September 15th through October 15th is celebrated each year as Hispanic Heritage month, and there’s no better time than to talk a little bit about Our Cabaña in Cuernavaca, Mexico! WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) has four World Centres across the globe: Pax Lodge in London, Our Chalet in Switzerland, Sangam in India, and Our Cabaña. There are over 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in 146 countries around the world and these centers offer the chance to experience the unique culture of different countries and their traditions, history and people.
Girl Guiding began in Mexico in 1930 and in 1948 a National Association, Guías de México, was formed with a program adapted to the customs of Mexico and the specific needs of Mexican girls. Our Cabaña was officially opened in July of 1957 and is now the largest of the four World Centres.
Cabaña means “hide-away cabin in the woods, surrounded by nature.” While the city of Cuernavaca has grown to become a sprawling city of one million people, Our Cabaña is safely located in its leafy suburbs.
The Guías de México are divided into levels according to age, just like the Girl Scouts of the USA. The levels are Girasol (Sunflower) 4-6, Hadita (Fairy) 6-9, Guía (Guide) 9-13, Guía Intermedia (Intermediate) 13-15, and Guía Mayor (Ranger) 15-18.Promise:I promise on my honor to do the best to comply with my duty to God and Mexico, my country, to be useful to others in all circumstances and live the guide law Law:
- A Guide is a friend of all and sister to all Guides.
- A Guide is courteous.
- A Guide is a friend of animals and plants in nature and sees God’s work. A Guide obeys orders.
- A Guide faces difficulties with fortitude and optimism.
- A Guide is economical.
- A Guide is kept pure in thought, word and deed
Today, WAGGGS wishes ‘happy World Thinking Day’ to all Girl Guides and Girl Scouts! Up to 10 million girls in 145 countries around the world are spending today reflecting on their international friendships, thinking about the environment, and raising money for the World Thinking Day Fund.
In 1992, the Northwest Georgia Girl Scout Council (one of our historic councils) reached out to the Republic of Georgia to bring Girl Scouting to that country. Many of our current Archives volunteers such as Sue Belden and Gigi Baroco were involved with this initiative. We are proud to have been part of this effort to introduce more girls to scouting. You can read more about the Georgian Girl Scouts on the WAGGGS website.
At GSUSA’s 2011 National Council Session and 52nd Convention in Houston, Texas, many adult Girl Scouts wore vintage uniforms to celebrate the Girl Scouts’ 100th anniversary. Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta’s History/Archives committee members also participated in this fun activity. Gigi Baroco wore a Norfolk khaki uniform from the mid-1920s and Joyce Overcash-Dudley wore a Mariner uniform from the late 1950s. Joyce made both replicas. The convention’s theme was “Renewing the Promise: Girl Scouts in a New Century” and the Take Action Project continues to be “Forever Green.” The opening ceremony was grand, with uniformed girls carrying the 145 colorful flags of the WAGGGS members, followed by girls wearing 1912 navy blue replica uniforms and carrying the green 100th anniversary flags. More girls attended than ever before and the ten Women of Distinction inspired us all. The girls who attended the Girl Scout Leadership Institute had experiences that demonstrated that 2011 Girl Scouts do have courage, confidence and character.
During the convention, Kathy Cloninger was given a warm “goodbye” and Anna Maria Chavez was welcomed as the new CEO of GSUSA. There were fewer proposals to the Blue Book this time and many more break-out sessions and activities. “Conversations of Consequence” covered topics such as, “Be a Leader, Not a Bully;” “Girl Scouts Explore the Female Factor” led by Susan Cartsonis, film Producer and President of Storefront Pictures; “Moving Beyond Diversity to Inclusion” led by CNN’s Soledad O’Brien; “Nobody’s Perfect” led by actress Marlee Matlin; and many others.
Guest speakers and Center Stage performances included ABC’s Katie Couric, Robin Roberts and Cheryl Burton; Ingrid Saunders Jones, SVP of The Coca-Cola Company; combat pilot Vernice “Fly Girl” Armour; actress Monique Coleman, the Harlem Globetrotters which now has a female player; a Justine Magazine fashion show; singing by Yolanda Adams, Katie Armiger, Sara Bareilles, Emily Hearn, Mindless Behavior and others.
The Hall of Exhibits featured a Global Lounge with representatives from WAGGGS, the Girl Scout Superstore, eighty commercial vendors, twenty not-for-profit organizations offering programs and resources, a Storytelling Lounge, and Swap and Meet booths. Joyce and Gigi were amazed that they ran into so many Girl Scouts that they knew among the over 12,700 attendees. On Saturday the attendees topped out at over 15,000 Girl Scouts. If you haven’t attended a Girl Scout convention, you should try to get to the next one. It will be in Salt Lake City in 2014!
2011 is our second centenary year, and we are once again celebrating 100 years of changing lives on 10 April. Join 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world in commemorating this very special and historical occasion.
In 2010, our first centenary year, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts globally were united in celebrating with parties and activities on the theme of ‘Plant’. You can read all about the celebrations in our special centenary section.
This year, the theme is ‘Grow’, and we’re asking Member Organizations to grow their celebrations through community action.
