In 2011 and 2012, in celebration of one hundred years of changing lives, the worldwide movement of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting held a series of unique events—four Young Women's World Forums and the Girls' World Forum.
The Young Women's World Forums, which were held simultaneously at each of the four world centers in March of 2011, gave young women, ages 18-25, from around the world unprecedented opportunities to demonstrate that their voices would not only be heard, but would make a real difference.
In July, 2012, also in honor of the one hundredth anniversary, Girl Scouts of the USA and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts hosted the Girls' World Forum in Chicago, IL. Nearly 500 girls, ages 14-18, and adult volunteers from 80 countries convened to discuss and develop action steps to address the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Using their well-honed leadership skills, girls devised systems to help end poverty and hunger. They also focused on ways to empower women and promote gender equity. And, tapping into their passion for environmental issues, girls worked to ensure environmental sustainability. The event, which was planned by a team of 18 girls, was an amazing opportunity for participants to meet and interact with their global peers and look at the role they can play as global citizens.
It is, to a large extent, the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund that makes girls' travel to these events possible. Established in 1927 by Girl Scouts of the USA to honor Juliette's commitment to global friendships, the fund has supported girls' international travel and participation in training and other international events for 86 years. During 2011-2012, the fund provided girls with nearly 200 travelships to participate in destinations to WAGGGS sponsored events, and to attend leadership events at each of the world centers. In addition to providing funds for the world forums, donations also supported young women's participation at the Helen Storrow Seminar at Our Chalet (Switzerland) and the Greening for our Future event at Sangam (India). Juliette Low described Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting as "the magic thread that links the youth of the world together." With your support, that magic thread will continue to unspool, ensuring that young women will have the experiences they need to become the sort of thoughtful and informed global leaders the world so desperately needs.
GSUSA International Commissioner
Sharon H. Matthews