What an amazing experience Convention was. But I am glad to be back. Forgive me for not blogging while I was there, but I was honestly either too busy or too tired from being too busy. So you will be getting several posts about the Convention, about Salt Lake City, and other miscellany about the trip.
No, the National Council Sessions were not actually this boring, I just suck at taking selfies. Trust me, this one is better than the ones where I tried to smile. 🙂 The business meetings were actually pretty interesting, although the proposal I thought was going to be most controversial wasn’t and one of the ones I thought was a snooze ended up with quite a bit of passionate rhetoric. I guess you never know. The one thing I was told to be prepared for was for there to be LOTS of people going to the microphone to ask for the air conditioning to be raised or lowered – and it never happened. Everyone pretty much stayed on track. Well, except for one morning. 🙂
This was Saturday morning. We were having technical difficulties with our voting gadget, some were not working. So the presiding officer used her executive privilege to have everyone sing “Happy Birthday” to one of the Board Members whose birthday was that day. And then it became “Happy Birthday” to all October birthdays. Well, we’re Girl Scouts. It doesn’t take much to get us to sing. After that came “Make New Friends” in a round, then someone from the Council behind me started a round of “Boom Chicka Boom“. Then the Presiding Officer asked for a Girl to come up and help her lead a song.
That was a mistake.
First one Girl Delegate from the front row sprinted to the stage. Then came a few more. Then a lot more. Finally, every Girl at the meeting was up on stage. They started us off with “The Milk Song“, and then one of my troop’s favorites, “Princess Pat“. After this, the presiding officer decided she had better take back control of the meeting and shooed them all off the stage. 🙂 It’s one of my best memories of the trip, though.
I took time to explore the Hall of Experiences, picking up goodies for my troop, pamphlets to read, and samples to snack on (though I tried to limit those – I think I only ate 3 Girl Scout cookies the whole trip). There were a lot of really great booths, a fabulous treehouse, and exhibits trying to get everyone excited about the new technology that will be coming to help us manage our troops.
One of the focuses for this Convention was the Outdoor Discussion – how much is and should the Outdoors be part of Girl Scouting. There was a pretty resounding, “DUH” from the Council. The Girls especially were very loud about not only retaining and increasing the Outdoor badges and experiences currently in the program, but also complained that Ambassadors were left out of the proposed new Outdoor Badges. It was interesting to see the concerns of Councils from around the country, from the completely urban Girl Scouts of Greater New York who have to put their girls on a subway and then a bus to get the girls to Camp in a different Council’s geographic area to the Councils that are desperate to stop having to sell off camp properties to the Councils which have so few camps that if their Older Girls want to go to camp they have to volunteer to be a counselor for the younger girls.
I realized how lucky I am to be in the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, where we have 10 camps spread pretty evenly around the Council geography. We have a robust cadre of Outdoor trainers (and I can’t wait until I can rejoin them!), wonderful facilities at our camps (most of them), equipment for troops to use for free or rent for dirt cheap, and most importantly a climate that allows us year-round use of our camps.
I should have asked the ladies I met from Alaska what their camps were like . . .
I picked the Celebrate Cultural Arts theme dinner. It was pretty great, with a couple of Henna artists, a presentation from Eunique Jones about her “Because of Them We Can” campaign (plays a video automatically), and performances from local dance and music groups – Irish step dancers, a drum and bagpipe corps, an opera singer, a group of Basque dancers, and a group of Chinese dancers. I think the performances could have been a little more multicultural, but I think the reason we had 4 out of 5 groups from Europe was simply because Salt Lake City is not as diverse a city as Houston.
The goodie bag from my theme dinner. A Dreamcatcher kit, a pen from the hotel where the dinner was (which also happened to be the hotel I was staying at), two leftover cookie sale necklaces, and a Jolly Rancher. Le sigh. I was way more excited to get a henna tattoo. I hope it stays long enough for my girls to see it at our next meeting. 🙂