Local Girl Scouts celebrate World Thinking Day

Christina Ward
O-N-E Contributor

Saturday March 16th the Girl Scouts of Peaks to Piedmont Council, one of 112 councils across the United States, which serves nearly 14,000 girls in central and western North Carolina, held the service unit 134 annual World Thinking Day event at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Hickory. The event was organized by Ginger Rousey, troop leader of troop 10050 of Newton. She is also a Facilitator for service unit 134 and the event director for World Thinking Day for the last 8 years. Rousey has 18 years’ experience in working with Girl Scouts here in Catawba County. That is an impressive commitment!

World Thinking Day is an event promoted by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) along with the Girl Scouts of the USA. It originated in 1926 when delegates from around the world met at Camp Edith Macy which is now called Edith Macy Conference Center in New York and declared February 22 would be a day for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world to celebrate how scouting is observed in countries around the world. The event to celebrate the global sisterhood has been celebrated around the world every year since, with a new theme each year. This year’s theme was Leadership.

Troops choose a country to represent, learn about their country and how Girl Guides/Scouts participate in Scouting there. They create a display to show information about the country, provide a food and/or drink item typical of the country, set up a display of items, teach a game or song, or put on a presentation about their country. Often the girls, troop leaders and parents will dress up as well.

This year 97 girls and 45 adults were in attendance with a representation of 9 Daisies, 14 Brownies, 31 Juniors, 23 Cadettes, 1 Senior, and 19 Ambassadors. (There were also 6 “Tagalongs” in attendance, these being the siblings of Girl Scouts or children of adult volunteers.) There were 11 troops participating and countries the girls learned about at the event this year included Ireland, Guatemala, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Egypt, Honduras, Germany, and Poland.

One very special activity that the girls participated in was the trading of what is called SWAPS (Something Wearable Affectionately Pinned) or (Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere) which the girls make in their troop meetings to represent something from the country their troop is representing and then bring to the event to trade with other Scouts. Ginger Rousey gave each girl a handmade yellow “necklace” to put their swaps on, and a “passport” which they were able to get stamped at each country they visited. SWAPS are a very special tradition in Girl Scouting. They are small tokens to represent friendship shared and exchanged with other Girl Scouts at various Scouting events, or to trade with other Scouts that they may meet while traveling. SWAPS are very creative, fun to make, are inexpensive, and are a great way for the girls to make friends and have something to remember them by. Ginger Rousey, the WTD event coordinator, and troop leader is somewhat of a self-professed connoisseur of SWAPS. She has a large collection of SWAPS and SWAP ideas always at the ready!

Here are a few highlights from the World Thinking Day event:

The girls of Brownie/Junior Troop 2013 from Newton, with leaders Linda Thomas and Tiffany Hart, brought a celebration of Ireland with a traditional Irish Dance! Following the dance, the girls helped to teach the dance to other Scouts that wanted to learn. The troop also brought a delicious “Traditional Irish Stew” from a recipe the troop got from the WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) website from the Irish Girl Guides. The girls learned the Irish Jig from watching an instructional video and they also had Irish Dance Teachers come to a meeting and help the girls with their choreography, technique and to help them learn a little about Irish dancing. The Girl Scouts said the dance was a little tough to learn at first but after some practice and work hard it got easier. They really enjoyed performing and sharing what they learned. 

Troop 12957 had an impressive display of Egypt including a buffet spread of Egyptian foods such as dates, dried dates, grapes, and tea which is the national drink in Egypt. Their display included a flag of Egypt, a beautiful hieroglyphic-inspired tapestry, and a palm tree to bring Egyptian flair. The girls were all dressed in costumes they made for the event. You can see in the picture the collection of SWAPS they gathered on their adventures through the different countries that they wear proudly around their necks.

Becky Byrns was in attendance with an impressive collection of dolls from around the world that she has been collecting for many years. She invites the community to attend the 2019 NC Girl Scout Collector’s Show which will feature Girl Scout memorabilia throughout the decades. Vendors will also be there to sell Girl Scout items from the past. There will be a scavenger hunt, uniforms to try on, “Golden Eaglet” movie, and Girl Scout displays for all to enjoy. Here is the information for the event if you would like to attend:

May 17-18, 2019 (Friday 4-8 pm) (Saturday 9 am-2 pm)

Location: Trinity Reformed United Church of Christ

Ages 5 and up $3 per day or $5 for both days, no registration is required

Contact Becky Byrns at GSShow@aol.com, or check out the Facebook group “Girl Scout Collector Shows”

The event is sponsored by the History Committee: Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont.

At the end of the World Thinking Day event I caught up with an enthusiastic Brownie in the parking lot. Miss Lilah Hallman of Troop 12727 of Hickory, when asked what her favorite part of the World Thinking Day event was, had this to say:

“I liked the bunny rabbits the best! The bunny rabbits we made at Japan, because arts & crafts are my favorite!” –Lilah Hallman, Brownie Scout

Deena Mayberry is the leader for Lilah’s troop.

To see enthusiasm amongst the young ones in the group is certainly one reason why Ginger Rousey does all the work that she does to make events like these successful.

However, it must also be noted that while these events are full of happy, excited girls, there were also 19 Ambassadors present, the oldest level in Girl Scouting, 11th and 12th graders. Retention in Scouting for the upper grades can be quite challenging and the presence of these older girls demonstrates a successful service unit 134 that we can be proud of here in Catawba County!