Camp Butternut Springs Gets New Pool and More! 

Rendering of how the new pool and shower house will look once completed.

Over the past year, Girl Scouts GCNWI has been working on planning, designing, and constructing a new pool and shower house at Camp Butternut Springs, allowing for improved facilities for campers. This 3.2-million-dollar project is the largest capital project that the council has ever worked towards and will be completed before the start of Summer Camp 2023. 

The old pool was over 50 years old, and it was time to replace and upgrade. The new pool will have a diving board and will be accessible. For those hot summer days, campers will stay hydrated and ready for camp activities with two separate water drinking fountains that include bottle-filling stations while enjoying the shade of a large canopy on the new pool deck. Along with the construction of the new pool, a brand-new shower house is to be built with 16 individual shower rooms with a sink and toilet to provide privacy for everyone using it. 

GCNWI has been working with VJS Construction and Whiteco Pool company to complete this work. GCNWI has previously worked with VJS Construction to complete projects, including the new dining hall at Camp Juniper Knoll and two new cabins at Camp Butternut Springs. 

A Groundbreaking Ceremony will take place on October 20 at 2:30 p.m. at Camp Butternut Springs to highlight all the hard work being done to improve our Summer Camp program for all Girl Scouts. The ceremony will last one hour. If you would like to attend, you must RSVP to no later than October 18.

Girl Scout Adventures in Colorado

Girl Scout Adventures in Colorado

Fourteen of our Girl Scouts had the chance to visit Colorado this summer as part of our council’s travel experiences and explore the great outdoors! Learn more about their adventures from the girls themselves in the journal entries they sent home every night:

Day 1

Hello from Snow Mountain Ranch! We started off the day with our flight to Denver. Our pilot was hilarious and we enjoyed the free snacks. Once in Denver, we boarded our very own bus. Our bus driver was named Buffalo Bill and he had a very nice cowboy hat (by the way, it took Bill three years to become an official cowboy!). We drove through the mountains and our ears were popping as we slowly climbed the mountains. We even saw some buffalo and some snowy white caps!

Later, we checked into our rooms and ate dinner RIGHT AWAY (because we were starving). We then walked back to our rooms and enjoyed some free time. To finish off the night, we had a brief orientation meeting to plan our schedules for the week. We were overjoyed to hear that there ARE in fact llamas on property!

Day 2

Today was our first official day of doing activities. All of the girls doing the one-hour horseback riding had to get up early to eat breakfast at the mess hall. They served French toast sticks and salami along with fruits, yogurt, granola and cereals, etc. We were all assigned to different horses and some were not as cooperative as others! Don’t worry, we were all wearing helmets.

All of the girls that were also doing archery then took a rented car to the other side of camp, to be on time. For the session, we all got to shoot the arrows at targets in the hay stacks. After a tired morning, we all walked back to get lunch. The meal (tuna noodle casserole) was delicious!

The adventurous people of the group dared to then go to the high-ropes course. We had to use teamwork to make the dream work on the “Giants’ Ladder.” After working from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., many girls got tired and went back to their rooms before going to the cafeteria for dinner. We all had a little bit of time to roller skate and play dodge ball in the Kiva (activity area) before going to a meeting about tomorrow’s fun. Many went on a last-minute hike to see the sunset for beautiful pictures.

Day 3

Today, all of us had a lot of fun whitewater rafting. We made A LOT of fun memories that will last a lifetime. To start out our day, most of the girls went on a morning sunrise hike and got a lot of pictures. We quickly went back to our rooms to get ready for whitewater rafting. We had a quick breakfast before we loaded the buses to leave. We had a fun bus ride filled with laughter and song singing.

When we got the facility, we got fitted from our PFDs (personal flotation devices) and helmets, then we grabbed our paddles and took a few cute pictures. We hopped on the bus to get to the bank where we were loaded on to our rafts to begin our day of mad adventuring.

At the beginning, we did a lot of sightseeing, and one of the most beautiful things that we saw was a bald eagle. After about five minutes on the river, we hit our first batch of rapids. It was scary at first, but after a few good splashes, we realized how much fun we were going to have. We went through a few more rapids before we reached a small rock that we could jump off of. Most of the girls went without hesitation and were for sure shocked by the cold.

After jumping, we got back in to the raft and headed to the second section of rapids on our trip. On the second section, we got our first taste of what the Colorado River can dish out. It was a major adrenaline rush! After this, we stopped for a very hardy lunch and then cruised down the river. We got to jump out of the raft a couple times.

