What Are You Doing This Fall?

Fall-ActivitiesBy Christine Posey, Director of Girl Leadership Experience

I just did the math. This past Girl Scout year, there were over 170 Badgerland programs and over 200 activities sponsored by our Program Partners. Wow! That’s a lot of stuff for our girls to do. Beyond that, Girl Scouts are out there doing service and Take Action projects, earning Journey awards and badges, and taking trips regionally, nationally and internationally. It’s amazing! There are adventures to be had around every Girl Scout corner.

With July winding down, we’re not too far from the start of the school year and thinking about what the next Girl Scout year looks like for your girls. Here are a few things to help create a memorable Girl Scout year.

1) Follow the Girls’ Lead: Let them Plan
Most leaders like to map out their entire Girl Scout year, including service projects, before things kick-off in the fall. Before you plan though, make sure to sit down with your troop and take the opportunity to follow their lead. Let them choose what programs to attend or what service projects to focus on. Encourage your Daisies and Brownies to share their ideas with you. Even if their notions are unrealistic, it lets you know what the girls are interested in. I remember a group of Daisies who wanted to go to Sea World and Paris. They ended up visiting the Shedd Aquarium and had a blast.

As the girls get older, let them become a part of, and start planning, activities and meetings themselves. This is where girls begin to learn about what is and isn’t a realistic goal. Girl Scouts isn’t just about going and doing. It’s also about the girls learning practical skills they can use as they grow and face challenges in their lives. The girls won’t always be successful in their plans, and it’s important for them to learn how to deal with those outcomes with the support of great leaders and involved parents.

2) We’ve Got You Covered! Use These Resources
Looking for some fun troop activities? Check out the Activities calendar or list, the PathFinder and the camp book, all on our website, to see what we have planned. You can also search for programs through your Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). Coming up this fall, over 150 Program Partner opportunities are available and tons more Badgerland programs including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), the outdoors, camping, cookie kickoffs and more! We’re also introducing two new STEM patch programs; Girl Scout Makers, with 5 progressive patch programs and MAD 4 Science, which is all about citizen science (like crowd sourcing science research).

Many Girl Scout Leaders spend lots of time researching various blogs and Pinterest boards for activities. For Daisy, Brownie and Junior co-leaders, we’ve got two whole years of meetings pre-planned for you in VTK-and they’re customizable! Talk about easy. If you need some help getting started with VTK, check out our training video.

3) Keep it Simple and You’ll All Have More Fun
Remember, what’s new and exciting for Daisies and Brownies may be something that we, as adults, or the girls’ older siblings, have done hundreds of times. Don’t be intimidated by doing something low-tech such as playing Hot Potato or Musical Chairs. It’ll be the hit of the day. You’ll find that sometimes, even the older girls want to be silly and play those games as well. As adults, we often forget that kids still love the things that we did as kids. Keep it simple and straightforward at each level, adding a little to your activities each time. This lets the girls be excited for the next thing they get to do!

A final thought – if you don’t already, plan to attend the Girl Scout Leader meetings in your community. This is where all the grown-ups get together and share ideas and gab and have a great time supporting each other. Even if you can only make it once in a while, this is a great place to connect with other leaders. Go, get energized and get inspired! It’s a great club to belong to.

Badgerland Joins the Golden Centennial Celebration in the Nation’s Capital

Celebrating 100 Years of Girls Changing the World

By Marci Henderson, Badgerland CEO
Anna Maria Chavez, former Girl Scouts of the USA CEO, Marci Henderson, Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Badgerland CEO and Claire Evensen, Gold Award recipientGirl Scouts from across the United States, including Badgerland, took to Washington, D.C. in June to join Girl Scouts USA, members of Girl Scouts’ Honorary Capitol Hill Troop and hundreds of leaders from  government, military and academia to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the highest honor in Girl Scouts. And to recognize the amazing girls and women who have earned Girl Scouts highest award over the past 100 years!

I was delighted to accompany Badgerland Girl Scout, Claire Evensen, who was one of eight girls selected nationwide to present her Gold Award Project at this special event. Claire’s project, Teen2Teen, was based upon her desire to help teenagers support loved ones are experiencing eating disorders, anxiety issues, and/or depression. In cooperation with area health clinics, Claire created and gathered surveys and then taught herself to code so the information would be widely available. The result? An Android app that can be downloaded over 100 countries!

Claire, and the thousands of others who earned the Girl Scout Gold Award before her, knows it is a symbol of excellence, ingenuity and a testament to what girls can achieve—to their vision and fortitude, leadership and dedication. This centennial was a remarkable occasion celebrating a hundred years of projects whose cumulative effects have rippled across time and geography, and helped to transform our world forever…for the better.

Following the Capitol Hill Gold Award celebration, Claire and I had the opportunity to visit with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (also a Girl Scout alum!) and U.S. Representative Mark Pocan to raise awareness of the Gold Award and talk about how Girl Scouts are helping to improve their communities locally and around the world.

In Claire’s own words, “The trip to D.C. was a phenomenal experience! I loved having the opportunity to both listen to the presentations of others and present my own project. The first event of the trip was a luncheon at the National Press Club with a speech by Anna Maria Chavez. This hour was amazing! Our (former) CEO was a powerful speaker, with a clear vision for both Girl Scouts and girls and women as a whole; it was easy to see why she has recently been ranked among the most influential leaders in the world. The Gold Award 100th anniversary is an event that will stay with me for a long time. It was not only enlightening and inspiring to see the projects of my fellow Girl Scouts from across the country, but was energizing to be in a room with so many other Gold Award scouts and among countless other supporters of the organization. I doubt I will again be a part of an event that better celebrates the power of young women to actively change their communities and the world at large. To paraphrase one of the speakers, we are not the leaders of change for tomorrow, but are the leaders of change today.”

It is these kinds of opportunities that are available to every girl through Girl Scouts.

Your investment in the lives of girls, like Claire, truly help make the world a better place. Thank you.