Sunset at Scusset Beach

Hey everyone!

Welcome new readers! I’m so excited to share my Girl Scout travels with you.
After our big day in Boston, we took a low key day to hang out on Mass Maritime’s campus. Some Cadets still on campus for the summer came to teach the girls about ROVs, Remote Operated Vehicles. They’re the things that helped explore the Titanic ruins, and much of the ocean floor research being done now is done using ROVs. The girls actually got to make ROVs, using plastic hangers, small motors, wires, and lots of electrical tape. I was very impressed with how well the girls did with the project, and their knowledge of electrical systems. Some of them even got the motors running before we finished explaining the steps! I think we have some future engineers on our hands.
I don’t think I’ve explained yet what exactly the theme of this trip is. The girls will be earning their oceanography interest project (unique to Girl Scouts of Eastern Mass) and we are trying to focus a lot of the learning around the STEM themes, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. If you want to know more about Girl Scouts and STEM, let me know in comments, I’d love to talk with you about it.
The other stations that day were also very exciting, but to be honest here (honesty on the internet, what?) I took my break during this time. It’s hard to balance the fun I want to have with the girls with self-care, and for every patrol meeting we have with the girls, we have a pre-meeting and a post-meeting, as well as a debrief of the day and a review of the next. We try to take time for ourselves, and there were plenty of extra hands this day to watch the girls, so I missed the dry-suits (“Gumby” suits), the bridge simulator, and a GPS scavenger hunt activity.
Gumby Suit Fun!

Gumby Suit Fun!

That evening, we left for the beach! We bussed to Scusset beach (try saying that 5 times fast) and got into our swimsuits. There was a catered dinner and plenty of sand, water, and creatures to keep us all busy. Even though the water was freezing, the girls ran right in. They actually found some cool sea creatures, like sand dollars and hermit crabs. We all posed for photos, and some of the committee members joined us. Speaking of photos, the sunset was beautiful and Audrey and Jamie, two of my fellow volunteers and both great photographers, got really excited about it.
Scusset Beach at Sunset

Scusset Beach at Sunset

Also at Scusset Beach, we had a Juliette Low candle ceremony. We were all given small candles, which we lit from a larger one whose light had been passed all the way from a candle lit by Juliette Low at the first Girl Scout headquarters in Savannah, Georgia. It was a very inspiring ceremony, and another of the Girl Scout traditions that I love so much, and makes this such a special organization.
Juliette Low Candle Ceremony

Juliette Low Candle Ceremony

So it was another great day, and the girls continue to impress and surprise me every day. We’ve had such little homesickness and behavioral problems that the pessimistic side of my brain is a little afraid, but the majority of me is just glad that these girls are truly embracing the “be a sister to every Girl Scout” line of the Girl Scout Law.
So with that, until next time,
~Ana

Patriots & Pizza, Churches & Chocolate

Happy, “Ana finally took pictures” day!

Tuesday consisted of a lot of walking, and a lot of eating. Pretty good day, right? Right.

We began with a North-End walking tour from Boston Pizza Tours, and saw things like the only Irish pub in Little Italy, the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge, the original Regina’s Pizzeria, Copps Hill Burying Ground with the gravesite of some dudes from the Salem Witch Trials, and also Robert Newman, the guy who actually lit the lanterns to signal Paul Revere to start riding, the skinniest house in the world, and of course the Old North Church. I think the girls enjoyed walking around the city, and the tour guides were great at making the stories interesting and engaging.

The tour ended in a park where pizza from Regina’s was waiting for us. And I have to say, as big of a fan as I am of Chicago Deep Dish, this was really good pizza.

We walked from there to a few of the famous Italian bakeries in the area. The girls were excited to try Cannolis, something very few of them had had before. I had a chocolate Ricotta one, and it was amazing.

