Each year, on February 22, all over the world Girl Guides and Girl Scouts will celebrate World Thinking Day. While some girls are able to travel to different parts of the world with their families, other girls rarely travel out of their own state. World Thinking Day helps girls discover other countries and their cultures while helping them understand our global communities.
In any given day, how many people would you say that you encounter from different nationalities other than your own in the United States? How much do you know about those people and their culture? Can you recognize the flag of their nation? Do they eat certain foods on certain days? World Thinking Day not only gives girls a chance to celebrate international friendships, but it is also a reminder that Girl Scouts of the USA is part of a global community – one of nearly 150 countries with Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
Last year, I had the pleasure of taking a trip to Kenya (one of the countries from World Thinking Day 2009) to meet with the Kenyan Girl Guides. I return with greetings from Kenya, “Jambo!”
It was incredible to experience their culture and discover the Kenyan Girl Guide program. While I was there, I learned of their need for important materials that we often take for granted. Our Kenyan sisters in Girl Scouting are in need of school supplies, feminine hygiene products and camping equipment. This makes the 2010 World Thinking Day theme of “together we can end extreme poverty and hunger” even more relevant. This Thinking Day, my troop and I have pledged to work together to provide this important materials for our Girl Scout sisters–we invite and welcome you to join us in sending supplies to the Kenyan Girl Guides.
HIV and AIDS, hunger, poverty and drugs are part of the girls’ everyday life in Kenya. Just like in the U.S., thousands and thousands of Kenyan Guide Leaders give up their time and use their talents and resources—including finances—to train the girls to develop their full potential as responsible citizens.
To celebrate Thinking Day here at home, my Girl Scout troop will take an imaginary trip to Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle (the inspiration for the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty) down the Rhine River and off to the Kuwait Towers in Kuwait. Next, we will hop a flight to South Africa and the white sandy beaches of the Cape of Good Hope. We will stop by the Philippines as we go island hopping in an archipelago of 7,107 islands, and then complete our trip in the Amazon jungle and rainforests of Peru. As these landmarks are great places to visit on a vacation, there is much to learn about the history of these countries and how Girl Scouting/Girl Guiding has made a difference.
Girl Scouts and Girl Guides present an incredible opportunity for leadership to girls across the world. I think it is important for American Girl Scouts to understand the cultures and experiences of girls their age—even if they are half a world away. This Thinking Day, take some time to guide your Girl Scouts in conversations that help them understand their place in the global community—and their power to make a difference.
Editors note: If you are interested in helping or learning more about the Kenyan Girl Guides, email Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org