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 Scouts throughout the state of Colorado gathered for World Thinking Day events this last weekend. I attended an event held at Sky High Ranch near Woodland Park on Saturday, and also heard about a World Thinking Day celebration that took place in Parker on Friday via Twitter.
Roughly 150, which included Girl Scouts and their families, came to the World Thinking Day event at Sky High Ranch. The participants learned about the culture and lives of girls in the focus countries for World Thinking Day 2013, including the Republic of Ireland, Jordan, Malawi, Pakistan, Venezuela and the United States, through games and music. The participants also learned how to reduce child mortality, another focus of World Thinking Day 2013, by making oral rehydration solution and creating a water filter. The final activity of the event was learning how to improve maternal health by creating cards for new mothers at a local maternity ward and creating stress monsters to talk about the stresses our moms may face and how to protect ourselves.
Girl Scouts and Girl Guides throughout the world celebrate international friendship on Feb. 22nd’s World Thinking Day each year. Besides learning about the cultures of our Girl Scout and Girl Guide sisters around the world, Girl Scouts and Girl Guides also use the day to learn how they can take action to make a difference for women and girls around the world. Learn more about World Thinking Day on our website.
Girl Scouts of Colorado recognized Day of the Dead with a community event at Regis University on Thursday evening, Nov. 1st. More than 100 girls and their families participated in the event, which celebrated the life of Girl Scouts’ late founder, Juliette Gordon Low, who would have been 152 on Oct. 31st. Activities during the event included Day of the Dead rituals such as sugar skull decorating and an altar for Girl Scouts’ founder and loved ones participants wanted to honor. Participants also enjoyed some Girl Scout activities, such as dressing up in vintage uniforms and making dream catchers and dream boards. Special thanks goes to Regis University for being the co-sponsor of this event.
Girl Scouts of Colorado belongs to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, which boasts a membership of 10 million girls and adults in 145 counties. Girl Scouting strives to increase girls’ awareness about the world, promote cross-cultural learning opportunities, and educate girls on relevant global issues that inspire them to take action. Our goal is to promote a global voice for girls and foster responsible global citizens who make the world a better place.
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!
Written by Rae Ann Dougherty, Girl Facilitator at the Girls’ World Forum
One day back and I just cannot get it out of my mind (I was not very productive at work today)! It is kind of like a song or jingle that keeps playing back. The energy, enthusiasm, excitement, and exhilaration that only 600 Girl Scouts can bring was all over Chicago for one week and is now spreading across the globe as all of the delegates and their chaperones make their way home.
The Girls’ World Forum 2012 (GWF) was the third, and best, of World Forums series conducted as a part of the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). These world forums were designed to explode the leadership development of members and propel the progress in achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It did and it will. Several years ago, WAGGGS listened to the girls and has been focusing on the three of eight MDGs that they selected. As a result of the first Young Women’s World Forum (YWWF 2010) our Girl Scout and Girl Guide sisters began making a difference with their projects. Two of the 100 delegates were American. The second Young Women’s World Forum (YWWF 2011) engaged more of our sisters when nearly 200 participated at the four World Centers, including two more Americans. The American impact exploded when 250 Americans, including three from Girl Scouts of Colorado, arrived in Chicago to study the MDGs, build their skills, develop their leadership and define their own Take Action Projects.
Oman, Rwanda, Qatar, Thailand, Namibia, Senegal, Belarus, Maldives, Slovenia, Paraguay, Taiwan, and more! Although I have been working in the international Girl Scouting arena for years, I had never met a Girl Guide or Girl Scout sister from these countries. To be able to start with a common foundation (the Girl Scout Promise and Law) and discuss unifying topics (the MDGs), a strong bond formed immediately. I have so many wonderful new sisters in 90 countries as a result of this single week. It was cool! I was able to learn about their countries, Girl Scouting program, culture, and the small things I take for granted. For example, one Liberian Delegate could not stop admiring the tall buildings that made up the Chicago skyline. She could not believe one could construct buildings so tall.
I was extremely honored to serve as a “Girl Facilitator.” In this role I led the breakout sessions designed for education, sharing, and processing. In getting to know the powerful, passionate, vitality, and insightful young leaders that were simultaneously growing as much as they were learning about the issues was an amazing and treasured experience! I can hardly wait to watch their Take Action Projects progress.
The best part is that this magical event was a girl planned and girl led event. A powerful team of 18 that were the same age as the Delegates (age 14 – 18) came together 15 months ago to plan the entire event, even the sessions I taught as a Girl Facilitator! Yes they can and they did … in a BIG way!
You too can be a part of the energy and excitement at www.Facebook.com/YWWFsite. Even if you do not have a Facebook account, you can follow the conversations and energy.
Perhaps I will be more productive at work….tomorrow!
The Girls’ World Forum in Chicago is just days away! This is the last of the three Centenary World Forums addressing the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and specifically focusing on the three of eight MDGs that were selected by girls for World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS):
MDG 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
MDG 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
This event is a part of the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouting in the USA and promises to be very exciting as there are scheduled to be 500 participants from 90 countries and 82 councils! Girl Scouts of Colorado will be well represented with a delegation of two girls, Abby Schmid and Leina Hutchinson, Heather Crandall as the Young Woman Chaperone, Rae Ann Dougherty as a Facilitator and Renee Meade as Volunteer.
The Girls’ World Forum is girl planned. You can watch it unfold through Facebook. The www.Facebook.com/YWWFsite page was begun with the first World Forum in 2010 and will continue this year.
Please “like” the Facebook page and share it with all of your Girl Scout “sisters.” You will then be able follow the energy and excitement that will begin on July 12th.
The Colorado delegation also plans to report back on their experiences after the event, which will be shared on this blog and via Girl Scouts of Colorado’s social media channels and publications.