There are lots of ways you can celebrate on 10 April:
- Download the 2011 Centenary Activity Pack for lots of ideas on Grow-themed activities
- Send an online centenary card (available soon on the WAGGGS website)
- Apply for a mini-grant to support an environmental community project
- Film or take photos of your centenary celebrations and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Every day you get a chance to make history. One suggestion is to make a pledge on how you will bring about positive change in your community – just like the young women did at the Young Women’s World Forums, the key centenary events. At the events, delegates wrote their pledges on t-shirts. Why not write your pledge on a t-shirt and send WAGGGS (and GSGATL) your photo? Or send a video message outlining your pledge? Send photos or videos to: email@example.com and they’ll post them on the WAGGGS website. Please also send in the ways you are celebrating with your Greater Atlanta troops to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can document our area troops’ activities in this wonderful world-wide event!
Happy World Thinking Day, everyone! What is World Thinking Day, you might ask? (And you might well ask, if you are not familiar with the Girl Scout Holidays.) Here is a great synopsis from the GSUSA website:
Each year on February 22, World Thinking Day, girls participate in activities, games, and projects with global themes to honor their sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in other countries. World Thinking Day is part of the WAGGGS Global Action Theme (GAT) based on the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which aim to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people. The theme for World Thinking Day 2011 is girls worldwide say “empowering girls will change our world.”
World Thinking Day not only gives girls a chance to celebrate international friendships, but is also a reminder that Girl Scouts of the USA is part of a global community—one of nearly 150 countries with Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. WAGGGS selected five countries of focus for World Thinking Day 2011 to represent the five WAGGGS regions: Bolivia (Western Hemisphere), Cyprus (Europe), Democratic Republic of Congo (Africa), Nepal (Asia/Pacific), Yemen (Arab Region).
In the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, troops celebrate this holiday in a variety of ways. The Duluth Service Unit holds an annual “International Bazaar,” where each troop represents a country. The girls research the country, and they make snacks or small items for the shoppers to buy. Each participant also has a “passport,” which is stamped at each “country.” The evening begins with a Parade of Nations, celebrating all the countries represented. Two girls from each country hold their flag for all to see. The International Bazaar typically lasts two hours, and everyone has a great time. Even troops who elect not to represent a country are welcome as visitors to shop, have fun, and help a great cause.
The money that is raised through this event is donated to the Juliette Gordon Low Friendship Fund, which supports girls’ international travel and participation in training and other international events. These unique opportunities for fostering international friendships connect Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from 144 nations. This year’s DSU International Bazaar will take place this Friday, February 25, and is sure to be a big success.
There are many badges that Juniors (grades 4-5) can earn that relate to history in their badgebook. One of these is the very first one in their book (Junior Girl Scout Badgebook, New York: Girl Scouts of the USA, 2001) called “Girl Scouting Around the World.”
This badge is a great one for a new Girl Scout to work on, as it gives her a better appreciation of the organization to which she now belongs. It also discusses and lets the girls explore some of the most important traditions within Girl Scouting. The building on the badge is a depiction of The Girl Scouts Chalet in Adelboden, Switzerland, affectionately called “Our Chalet.” To earn this badge, a Junior must finish six of the ten suggested activities.
As a Girl Scout, you are not only a member of Girl Scouts of the USA, but also a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, known as WAGGGS. As a WAGGGS member, you are part of a sisterhood of millions of girls who share many of your Girl Scout values and traditions. This badge will help you discover the global reach of the Girl Scout community.
- Thinking Day: Thinking Day falls on February 22 each year. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouting, and his wife, Lady Olave Baden-Powell had the same birthdays on that day, so February 22 was chosen as a time for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides to celebrate international friendship and world peace. Plan a way to celebrate Thinking Day that recognizes your Girl Scout connection to girls around the world.
- WAGGGS on the Web: Check out the WAGGGS website to find out about the different countries that are members of WAGGGS, and the projects that are being sponsored by that organization. Share what you learned with your troop, group, or other girls.
- Show the World: Create a display that shows how Girl Scouts are part of a world sisterhood. Exhibit your display for Girl Scout troops or groups, your Girl Scout council, your school, or a local library.
- Connect with Younger Girls: Create a game or storybook for younger Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world. Try out your game or storybook at a neighborhood event, at camp, or at a bridging ceremony for younger Girl Scouts.
- Girl Scout Central: Visit Girl Scouting’s official online site for all things Girl Scout: Girl Scout Central! Click on the link to WAGGGS to find out more about this world-wide organization. Also look at “travel” and check out special international places you and your Girl Scout friends might want to visit.
- Girl Scouting’s Founder: Juliette Gordon Low: Find out about the Juliette Gordon Low World Friendship Fund. What does this fund do? How do girls all around the world benefit from the money in the fund?
- International Expert: Choose one country where Girl Guiding/Girl Scouting exists. Become an expert on that country and the activities girl members can do there. Learn a game, song, craft, recipe, or activity unique to that country and share it with others.
- World Service: Find out about a world problem that affects girls your age. You could think of a problem related to the environment, hunger, poverty, illiteracy, or another issue. Share what you have researched with other girls and think of some ways girls in WAGGGS could help solve this problem.
- Common Roots: Learn about the lives of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell. Also find out about how the Girl Guide movement came about. Share your information with members of our troop/group or with a Brownie Girl Scout troop.
- WAGGGS Travel: WAGGGS has four World Centers that any Girl Scout can visit. Find out the following about each of the four centers. Where is it? How can you get there? What types of events and activities can a visitor take part in there? You can find this information online at the WAGGGS web site.