Claire Kircher, Forever a Girl Scout

By Hallie Kircher-Henning

In her life enriched by the power of Girl Scouts, my mom, Claire Kircher, consistently showed gratitude for the organization which had given her so much.

A sister, an explorer, a risk-taker, a nurse, a mother, and a loving friend, Claire Kircher led her life with confidence and compassion. An energetic problem solver, she approached challenges head-on. While many daughters would provide similarly impassioned descriptions of their mothers, I am by no means alone amongst the multitudes of people who became enamored with Claire’s spirited light. Her light, which shone through every stage of her life, was fueled and sustained by Girl Scouts.  

Growing up in West Bend, WI in the 1960s and early 1970s as the eldest of six children in a conservative Catholic household, my mom often recounted the lack of opportunities and activities for girls in their formative years. As different family pressures and responsibilities emerged throughout her childhood and adolescence, Girl Scouts remained a sacred refuge for Claire: a place of infinite possibilities to explore, a place full of loving female friendships and bonds. Claire fully embraced Girl Scouts’  outdoors and leadership experiences, to which her large and hectic family would not have exposed her. Cherishing her earliest memories of independence she made at Camp Tiwaushara outside Wild Rose, WI, she embraced the camping, canoeing, and hiking trips her beloved troop leader, Ms. Azelle, made possible for her troop. She realized she thrived in leadership positions, enjoying the decision making process and logistical planning of different endeavors. To raise funds for her troop to travel to Europe and to the International Girl Scout Chalet in Switzerland in the summer of 1973, Claire helped collaborate with local businesses so her troop members could sell tickets to silly fashion shows they put on for the community. Above any individual experience, my mom most deeply treasured the powerful female friendships and the strong female energy she gained and embodied through Girl Scouts. Her appreciation for the collective strength and wisdom of womxn and girls seeped into every subsequent aspect of her existence.  

Girl Scouts ingrained in my mom that women can rise to any challenge.  She learned to never underestimate the radical, healing, transformative power of womxn as a collective. As a nurse, she enjoyed thinking through and tackling challenges, taking great responsibility in her work as a professional. She became trained in Reiki and body work therapy, using these alternative skills to enhance her healing ability. Outraged at the injustices her coworkers and her often faced in this female-dominated profession, she played ongoing leadership roles in organizing her comrades to demand respect and fair treatment for nurses. Enchanted by the power of music and song she first experienced in Girl Scouts, she sought community in the Madison feminist choir, Womonsong. Many Womonsong members had their own Girl Scouting backgrounds, and my mom formed instant connections. Throughout her adulthood, no matter what life events or obstacles she faced, she never ceased to honor, support, and seek refuge in her multitudes of female friends.

Becoming the co-leader of my troop, she manifested her gratitude for Girl Scouts by imparting her love of the program to me and my fellow troop members. Her co-leader, Mary Clare Murphy, ensured that our troop explored and served our community, sang songs, and learned to love and trust each other. However, they ultimately provided an environment in which we, as girls, could organize our own activities and directives. We exercised our own leadership muscles, most memorably, orchestrating the activities for the annual Regent Community Girl Scout Encampment. Our group of Girl Scout sisters remained strong, from kindergarten until our senior year of high school, supporting each other through the trials and tribulations of early adolescence through the start of college. My mom made sure that our troop remained a strong, interdependent female community that any girl could turn to for support.  

And this love of Girl Scouting lives through me. Most importantly, the value of honoring female friendships and community. In my time running on the women’s cross country team at Macalester College, I utilized many Girl Scout team building and planning skills that had been impressed upon me since youth. Now, I am a teacher in south Minneapolis, and the co-leader of a remarkable troop of Brownie Girl Scouts. Cultivating a troop at my school is my way of showing gratitude, not only for the Girl Scout organization, but also for my mom, who gave so much of herself to provide an excellent Girl Scouting experience.  

One of my co-leaders is none other than my lifelong friend and Girl Scout sister, Anna Ahrens, the daughter of my mom’s dear friend and co-leader of our troop, Mary Clare. After attending college in different states, Anna and I found our way back to each other in Minneapolis, proving, just as my mom did, that Girl Scout sisterhood lasts a lifetime. Together, we channel our moms’ energy in every meeting, always ensuring that our girls sing plenty of songs. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our troop met every Wednesday. After the meetings on my drive home, I always called my mom to debrief and ask for her advice. As her body weakened from the effects of chemotherapy and the spreading cancer, connecting with my next generation of Girl Scouts gave her hope and joy.  

Claire utilized her Girl Scout skills to march her way through four years of ovarian cancer. She was scrappy and tough. She pragmatically looked at the challenges from all angles, adapted to her changing physical abilities, and most of all, called upon her community of Girl Scout sisters and other female friends to carry her through. My mom’s light shone bright through every obstacle cancer launched her way. On my mom’s last day on this earth, as Hospice nurses attended to her at our home, dozens of people – Girl Scout connections, Womonsong connections, neighbors, and other friends and family – gathered below her window, social distancing on the street outside. Together, they joined in song, singing a selection of my mom’s favorite Girl Scout and Womonsong songs I had printed out and left in a pile below. The magical vibrations of their united voices sent a wave through our home, flooding into my mom’s open window, surrounding her with love. Hours later, her spirit left her body, soaring to join with the lingering energy of friendship and sisterhood. Her light shines on through me, and through the dozens of people she’s impacted through Girl Scouts and other communities. What she leaves behind is the value, and perpetual trust in the power of Girl Scouts Together.

