Tales of a 10-Year Summer Camper

By Colleen (Domino) McGuire, Ambassador Troop 2561
Youth Leadership Council member

As a graduating senior, when I look back there has been one constant in my life that I attribute to discovering Me: Camp.

I started attending Camp Black Hawk when I was eight years old and Camp Ehawee about five years ago. Now, 10 years later, I continue to go to both camps knowing exactly what I will find there: Home.

I have a loving family, but there is the undeniable pull of your camp family; the family that took you in and that you found. Camp is my happy place and my camp family is the group of people I can tell anything to. They are the people I think about when someone asks who I look up to…who I admire. It’s my camp family!

But I remember just how scary it was going the first time. I was so nervous. I didn’t think there was any part of me that was ready to go off to camp on my own. But the moment I got there, the staff made me feel safe and even happy to be there. Ever since that first year, my camp experiences have been ones of excitement, adventure and love.

Beyond the feeling of home, camp offers a plethora of amazing experiences and opportunities for girls. I grew at camp learning valuable skills like survival, making friends, leadership and courage, as well as a ton of other cool things. At camp you have amazing role models leading and interacting with the girls, and I know the support I got from the staff was priceless in helping me grow into a strong and confident leader.

One of the things I love is the variety of camps they have, and the themed weeks. There are camps focused on science, nature, art and even one or two geared towards pop culture! The themes have ranged from wizarding, to time travel, to Olympics, to color wars, and every week there are more fun games to play and more fun themed events. There’s never a dull moment at camp, and although you are having so much fun with all these great people, you’re still learning something new every step of the way!

As a camper I loved the horses and archery. As a leadership camper, I loved helping the other campers and learning how to take care of people.

This summer, will be very different for me as I take my place on staff.
And I can’t wait to make that first-year, nervous camper who is so scared feel as safe and happy as I did once I got to camp! And I can’t wait to learn what else I can love about these two places and the people who go there.

As a part of the Youth Leadership Council, I have the pleasure of knowing girls from across the council, and almost all of them place camp as one of the most important things that they have experienced through Girl Scouts.

Camp is home to me, and no part of the experience has been negative! Even if you just try it once, this is an experience you can’t pass up!

Register for summer camp.

End of the Year Wrap-Up

The school year is coming to an end and your Girl Scouts will be gearing up for summer. This transition involves troop and girl decisions, but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Here is a quick checklist to help you slide through the next few months.

  1. Pat yourself on the back – you accomplished a lot this year. Take a minute to appreciate what you and the girls have achieved. Way to go!
  2. 2018 Renewal – if your girls are going to continue next year, register them before May 24 to receive the fantastic membership incentives for your troop.
  3. TFAR – the Troop Finance and Activity Report should be sent in by June 30. This financial feedback reflects your troop’s ability to self-sustain.
  4. Summer activities – if your troop is interested in getting together this summer, check out the camp opportunities through Badgerland. Outdoor activities help girls grow.
  5. Bridging – If your troop is bridging, check out the requirements in the Girls Guide, rent a bridge and plan a simple ceremony or join others in a Membership Area Bridging event.
  6. Take time for you – Did you know adults can go to camp too? Without girls?! Women’s Week is a fun way to recharge and connect with other leaders in the Council.

Remember, you are a fantastic leader and your girls appreciate everything you have do. Keep it up and reach out if you have any support needs. We’re here for you!

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

Not Sure About this Whole Troop Camping Thing? We’ve got you covered!

Girls camping

By: Katie Ravich, Adult Learning Specialist

There’s nothing that bonds a group of Girls Scouts  more than a camping trip. These are the memories you and your girls will remember the most.

Not sure how to even get started with a troop overnighter? We can help.

Badgerland offers two outdoor training certifications.

