Ten years ago I was a brand new, wide eyed Brown Owl of a group of 36 Brownies! I had been in Brownies as a girl myself but was new to the whole ‘leading’ thing. I had no clue what World Thinking Day was and even when I first heard the term I had no idea what kind of significance it truly was in the Guiding community. I read up on Thinking Day after a district meeting discussing it and thought to myself “WOW, this is like the Christmas of Guiding! This day is truly important and girls in our district need to know what Thinking Day is about and what Guiding is like for girls all over the world.”
That following September at the district meeting, armed with an idea that I got from a Girl Scouts U.S.A. group, I talked to the Guiders and asked if I could organize a district Thinking Day Event. I asked that every unit pick a WAGGGS country to represent at our event. They would need to showcase that country’s culture, landscape, diversity and, of course, Guiding community. I explained that their table could have a food sample but would need a stamp that represented their country to stamp each girl’s passport as they travelled to their country, as well as a trader that girls could make that would represent their country.
That first Thinking Day event we had 11 countries represented and sold 88 tickets. Girls proudly marched into the event holding their country’s flag in the opening ceremony. We had a few girls perform small songs about their country, recognized Guiders with awards, and handed out Canada Cords to the Pathfinders that had earned them.
Fast forward to 2015. This year we will have 16 booths, are expecting over 550 people and will have guests ranging from our Member of Parliament, Mayors, Council people and Area International Advisor. We will have our opening ceremonies with the 225 girls and 40 Guiders bringing in their country’s flag, then singing ‘O’ Canada’ and having a few unit performances. We will recognize Guiders that are getting awards as well as the girls that earned their Canada Cords and Lady Baden Powell Awards. Each booth will be decorated with banners and art work that the girls in that unit have worked hard on all year. Girls, their siblings and parents will be able to taste food, make crafts, and learn about life and Guiding in other countries.
I can safely say that Guiders, girls and their families in Naitaka District know what Thinking Day is all about!
By guest blogger Claire Sokoloski from Westbank B.C. Claire has been Program Advisor, Deputy Commissioner, District Commisioner and unit Guider to every branch there is! She is most passionate about programming and international travel.