Virtual event gives high schoolers a wide view of their power to take action
BEDFORD, NH – Girl Scouts from New England and the rest of the country gathered virtually on March 20 for the Global Leadership Conference hosted by Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, the council serving girls in New Hampshire and Vermont. The conference provided girls in grades 9-12 an opportunity to hear from inspiring speakers, participate in a wide variety of workshops, and enjoy some musical entertainment.
Traditionally a three-day experience held at Salve Regina University in Rhode Island, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the conference online for one day, which allowed people from places as far as Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and even Nevada to participate.
The goal of the conference is to inspire and inform high school-age Girl Scouts who are interested in making the world a better place. They heard from Dr. Roslyn Chavda of Nottingham, NH - a scholar, professor, and social justice activist who related her experiences working at a women’s shelter, as a University of New Hampshire professor, political campaign worker, and public administrator on the topic of how girls fit into the social justice movement.
“Social justice allows you to create the world that you want to live in,” she told her audience, encouraging girls to propose legislation and participate in working to change injustices. “It’s important to question and tear down the current system. If you don’t, you’re propping up the inequitable system. You can have privilege in some areas and not others. Spend your privilege to help.”
Chavda later shared a conversation with Ali Rabideau, an investigator for the Southern Center for Human Rights, a nonprofit law office in Atlanta that works to bring equality, dignity, and justice into the criminal system in Georgia and Alabama, with their talk, A Conversation on Policing, Prisons and Community
Gold Award Girl Scout Julia Tilton of Amherst joined the conference from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, to share her experience earning Girl Scouting’s highest honor. She created a Girl Scout patch program to teach girls how to be aware of the ways social media can manipulate girls, causing depression, and how to use techniques like meditation to become more settled. She took her “A Mindful Girl” program around the world as part of her project to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award.
Participants chose a variety of workshops on topics like You Made It! Interview Skills that Work; Nutrition: Creating a Healthy Body Through Healthy Habits; Unequal Healthcare; Human Trafficking 201: Types & Drivers of Trafficking and Exploitation; Changing Poverty and Opportunity in the U.S.; and more.
“I think I just realized why I loved this conference from the first year I went as a girl - because we allow different views and these conversations with ideas/solutions that can spark ideas for making change!” said Gold Award Girl Scout Christina Wiles of Vermont.
The highlight of the day was Halima Ibrahim, the Rhode Island Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador, who read her poem “The Hero’s Journey,” and spoke about her life story and inspiration for her art. She wrote the poem when she was actively working against gun violence.
Participants were also encouraged to take action by donating socks, underwear and diapers through Project Undercover.
About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org.