Why I’m Giving Back to Girl Scouts

Why I’m Giving Back to Girl Scouts

All of my friends were doing it. Admittedly, that isn’t a great reason for choosing something you would spend the next decade or so doing, but it is the reason I joined Girl Scouts as a kindergartner. That, and I really wanted to do all of the craft projects.

While the allure of plaster of paris and friendship bracelets was enough to get me involved, it was the different badges that kept me interested. Each badge opened up something completely new to me. Learning canoeing and archery at summer camps. Participating in World Thinking Day. Attending a ballet for the first time. Running a cookie booth at our town’s annual holiday parade. Restoration projects at the Dunes.

Being a Girl Scout allowed me to have so many different experiences, some that I may have never tried on my own. Each badge and project we pursued was our choice. Each of us had a voice and our opinions mattered. Our troop leaders guided us and facilitated the projects, all while making us feel like the ones leading.

On #GivingTuesday, my inbox was filled with appeals from worthy causes, but the Girl Scouts email stuck out to me. I hadn’t thought about my time as a Girl Scout for a while (beyond my annual cookie order). Reading the email, I was reminded of what I loved about Girl Scouts: friendship, opportunity, empowerment. Girl Scouts has helped so many girls become leaders in our world today, including myself. Though my donation was not large, I know it is still meaningful. Even a small donation can have a huge impact on a girl’s life.

And that is why I’m giving back to Girl Scouts. So other girls can explore the world. So they can discover something new about themselves. So they can feel free to be curious. So they can become the leaders they are meant to be. And because of how much Girl Scouts gave me.

Hayley Trezzo is a Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana alumnae and Gold Award recipient.

To join or become a volunteer, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

How Girl Scouts Impacted My World View

How Girl Scouts Impacted My World View

With a plethora of construction paper, scissors, glue and fun facts spread before me and my Girl Scout troop, we began the riveting task of creating the world’s best table display for World Thinking Day.

As a wide-eyed Girl Scout Junior, Thinking Day granted me the opportunity to taste new food, meet new people and explore a world of possibilities. It was there, at that glue-covered table, that I discovered my passion for other cultures and travel.

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Growing up, my troop and I would sing camp songs in Cherokee, make music with Lummi sticks, eat Irish soda bread and dream of traveling to the Girl Scout World Centers. We were courageous in spirit, compassionate by action and eager to meet everyone. Little did I know just how much the lessons I learned with my troop would impact the course of my life.

As I got older, I realized that not everyone was as compassionate toward other people and cultures as my troop and I were. So, in my final year as a Girl Scout Ambassador, I combined my passion for culture and the WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) Millennium Goal of achieving world peace to create the framework for my Gold Award Project.

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Through my project, I educated local students and my Sister Girl Scouts about the lives of people in other countries, especially children in war zones. As part of my project, I conducted a toy and school supply drive with the packaged donations being shipped overseas to military personnel so that they could give the donations to children in the surrounding area in order to promote goodwill between the community and our soldiers.

Additionally, I created a permanent “mailbox to the troops” so that much deserved, handwritten letters of appreciation can always reach our soldiers. By educating the community and encouraging participants to donate a toy or a book, I desired to spread the concept of being compassionate to the next generation and convey to the community that they have the power to make a difference in the world by spreading joy and world peace one toy at a time.

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With such a passion for culture and exploration burning inside, it seems only logical that I would travel abroad and at age 19, I embraced my first opportunity to do so. Through my university, I was able to spend two months studying at the Center For International Learning in Muscat, Oman. During my summer abroad in the Sultanate of Oman, I was able to see the world’s second largest chandelier, walked the worn streets of a nearly 500-year-old city and spend one crazy day exploring London, England.

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From making Diwali candles as a Girl Scout Junior to studying abroad in Oman, the passion for culture and exploration that I discovered and fostered through Girl Scouts continues to shape my life and take me on spectacular journeysNow, as a permanent Girl Scout at heart and world traveler, I hope to educate and inspire others to embrace life with open arms and a compassionate heart.

Megan Ramirez is a recent Gold Award honoree and rising sophomore at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky.

Girl Scouts Celebrate World Thinking Day

Girl Scouts Celebrate World Thinking Day

Being a sister to every Girl Scout is not only part of the Girl Scout Law, but it’s a way of life.

Girl Scouts and Girl Guides across the globe celebrated World Thinking Day on February 22! Since 1926, Girl Scouts have gathered to support girls as they travel internationally, connect with sister scouts and take action globally.

This year, the theme for World Thinking Day was “Connect.” Girls everywhere made the world a better place by connecting with themselves, their friends and family, and their community.

Take a look at all the different ways you can #connect all year round:

Invite a friend: Bring a friend to your next Girl Scout troop meeting or fun family outing. This is a great way to get to know someone outside of school and introduce them to something that’s important to you.

Donate to a good cause: Support international travel for Sister Girl Scouts by donating to the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund. These once-in-a-lifetime experiences help girls explore the world, learn about different cultures and build their confidence.

Give back to your community: Whether it’s volunteering at the local animal shelter or collecting canned goods for your neighborhood food pantry, there are a ton of ways to make a difference right where you live. Want to take your service beyond World Thinking Day? Join our council as we commemorate the impactful work of all who have earned Girl Scouting’s highest awards with our service initiative, #100DaysofGold!

Learn more about the world around you: Join your Sister Girl Scouts for a fun-filled afternoon at the Friendship Center in Country Club Hills, IL. This celebration of sisterhood includes hands-on activities about WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) international customs, cultures, friendships and Girl Guiding. Sessions include Chinese ink printing, a martial arts workshop, Bollywood dance workshop and more! Register here.

Need more ideas? Click here and be sure to tell us how you’re connecting on World Thinking Day by using the hashtag #WTD2016.