As a multicultural melting pot, it's hard not to be exposed to different cultures in Milpitas. For World Thinking Day, Girl Scout troops in the city were asked to research a country and come up with ways to teach each other about it.
For the global-themed event at on Wednesday, nine countries were selected by each troop—Australia, Canada, France, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. All the countries are members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
Troop leader Michelle Eacret said the event is a way for the girls to think about Girl Scouts and their counterparts worldwide.
“It’s just a way for reflecting and thinking about other places besides where we are here,” she said.
The girls were given passports to travel to each country to learn about the culture and customs of the selected countries. At each colorfully decorated booth, the troops created hands-on activities, games and projects to demonstrate what Girl Scouts is like overseas.
“They have to have a display about their country, telling about the country but also telling about Girl Guides within that country," Eacret said. “And they either have to have an activity, food or song from that particular country.”
Food was the most popular choice. Girl Scouts and their families enjoyed ice cream in Canada, pasta in Italy, rice crackers in Japan and pita bread and hummus in Greece.
Those who visited India learned to count in Hindi. In Singapore, girls were taught how to make paper stars, and, in Taiwan, a photo slideshow was presented on the activities that co-ed troops take part in on the island.
Tilde Garcia, a teacher at , said the event is a great way to get the girls exposed to different cultures.
“They worked really hard on their booths,” she said. “They did their research and they have passports to keep track of where they’ve visit. It’s just great for the kids.”
It was the first time for Mikaela Sorensen, 10, to experience World Thinking Day. She said she enjoyed the United States booth the most. The booth, put on by the service unit team, was an exhibit of vintage Girl Scouts and Girl Guide uniforms and patches.
“I like to look at the old stuff and clothes,” she said.
“The Daisies, who are in kindergarten and first grade, they are given some power within their troops on decision-making, but as girls get older and they change levels, their empowerment within their troops becomes more of a government," said Eacret.
"They’re running, with the leader’s guidance,” she said. “Girls that are in the 11th and 12th grade, we want to help empower them to become Ambassadors of Girl Scouts, and as they transition into adulthood, become adult Girl Scouts.”
Dalia Ghannoum, 18, an Ambassador, has been participating in World Thinking Day for 12 years but said she still enjoys seeing the younger Girl Scouts get excited about the event.
“I have so much fun, and you get to see the reactions of the little girls,” she said. “It’s really heartwarming to see their smiles.”
Arlene Ang, whose daughter is a Brownie Scout, said she attended the event for the experience.
“It’s our first time here, and we just wanted the girls to know how big of an event it is and how important it is for the Girl Scouts, especially the new ones,” Ang said.