Happy World Thinking Day! Since 1926, Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world have marked this special day by coming together to celebrate their shared sisterhood and honor the incredible force of the Movement in every corner of the globe.
Every year, World Thinking Day has a different theme that girls can explore and Take Action on. This year’s theme is “Impact,” and it’s all about understanding the power we have to create positive change. Read on for some ideas to get your troop geared up for World Thinking Day:
In for a Penny
The World Thinking Day Fund started with Lady Olave Baden-Powell’s letter to Girl Guides and Girl Scouts asking them to spare a penny to support and grow the Movement. In 1932, a penny was actually worth quite a lot—it could buy a loaf of bread! With your girls, explore money systems around the world—what does a Belizean cent look like? A Japanese yen? Then, look into the cost of living in different countries to see how much a penny will buy you in other parts of the world. Would a dollar donation make a more substantial impact overseas? Check out Give Well’s handy article to see just how far your dollar will go.
Out of This World
This year, for the first time, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (W.A.G.G.G.S.) suggests that girls hold all of their World Thinking Day activities outdoors. While spending time outside has countless benefits for our well-being (it makes us happier, healthier, and calmer), being out in nature increases our awareness of the larger world around us. Re-think what spending time in nature means. You don’t need to plan a multi-day backpacking adventure to commune with nature. For younger girls, just stepping outside after a snowstorm can spark great conversation—ask them if they’ve ever noticed that it seems quieter after it snows. There’s a scientific reason for that! Or, learn how the weather affects sap collection when trees are tapped for maple syrup. Then use some of that fresh snow to make maple syrup taffy! For us in Minnesota and Wisconsin, there’s no shortage of frozen lakes this time of year—ask your girls if they’ve ever heard the lake make sounds. If they’re up for a winter walk, try skipping stones across the frozen lake—you’ll be in for a neat acoustic surprise! The more we connect with and appreciate our local environment, the more willing we are to protect and conserve it.
The Power of Youth
Change begins with one person, and everyone has the power to be that change, no matter their age. From the civil rights movement in the US, to the Penguins’ Revolution in Chile, to the Arab Spring in the Middle East and North Africa, and to—most recently—Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students’ rally for gun control, history is full of examples of young people who’ve been at the forefront of social change. That’s what being a Girl Scout is all about—taking action is built into our core! As a troop leader, reinforce the idea that girls can find, create, and implement solutions to problems in their community and world. Listen and respect your girls’ input, no matter how lofty you think their ideas are. As adults, it’s easy to fall into the trap of adultism, where we believe we know what’s best for youth. Believing in and seeing your girls as the G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)™ they are will help girls empower themselves to fearlessly go out into the world and make a lasting impact.
However you choose to celebrate World Thinking Day, know that you’re part of a global sisterhood—and, in the words of Lady Olave Baden-Powell, “Thus do we Guides, of all kinds and of all ages and of all nations, go with the highest and the best towards the spreading of true peace and goodwill on earth.”
Lily Yu – Lily is a Volunteer Resource Specialist at River Valleys. She earned her BA in comparative literature and Japanese from Hamilton College and has a background in publishing and advertising. In her free time, Lily enjoys going for long runs, reading, and spending time with her family (including her five-year-old daughter who is a Daisy.