Badgerland Girl Scouts Plant Trees!

Everyday is Earth Day for Girl Scouts. That’s because girls are learning how they can help protect the environment through everyday actions. In April, over 30 Badgerland Girl Scouts participated in our exciting Team Trees program.

WOW EXPERTS TEACHING OUR GIRLS!
Wisconsin’s Female Chief Forester Heather Berklund is a Girl Scout alum! She is also a pioneer and the very first female to be the state’s chief forester in its 116-year history. And she dazzled Badgerland Girl Scouts when she met with them during Team Trees. Heather educated girls on all things trees including logging history, forest types, tree nurseries and the critical role trees play in Mother Nature. A fun part of the presentation was her inspiring story of becoming a forester and she surely inspired lots of Girl Scouts to consider forestry career paths.

Forester Heather also shared fun tree trivia. Want to test your knowledge? Let’s go!

How many did you get right? Did you learn something new? When girls participate in STEM activities she becomes more confident. She gets an increased understanding and appreciation of the importance of STEM in her life and recognizes that scientists and engineers work on things that make the world a better place.

So let’s get your girl involved in some upcoming STEM activities!

Elemental Ecotricity
PowerGIRLS unite to harness the power of the light, wind, and water to protect their ecosystems and tackle real climate change! Girls will meet sustainability experts, use their carbon footprint calculators to conduct field experiments, and get inspired to use resources wisely to make our world a better place.

Hatch Your Plan: Be a Product Designer!
Calling all Juniors who tinker! Do you love using ingenuity to innovate? Can you detect needs, then design solutions? Then bring your ideas and sketchpads to this fun two-part virtual workshop to earn your Product Designer badge!

Tinker Space: Pop Goes the Diesel!
Strap on your seat belts and get ready for a safe fun ride at The Tinker Space as we motor through Automotive Engineering! Subscribe to this month’s program pass to The Tinker Space – a place for a G.I.R.L. thinker to tinker! The Tinker Space is a virtual playground/co-working experience for Girl Scouts to focus, collaborate and create on month-long GSLE topics to earn badges and patches! 

STEAM Spectacular!
STEAM Spectacular! Join us every Monday in May when our experts conduct with you WOW demos and experiments with easily accessible items that will be sure to dazzle and amaze! Marvel at the wizadry of science, technology, engineering and math that YOU can do! Plus, we’ll provide resources and follow-up activities for you to honing your STEAM WOW skills!

Sisterhood of Spies: Gizmos & Gadgets Aplenty!
In this experience, we’ll explore the fascinating history of women in espionage with a focus on the technology of spying. You’ll be “trained” by the renowned International Spy Museum and get to test your spy skills and learn the tricks of the trade. Hear about the shadow world of spying and ask your questions.

Race for Renewability 
Compete in the month long Race for Renewability, to become a Climate Saving Triathlete! Girls and grownups will get creative for their climate, become useful users of refuse, and adapt with their favorite species to survive. Cross the virtual finish line to earn the United Nations Climate Change Challenge Badge and secure your spot on the leaders board of positive drivers of climate change in Badgerland!

For more than a century, Girl Scouts has been preparing girls for a lifetime of leadership. Today and always, we are committed to ensuring that all girls develop to their full potential and have equal access to and support in STEM education.

Lastly, take a moment to learn something new about trees!

2021 Gold Awards

These go-getting Girl Scouts have demonstrated what it means to be a Girl Scout by creating positive change in their communities.

Gold Award Girl Scouts are the dreamers and the doers who take “make the world a better place” to the next level.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable—proof that not only can she make a difference, but that she already has.


Akshita Pattnaik
Ambassador from Middleton, WI

Askshita wanted to alleviate stress that pediatric patients face. Her solution was to provide them with a gift or a blanket to comfort them. In Akshita’s research she learned that hospitals can help manage patient stress with gifts, soothing music or therapists for residential treatment. Through her Gold project, Akshita wants to help spread the word on how we can help reduce pediatric patient stress.


Ariel Nelson
Ambassador from Hustisford, WI

Ariel helped people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease reduce stress and agitation. She learned that having something to fiddle with can be helpful in combatting their symptoms. She knitted cylinders with texture and embellishments for a calming sensory experience. The knitted product is called Twiddlemuffs.


Audrey Groves
Ambassador from La Crosse, WI

Audrey addressed the issue of mental health problems that many teens face, as well as lack of exercise for the brain. She created videos with craft projects and addressed important issues that teens go through daily. By connecting crafts and mental health she was able to help teens be more productive.