To make a donation in honor of Claire Kircher, visit Badgerland’s donation page and type ‘Claire Rose Kircher Legacy Fund’ in the designation section.

From Camp Oakwood Knoll to Camp Kettlewood, but always a Girl Scout Camp at Heart

A happy ending for a happy-making place. The former Girl Scout property known as Camp Oakwood Knoll has a new identity and new owners while holding on to some old cherished traditions. Badgerland Girl Scouts closed and sold the camp in March 2019, per our long-range property plan. And wow has the place been spruced up! The new owners are calling it Camp Kettlewood and it’s open to the public where campers can sleep in tents (Girl Scout preference!) or vintage trailers (awesome!).

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But here’s what we are moved by; the keeping of Girl Scout touches including the groomed nature trails and original campsite names such as Mushroom Gulch and Sunset Ridge. According to the new owners, “That was purposeful… because we wanted to show respect to what was here before us. If you keep an eye out, you’ll be able to see more subtle nods to the (Girl) Scouts program incorporated into our decorations at the campsites!”Camp Kettlewood

After being a Girl Scout camp for more than 50 years, it is heartening to know this beautiful part of Wisconsin is again accessible to families seeking a connection to the natural world. Talk about using resources wisely. Now that’s the Girl Scouts way.

oakwood knoll

Brownie Badge Spotlight- My Great Day

by Tracy Harle

In this badge you will learn how to have a great day from the moment you wake up to when you tuck yourself into bed at night. Here are five activities and things you can make that will help you have a great day, every day.

Activity #1 Make Your Bed

First, think of what you can do after you get up and take a nice long stretch to the ceiling. You can make your bed! That’s right! Straighten out your covers, place your pillows where they belong, and just like that you’re done. Now doesn’t that look great? Your room already looks tidy. You’ve completed the first task of the day, and you feel accomplished. You are well on your way to having a productive day. Plus, it brings a smile upon your face and brightens your mood setting you up to have a great day!

Activity #2 Sort Your Stuff (Craft Project)

Sort Your stuff is a way to keep your items in one place so when you need something you know right where to go to get that item. You can use aluminum cans and use them to store pens, pencils, markers, etc.

Supplies Need:

  • Clean aluminum can
  • Permanent markers
  • Paint
  • Use Modge Podge glue on fabric pieces.
  • Glue embellishments on them with craft glue.

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Activity #3 Making Homework a Breeze

You can create a calm and relaxing area in your room or home by making an area suitable with everything that you need to concentrate. You already have all your supplies ready to go with your newly decorated aluminum cans. Now you are ready to hit the books!

Activity #4 Plan Ahead (Craft Project)

Having a list of what you need to do helps you to keep organized and also helps you feel accomplished by checking off your TO DO list. By making a checklist every day you can change your list as often as you see fit. So, one day you might not have homework to do, or maybe you don’t have chores to do.

I like to have a list template that I am able to change without having to waste paper. In this photo I used a page protectant sleeve and I put my paper inside it. I then wrote on the front of it with permanent marker, my to do list and if I need to change or add to the list I use the dry erase marker to do so as a dry erase marker you can wipe off.

Supplies Need:

  • Page Protectant sleeves
  • Paper
  • Stickers (optional)
  • Permanent maker
  • Dry erase marker

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Activity #5 Helping Other’s get Organized

Organize your family’s spaces that could use help. Ask your parents if you can help organize a drawer or cabinet in the kitchen. For example, you can make a snack station in your refrigerator or pantry. Then when you come home from school you can see all your options in one place.

You can also ask your parents to reach out to your local food pantry and ask if you can help organize and sort food with them. This would be a wonderful way to help out in your community. Remember to wear your Girl Scout uniform when you go!

Start making checklists with your family. Do you have sports or activities that you go to? You can help by making a check list of the things you need to take with you to your events.

Now let’s have a Great Day!

Badgerland Art Challenge

Jenn Ponte

Why is art important to you?

To me art allows us to share how we see the world around us, and express how we feel and see through the art we create. It is especially good when we don’t know what words to use to express how we feel.

Art also allows me to go into a place in my mind to think and see things differently.  It’s a place of memories, and imagination. A place where I can be me and think quietly about things. People often ask where do I come up with my ideas?  The answer is, I don’t know.  It’s o.k. to not know.  It’s o.k. to say, the idea just floated in my mind like a butterfly and smile.  Most good ideas are like that.  They sneak up on you when you least expect it.  The trick is catching that idea and writing, or drawing it down.

So, this week we are going to be art catchers.  And how are we going to do that? By being inspired by certain art prompts that I will be giving you in the next seven days. The art prompts are meant to get you inspired and to think creatively.

