That’s right. Today is a day of global connection, action, and pride in all of the amazing things that Girl Scouts and Girl Guides do across the map. This year, it’s also a day to “Grow” as we encourage girls to explore, stretch, and take on new challenges while celebrating what it means to be part of this one-of-a-kind family.
So today, as Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from 146 countries are inspired to come together, share, and learn from one another, let’s hear how girls in parts of Saudi Arabia and Japan are celebrating World Thinking Day!
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
As part of the dual celebration, and in honor of this year’s World Thinking Day theme, Girl Scouts in Dhahran also painted a tree in the Girl Scout house (the dedicated Girl Scout space provided by Aramco), using each leaf to show how they plan to change the world (or their community). And they even got to enjoy an exhibition of Girl Scout heritage and historical artifacts with different storytelling stations and interactive activities to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Girl Scouting in Dhahran.
Basma Kleemeier, overseas committee chair for USA Girl Scouts Overseas in Dhahran said, “We really liked the ‘Grow’ theme this year, as the Girl Scout program here in Dhahran really grew from a small start with a primarily American membership to 250 girls and 60 leaders with nationalities from all over the world.” The Girl Scouts in Ras Tanura now come from a variety of countries, including Bangladesh, Bolivia, Canada, Croatia, France, Holland, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Syria, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Talk about global!
“We are all one, working to excel in the world as humans to show our best in compassion, leadership, sisterhood, and honesty, as we live by the Girl Scout Law,” Basma said. We just love that!
When girls in Dhahran are not busy celebrating holidays and anniversaries, they participate in adventurous campouts, including activities like archery and rappelling. They also hold annual fundraising events, visit museums to learn about Saudi culture, and interact with the community to complete award projects, many of which focus on improving the local community and the Dhahran region as a whole. This is what leaders are made of!
“Each year, Camp Zama tries to coordinate with our Japanese sister troops to share the World Thinking Day event,” said Naomi Conner, troop leader for CSA (Cadette, Senior and Ambassador) Troop 900 at Camp Zama. “It is so important for us to share each other's culture and spaces for many of the events that we do in Japan. There is a language barrier, but our girls work it out every time! It is amazing to watch as a leader.”
When the girls at Camp Zama are not celebrating World Thinking Day, they’re getting fish pedicures, riding bikes around the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, discovering Chinatown, and camping under the stars as they gaze at Mt. Fuji. They also sing carols at the local nursing home, help feed the homeless, clean up beaches and rivers, and gather materials for local orphanages. And their Japanese sister scouts often invite them to special events and ski trips or teach them how to make Japanese dishes. So many enriching experiences!
Here’s how that works: the girls will sit in their assigned sections to prepare for takeoff, with the older girls taking the lead as pilots, flight attendants, and emcees. The activity will then play out as in-flight entertainment (with snacks, layovers, and all!) in which the different troops will present their activity and engage their friends.
“I feel that the importance of World Thinking Day here is more than just researching other countries, but to continue to foster the wonderful relationship we have with local Girl Scouts,” said Kelli Kelley, training facilitator and troop leader for Troop 29 in Misawa. “Actually having two separate [World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts] countries represented and teaching each other is amazing. It takes great effort to translate all of your information and to ensure that everyone will understand you, but knowing that this is how much we care for each other is inspiring.”
For example, Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in Misawa are active both on and off base. They volunteer for their base animal shelter, care for the environment, make care packages for servicemembers and their families when they’re hospitalized, and make baby blankets for newborns. The girls even put together a special baby basket every year for the first baby girl born during Girl Scout week. They also fundraise for a local school for kids with disabilities, clean up beaches, and do so much more.
What an incredible group of leaders and go-getters!
You can learn more about our overseas communities at usagso.org.
So? How AWESOME is it to be able to get a glimpse of what Girl Scouts and Girl Guides do in other countries, and what better day to recognize them than today?!
Have your own fun plans to celebrate World Thinking Day? Don’t forget to inspire your fellow Girl Scouts today by sharing activities and photos on social media with the hashtag #WTD2017. Because although we may be miles and miles away in distance, we’re all right beside one another in heart and mission. We hope you have a terrific and inspiring World Thinking Day!