By Super Kristi
Day one of the 52nd Girl Scout National Convention has been quite a ride. As Kathy Cloninger stated so well in her opening address, “we cried, we laughed, and our heart strings were pulled” and it’s only the first day!
Our girl delegation in on day two of their National Convention adventure. They spent today in three sessions of the Girl Scout Leadership Institute with 1200 other girls focusing on things like marketing, entrepreurship, and global innovation. The Institute was planned by GIRLS from the Southwest Texas and San Jacinto Girl Scout Councils over the last year and a half. Check Facebook for videos and pictures from the girls!
On the grown-up side of things, Timalee has attended many GS University sessions including multi generational Girl Scouting and courageous leadership moments. You’ll be hearing more about what she’s learned soon!
Debbie and Christine attended the board development track sessions and have gathered many tools and exciting, innovative ideas for igniting passion in our board and donors.
Our adult delegates, myself included, arrived in Houston at around 12:30 this afternoon. Since there were no delegate sessions today, we had the opportunity to check out the exhibit hall and explore the convention center. What we saw was amazing! If I only got to see the outside of the event, it still would have been worth it. From the Girl Scout flag flying high over the convention center, to beautiful banners of quotes and vintage photographs, to the 5,000 women and girls all glowing with Girl Scout pride- it was a moment I will not soon forget.
There are girls and women represented from every state, council and generation. No one is embarrassed to wear their Girl Scout uniforms. In fact, that very topic made for some interesting lunch conversation this afternoon! Do you think girls should have to hide that they are Girl Scouts?
Fast forward to to the opening ceremony this afternoon. Try to picture this in your mind (real pictures coming soon): a silhouette dance group acting out the growth of a girl. Cheers and tears and wild applause. Then a Sousa march fills the room as the flags of every WAGGS nation are announced along with every state and territory. A parade a girls and flags filled the stage. Cheers from different parts of the room when each state was announced.
Our National CEO, Kathy Cloninger, and National Board Chair, Connie L. Lindsay, gave a warm we,come and introduced the CEO and Board President of our host, the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto. They spoke about all the work and dedication that went into planning the convention, including more than 3,000 volunteer shifts and 13,000 volunteer hours!! They spoke of how their goal was to renew the effort to do great work for women and girls around the world and inspire women leaders of tomorrow.
More inspiration was ignited with Houston Mayor Annise Parker who challenged the room to take action in their cities, citing there have only been ten women mayors of major American cities in the those entire history of the United States.
We got a special treat when Earnie Graham relived her Extreme Makeover Home Edition experience with us and shared how that journey helped her to understand how much Girl Scouts is a part of her soul.
The highlight of th evening was guest speaker Katie Couric, who was the first solo evening newscaster. She walked out on stage wearing a 1969 vintage adult uniform, saying it was very fashionable with the right pair of shoes. She talked about her Girl Scout camp experiences in Virginia (which scored a lot of cheering points with the Virginia delegation!) and reminisced about her experiences with her troop. Her camp names were George and Hamburger! She sang G for Generosity and everyone joined in. She mentioned that camp taught her to be independent and to adapt to different circumstances.
Katie told lots of fun stories and cited antidotes from friends before talking about important critical like bullying and healthy media for girls. She talked about how all of the greatest female leaders, astronauts and innovators have all been Girl Scouts and how we have come a long way since 1912 but still have a lot of work to do before we sleep.
She spoke about her career and how the Girl Scout Law played a big role in her life and how the life skills she learned helped her get through the death of her husband. “A Girl Scout is always ready to put her compass to good use” she said, talking about how life leads you in many different directions.
Katie ended her talk saying “we want progress and we want it now. I never read anywhere that Girl Scouts are supposed to be patient! Girl Scouting rises within you and inspires you to put forth your best. Do your best to be a sister to all Girl Scouts, all people and to yourself and that way every year will be the Year of the Girl.”
After a long standing ovation, Connie Lindsay presented Katie with a Girl Scout pin and a lifetime membership, welcoming her back to the movement.
After another dance performance, the whole room say When ‘Ere You Make a Promise in rounds. It was beautiful, and a nice closing to the day.
We all left the convention center feeling full and inspired.
It’s time for bed now, but we are all excited for another day at the convention and our next chapter in Girl Scouts.