Do you ever have one of those moments when you’re just beaming with pride to the point of tears? My life’s leadership training (up to this point) culminated in my interview with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) Gina Belle from Barbados. All of the Wednesday night Girl Scout meetings from kindergarten to senior year of high school had a purpose. Looking back, holding an art show to raise money for tsunami relief to Haiti in elementary school, taking part in troop mates’ Bronze Award project painting fish on drains in Lambertville, and trying to bridge the gap between the English and Spanish-speaking communities through The Amistad Project have all played a huge part in making me the person I am today. The Girl Scout Laws’ lessons such as “make the world a better place”, “be a sister to every Girl Scout, and “use resources wisely” have become ingrained in how I go about my day-to-day life.

As a member of the Girl Scouts of the USA I am also a member of WAGGGS which really connects girls around the world. World thinking day activities such as WAGGGS chat rooms and international fairs were always reminding me of the bigger world in which I live. For me, the point of Girl Scouts is crystal clear and it is not the common camping idea everyone imagines. Girl Scouts teaches girls and young women to be leaders of today and tomorrow, giving them invaluable life lessons. The most basic example of this is the power structure of a troop in the U.S., where in kindergarten, leaders do almost all of the planning but by 6th grade, girls do more of the planning and leading than the “leaders” and continue on that trajectory up through senior year, at which leaders are really just there to sign papers.

How does this relate to the COP? December 4th was the Young and Future Generations Day here and there was a press conference with some WAGGGS representatives in the Exhibition Hall. This is where I got to interview Gina. Her interview included so much of what I have been taught since kindergarten, relating it to what I have dedicated a whole semester to this fall. She talked of the leadership work and education WAGGGS is working on in terms of badges on different climate change topics and having their own delegates to the COP. Also, she talked of what WAGGGS is hoping for from the COP, recognizing the threats girls and young women face with regards to a changing climate, disadvantaging them to succeed like their male peers.  WAGGGS and national Girl Scout/Guide organizations are making leaders for today and tomorrow both in the climate negotiations and the broader range of global issues. DSCN1425