Materials needed: Well anything really!  That is the great thing about art!  You can use paper and pencil, crayons or paint.  Do you want to create a piece of artwork using found objects?  Of course you can!  (But, before using found objects you will want to get permission first!)

Don’t forget to share your art with us! Simply post it online with #badgerlandartchallenge

Now for the Art Prompts: (drum roll please…)

 

Day One:

What is your super power?  Everyone one has one. Be it friendly, helpful, creative, strong, smart, funny, clever or tidy.  The list goes on and on.  It also makes up who we are. And we are all unique and special. Today’s Art Prompt is:

SUPER POWER

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Day Two:

It’s always great to get outside whether in your backyard, around your neighborhood, city park, or on a hiking trail. And if you can’t get outside there is always a view out your window, or you can use your imagination to create an outdoor world of your own. So grab your art supplies and get sketching.  There is a whole world out there to explore! Today’s Art Prompt:

GREAT OUTDOORS

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Day Three:

Now, I don’t know about you, but I think robots are pretty awesome. Some mimic the human movements, and some mimic animal movements.  But all are great helpers just like Girl Scouts!  So todays art prompt is:

ROBOT HELPER

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Day Four:

Cookie Season is done.  But now is a great time to start planning for next year!  Grab your creative thinking cap get a piece of paper and let’s start creating the most draw dropping cookie booth ever seen!  Today’s Art Prompt:

MY DREAM COOKIE BOOTH

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Day Five:

In honor of the Brownie Snack Badge today’s art prompt is:

SNACK

 

Day Six:

When you look up at the night sky it has many stars and a moon.  What would it be like to be an astronaut up there?  What would Earth look like from space?  What would you like to do in space?  Grow plants on Mars? Sure!  Study the rings of Saturn? Of course!  The possibilities are endless.

Today’s Art Prompt:

SPACE

 

Day Seven:

SWAPS are known far and wide in Girl Scouts.  SWAPS stand for “Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.”  They are little tokens of friendship with the Girl Scouts they meet while traveling. Whether made your received what is your favorite?

Today’s Art Prompt is:

SWAPS

Advocacy Day 2020

By Cassandra Riese

Do you ever see issues in our society that you want to change? Do you want to get your voice out there and be heard? Do you want to show the world some of your Girl Scout power? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you should consider becoming an advocate and joining us for Girl Scouts 2021 Advocacy Day next year. Girl Scout Advocacy Day is a program where girls get to hear and gain inspiration from adults that have advocated for what they believe in. Then Girl Scouts get to take the reins and talk to lawmakers themselves and advocate for issues that they are passionate about. On Wednesday, March 4th 70 girls went to the state capital in Madison and spoke about issues they believe in, and how to make the world a better place one girl at a time.

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The morning started with a welcome from Marci Henderson, the CEO of Girl Scouts of Wisconsin – Badgerland. Then we heard some inspiring words from Senator Kathy Bernier and Representative Greta Neubauer about how girls can do anything when they are true to themselves. But there were not only lawmakers and adult representatives for Girl Scouts speaking. There were also girls representing three different councils. Morgan, Jayda, and Cassandra gave speeches about their amazing Girl Scout experiences. The girl’s speeches featured several different topics, ranging from bullying, Girl Scout events, and even what their future holds. Wow! I, as the representative for Badgerland council, talked about my Girl Scout experience and how it has led to many opportunities, including being on the TV, radio, and even joining the Global Girl Scout Round Table at the 2020 National Girl Scout Convention being held in Orlando, Florida in October. At the very end the lawmakers participated in a Girl Scout Investiture Ceremony where they were made honorary Girl Scouts and they received a pin over their heart.

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After the welcoming ceremony the Girl Scouts gathered for a group photo in the rotunda, took some fun photos and videos, and then headed to the Overture Center for lunch. There the girls got to hear from two amazing role models. The first speaker was Laura Downer, the University of Wisconsin Madison Student Body President. Ms. Downer saw issues on her campus in regards to how budget cuts affected the student population and decided she needed to take action to improve not only her school, but also improve things for people learning and teaching there. Then the girls got the amazing opportunity to meet and hear a speech from the Mayor of Madison, Satya Rhodes-Conway. She talked to the girls about her experience in politics, and to not give up in campaigns or anything you believe in. Way to show girl power Satya! Mayor Rhodes -Conway and Ms. Downer also took the time to take photos with any Girl Scout that wanted to. Then as if things could not get any better, it was announced that Governor Evers had made a proclamation that March 12, 2020 is Girl Scouts Day in Wisconsin to honor the 108th anniversary of Girl Scouts. What an empowering thing for Wisconsin Girl Scouts!

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Now that the girls had been inspired, it was time for them to go meet with Senators and Representatives to advocate and share their voice!

Going into this event the girls not only had their own ideas to advocate for, they also got to advocate for the five Girl Scout public policy goals of 2020 which are,

  • Promote Economic Opportunities for Girls in STEM
  • Strengthen financial literacy skills for girls
  • Expand our access to the outdoors and develop anti-bullying initiatives
  • Promote education about global issues that impact girls and women
  • And uphold a strong nonprofit community that supports Girl Scouts

Wow, what an ambitious but amazing list that Girl Scouts hope to accomplish together!

