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.