons. This detailed workbook is shared with the three Chinmaya Mission Pittsburgh centers and the other centers across North America.

Troop Tuesday – June 22, 2021

Oakmont United Methodist Church had an idea to spruce up their parking lot and Brownie Troop 46690 stepped up to help.

The troop held their meetings at the church this year, and the girls were excited to give back as a way to show gratitude for the church’s generosity.

The troop worked together to design a mural for a plain fence in the parking lot. Currently working on a STEM-focused Journey, the girls wanted to use the same theme on their mural. With their design approved by the church, one of the leaders mapped out the picture in a ‘paint-by-numbers’ set up in advance.

The girls spent nearly three hours on a Saturday working on their mural, each taking a turn with their color and eventually helping with the background.

The Girl Scouts had amazing teamwork, and the project turned out beautifully! 

Troop 46690 is a Brownie troop with 11 girl members and 9 troop volunteers in Oakmont, PA.

All GSWPA troops can submit their activities and adventures to be featured on the GSWPA Blog!

👉 Share your Girl Scout story!

Troop Tuesday – June 15, 2021

Community service is what Troop 36774 is all about. Over the years, the troop has enjoyed giving back to their community, so it’s always part of their yearly plans. The girls each submit a theme for the focus of their projects for the year—pets, children, or community members in need, for example.

The Girl Scouts are guided by their troop leaders to think of ways they could help others, plan the steps, and complete the project.

This year, the girls each spent several hours making hundreds of enrichment items from repurposed and donated items for a local animal shelter. With $200 the girls budgeted from their cookie proceeds, all of their materials were covered, and the troop was able to donate items from the shelter’s wish list. The shelter was overjoyed with the donation!

Troop 36774 is a Brownie troop with 18 girl members and 9 troop volunteers in Ross Township, PA.

All GSWPA troops can submit their activities and adventures to be featured on the GSWPA Blog!

👉 Share your Girl Scout story!

Troop Tuesday: National Bridging Week

Service units across our council are preparing for their special Bridging Ceremonies—just like Service Unit 3622 of Fairview, Erie County. Congratulations to all of these troops! All that you’ve done during this Girl Scout level is remarkable, and we’re rooting for you as you start your next level—your next adventure!

Troop 36860

Troop Leaders Nicole M. & Allison L.

Troop 36860 completed two Journeys this year. The girls worked with others to clean up the Avonia Beach butterfly garden and learned about the Girl Scout Law to complete Welcome to the Flower Garden. Then they learned all about how to care for themselves and animals completing the 5 Flowers, 4 Stories, 3 Cheers for Animals by meeting a special three legged cat named Taco, meeting a local veterinarian, and making educational books for the Humane Society.

Troop 36860 also worked on their automotive engineering skills, learned all about robots, tested their skills in toy designing, and met with the Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper to learn about government.

As a troop, the girls earned two of their Girl Scout Cookie selling leaves and sold 983 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies!

Bridging from Daisies to Brownies:
  • Maya A.
  • Mia B.
  • Tori B.
  • Elle C.
  • Gia F.
  • Gemma H.
  • Lauren L.
  • Faith L.
  • Maddie M.
  • Ainsley M.
  • Magdalena S.

Troop 36860 Girl Scouts becoming second-year Daisies:

  • Marissa K.
  • Rachel L.
  • Amelia W.

Troop 40978

Troop Leaders Annie B. & Jessica H.

Troop 40978 participated in several activities this year including a border patrol tour, a scarecrow building event, pottery painting, and horseback riding!

Bridging from Daisies to Brownies:
  • Hayley B. 
  • Jocelyn H. 
  • Amelia M.
  • Salena M.
  • Quinn T.
  • Brynn N.
  • Blakely N.
  • Britton S.
  • Laine M.
  • Flora D.

Troop 46671

Troop Leaders Sarah H. & Brea S.

As Brownies, Troop 46771 enjoyed painting lessons with a local artist, learning about First Aid from their troop leader, touring the Sturgeon House, a local historical landmark, and joining their Girl Scout sisters at many fun service unit events! The troop will be gathering at a year-end picnic to celebrate summer.

