Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Girl's World Forum: Day 4, the full rundown

I'll be 29 this September.  In the grand scheme of things, that doesn't even begin to touch old (The Queen of England and my own Grandmother are well into their 80s and still going strong!).  I've been to college, I've done my time as a Girl Scout too.  So, what more is there for me to learn?  A lot actually!

On day four, the adults spent most of the day in sessions that were created to assist us in assisting our girls.  We were given a number of options to choose from.  With our focus MDGs being 1, 3 and 7, there were classes about them.  I opted not to take them as I had already done extensive research on the subjects.  I felt that for me, taking the skills based sessions would be more beneficial.

My first session was all about leadership development.  What is leadership development?  It's exactly that.  It's understanding what leadership styles best suit the group/situation, how to use your skill set as a leader, how to effectively problem solve, how to accomplish your goals, how to be an effective communicator and listener and how we can bring/share these skills to our girls.

At the end of our session, each table was asked to draw how they saw a good leader.  We came up with 19 qualities, and heard a lot of other great ones from the other groups too.

My next session was about how to mentor our girls for a healthy self esteem.  This was a great class for me (and not just because my friend Heather was one of the facilitators, though it was a major bonus).  I look in the mirror daily and can point out many flaws, but the thing is, they don't bother me.  I know I'm quirky and occasionally loud mouthed, have frizzy hair, a crooked nose and love off beat things, but, that's part of what makes me, me.  It's easy for me to forget that not everyone is as accepting of themselves as I am of myself.  We talked about some of the common causes of low self esteem and did some very useful exercises on to help combat this.

The third session of the day was about fund development (and the awesome Janelle was one of the facilitators, so major bonus there too), and it put me out of my comfort zone, but in a good way.  When we filled out our applications for GWF, we were asked what languages we spoke.  I did not put French on my form because, lets face it, I barely passed French when I was forced to take it in school and my French is just down right atrocious.  I sat down at a table in the front of the class and was engaged in deep conversation with Janelle before the session started.  When she got up, I looked around and noticed that I was sitting at the same table with all the ladies from Africa who spoke French.  Not wanting to offend them, I stayed put.  Of course, like the two sessions before, we had an activity to work on.  Thankfully, we had several wonderful and very patient translators on hand, and I had Google Translate on my phone!  Even better was the fact that the seven ladies at the table were so unbelievably kind to me, and it in turn was a great learning experience for us all.  In our activity, we were asked to list things that we would potentially ask for in a grant/fund proposal letter.  I think that because we were from such different cultures, it got all of us thinking a little outside the box.  I definitely benefited from doing this exercise with these ladies, and am so thankful that they embraced me and my terrible French!  Oh, and the session was very helpful too as I needed a refresher on the subject matter.

My last session of the day was about community partnerships.  This was another great session because we got to hear from people all around the class, and we started out the session with a little game!  The game was welcomed because all of us adults were dragging a little by then (we were so tired!).  I got sit next to and talk to a lady from Osaka!  We had the chance to "interview" each other about a past experience we had with working with a local organization.  Hey, guess what?  People in other countries have a lot of the same experiences that we do in this country!  Seriously!  Talking to this woman, we realized this.  Though we related our "interview" back to two different experiences, we realized that we had many of the same outcomes.

Our night was finished off by something VERY fun.... a scavenger hunt!  We had the perfect group for this too!  We did not get into any trouble, but we did cause a little bit of a raucous, but the good kind of course!

Our scavenger hunt brought us to several interesting spots in Chicago (not that far from our hotel).  The fascinating part about the hunt was what we were given at each spot- a card that was related to what we were doing, and had photos on it that were taken by a scout (and the photos rocked!).

So, what's the difference between a Boy Scout and Girl Scout?  After we ask for directions, we ask for a photo!

The officers did not mind taking a photo with us lovely ladies!  I think they felt good knowing that we appreciated the help they provided us, and we went out of our way to thank them.

Our thanks did not stop with the police officers.  We walked right past a fire station and decided to show our appreciation there as well!  The men at the fire department thought we were a novelty, and let the awesome Lisa try on their stuff!

This all happened just after our first stop, so you imagine the fun that our group had during our scavenger hunt!

We had to stop and show we cared for those who were sick too, and also the kids.

Funny story behind this photo.... being the adult on duty, I knew I had to take photos.  I might have gone a little overboard, but it was worth it.  My girls were teasing me and asked if I would make them take a photo with the hot dog vendor.  It was just their luck that the Good Humor man was just around the corner, so I made them pose just to remind them that all these photos were for a good reason!

Oh, and we got a personal escort across a busy street from another amazing Chicago Police officer.  Seriously, I'm beginning to think that they were loving having us scouts and guides in town!  Even when we accosted another group of officers for directions, they were very friendly and helped us out.

I would just like to point out that we did NOT actually lick the bean, it just looks like we were being silly and licking it.  You gotta have fun sometimes!

Art providing more art, kind of nifty if you ask me!

See that funky looking sculpture in the background?  That was something that Picasso made, and something that gave us another little fun opportunity.... a slide!

Ok, confession time.... we didn't actually finish the scavenger hunt.  We were having too much fun!  We only missed the last two spots, but it was more important that we head back and into bed.  It was worth it though.

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