Ava Beyers
Ambassador from Walworth, WI

Ava addressed the issue of a deteriorating environment. She learned that bats have a positive effect on the environment as pest controllers and pollinators. She put up more bat houses in her area and informational signage to help others learn about the importance of bats.


Brooke Leibman
Ambassador from Fort Atkinson, WI

Brooke increased the options for outdoor activities in her area. She developed a learning trail with informational signage at Haumerson’s Pond in Fort Atkinson. The trail provides a space for education and physical activity. To ensure inclusion she had signs written in both English and Spanish.


Eliza Siebers
Ambassador from Madison, WI

Eliza made a plan to increase the vaccination rate in her city. She used the connections she made when she started planning for a flu clinic in fall of 2019. The pandemic forced her to scrap her original plans, but she persevered with new goals. She hosted a flu clinic at The Beacon in October, with plans to make it an annual event. She had help from Edgewood College Nursing students and Dane County Public Health.


Emily Flood
Alum from Sun Prairie, WI

Emily aimed to help children and children with special needs to have an enhanced experiences at church. She developed worship kits for children to use during service. Her kits have helped create a better community throughout the congregation.


Holly Stronach
Ambassador from Nekoosa, WI

Holly’s goal was to spread awareness of the importance of handwashing to reduce the risk of spreading infectious diseases. She provided low-cost handwashing stations to events in Adams county. The stations provided practical tips and supplies to prevent the transmission of viruses.


Hope Lent
Ambassador from Middleton, WI

Hope wanted to help kids and teens with Type 1 diabetes by creating a cookbook of simple and delicious recipes. The goal was to help kids and teens feel more independent and educated about their nutrition. Her cookbook breaks down the nutrients, has delicious recipes and has made a difference.


Jocelyn Arnold

Jocelyn took action to maintain and protect Geneva Lake from pollution. One of the harmful pollutions that she reduced was dog waste by providing waste stations with bags and signs to help inform dog owners how to protect the lake.


Makayla Henthorne
Ambassador from Sparta, WI

Makayla took action to bring back butterflies to her community. She updated an area community garden by removing unhealthy plants and adding more butterfly friendly flowers to create more habitats for butterflies. She also distributed Milwaukee Seeds to people in her community to plant.     


Morgan Sleaford
Ambassador from DeForest, WI

Morgan encouraged kids to get outdoors and explore nature more. She worked with the Village of DeForest to create a fun booklet of activities for area kids to use while exploring area nature trails and parks.


Tifany Shaw
Ambassador from Sun Prairie, WI

Tifany provided a safe place for children to play outdoors. She built a playhouse for children to play by Shelter From the Storm Ministries, Inc in Sun Prairie. The playhouse provides a safe place for children to play outdoors and gain healthy relationships with one another.     


Valorie Schamens
Ambassador from Jefferson, WI

Valorie helped get students outdoors to learn instead of spending the day in a classroom. She created individual outdoor classroom kits for students and teachers to support physical and mental health. The kits included clipboards, pens, and pencils. Her goal was to get students outdoors more, while addressing the issue of social distancing too.     

Cookie Sale Craft Videos

When you participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, you’re part of the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world—and that’s kind of a huge deal! Whether you’re a Cookie Rookie or have done this before, you’ll find the how-to videos below a helpful resource to take your marketing efforts to the next level!

How to Make a QR Code

Lanyards

Bee themed Name Tags

Get Started with Canva – An easy to use website to create sharable and printable images!

Canva – How to Make Business Cards

Canva – How to Make Cookie Wrappers

These resources are to help inspire you to get creative. Your materials don’t need to be an exact match to any of the above ideas, make it unique and add your personality to it. We are eager to see what Cookie Entrepreneurs create in the 2021 Cookie season!

World Thinking Day ▪ Peacebuilding

Look out world, Badgerland Girl Scouts are coming!

We will be celebrating World Thinking Day at Badgerland on February 20 with the Dare2Dash Global Edition activity for grades K-12. We will race around the globe and explore life in other countries. During the trek, girls will discover the art of negotiation, debate and compromise while learning about different ways to make lasting peace in their communities and beyond. The world awaits! Dare2Dash attendees will earn their 2021 World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) World Thinking Day patch!

Stand strong, stand up, and stand together for peacebuilding! Peacebuilding is at the heart of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting and is the theme for the upcoming 2021 World Thinking Day. It’s as important and relevant today as it has been for the last 100 years.

World Thinking Day is on February 22, 2021, it’s a day of international friendship celebrated across 150 countries by Girl Scouts and Girl Guides. Ten million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts observe this special day and speak out on issues we care most about.

