Monday, July 30, 2012

Girl's World Forum... the wrap up

Back at the Atlanta airport, and now back home.... I promised Madison and Sa'Haara that I would try not to cry, but I made no guarantees (they saw how sappy I got at the closing ceremony!).  I did good and didn't cry again until later, so at least I was able to spare them that embarrassment.

We were in Chicago for barely a week, but so much had happened in that short time.  308 girl scouts and guides, 219 young adults, facilitators, and staff, 78 council volunteers, 79 countries and 89 councils were there being represented.  In other words, over 600 of us came from all around the world to make a change, and we did it!

By the end of the forum, I heard so many people make the same comment.  They said that it was amazing how we all felt so close in such a short time.  I find that statement to be completely true!  I came in knowing two people and came out knowing hundreds, all of whom are amazing ladies.  Even my room mate, Emer, has already become a great friend whom I miss dearly!

During our first evening in Chicago, we very briefly met Anna Maria Chavez.  I was content to hang back and take pictures of the girls, but Anna Maria very graciously pulled me aside for a quick moment and said thanks for everything you're doing.  Puzzled, I simply said thank you, shook her hand and walked away.  Once I was back home and sifting through all my patches and SWAPS to show my daughter, I found that she had slipped me one of her own patches.

Knowing that she remembered Sa'Haara, I really shouldn't be surprised, but I am!  We've had a few amazing CEOs over the years, but I must admit, Anna Maria is my favorite to date.  Oh, and remember how I told you she got down and boogied with the girls during the opening ceremony?  According to the WAGGGS GWF blog Madison was one of them!!!

I know, I know, now I'm just bragging, but I gotta!  These girls kicked some butt!

Remember how the ladies from Africa came together?

If that's not enough to inspire you, then maybe this will.....

The amazing Helen, the adult delegate from UK, shared a poem with us.  Oh, but her words were not the end of the inspiration that was all around us the entire time.

Remembering our closing ceremony and what Dr. Terarai Trent said to us, there were a few things that stuck in my head.

At the end of her speech, she said something that nearly shocked me.  She said this was the first time she had ever been around this many empowered young women at once.  I simply assumed that being a woman of her caliber, she had been around groups like us before.  Still, it was comforting to hear from an outsider that they thought we were doing good things.


So, here we are, back at home.  I know some of you are dying to know what the girls take action projects are.  I have to warn you all, you are about to read about some serious awesomeness!

Sa'Haara was inspired by MDG 3 (promote gender equality and empowering women).  She has decided to start her project out by creating a workshop at her school about teen pregnancy prevention and self-esteem, with the possibilities of expanding to a local shelter or church.

Madison was not only inspired by MDG 7 (environmental sustainability), but she was also inspired by our take action day.  She has chosen to help establish a similar urban garden within her community.

As for me, I accidentally came home with a take action project too.  The baby steps would be to advocate for the Global Action Award within my council.  The marathon would be to create a series pathway that not only allows girls to earn the Global Action Award, but also earns them the WAGGGS Global Action Theme badge and empowers them to do similar take action projects (which could have potential for being a Bronze, Silver or even Gold Award).


Now, for the million dollar question- did we really make a difference?  YEAH WE DID!  I know, it might be too early to tell how much of a difference we made, but I think the proof is evident from our take action day. Even looking at photos from friends in what their groups did during their take action day, I know that everyone left their foot print in Chicago in a profound way, and in due time, we'll have our foot prints left all around the world.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Girl's World Forum: Day 5, the full run down

You would think that in such a short amount of time, very little could be accomplished.  The fact is, Girl Scouts and Guides are efficient, and we pretty much conquered the world in five days!

At breakfast on day 5, the ladies from the Cook Islands treated us to a lovely dance and thanked everyone at GWF, especially a big thanks to the planning (they earned it!).  Several other scouts and guides got up during breakfast to reflect on the past few days by sharing some songs and words of wisdom.

Our last day was on the low key side, but still very beneficial.  A number of great organizations came in for a networking session in the morning.  That list includes the Peace Corps, Care, Forever Green (yes, the GSUSA project was out there being represented!), Care, Heifer International and a number of other wonderful organizations.  Each stop offered a number of amazing materials that could benefit all of the scouts and guides in any of the take action projects they were already formulating.

