Troop Leader Showcase: Rikki Klassy

From the Fall 2019 issue of Focus

I started as a Daisy leader 3 years ago as many leaders do: the troop didn’t have a leader.

Our troop of 15 girls is still together moving into our fourth year as 3rd-grade Brownies. It has a been a fun adventure and I love exploring different activities through the eyes of the girls, seeing their take on life.

Girl Scouts is so important for girls because it gives them a chance to explore activities they’ve never seen before and build confidence. When I doubt myself or the girls to pull off an activity and we end up smashing it out of the park, I’m reminded that we can do anything.

A key to our success as a troop has been letting the girls have ownership, from picking the badges we work on to how we spend our money to what activities and field trips we take. Our activities have ranged from horseback riding to circuit building, from winter camping to an Overture play, from hiking to organizing a Family Game Night, from a Strong Girls boot camp to a Humane Society service project.

Rikki Klassy is a leader for Stoughton Troop 2044 as well as an Area Troop Leader Mentor. Thank you Rikki, for all your hard work and dedication!

Do you know a Girl Scout volunteer who deserves a spotlight on our blog? Give them a shout-out at gsbadgerland.org

It’s the Great Girl Scout Pumpkin (Contest)

Badgerland is having a pumpkin painting contest! Starting Saturday, decorate a pumpkin with your troop (limit 1 pumpkin per troop or Juliette) to win a fun patch or memory book. Simply post a picture of your pumpkin on social media with the hashtag #TheGreatGSPumpkin and tag @gsbadgerland to earn your fun patch. BONUS: bring the (uncarved) pumpkin into your nearest Badgerland shop to be eligable for the grand prize… a memory book for each girl in your troop! Entries will be accepted this Saturday through Friday, October 25th. See below for the complete contest rules and details. Good luck, and may the best pumpkin win!

Great GS Pumpkin Painting Contest Flyer

Argyle Girl Scouts Take Action

During a camping trip two summers ago, Argyle Girl Scouts were first asked the question, “how could they use money earned during the cookie sale to make a difference in their community?” What could they do to make a difference for kids in their community, that would also make them proud to say they were a part of the project when they’re older? Argyle Bathrooms 4

After discussing this, the girl scouts agreed that the bathrooms, specifically the bathroom doors, were a big problem at Argyle Legion Park. The doors were so heavy, many kids were unable to open them and even became trapped in the bathroom at times! The girl scouts decided to take action, and make the bathroom more accessible for the kids who visit the park. They didn’t stop at the doors though, and decided to improve the building overall. The girl scouts added a fresh coat of paint, plants around the building, a new water fountain, and a diaper changing station in the men’s bathroom (“because men change diapers too!”).

Argyle Bathrooms 22

To make this all possible, the girl scouts applied for a grant from the Argyle Community Fund and were awarded $1150 in addition to the $300 they had already raised. In total, girls from 6 different troops participated in the project, planting and painting over the course of last summer. Now, the Argyle Legion Park has a new bathroom, and the Argyle Girl Scouts have made an impact that will be recognized for generations to come. Way to go, Argyle Girl Scouts!

Argyle Bathrooms 55

How can your troop make a lasting impact in your community? Leave your ideas in the comments below!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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

Let’s Go Connect: What to expect

We’re well into summertime here at Badgerland and that means it’s almost time for our annual Let’s Go Expo! What’s Let’s Go? Let’s Go is our yearly volunteer conference, aimed at providing our hardworking volunteers with the resources they need, as well as the opportunity to connect with other volunteers and celebrate their accomplishments.

This year’s expo focuses on the “connection” element Let’s Go offers. We’re giving you more opportunities to connect with one another, as well as information on how to better connect with your community. Here’s a quick look at what the day will look like and what to expect.

Intro/keynote: The day will open with a “State of the Council” address as well as an address on Badgerland’s key priorities. Then our keynote speaker, Meghan Skrepenski (CEO of Raising Strong Girls Boot Camps), will deliver an interactive presentation tailored for Girl Scout volunteers entitled “STRONG Training… your past does not define you!”.

Sessions: There will be 3 training sessions during the day, one before the included lunch and two after. During these sessions, you will be able to choose from a variety of workshops that include new leader training, fall product sale information, parent involvement how-tos, community connection workshops, and more. You can find full descriptions of the workshops on gsbagderland.org/letsgo but here is a quick list of the workshops offered.

New Daisy/Brownie Leader Training

Jumpstart Your Fall Product Sale

Money-Earning Activities: Get Ready!

Communication and Connection Skills

Finding Great Activites: Field Trip!

Get More Parent Involvement in Your Troop

Great Group Work for Your Troop

How to Make Community Connections

Money-Earning Activities: Community Connections

*Note: Several select events will also be live-streamed to our Facebook page

In addition to these workshops, there are also two other unique options offered during the training sessions.

During the second and third sessions, you will also have the option to attend Connection Cafe where you’ll connect with other volunteers in a relaxed drop-in environment.

Additionally, during the third session, a panel discussion is being hosted this year. The discussion will offer an opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas with Girl Scout volunteers as well as community leaders on a variety of topics. This year’s panelists are Katherine Schuknecht (Badgerland Delegate and Madison area troop leader), Rikki Conwell (Badgerland Council Delegate), Susan Czerniak (Lake Mills troop leader), and Erica Nowicki (Badgerland Director of Membership) with moderation by Sarah Rodgers.

Reception: After the training sessions, the event will conclude with a happy hour style reception (complete with a s’more bar) where you’ll have more opportunities to meet with other volunteers.

FAQ

“I am a brand new leader/volunteer who hasn’t started working with a troop. Will I benefit from attending Let’s Go: Connect?

Absolutely! No experience is necessary to attend and the event is a great introduction to all that Badgerland has to offer our adult volunteers. If you are a brand new Daisy or Brownie leader, you can get your new leader training requirements completed at the New Daisy/Brownie Leader Training workshop. Plus, Let’s Go is a great place to connect with new and experienced volunteers as well as Badgerland staff to get your Girl Scout year off to a great start.

I don’t want to miss Let’s Go, but I can’t stay for the whole event. Can I still attend?

Yes! Come for as much of Let’s Go: Connect as you can. You can come or leave at any time throughout the day. Also, keep an eye on our Facebook page as several workshops will be live-streamed throughout the day.

 

We hope you’re as excited for Let’s Go as we are! Not registered yet? Visit gsbadgerland.org/letsgo to learn more and register for the event. We’ll see you at UW Baraboo August 10th for our most exciting volunteer expo yet.