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After splitting into small groups, the Girl Scouts got busy delivering a folder of information about the Girl Scouts initiatives for 2020 and what they advocate for, along with a complimentary box of yummy Girl Scout cookies. The girls also had scheduled meetings where time was set aside to meet with lawmakers and talk to them about issues that they are concerned about and what was important to them. Wow! You don’t get to do that every day! One group met with many different lawmakers including Senator Jennifer Shilling, the Minority Leader, who by no surprise was a Girl Scout herself and continues to advocate for them. Then when the group was dropping off a folder to Representative Jill Billings she took time to sit down and talk with the girls. The girls talked about many different issues, Aubrey a 12-year-old Cadette talked about water pollution in the Wisconsin River near her home and how it was affecting not only the fish, but the Eagles. She discussed how we can work to stop this through stricter laws involving disposal of chemicals. Way to go Aubrey! I talked about vaping and the issues it is causing in not only my school, but other schools as well, and how there are many ways we can help the vaping crisis.

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Advocacy day is a day where girls can start their journey to find their voice and learn that their voice matters. As Girl Scouts continues to make an impact on girls, in turn those girls will make an impact in our cities, our state, and our country. Girl Scouts creates an everlasting circle of impact and everyday improvements. Let’s continue the growth to empower every girl and promote that she has a voice and change can start with her.

Camp Ehawee Winter Expedition

By Media Girls Eloise Czerwonka, Brea Flint, and Megan Scholz

January 25-26, 2020

Don’t you love to camp at Ehawee?  The adventure, the wildlife, the trees? What if Ehawee was buried in nearly a foot of snow?  Would you still dare to stay the weekend?  That’s what 35 of Girl Scouts challenged themselves to do this weekend, along with parents, troop leaders, and super-awesome camp counselors!  At 35°F and no wind, Saturday was a GREAT day to play in the snow.   Megan Scholz, Brea Flint, and Eloise Czerwonka wanted to report the adventures that they encountered this weekend.

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Arriving at camp was interesting. There was snow everywhere. Normally, you show up at Ehawee surrounded by a green landscape. Well, not this time. We had nearly a foot of white, fluffy, pack-y snow, topped off just that morning. WILD!

After everyone moved into Bertha and Nakomis Lodges, they arranged themselves into groups and started an adventure. Eloise, Brea, and Megan navigated from constructing snow shelters to tracking animals, building fires in the snow, creating wildlife habitats, studying winter first aid, and making a blizzard in Hope Lodge.

image 2On their hike to find signs of wildlife, they didn’t see many tracks to begin with, so they made a few of our own.  Megan playfully drew a large bird print in the snow when the others weren’t looking.  “Look what I found!” she shouted to the group.  The girls debated about what it could possibly be.  A gigantic prehistoric bird perhaps?  Later in the day, when the girls returned to Hope Lodge, they saw the Hippogriff nest and came to the unanimous conclusion that the huge prints must have been from a Hippogriff.

 

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By the end of their 30 minute hike through the snow (it went almost all the way to their knees!), they had identified dog, raccoon, deer, and rabbit tracks.  Interestingly, the rabbit tracks were pretty shallow while the deer prints were deeper into the snow.

Next they made a snow shelter in the Minihaha Unit.  They had to start with a stick no larger than their wrist, add more sticks to it, then add vines or more sticks and packed snow on top (pancake style, not too heavy).  The bottom was lined with big branches to anchor the wall.  When they finished, all four of them could fit into the shelter (well, sort of).  It was surprisingly warm and comfortable inside even though it was made of icy cold snow.  When they climbed out, their leaders said it looked like they were climbing out of a clown car!

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After lunch, the girls wanted nothing more than to just play outside.  They hiked to Marinuka Unit where they had thought about fire building, but instead found a world of untouched snow.  They rolled a snowball that got bigger and bigger and took 10 girls to roll.  Working together, they constructed a snow mom that was bigger than all of the girls building it and turned it into their own personal climbing and play structure.

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Eventually, the girls did get to build campfires with camp counselor Cypher.  The fires were build in the parking lot on top of cardboard.  Cypher put them out with her boot before they got very big.  Did you know that air flow is important for getting fires started and keeping them going?  Since fires need oxygen, it’s important to make sure to build the base with space for the air to go.  The girls used a mixture of small twigs and pine needles (kindling) and bigger twigs and sticks to keep it going.  They all worked as a team to create a fire that lit well.  It was super exciting to see that they could start a fire in the snow.

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The last big Saturday activity was a snow creation competition.   Eloise, Brea, and Megan decided to make a friendship circle of snow girls and used snow paint made with food coloring and water to add different colored sashes/vests for each of the snow girls.  Snow painting was new to them and since the colored water was warmer than the snow it melted into the snow people leaving indentations.   There were all sorts of creative snow engineering going on.  There were castles, forts, Ms.snow-punzel, a hippopotamus, and even a snow woman in a bikini.  The winning structure was a snowman with a kitty because it had stick structures in it for support.   Although Eloise, Brea, and Megan didn’t win, but they sure had fun working as a team and creating 12 unique snow girls and their fearless leader.

