Rochester, NY (Feb. 10, 2016) – On Sat., Feb. 6, the Girl Scout Tekakwitha Service Unit in Rochester held their 4th Annual International Festival at the Rochester School of Medicine to celebrate World Thinking Day. To earn the Girl Scout badge associated with the event the girls devoted time to learning about a country and its culture, then at the festival they shared their knowledge with other Girl Scouts.
Troop leader and event organizer Svanhildur Thorvaldsdottir stated, “It’s really nice for girls, especially in the world today, to learn a lot about things that are going on around them and learn about some countries that they maybe didn’t even know existed. They’ll hopefully gain some understanding of foreign cultures and practices.”
A troop performs a traditional fan dance from South Korea.
Eleven countries were featured at the event including Jamaica, the Czech Republic, South Korea, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Republic of Italy, Canada, Ethiopia, and China. The young Daisy Scouts learned about the United States.
Troop 60054 chose Canada for their World Thinking Day project. They learned about the general customs of the African diaspora, the Caribana celebrations in Toronto, language, and money.
“We picked Canada as a troop because our Junior troop leader is Canadian. Her daughter is a dual citizen in the United States and Canada,” said troop leader Aria Camaione-Lind. “We chose it because we had a resident expert and because the girls were really interested in learning more about one of their troop leaders and troop members.”
Troop 60054 explains Canada’s love of hockey, their two official languages, and other interesting facts they learned about the country. The Girl Scout on the far left in the red hat and the woman in the moose hat are citizens of Canada.
Several troops took the project to a more interactive level. The Girl Scouts presenting South Korea and Ethiopia performed traditional dances, and the troop that presented Jamaica even sang a song that got the audience to join in and clap along. The Girl Scouts covering China, Italy, Canada, and Germany featured clothing from the countries. Many troops prepared a food from that country for attendees to taste, such as Irish soda bread.
Ambassador Scout Samantha Pollard recalled her trip to Europe for a Girl Scout travel program and how the experience was a great thing to think about for World Thinking Day.
“We first went to Edinburgh in Scotland and then we travelled to London,” she said. “We went to Pax Lodge, the International Girl Guide House. I’d love to do more of that in the future.”
Neely Kelly, a Peace Corps volunteer, spoke with the older girls about her experience traveling to a foreign country and offering assistance.
“The Peace Corps is a program that sends Americans all over the world to volunteer and ostensibly improve the lives of people in third-world countries. It’s like an ambassadorship program,” said Kelly. “It definitely changed me and helped me become a better citizen. I hope [the Girl Scouts] got an understanding about what Peace Corps is and what they do.”
Troop 63064 explained the colors of the Italian flag mean hope, faith, and charity.
Avalian Rios, a Cadette from troop 63064, explained that her troop had chosen the Republic of Italy, which is the official name for what most people simply call Italy. Rios stated that World Thinking Day had been very eye opening and it was one of the many enjoyable parts of being a scout.
Rios added, “Being in Girl Scouts, you can meet other people, and you get to learn skills that help you move up in life and help you grow up.”
Over 146 countries worldwide participate through their own scouting programs such as the Girl Guides. The Girl Scouts of Western New York World Thinking Day is Sat., Feb. 27.
To learn more about Girl Scouts and the badges they earn, visit gswny.org.