After dinner, some of the girls went on a beautiful hike where we got to see the sunset. We are excited to see what else Colorado has to offer!

Day 4

Today, we had a splendid time with our activities. When we woke up, we met up with beautiful horses that would take us to our delicious meal of pancakes, sausage and eggs. The cowboys were very kind and treated us to their stories of their many travels brought by their talent of horse wrangling (with the help of Mrs. Garlough’s ongoing questions).

Later, we hiked over to the Rowley Homestead, where we whittled away at our award-winning hiking sticks. It was hard work whittling and sanding them, but they will definitely come in handy on our many hikes. We then ate lunch and hurried over to the summer tubing hill, where a steep bumpy hill and a lot of fun awaited us. All of us really enjoyed the experience, and the mist that was sprayed at us as we rode down was very refreshing, since it was such a hot day.

Next, we split up and had a while to relax and enjoy the afternoon. Some of the campers rented bikes and rode on some of the beautiful trails hugging the mountains. There were highs and lows, but overall it was an activity not to be missed! Other campers just relaxed in their rooms, went to the craft cabin, or enjoyed a refreshing swim in the pool. After that, we all met up for a cookout, and enjoyed the many different options that met each lifestyle.

Then we played on the playground until a sandstorm rolled in, but this was not exactly a bad thing, since it led us to a special needs talent show. It brought tears to many of our eyes. Their courage showed us how foolish we are to worry about what other people think of our talents. When it ended some of us went over to the roller rink and got an awesome view of a double rainbow — it went right over our cabin, what a coincidence! Finally, after a long day, we all headed back to our cabin to rest up for another full day tomorrow.

Day 5

Today we had a busy, but exciting day. We woke up to a breakfast of fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, and French toast. Some of us went on a very early morning hike. Some took later hikes, but both were spectacular. There was also a few on a horseback ride. Six people, including Mrs. Baudhuin and Ashley, went on a beautiful scenic waterfall hike. We took tons of photos, and ended up exploring a cave. The horseback ride was two hours long and was very exciting.

Afterward, we headed over to lunch, which included Rice Krispy Treats. Then we went canoeing on a beautiful lake. We played fun games, such as retrieving tennis balls from the lake. There was lots of teamwork involved to win the competition! We also had fun playing with the minnows, but we didn’t catch any, although we tried hard. We splashed each other a ton, but luckily no canoes were tipped over. But one person did intentionally fall in! We headed back for a few hours of free time — some swimming, some drawing.

Whatever it was, our time was not wasted! However, we noticed some dark clouds overhead. It started raining, so we weren’t able to go zip lining. Dinner was delicious including a wide variety of desserts to choose from, including coconut crème pie, ice cream, and carrot cake. Despite the rain, we had plenty of excitement. We decided to lounge inside and play a game of spoons. Don’t worry, no serious injuries, but it was quite vicious! We sang songs, had laughs, and ended up playing even more games. As we get ready to go to bed, we can all agree it was a very adventurous day. We are now looking forward to more fun and amazement tomorrow!

Day 6

We had an exciting day today! We started our day off with getting on the bus to go to Rocky Mountain National Park. Once we got there we went to the Holzwarth Homestead. Our group took a tour of the homestead where we learned about the settlers that lived there. One of the groups worked on their tree badge and learned about the different trees in the area. At the end of our time at the homestead, we tried to lasso a wooden horse. All of us then got on the bus to go get lunch.

After lunch, we headed to the Continental Divide for a photo opp. Then our group went to the Alpine Visitor’s Center to go on a hike. The hike was to the highest point you could hike to. The elevation was 12,005 feet! While we were at the visitor’s center I (Molly) earned my junior ranger badge. On our way to Grand Lake we saw three moose and an elk.

Back in the town, we shopped for souvenirs. While we were there most of us got Dairy King. A little after we got back some of us went on hikes. One of the hikes was a waterfall hike. Once the girls made it to the waterfall, they took a picture in the waterfall. The water was really cold. While some girls were on the waterfall hike, a few other girls went on another hike nine mile mountain (it’s actually two miles). IMG_6839

Day 7 – Last Day

Hi there from our last day at Snow Mountain Ranch! We started off our day with a trip to the climbing wall. Several people got to hit the buzzer at the top of the wall. We think that the wall was at least 30 feet tall, but it certainly felt taller once you started to climb up it. We had very sore fingers by the end of our climbing trip. Then a small group of us went down to the craft cabin and participated in a glass fusion class.

