As I boarded a plane bound for Houston, Texas recently, I could not have imagined that a four-day visit to the Lone Star state would have so profound an impact on my life. No, it wasn’t the barbecue (though it was awful good!)
It’s the “high” I’m still enjoying from the four turbo-charged days I spent at the 52ndNational Girl Scout Convention. I was privileged to be part of the 24-member San Diego Girl Scout Council delegation that met with women, girls (and a few brave men!) from 112 other councils from the United States and beyond!
But this was no ordinary Girl Scout convention. Sure, we recited the Girl Scout Promise, sang “Make New Friends,” and learned how Thin Mint cookies are made in the exhibit hall. But this year was special for another reason. Girl Scouts is about to celebrate a major milestone…100 years of serving girls! So thousands of Girl Scouts, national delegates and guests (like me!) gathered to renew their “promise” to Girl Scouts and kick off the yearlong 100thanniversary celebration.
More than 10,000 of us descended upon Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center. Never have I experienced so much energy, enthusiasm and estrogen in one place! It was like a Girl Scout campout - on steroids! Non-stop events, activities and ceremonies. Laughter and fun flowed freely. Even the business meetings were positive and upbeat.
The convention highlight? This year’s 10 Young Women of Distinction - incredible young women who have done amazing things to earn Girl Scouting’s top honor, the Gold Award. As each spoke, with poise and purpose, we found ourselves overwhelmed with emotion, then energized and motivated to continue the mission of Girl Scouts. These girls, and others like them, ARE making a difference - ARE making our world a better place.
More inspiration came in the form of media and entertainment icons Katie Couric, Sara Bareilles, Marlee Matlin and Robin Roberts…successful, powerful women who credit the values and leadership skills learned through their Girl Scout experience for their success! “Today Show” host, Roberts quipped, “Girl Scouts gave me the courage to dream big!” Each echoed the need in our world for more women with the “courage, confidence and character” found through Girl Scouting.
From the patriotic opening ceremony - to the “Together Counts” morning walk through downtown Houston’s Discovery Park - to the 100thAnniversary party and fabulous fireworks finale above the city skyline - it was a convention to remember.
But this party is just getting started! Get ready for a yearlong, celebration of Girl Scouts worldwide and here in San Diego. Juliette Low founded Girl Scouts 100 years ago - an amazing feat for a woman in 1912. Low’s vision to empower girls and women grew into a worldwide movement that continues to produce powerful women of courage, confidence and character. Because of pioneering women like Juliette Low, the sky’s the limit for today’s girls. As TV show host, Katie Couric exclaimed in her opening night presentation, ‘It’s good to be a girl!”
It’s true. Girl Scouts gave me the confidence to “dream big.” That’s why I’m excited and honored to be chairing Girl Scouts’ 100thanniversary celebration in San Diego. To all you former Girl Scouts out there - remember this: “Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout!” So plan to party with us in 2012. Go to sdgirlscouts.org to learn how you can get involved. It’s Girl Scouts’ “Year of the Girl…” and that’s reason to celebrate!
Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.