Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Home again, home again

....and boy, is it nice to be home again! The Convention was amazing. It was awe-inspiring, and wonderful -- a true test as to how Girl Scouts has changed over the years.

There were 13,000 Girl Scouts (both adults and girl delegates) in downtown Atlanta this past week. It was so overwhelming to see a sea of Girl Scout green no matter where you looked. To know that there were thousands of like-minded people out there, all striving to make Girl Scouting the world's preeminent organization for girls and young women.

I met a lot of great people, and I had a fabulous time seeing the democratic process in action. It was kind of monumental to know that I had the power of vote -- that my voice mattered. We delegates were charged with the responsibility of making sure that we not only voted our consciences, but also that we were truly representative of the whole of our communities, and their voices.

There was a country music singer there named Teresa, who had written a song entitled "Being a Girl Scout." She played it for us at one of the last meeting sessions, and it has instantly become a Girl Scout anthem. She related to us how she'd always wanted to be a Girl Scout when she was young, but her mother had to work, and couldn't take her to meetings. She thought that she had just missed out on the whole experience, but was astonished to find out that she could join as an adult. She said she'd signed up that day, and was now a lifetime member! :) When I got a chance to speak with her a moment while she signed my CD and t-shirt, I showed her the Girl Scout handshake, and I offered her my membership pin. She said that she couldn't take my pin -- how could I just give it away? I told her simply, "You're one of us now. We're sisters. Girl Scouts do that for each other." I have a great picture of the two of us, arm-in-arm, with her proudly pointing to her new membership pin. That event sort of encapsulated the whole convention for me -- complete strangers, united by a common bond, passing on the torch of Girl Scouting. A return to civility. Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other's gold.


Phantom Scribbler said...

Glad you had a good time. We missed you!

Songbird said...

So which is silver and which is gold? I've always wondered.

KLee said...

Thanks, PS -- I'm glad to be home! It was a great experience, but there's no place in the world like home. And, I missed my family very much!

Songbird -- I think the new friends are the silver -- bright and shiny, and the old friends are the gold -- they may tarnish a bit, but they always retain their true value. But, that's just my take. At any rate, both are worthy and precious.

ccw said...

Yes, the new are silver and the old are gold.

So glad you had a good time.

KLee said...

Thank you! I did have an excellent time. It was a very edifying process. I had been on a parlimentary procedures team in high school, so I had a good working understanding of parlimentary proceedure, but it was really mind-blowing to see it in action on such a large scale.

It was great to meet other adult (and girl) scouts from all over the place. During the last meeting, I sat behind a leader from Alaska. Some of our speakers were the leaders of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, so they gave us a global perspective. It was very chilling to hear them speak, though. Most US girl Scouts are worried about getting into the right colleges, who they are dating, and body issues. (Not that those aren't hard to deal with....) Many Girl Guides and Scouts in other countries have to worry about just plain survival. It was really sobering to think how truly wealthy we are in the Western world, and how so many other countries only have the very basic needs met, if they're lucky. Very thought-provoking.

Running2Ks said...

I love that Girl Scouts is so empowering. I remember my pledge too :)

I'm glad you had fun, and I am glad you are back.

Scrivener said...

Welcome home! Glad you had a good trip.

Ray Trygstad said...

I hope you will discuss the fact that the girls boo'ed nearly every time Studio 2B came up, and what impression that might have made on you...

KLee said...

Ray Trygstad said: "I hope you will discuss the fact that the girls boo'ed nearly every time Studio 2B came up, and what impression that might have made on you..."

First of all, welcome, Ray! Glad to meet another participant!

I was not all that surprised to find that a lot of girls didn't like Studio 2B, given the reception to it by girls in our Service Unit. I was, however, surprised as all get-out to hear other *leaders* booing it!

I personally don't have anything to do with Studio 2B, since my girls are too young for it. I see a lot of fence-sitting room. I could see where it might retain girls in danger of dropping out of the program, and I can see where it might be a good program for girls that have very little free time, like some of the Young Women of Distinction. It would appeal to Juliettes, who don't have a troop to go along with.

What's your feeling on Studio 2B? A lot of our leaders expected to go to the convention and be told that Studio 2B was on its way out.

Also, a lot of leaders are concerned (at least in my area) that Proposal 3 (which dealt with rewriting the Preamble to our Constitution for all of you out there) was taking the whole "adult leadership" factor totally out of the equation. If you notice, Ray -- it mentioned "partnering with caring adults." People are worried that this is leaning down the path of neutralizing the adult leader.

We won't even talk about the endless debate on the scope of what constitutes "God."

I can definitively say that it was not a dull five days.

RussianViolets said...

You know, I really, really miss Girl Scouts. *sigh* This reminded me of some great memories. Thanks, KLee!

Jenevieve said...

I'm with Russianviolets. The 8 years I spent in Girl Scouts contained some of the best experiences of my youth. Survival backpack trips, camping, deep-sea fishing, competitions (we always won the international code flag and marching comps!), even cookies and earning patches were fun. Earning my silver was incredibly awarding, and I wish I could have gone for my gold. Yay, Girl Scouts!

KLee said...

RV and jen -- you know that you can BOTH still be Girl Scouts, right? You can join as a member, or volunteer some time at your local council. I know that making a full-time commitment is really hard for busy people, but councils welcome any time you can give us. It's important that young girls see women as strong, smart, and successful, so if you want to just volunteer a few hours, that's still a few hours more with a wonderful, successful woman than they might normally get.

Or, you can always pony up the big bucks, and be a lifetime member! :)

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