Local Girl Scouts will celebrate World Thinking Day on Saturday, Feb. 26, with an international festival featuring the food, customs, dress and music of many nations.
Hosted by Troop 20939, World Thinking Day is an annual tradition among Girl Scouts. Individual troops choose one of the nearly 200 member nations of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) to learn about; the girls prepare a replica of the nation’s flag and a tabletop display. They may also choose to perform a song or skit representing their country. Many girls prepare snacks from their countries and make small gifts or pins, known among Scouts as “swaps,” to exchange.
The event’s official theme is “empowering girls will change the world.” Margaret Treloar, WAGGGS World Board Chair, explains, “The goal is to raise awareness of the situation of inequality for many girls and young women and empower then to take a stand!”
For the first time, Blount County’s World Thinking Day celebration will be held at Rockford Elementary School. Setup for participating troops begins at 9 a.m., and the event kicks off at 9:30 a.m. The festivities begin with a “Parade of Flags” of the participating nations.
World Thinking Day began in 1926 when attendees at an international Scouting conference decided there should be a special day when Girl Scouts all around the world think of each other and give thanks and appreciation to their “sister” Scouts. February 22 was chosen as the date because it is the shared birthday of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout movement, and his wife Olave, who served as World Chief (Girl) Guide. Blount County Scouts observe Thinking Day on the Saturday closest to this anniversary.
In 1932, a Belgian delegate to the conference suggested that since birthdays usually involve presents, girls could show their appreciation and friendship on Thinking Day not only by extending warm wishes but by offering a voluntary contribution.
Blount County’s Little River Service Unit is the largest service unit in the 46-county Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians, which serves more than 20,000 girls, K-12, and includes 7,000 volunteers from Southwest Virginia to North Georgia.
Anyone interested in learning more about Girl Scouting should contact the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians’ Knoxville office, 865-688-9440.