Girl Scouts learn about other cultures with 'Thinking Day'

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Tue., Mar. 8, 2011
Girl Scout troop leader Kathy LaRosa helps Caroline light the candles during the ceremony on friendship and understanding. Photos by Martha Marteney.
Girl Scout troop leader Kathy LaRosa helps Caroline light the candles during the ceremony on friendship and understanding. Photos by Martha Marteney.

All of the South Windsor Girl Scout troops came together on March 5 for “Thinking Day,” which is a global event for the girls to celebrate the international community of which Girl Scouts and Girl Guides are a part.  According to Karen Ketaineck, South Windsor’s Girl Scout service unit manager, there are 45 troops in town for girls ranging from kindergarten to high school seniors.

“Thinking Day is a day to think about our sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts,” explained South Windsor High School senior and member of troop 10952, Kristen Wnuck, in the opening ceremony for the event.  She started with Girl Scouts as a Brownie in first grade, and is now in Ketaineck’s troop.

As part of the ceremony, candles were lit to symbolize friendship, as well as understanding the similarities and differences of the members of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides worldwide. “It’s really about Girl Scouts recognizing other cultures and other organizations similar to Girl Scouts in other countries,” noted Wnuck.

“Girl Scouts is a great way to learn about leadership and serving your community and your country,” said Mayor John Pelkey.  “That’s what you’re preparing for,” he added. “You're preparing for life.”  Pelkey presented the town proclamation for Thinking Day, signed by the town council members.  He read the names of the council members and asked the girls to think about the various nationalities represented on the town council. 

Several troops offered performances to celebrate the international theme of the day.  Troop 10929 presented a dance routine to Neil Diamond’s “America,” wearing costumes to represent people of different nations coming together in the United States.  Later in the day, Pelkey asked the troop to perform the dance at an upcoming meeting of the town council.

For Thinking Day, each troop adopted a country to learn about and share their new information with the other girls.  Cadet troop 10904 sang a song in Greek, as well as gave a performance on violin and cello.  India was represented by Junior troop 10908 with a native-style dance. Brownie troop 10905 presented their own skit on immigration, complete with a boat crossing the ocean.  Troop 10922 provided information on the kiwi bird of New Zealand, finishing off with a song and dance routine about the bird. 

After the performances, the girls enjoyed international foods prepared by each other.  The various troops were also recognized for the effort they put into decorating the tables to reflect the adopted countries.  Troop 10968 received the most colorful presentation award.  Cadets of that troop, Erika and Danielle, said they developed the design of the table based on their troop leader’s idea, and explained that the purpose of the day was to learn about different cultures and religions. 

An important part of Thinking Day is the swapping of pins.  In preparation for the event, each troop created pins to represent their adopted country, explained troop 10918 leader Carrie Gebhart.  Her troop made pins that looked like the Italian flag, and also made slices of “pizza” made out of felt. 

Each girl keeps one of the pins, and then swaps five pins with girls from other troops as a way of learning about the other countries.  Troop leader Lee Carman keeps her swaps on a hat.  “I swap them just like the girls,” said Carman.

In addition to learning about other countries and cultures, Thinking Day provides one day for all the town’s Girl Scouts to come together and share a special experience.  It is also the kick-off for Girl Scout week, as celebrated in South Windsor.  For more information about Girl Scouts, visit the website at gsofct.org. 


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