Bridging from Brownies to Juniors:
  • Ellie H.
  • Cecelia S.
  • Amelia S.
  • Camilla S.
  • Kathryn W.
  • Madelynn B.

Troop 36882

Troop Leader Irene M.

Troop 36882 kept busy this year with new experiences like the Asbury Woods Holiday Lights Hike and Virtual Candy Camp. The troop enjoyed Mug Cake Mondays (sounds yummy!) and many service unit events like the Thinking Day Art Gallery!

Troop 36882 will be enjoying an upcoming behind-the-scenes zoo trip, which they are all very excited for!

Bridging from Brownies to Juniors:
  • Aurora B.
  • Aubrey N.
  • Elizabeth M.
  • Ivy L.
  • Lily A.
  • Olivia M.
  • Tara W.
  • Jocelyn P.

Troop 27110

Troop Leaders Laura S. & Sue H.

These Girl Scouts completed many Junior badges virtually including Digital Photographer, First Aid, Jeweler, Coding, and Citizen Scientist. Brown bags with activities and supplies were delivered to homes so that girls could make mug cakes, play MOOZ, and make sit-upons.

It was a complete Girl Scout year with hiking, planting, painting, and playing together.

Bridging from Juniors to Cadettes:
  • Madison B.
  • Micayla E.
  • Faith H.
  • Harper H.
  • Abigail H.
  • Octavia L.
  • Rachel L.
  • Sophia M.

Troop 36509

Troop Leaders Lisa H. & Kaley F.

As Juniors, Troop 36509 joined their Girl Scout sisters at service unit gatherings like Goose Chase, Service in September, Winter Get Outdoors, and more! The girls constructed Australia for the World Thinking Day Art Gallery, and they enjoyed selling lots of cookies this cookie season.

Bridging from Juniors to Cadettes:
  • Gaelie H.
  • Ella S.
  • Lauren F.
  • Brooke A.
  • Lalana N.
  • Carissa W.
  • Coraline S.
  • Maelyn M.
  • Amelia D.
  • Amy T.

Troop 36545

Troop Leaders Christina V. & Monica M.

Troop 36545 came together virtually for brownie baking and Candy Camp. They are working on their Program Aide Training and looking forward to helping at this summer’s day camp. The troop spent time helping others by volunteering at their local humane society.

Bridging from Juniors to Cadettes:
  • Emily G.
  • Meredith M.
  • Ellery N.
  • Sarah A.

Troop 36507

Troop Leader Melanie D., Co-leader Monica M., and Troop Cookie Manager Megan C.

From baking and creating stop motion videos on Zoom to butterfly garden clean up, Troop 36507 had some busy Juniors! During their Junior level, the girls were able to enjoy Camp Creepy, hiking at Asbury Woods, learning new outdoor skills, and selling Girl Scout Cookies!

Bridging from Juniors to Cadettes:
  • Zoe M.
  • Clara D.
  • Kayla G.
  • Bella A.
  • Nova D.
  • Maisee C.
  • Nicole F.
  • Riley H.

Troop 30836

Troop Leaders Laura S., Michelle W., and Linda D.

During this Girl Scout level, these girls camped in rain and snow at Camp Hawthorne Ridge, Camp Conshatawba, and a US Coast Guard station. They toured the Erie Cemetery, biked at Presque Isle State Park, and enjoyed Zoom get-togethers.

Troop 30836 had a successful (and fun!) cookie season, and they worked hard on their outdoor booths.

The girls stayed connected during the summer of 2020 by baking together on Zoom every Friday.

Bridging from Seniors to Ambassadors:

  • Mallory B.*
  • Julie D.*
  • Isabella D.*
  • Autumn L.*
  • Josefina S.
  • Ashley S.*
  • Lydia S.*
  • Lauren W.

    Indie Scout Bridging from Cadette to Senior:
  • Kenzie S.

*2020 Silver Award Girl Scouts (Greenhouse Garden and Bat House)


Service Unit 3622’s bridging ceremony was held on Monday, June 7 with Amy M. serving as the mistress of ceremonies.

All GSWPA Girl Scouts, troops, and service units can submit their Girl Scout adventures and accomplishments to be featured on the GSWPA Blog!

👉 Share your Girl Scout story!