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.
What Is Global Girl Scouting?
Global means relating to the whole world. A global organization is worldwide and international, and from our very beginning, the Girl Guide and Girl Scout Movement has been international in nature.
In 1909, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts in the United Kingdom, held the first Boy Scout rally at a park in London called the Crystal Palace. As they gathered, a group of girls marched onto the Crystal Palace and demanded to be able to participate. Seeing the passion and commitment of these girls, Baden-Powell turned to his sister Agnes Baden-Powell to begin the Girl Guide/Girl Scout Movement. Soon after, groups started in the United
Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, and South Africa.
A few years later, in 1912, Juliette Gordon Low met Baden-Powell and discovered her life’s purpose in Girl Scouting. She founded three troops of Girl Guides in London and Scotland before returning to the United States to found Girl Scouts of the USA, and start the first Girl Scout troop in Savannah, Georgia, on March 12, 1912.
From that first meeting of 18 girls, Girl Scouts pushed boundaries—welcoming girls across class, cultural, and ethnic lines to ensure all girls, including those with disabilities, had a place to grow and develop their leadership skills. They played basketball. They hiked, swam, and camped. They learned to read the world around them for instance, earning badges by studying a foreign language or learning to tell time by the stars.
Girl Scouting continued to expand its reach to more and more girls, with the first Girl Scout troops launching outside the United States in China, Syria, and Mexico. Lone Troops on Foreign Soil (now called USA Girl Scouts Overseas) registered its first Girl Scout troop in Shanghai, China, with 18 girls in 1925.6 Today, Girl Scouts of the USA includes 2 million Girl Scouts in 92 countries around the world.
Juliette Gordon Low said it best when she declared, “Girl Scouting and Girl Guiding can be the magic thread which
links the youth of the world together.” For over 100 years, the Girl Scout and Girl Guide Movement has brought girls
together in a global sisterhood to make the world a better place.
There are many ways for girls to engage with this global sisterhood throughout their Girl Scout experience. Whether it
is exploring global issues through a Girl Scout Journey, earning their Global Action award, or traveling with a Girl Scout
Destination, girls can engage with global issues at every program grade level.
This toolkit—for learning about or taking part in nine global action days—is a resource for councils and volunteers to help girls connect to our global Movement and to the issues that affect girls around the world.
Stay tuned for more blog posts about the Global Action Toolkit! Information such as how to use the toolkit and how to celebration each Global Action Day is coming next.
Girl Scouts can earn the 2018 GSUSA World Thinking Day patch this year through World Thinking Day activities. GSUSA offers two tracks for the patch program – one for Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors and one for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors. This is an official GSUSA patch that can be worn on the front of a Girl Scout uniform. As troops and service units plan their activities for World Thinking Day, consider trying one or more activities to help girls earn the World Thinking Day patch.
World Thinking Day is celebrated on February 22 each year by Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in 150 countries. It’s a way to celebrate the global sisterhood of Girl Scouts as girls across the world work on the same activities.
This year’s theme is “Impact.” Girl Scouts will think about what it means to make a personal impact, bringing changes to an individual’s development as well as a wider impact, bringing changes to a wider group of people. If your troop would like to expand its knowledge about the international sisterhood of Girl Scouts, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has an activity guide based on the 2018 theme “Impact,” which can be found at www.worldthinkingday.org.
You can get the World Thinking Day patch through the GSCO shop. You can purchase it in our store or call 1-855-472-7026. To learn more about GSUSA’s World Thinking Day patch program, go to https://goo.gl/zpHc7y.
Submitted by Rae Ann Dougherty, GSCO Board Chairperson
Girl Scouts are found in all corners of the globe. It is special to be a part of a Movement since it supports every girl and any girl.
What is the largest number of Girl Scouts you have had the privilege of being with at one time? Your troop? Your Service Unit? A Camp? Imagine being with 10,000 “sister” Girl Scouts at the National Convention! It is powerful and inspirational. As a member of Girl Scouts of the USA we are amongst 3 million American Girl Scouts. Furthermore we are amongst 10 million, and counting, Girl Guide and Girl Scout “sisters” from 150 countries around the world. As we work together #ForHerWorld, we witness budding leaders being developed as they make the world a better place. It is phenomenal and potent!
These were the aspirations and dreams of one of our sister Girl Scout Leaders from Grand Lake in Grand County, Colorado, Eloise Montoya Golden, before she suddenly passed away in May 2015. Eloise become a devoted emissary of the importance of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), as well as the value of that instant international fellowship that comes with being a Girl Scout. While I worked closely with her, she often expressed a yearning to become a Member of the Olave Baden-Powell Society (OB-PS), but never had a chance to formalize her plans. One of her dreams was finally fulfilled when she was posthumously presented the international Girl Scouting recognition of an OB-PS Membership in Memoriam by Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte of Denmark, Patron of OB-PS, at an international Girl Scouting meeting in London, England.