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Eloise can’t wait to come back next year, and hopefully the abominable snowman appears this time so we can see it! The skits the counselors put on were amazing and funny — cool! The best one was the skit about camping and trolls. A special thanks to Panara bread for donating bagels and other kinds of bread for breakfast before our journey back home. She’ll just need to remember to bring a backup set of mittens next year!

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Brea had just moved to Badgerland Council this September, she was born and raised in Southern California, so this was her first winter with real snow (and her 1st time at Ehawee). She loved seeing the snow covered trees and paths—and loved that the weather conditions were just perfect—plenty of packing snow for building creative creations—such as spontaneous snow cats complete with twig whiskers.  She also is beginning to grasp the difference between packing snow and a nice dusting of powder—and can now understand why Eskimos have over 50 words for snow.  She was also glad she learned about frostbite — and hypothermia (something she didn’t have to worry about much in Southern California where temperatures rarely dipped below 60 degrees.  She learned about many of the summer traditions (creek hopping, swimming, and getting TeePeed) at Ehawee and can’t wait to see what camp is like in warmer weather.  Brea, only ever having tried Little Brownie Baker cookies, really loved the thanks-a-lot S’mores—they had the perfect amount of chocolate and cookie—making the most delicious S’mores she’s had yet!   She’s definitely going to ask mom to stick up on these cookies this cookie season—as they won’t be available next year.

image 9Megan’s favorite part of camp was hanging out with new friends.  Like when a group of girls spontaneously built a gigantic snowman that was so big, they used it as a slide.  She also discovered her new favorite tea!  Celestial Green tea with White Tea for smooth taste.  Who knew?  Megan can’t wait to go back and make even more magical memories.

 

Eloise, Brea, and Megan want to wish everyone a spectacular day and hope that you have the opportunity to join them at the next Ehawee Expedition.  Until then, adventure on!

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Cookie FAQs

Cookie Season can sometimes be just as confusing as it is exciting. That’s why we’ve put together a FAQ list for all those new to the Cookie Program to help answer your most frequently asked questions. Keep reading to get set-up for Cookie Program success!

When does the cookie sale start?

Badgerland’s 2020 Cookie Sale starts February 15 and ends March 22.

How much does a box of cookies cost?

Cookies are $4 a box with the exclusion of the gluten-free cookie which is $5 a pouch.

How do I sign up for a booth?

Troops can reserve booths at council-secured locations using the Smart Cookies website. Booths are first reserved via a lottery system (this occurred January 14). After this, booths are reserved on a first come, first served basis. After the first week of sign-up (Jan 16-19), the scheduler re-opens every Sunday at 8am, at which time troops can select an additional 3 booths.

Can my girl sell online?

Girls can sell online by sending Direct Ship and Girl Delivery ecards to contacts via the Smart Cookies website. No online transactions beyond the ABC Smart Cookies website may occur. Cookies may not be sold via community buy-sell-trade sites, online auction or sale sites (Ebay/Craigslist), or Facebook Marketplace. Families and girls 13 and older (with parental permission) may advertise the cookie sale on personal social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), but sales must be completed in person or via Smart Cookies and the girl must complete the sale.

How do I sign up for Smart Cookies?

Mid-January you should have received an email from ABC Smart Cookies with a link to create an account. After creating your username and password, you’ll be sent a separate email to verify the account. If you did not receive your initial email from ABC Smart Cookies, call our Customer Care line to get started setting up your account.

Are marketing resources available?

Yes! You can find resources such as flyers and thank you cards available on the “Cookie Volunteer” page on our website

When do I need to return unopened cases of cookies?

Girls/Families should return any clean, unopened cases of cookies they don’t think they’ll be able to sell to their troop by March 8.

Troops will return unopened, clean cases of cookies to council March 14-15

I couldn’t make it to a cookie training, now what?

All our trainings as well as resources from Cookie U and CookiePalooza are available on our website! Find the most detailed resources on the “Cookie Volunteers” page. Family and girl-focused resources can be found on our “For Cookie Sellers” page.

Where do I go if I’m confused/need help?

For quick reference, our Cookie Guide is available on our Cookie Volunteers page. Still can’t find the answer to your question? Our Customer Care team is available 8:30-5 M-F via phone (800.236.2710) or email (info@gsbadgerland.org) to help! You can also message our Facebook page with quick questions and inquires.

We hope we answered a few of your most-asked cookie questions with our FAQ! As mentioned above, don’t be afraid to reach out with your questions: we’re here to make your Cookie Sale a success!

GSI: Girl Scout Investigations

Earning our Detective Badge with Brea Aschenbrenner and Megan Scholz

MediaGIRLS Brea Aschenbrenner and Megan Scholz had a spectacular time at Big Hill Center in Beloit earlier this month.  Both girls earned their Detective badge and figured out who the Cookie Thief was all while learning about finger prints, coding, handwriting analysis, and more!

