What is the Let’s Go Expo?

Lets Go Expo

By Katie Ravich, Adult Learning Specialist

The Let’s Go Expo is an exciting day of training, enrichment and inspiration for Badgerland’s troop leaders, volunteers and Cadette through Ambassador Girl Scouts. The day will begin with an inspirational opening from a community leader who represents the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) values of Girl Scouting today. The rest of the morning is devoted to an array of interactive trainings requested by current Girl Scout leaders, like ways to use the Girl Scout curriculum, learning Girl Scout songs and games, and how to incorporate STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) into troop meetings.

After lunch, it is time for the Expo! Explore Girl Scout community organizations, which offer a wide array of exciting services to Girl Scouts. Find amazing idea for your troop and get ready for the fun goodies and giveaways these organizations will be offering. The Expo will also have “stages” to drop in on. Learn about Girl Scout history at the Girl Scout Traditions stage, or view demos, practice new skills, and test your knowledge at the Outdoor Skills stage.

Leaders can drop into the Leader Lounge to network, make new connections and share ideas with other leaders and Badgerland staff throughout the day.

Come to the Let’s Go Expo for an hour, a morning or a day. You choose. Session information, presenter bios and a list of community organizations will be added to the website. Registration is required and opens on August 1. Mark your calendars and we’ll see you there!

Madison Area
Saturday, October 14 | 9am-3:30pm
American Family Insurance Training Center

La Crosse Area
Saturday, October 21 | 9am-2:30pm
Onalaska High School

2017 Girls’ Choice Badges

Troop Camping Badges

By Cody Huston, Customer Service Associate

The girls have spoken and the winning Girls’ Choice badge topic for 2017 is Troop Camping!

The requirements for these badges are now available to download. What a great way to start the summer! Incorporate the badge into your summer outdoor adventures, and you will be ready when the badges arrive in the shops in August.

If that wasn’t enough excitement, Daisies can join the outdoor fun with their first Girls’ Choice badge.

Troop Camping badges offer a progression through camping and outdoor education:

  • Daisy – Buddy Camper
  • Brownie – Cabin Camper
  • Junior – Eco Camper
  • Cadette – Primitive Camper
  • Senior – Adventure Camper
  • Ambassador – Survival Camper

At each level, girls help plan a camping trip and explore new camp skills, while learning how to “Leave No Trace,” because a Girl Scout always leaves a place better than she found it.

Download the requirements and start planning your camping adventure today. Don’t forget, Badgerland has a variety of program kits and troop supplies you can borrow to help in your camping adventures, like marshmallow sticks, pudgie pie irons, compasses, binoculars, a geocaching kit and more. Contact your local Shop for more information.

Remember, camp life is the best life!

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!

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!

Spread Kindness this October

31 Random Acts of Kindness patchGiving back and doing good deeds is part of our DNA. The Girl Scout slogan says to “Do a good turn daily” so this October, we’re challenging Badgerland Girl Scouts to do a “good turn” every day of the month – that’s 31 days of good deeds to earn the 31 Random Acts of Kindness patch!

Why October and why 31?
Our amazing founder, Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday is October 31 and we want to honor her by banding together and contributing to the world around us. Imagine the impact Badgerland Girl Scouts will make when every Girl Scout does something nice for others. Thousands of people around Badgerland will have a reason to smile every day, all because of Girl Scouts. Wow!

Need some ideas on how your Girl Scouts can spread kindness in the community? Here are a few:

  • Leave an anonymous note telling someone how special they are
  • Open a door for the person behind you
  • Take your neighbor’s dog for a walk
  • Save your change then treat a loved one to an ice cream cone
  • Call grandma and tell her your favorite memory of a time spent together

Big and small, the possibilities are endless. You can find more ideas at RandomActsOfKindness.org.

Keep track of your Random Acts of Kindness and order your patch with the 31 Random Acts of Kindness Order and Tracking form.

We can’t wait to see how awesome October is around Badgerland with thousands of Girl Scouts doing daily good turns. Share some of your random acts of kindness and we’ll share them with the world!

What Are You Doing This Fall?

Fall-ActivitiesBy Christine Posey, Director of Girl Leadership Experience

I just did the math. This past Girl Scout year, there were over 170 Badgerland programs and over 200 activities sponsored by our Program Partners. Wow! That’s a lot of stuff for our girls to do. Beyond that, Girl Scouts are out there doing service and Take Action projects, earning Journey awards and badges, and taking trips regionally, nationally and internationally. It’s amazing! There are adventures to be had around every Girl Scout corner.

With July winding down, we’re not too far from the start of the school year and thinking about what the next Girl Scout year looks like for your girls. Here are a few things to help create a memorable Girl Scout year.

1) Follow the Girls’ Lead: Let them Plan
Most leaders like to map out their entire Girl Scout year, including service projects, before things kick-off in the fall. Before you plan though, make sure to sit down with your troop and take the opportunity to follow their lead. Let them choose what programs to attend or what service projects to focus on. Encourage your Daisies and Brownies to share their ideas with you. Even if their notions are unrealistic, it lets you know what the girls are interested in. I remember a group of Daisies who wanted to go to Sea World and Paris. They ended up visiting the Shedd Aquarium and had a blast.

As the girls get older, let them become a part of, and start planning, activities and meetings themselves. This is where girls begin to learn about what is and isn’t a realistic goal. Girl Scouts isn’t just about going and doing. It’s also about the girls learning practical skills they can use as they grow and face challenges in their lives. The girls won’t always be successful in their plans, and it’s important for them to learn how to deal with those outcomes with the support of great leaders and involved parents.

2) We’ve Got You Covered! Use These Resources
Looking for some fun troop activities? Check out the Activities calendar or list, the PathFinder and the camp book, all on our website, to see what we have planned. You can also search for programs through your Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). Coming up this fall, over 150 Program Partner opportunities are available and tons more Badgerland programs including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), the outdoors, camping, cookie kickoffs and more! We’re also introducing two new STEM patch programs; Girl Scout Makers, with 5 progressive patch programs and MAD 4 Science, which is all about citizen science (like crowd sourcing science research).

Many Girl Scout Leaders spend lots of time researching various blogs and Pinterest boards for activities. For Daisy, Brownie and Junior co-leaders, we’ve got two whole years of meetings pre-planned for you in VTK-and they’re customizable! Talk about easy. If you need some help getting started with VTK, check out our training video.

3) Keep it Simple and You’ll All Have More Fun
Remember, what’s new and exciting for Daisies and Brownies may be something that we, as adults, or the girls’ older siblings, have done hundreds of times. Don’t be intimidated by doing something low-tech such as playing Hot Potato or Musical Chairs. It’ll be the hit of the day. You’ll find that sometimes, even the older girls want to be silly and play those games as well. As adults, we often forget that kids still love the things that we did as kids. Keep it simple and straightforward at each level, adding a little to your activities each time. This lets the girls be excited for the next thing they get to do!

A final thought – if you don’t already, plan to attend the Girl Scout Leader meetings in your community. This is where all the grown-ups get together and share ideas and gab and have a great time supporting each other. Even if you can only make it once in a while, this is a great place to connect with other leaders. Go, get energized and get inspired! It’s a great club to belong to.