Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Guest post: Girls' World Forum, part 2

GSSJC volunteer Kelly Brouillard attended the Girls' World Forum in Chicago last month as a chaperone to our GSSJC participants. Throughout the week, she posted photos of our girls having fun on our Facebook page, so we asked Kelly to share her own experience at GWF!
Read about the GWF from a girls point of view by clicking here.

Making forever friends - Kelly Brouillard (right) with 

chaperones from South Africa (left) and Singapore (center).
By Kelly Brouillard
GSSJC volunteer

I was extremely fortunate to be asked to chaperone the GSSJC delegation to the Girls' World Forum 2012. For a week in July, delegates from 80 countries came together in Chicago to learn from one another and begin to cultivate ways in which they can take action and initiate change. Activities and discussions during the forum related to three of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals––MDG1: Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty; MDG3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women; and MDG7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability.

As a chaperone, I had the unique opportunity to learn more about the issues related to these Millennium Development Goals; converse with other chaperones and girls about the problems they face in their community; and share ways in which we can support our girls and young women in taking action to address these problems.

As a Girl Scout I had many wonderful opportunities, but one thing I never did was participate in an international event. Boy, did I miss out! I have to say, attending the GWF was life-changing. Meeting young women from around the globe opened my eyes to the world. I discovered that we aren’t alone. The problems we face in America are some of the same problems girls and women face in Singapore and South Africa. The continual struggle we have as Girl Scouts to convey our message and keep our communities engaged in the issues important to us is the same struggle faced by Girl Guides in Belarus and New Zealand.

GWF 2012 chaperones, representing 80 countries.
The young women who participated in the GWF 2012 were so impressive. Their thoughts and ideas on how we can address poverty, gender inequality and environmental sustainability were creative and inspiring. I look forward to witnessing these young women put their ideas into motion. They will change the world.

It is important to remind our Girl Scouts that they are one in 10 million, and together we are 10 million strong with one voice. Help to ensure that they know they are a member of a global sisterhood that encourages and supports girls and young women to take action to make our world a better place.

Participating in the GWF 2012 was an experience I will keep close to my heart, always. I made friends that I believe will last a lifetime. The experience rekindled my love of scouting, strengthened my commitment to service, and inspired me to be more and to do more.

Kelly Brouillard is a third-generation Girl Scout, GSSJC council volunteer, Gold Award recipient and lifetime member. She is a collector of glass Coca-Cola bottles, and in her day job, Kelly is a connoisseur of books (i.e. librarian).