By Brigid Howe, Program Manager, Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital
This was the third National Council Session I have attended as a Nation’s Capital staff member (Atlanta in 2005, Indianapolis in 2008 and this year in Utah). This time, my responsibility was to be one of the chaperones for the Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors attending the Girl Scout Leadership Institute, alongside my colleagues Shari Harvey and Sujan Sedhai.
It was exciting to experience this national event alongside the girls. From the beginning of the trip, we reminded them that they were the reason why we were there in Utah and that their voices mattered. I know that every group of girl delegates to convention is amazing, and this group was no different! Each girl is impressive on her own, but as a group, they are awe-inspiring. I was honored to spend time with them and get to know them better.
The Girl Scout Leadership Institute had many high points – the opening speaker was Dr. Tererai Trent, whose inspiring story of achievement had a great impact on the girls and adults attending. Girls attended issue area breakout sessions, including basic needs, gender equality, teen violence, and bullying. Other speakers included Candice Kislak from Toms Shoes, who shared her career path and information about social entrepreneurship, Leslie Weldon from the US Forest Service (who was once a leader in our council!), and Elizabeth Smart, whose story of her kidnapping and advocacy work was incredible to hear.
My favorite moment in the National Council Session was during the session on Saturday morning. We had brought the GSLI girls to watch a bit of the proceedings so they could see the delegates in action, but the voting machines malfunctioned and girls in the room started an impromptu singalong. It was a moment that made me reflect on why we were there, and it was so much fun.
Another favorite moment was as I was going from the convention center to the hotel one morning. I was swapping with a woman from the Central New Jersey council, and when she heard I was from Nation’s Capital, she asked if I knew anything about our USPTO partnership for the Intellectual Property patch program. I was delighted to tell her that it was a project I had managed, and she shared with me how she had used it with her girls in New Jersey! It’s always great to hear that one of our programs has gone viral.
I was also excited to attend a theme dinner about STEM programs. The speaker, Kristen Gil from Google, was very inspiring and shared a lot about the Google Made with Code program and I also had the opportunity to connect with GSUSA program staff in attendance.
I am grateful that the council invited me to attend this year, and was excited to see a National Council Session through the eyes of the girls. They were the best companions possible for this trip.
Learn more about Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital: http://www.gscnc.org.