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Brea and Megan had a chance to interview Dan Roman, a retired crime scene investigator and Co-founder of Camp Hero, who lead the finger printing station.  He taught the girls that each finger print is unique and almost  everyone has finger prints.  Finger prints can left behind just about anywhere and this makes them an important tool for solving crimes.  Fingerprints have special characteristics and can be grouped into different categories including accidental, plain arch, tented arch, loop, plain whorl, and double loop.  Since no two people have ever been found to have the same fingerprints detectives can compare fingerprints to crime scenes and databases and help solve crime.  Brea discovered she had loop finger prints while her mom has whorl finger prints.

After learning about fingerprints, the girls had the opportunity to reveal their whole hand print.  Megan thought it was neat that the carbon powder mixed with metal shavings could reveal whole handprints.  She thought it was even cooler that the magnet with the powder on it worked like a paint brush.

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Megan enjoyed learning how to decode a message.  She thinks secret codes are fun so this activity was a blast.  But after learning that each of the suspects drove a cookie car, the secret message wasn’t very helpful in solving the case.

The girls learned that graphology is the analysis of handwriting and can be used to identify the writer their personality characteristics.  Did you know that if your hand writing slants to the right you tend to be outgoing while left slanters tend to keep more to themselves.  Even the way you dot your i’s and cross your t’s can tell us more about your personality.  If you cross your t’s high you tend to set your goals high and if you dot your i’s high you tend to have an active imagination.  The girls copied a passage about Juliette Low and could see that their handwriting did indeed reveal some personality characteristics.  Brea thought this a fun activity and is looking forward to analyzing the tooth fairy’s handwriting.

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Each girl also had the opportunity to create their very own secret agent identity!  Megan thought that was a lot of fun.  The girls also learned a lot about how to determine if someone was telling the truth or being deceitful.  There was a lot of sketchiness going on and the lesion helped the girls narrow down the Cookie Thief suspect pool.

One of the highlights of the day was putting the girls’ spy skills to the test.  A red yarn “laser” maze was constructed.  Each girl had the opportunity to demonstrate her agility by passing through the maze without touching the yarn.  This was one of Brea’s favorite activities of the day.

The last station involved extracting DNA from strawberries.  Megan thought it was fun mashing the strawberries and seeing the color burst out into the water.  She also thought pouring the strawberry mixture through the strainer was interesting because it came out so smoothly.

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Dish soap was used to break open the strawberry cells and rubbing alcohol was used to precipitate the DNA and a gelatinous stringy mass of strawberry DNA was the result.  After all the squishing and smooshing, the girls were surprised to only see a small amount of DNA.  Brea said that she felt like a forensic scientist!

Both Brea and Megan enjoyed attending the event, using the expensive camera, and interviewing the other girls.  Unfortunately, there was too much background noise to make a good video.  Oh, well, there’s always next time.   We’ll see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be a Girl Scout Volunteer…

There are so many ways to be a Girl Scout volunteer! Volunteers are young professionals, retirees, and everything in between. Girl Scout volunteers share their best selves because girls deserve access to amazing mentors. Whether you are a co-leader, a subject expert, or event helper, there are endless ways to get involved and make an impact in your community.

We spoke with three volunteers to showcase what Girl Scout volunteers do, and what it means to be a Girl Scout volunteer.

Pat Coyne

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What inspired you to be a GS volunteer?

I was a girl scout as a girl through Senior Year in high school.  I was the beneficiary of wonderful women who volunteered to be my leader.  Girl Scouting provided me numerous opportunities for leadership and to widen my world experiences as a girl that my family could not have provided. I need to pay that forward so that today’s girls can have the same experiences and benefits.

What is your primary role as a volunteer?

Right now, I have a couple of activities.  As part of Membership Area 12 (Monona, Cottage Grove and Deerfield), I organize a fall and spring overnight experience, including programming and meals.  Sometimes I plan some additional events, such as Eagle Cave sleepover or a Leader/Daughter appreciation event. My granddaughter is a Kindergartner in the Milwaukee and so I am a co-leader of a Daisy troop with my daughter.  This will be my third troop that I have led. Sometimes I lend a hand at Council events.  I also am a Council delegate.

What does being a GS volunteer involve? What do you do day-to-day?

My volunteer work is more episodic; sometimes I am quite busy and sometimes not at all. When I am planning an event, there is a lot to do and most of my spare time goes into planning the activities, testing them, supply purchases, instruction write-up.  I set up a detailed schedule that includes stations, kapers, sleeping arrangements.  I also plan meals and purchase food.  Communication and coordination also need to be done. Similarly, I will have some of the responsibility for part of the Daisy troop meetings, so it will be busy at that time to plan, practice, and procure what we need. Otherwise, for the council events, I just show up as a pair of willing hands.  Such as Camp Hero, Camp Build, My First Sleepaway, Girl Scout Investigations….

What have you learned as a volunteer? How has being a volunteer impacted you?

Every time that I plan something in an area that is new to me, I have to learn that area first.  For instance, our fall event was the Drawing Junior badge, the Painting Brownie badge and the Comic Artist Cadette badge.  I knew nothing about Comics when I started but I know a whole lot more now!  Drawing and Painting things too!  It’s fun to learn. I love being with the girls.  I enjoy meeting other adults that are similarly dedicated to the growth of girls.