We want you to be part of this!

  • Celebrate World Thinking Day and be one in ten million!
  • Be inspired by the history and impact of the global movement!
  • Connect with the worldwide sisterhood of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting!
  • Take action and speak out on issues you care most about!

Take a minute to think about something in your community that you love and want to protect. Whether it’s your local library, the park down the street, or the litter on the bike path, these are examples of a cause or issue that you care about.

Now, think about how you feel about that cause. What is good about it? Is there a way it could be even better? Is there something not so good about it that you’d like to change? Your answers to those questions are called your opinions or beliefs. People like you who take the time to think about how to make their communities the best they can be, and then share those ideas with others, are known as advocates. As an advocate, you’re helping improve our world!

Here’s how you can take a stand:

Make a statement! Pick an issue you care about and make a poster to let other people know how you feel.

Get noticed! Share your poster/message with others or give a presentation in class. Try to get people thinking and talking.

Use your words! Write a letter to your local newspaper about your issue and how it makes you feel and what you think should happen. Get help from an older sibling or parent.

World Thinking Day Activities

Dare2Dash Global Edition (Badgerland led activity)
February 20, 2021 at 12:00pm. Grades K-12

Look out world, the Girl Scouts are coming! Race around the globe as you explore life in other countries. During your trek, discover the art of negotiation, debate and compromise while learning about different ways to make lasting peace in your community and beyond. Create a cultural memory, surprise your taste buds and dance the day away all while connecting with people who are different than you. The world awaits! Attendees will earn their 2021 World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) World Thinking Day patch.

2021 World Thinking Day Activities & Resources:

Activity Guide for Girl Scout Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors (PDF)
Activity Guide for Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors (PDF)

Making Hot Chocolate Bombs with MediaGIRL Ella

Girl Scout Junior Ella shares her recipe for hot chocolate bombs!

  1. These are the ingredients we used.

2. This is me holding the chocolate bowl.

3. This picture is of me holding the hardened shells.

4. This is a picture of the shell out of the tray and in a cupcake wrapper.

5. This photo is of the shells filled but without the top.

6. This is the plate we put the chocolate shells on so we could stick the sides together.

7. This the finished result

8. This is the hot chocolate bomb exploding.

9. This is the bomb once it has dissolved.

10. This is me drinking it. 😊

And that’s how you make hot chocolate bombs. I hope you love them as much as I do!

Ways to Give Back During Community Service Month

With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, it’s more important than ever to give back to the community. Here are a few easy ways Girl Scouts and troops can give back to their communities this month.

1. Blanket Donation

Troop 7133 decided to host a Blanket Drive after they heard their local shelter had completely run out of twin-sized blankets. The troop sponsored donation bins and collected new and gently used blankets for the shelter. Reach out to your local shelter to see what their needs are and coordinate donations from family and friends to donate. Make sure to stay safe and practice social distancing through curbside pick-ups or other distanced collection methods.

2. Food Pantry Donation

Another way to give back is to donate to a food pantry. Purchase items on our local pantry’s wish-list, or simply donate canned goods for your own pantry. Double check with your local pantry to see what they need and what they have too much of.

3. Donate to Healthcare Workers

Healthcare workers are working harder than ever! Some ways Badgerland troops have given back is by donating Girl Scouts cookies or sending thank you cards. You can do something similar, or come up with your own creative way to say thanks.

4. Send Holiday Cards

The Holidays can be a lonely time for some, and a simple way to raise someones spirits is to send a card. Create a variety of holiday cards and send them to an assisted care facility or veterans hospital to spread some holiday cheer.

5. Shovel Driveways and Sidewalks

An easy way to help others in the winter is to shovel sidewalks and driveways that neighbors may not be able to do on their own. This is especially a great way to help high-risk or elderly individuals who may have been isolation by the pandemic. Make sure to practice social distancing guidelines to keep yourself and others safe.

6. Donate Toys

Photo taken 2019 before COVID restrictions

Donating toys to those in need is a great way to help others this month, especially with the upcoming holiday season. You can raise money and purchase toys, or donate gently used toys (if accepted). Donate the toys to a community center, family shelter, Toys for Tots, or a similar organization.

How have you/your troop given back to your community? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Ways to Celebrate STEAM Month at Badgerland

It’s STEAM month at Girl Scouts Badgerland! 

Do you have a favorite STEAM subject, badge, or activity? If you don’t have a favorite yet, we have put together a list of easy, at-home STEAM inspired activities to try out.

