Happy Fall- 10 Ideas for Fall Troop Activities

Fall is an exciting time in Girl Scouts; a new year, new troop mates, and new experiences! But with all the excitement, it can be overwhelming planning outings and activities for your troop. Here are 10 simple and fun activity ideas to kick off the new Girl Scout year.

  1. Leaf pressing– a classic, and easy, activity for troops of any level!

The easiest method is to place leaves between sheets of newspaper and press with heavy books for about 2 weeks, checking after one week to insure the leaves are drying properly.

Another method is to sandwich the leaves between wax paper and old cloth/towels, and iron on high (no steam). The wax will melt onto the leaves (and not onto the iron or ironing board thanks to the cloth) and preserve them for several months. Cut the leaves out from the wax paper making sure not to break the wax seal and use them in collages and other art projects.

You can see more methods and more info on these methods here.

leaf

Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash
  1. Fall Hike– October is Outdoors month at Badgerland, celebrate with a Fall Hike and get started earning your Trail Adventure badge! Here are some great hiking locations around Badgerland. Know of a great location not mentioned here? Leave it in the comments below! You can see a full list of hiking locations around Wisconsin on TravelWisconsin.com.

Monches Segment of Ice Age Traill- Hartland

Sand Cave Trail & Little Sand Cave Loop- Wyalusing State Park, Bagley

Old Settlers Trail- Wildcat Mtn. State Park, Ontario

East Bluff Trail- Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo

Perrot Ridge Trail- Perrot State Park, Trempealeau

Black River State Forest- Black River Falls

Interested in a guided hike? Attend our Full Moon Hike with the Ice Age Trail Alliance on October 13th. Learn more here

hiking

  1. Go camping… at a Badgerland Camp! Continue celebrating Outdoors month and work towards a Troop Camping Badge by reserving a spot at one of our camping properties. First time camping with your troop? Camp overnight at our Fall Ehawee Expedition event and have all the activities, and s’mores, provided for you.

Rent a Property (Sumac and Ehawee Properties have weekend availability in October and November)

Sign up for Ehawee Expedition

camping

  1. Visit a corn maze– put your troop’s strategy skills to the test and try to find your way through a corn maze this Fall. Large troop? Divide into teams and see who can find their way out the fastest. Check out these corn mazes around Badgerland:

Hidden Trails Corn Maze, Salem

Treinen Farm Corn Maze, Lodi

Enchanted Vally Acres, Cross Plains

Alpine Ridge Orchard, Brooklyn

Vesperman Farms, Lancaster

Busy Barns Adventure Farm, Fort Atkinson

  1. Create Halloween SWAPs– create some fun Halloween SWAPs and hand them out to Trick or Treaters. Visit our Pinterest page for inspiration.

halloween swap

  1. Organize a food drive for Second Harvest or your local Food Bank– reach out to see what items are needed the most and ask friends and family to make donations, or see if you can set up a donation bin at a school or local business.
  2. Visit a pumpkin patch– learn about ecology and agriculture picking pumpkins, then get creative decorating them for Halloween. Bonus: turn the trip into a service project and donate the decorated pumpkins to a community space such as a nursing home or shelter. Check out these pumpkin patches around Badgerland:

Treinen Farm, Lodi

Sutter’s Ridge Farm, Mt. Horeb

Enchanted Valley Acres, Cross Plains

Mayr Family Farm, DeForest

Vesperman Farms, Lancaster

Busy Barns Adventure Farm, Fort Atkinson

pumpkins

Photo by Maddy Baker on Unsplash
  1. Bake a pie… with no recipe! Learn the science behind baking and attempt to bake a pie with no recipe. Work together to hypothesize what will make a flaky crust and perfect filling, and then test it out to see if your hypothesis was right!
  2. Explore your Spooky Senses– earn the Brownie Senses Badge by creating a haunted house of things you can touch, smell, taste, and hear. Check out this blog post for more ideas.

brownie badge

10. Celebrate Juliette Gordon Low’s Birthday– Founder’s Day is October 31st! Celebrate by holding a JGL Birthday Party. Dress up in period clothing (or just like Juliette Gordon Low), celebrate Girl Scout traditions like making s’mores, make edible campfires, and trade Halloween SWAPs!