From there, we split up for one last session.  For the adults, it was a chance to learn about a number of projects already going on within GSUSA and WAGGGS and do some last minute networking.  At the end of our session, we had the opportunity to make a commitment and add our "leaf" to the "tree."  I made two commitments on my leaf, but more about that in my wrap up post later!

The real work began after that.  A few nights before, I had given Sa'Haara and Madison a homework assignment to help them start thinking about what they wanted to do for their projects.  I was very glad I asked that, because we were then tasked to sit down and finalize their projects.  That too I will save for my wrap up, since I happen to think they chose very ambitious, amazing projects!

We were treated to one last joint session before the closing ceremony.  During this session, a panel of girls were assembled to talk about what guiding and scouting has done for them.  I think the best way to sum up that panel is that each girl sitting in that chair is already setting the world on fire!

Guess who came to speak at our closing ceremony.  No, really, guess!

Dr. Tererai Trent the same lady who was also featured on Oprah for the work she has done.  Her educational background was not a traditional one, but was inspiring because she overcame some of the harshest of realities to get to where she is today.  More so, she is proof that if you put your mind to it, you can do anything.  At the end of her speech, she told us that to see this many empowered young women together was an inspiration to her, and for me, that reinforced all of our hard work.

Such a crack up they were!

The declaration was re-presented, to affirm our commitments to the work we have been doing.  We are committed to making the Millennium Development Goals a reality!

Ok, confession time.... when the girls began thanking the adult members who helped them plan GWF, I started crying.  Then, the crying turned into bawling, and let's just leave it at that mmk?

We had just barely one hour before dinner and a last hurrah, so what did we do?  Went to the John Hancock building with the Irish!

Up, up and away we went!  The elevator we rode in took exactly 40 seconds to climb 94 floors!

I have to tell you about one amazing Irish Guide who nearly made me cry again!  The Guide in the middle is named Lauren, and she's a bright young woman!  Lauren is not a fan of heights, but didn't want to let every down and miss out on this experience, so came with us.  She was very unsure the entire time, but made it through.  I am so, immensely proud of her!

Interesting photo above- I took this photo while in the John Hancock building.  The tall, silver building on the left is Trump Tower, and the tall, black building in the right is the Sears Tower (I know it has a new name, and I do not remember what it is, sorry!).

We headed back to the hotel for one last hurrah.  We were in for a real treat too!  A group of salsa dancers came to give us a lesson, and they had giant summo suits out for us to play in!  I got some great photos of Heather and Jannelle going at it.  

And, what's a good party without some dancing?!

The next morning, we headed out bright and early.

Even the Irish were sad to go!  We were all sad to leave, but we made it home, safe and sound.


Yup, those are my smelly feet again (and yeah, my $1 nail polish survived the week!).  My feet took me all over Chicago, and they took me on great adventure.  I admit, it's nice to be home, but what I came back with is literally invaluable.

GS Ice Cream!

What is the hideous green blob you ask?  ICE CREAM!  Oh, but it's not just any ice cream... it's GIRL SCOUT ICE CREAM!

Thin Mints were harmed during the creation of this delicious treat.  The following recipe is not for the faint of heart.

I warned you!

GS Ice Cream

2 large eggs
3/4 sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 t peppermint extract
10 drops green food coloring (optional)
12 Thin Mint cookies

Special equipment:
Ice cream maker
Mallet or hammer

1. In a large bowl, mix eggs until well blended with a wire whisk
2. Add sugar to eggs and mix until sugar has nearly dissolved
3. Blend in milk, whipping cream, food coloring and peppermint extract
4. Refrigerate for one hour
5. Prepare ice cream maker
6. If using an electric maker, turn on maker before adding mix. If using a hand mixer, add mix and begin.
7. While ice cream is churning, place thin mints in a quart sized ziploc bag
8. Using a food mallet or hammer, carefully crush cookies
9. Mix until ice cream has formed (will take about 45 minutes)
10. Once ice cream is done, add in crushed thin mints
11. Remove and place in a freezer safe container
12. Chill for one hour before serving

Yields 1.25 quarts