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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Respect is being a sister to all Girl Scouts!

Emily Schlick, USA – volunteer at Sangam

When I was twelve, my mixed-age Girl Scout troop went winter camping. One morning, I taught younger girls to ski, and by the afternoon, I was ready for something different! My fellow Cadette Girl Scouts and I decided to go sledding. As we started getting ready, the Brownies and Juniors noticed that we were going out and wanted to come along. This was not what we had envisioned. Being twelve, we wanted to hang out with our friends without having to include the 'little' kids, and we weren’t afraid to say so. Our troop leader drew us aside and talked to us about the Girl Scout Law. She reminded us, we should 'respect myself and others' and to 'be a sister to every Girl Scout.' We were ashamed, and we let the younger girls join our sledding. That day we truly thought about Girl Scouts and what the Law meant to us. What does your Promise and Law mean to you and how do you put it into action?

Ten years later, I am still learning valuable lessons from Girl Scouting. I am currently working a four-month volunteer term at Sangam, the WAGGGS World Centre in India. Here, I see the Guiding Law in practice every day. To think that the original Law says that 'a Guide is a friend to all and a sister to every other Guide' is sometimes a bit overwhelming! Do I really have to be a friend to all? Even the rickshaw driver who tried to rip me off yesterday? Even the little girl I watched pull up her skirts and poop right in public on the side of a city road? The Guiding law says I do. Do I have to be a sister to every Girl Scout? Even my roommate who kept me awake the other night because she was chatting online? Yes. Being a Girl Scout means respecting each other enough to put away our gripes and celebrate our differences.

What I respect most, though, is this organization to which I belong. I am proud that WAGGGS aims 'to enable girls and young women to develop their fullest potential as responsible citizens of the world.' I am proud that GSUSA 'builds girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.' Responsible citizens who make the world a better place, in my estimation, are people who respect one another.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Setting off!

'Where will I go?' Helene wondered, looking at a world map.
Helene, the global conversations mascot, began her journey at Girlguiding UK headquarters in Victoria, London. She's so excited about travelling the world and taking part in Girl Guide and Girl Scouts' adventures. She's going to make so many new friends - will you be one of them? Find out here how you can host Helene in your unit/group.

When she was ready to go, Helene sat outside the building waiting for her taxi.

Keep checking back to find out where Helene pops up next!

Can you spot her on the steps?

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Wythall Senior Section - are young people bored of hearing about the environment?

We had a big discussion about respect for the environment – and respect for people

When it came to the environment we felt that, having talked about recycling and global warming since we were very young, we’re now bored with hearing about the issue. The only members of our group who are still interested in talking about it are those who are studying the subject.

One of the problems with keeping the young involved, we feel, is that this is a long term problem that happens slowly with very little drama – and young people (in general) tend to have a short-term view.

We need to find a way to keep young people interested. We feel that the UK does do more than many other countries but not as much as other places like Scandinavia. We’re interested to find out how other people feel their country is at respecting their environment.

We then began to chat about respect for people, and feel that the current pressure from the media and peers can make girls compare themselves to impossible images, and lose their self-respect. Celebrities often do not help young girls’ body image or give a great example on handling relationships.

We know some people are judged by their relationships and say that their ‘boyfriends complete them’. We are not really sure how to change this but do feel that girls, in particular, need to start to believe that they are important for who they are not what others want them to be.

123rd Birmingham Guides challenge you to show your respect for the planet

We got together to chat about what we think about respect for the planet. We think it’s really important! During our chat, all we thought of at first was big stuff, like saving endangered species and diversity of plants and animals.

Then we started talking about things we can all do ourselves to show our respect for the world – and there’s quite a lot – even little things like not leaving TVs on standby and using energy-saving light bulbs. We could also encourage people to install solar panels.

When talking about global warming we thought about pollution and everything we can do as Guides to reduce our contributions, such as reducing the amount of smoke from bonfires, not throwing rubbish on the floor, recycling more and composting fruit waste.

So, we want to know – why isn’t this being done by everyone? We think there should be more adverts/leaflets, more bins and maybe make laws to force people to recycle. What could be done in your area?

To show our respect for the environment, we’ve decided to visit a local beauty spot to identify any issues like litter and do our bit to help.

We’ve got a great game idea too – the litter game! Hide something valuable like sweets inside a pile of rubbish (only clean and safe rubbish with no sharp edges) – there are lots of piles spread around the room. The first patrol to find the valuable object wins! It shows that rubbish can be valuable and we shouldn’t throw it all away. Does anyone else have any environment games they’d like to share?