Troop Overnight Certification 1 (TOC 1) is a home study course that’s completed online. This training is for adult volunteers who want to take their girls on an overnight to a place with full indoor facilities  – in other words to a destination where the cooking, sleeping and bathrooms are inside. A great starter place for troops with a TOC 1 certified adult is Hawk’s Nest at Camp Brandenburg. If you’re looking at other destination for Hawk’s Nest is booked up, here are some other ideas for a TOC 1 overnight experience:

  • Campgrounds with cabins. Many public and private campgrounds have cabins for rental.
  • Community Centers with an overnight space.
  • Nature Centers. Many nature centers offer an overnight space.
  • Boys and Girls Clubs.
  • YMCAs.
  • Churches. Tons of churches around Badgerland offer overnight space.
  • School Forests: Does your school district have a forest? Check to see if you can rent the site!

Troop Overnight Certification 2 (TOC 2) can be done as a home study course, but we also offer a fun one-day in-person training at a Badgerland property in spring and early summer. Adult volunteers who want to take their girls on an overnight to a place without full indoor facilities (cooking outside, sleeping in tents, bathrooms outside) needs to complete TOC 2.

Want to take TOC 2 in person? Badgerland has three TOC 2 in-person trainings lined up for the 2017 camping season. Space is limited, so get registered early.

Once you’ve completed TOC 2 you can take your troop on an outdoor camping adventure.  Badgerland properties are popular and fill up fast, so here are some other ideas for a TOC 2 overnight experience:

  • State Park CampgroundsFind a State Park your troop wants to visit and check for camping accommodations.
  • County Park Campgrounds. Many counties maintain campgrounds. For instance, Dane County has five Dane County Camp Grounds.
  • County Fair Grounds
  • City Park Campground
  • School Forests: Does your School District have a forest? Check to see if you can rent the site.
  • Private Campgrounds. If the state, county or city parks are full consider checking in with r private campgrounds in the area you want to camp.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure your Girl Scouts get outside this year and explore the great outdoors the Girl Scout way!

Celebrating 105 Years

Girls in historicl Girl Scout uniforms

By: Marci Henderson, Chief Executive Officer

On March 12, 1912, Juliette Gordon Low, a nearly deaf 50-year-old southern lady, ignited a movement that inspires and encourages girls to embrace their individuality, strength and intellect. Juliette believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally and spiritually. Her vision caught on and just 10 years later there were more than 125,000 Girl Scouts in every state in the union!

Today, Girl Scouts of the USA has a membership of over 2.6 million girls and adults in every residential zip code. Nearly 60 million living women in the U.S. today are Girl Scout alumnae. And since the beginning, the Girl Scout organization has been recognized for our willingness to address important issues, for our commitment to diversity and inclusiveness, for our promise to stay relevant, for our actions to improve the world, for our goal to both challenge and support girls and women.

And, even as we honor our past, we eagerly anticipate our future. Right now though, it’s time to celebrate! Because we’ve been here for 105 years, we’re throwing ourselves a HUGE BIRTHDAY PARTY on March 25-26 and you’re invited! The Badgerland Council Program team is busy finalizing plans for a weekend filled with fun. We’re planning on girls and adults dancing the night away with a professional DJ spinning the tunes! And, what else? There will also be inflatables, magic tricks, bubble blowing and circus fun for the girls. Have you ever tried the German Wheel, walked on a tight rope or pet a baby kangaroo? Yes, there will be animals with us too! And girls/troops have the option to add-on additional excitement like a water park, Knuckleheads Adventure, pottery painting and maybe even a Wisconsin Dells Duck tour. For more detailed information and to register, click here.

We are so excited to celebrate 105 years of Girl Scouting and to make the celebration even better, we’ve invited members from throughout the whole state! What a cool opportunity to meet lots of friends, try something new, laugh the night away, and feel a part of something really special—Girl Scouts!

