Guest Author - Denese Tyler
According to GSUSA, Thinking Day was first created in 1926 at the fourth Girl Guide/Girl Scout International Conference held at Girl Scouts of the USA's Camp Edith Macy (now called Edith Macy Conference Center). Attendees decided that there should be a special day for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from around the world to "think" of each other and give thanks and appreciation to their "sister" Girl Scouts. The delegates chose February 22 as the date for Thinking Day because it was the mutual birthday of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout movement, and his wife, Olave, who served as World Chief Guide.
Each year on February 22, Girl Scouts participate in activities, games, and projects with global themes to honor their sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in other countries. World Thinking Day not only gives girls a chance to celebrate international friendships, but also is 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.
In many local councils, World Thinking Day events take place on or near February 22. The World Thinking Day event coordinator for my service unit does a great job planning this event. She encourages Girl Scout troops to sign up for a WAGGGS country. Only one troop is allowed to sign-up (first come, first served) for each country. Troops then prepare for the event by researching Girl Scouts/Girl Guides of their chosen country.
Each troop creates a display for the event that contains the following:
1. Information about Girl Scouts/Girl Guides of the chosen country.
2. Swaps that represent the country (flag, crafts, music, national monument, etc.). Each troop brings three swaps per girl in attendance. For example, if my troop has 6 girls attending the World Thinking Day event, my troop brings 18 swaps that represent our country.
3. A food item that represents our chosen country. Just like swaps, each troop brings three food items per girl in attendance. Last year our chosen country was China, so we brought 3 fortune cookies for each girl from our troop that attended the event.
4. Stamp or stickers for marking Girl Scout “passports.”
5. Optional: Troops may bring props or costumes that represent the chosen country. The year we chose China, our troop enjoyed taking turns dressing in the inexpensive Geisha girl costume we purchased at a local costume store.
Our event coordinator holds the event in a space large enough for each troop to set-up a table for their display. For a nominal fee of $3 each, our event coordinator provides the following for the event:
1. One “passport" per girl for use when visiting each country display. This passport is made simply by listing each troop number and chosen country in chart format, leaving space for a stamp or sticker, then folding and stapling the sheets to resemble an actual travel passport. As Girl Scouts visit each display, the host troop marks the passport with a stamp or sticker.
2. Three craft tickets per girl. Girl Scouts determine at which three country displays they will spend their tickets for a swap or craft.
3. Three food tickets per girl. Like the craft tickets, Girl Scouts determine at which country displays they will sample food items.
4. One beverage ticket. A beverage station is set-up with soft drinks, juices, or water.
Our event agenda typically follows this format:
Arrival & Set-up (all)
Welcome & General Information (event coordinator)
Opening Ceremony: Girl Scout Promise (all)
Parade of Flags (One girl per troop marches with her country’s flag – an actual flag or one created on poster board.)
Display Visits (girls mingle and browse displays)
Closing Ceremony (Girl Scout Circle)
Take-down and Clean Up (all)
World Thinking Day events are lots of fun for Girl Scouts. Also, Girl Scouts learn tons of information about the world while sampling a variety of food and adding to their swap collection.
For more information on World Thinking Day, see the link to the World Thinking Day Guide posted under Activities.