Last year, five CCI participants at Northern Virginia Community College helped a local Girl Scouts Troop in Virginia learn about new countries and cultures for World Thinking Day. This year, three 2018-19 participants carried on that tradition by helping the Troop prepare for the annual celebration in a different way.
In the following post, Eylül, a current CCI participant from Turkey who is studying Business at Northern Virginia Community College, writes about her experience helping the Brownie Girl Scouts Troop learn about a new (to them) country, and shares the impact that the experience had on her.
Each year for World Thinking Day, Brownie Girl Scouts Troop 54022 in Northern Virginia selects one country to learn about and represent in a community-wide event which brings together over 200 Girl Scouts. Marlin from Dominican Republic, Sarah from Egypt and myself volunteered to share about our countries and cultures and help the Girl Scouts with their mission. The Girl Scouts were given our three countries to choose from, and they voted to learn about the Dominican Republic. As soon as they chose the country, Marlin, Sarah, and I met with them to start helping them learn about the Dominican Republic. The Girl Scouts were so excited to meet us and learn about Dominican culture.
During the first meeting with the Girl Scouts on January 27, Marlin showed them the location of the Dominican Republic on a world map and the language they speak. Then she showed the girls her flag and explained to them what each color on the flag represents. Also, I wore the traditional dress to display to the girls. Moreover, we taught them the Dominican Republic’s traditional dance, the Merengue. The girls were having so much fun while dancing with us and their friends. After we were done with the oral information, we put together small gifts (SWAPs) to exchange with other troops on World Thinking Day. We also enjoyed eating conconetes which is a Dominican style coconut cookie. By the end of the day, the girls learned a lot about the Dominican Republic.
One week later on February 4, Marlin surprised the girls by arranging a special meeting at the Embassy of the Dominican Republic. There, the girls asked lots of questions to the Embassy representatives. Also, they had a chance to meet with the Ambassador of Dominican Republic to learn more about daily life in the Dominican Republic.
On February 10, which was our last meeting before World Thinking Day, we helped the girls create their display to show on World Thinking Day. Together, we brainstormed with the girls about what were some of their favorite facts they learned about the Dominican Republic, and then worked together to decorate the poster. We also all got a chance to taste Habichuelas con Dulce which is another Dominican dessert.
Finally on March 2, the big day was here and everything was ready. Over 200 Girl Scouts attended the Service Unit 54-15 World Thinking Day event. The event started with a Flag Ceremony Parade, where two girls from each troop waved the flag of the country they were representing. This was followed by a welcome speech and traditional dances that represented the different countries. Afterwards, each troop was divided into two groups. One half stayed at their display to represent their selected country, and the other half, with special “passports”, visited the different troop tables, learned about the countries, sampled food, received a SWAP, and got a stamp in their passports.
In our troop, while half of the girls were visiting other country presentations, we stayed with the other half to present about the Dominican Republic. Each Girl Scout played a role: one told facts about the Dominican Republic, one girl handed out the SWAPs, one stamped visitors’ passports, and another girl served them a conconetes. Girl Scouts visiting the Dominican Republic display also got a chance to do some Dominican dancing! Finally, after all the rotations were done, the entire group got back together for the Closing Ceremony and watched a Hawaiian and Turkish traditional dance show, which I was very excited to see.
My experience with the Girl Scouts Troop was an amazing opportunity. When I was in Turkey I had heard about Girl Scouts but thought all they did was hike or camp. I didn’t realize that Girl Scouts is about much more than that. The girls learn about business, leadership, how to be honest and fair, and about the importance of community. Girl Scouts prepares them to be better people.
For me, even though I was helping them learn about the Dominican Republic and not my own country, Turkey, it was one of my favorite times sharing about a culture. Because the Girl Scouts were so young they were more curious, and everything they learned was new and exciting to them. After meeting with them so many times, this experience reminded me about the importance of teaching girls about the world and about how to lead and share, and I’m proud I got to be an example for them.