Eloise began Girl Scouting early in life as a member of USA Girl Scouts Overseas. Later she became a mother and was thrilled to watch her daughter, Tanya, and friends develop and mature through the Girl Scout program just as she did herself. (Tanya is a Gold Award Girl Scout.) Eloise had a lust for life and loved reaching out, encouraging people everywhere to feel the same way. In addition to her magical singing voice, she will be remembered for her happiness, inclusiveness, and loving spirit. Once the Global Girl Scouting bug bit she made a lasting impression on thousands of girls and young women from over 50 countries, staying in contact with many of them until her passing. I estimate that she personally touched or connected with over 15,000 of our Girl Scout and Girl Guide sisters from all five WAGGGS regions during her 50 years as a member of our Movement.
Internationally Eloise served on the Friends of Our Cabaña Committee, volunteered at the Young Women’s World Forum (YWWF) 2011; she was Girl Scouts of Central California South (GSCCS) Chaperone to the Girls’ World Forum (GWF) 2012; she chaired the GSCCS World Thinking Day events, and served as USA representative to the inaugural Arts exChange program at Sangam in 2014. The capstone was when she was able to co-host Gillian Clay, the granddaughter of Lord and Lady Olave Baden-Powell (First World Chief Guide of WAGGGS) at the 2014 Girl Scout National Convention. Eloise felt the work to advance the Movement is an honor and joy as it is so rewarding. All proved to be special times for her!
As one of the most fervent ambassadors for Girl Scouts, Eloise would passionately and spontaneously speak about how important Girl Scouting is and how much it has changed and improved the lives of so many young women. Along the way she witnessed the magic and significance of Global Girl Scouting. The importance and value of an international sisterhood caught her like an uncontrolled wildfire. She wanted everyone to understand the importance of it all.
Are you interested in discovering our international sisterhood through Girl Scout travel? Opportunities abound whether it is to travel to one of the five World Centers maintained by WAGGGS or attend an international event hosted by one of the member countries. Furthermore if you are a young Colorado women traveling independently in the Girl Scout world, the Look Wider International Travel Scholarship is available to assist your exploration.
Eloise Golden’s OB-PS Membership in Memorial recognition ensures her aspiration that WAGGGS the long term sustainability of Girl Scouts umbrella entity continues. Eloise would wish that the understanding of different cultures, leadership development of girls and women (of all ages), peace through the international sisterhood of Girl Guides / Girl Scouts would continue while advancing girls and women of all ages to achieve their dreams, #ForHerWorld.
The Olave Baden-Powell Society (OB-PS) supports and promotes the development of girls and young women through the global Girl Guide and Girl Scout Movement. The OB-PS is to the World Association of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides (WAGGGS) as the Juliette Gordon Low Society is to the Girl Scouts of Colorado. Becoming a member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society is an easy way to support the Girl Scouts of Colorado. While a planned gift of any amount enrolls you in the Juliette Gordon Low Legacy Society, undesignated bequest of $10,000 or more automatically becomes part of Girl Scouts of Colorado permanent endowment—a truly lasting legacy!http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/en/support-us/planned-giving.html
“Look Wider” International Travel Scholarships are made possible by the Rae Ann and Richard Dougherty Look Wider International Travel Fund Endowment at Rose Community Foundation. Thanks to this generous commitment, Girl Scouts of Colorado will award scholarships to girls every year.
Learn more about Girl Scout destinations and other international travel at forgirls.girlscouts.org/travel. Applications for destinations travel are due before Thanksgiving each fall. The application for the “Look Wider” International Travel Scholarship is available from November through February and is meant for individual girl travel. Read more about Global Girl Scouting and how to get involved at girlscoutsofcolorado.org/global-girl-scouting.
Submitted by Anna B., 2017 “Look Wider” International Travel Scholarship winner
Northern & Northeastern CO
Hi! I go by my camp name Simba. I have been a Girl Scout for 18 years since I joined as a Brownie. Being a Girl Scout has given me the chance to go to camp, cultivate outdoor skills, and travel abroad. I actually really discovered my love of traveling through Girl Scouting. Since that first amazing trip with my troop to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilmanjaro, I have been finding ways to see the world. Luckily, Girl Scouts as a part of WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) has access to the to their very own world centres. As a beneficiary of the “Look Wider” International Travel Scholarship, my most recent trip was to Sangam World Centre in Pune, India. For four months, I was the program/marketing and communications intern. I highly recommend traveling through Girl Scouts, with your troop, or as an individual to the world centres or elsewhere and here’s why:
It’s is totally possible to travel half way around the world (or farther)!
