Today, millions of girls and young women are celebrating World Thinking Day, an annual celebration of the shared sisterhood of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world. Led by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), these young women unite each year around a common global theme. This year, that theme is “Girls Save Our Planet.”
Environmental sustainability is not a topic new to the Girl Scouts and Girl Guides movement. As a former Girl Scout myself, I remember learning lessons about taking care of the environment and leaving my surroundings as I found them as a young girl. But as these organizations begin to use technology and social media to broadcast their messages to a wider audience, and as fundraising becomes a more focused goal of the WAGGGS member organizations, I’ve been inspired to see them sharing a message that feels more urgent.
When selecting the global theme for World Thinking Day 2012, WAGGGS chose to align itself with one of the United Nations’ eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), identified in 2000 as the most urgent global priorities to accomplish by 2015. I’ve seen more discussion about these MDGs in the past month than in the previous 11 years combined, and I commend WAGGGS for aligning with these goals — their commitment to these global priorities affirms the Girl Scout and Girl Guide movements’ fight for relevance and further establishes these organizations as the preeminent leadership development organizations for our world’s youngest generation of girls.
The most compelling element of World Thinking Day is yet to come. In June 2012, WAGGGS will send an international youth delegation to Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. This delegation will work with negotiators to make sure the voices of girls and young women are heard and that women are involved in building the global plan for our shared future. I vehemently believe that the future of our world depends on the involvement of the girls and women that have so long been excluded from these discussions, and I take comfort in knowing that WAGGGS is advocating on my behalf and on behalf of our future generations of female leaders.