Why should someone become a GS volunteer?

To make a difference.  To make the world a better place.  To give back.  To see a girl smile and grow.  To continue to grow personally.  To stay fresh and young, alert and alive.   When I was younger and my daughter was in my troop, I used to say that I was a leader so that I spent time with my daughter when my hands weren’t in dishwater and weren’t on a steering wheel.  To invest in the woman she would become and not be on the sidelines of the activities that she did.  Other parents may find that this is compelling motivation to volunteer.

Jennifer Deuster-Loesch

Jennifer deuster-loesch
Pictured on far right

What inspired you to be a GS volunteer? 

I grew up participating in Girl Scouts.  My mom and one of my good friends mom’s were my troop leaders.  So when my oldest daughter wanted to be in Daisy Scouts and Council was looking for someone to volunteer to be a co-leader I was more than happy to pay it forward so to speak and give girls the chance to create the lifetime memories I had the opportunity to do so as a scout myself.

What is your primary role as a volunteer?  

My primary role as a volunteer has changed overtime.  I am a co-leader in three troops. Of course, following the Girl Scout Program and Safety Guidelines is a given but other than that I can honestly say it varies since Girl Scouts is driven by what the girl troop members want to do.  In all of the troops, I have found that the adult volunteers are flexible and that we trade off on taking on responsibilities.  Furthermore, as a volunteer you also need to know your limits and make sure that the others in the troop are aware of this. For example, if one of us is going through a busy time in life, then the other leader will take on a role that perhaps the other would typically handle.  Also, in all of the troops I co-lead we have parent’s that have volunteered as troop support — just because you volunteer as a troop leader does not mean that you have to be the cookie coordinator every year or plan every meeting or outing, in fact, I would recommend that these roles gets alternated and that as girls age that they become more and more responsible for what happens at meetings and outings.

What does being a GS volunteer involve? What do you do day-to-day?

As a GS Volunteer, I have participated in training that is offered to ensure that I am bringing the GS program to the troops I lead.  In one of the troops, I am the person that keeps track of troop finances. I coordinate with my co-leaders to set meeting dates, secure safety ratio volunteers for outings, send out troop communications, help the girls figure out details for meetings and outings and answer their questions.  Some days there is a lot to do and then weeks could go by with no volunteer obligations.

What have you learned as a volunteer? How has being a volunteer impacted you? 

Being a Girl Scout volunteer has enforced the concepts of community and team work for me and also brought home how each person is unique and has different things to offer.

Why should someone become a GS volunteer? 

Its a great way to become involved in the lives of girls and families in your community and get to know them better.  Also, being a GS volunteer exposes you to all kinds of new thoughts and ideas — it’s enriching.

Dawn Scholz

Dawn 3
Dawn Scholz pictured on right

What inspired you to be a GS volunteer?

I volunteered for my daughter.  I didn’t set out to be a volunteer.   We met a Girl Scout recruiter at my daughter’s meet your teacher event when she started kindergarten and my daughter was very excited about becoming a Daisy.  We signed her up right away for a new troop that was forming.   Several weeks went by and the troop didn’t have the two co-leaders necessary to run the troop.  I wanted my daughter to have an amazing Girl Scout experience, so I volunteered.  I had no idea what I was doing but the excellent staff at Badgerland was there to answer all my questions.

What is your primary role as a volunteer?

My primary role is as a cheerleader and a coach.  As a Troop Leader, I have the joy to lead the girls down a path of self-discovery.  I provide the options and let them choose the course.  I’ve seen so many “firsts”, first sleepover, first time trying archery, first time building a fire, and the list goes on.  Some girls can be nervous trying something new, so we cheer them on and help them celebrate their successes.  It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, a huge part of what we do as volunteers involves cheerleading.  And sometimes things don’t go as well as we hope.  Girl Scouts is a safe place to make mistakes.  In those cases, we help the girl learn what to do differently in the future.  So, yeah, I would say my primary role is being a cheerleader and a coach.

What does being a GS volunteer involve? What do you do day-to-day?

Volunteering for Girl Scouts can be as elaborate or as simple as you want.  I have facilitated events for the entire member ship area.  For example, we had an International Day of the Girl Ice Skating Party.  That involved planning, advertising, collecting registration forms and payment, contacting the ice rink to negotiate and reserve the time slot, recruiting people to help run the event, and all that good stuff.  I have also volunteered to hand out frozen custard at a Women’s Suffrage event at the State Capital.  All I did was show up and hand out custard for an hour or so and then I was done.  If you’ve got time to do something big, then go for it.  And if you can do a one-time event, that’s ok too.  Sure, we need Troop Leaders but we also need photographers, and Cookie Coordinators, and field trip chaperones, and drivers.  There as so many ways you can volunteer.

Day to day, I go to work, come home, and fix dinner.  We’re a pretty normal household.  I probably average about 2-4 hours a week on troop stuff.   Our troop has two 1-hour meetings and one field trip each month.   Girl Scouts makes it easy because they have directions for all the badges right on their website so planning for meetings is mostly just gathering supplies.  Cookie Season can get a little hectic but the day to day stuff is pretty easy.