Whenever you go somewhere with a lot of Girl Scouts, especially when they’re all wearing the same t-shirt, you tend to get noticed. A really nice lady named Maria was helping us at the bakery, and she didn’t even mind when the girls were indecisive and took longer than expected to complete the order. When I went to pay she said that she loved Girl Scouts, always bought the cookies, and had some nieces in the council here. I always love hearing people’s Girl Scouts stories, even if they’re not scouts, they usually have had a good interaction with a Girl Scouts at some point in their lives. It just makes me happy!

Next, we went the the New England Aquarium. It’s set up really cool, there is a giant tank in the middle that goes straight up through all four floors, filled with all kinds of fish, rays, reef, turtles, and even sharks. Around the tank is a spiral ramp, with smaller tanks on each level with other creatures to see. On the lowest level, in an enclosure all around the big tank, there are penguins zooming around under the ramp. So you can peek over the rail on any level of the ramp and see the penguins. In another section there are two touch tanks, a big one with rays and a smaller one with crabs, sea stars, and other crustaceans. There are also seal and sea lion shows.

As a special part of our trip, we went on a behind-the-scenes tour of the third floor tanks. In small groups, we went behind the wall and got to see how they feed, clean, and care for the creatures in the tanks. We also saw holding and quarantine tanks, and got to touch another horseshoe crab and lobster. We learned about how the water used in the salt water tanks are from the Boston Harbor, and recycled many times through it. We also learned a bit about the green technology used at the aquarium through the behind the scenes tour and the “Big Tank Talk” after.

Due to tour timings, we were in the aquarium for most of the afternoon. We saw the fur seal show, and then left to tour and eat dinner at Faneuil Hall, a revolution-era marketplace, now filled with stores and restaurants galore. I don’t know too much about it’s history, but the wikipedia page is pretty interesting!

We had these great vouchers that the girls could use to get certain meals from the vendors, and also a dessert. I had lobster bisque in a breadbowl, and a really great smoothie for dessert. It was great to just hang out and people-watch in the busy hall. The girls grouped up and went shopping, and it was also great to see them, after only three days together, laughing and running around together like they were BFFs.

2013-07-22 18.31.36

Lobster Bisque!!

Of course, not everything ever runs perfectly at a Girl Scout event, either with logistics (no matter how much you plan) or with the girls. But the issues that we have had have really been minor so far, and the other girls have been AMAZING at stepping up to be a buddy with someone feeling down and adapting to a changing schedule. I think we got some great girls here, and I hope we can renew some of their interest in Scouts and help them take full advantage of the wonderful program.

Well, I’m about to go to the beach, so I will try to post again tonight, please comment if you have questions and don’t forget to subscribe to get updates in your email!!

Thanks for reading,

Ana

Starstruck: The Girl Scout Edition

Hey there!

I guess that exclamation point may be a bit of an overstatement, if I were saying “hey there” to you out loud right at this moment, there would be no trace of an exclamation point. After a full day out on a boat doing science and animal encounters, then an awesome “show-and-tell” with SEA, then swimming in the MMA pool, a late-night trip to the snack bar and an even later-night meeting to prepare for a logistically complicated trip to Boston tomorrow, I have never been so ready for bed in my life.

BUT

There before all those things we did today, I got to “feed my geek” a bit with an amazing talk about an amazing woman, and I have to tell you all about it.

This morning, as is the Girl Scout way, we had a ceremony. Girl Scouts in full uniform, gloves, and sashes doing the flag ceremony, singing songs, and reciting the Promise & Law. There was an awesome “sand ceremony” by some of the girls on the planning team, which involved reading about things we would do during the week that corresponded to different items placed in a large glass vase, creating a kind of sand-art layered centerpiece that we will use at the final dinner. Some more members of the planning committee spoke, and then we heard from Margot Iwanchuck, the great great niece of Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low, the Founder of Girl Scouts in the USA, 101 years ago.

As you all probably know, I am a huge Girl Scout nerd. I have always admired Juliette Low, as an amazingly forward-thinking woman who created, incredibly quickly, an organization that has stood the test of time, and which continues to grow and change as the girls it serve grow and change throughout the years.

