Bring the Olympics to Your Own Backyard!

Girl Scouts and the Olympics: Shared Values

Today is the opening day of the Summer Olympic Games in London! The Olympic flame (which was carried to over 1,000 communities in England) will be lit at the beginning of this international festival of sport and culture across the United Kingdom (U.K.). Now you can win your own medal and earn your Games Go Global Olympic badge! By bringing the spirit of the Olympics home, Girl Scouts can challenge themselves to do their best – just like Olympic athletes!

It all started with the Olympia badge designed by the Greek Girl Guides in 2004, to celebrate the return of the Olympic Games to Athens, 108 years after Greece hosted the first modern international Olympics. The badge was meant to remind people of the original reason for the Olympic Games; a truly global celebration of peace and international friendship. If you’re a Girl Scout, you know how important those same things are to us today!

Though Girl Scouts started in the United States, there are girls all over the world that work hard to make a difference in their community and make international friendships and partnerships. These girls are called Girl Guides! The Girl Guides Association was established in the U.K. in 1910, shortly before Juliette Gordon Low had her first Girl Scout meeting. At the 5th International Girl Guide conference in Hungary in 1928, delegates from 26 different countries formed the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). Girls and young women in WAGGGS (no matter where they live) focus on leadership development, global education and community and advocacy programs, just like Girl Scouts do here!

Earn Your Own Gold, Silver or Bronze Medal!

Today, WAGGGS has girls from 145 countries across the world and it’s the biggest volunteer-run movement in the world for making a difference for young girls! This year, since the Olympics are hosted in London, WAGGGS created the Games Go Global badge to help Girl Guides and Girl Scouts everywhere learn more about the games and the U.K.’s diverse sporting and cultural history.

The Games Go Global badge is broken down into three parts: Stadium, Temple and Theatre. The Stadium portion focuses on the body and physical sports like competing in a torch relay or a triathlon. Temple (which focuses on the mind) includes activities that represent the spirit of the Olympics and their history and values. Part three, Theatre (which focuses on culture), includes fun social activities you can try like hosting an alternative afternoon tea and making your own Olympic costume! As you learn about Stadium, Temple and Theatre, you’ll learn about the U.K. and the excitement of the Olympics.

But, I’m Already an Olympics Expert!

Think you already know all about the Olympics? Well, it might not be an Olympic sport yet, but you can try your hand at the unique British sport of Welly Wanging! Wellington boot, or “wellies,” are

Photo courtesy of Flickr user jronaldlee

popular in the U.K. and here in the Pacific Northwest too because of our rainy weather! In this funky British sport, you try throwing or “wanging” your “welly” as far as possible. Since they’re not very aerodynamic it can be a challenge. Whoever throws their welly the farthest wins!

What’s your favorite Olympic sport? There are over 20 sports played in the Summer Olympics. And did you know this year’s Games will be the most gender equal in Olympic history?! Women will for the first time, make up 46% of the Games’ competitors. That’s global girl power! Girl Scouts can get inspired by our local Northwest legends who’ve already competed in the Olympics! Holly Brooks from Seattle (a former Girl Scout) competed in cross-country skiing in the 2010 Winter Games. Also a Girl Scout, Lynn Ann Colella is from Seattle too and swam in the1972 summer Olympics in Munich, where she won a silver medal in the 200-meter butterfly.

There are plenty of other Girl Scout Olympic athletes to admire! There’s Jenny Thompson, 1996 gold medalist Olympian swimmer; Janet Evans, 1992 800-meter freestyle gold medalist, gold medalist Bonnie Blair, 1994 Olympian speed skater and many more!

So now that you’re in the Olympic spirit, are you planning to go for the Games Go Global badge? We want to hear about it! To get started, you’ll find everything you need to know to earn your Games Go Global badge in the Games Go Global Activity Pack. Challenge yourself, have fun and good luck!

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