The event started off with high school-level Girl Scouts teaching younger girls fun camp songs.
Ambassador Scouts Paula Brant, Miranda Mellan, Adeline Kofoed, Kelsey Lubecki, along with Senior scouts Ashley Whipkey and Gabrielle Gasiorek taught the girls the song “Bazooka Bubblegum.”
Girl Scouts from all over Western New York gathered together for the International World Thinking Day event on Sat., Feb. 27, 2016. The theme of the event was “Connect,” which focuses on understanding yourself, relationships with friends and family, and your part in the world and how to make it a better place. Girl Scouts and Girl Guides worldwide spent the day learning about other cultures and working together.
The Girl Scouts of Western New York spent the afternoon at Herbert Hoover Elementary School in Buffalo. There were 150 Girl Scouts from 29 troops.
Bree Kramer, the lead volunteer at the event, said, “I wanted girls to have an opportunity to connect with other Scouts globally and learn about Scouting in other countries. I was also hoping they could learn about the opportunities available to them as older Scouts. I was fortunate enough to go on a Destination (then called Wider Opportunity) to Puerto Rico when I was 14 for an Ecology Education program in the rainforest and a Troop final trip around Europe. Those memories have stayed with me and helped shape the person I am today. I want other Scouts to know that there is so much more available to them outside their neighborhood and council.”
The Girl Scouts learned about Girl Guides, the International version of Girl Scouts, and their famous lodges which act as headquarters: The Pax Lodge in the United Kingdom, Our Cabaña in Mexico, Our Chalet in Switzerland, and Sangam in India.
The girls decorated a craft featuring each lodge’s mascot animal using bird seed and crayons.
Another activity featured technology as a way to connect with the world. The Girl Scouts played GeoGuessr, a computer game where you are shown a random view from somewhere in the world and then you click a map to guess where you are. The closer you are, the more points you get. You can use clues from the scene such as the color of dirt, types of trees, style of vehicles, writing on road signs, and more as context clues about the location.
“I really hope the girls learned that even though people in other parts of the world are different, they are also similar to us. The GeoGuessr game they played helped the girls realize that there are many places in the world that look similar to the United States, despite being thousands of miles away,” said Kramer.
Because STEM is important to the Girl Scouts, technology provided a fun way to get a view of random locations around the world.
The girls also participated in a series of games about working together. The Girl Scouts played a game where you had to keep a ball moving around the circle in a series of half tubes. They also passed a beach ball to each other without using their hands. The girls also played the traditional game of Telephone where the first girl says a phrase to the next and by the time it gets to the last girl you see if the message has become jumbled.
Daisy Girl Scouts work together to help a ball travel down the line. The cooperative game taught them that tasks aren’t as hard when they solve problems as a group.
The last station the Girl Scouts visited was to learn meditation. Ken Stucynski, a professional martial arts instructor from 8 Tigers Academy of Tai Chi & Chi Kung, taught the Girl Scouts about finding their inner calm and learning how to diffuse stress through thoughtful breathing and carefully listening to the world around them. It helped the girls to connect with themselves, while also mentally reaching out to the world around them.
Daisy Girl Scouts talk about breathing calmly to help their bodies relax.
Stucynski commented, “As we get older, we lose more and more touch with what it means to be centered. If children get a glimpse of this and this became a part of learning experience with any regularity, this could create a new type of adult, someone who would be equipped with basic tools to survive and thrive much more than they could otherwise. They wouldn’t have to fix themselves later. It’s a way of dealing with stress instead of trying to Band-Aid it.”
At the end of the day the Girl Scouts earned their World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts USA World Thinking Day Badge, and they fulfilled requirements for their GSUSA Global Action Badge.
Kramer hoped the Girl Scouts enjoyed the event, adding, “I hope they learned that even if they stay locally, there are many new friends and new adventures waiting for them all over Western New York.”
To learn more about the Girl Scouts of Western New York, including opportunities to volunteer, please visit gswny.org.