Juliette, age 28

But for as many articles and books I have read on the founding of Girl Scouts, I huge majority of things that Margot said were brand-new to me. She spoke about Aunt Daisy as remembered by her family, and since she didn’t found the Scouts until a bit later in life, many of the stories she shared were from before she spoke her famous words.

I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight!

I’ll share with you one of the stories (my favorite) and then I really really have to hit the hay!

Even as a child Daisy was compassionate to all living things, even animals. One year, her family raised a turkey, called Tom of course, to cook for the Thanksgiving meal. Daisy had learned about a new things called chloroform, which she thought would be a much gentler way for Tom to pass than the alternative. She convinced her family to try it on the turkey. They did, and when the bird fell asleep, they plucked it and placed it in the ice house to cook the next day. When it came time for said cooking, the cook was found screaming in the kitchen, standing on the counter, cleaver raised in one hand, trying to catch the panicked naked Tom, who was probably wondering what happened to all his feathers!

There were many more stories like this one, describing a young woman who, even by todays standards, with all her handstands in boardrooms and affinity for fly fishing, would by some have been considered “cooky”. But by me and the 59 million Girl Scout alumnae in the USA today, she is our biggest hero and someone we all should strive to be more like.

Special thanks to Margot Iwanchuck for sharing her stories with us all today!!

So that’s it for tonight, I can barely keep my eyes open any longer, but I also can’t wait to have more adventures tomorrow, I just realized I haven’t mentioned the girls at all in this post, but they are AWESOME and I will post about them next time!!!

Thanks for reading!

An——————–zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Peace VS Evil

Namaste everyone!

It’s almost Christmas! Sangam is decorated, the stockings are hung, and there are even lights on our tree. In this season of cheer and happiness and family and all those awesome things, I wanted to share with you all some ways you can give back this holiday season.

1. Kiva.org

Kiva is an awesome mico-loan website that I use myself. You can choose an entrepreneur in an underdeveloped country and give loans of as little as $25. They collect $25 loans from all over the world and put them together to give the amount asked for. Then, your loan gets repaid over time, and you can re-lend the same $25 over and over to different people. It’s a really easy way to help and it’s great because it can keep on giving again and again. I have about $75 rolling in my account right now, and I’ve made 7 $25 loans.

2. The Uncultured Project

The Uncultured Project is literally one dude (Shawn Ahmed) who wants to make a difference. He works by creating partnerships with people all over the world by using the power of the internet and YouTube to find people who need help, and people who are willing to help. He works mostly in Bangladesh, where he recently built a school and named it in honor of John Green, one of my very favorite authors and awesome-makers. There’s a video about it here.

3. Girl Scouts of course!

Whether it’s by donating money, buying cookies, or volunteering your time, by supporting Girl Scout you are supporting the amazing organization that lets me have this great opportunity to live and work in India. WAGGGS works organizations like the UN to support issues that affect women and children around the world. By lifting up and empowering girls, you are supporting the future world-changers.

On that note, I want to share something that I’ve been thinking about since I heard about the terrible shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. I wasn’t as bombarded with images and and interviews as I’m sure everyone back home was, but being here, doing all this work around girl and women, and after hearing that eight of the girls killed were Daisy Girl Scouts, I was really upset.

I’m the kind of person who always, always tries to look on the positive side. Or at least find a positive side to things. I don’t think I can do that here.

All I can say is that instead of trying to fight against this evil, I try to work for the advancement of all the good things. For the empowerment of women and girls, for the reduction of child mortality, and everything else WAGGGS is doing. Every kid deserves all the every chance to grow and do whatever he wants, and achieve all her goals. So the only thing I can try and say to be positive is that by working with organizations like WAGGGS and Girl Scouts and here at Sangam is helping to do just that. By helping one young woman realize her own potential, maybe she’ll grow up and so the same for another girl, and help spread peace in the world. And maybe, someday, the peace will outweigh the evil.

