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RH Girl Scouts explore other cultures
Worldwide celebration focuses on friendship, fun and education
Girl Scouts-group
Girl Scouts from the Richmond Hill Service Unit pose Saturday for a group photo before kicking off annual World Thinking Day. - photo by Photo provided.

With the Winter Olympic Games under way in Russia, it was an opportune time for area Girl Scouts to participate in their annual globally-themed day of fun and learning. 

The Richmond Hill Service Unit Girl Scouts held their 2014 World Thinking Day celebration Saturday at the Richmond Place Clubhouse. Around 60 girls — as well as a host of troop leaders, parents and siblings — participated in the event.  

Five troops participated, each researching a country and hosting a table to present their country to their fellow Scouts. The countries of Bangladesh, Egypt, New Zealand, Samoa and St. Vincent and the Grenadines were represented at the event. With some help from troop leaders, the girls shared facts to the other scouts as they visited their table. 

Booths included presentation boards of information, photos, food items and SWAPs — handmade trinkets that represent an aspect of each country that were distributed to those who visit their tables. Each girl is given a “passport” that includes facts about each country that the girls get stamped as they visit each country’s table. 

Many of the troop members dressed up in costumes, some traditional such as the country of Egypt whose girls each wore a hegab, or headscarf. Other members chose more fun representations such as the colorful, squired carnival masks from St. Vincent and the Grenadines or flowered lei and hibiscus hair barrettes from the island country of Samoa.

The event, which took place the morning after the Olympic opening ceremonies, included a mini-parade of nations, where presenting troops walked around the room with their country’s flag.

According to organizer Emily Harrison, many of the girls watched the Olympic ceremony with their families the night before.

“Many of the girls were talking about the Olympic ceremony from last night,” she said. “Several remarked about how they loved the uniforms and seeing all the different countries’ flags … it is always great when we can tie a Scouting event into current events.”

World Thinking Day is a global celebration traditionally held Feb. 22 by more than 10 million Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world, Harrison said. However, she remarked that due to cookie-booth sales coming on Feb. 15, they often hold Thinking Day earlier in the month.

“This event helps educate the girls about different countries around the world — their culture, their people and their Girl Scouts or Girl Guides,” Harrison said. “It also helps the girls with their public-speaking skills, helps them build confidence, and also they get to meet other girls throughout the service unit.”

Harrison said that the event is not only an opportunity for the girls to learn about other nations and cultures, but also is a time for community service. Each girl donates $1, helping to raise funds for the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund. Additionally, the service unit collected school supplies for The Mathew Freeman Project, a Richmond Hill-based charity that coordinates donations of schools supplies to needy children in Afghanistan.  

Read more in the Feb. 12 edition of the News.

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