After creating our works of art, we ran over to get photos done by our good friend Dill, a seasoned professional. After capturing our beautiful faces on to a digital screen we went on a trip down a 55-foot-high zip line! It was a thousand feet across. After this, our group split into doing a couple of activities. One was a three-mile hike up to a waterfall. We got a bit wet, but it was worth it in the end.

The others in our group went on a steak dinner horseback ride. The ride to our dinner spot was about an hour and a half long, and some of our horses were a bit temperamental. The steak was amazing and we had potatoes and beans as a side dish. We all also got to avoid the rain, which was nice! After our very busy day we ended it with a group campfire. Our trained CIT2s helped build it and the girls led camp songs throughout, ending it with their favorite song “On My Honor.” We’re going to miss our adventures in the Colorado Mountains, but we are excited to see our families and tell them all about our trip.

Do you want to travel with Girl Scouts? For more information on our council’s travel programs, click here or email Ashley Christensen at


Valparaiso Girl Scouts ‘Take Action’ for Camp Butternut Springs

Valparaiso Girl Scouts ‘Take Action’ for Camp Butternut Springs

Troop 30364, from St. Paul Catholic School in Valparaiso, Indiana, took a “sit” against littering and for recycling at nearby Camp Butternut Springs and donated a bench made out of 400 pounds of recycled plastic water bottle caps.

The plaque on the bench reads: “Enjoy resting on this bench made of 400 lbs. of plastic caps – a Porter County Community recycling project made possible by Brownie Scout Troop #30364 and Pines Village Retirement Communities, Inc. 2016.”

The troop delivered the bench in April with the help of Pines Village Retirement Community’s CAPs Crew, which cleans, sorts and bundles un-recyclable plastic bottle caps.

photo (3)
Troop 30364 from Valparaiso, Indiana worked with a local retirement community to create a bench made from plastic bottle caps.


Members of the troop came up with the idea to create a sustainable bench while earning their Brownies Quest Keys Award.

“Through this award, we learned that together their three Keys – Discover, Connect, and Take Action – unlock the meaning of leadership,” they explained. “To earn our last Key, we had to take action somehow in our community.”

The girls decided that recycling would be their focus and started their research.  They came across an article from Pines Village Retirement Community about transforming recycled caps into benches, and decided to partner with the crew. With the help of Lu Krieger-Blake and some of their Girl Scout Cookie sales money, they participated in a program called “A Bench For Caps.”

Troop members Dina Nguyen, Kylie Starkey and Elise Maxey thought that the hardest part of the project was collecting 400 pounds of clean, non-metal, plastic caps.  According to the community’s website, these caps can include:

  • Snap-On cottage cheese, coffee can, and yogurt lids
  • Twist-on medicine, drink, and milk bottles, including the ring
  • Flip-top ketchup and condiment bottles
  • Large twist-off lids (such as detergent)
  • Spout lids (such as squirt mustard)

While there were some challenges to the project, they said the most fun was when they went to the Pines Village Retirement Community and met with Lu and the CAPs Crew.

“We spent time with them sorting caps while learning about each other,” said the girls.  “Before we left we sang them our favorite Girl Scout anthem: ‘Make New Friends.’ It was a great time and we can’t wait to go back!”

This project has inspired their troop to make more change in the world by continuing to save caps and work with Pines Village Retirement Community CAPs Crew. In doing this, they hope to help put brand new sustainable and eco-friendly benches around the community for people to enjoy, all while keeping plastic caps from ending up in landfills.

“We are so proud of our Brownie Troop 30364,” said troop leader Diane Nguyen.

“And we look forward to many adventures in the future!” said troop leader Tiffany Maxey.

From a Girl Scout to Troop Leader: Lessons I’ve Learned

From a Girl Scout to Troop Leader: Lessons I’ve Learned

Sitting in my Daisy troop circle, with my fingers anxiously twitching, I couldn’t wait for my turn to dip my egg in the bowl of colored water. Little did I know, that this would become the first memory I would hold of a fifteen-year Girl Scout journey.

Growing up, Girl Scouts provided me with a way to get together with my friends and participate in creative crafts and activities. The girls in my troop and I would hold sleepovers, learn dances like the Flamenco for World Thinking Day, and partake in service events like the annual Step Up for Kids Walk held in downtown Chicago. However, the older I got, the more I learned that while Girl Scouts was a program for me to make friends, it was much more a program for me to discover myself.

