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Girl Scouts plan World Thinking Day for Feb. 22

by LISA SHADE For the Gazette on February 10, 2014 11:00 AM

Girl Scouts are everywhere, and not just because it’s cookie season.

Girl Scouts in Indiana are part of a global sisterhood of Girl Scouts in every ZIP code in the U.S. and Girl Guides in 145 countries around the world.

That’s 10 million girls worldwide who make a promise to help people at all times and to make the world a better place.

Each year on Feb. 22, Girl Scouts honor their sister Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in other countries through a unique tradition called World Thinking Day.

[PHOTO: Christine Orchard has kept her badges and this photo from her days as a Girl Guide in England.  (Submitted photo)]

According to Girl Scouts of the USA, World 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).

Conference 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.

Girl Scouts celebrate World Thinking Day with a variety of activities like exploring other cultures, preparing and sampling ethnic foods and learning about Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in other countries.

While Girl Guides have different traditions and recognitions, their mission is the same as Girl Scouts here at home — to help every girl reach her full leadership potential.

Indiana resident Christine Orchard remembers her time as a Girl Guide in southeastern England fondly. “I loved working on all the badges,” she said. “It was good fun.”

Growing up in Alton, Hampshire, Orchard enjoyed the outdoor challenges of Girl Guiding the most.

She saw firsthand the sisterhood between Girl Guides and Girl Scouts when she attended an international camp where she shared her tent with an American Girl Scout.

In 1957, Orchard earned her Queen’s Guide Award, the highest award a Girl Guide can earn.

“I had to set up a campsite on my own as part of the steps to earn the award,” Orchard said. “I had to set up sticks to keep everything off the ground, assemble the tent, prepare my kit bag, and cook a meal for the leader, who was staying close by.”

She also had to organize a 5-mile hike, mapping the route and leading the other hikers by herself.

Lady Baden-Powell (1889-1997), Chief Guide and wife of Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting and Girl Guides, was present at the ceremony where Orchard received her award. “It was a huge gathering, and I was the standard bearer,” Orchard recalls. “Lady Baden-Powell walked right past me.”

Despite several moves across the globe — she lived in Australia and Spain before settling in Indiana eight years ago — Orchard still has her Girl Guide badges and the photo signed by Lady Baden-Powell she received upon earning her Queen’s Guide Award.

Orchard feels being a Girl Guide gave her the confidence she needed to face life’s challenges. “Guiding and Girl Scouting builds character,” she said. “Going to camp teaches you an awful lot.”

Orchard asserts that girls need the skills learned through Girl Scouts to be independent. “Girls these days still need to know how to look after themselves.”

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February 10, 2014 10:55 AM
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