Saturday, 28 July 2012

Girls World Forum...July 2012...Chicago

Early mornings in Chicago were amazing. The hotel was just 5 minutes walk from the Lake and the Lake was so big that it could have been the sea - you can't see the other side of it! Running along the board walk was refreshing and there were no cows, dogs, pigs...just plenty of other people doing the same thing as me!

The forum itself was part of the WAGGGS series of celebration events for our centenary. Girls attended from 79 countries and I think there was around 600 of us who attended all up. I got to go as a WAGGGS facilitator...there were a bunch of from each of the World Centres and then some other ramdoms! Totally joking...the most amazing group of people that I've been in the same place with at the same time in a long time!

We worked hard to support the Girl Planning Team from the USA who lead the event. However, we did manage to find time to play hard too...even one day hired some bikes, explored the boardwalk and took a swim in the lake. Felt very odd to be swimming right next to downtown Chicago but it was perfect!

Another amazing highlight for me was meeting my Girl Scout music hero Melinda Caroll...I know I'm a Girl Guide dork and so do you but it was incredible. MC wrote 'We Change the World' which is a song I have been playing and singing since it was first released when I was a volunteer here at Sangam in the early 90's. My meeting with MC was facilitated by some new friends of mine and was a total surprise and I didn't get over the excitement for some days. I even got her to sign my guitar. Plus we are planning a music event at Sangam...look out for details of this other GG and GS dorks!!!

The aim of the forum was to inspire girls to change our world especially in relation to mdg1 (poverty), 3 (women's empowerment) and 7 (environment). As facilitators we worked with small groups at the forum around the poverty and empowerment topics and we went to the zoo to learn about the environment. I still have a bit of an ethical dilemma around this evident by the fact that my mood was a little crazy during the experience!!!

Bottom line is the girls went away totally capturing the vision that they could be part of changing our world - mission accomplished!