Senator Brown E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • District of Character
  • Senator Brown Hosts Meet and Greets
  • Growing Greener Watershed Grant Program Opens Friday
  • How to Apply for a Veterans ID Card
  • Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy for At-Risk Youth Accepting Applications
  • Check Out a State Park Near You
  • Recognizing the Vital Role of Volunteers
  • Around the 40th District

District of Character

Senator Brown Hosts Meet & Greet with Emergency Responders and Local Municipalities

This week, I hosted two informational Meet & Greets with municipal leaders and emergency service providers – first on Wednesday night for Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, then again on Thursday morning with Monroe County. In my role, it is always helpful to meet directly with local government leaders and emergency service providers to ensure an open line of communication and a deeper understanding of their important roles. Additionally, I invited a speaker to share information on opportunities available through the state government and how they can utilize my office as a resource as they serve the community.

Thank you always to our local government officials and our emergency responders – both play a critical role to our lives, and I appreciate their service and dedication.

Growing Greener Watershed Grant Program Opens Friday

Beginning Friday, April 21, organizations involved in water resource restoration and protection can apply for the next round of Growing Greener grants through the Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener Plus Grants Program

Growing Greener grants are designed to improve or protect this Commonwealth’s waters from nonpoint source pollution associated with agricultural activities, acid mine drainage, stormwater runoff, energy resource extraction and streambank and shoreline degradation.

Counties, municipalities, municipal authorities, county conservation districts, watershed organizations, councils of governments, educational institutions and other organizations dedicated to water clean-up and preservation can apply. The application deadline is June 23.

How to Apply for a Veterans ID Card

Many former service members are unsure how to prove they are a veteran to take advantage of discounts offered by businesses. These include restaurants, hotels, stores, recreational activities, home improvement and more.

The easiest way is to apply for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans ID Card (VIC), which is a digital photo ID you can use to get those discounts. Since September 2022, all new Veterans ID cards have been digital. A veteran with a physical ID card can continue using it to get discounts. The VIC is separate from the VA health care ID, which a veteran receives when enrolling in VA health care.

Find out how to apply for a card here. If you have any questions or need help, email VA’s VIC program at

Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy for At-Risk Youth Accepting Applications

The Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy (KSCA) is accepting applications for its third class of cadets, which begins in July. KSCA is designed to give academically challenged teens a second chance at obtaining their basic education, as well as learning leadership, self-discipline and responsibility.

The program is open to 16- to 18-year-old male and female Pennsylvania residents who are failing to progress in high school or may not be on a clear path to graduating. Applicants must be willing to be drug free, free of felony convictions and voluntarily commit to the program. The program lasts for 17 months, with the first five months consisting of residential training at Fort Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County, followed by a year of mentorship back in the community.

Learn more about eligibility requirements and begin the application process here. Anyone who prefers to have an application mailed or would like to talk with someone about the program may contact the academy by emailing or calling 717-861-7767 or 717-861-8831.

Check Out a State Park Near You

Now that spring has arrived, the nicer weather will allow Pennsylvanians more opportunities to explore our state’s 124 beautiful state parks, operated by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Pennsylvania’s state parks system manages more than 300,000 acres for popular recreation activities, such as hiking, picnicking, camping, fishing, hunting and boating.

Pennsylvania state parks do not charge an entrance fee; however, fees do apply for some activities.

If you like to enjoy the outdoors with your dog, 56 of our state parks offer dog-friendly campgrounds. Learn more or find a park nearby here. Make reservations online here to secure campsites, cabins, picnic pavilions, whitewater boating launch time permits and more.

Recognizing the Vital Role of Volunteers

The strength of America is found not in the relationship between citizens and government, but between citizens themselves: Neighbors helping neighbors through the act of volunteering.  

An estimated 23.2% of Americans or more than 60.7 million people formally volunteered with organizations between September 2020 and 2021. For everyone who steps up and gives time, effort and more, you have my deep appreciation.

Around the 40th District

This week, I attended the Pocono Friends of Scouting dinner – a wonderful evening to support all the great work of the Minsi Trails Council. I was honored to be recognized by the Council with the Dick Seip Distinguished Citizen Award – also recognized was Francis Oquendo with the John Riley Good Scout award. Dick Seip truly exemplified what it meant to be a good citizen – and he lived by the scout values in every way – duty to God, duty to Country, duty to others, and duty to self. Thank you to the Minsi Trails Council for all your work in scouting and working to build good character and morals in our community.

This week, Valley View High School held their STEM Center ribbon cutting! Rep. Kyle Mullins and I attended to see this incredible center firsthand. What an amazing resource to bolster education for students and build on interest in this important field. Thank you to all involved who made this possible!

This afternoon, East Stroudsburg University and Lehigh Valley Hospital – Pocono celebrated the opening of the Dale and Frances Hughes Community Health Education and Simulation Center. Thank you to all involved making this highly advanced simulation center possible – what a great opportunity for students and our community.

This week, Kristine from my office attended the Pocono Chamber of Commerce’s event Willie Mae’s Place for their launch of “Heritage Seasonings” – which they will be shipping nationally! Willie Mae’s place, located at 1289 Route 209 in Gilbert, is home to amazing food, a commissary kitchen, and events. Thank you for your investment in our community and wishing you continued success.


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