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Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Trip of a Lifetime--to INDIA!!

Girl Scout destinations transport Girl Scouts to the far corners of the world. Girls meet remarkable friends, develop leadership skills, gain confidence, and enjoy valuable learning opportunities.

Recently, an eager group of Girl Scouts joined San Diego council staff and experienced the excitement of Indian life in the global atmosphere of Sangam: Indian food, outdoor markets, sari shopping, famous sites and Indian art with 11 of their Girl Scout sisters.

Enjoy this series of posts from Karina, one of the Girl Scouts who just returned from the trip of a lifetime! We'll publish these in four installments. Enjoy -- and let is know what you think!

Holy Cow!

Maybe that’s not the first thing that pops in your head when you hear “India”. Although, you should know cows are sacred there, which means that you will find McVeggie hamburgers and absolutely no beef at McDonald’s.

Well Holy Cow, after the green ink on my passport, it was official.

But the madness had started even before.

In the midst of excitement, yellow fever shots, pre-travel shopping ( bug repellent, anti-itch cream, tons of stuff and that annoying waist wallet to carry around things I shouldn’t lose); I got back my passport with my 6 month Indian tourist Visa. For some reason, said Visa was signed with not blue or black ink, but green. That was the first of many differences I would find between everything I’m used to…and India.

If I could define my whole trip in one word it would be “different”. But I like to write so here it goes…

The first step was applying to the “Essence of India” Destination and being accepted. Then the next step was doing the paperwork, getting vaccines, and a long list of things to do before June 13: the day I flew from San Diego to Newark, NJ to meet the coolest girls ever so we could all fly together to Mumbai and bond on the 18 hour plane ride. When we landed on the moon Mumbai it felt like being out of this world. The air was moist, there was no toilet paper in the restroom (people eat only with their right hand, and it has to do with the purpose of the left/toilet paper hand), people speaking in other languages, women wearing saris, nothing like I would’ve imagined. And I loved it.

A little shuttle took our group through insane traffic, rain and breathtaking landscapes so that after four hours, we got to our final destination: Sangam.

Next: having a blast in Pune, with its 98 million people.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Girl Scout Camp Chronicles: "Wild Things" Daycamp

At our Wild Things camp in Escondido, girls take a walk on the wild side, going behind the scenes and learning from the experts at the Wild Animal Park. Back at camp, their imagination runs wild as they play games, create wacky costumes, make art and tackle our challenge course.

Don't you wish you could experience camp firsthand; to run and learn and play like these girls? Here's the next best thing -- our camp staff share their observations with you.

During the portable challenge course today, campers were trying to work together to get across a pretend pond by stepping on "lily pads" (wooden boxes). As the last girl was about to step back on to the other side of the pond another girl reached out to grab her hand and said, "Come on! You got it!!" It was a great example of the teamwork and skills we develop through the portable challenge course. --Kit Kat, Counselor

I was lucky enough to listen in as campers debriefed after the challenge course today. When asked, "What did you figure out?" their answers were amazingly insightful! Girls no higher than my waist said things like Teamwork! Responsibility! How to concentrate! Making friends! Powerful stuff, those bits of wood and rope, carefully designed by our outdoor education folks, and lovingly facilitated by our fabulous day camp staff. --Skipper, Outdoor Education Specialist

Today the campers were playing the game "Whoosh" after lunch. They split into two Program Aide-led groups and went to opposite ends of the field so they could both be in the shade. Each group learned the game and played separately for a while, but then they began playing the game between the two groups by shouting across the field. The girls are really imaginative and inventive, and they are constantly changing and improvising games together. --Pirate, Counselor

Thursday, July 1, 2010

This is an excerpt of an email and a which includes a forwarded email. Our Program Director, Jen Nation, shared it with her staff. It applies to all the wonderful people who serve Girl Scouts in any capacity: volunteers, staff, donors, board members, parents… Enjoy.

When I read this I thought of all of you and all the pride and dedication you have for your jobs. I also thought about the 12,500 adults and 30,000 girls we serve. I know that more than a few times a year you give up your Saturdays (or Sundays, or week nights, or early mornings) to be at a program event, camp or service unit meeting to ensure that our girls and volunteers have a memorable and successful Girl Scouting experience.

I hope you each know how much of a difference you make in the lives of so many girls and volunteers, as they are choosing to spend their time with us. I also want to remind you each to take care of yourselves and your families. I know it is sometimes hard balancing your time between work and family, and as much as I appreciate it, I want to be sure you are taking those deep breaths for yourself too. Jen.


The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it's the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it…

I turned on my ham radio... to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice….He was telling whomever he was talking with something about "a thousand marbles." I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.

"The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime.

It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail", he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays."

"I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1000 marbles I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear."

"Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life.There's nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help you get your priorities straight.

" This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time."

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about.I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. "C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast."

"What brought this on?", she asked with a smile. "Oh, nothing special, it's just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles."

E. R. Thrower

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