 

We hope these ideas give you inspiration for some Fall Fun this season. What is your troop doing this Fall? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Jenna Voegeli: Badgerland BossGIRL

From the Fall 2019 issue of Focus

Jenna Voegeli, a Senior in Troop 2697 launched her soap business through Badgerland’s BossGIRL patch program and is making cash while doing what she loves.

So, Jenna…

Tell us about your Business

My business is called SoapsAndStuff. I sell homemade soaps, scrubs, chapsticks, and scrub bags on Etsy under JennasSoapsAndStuff. I also sell my products to family, friends, and have worked a few trade fairs in the past.

“I’m constantly trying to give my business the upper hand with new and interesting products”

Where did you find your inspiration?

Ever since I was little I have loved soap. I recall one time taking a family trip to Colonial Williamsburg, VA and I found this pineapple soap ball and fell absolutely in love with it. This started my passion and wherever I went I would collect homemade artisan soap. This is what inspired me to make soap myself.

What is the best part of owning your own business?

When I started my business it was a hard realization that nothing happens instantly. It all takes time and patience. However, it is very much worth the wait and hard work. Now I get to play around with oils, fragrances, and colors to come up with new products, that has to be my favorite part!

PicSoap

Did you run into anything unexpected?

The biggest challenge I faced when working on this was the amount of amazing soap makers there are. I’m constantly trying to give my business the upper hand with new and interesting products.

What advice do you have for a girl who’s thinking about starting her own business?

Just go for it! The worst someone can say is ‘no’. That won’t do you any harm as long as you persevere. My troop has always focused on patches that helped to prepare you for adult life such as financial literacy, automotive repair, and first aid. These patches helped encourage my business and taught me how to successfully run a business with a thought-out plan.

IMG_1397

All in all, you should always chase your passions, you never know what you can achieve until you try.

BossGIRL

A recent study shows that 80% of women business owners were once Girl Scouts. Awesome, right?

Last fall, Badgerland announced BossGIRL, a patch program opportunity exclusive to our Girl Scouts. Participants got access to tons of tools to help them build their own business around their interests and skills. They attended a ‘Pitch Party’ to get feedback from real-life entrepreneurs, and got started on their business plans.

In June, these entrepreneurs got to sell their products (and keep the cash!) at a Youth Business Fair help at West Towne Mall in Madison. Not many girls can say they’ve successfully designed a business plan, outlined finances, marketed a product, and sold their items in a public space for a profit… but BossGIRLs can! BossGIRL is returning in 2020!

Check out Jenna’s Etsy shop here or follow her shop on Instagram here

Learn more about our BossGIRL patch program here

Looking Back: One Girl’s 13-year Girl Scout Journey

From the Fall 2019 issue of Focus

Peyton Barber is a Girl Scout through and through. She joined as a kindergarten Daisy…13 years ago! Over the years she’s gained best friends in her troop, been on outdoor adventures, traveled across the country, shared her Girl Scout story on TV and radio, provided valuable input on Badgerland’s Youth Leadership Council, earned her Bronze and Silver Award (and working on her Gold Award), managed her own Cookie business, and now, she’s a Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts.

Peyton says, “Girl Scouts has definitely helped shape the person I am today. Without Girl Scouts I feel I would have definitely missed out on all of the awesome opportunities I have been provided. I also feel I would not have grown up to be the passionate leader I am today if it weren’t for Girl Scouts and all the amazing leaders I’ve had throughout the years.”

After all these years, here’s her advice to current Girl Scouts:

“Take advantage of suggesting ideas of things you want to learn to your leaders. Want to learn how to fence – ask! Want to learn how to decorate a cake? Ask! Want to go camping in someone’s backyard – ask! The worst think your leader can say is no. The best thing is they might just say yes!”

Peyton Grad

Q. Where are you headed next?
I am going to attend Stetson University in Deland, Florida (it is halfway between Orlando and Daytona Beach). I was recruited for their D1 Rowing team (yeah! Full year rowing no winter!). I will be studying communications and pre-law.

Q. What does your future with Girl Scouts look like?
I plan to volunteer with the local council after I am settled in Florida. When I have a daughter, she will for certain go into Girl Scouts and I will be her leader. I am third generation Girl Scout – we can’t stop now.

Troop Life

My troop really did a lot of fun things, as our leaders had the logic to provide us opportunities we may not otherwise have. My troop learned how to row with the Camp Randall Rowing Club (and I joined the team!), we slept overnight on a baseball field, we learned to fence, we learned to scuba dive, we recorded songs at a recording studio, we learned how to make sushi, how to do DIY screen-printing, we met K9 dogs and so much more. We also took the opportunity to volunteer as group. My troop’s Bronze Award project provided the Dane County Humane Society the most items donated by a youth group! But my favorites were the trips we took as a troop to Chicago, the Mall of America, and New York City for a week.