Make Rain

Materials: A clear jar, water, shaving cream and blue food coloring.

Be sure to make a prediction of what will happen before doing the experiment!

Experiment Procedure:

  1. Fill the cup with water (air)
  2. Add a thin layer of shaving cream (clouds – water vapor)
  3. Place drops of blue food coloring on the top of the shaving cream (water droplets)
  4. Wait for the “rain” to fall
  5. Make your conclusion – let us know how it goes!

For this experiment it is important to recognize that this activity shows how the water gets heavier on the top of the cloud and gravity makes it fall as rain.  The shaving cream and food coloring represent the different forms of water we can easily see.

Make Rain Experiment via https://www.mrsjonescreationstation.com/simple-science-how-clouds-make-rain/

Watch a Rainbow Grow

Materials: Paper towel, water, washable markers and two cups.

Experiment Procedure:

  1. Fold a piece of paper towel in half (so you have 2 halves on top of each other). Trim the length to be 7.5 inches- any longer and the rainbow may not connect fully.

TIP: The shorter your piece of paper towel, the better it will connect. Also make sure you are using an absorbent paper towel. Recommended brand is Bounty.

2. Draw rectangles of the rainbow colors on each end. You want to make sure to fill these colors in well so there is enough dye to travel across the paper towel.

TIP: Add lots of marker to the ends, you want a good amount of dye to travel up the paper towel.

3. Place 2 cups with water filled 3/4 full. You only want the bottom of the paper towel in so leave some space from the top of the cup. Then place one end of the paper towel into each cup.

TIP: Do not place the ends too deep in the water or the dye may dissolve into the water instead of moving up the paper towel.

4. Leave the paper towel for 10-15 minutes and it will eventually connect the colors together.

This science experiment shows chromatography. Chromatography is a way of separating out a mixture of chemicals. If you ever got a paper with ink wet you would have seen the ink move across the page in streaks.

Capillary action makes the marker dye move up the paper towel.  The water moves upward through the paper towel, lifting the washable dye molecules with it. Because the washable markers are water based, they disperse in water.

Set up a few different scenarios and hypotheses. For example, if you were to try this experiment without any dye, you would still see the water rising upwards towards the center of the paper towel.

If you were to try this experiment with permanent markers it would not work. This is because the markers are not water based (they are alcohol based) so the dye in the marker does not travel with the water. You can try this with permanent markers because the ink will disperse with rubbing alcohol but not with water.

Watch a Rainbow Grow experiment via https://www.thebestideasforkids.com/grow-a-rainbow-experiment/

Make a Pinhole Camera

Pinhole cameras are one of the earliest types of cameras, using the principle of “camera obscura” in which light travels through a small hole in a dark box to form a picture. This is the basis of the technology modern cameras use today! Follow these instructions to make your own pinhole camera.

Materials:

  • Sharp pencil
  • Empty shoe box with a lid
  • X-Acto knife (Ask an adult for help with this item!)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Wax paper
  • Tape
  • Blanket

Instructions:

  1. Use the point of a sharp pencil to punch a hole in one of the shorter ends of the shoe box.
  2. Ask an adult to use an X-Acto knife to cut a square in the opposite end of the box, directly across from the hole. The square should measure 2 inches on each side.
  3. Use scissors to cut a square of wax paper that measures 3 inches (7.62 centimeters) on each side.
  4. Place the wax paper directly over the square you cut in the box. Tape the edges of the wax paper to the box.
  5. Take the camera box to a dimly lit room and turn on a lamp. Stand about 5 feet from the lamp.
  6. Cover your head and pinhole camera with a blanket. Be sure that the end with the wax paper is facing you and the end with the pinhole is facing the lamp.
  7. Hold your pinhole camera at arm’s length from your face and aim it at the lamp. Keep it steady until you see an upside-down image of the lamp.

What’s Happening?

In a real camera, the lens is like the tiny hole you made in the box and creates a backward, upside-down image. Like the little hole, the lens lets in light. The wax paper is like film in a real camera, which has special chemicals on it. When the light hits the film, the chemicals start changing and turn the image into a photograph.

Via https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/books/pinhole-camera/

Chromatography Butterflies

Chromatography is a laboratory technique for the separation of a mixture. Learn more about chromatography in this science experiment meets art project.