It is hard work to raise the money to go on even small trips abroad, but don’t forget about cookie sales! It took me four years to save up for my first trip. With the help of the “Look Wider” scholarship as well as receiving a travel stipend from WAGGGS for being an intern/volunteer, this trip to India was totally funded! The world centers have many scholarships available for their programs, so don’t forget to ask about them when doing your research.
The challenge is worth it.
Stepping outside your comfort zone is hard and for most people traveling to India, a culture that is so different to ours in America, it is outside their comfort zone. However, it is so rewarding when you learn to navigate that cultural experience and guide guests through it. I got to lead groups on tours of Laxmi Road, an older part of Pune. The first time I successfully guided a group through the markets and streets (without getting lost), did not lose anyone in the crowd of the line bazaar, and got on the right busses to get back to Sangam, I felt very gratified. It doesn’t sound too hard, but when you don’t speak the same language as those around you and can’t read the street signs, there is definitely an added challenge.
Meeting Girl Guides and Scouts from all over the world
I was so inspired to met Guides and Scouts that truly dedicate themselves to WAGGGS and making the world a better place. A friend that I met at Sangam from Sweden will be on the Swedish delegation for Roverway and the WAGGGS World Conference. I met a Guide from Albania, which is not yet part of WAGGGS, who was sent as an ambassador to learn more about WAGGGS as they work on applying for membership. Living with me at Sangam, there where people from the UK, Canada, Rwanda, Belguim, Australia, Sweden, Senegal, Chile, Costa Rica, Japan and South Africa. There is also an incredible team of local staff at Sangam that looked out for us, answered all our questions and made us incredible food!
The chance to build and work on professional and leadership skills
While at Sangam I was the program/marketing and communications intern. My background is in program for summer camp, but I knew nothing about marketing and communications. I can now make videos for promotion, use social media to update our fans about the goings on at Sangam, and use other creative platforms to tell people about upcoming events. I definitely saw participants gain leadership skills in the short times that they were at Sangam thorough working as a team on planning and delivering programs for Sangam’s community partners. There is always something to learn.
I was really impressed with the volunteers I met when I first arrived at Sangam. How easily they negotiated getting a rickshaw and delivered Sangam programs to participants! I found out later that they were both shy and nervous when they first started. I never would have guessed from how confident I saw them. I also saw many of our guests gain the confidence to venture out on their own after being helped with how to get the bus or a rickshaw!
The opportunity to join your global Girl Scouting family
Many people where surprised when I told them I would be in India for four months, but I knew that I was going to a new home. Having volunteered at Pax Lodge (London), another of the world centres, I already had a family all over the world, some of whom I have visited. Sangam was no different. Everyone was so generous and inviting. Many offered up their homes after having know me for only a few days. I can’t wait to continue to travel by visiting my guiding friends.
Earn your Sangam When We Shine challenge badge!
I have never met a Guide or Scout who doesn’t love a good badge. At Sangam, it was so fun to swap badges and see how unique and creative that badges from other places where. I used them to decorate my room at Sangam and remind me of the many groups of people I got to share memories with.
Working side by side with Girl Scouts and Guides from all over the world to make the world a better place for everyone
Sisterhood at Sangam is not just between Scouts and Guides, but strives to include all women and girls everywhere. Working with Sangam’s community partners we established a wider community of women. As a volunteer, I loved taking Sangam participants to work with the community partners, the enthusiasm with which they planned their activities and after a slight hesitation, jump right in to teaching them. A group of girls from Malaysia were a bit wary when they learned they would mostly be working with boys to do some painting and gardening at a school. By the end of the day everyone was laughing and taking silly selfies together!
The possibility to celebrate Girl Guiding and Scouting traditions
I happened to be at Sangam for World Thinking Day! The Baraht Scouts and Guides of India hosted us for a ceremony in the morning involving lots of songs and games. We planted a tree in honor of this year’s WTD theme, GROW! In the evening we connected with people all over the world through live streaming our ceremony on Facebook. It was so special to know that so many groups were celebrating WTD with us and thinking about us. We were thinking about them!
You may even get to go to a wedding!
A staff member at Sangam got married while I was there and the Sangam family was invited to go to the turmeric ceremony before the wedding. It was so much fun to celebrate and experience this unique tradition and cover each other in turmeric! If one of your friends are getting married, you should recommend them these rose gold wedding rings.