That’s all from me, thanks for reading, and please comment if you have any questions about any of the organizations I talked about today.

DSCF4070

DSCF4071

DSCF4075

Yours in scouting,

Ana Cristina

Getting the Word Out: Is this just my job disguised as a blog post?

Namaste readers!

So, I have something a little bit work-related to discuss today. As the event just ended, and I’m officially done with training, I’m jumping right in and trying to get as much done each day as possible. A lot of my job is just trying to reach the right people with the right information. We have a deadline for volunteer & intern applications coming up (December 31st) and not enough applicants. Sangam already has in place communications with people in high levels of each of WAGGGS member organizations (countries that have girl scouts or girl guides), so I’m trying to work from the other side, and getting the information directly to the troop/group leaders or even the girls themselves. So many young women from all over the world have visited Sangam over almost 50 years, and they all know other girls who might be interested, and so on.

Now, I could go on for a few more paragraphs (ok, actually, I just did, but then I deleted them because it was way too long and boring for you to read), but I’ll just get straight to my point. I made this video today, and I want every Girl Scout and Girl Guide that I know to share it with all her Girl Scout and Girl Guide friends, and I want them to ask me about Sangam and world centers and other travel opportunities. I want them to ask their leaders and their leaders to share what they learn with the whole troop. I want girls to learn what Advocacy means and how they can start a Community Action Project of their own. These are my big Girl Scout dreams, and being here has just re-energized me and reminded me of these goals.

Sangam’s Youtube
Sangam’s Facebook
WAGGGS’ Take Action Pagemy email is aclesmez@hotmail.com or leave me a comment on this post if you are a Girl Scout or Guide looking for more information.

I promise my next post will have more pictures!

Thanks for reading,

Ana Cristina

Let’s Get This Party Started

 

Namaste!

So last week was my first event, and my last week of training.  I’m now officially the MCI! With real MCI work!

We finished the event on Sunday, and, miraculously, many of the participants actually left that evening.  Since we had Gwen’s birthday during the event and didn’t really get a chance to celebrate, we had a “surprise” party for her in the staff lounge upstairs.

DSCF4037

Happy Birthday Gwen!

We’ve had a lot of new people move in upstairs in the last few weeks (a new volunteer from Australia just

arrived!) and we were all tired from the event so we were glad to have an excuse for a party.

Gwen was very surprised to find that the theme of the party was her birthday, and Catherine has organized some cheesy party games for all of us.  It was awesome to all get together and eat and drink and just hang out.  A lot of times working at Sangam, you can get really wrapped up in your work.  It’s awesome work, but you will get burned out if you do anything 24/7, no matter how awesome it is.

Christa made these awesome cookies out of some stuff I brought from the states, and I need to remember to get the recipe from her, because they would be great for daisy girl scouts!

Sugar cookies with frosting and jumbo marshmallow petals.  With a surprise inside!

Sugar cookies with frosting and jumbo marshmallow petals. With a surprise inside!

We learned though one of Catherine’s games that Camilla, from Denmark, can turn a certain kind of cracker all the way around in her mouth.  None of us knew what kind of cracker she was talking about, so she found one about the same size and showed us. Then, Sarah tried to do the same, but did not fair very well.

DSCF4048

Camilla’s special talent

 

Sarah needs more practice...

Sarah needs more practice…

We also messed around with some Christmas decorations, put up pink lights in the hall, and balanced a snowman on Jen’s head.  It was a pretty fun night.

So, I should probably wrap up now, I have to get up at 4am tomorrow morning to greet 33 guests for our next event.  I have Friday off, and I want to write a post more about WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) and will hopefully be more rested then.  I’m also working on a video to promote our Be The Change events, so when I finish that maybe I’ll write more specifically about what guests experience at our different events.

As always, thanks so much for reading, please share this blog with anyone you think might like it, and if you have any questions, please comment!

Yours in scouting,

Ana Cristina

Previous Older Entries