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.

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.”

 

11 Golden Girl Scouts Honored at Awards Ceremony

2017 Girl Scout Gold Awardees

Badgerland celebrated the amazing achievements of exceptional Girl Scouts in an inspiring and moving Awards Ceremony earlier this month. This year, there were 11 Badgerland Girl Scouts who earned the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest national award a Girl Scout can earn. The Gold Award recognizes girls demonstrating extraordinary leadership through take-action projects that have sustainable impact in their communities and, nationwide, less than five percent of Girl Scouts achieve this prestigious award.

Also honored and recognized during this special day were 43 Cadettes who earned their Silver Award and graduating seniors, who were presented their Girl Scout green graduate cords before they bridged to adult. Congratulations to all the deserving honorees!

>>Learn more about the Gold girls and their projects