Meet: Kaitlyn Hollman, Gold Award Class of 2013

Girl Scout experiences launch Gold Award Girl Scout into success!

If you ask Kaitlyn Hollman what Girl Scouts has done for her, she’ll tell you it’s the new experiences, dedicated role models and the resulting scholarship opportunities that have gotten her where she is today. And where exactly is that?

Kaitlyn graduated from Fort Atkinson High School in 2013 and is on track to earn her doctorate degree in physical therapy from the University of Evansville in Southern Indiana in 2020. Despite a rigorous schedule, Kaitlyn still finds time to give back as a volunteer on the Gold Award Committee for Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana Council.
Kaitlyn joined Girl Scouts in first grade, at the same time her twin brother joined Boy Scouts. Though he chose not to continue on, Kaitlyn’s Girl Scouting years would prove to be full of valuable opportunities, friendship and growth. “We were a pretty adventurous troop,” she said, recalling the time Troop 2854 spent cliff repelling, down-hill skiing, dog sledding, whitewater rafting and taking home multiple Contiki Regatta titles. “What made me stick with it was the fun and new experiences I got to do had I not experienced it in Girl Scouts.”

Gold Award

Though troop travel and adventure is fun, the girls were also passionate about getting other kids in their community active. For their Bronze Award, the girls created an obstacle course, and expanded on it with a video series for their Silver Award. When it came time to think about her Gold Award project, Kaitlyn set out to find an impactful project that combined her love of sports and her community in a different way; she developed a plan to bring gently-used sports equipment to unserved children so that everyone had a chance to stay active and make friends.

Kaitlyn says that although her troop mates were from different social circles, she came to realize how great it was to experience these adventures with other girls her age – and that none of it would have been possible without an open-minded troop leader.
“I have to give a shout-out to my mom,” Kaitlyn said. “She was our leader, and she helped us plan some really, really fun activities. I honestly believe that a dedicated leader is what’s important to get girls to stay involved. They should be dedicated, patient, willing to step out of their comfort zone and have the best interest of the girls in mind.”

Because of Girl Scouts, Kaitlyn says she feels she’s more confident and self-sufficient than a lot of her peers. “I have some tools in my toolbelt that have helped me,” she said. “But one of the biggest things it’s done for me, is that I got a lot of scholarships through my volunteer work and community outreach that I experienced through Girl Scouts.”
Kaitlyn has earned 11 scholarships throughout her college years totally more than $145,000. In her applications she often attributes her character and determination to Girl Scouts. After earning her doctorate degree, Kaitlyn plans to return to the Midwest and become a sports-specialized physical therapist. “My advice for any Girl Scout is to just stick with it,” Kaitlyn says. “It’s such a great opportunity to make friends, try new things and stay involved in the community. You won’t regret it.”

 

Build a Troop in 6 Easy Steps

For many Girl Scouts, the Girl Scout Experience all starts with the generous adults that volunteer to start new troops. Though starting a Girl Scout troop can seem daunting, it’s actually both an easy and simple process. Here we’ve broken down the steps to form your own troop so you can get started learning new skills, seeing new sites, and having fun this fall faster

1. Request a Troop Number. At Girl Scouts of Wisconsin-Badgerland, getting a brand-new troop all starts with the troop number and we have made it easy to get one. All you need to do is fill out this form, and a staff member will reach out to you with your troop number and more information about getting your troop going. You can get started requesting your troop number here.

2. Find Adult Co-leaders. Every Girl Scout Troop needs at least 2 adult co-leaders to complete registration, background checks, and training. Every troop has a different amount of parent involvement, but the more volunteers each troop has, the more successful that troop is.

3. Complete Registration, Background Check, and Training. Having our adults registered, background checked, and trained not only helps ensure the safety of our girls, but also helps our volunteers feel prepared and sets troops up for success. Our staff is here to help.

4. Recruit and Register Girls. Every Girl Scout Troop needs girls, and we recommend getting started with at least 8 girls. This will give girls opportunities to lead in the group, and also leaves space in the troop for new girls to join. Up to 12 girls are able to join a troop with two adult co-leaders, but more girls are able to join if more volunteers are willing to help with the troop.

5. Find a Meeting Time/Space. Every Girl Scout Troop is different, some meet weekly, while others meet monthly. Determining the time, day and locations of your meetings is completely up to you and we are here to support you. Each community is different, but has great spaces your troop can meet in. Some meet in schools, churches, community centers, or banks. The flexibility of time, day, and location allows you to volunteer as often as you want, when you want, and where you choose.

6. Change Lives. By starting a Girl Scout troop, you are giving the girls in your community access to the wealth of opportunities Girl Scouts can provide, so thank you! Girl Scouts offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to girls (and volunteers) of all ages. We’re excited to see the impact you have on your community by starting a troop, and hope you are too.

Learn more about getting involved with Girl Scouts and starting a troop at our website gsbadgerland.org