Areesha in troop

At the age of 14, I completed my Silver Award project — Kits for Kids — where my team and I created and hosted a fundraiser, whose earnings allowed us to assemble and supply entertainment kits for the bedridden children of a local hospital. This opportunity showed me firsthand that I could make a direct impact — that I could and should go out and seek out issues I cared about and work to address them.

The project developed my passion for community service and, the more I reflect on it, the more I realize the number of skills that simple project helped me developed. Earning my Silver Award taught me to communicate effectively, work within a team, conduct research and outreach, and most importantly to act upon my passion to serve.

I was fortunate enough to not only be able to conduct projects, but to also attend programs, such as the 2011 National Scouts Jamboree, and the STEM overnight camp, both of which continued to foster my growth. The Jamboree was one of the first ways I was able to find myself. Going to a camp in another state with hundreds of other scouts I didn’t know, taught me the importance of taking initiative and forced me out of my shell. I was able to experience new thrills like ziplining, but was also able to become really close to people I had just met.

Areesha at STEM camp
My troop won an invention award at STEM camp!

The STEM overnight camp exposed me to the world of engineering and innovation, and encouraged me to mesh my quantitative and creative abilities to explore and innovate. Being a female, I wasn’t actively exposed to this field regarding innovation and technology. STEM camp made it not only acceptable, but rather commendable to be a girl and to like and excel at STEM subjects.

Near the end of my Girl Scout journey, I began reflecting on what it was ultimately that I gained from these experiences. Girl Scouts exposed me to new opportunities and engaged me in activities ranging in different fields, like STEM, with different people. Being a Girl Scout pushed me to work and communicate in teams; it challenged me with real world problems; it taught me life skills like first aid and self-defense; it encouraged me to chase my dreams and unleash my potential. Girl Scouts provided me with a safe environment to explore various fields and polish up my skill set, which has led me to serve in the versatile roles I do today. My Girl Scouts leaders and my Girl Scouts community provided me with the resources and support to empower me to become the confident and determined female I am.

However, the discovery did not stop with my experience or who I was, but rather expanded to my future abilities. Girl Scouts made me realize that I have the power and potential to foster change and to empower others.

Currently, I am a freshman at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois studying statistics and economics, with hopes of becoming an actuary in the near future. On campus, I am on a competitive Bollywood dance team, current social chair for our Women in Business organization, the Marketing and Resource Manager for an upcoming summer camp, and am spending time this quarter interning at a local start-up.

Female empowerment has now become a passion for me. It was through other females’ efforts, that I am able to uphold myself in a confident manner. Hence, the other role that I currently hold is the assistant leader for a Brownie troop of 24 girls. I took on this role because I was inspired to empower young girls. Talking to my Girl Scouts, regardless of how young they are, I can see that they are very talented with so much potential, and I have made it my mission to provide them with the resources, the time, and the motivation to help them grow, so that they can build that confidence and feel empowered enough to chase their dreams, broaden their horizons, and exceed their potential.

Areesha Brownie mural

Just as the mural made by my scouts above says, “Girls Can Change the World,” I hope to be one of those girls — one who inspires other girls to do the same.

A lifelong Girl Scout, Areesha Majeed is a troop leader for a second-grade Brownie troop. She is a freshman at Northwestern University pursuing a double major in economics and statistics with a minor in French. 

Give the Gift of Gathering at Juniper Knoll

Give the Gift of Gathering at Juniper Knoll

Kitchens are made for people to gather and we can’t until our campers can gather in the new dining hall at Camp Juniper Knoll.

It’s been a few years since heavy snow caused the roof to collapse on the original dining hall and construction crews have been hard at work preparing the building for the upcoming camp season.

Juniper Knoll

To help us serve Girl Scout campers for years to come, we’re stocking the dining hall’s kitchen … but we need your help. Shop the online kitchen registry to help fill the kitchen with all the gadgets and appliances necessary to ensure an exceptional experience for everyone who visits Juniper Knoll, which is located on Pleasant Lake in East Troy, Wisconsin.

Items, such as pots and pans, folding tables and chairs, range from $25 to $15,000. Gifts can be made as an individual, family, troop and/or service unit. You can also make a monetary donation to give a girl a camp experience with memories that will last a lifetime. Every gift makes an impact!

For more information or to purchase a gift, please visit To view additional pictures of the progress at Juniper Knoll, click here.