Trying new things
You won’t know if you like it until you try it! Whether your challenge is trying new foods, going for a hike or abseiling off a tower, these opportunities abound.
Learning new things about the world
Here are a couple of things I learned: In India, a queue looks more like a crowd. Europe doesn’t have Mexican food and therefore many Europeans haven’t had a quesadilla before. Canadians sometimes say things like sauce me a pen and, eat spicy beans and fuzzy peaches.
Visiting world heritage sites
In my experience, they are better in person! I had a chance to travel some outside of Pune. The Taj Mahal!
And friends that you will have for the rest of your life
I miss them! Luckily we have reunion planed for 2019!
Hopefully you now feel inspired to travel. I am happy to help out. I can come talk to your troop about planning a trip abroad or answer questions about traveling to a world centre.
“Look Wider” International Travel Scholarships are made possible by the Rae Ann and Richard Dougherty Look Wider International Travel Fund Endowment at Rose Community Foundation. Thanks to this generous commitment, Girl Scouts of Colorado will award scholarships to girls every year.
Learn more about Girl Scout destinations and other international travel at forgirls.girlscouts.org/travel. Applications for destinations travel are due before Thanksgiving each fall. The application for the “Look Wider” International Travel Scholarship is available from November through February and is meant for individual girl travel. Read more about Global Girl Scouting and how to get involved atgirlscoutsofcolorado.org/global-girl-scouting.
Girl Guide Leader Danni Mariner hosted a presentation on Thursday, May 19 at Mitchell Elementary. Danni is visiting from England. The Girls were entertained to learn of the variety of activities her troop partakes in including “Crate Stacking” and “Sledging.” The room was packed with Scouts from Mitchell and Kendrick Lakes Elementary schools including Daisies, Brownies and Juniors. The night wrapped up with an exchange of unique badges, some silly songs about penguins and a lot of hand jive! We learned how girls from different countries all like to have a lot of fun and laughs. Thanks for a great night, Danni!
As a woman, why is it so hard to believe you’re beautiful? In interviews conducted by Dove, women were asked what they think is their worst physical feature. Their responses were rapid and almost passive as they poked at their bellies, frowned at their backsides, and pulled at their hair. However, when questioned on what they thought was their best feature–the women took a lot longer to respond. Some blankly stared off while others, bewildered, eventually managed to come up with one or two features. This is our norm. I challenge you: go stand in front of your mirror and pick out more than five physical features that make you beautiful…
It’s hard, isn’t it?
It starts when we’re young—whether it’s from body shaming by peers and family or from your childhood Barbies or that beautiful celebrity in a movie you saw or even the dreaded changing rooms in school. All it takes is one remark, one side comment, to tear down a girl’s confidence and negatively affect her for years to come.
This is where Free Being Me comes in. It’s a program created by Dove and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) that encourages body positivity and aids in the development of self-confidence in a safe space for girls all across the world.
Girl Scouts of Colorado will have an opportunity to partake in the first class of the year Saturday, April 23rd from 9am-12pm during the Travel Training Event. During the session we will discuss tough topics pertaining to beauty standards set both in our society and around the world, work in groups and individually to complete activities, and girls will be given the resources to teach Free Being Me to younger girls in their community.
Not only is Free Being Me an opportunity for girls to reach their fullest potential through body positivity and inner strength, it can also become a money earning opportunity. We will coach the older girls to create their own curriculum and teach the class to the ones who look up to them, who relate to them the most, and can instruct the class in their own creative way.
Thanks to Dove and their partnership with WAGGGS (the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts), thirty young women from all over the world came together to experience the two day #BeTheChange summit before going to Women in the World. Women in the World is an event that has been held in various locations around the world and since 2012, it has been an annual event. It invites amazing and inspiring women from all walks of life to share their stories on this global platform.
This year was the first year the summit was held in London and a few people weren’t able to make it so at the last minute WAGGGS asked Pax Lodge, the Girl Guiding hostel in London, if they’d like to send a volunteer. I am the programme intern at Pax Lodge this season and I was lucky enough to be asked if I’d like to go. I was absolutely thrilled to be given this opportunity and I showed up to the hotel where all the other WAGGGS representatives were staying without really knowing what to expect.