What have you learned as a volunteer? How has being a volunteer impacted you?

Girls Scouts has really taught me how to network.  We have regularly scheduled membership area volunteer meetings and if I’m unsure about how to do something or there’s a something I’m struggling with, I know I can ask the group and it’s something one of them has encountered.  There is this diverse group of Girl Scout Adult Volunteers that has a remarkable wealth of knowledge and experience and they are ready to help.  We are all dedicated to making this an amazing experience for our girls.

I have had so many experiences as a Girl Scout Volunteer that I would not have had otherwise.  We talk about the positive impacts Girl Scouts has on our girls but sometimes forget that we have the opportunity to take this incredible journey with them.  I’ve gotten to operate fire hoses, build and program robots, build and launch rockets, sit at the NBC15 News anchor’s desk, look through a huge telescope to see the rings of Saturn, and countless other things.

Why should someone become a GS volunteer?

There are so many reasons to become a Girl Scout volunteer.  If you like the adventures, Girl Scouts has opportunities for camping, hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, caving, skiing, and all sorts of outdoor activities.   If you like STEM, there are badges for robots, engineering, coding, cybersecurity, space science, and protecting ecosystems.  There are too many opportunities to list.  When you volunteer, you get to experience these things with your girl.  And knowing you are positively impacting the world for your girl, and this whole group of girls, is extremely rewarding.  Girl Scouts helps me prepare my daughter for the future.  No matter what future she chooses for herself, I know she has the courage, confidence, and character to be successful.

 

Ready to make a difference? Visit gsbadgerland.org/makeadifference to learn how to become a Girl Scout volunteer!

Celebrate STEM/STEAM Month at Badgerland

November is STEM month at Badgerland! Looking for a new STEM badge to work on? Check out these resources for inspiration and ways to kick-off earning your next badge.

Coding

There are endless resources online to learn computer code. Here are a few sites to start off your coding journey.

For Daisies, Brownies, or Juniors… Kids Ruby. Kids Ruby teaches programming in a way that’s fun and easy for kids. Check it out at kidsruby.com

For Cadettes, Seniors, or Ambassadors… freeCodeCamp. freeCodeCamp teaches a variety of code through lessons that are challenging, but easy to understand PLUS allows the user to apply that knowledge by assigning coding tasks for non-profit websites. Visit freecodecamp.org to learn more.

For all ages… Made w/ Code. Made w/ Code is an initiative launched by Google to combat the gender gap in STEM and empower girls with knowledge in computer programming through offering fun games that teach the logic behind programming, Made w/ Code is a unique and entertaining way to learn about computer coding. Check it out at madewithcode.com.

Digital Game Design

For Daisies… Toca Builders. Toca Builders is a mobile game that allows younger kids to build interactive worlds, a great introduction to game development. Find the game on the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

For Brownies and older… Scratch. Created by MIT Media Lab, With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations while learning about coding and creative thinking. Try it out at scratch.mit.edu.

For Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors… Game Dev Tycoon. Game Dev Tycoon explores the beginning of the video game industry and places you in the role of the game developer and having you develop best-selling games. You can find the game on Steam.

Animals

For all ages… visit a local zoo or wildlife sanctuary to learn how animal habitats. See a list of area zoos below:

Henry Vilas Zoo, Madison WI https://www.henryvilaszoo.gov/

Ochsner Park Zoo, Baraboo WI

Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue, Rock Springs WI

Heartland Farm Sanctuary, Verona WI

DCHS’s Wildlife Center, Madison WI

For all ages… visit your local Humane Society shelter. Learn about animal care and give back by volunteering your time or giving needed items. See a few area shelters below:

Dane County Humane Society, Madison WI

Coulee Region Humane Society, Onalaska WI

Grant County Humane Society, Lancaster WI

Iowa County Humane Society, Dodgeville WI

Green County Humane Society, Monroe WI

Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin, Janesville WI

Space Science

For all ages… the Space Place. An extension of the UW Madison Astronomy Dept, this outreach center offers interactive exhibits, workshops, and guest speakers. Learn more at http://www.spaceplace.wisc.edu/

For all ages… the Sky Guide app (Fifth Star Labs LLC). This inexpensive app allows you to identify and learn about stars, constellations, planets, and more by simple pointing your phone towards the sky. Learn all about the night sky, no telescope required. Find the app on the Apple App Store.

Movie-making

For all ages…  learn editing with iMovie and Filmora. iMovie is included on all Apple computers and is an easy starting point for learning how to edit. Filmora is another option for inexpensive/free editing software and is simple to use for beginners. Find tutorials on Youtube, and look at your favorite movies to learn about common editing techniques.

For all ages… don’t have a camera? Use your phone to make short films. Work together to write a short script and film it like a film crew would. BONUS: Check out the “The Movie Making Book”. Available at most libraries and retailers, this book provides hands-on activities and exercises to turn phone and tablet videos into films.

Badgerland Check-out resources

Did you know Badgerland has a library of STEM-related resources and kits for your troop to use? From Galileoscopes to Ozobots, see what’s available on the Activity Resources page of our website.

 

What badges is your troop working on this month? Let us know in the comments below!