6 Visionary Volunteers Honored at Annual Meeting

2017 Annual Meeting HonoreesOn September 16 the Performing Arts Center at Sun Prairie High School was packed with parents, volunteers, Girl Scouts, board members, delegates, donors and more coming together for the largest crowd ever to attend the Annual Meeting. This year, six amazing adult volunteers were in the spotlight for the incredible work they do building girls of courage, confidence and character.

Three volunteers were honored with the Volunteer of Excellence Award. This award is given to volunteers that demonstrate outstanding service while partnering directly with girls, in any pathway, to implement the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. It is also given in recognition of exceptional service in support of the council’s mission.

Sadie Nerswick is a go-getter troop co-leader with Brownies and Juniors in Columbus. She is beloved by her girls for being fun and kind and compassionate – a trait she’s instilling in her girls. For example, last year she went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that all her girls could attend an event recognizing a girl in their troop, a cancer survivor. That Girl Scout felt so special having her troop sisters go out of their way to support her. That’s the Girl Scout way, and that’s Sadie Nerswick’s way!

Lisa Schmitt has been leading and mentoring Girl Scouts for five years in Platteville. And to say her troop is thriving is an understatement. Today, there are 17 fifth graders flourishing under the leadership of Lisa. She encourages her girls and instills in them her own positive, can-do-attitude. She is determined to give each girl the knowledge that they can succeed at anything they set out to do.

Jaren Shaw helps lead three troops at three different levels, Daisies, Brownies and Seniors, in Tomah. It takes an audacious woman to step up to that challenge and that describes Jaren. She has been a leader for four years and is well respected in her community for always going over, above and beyond for the girls. Jaren is patient, welcoming and she is persevering. She will do what it takes to make sure her Girl Scouts walk away from each experience a better person.

Two outstanding volunteers were awarded the Girl Scout Appreciation Pin. This award is bestowed for outstanding service in support of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience beyond their local community.

Jessica Huntamer leads more than 20 Juniors and Cadettes in Richland Center and is a volunteer member of the Badgerland Council Delegates. The girls in Jessica’s troop say the first time you meet Jessica you see her positivity and commitment. She is an amazing mentor…leader…and, in the words of girls…“truly a best friend for all of us.”

Maranda Oliver has lead Junior Troop 4234 and since they were Daisies, these girls have been working hard to make their hometown of Westby a better place. As kindergartners, they adopted a local park and have been making ongoing improvements for years, and they’re only in 4th grade. Maranda is always innovative and seeking ideas to help her girls learn new things in fun ways. She did a STEM activity with the girls by having them make homemade ice cream – needless to say that forever endeared her to the girls!

We also honored an amazing woman that has provided 60 years of Girl Scout volunteer service, Nancy Hansen-Bennett. When Nancy first became a Girl Scout volunteer, Dwight Eisenhower was president, in 1957! And she has continued to be an advocate for hundreds of girls in the greater Janesville area. In fact, Nancy’s final act as a co-leader was to send a letter to the editor of the local newspaper challenging retirees to step-up and be a Girl Scout volunteer and make a difference to girls, just like she has all these years. Nancy also received a notable membership pin, she’s been a Girl Scout for 70 years.

Badgerland is lucky to have amazing volunteers like the women above. Learn how you can help girls unleash their inner leader here.

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

Meet the Adult Honorees from the 2016 Annual Meeting

annual-meetingSeptember 10 was a special day as Girl Scouts from around Badgerland gathered for the Annual Meeting and Recognition Celebration. It was a fun three hours, filled with celebrating the 286 Top Cookie Sellers, electing Board members and honoring outstanding adult volunteers. The day was hosted by two members of Badgerland’s Youth Leadership Council, Tori Braun and Annie Logan.

Four amazing adult volunteers were in the spotlight for the incredible work they do building girls of courage, confidence and character.

Three volunteers were honored with the Volunteer of Excellence award. This award is given to volunteers that demonstrate outstanding service while partnering directly with girls, in any pathway, to implement the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. It is also given in recognition of exceptional service in support of the council’s mission.

Gretel Irving is the co-leader of super-active Stoughton Troop 3662. With Gretel’s support, her troop attends girl-led events, has recently finished their Bronze Award and is already planning their Silver Award projects.

Gretel is also a valuable member of her Membership Area Leadership Team (MALT), where she helps organize signature events for Girl Scouts in her community, including a camporee and World Thinking Day event. She’s even volunteered her time to work with the Badgerland program team and helped create our new Girl Scout Makers program.

One of Gretel’s Girl Scouts, who is now a Cadette, wrote this about her, “Gretel is a beautiful person inside and out. She leads us on one adventure after another and makes it fun and I am a better person for it. She is a good example of the Girl Scout Promise and Law and she would make Juliette Gordon Low proud!”

Mary Salvi stepped up to lead Monona Troop 2193 nine year ago, when the girls were just Brownies. Today, they’re high school seniors and soon will be bridge to adult, taking with them Girl Scout memories that will last their lifetime. Throughout the years, Mary has created opportunities for the girls to take responsibility and assume leadership roles for big projects including, most recently, planning, writing scripts, making costumes and running the entire bridging ceremony for Membership Area 12. It was a huge undertaking but the girls learned their skills from Mary.