We look forward to inviting you to the grand opening of the dining hall this summer. Thank you for supporting our council in this exciting endeavor.

What I Learned at Girl Scout Summer Camp

What I Learned at Girl Scout Summer Camp

My name is Charlotte and I have been a Girl Scout for 10 years, from Daisy through to Senior. For the last four years, I’ve gone to Girl Scout summer camp. I’ve been to the Hoist your Sail, On Belay, Engineering Design and Backpacking Adventurer camps. The picture of our Backpacking group was in this year’s camp brochure, how cool is that?

Going to Girl Scout camp is great. There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t yet met. It doesn’t matter if you go to camp by yourself (like I do!) as you always meet up with other girls from previous years camps. Even though we haven’t seen each other for a year we’re still the best of friends. I love camping in the outdoors, learning new skills and sharing those experiences with my new and old friends.

Charlotte Camping Solo

Sailing taught me how to work both on my own and with other crew members. Of course the best part was tipping the sail boat and trying to re-right it! It was so much fun to be on, and in, the water every day. Our group stayed in platform tents by the lake which was great as it was cooler by the water.

Rock climbing taught me that I must be responsible for checking my equipment and that no obstacle is too high or too scary to overcome when you have buddies encouraging you all the way. At Devil’s Lake we stayed in the coolest yurts ever. They had A/C and a TV, too (shhh … don’t tell your moms!). Mind you, it was 103 degrees when we were there, so it was much appreciated.

The Engineering program was one of my favorite camps. We worked in groups and individually to solve all sorts of problems using the items provided as well as improvising along the way. We also got to visit the Yerkes Observatory. I had never done any engineering before, but after this camp I looked into the engineering classes my future high school had to offer. As a freshman, I chose to do a class in engineering design and next year I’m doing civil engineering and architecture. If I hadn’t been on this camp I would never thought about doing engineering at high school.

Finally, the Backpacking camp taught me the value of teamwork: planning and doing our hikes, sharing responsibilities around camp and fine tuning our “leave no trace” skills. I also learned that I really don’t like powdered eggs for breakfast and that life without any electronics is possible and totally enjoyable when you have good company and lovely scenery.

So, what will you do this summer? Watch TV? Play computer games? I challenge you to go try something new!

As for me, I’m off to Girl Scout leadership camp this summer. It’s time to learn some new skills and how to give back to the Girl Scout community.

Have a great summer – see you at camp!

There’s so much to see and do at summer camp! Check out our full list of summer programs at day and resident camps across our council in the 2016 Program Guide and register today.

Find Out What These Girl Scouts Love Most About Summer Camp

Find Out What These Girl Scouts Love Most About Summer Camp

Campfires, crafts and canoes are certainly part of the Girl Scout camp experience, but girls today have more options than ever before.

Take, for example, the Engineering Design Challenge resident camp at Camp Juniper Knoll in East Troy, Wisconsin.

“It’s definitely my favorite camp,” shares Elizabeth L., a 13-year-old Girl Scout Cadette. “The challenge changes every year. The first year was a mission to Mars and last year we made LEGO robotics.”

She loves the camp so much, she’s recruited several friends to join her in the two-week long session. During the camp, participants work in teams to solve challenges using the Engineering Design Process.

“We’re all girls and we get to talk about the same thing,” says Elizabeth. “We’re at engineering camp so we all have the same nerdy interests. And our counselors are nerds just like us.”

Elizabeth and Maggie heading off to camp

And it won’t be long before Elizabeth joins the rank of camp counselors. This summer, she’s also attending the counselor-in-training day camp at Camp Greene Wood in Woodridge, Illinois.

“I’ve wanted to sign up for it ever since I started camp three years ago,” she said. “I can’t wait to spend time with the younger girls and lead them in songs.”

Elizabeth’s enthusiasm for camp has certainly rubbed off on her younger sister, Maggie L., a 9-year-old Girl Scout Junior. She’s excited to go horseback riding at Camp Juniper Knoll and attend Make It, Take It, a creative craft day camp at Camp Greene Wood.

“I like going to camp because we get to sing fun songs, the counselors are really nice and we get to do a lot of really fun activities,” she said. “I’m really, really excited to go horseback riding because I’ve never been on a horse before. But my favorite part about camp is getting to meet new people and try new things.”

Want your girl to enjoy an exceptional experience at camp? Check out our full list of summer programs in our 2016 Camp Program Guide and register today!