Every Girl Scout is part of a special group of girls that stretches not just across the United States, but around the world. Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), which includes 10 million girls in 150 countries. All those girls, in all those countries, are working to make the world a better place.
Throughout the year, girls have the opportunity to work together and participate in Girl Scout programming that relates to different global issues affecting women and girls. This toolkit describes nine international days and is designed to help volunteers engage with Girl Scouts on these global days of action.
The program for each global action day in the toolkit includes:
- A description of the day
- Why Girl Scouts celebrate the day
- Any program or content notes related to sensitive issues
- Activities by program grade level (Daisy/Brownie/Junior and Cadette/Senior/Ambassador) and/or activities suitable for all ages
- Journey and badge connections
- Suggestions for community service or partnerships
- Additional resources and references
As girls learn about and explore the issues surrounding a particular day, they may be inspired to engage in community service or even complete a Take Action project. Depending on the program grade
level of the Girl Scouts, these could be used as an option for a Journey Take Action project or lead to a highest award project.
Journey and badge connections are listed for each day of action.
Suggestions for community service are listed in each global action day section, and additional information on different community
service and Take Action projects on page 8. Some activities in this toolkit are applicable to multiple days. It is okay to use the resources
and activities for one day in developing a program for another, similar day.
In addition to this program toolkit, councils will be provided with partnership and social media resources related to each day on a quarterly basis.
Many of the activities in this toolkit address issues that girls in Girl Scouts face. Be sensitive to the challenges and experiences of the girls in your troop or group as you explore these topics.
TIPS AND TRICKS
Make sure you have a reasonable understanding of the issue or topic addressed by a global action day before sharing it with girls. We have you covered—you’ll find additional resources and background materials listed in the resources section for each global action day. You don’t have to know everything, but you should have a basic understanding of the topics you’ll be covering and the confidence to look up specific information if girls ask a question to which you don’t know the answer. This shows girls that it’s okay not to be “perfect” and encourages them to learn along with you.
You may also want to ask an expert to share their knowledge and experiences with your troop. Depending on the global action day you are celebrating, this may mean reaching out to a local company or nonprofit organization, university, or government office. For example, on World Environment Day, you might invite an environmental scientist to your meeting to discuss the environment in your community and the way global issues, such as climate change, habitat loss, or natural disasters, have impacted the environment where you live. You may even tap experts within your own personal or professional networks who would love to share their expertise with your troop.
This toolkit includes nine global action days. Don’t try to cover them all, at least not right away. Talk with girls about the days that are most interesting to them, and start with those activities. Some of the days fall quite close together, so you may also want to rotate days through different years. For example, this year you might explore information and communication technology (ICT) topics to participate in Girls in ICT Day, which takes place on the fourth Thursday in April, and next year, you might celebrate Global Action Week for Education, which falls on the third or fourth week in April. Infuse a global perspective in all your activities, not just on these days. Everything we do in Girl Scouts, we do as part of a global sisterhood, 10 million girls strong. When you go hiking or camping, talk with your girls about ways we can all enjoy and protect our planet. When you are volunteering at your local food bank, remember that hunger is a problem everywhere in the world and that by addressing it in your local community, you are helping to solve a global problem. Even when you are just playing, take a moment to remember that all girls enjoy having fun and all girls deserve the opportunity to play. These simple connections remind Girl Scouts that they are part of a community much bigger than themselves.
BUILDING SAFE SPACE
Many of the topics addressed by the days of action in this toolkit can be sensitive and challenging for girls to learn about. At the same time, these issues can deeply motivate girls to take action and create positive change. So it’s critical that girls are able to explore these issues in a safe and supportive environment. Some suggestions for building this safe space within your troop or group meeting are:
- Let girls and parents know ahead of time what’s on the table for discussion during the meeting. You don’t have to go into the full meeting plan, but it’s a good idea to give them a head’s up so that they can plan and prepare together and you can obtain the necessary permissions, especially if you’ll be addressing sensitive issues. A sample copy of a sensitive issues permission form is found in the appendix of this toolkit.
- Begin with an icebreaker or trust game, even if group members have known each other for a while. It helps to reinforce a sense of group cohesion.
- Set a group contract with the girls. This is a good idea to do with any group, regardless of what you’re doing, because it empowers them to discuss and agree on how to treat each other and to establish group norms. Let girls come up with their own rules and discuss them until there is consensus. Some questions you may want to ask girls are:
- What would make this a safe and respectful place for us to be?
- What would be good ways to treat each other?
- What group rules do you have in other places, like at school or in sports? Which ones apply here?
- How will we make sure we all follow this agreement?
- Girl Scouts is a girl-led and challenge-by-choice environment.
Make sure girls can opt out if they are uncomfortable or if they need a moment to process. Let them know some good ways to do that, such as going to the bathroom or getting a drink of water. Come up with a signal that girls can use to let you know if they’d like
to talk to you privately about what they’re feeling.
THE ENTIRE GLOBAL ACTION DAYS TOOLKIT CAN BE ACCESSED VIA THE GLOBAL GIRL SCOUT SECTION OF ANYTIME ACTIVITIES: https://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/content/girlscoutsofcolorado/en/events/anytime-activities.html