KENNETT SQUARE — The 22nd Annual Girl Scout World Thinking Day festivities delighted a crowd of 300 Girl Scouts and volunteers from the Brandywine Valley Girl Scout Service Unit. Twenty-one troops provided the girls with a world tour of countries including Ethiopia, Ukraine, Fiji, France, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, S. Korea, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, and more. Each troop researched their country and created fascinating and informative displays of that nation’s culture. The program officially commenced with a Parade of Flags. Then, several troops shared music and dances from their country. Cadette Troop 4210 from Patton Middle School, impressed the audience with an amazing Bollywood Indian dance and Daisy Troop 4313, from Unionville elementary, amazed the group with a moving Bagpipes performance.
Troops were then directed to begin their international adventure and traveled to each country where they had their passports stamped and enjoyed the display, the food, the souvenirs and crafts. Many of the displays were interactive. Ethiopia, had a tent walk through that included native dresses, traditional coffee service, natural wonders and castle presentations and an activity that highlighted the endangered species of Ethiopia: Canada, England and Italy offered awesome photo booths. The food served was varied and delicious: Pizzelles from Italy, Banana chips from Kenya, Injera bread from Ethiopia, very popular candies from Canada, India, Mexico and Japan. Many Troops had Swaps, souvenirs and crafts. In the Bahamas the girls made Flamingo pins, in Kenya there were handcrafted felt elephants to create, in the Netherlands tulips were “cultivated” and in Madagascar friendship bracelets were crafted.
This year, the girls were encouraged to make a “Wish for the World” at the wishing tree station. Girls not only wished for world peace, but for the world to be kinder, Ukraine to be saved, Climate Change stopped, more educational opportunities for girls around the world, COVID to be gone forever, a clean ocean, and for everyone to get what they need to live in safety and happiness.
In honor of Women’s History Month, each troop selected a female Change Maker from their country. These Change Makers formed a distinguished Gallery where each of them was prominently displayed for viewing by the event participants. The Gallery Notables included Yulia Tymoshenko, the first and only female Prime Minister of Ukraine; Elise Inglis an innovative Scottish doctor and pioneering suffragette who served as a leading surgeon who ran 14 hospital units during WWII, Wamgari Maathai from Kenya who was an environmental activist and the 1st African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Marie Christina Kolo from Madagascar, an eco-feminist and climate activist who founded Green ‘N ”Kool a company that focuses on bringing green waste management tools to rural communities; Vigdis Finnbogadottir, from Iceland, was the FIRST democratically elected female president of a country in the world !, Anita Gupta from India, founder of an organization that empowers rural women by providing education and employment training opportunities. Ana Waqatabu Ligansulu, from Fiji, a 19 year old activist who joined a campaign for equal representation rights and treatment for girls. There were 21 Change Makers in the Gallery and listed in the passports.
Thinking Day is an annual celebration of Girl Scouts where the Girl Scouts and Girl Guides think of each other and express their thanks and appreciation for this International movement. Twenty-two years ago, Lesley Anne Bernasconi, a 2001 Unionville High School graduate, developed this unique program for this area. She earned her Gold Award and since then, the Service Unit Girl Scout Thinking Day event became a staple of the local Girl Scout experience. A big thank you to Katya Nieberg Wheeler and her Cadette Troop 4780 from Kennett Middle School for organizing this awesome event for this year!