Peyton Today Show

Q. What do your troop mates mean to you?
Ohana. They are family. My troop just graduated from high school and we are already planning a post freshman year of college trip together.

Peyton Cookies Starbucks

Being an Older Girl Scout

The Youth Leadership Council (YLC)
Being on the YLC with girls I didn’t know gave me a chance to work on my social skills, raising my point of view, and (obviously) leadership. I’m going to miss the friends I’ve made.

My Role Models
My mom has been one of my leaders for all 13 years of Girl Scouts. She and our other co-leaders Lauren Cunningham Laura Jirsa have been amazing. And a thanks to all of the troop parents who volunteered. I would also love to thank my mom and dad for putting me in Girl Scouts my kindergarten year.

Peyton Mom

My Gold Award
I have been working on my Gold Award since my freshman year. I am on my third project. My first project was to get feminine hygiene products into schools for free (and this was co-opted by another organization), my second project was an outdoor education area (my main contact in the school district had MUCH bigger fish to fry) and I am finalizing my third go at this. An Adulting 101 class that will be beta tested in my alma mater this fall and hopefully spread to the other Madison high schools the following year. I have learned a lot of tenacity with trying to get this done!

Peyton Group Strong

Q. Do you consider yourself a Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, or Leader?
I am a Leader and Risk-Taker. I’m not afraid to step up and suggest things, or take charge if no one else steps up.

Albany Girl Scout shows resilience, drive as member of USA ParaVolley Team

From the Fall 2019 issue of Focus

Growing up, Skye McDermott heard the word “can’t” more than most girls her age. But instead of letting her disability bring her down, this Girl Scout is showing the world what she can do.

Skye was born without her left arm below the elbow. She’s overcome more than her fair share of challenges in her 14 years, but for her, volleyball is worth the work.

Three years ago, Skye’s older sister (who shares her passion for volleyball) organized a camp to prepare middle school girls for the volleyball season as part of her Gold Award. Skye signed up for her sister’s camp, but was taken back when she was told she couldn’t play the position of setter – only hitter – due to her limb deficiency.

Not long after, Skye was taking private lessons and perfecting her own way of legally setting the ball. She joined year-round, able-bodied teams at school, the Madison Elite Volleyball Club and with summer beach leagues…gearing up for what she wanted most. Then it was time.

Earlier this year she traveled to Edmond, Oklahoma to try out for the USA’s Women’s Paralympics Beach volleyball team – the first women’s team of this type. Skye was ecstatic when she heard she made the team, and was eager to take on the challenge and break barriers.

IMG_5420

She and her two teammates spent the next few weeks traveling to different parts of the country for practice, and in May, she set off for the World ParaVolley Beach World Series Tour in Pingtan, China. Today, her silver medal hangs in her bedroom next to her Girl Scout vest.

“Being a Girl Scout helped me be able to make new friends and be able to express myself with different people from different countries,” Skye said. “I’m able to respect the different things about them because of some of the badges we’ve done as a troop.”

Skye has been a Girl Scout since age 5, when she joined as a Daisy. Her mother, Renee McDermott, is one of her Troop Leaders, and agrees that Girl Scouts helps gives her busy daughter a sense of routine and stability.

“Although she needs to focus to be a national champion, she also needs to have something else to do – a place where she can go outside and be with friends and just be a kid,” Renee said.

IMG_5452

Troop 3253 just bridged to Senior, and the members are already talking about their Gold Award projects. As Juniors, they earned their Bronze Award for designing and building two Gaga Ball Pits in their area. For her Silver Award project, Skye assembled more than 400 “Blessing Bags” for people in need, filled with hygiene items, socks, snacks, hand warmers and notes of kindness.

Along with service projects, the troop has traveled to Savannah, GA, made troop camp memories, sold thousands of boxes of cookies, and earned more badges and patches than what fits on their vests.

This fall, Skye is starting high school with skills and experiences that go beyond the typical freshman.

“Don’t give up because someone said you can’t do something. Use those words as motivation to push you even harder. You miss 100% of the opportunities you don’t take. I truly believe that is true on and off the volleyball court.”