Thursday, October 12, 2017

G.I.R.L. 2017—A Global Gathering for Every Girl

From dive tanks to infinity rooms to inspirational speakers (and more!), G.I.R.L. 2017 truly was an epic event—and the LARGEST girl-led event in the world! Hosted by Girl Scouts, this mega event took place in Columbus, Ohio, October 6–8 and provided every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ with unforgettable experiences as they got inspired, gained tools to empower themselves, and mastered the know-how to lead change in their communities, all while connecting with some of the most influential women in the world along the way.

And the best part? G.I.R.L. 2017 was 100 percent girl-led! That’s right! Twenty-one girls from across the Girl Scout Movement, nicknamed the G-Team, made up the core of G.I.R.L. 2017’s planning efforts to ensure this national Girl Scout convention was the best one yet!

And before G.I.R.L. 2017 kicked off, hundreds of Girl Scout delegates—both girls and adults—traveled from across the United States to represent their councils and the Girl Scout Movement at the 54th National Council Session. At this meeting, delegates are responsible for influencing the strategic direction of the Movement by providing guidance to the Girl Scouts of the USA Board of Directors, whether that be in the form of electing new board members, amending the Constitution, or proposing positive change.

Girl delegates using their voice at the 54th National Council Session.

Flag Ceremony at the opening of the 54th National Council Session.

Accomplished public figures such as Chelsea Clinton, Gabby Douglas, Barbara Pierce Bush, Mae Jemison, and more joined G.I.R.L. 2017 throughout the weekend, leading panels and intimate breakout sessions on the pressing issues facing girls today. Plus, the event featured performances by talented young artists, such as Angelica Hale and Caly Bevier from America’s Got Talent.

Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas with the Girl Scout G-Team.

Girls rocking out to Angelica Hale.

The 2017 National Young Women of Distinction—the top Gold Award Girl Scouts of the year—were recognized at G.I.R.L. 2017 for their remarkable leadership and excellence at creating positive change in their communities and beyond. All ten Gold Award Girl Scouts joined Chelsea Clinton on Saturday, October 7, to discuss ways girls can take action in their own communities and change the world.

The 2017 National Young Women of Distinction - the top Gold Award Girl Scouts of the year.

Chelsea Clinton with the 2017 National Young Women of Distinction.

And speaking of taking action, on the first day of the event, GSUSA launched the G.I.R.L. Agenda Powered by Girl Scouts, a nonpartisan initiative to inspire, prepare, and mobilize girls and those who care about them to lead positive change through civic action. The multiyear effort celebrates the Girl Scout legacy of civic engagement, and for the first time ever, GSUSA is sharing free, expert-curated civic engagement resources beyond its 2.6 million members.

At the G.I.R.L. Agenda booth in the AT&T Hall of Experiences, girls could take action right away by being a good neighbor and sending letters to friends and family in celebration of the NEW Daisy Good Neighbor badge. Girls also had the option to join their Girl Scout sisters by petitioning to change the name of the Savannah River Bridge to the Juliette Gordon Low Bridge in Savannah, Georgia (the birthplace of the Girl Scout Movement!).

Girl Scouts take action at the G.I.R.L. Agenda booth in the G.I.R.L. 2017 Hall of Experiences.

The Hall of Experiences was one of the biggest (literally!) attractions at G.I.R.L. 2017, offering more than 100 unique hands-on activities focused on Girl Scouts’ national program pillars of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); entrepreneurship; life skills; and the outdoors. Here girls also had an opportunity to make an impact both locally and globally by taking part in the “Rise Against Hunger” Take Action project. For the project, girls packed a whopping 20,768 meals for people in need—in Columbus and beyond.

Girl Scouts in the AT&T Infinity Room in the Hall of Experiences. Through interactive touch points, girls experienced the endless ways future STEM leaders can impact our world.  
Girls taking a dive in the Go Dive Now pool. Girls were able to try their hands at scuba diving in the Hall of Experiences.

Girl Scout Brownie taking the lead in a STEM workshop in the Hall of Experiences.

Girls learning new skills in leathercraft - a skill many Girl Scouts learn at camp! 

Girls see what it's like to be a Space Camp trainee through simulated space shuttle missions.

Closing celebration of G.I.R.L. 2017

Where else can thousands of go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders gather to spark change and make the world a better place? Girl Scouts, of course!

G.I.R.L. 2017 sponsors include Platinum Sponsor AT&T; Gold Sponsors Big Lots Foundation and Toyota Financial Services; Silver Sponsors Nationwide’s Make Safe Happen program and American Electric Power; Bronze Sponsors American Petroleum Institute, JOANN Stores, Little Brownie Bakers (a division of the Kellogg Company), and Thirty-One Gifts; and Pearl Sponsors ABC Bakers, The Columbus Foundation, General Mills, Hogan Lovells US LLP, JPMorgan Chase & Co., KPMG LLP, Palmer & Cay, PayPal, Inc., Preemadonna, Macy’s, Mercer, Visit Orlando, and WBNS TV. Girl Scouts of the USA thanks all of our sponsors for their generous support and for championing the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.