On July 12-16, about 500 girls from nearly 90 countries and 40 U.S. states, including Mattson, a Girl Scout Senior, and Blotter, a Girl Scout Ambassador, from the local Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada council, met to address the world’s most urgent challenges at the Girls World Forum in Chicago.
The five-day world forum addressed topics such as eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, promoting gender equality and empowering women and ensuring environmental sustainability. These were the three United Nations Millennium Development Goals that the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts chose as important focus areas for the forum.
“Kelsey here at the Chicago World Forum age 16 trying to save the world,” Blotter wrote on the Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada Facebook page. “The first day here we all brain stormed on what poverty is and I was surprised how diverse in nature it can be.”
Throughout the conference and exploration topics, girls were asked to develop a Take Action project that they could bring back to their community and make a difference. Both Mattson and Blotter developed their ideas for a project while at the forum, and they will continue to advance their ideas this coming year. They will channel the energy they gained at the forum to inspire positive change in our area.
Blotter posted, “I have an amazing take action plan that I would like to start! I can’t do it alone, I need everyone’s help in make it happen and when I get back, I will tell ya’ll a little more about it, but you will love it!”
In addition to their breakout sessions, inspirational speakers and Take Action ideas, the girls worked on a community action project at the Brookfield Zoo. Environmental sustainability came to life as they planted trees during a ceremony.
Inbetween time was used to interact with girls from around the world. They became fast friends with Girl Guides from Singapore, Taiwan, The Cook Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and were able to explore the Windy City together — eating fried dough on Navy Pier and shopping on the Magnificent Mile.
On the last day, all the girls listened in humbled silence as Dr. Tererai Trent, founder of Tinogona Evaluation and Research Consulting and one of Oprah Winfrey’s “all-time favorite guests,” talked to the girls about never giving up and reminded them that “if you desire your dreams, they are achievable.”
This empowering message clearly impacted Mattson and Blotter as they talked nonstop about making their Take Action projects a reality, all the way back to hometown Nevada — energized to be the next generation of women leaders.