A self-described experiential and hands-on River Valleys’ facilitator, Julie Wendland believes in the value of learning by doing and sharing her Girl Scout experiences with other volunteers. “Our experiences really help new leaders…one participant told me, ‘It made such a difference when you told me you’ve had a troop.’ We can share what we know and new leaders won’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Wendland said.
Her advice to new leaders is to prepare yourself to do things you never thought you’d do. For Wendland, this included: rock climbing, traveling to Idaho with her Girl Scout troop for a week-long jamboree, and her troop becoming the ambassadors for Little Canada in Thunder Bay, Canada at a sister city celebration in 2000. “You just have to repeat to yourself: I’m doing this for the girls, I’m doing this for the girls,” Wendland said.
She was doing just that when she became involved with training adults. After starting an outdoor skills program in her area for girls in grades six through eight with other volunteers, Wendland decided she wanted to learn how to train adults as well, which is how she became involved with River Valleys’ adult development department as a volunteer facilitator.
Now, she leads all four Beyond the Troop modules: Girls Cook In, Girls Sleep In, Girls Cook Out and Girls Sleep Out. Wendland said her favorite session to lead is Girls Cook Out. “I like to watch the faces of the leaders when they say, ‘We’re going to cook what, how?!” She also enjoys the challenges of this session, like getting adults comfortable with fire and knives so they can teach these skills to their girls.
Although her own Girl Scout is now grown, Wendland continues to stay involved because she believes in the Girl Scout program. “I’ve seen girls gain confidence and take that with them through college…that’s a Girl Scout,” she said.
Lisa Linscheid feels that the Girl Scout program is a great way to bond with girls, which is why she became a troop leader when her daughter was in kindergarten. Now her daughter and three other girls from her original troop, are sophomores in high school and Girl Scout Seniors. “We stayed together by planning activities as a troop,” Linscheid said. “We are now looking at doing a trip within the next year or so before graduation.
“Linscheid traveled to Savannah, Georgia with her Girl Scout troop in 2008 and has taken many camping trips over the years, which are her best memories as a leader. Besides being a leader, Linscheid is also a volunteer facilitator, service unit treasurer, fast start coach, and the former New Ulm Area service unit day camp director.
As a Leadership Essentials facilitator, with River Valleys’ adult development department, Linscheid enjoys working with other volunteers by answering questions, guiding them to resources, and sharing her own volunteer experiences. “Being a facilitator has made me more knowledgeable about the Girl Scout philosophy and goals. I hope to pass that knowledge to my daughter and other girls I work with to become great leaders someday,” she said.
Linscheid describes her facilitation style as flexible and sees the value in taking a side bar during a training session to talk through scenarios that sometimes come up. She also enjoys getting to know each of these volunteers and hearing their unique stories.
Besides volunteering with Girl Scouts, Linscheid sings with her church choir and teaches religious education. She also enjoys knitting, sewing, crocheting, and reading.