Described by her troop parents and girls as an honest, fair and ultra-organized woman, Mary has to be super organized because she volunteers for a multitude things; everything from MALT, Kon Tiki, CampHERO, My Guy & I, Frostiball Dance, Sisterhood Party, Winter Craft Day and the list goes on and on.

In the words of one her troop members, “Mary always puts others before herself and is always wanting to help others. Mary is not just a friend of mine, she is also my Girl Scout Troop Leader, forever and always.”

Michelle Vasquez has embraced Girl Scouts as a troop leader, a parent…a leader…and she truly embodies the Girl Scout law. Co-leader of Troop 2379, her girls are busy with non-stop fun all year round. Michelle believes that fun, enriching programs make for a fantastic Girl Scout experience, and is always looking for new opportunities for her girls.

And while at those programs, Michelle goes above and beyond to insure that every single girl is engaged and experiencing the intended outcome of each activity. One of Michelle’s troop members, a Girl Scout Brownie, shared how she learned to be a ‘can do’ person, just like Michelle, and she loves Girl Scouts because, “it is fun and very very very very very very very very very veeeeeeery active and awesome because of Michelle!”

A proud military veteran, Michelle says that she gets just as much out of volunteering as her Girl Scouts. In fact, Michelle credits her troop with helping her fulfill a dream she’s held since childhood – going back to school and become an elementary school teacher.

Cindy Rosch was recognized with the Honor Pin award. The Honor Pin is awarded to an individual whose service is outstanding above and beyond the expectations, and whose efforts have a far-reaching impacting. And that, in a nutshell, describes Cindy. She has a passion for the Girl Scout mission and a desire to see every girl empowered to explore her dreams.

It’s been two years now since a chance encounter brought Cindy to Badgerland’s Philanthropy Committee, and all-volunteer committee that works behind the scenes to help raise funds to support our Girl Scouts. Their work is critical to the mission, and Cindy brought fresh ideas and tons of enthusiasm when she came on board. She took a leadership role in getting the Badgerland Alumnae organized and involved in philanthropy. And more than that, she works tirelessly to coordinate alumnae gatherings like this fall’s upcoming event in Baraboo…she has established an alumnae e-newsletter and regularly pens requests for the financial support of girls.

It’s also important to Cindy that every girl can experience the outdoors through Girl Scouting. A volunteer member of Badgerland’s Campership Committee, she spends countless hours reviewing each and every application for camp financial assistance and plays an essential role in making sure girls can get to camp without a financial barrier.

One of the people who work with Cindy says, “When thanked for her extraordinary volunteer efforts, Cindy often jests and jokingly refers to herself as just a busy-bodied old lady! However, I would like her to know that in our eyes she is a true sister to every Girl Scout and her dedication and significant contributions to Badgerland girls are deeply valued and appreciated.”

Badgerland is lucky to have amazing volunteers like the women above. Interested in becoming a volunteer? Visit here.

Girl Scout Volunteers Build Girls of Courage, Confidence and Character

Junior Girl Scout troop with leader, Rachel Kaiser.
By Rachael Kaiser, La Crosse Troop Co-Leader

What better way is there to help shape young girls into strong, confident women than to be a Girl Scout leader?! When most people think of Girl Scouts, they think of cookies, and while that is still a part of the traditional Girl Scout program, it’s so much more than that. Cookies are just one way to help us pay for the invaluable experiences we can provide for girls in Girl Scouting! I have had the pleasure of being a Girl Scout leader for 5 years. I started a troop when my daughter, who is now 11, was 5 and in Kindergarten. She really wanted to be a Boy Scout, after tagging along to her brothers scout meetings, but I assured her that Girl Scouts was JUST as amazing as Boy Scouts (and we could make it even better!)

Over the past 5 years, I have seen amazing changes in the girls I’ve had the pleasure of leading. Girls who were once quiet and stood in the background… now have the courage to stand on stage and be part of a skit. Girls who had a hard time thinking outside of themselves… now realize the impact they can have on the world and the people around them. Girls who cried when their mom dropped them off at meetings… now head to summer camp alone for a week each year.

Girl Scouts is a fun, safe place for them to explore how amazing they are and to try new things, knowing that their fellow Girl Scouts and their leaders will support them if they fall. These girls have gotten the chance to meet city leaders, learn new art techniques from university students, practice CPR and first aid safety at the local hospital, try horseback riding for the first time, and so much more. Girl Scouting gives them the opportunity to try something new, learn important life lessons, and explore their community in a way they might not be able to otherwise. I enjoyed being a leader so much, that I now oversee (with the help of some other amazing women) 7 troops of over 60 girls!

And the girls aren’t the only ones benefiting from Girl Scouts.

I have been rewarded in many ways as well. I have come to know and understand these girls in a way I never would have as a casual observer. I learned to let go of my tendency to do everything for them and realized that they are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. I have gotten outside my own comfort zone by trying new things alongside them. When I walk into school and these girls rush up to me to say hi and tell me something about their day, I feel blessed to be a person with whom they want to share these things. I have also gotten to experience all of these fantastic experiences with my own daughter. The quality time we share together through Girl Scouting is immeasurable, and I hope it is these memories my daughter thinks back when she’s older.

It takes a village to raise a child, and I am so thankful to be a part of each girl’s village…helping to build girls of courage, confidence and character!