Day 1 Continued: It All Pays Off

Hello all,
I just want to say a big hello to all my new readers, and also thank you to everyone who has shared this blog with sister Girl Scouts, and a special shout-out to the parents of girls here at the Forum from across the country and the world. I’m so glad you’re reading and your girls are wonderful.

Continuing from yesterday, right before dinner there was a scheduled “reflection” time for chaperones and girls to meet up and discuss what they had learned. I had prepared some questions and prompts to get the girls talking, and then I texted them (our main form of communication here) to meet up in my room. Turns out I had no need for questions at all, both Ali and Julia started talking and didn’t stop until I realized we were already late for dinner. They talked about all the different people they had met, and the changes they were ready to make in the world. Perhaps my favorite thing they said was about communication. Julia is in a breakout room that is run primarily in Spanish. The Forum runs in the 4 official WAGGGS languages, English, Spanish, Arabic and French. So in Julia’s room, the facilitator speaks in Spanish, and then a translator says it in English. At Julia’s table, she is the only one who speaks English as a first language. But instead of being frustrated by these barriers, the girls are leaping over them like they aren’t even there. Julia has some Spanish skills and the other girls all know English to varying degrees. Even if they had to go through multiple translations, everyone was speaking and giving their ideas and sharing their expertise. I was so impressed, especially because we had some translation issues in the chaperone room, and even once split up the tables by language so we could more easily communicate. I hope we as adults learn from the experience of our girls and make an effort to mix ourselves up more. If you only ever communicate with those who speak the same language as you do, you are missing an incredible number of ideas, strategies, and friendships. There’s no excuse for it, and the girls taught me that today.

Hearing how excited the girls were and how inspired to change the world, all my reservations disappeared. I was worried about them making friends, the language issues that we had in the chaperone session, the general disorganization of the schedule, and as much as I hate to admit it, I think I underestimated the ability of the girls. Not their intellect or their ideas, but I know that a lot of them haven’t been in this type of conference/forum encironment before. It’s a lot different than camp or many of the other things girl scouts do. But I was, of course, dead wrong. As they have already demonstrated, the girls are even better at this than we are.

And if I may brag a bit, having overheard some elevator gossip, my girls from Heart of Michigan are especially great. Some other chaperones were saying how their reflection sessions were not as inspiring as mine, that the girls were tired and got bored in their sessions. Although I was sad to hear this, I know that those girls, throughout the week, will grow so much, and learn from their sisters and their chaperones will be just as proud of them as I am of Ali and Julia for truly taking advantage of this geeat opportunity we have been given.  No matter what level you are at right now, by the end of the week you will have grown so much, and that’s the whole idea.

My girls are also dealing well with the organizational issues I eluded to before. A lot of the time we’re not sure where we are supposed to be or what our groups are or what our options are. But despite all this, just being here with such an international group, sometimes the waiting time when the facilitators are coping with various obstacles is even more informational because we’re connecting with each other and sharing our successes and failures in various programs with girls in our countries or councils.

I am so glad you are all reading, and I hope the stories of what these girls are doing inspires you to support or continue to support them. I promise my next post will include pictures!  But please keep reading, because these girls, with the projects they create here and the ideas planted in their heads here, will change the world, so this story has a happy ending.

Yours in scouting,
Ana Cristina GSHOM

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karla Gerdeman Bailey
    Jul 14, 2012 @ 08:27:19

    thanks for sharing what is going on there 🙂 I get more educational, in depth info. from your perspective. From my daughter’s texts…it is all about meeting new international friends which she is finding to be a totally awesome experience. I am warned we will be changing some things at home since she learned about conservation practices!

    Reply

    • lostflight2
      Jul 14, 2012 @ 23:48:15

      Thanks for reading Karla, I’m trying to keep up with everything that’s going on but there is so much learning going on and no time to write about it! I’m sure your daughter is having an amazing time learning how she can change the world!

      Reply

  2. ML Konett
    Jul 14, 2012 @ 08:58:09

    ” But instead of being frustrated by these barriers, the girls are leaping over them like they aren’t even there. ” What an amazing sentence! The girls are so lucky to have you Ana. What a blessing you’ve been.

    Reply

    • lostflight2
      Jul 14, 2012 @ 23:45:29

      Thanks so much ML, but I’m the lucky one to have these girls with me, they are great! I haven’t had any trouble at all and they are truly getting the most out of this experience as possible.

      Reply

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