The world is a very different place than it was 105 years ago. For girls today, the road to adulthood can be formidable. Becoming engaged, inspired and empowered can be a tall task—but Girl Scouts are embracing the challenge. As America’s preeminent leadership development organization for girls, we offer every girl the chance to do something amazing–to do more and to be more!

And that’s the reason to celebrate! Happy Birthday to Girl Scouts everywhere!

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Let’s Grow on World Thinking Day

Girls participating in World Thinking Day.By: Courtney Feuquay, Troops and Resources Program Manager

Be a sister to every Girl Scout. We recite this phrase every time we say the Girl Scout Law. But what does it mean? So often we think about our sister Girl Scouts being the ones we meet and interact with within our troop, school, community and Girl Scout council. But did you realize we have sister Girl Scouts and Girl Guides all over the world?

With more than 10 million global girl members of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides, you can imagine the amount of international friendship we share!

A Little History
In honor of all of the Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) annually declares February 22 as our World Thinking Day. This special day has been a tradition since 1926. It’s a day when Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from 146 countries take time out of their troop meetings and busy lives to think about their fellow Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from all over the world and celebrate international friendship!

Ideas to Celebrate World Thinking Day

  • Earn the World Thinking Day award. This year the theme is GROW. What will you grow? How about  growing the international friendship within your community. Girls are invited to plant a tree of friendship. More info can be found here.
  • Attend a community sponsored World Thinking Day event near you.
  • Invite girls from your troop to learn about a different culture then share what they have learned with their sister Girl Scouts in your troop.
  • Try a new food from a different culture or have an international themed potluck within your troop. FUN FACT: The Badgerland staff always holds a potluck at the Girl Scout Service Centers to celebrate our sisterhood!
  • Play a game from a different country. Great game ideas can be found here.
  • Learn a new dance style or dance steps from a different culture.
  • Invite someone from a different culture to speak to your troop about their culture.
  • Read a book about your troop’s chosen culture.
  • Check out Badgerland’s Pinterest page on other fun ideas to celebrate international friendship and World Thinking day!

Now go on and have THE best World Thinking Day ever. And tell us how you celebrated – let us know what your troop did to recognize this special day in Girl Scouting. Hint: we love photos!

10 Cookie Selling Tips from Wisconsin’s Top Cookie Seller!

Victoria, Badgerland’s Top Cookie Seller for 2016.
BADGERLAND NOTE:
Victoria Lenius was Badgerland’s Top Cookie Seller in 2016. And…she sold more cookies than any other Girl Scout in all of Wisconsin last year! Just how many cookies did she sell? 5,379 boxes! With that kind of success, we asked Victoria to share some of her tips to cookie success and what she most enjoys about being part of the Girl Scout Cookie Program. 

By: Victoria Lenius, Madison Cadette Troop 2082

I love selling cookies. It’s a treat every year to see the new prizes and decide which ones I want to earn. I love that my mom lets us always buy a few boxes to eat throughout the sale. I love talking with customers and telling them about the charity my troop is supporting through Cookie Share. Many customers donated between a quarter to a dollar. Because of their donations, our troop was able to buy a lot of cookies that we decided to donate for the homeless. I love that our troop gets money and that we can do fun activities throughout the year. Some of the awesome things we’ve done include horseback riding, skiing, swimming and Rockin’ Jump.

Here are some of my tips for selling cookies:

  1. Always make eye contact.
  2. Talk loud enough for customers to hear you.
  3. Use an assertive voice.
  4. Use good manners.
  5. Know how to make change quickly. Practice if necessary.
  6. Say “Hello” or another greeting. Don’t just say, “Would you like to buy Girl Scout cookies?”
  7. Stay friendly and chat with the customers throughout the sale and always say thank you.
  8. Set reasonable goals and don’t give up!
  9. Set your goals in parts so you can achieve small pieces at a time.
  10. Never forget your uniform and keep it up-to-date. Know your badges and patches, because I’ve learned customers like to talk about them and will be more likely to buy cookies when we talk about them.