Written by Tracy Lovell, Lingfield and Tilburstow District Commissioner
We wanted to make Thinking Day a bit special this year and decided to celebrate in different ways with our Girlguiding sisters around the world. It all started with the idea of sending a postcard.
Since early February, the Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers in Lingfield and South Godstone have been corresponding, via postcards, with Girl Guides in Australia, where all ages groups are called Girl Guides, emails and video messages with Teddies, Brownies and Guides in South Africa and emails and video messages with the Daisies, Brownies Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors in the USA.
Then we thought why not go one step further... and so on Saturday 13 March, 100 girls and leaders flew to Arizona, via the power of Zoom, for a series of meetings with 100 girls and their leaders from Chandler, Arizona.
Starting at 4pm UK time, which was 9am in USA, the Rainbows and Brownies met with Daisies and Brownies. They started by sharing their promises, then stories of Lord Baden Powell and Juliette Gordon Low. After playing a game showing some of the cultural differences between the two countries, we shared some craft activities and discussed swops. Finally, we finished with the lighting of a Thinking Day candle to honour new friends and to serve as a reminder to ourselves of our shared values and promise. We all learnt that whilst we live thousands of miles apart, we stand for the same thing.
This was followed by the Guides, Junior and Cadette session at 5pm who had a slightly different challenge. We all learnt a lot about the names for everyday items and some of the favourite items of food in each country. They were lucky enough to meet in smaller breakout rooms to chat and make friends. Each country was thrilled to see some of the badges that each other has and for the UK group to find out more about Girl Scout cookies! Finally, the Rangers and Ambassadors met at 6pm and absolutely loved chatting to each other and finding out all the different varieties of candy, cookies, and chips there are! We all realised one thing – girl guides are always quick to find snacks!
Many girls are now going to continuing talking to their new friends as a pen-pal or is it email-pal these days?
A multitude of swops and badges are now travelling across the Atlantic both ways so the girls can make the crafts they saw demonstrated and if we are lucky, we hear there may also be some sweet treats to try.
But that is not all … the leaders are having a coffee meeting on 20 March so that they can get to chat in peace. It also appears that the Guides and Rangers will be hosting a troop from Chandler in 2024 when they hope to travel for real to the UK.