Tag Archives: WAGGGS

Eloise Golden honored by international Girl Scouting organization and HRH Princess Benedikte

 

 

Submitted by Rae Ann Dougherty, GSCO Board Chairperson

Metro Denver

Golden

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.

Sky Hi News from Grand County shared news of Eloise’s recognition with the local community. http://www.skyhinews.com/news/eloise-golden-gets-posthumous-honor-at-worldwide-scouting-event/

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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

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“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.

This story was submitted using the Share Your Stories form. You can share your Girl Scout moments too.

Adventures of a globetrotting Girl Scout: Inspirations for traveling abroad  

Submitted by Anna B., 2017 “Look Wider” International Travel Scholarship  winner

Northern & Northeastern CO

Fort Collins

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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. Building confidence

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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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!

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

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“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.

 

 

 

 

 

What do Girl Guides do in England?

Submitted by Allysen Santilli

Pikes Peak

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!

This story was submitted using the Share Your Stories form. You can share your Girl Scout moments too.

Free Being Me builds strong, confident girls with April 23rd training

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Submitted by Demi Harvey

Denver

Denver Metro

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.

Registration & Details: http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/en/events-repository/2016/travel_training_even.html

Or email demi.harvey@gscolorado.org

We are the future women in the world

Submitted by Krista Beucler

Fort Collins

Northern and Northeastern Colorado

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.

This story was submitted using the Share Your Stories form. You can share your Girl Scout moments too.

Global Girl Scouting Webinar

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.

Click here to Join online meetinghttps://meet.lync.com/gsco/kristin.courington/GMNRTCDN

Join by Phone: Toll-free number: 866-232-8977, Toll number: 678-981-8055 or Find a local number

Phone Participant code: 1799340851

First online meeting? Click here for software download and connection info.

Global Action Award

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:

  1. Ending hunger and poverty
  2. Providing universal education
  3. Empowering girls
  4. Helping children survive
  5. Keeping mothers healthy
  6. Preventing diseases
  7. Saving the planet
  8. 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.

Sign up now for an event in your area now! girlscoutsofcolorado.org/activities

If you do not see one, contact myworld@gscolorado.org to learn how to bring this program to your area.

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.

Follow-up from the Colorado delegation: Our Girls’ World Forum experience!

Written by Colorado’s Girls’ World Forum delegation

Hello from the Colorado contingent to the Girls’ World Forum!

All of us feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in a global Girl Scouting event – the Girls’ World Forum being hosted jointly by Girl Scouts of the USA and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).

While Abby and Leina were busy learning about the UN Millennium Development Goals related to poverty and hunger, gender equity, and saving our planet – I (Heather) participated in the Chaperone track, where we were able to learn new skills and share ideas to be of better support to the girls on our return to our homes.

It is only in Girl Scouting that one can sit next to someone new (Madagascar, Liberia, Costa Rica, Maine, Portugal, Alaska!), strike up a conversation and only remember half-way into the conversation to introduce yourself! This became a common experience among all the participants. Beyond these moments of sisterhood, it was encouraging to experience all the girl participants, including our own Colorado delegation, process and work through the information they were given all week-long. To see how all the girls were taking in this knowledge and turning it around into something they can use back home was incredibly inspiring! This event was not just a reminder, but a public declaration that all it takes to make a difference in the world, is a girl.

And as a side note, my favorite (and the only real) complaint from our Colorado girls was not having enough time to process and complete their Take Action plans. Way to go Colorado!

Abby and Leina also have some thoughts to share after the close of the forum.

Leina: My experiences at the Girls World Forum are some of the best in my life, and this event is something I will remember for the rest of my life. Personally, my favorite thing about this forum was getting to meet so many fantastic girls from all over the world. I have made some great friends from places I had never even thought about visiting. Now, it seems like wherever I go, there will always be someone there for me to contact. Another great thing about this forum were all of the amazing speakers and everything I learned from them. Every single speaker there was very inspirational and they all taught me something new. I also learned a lot during all of the breakout sessions I was in. It was really interesting and educational to listen to the problems that were in other countries. Some of the things I heard were very surprising. Despite some frustrating times, I loved every minute of this forum.

Abby: Participating in the 2012 Girls World Forum in Chicago was a once- in-a-lifetime experience. All the people I met and all the things I learned are part of a great experience I will never forget. Some of my best memories are the parties we attended, the international night and the closing party. Girl Scouts know how to party to say the least! I made friends all week, and when it was time to leave I felt like I was losing a big group of sisters. However, I now know I have sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all over the world. Learning about the three Millennium Development Goals was not only informative, but inspiring. Hearing the speakers and going to the breakout sessions gave me great ideas and changed the way I think about these issues. Overall, the week was great and I will miss everyone I met and the experiences we shared.

We encourage everyone to find a way to be involved in our global sisterhood through WAGGGS! Your life will never be the same!

Young Women’s Forum highlights Girl Scouting at its finest

Photo of Rae Ann Dougherty & Eloise Golden with the Opening Ceremony candle

By Rae Ann Dougherty

In March 2011, I experienced first-hand the leadership development and growth of many young women as a facilitator at a special event held at one of our World Centers, Our Cabaña. The four World Centers (Sangam in India, Our Chalet in Switzerland, Pax Lodge in the United Kingdom and Our Cabaña in Mexico) are an important resource for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). WAGGGS mission is to enable girls and young women to develop their fullest potential as responsible citizens of the world.

The Young Women’s World Forum (YWWF) 2011, the second in a series of three centenary projects for WAGGGS, took place simultaneously at all of the World Centers. 157 young women from 81 countries from every corner of the world was represented. It was exciting to have delegates from all five regions at every World Center at the same time! Myself and another volunteer with roots in Colorado (Eloise Golden) were the only Americans at the event held at Our Cabaña. For me it was a powerful experience. For the delegates it was life changing and enhancing!

The event began with the Opening Ceremony; thanks to technology all four World Centers were connected concurrently and Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from all over the world were able to join in the ‘virtual’ celebrations for the first time.

The focus for of this event was WAGGGS’ Global Action Theme, “Girls worldwide say together we can changeour world.” In doing so delegates addressed the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The YWWF 2011 program focused on the three following MDGs:

  • MDG 1 – “End poverty and hunger”
  • MDG 3 – “Promote gender equality and empower women”
  • MDG 7 – “Environmental sustainability”

These topics were selected in consultation with the young women. The program included the opportunity to develop advocacy skills, the design of a process plan for change by each delegate when they returned home, and field visits with partners.

On the last day of YWWF 2011 each participant made a pledge to implement a project in their own country. Before an emotional closing ceremony, everyone shared their personal pledges. For example:

I pledge to… empower girls to make a change no matter how small – Kerri (Guyana)

I pledge to… train and inspire girls and women to take action on MDGs in their communities – Dominica (Jamaica)

I pledge to… Inform. Inspire. Innovate. – Mandy (Canada)

I pledge to… share my love, knowledge and skills to give hope to other girls and

young leaders, and together we can build a better world. – Nurnuha (Malaysia)

I pledge to… save the environment! – Hanna (Belarus)

As a result of the Forum, each delegate is aiming to realize the following:

  • Implement a community project linked to the MDGs
  • Advocate about the MDGs to their governments and the international community

Thanks everyone dedicated to the mission, these young women are reaching their full potential (and more than they ever expected possible) as they are now motivated to change not just their own lives but the lives of their peers and their communities. Girl Scouting at its finest!

Learn more, “Like”, and follow the events of all of the Young Women World Forum’s at www.Facebook.com/YWWFSite.