The first two days were spent getting to know the other girls, some of whom were from Argentina, Brazil, the Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, and Japan. We became friends fast, since we were already linked by our backgrounds in Scouting and Guiding. Talking to those girls felt like meeting up with close friends I had always known but hadn’t seen in a long time. I had to keep reminding myself that we had only met a short time ago. Through the amazing speakers that met with our group those first two days, we discovered we all shared the same passion for women’s equality and empowerment. We got an introduction to Women in the World from the founder Tina Brown and we were given a taste of inspiring talks from women like Anita Tiessen, the CEO of WAGGGS, and Farrah Storr, the editor of Cosmopolitan. We also had the chance to share our own opinions on body image and women’s equality. Meaghan Ramsay from Dove shared some of the goals for the Dove Self-Esteem Project and the Free Being Me and #NoLikesNeeded campaigns. I remember realizing as we talked about #NoLikesNeeded, that even I put more value on my own photos and posts if they get more ‘likes’ on social media. It was an eye opening moment. I consider myself a confident person who doesn’t need the validation of others to feel good about myself, but even I check to see how many ‘likes’ my photos have garnered. What can this be doing for the self-esteem of women and girls across the globe? I know some girls who take hundreds of selfies before choosing the one to post. I would like the world to be a more open and accepting place for all women and then perhaps we wouldn’t all feel tethered to the traditional expectations of beauty.
On Thursday night, we arrived at Cadogan Hall brimming with excitement and dressed in our best to walk down the red carpet and into the hall. With all of the cameras and flashes and with our special identifying Dove lanyards, we felt every bit as important as the speakers. That first evening we listened to, among others, Queen Rania of Jordan talking about the refugees streaming into Jordan, Ursula Van Der Leyen, the Minister of Defense in Germany and the modern super woman, and finally Meryl Streep, Sarah Gavron and Alison Owen, the star, director and producer, respectively, of the new film Suffragette. We heard so many more inspiring stories than I could possibly relate here second hand. Meryl reminded us not to “give up the fight,” and that the fight for women’s rights is “not over.”
Friday morning kicked off with an incredible performance by slam poet Marquesha Babers, who left us with the inspiring thoughts “You will be great, girl” and “You are a miracle, girl.” Next we heard from some amazing women, including Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gboweeand British Home Secretary Theresa May. Next we heard from actress and risk-taker Nicole Kidman, the Dove Panel, which spoke about the effects of negative body image, singer/songwriter Nina Nesbitt, supermodel Chantelle Winnie, Ebola survivors and siblings Abibatu and Lanphia, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, North Korean defector Yeonmi Park, actress and model Cara Delevingne, and the incredible parents of Malala Yousafzai (Malala couldn’t join us because, being a better student than I have ever been, she never skips school).
Thanks to Dove, not only did I get to experience this incredible event, but the other girls and I were each paired with a mentor for a mentoring lunch. I was paired with Anna Johnson the CEO of Hearst Magazines, and she is another modern super woman. Because I love to write and one day hope to be an author, she encouraged me to keep writing and not to keep my words to myself but to share them with the world. Meeting her was so inspiring for me especially since I have grown up hearing people tell me I will never make a living writing. If Anna Johnson can prove them wrong, so can I. The lunch was a one-of-a-kind experience and the only thing I would have changed is I would have liked to talk to her for longer.
And at the end we stood there in the entrance to Cadogan Hall, a circle of Guides from around the world. We sang Make New Friends in true Guiding fashion and we refused to believe we might not see each other again. These incredible women are already changing the world for the better and I know they will keep doing so, using the leadership and communication skills they have gained through Guiding. I hope to see them all again in the future we are creating.
Please join us on Wednesday, April 17 from 5:30-6:30pm to learn more about the Global Girl Scouting initiative and how you can get involved. This webinar/conference call is for Girl Scout adults/volunteers and Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador girls.
Over a decade ago 193 United Nation States and 23 international organizations came together to form eight goals that seek to improve the conditions of the world’s poorest countries by 2015. These goals launched by the United Nations include:
Ending hunger and poverty
Providing universal education
Helping children survive
Keeping mothers healthy
Saving the planet
Promoting peace through partnership
Noticing how important these goals are to us all, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and Girl Scouts of the USA came together to create the Global Action Award that seeks to engage our Girl Scouts, Daisies to Ambassadors, to help the United Nations reach their goals by 2015.
Girl Scouts of Colorado wants to make sure we do our part too and has partnered with a local partner, Bead for Life, to help girls understand what life is like for many women and girls worldwide, with a focus on Uganda. Working together, Girl Scouts of Colorado and Bead for Life have combined the two stellar curriculums, Global Action Award and Eradicating Poverty One Bead at a Time, to bring a program unique to Colorado.
This program corresponds with the It’s Your World-Change It Journey.
BeadforLife is a Colorado non-profit that works to eradicate extreme poverty by creating bridges of understanding between impoverished Africans and concerned world citizens. BeadforLife helps its members by teaching them how to make jewelry to support their families while learning the skills to become business owners and entrepreneurs as well as reaching out to teach youth about global poverty and how they can make a difference in the world.