Materials:

  • Non permanent markers (Over the years I’ve found Mr. Sketch markers work the best in this experiment.)
  • White coffee filters
  • Pencil
  • Cups of water
  • Black pipe cleaners
  • String
  • Scissors

Procedure:

  1. Choose one marker to experiment with first. (Hint~ black and brown are the most exciting!)
  2. Take one coffee filter. Put it on a newspaper or some kind of material to protect your table. Draw a thick circle around the center of the coffee filter where the ridged part meets the flat center. Use a pencil to write the color of the marker being used right in the center. (You’ll want to know what the original color was being  used, and the pencil won’t smear and will remain intact after the experiment.)
  3. Fold the coffee filter in half and then in half again, resulting in a cone shape.
  4. Get a short glass of water. Pull apart the cone shaped coffee filter so it balances right on the glass with the tip of the cone just touching the water. (Be sure NOT to let the marker circle go in the water, just the uncolored tip of the coffee filter cone.)
  5. Let it sit and watch what happens as the water begins to flow up the paper.
  6. Repeat with different colored markers.
  7. After the water has reached the outer edge of the coffee filter, place it on a newspaper to dry.
  8. Once the coffee filters are dry you can observe the results.

Butterfly craft instructions:

  1. Cut your black pipe cleaners in half.
  2. Take one coffee filter and scrunch it up in the middle. 
  3. Wrap a black pipe cleaner around the center.
  4. Shape the ends to form antennae.
  5. Tie a string to the center and hang!

Via https://buggyandbuddy.com/chromatography-butterflies-separating-colors-in-markers/

Make an Electromagnet

Materials:

  • A large iron nail (about 3 inches)
  • About 3 feet of THIN COATED copper wire
  • A fresh D size battery
  • Some paper clips or other small magnetic objects

Procedure:

  1. Leave about 8 inches of wire loose at one end and wrap most of the rest of the wire around the nail. Try not to overlap the wires.
  2. Cut the wire (if needed) so that there is about another 8 inches loose at the other end too.
  3. Now remove about an inch of the plastic coating from both ends of the wire and attach the one wire to one end of a battery and the other wire to the other end of the battery. See picture below. (It is best to tape the wires to the battery – be careful though, the wire could get very hot!)
  4. Now you have an ELECTROMAGNET! Put the point of the nail near a few paper clips and it should pick them up!

NOTE: Making an electromagnet uses up the battery somewhat quickly which is why the battery may get warm, so disconnect the wires when you are done exploring.

Continue the experiment at https://sciencebob.com/make-an-electromagnet/

Do you know another fun experiment or activity perfect for STEAM month? Leave a comment below!

Ways to Celebrate Outdoors Month at Badgerland

Leaf Pressing

Go outside and hunt for the perfect Fall leaf to save! 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.

Take a hike!

Hiking can be a safe way to get outside, and a great way to celebrate Outdoors month! Below is a list of some of our favorite lesser known hiking spots around Badgerland. Don’t forget to practice social distancing and follow safety guidelines when visiting public hiking spots.

Monches Segment of Ice Age Trail- Hartland

Owen Conservation Park- Madison

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

Old Settlers Trail- Wildcat Mtn. State Park, Ontario

Perrot Ridge Trail- Perrot State Park, Trempealeau

Black River State Forest- Black River Falls

Go camping… virtually!

Gear up for Girl Scout Founder Juliette Gordon Low’s Birthday (Oct. 31) with our (virtual) Founder’s Day camp out! Practice outdoor skills while learning about Girl Scout traditions and history. The event will be a mixture of recorded and live sessions that cover basic outdoor skills like building fires, tying knots, setting up tents, and cooking over the campfire with sticks and pudgie pie irons. Older girls will cover dutch oven cooking, jackknife safety, and how to light fires without matches. We’ll end the camp out with a Girl Scout history lesson and fun trivia! Girls will earn parts of the following badges:

Brownie: Outdoor Adventurer

Junior: Eco Camper

Cadette: Primitive Camper

Senior: Sky

Ambassador: Survival Camper

Registration closes October 13!

Join the Sloth Shuffle

There’s still time to join our Sloth Shuffle! Walk, run or shuffle your way through October and get outside to enjoy the beautiful fall weather and help adopt a sloth for a year. Track your daily steps and see if you can finish a 5K (3.1 miles) or go all the way for a 10K (6.2 miles) by the end of October. Participants will get a Sloth Shuffle patch, pedometer, sports towel and tracking sheet mailed to them. One dollar for every participant will be donated to the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison to help care for their sloths.

Register by October 13!

Can’t get outside? Take a virtual nature walk!

We found a bunch of virtual nature walks to help you experience the Outdoors, even when you can’t get outside. Find the videos on our Sloth Shuffle page here.

How are you enjoying Outdoors month? Let us know in the comments below!

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!).

camp kettlewood tents

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