Written by Rae Ann Dougherty, Girl Facilitator at the Girls’ World Forum
One day back and I just cannot get it out of my mind (I was not very productive at work today)! It is kind of like a song or jingle that keeps playing back. The energy, enthusiasm, excitement, and exhilaration that only 600 Girl Scouts can bring was all over Chicago for one week and is now spreading across the globe as all of the delegates and their chaperones make their way home.
The Girls’ World Forum 2012 (GWF) was the third, and best, of World Forums series conducted as a part of the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). These world forums were designed to explode the leadership development of members and propel the progress in achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It did and it will. Several years ago, WAGGGS listened to the girls and has been focusing on the three of eight MDGs that they selected. As a result of the first Young Women’s World Forum (YWWF 2010) our Girl Scout and Girl Guide sisters began making a difference with their projects. Two of the 100 delegates were American. The second Young Women’s World Forum (YWWF 2011) engaged more of our sisters when nearly 200 participated at the four World Centers, including two more Americans. The American impact exploded when 250 Americans, including three from Girl Scouts of Colorado, arrived in Chicago to study the MDGs, build their skills, develop their leadership and define their own Take Action Projects.
Oman, Rwanda, Qatar, Thailand, Namibia, Senegal, Belarus, Maldives, Slovenia, Paraguay, Taiwan, and more! Although I have been working in the international Girl Scouting arena for years, I had never met a Girl Guide or Girl Scout sister from these countries. To be able to start with a common foundation (the Girl Scout Promise and Law) and discuss unifying topics (the MDGs), a strong bond formed immediately. I have so many wonderful new sisters in 90 countries as a result of this single week. It was cool! I was able to learn about their countries, Girl Scouting program, culture, and the small things I take for granted. For example, one Liberian Delegate could not stop admiring the tall buildings that made up the Chicago skyline. She could not believe one could construct buildings so tall.
I was extremely honored to serve as a “Girl Facilitator.” In this role I led the breakout sessions designed for education, sharing, and processing. In getting to know the powerful, passionate, vitality, and insightful young leaders that were simultaneously growing as much as they were learning about the issues was an amazing and treasured experience! I can hardly wait to watch their Take Action Projects progress.
The best part is that this magical event was a girl planned and girl led event. A powerful team of 18 that were the same age as the Delegates (age 14 – 18) came together 15 months ago to plan the entire event, even the sessions I taught as a Girl Facilitator! Yes they can and they did … in a BIG way!
You too can be a part of the energy and excitement at www.Facebook.com/YWWFsite. Even if you do not have a Facebook account, you can follow the conversations and energy.
Perhaps I will be more productive at work….tomorrow!