Girls on the Global Action Team are spearheading projects with international impact.
Girl Scouts have a reputation as do-gooders in their communities. They volunteer with their troops, pursue Take Action Projects with lasting community impact, and execute amazing Bronze, Silver and Gold Award projects that solve real-world problems.
But a special team of Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors (grades 9-12) in western Washington is also tackling challenges with a global focus while helping younger Girl Scouts grasp complex issues that affect girls around the world.
Right now, that team—called the Global Action Team—is busy planning the next Global Action Summit for June 2019. So, what exactly is the Global Action Team? We talked to Julie Wendell, Director of the Program Department at Girl Scouts of Western Washington, to learn more about the team and what girls gain from participating.
What is the Global Action Team?
The Global Action Team started in 2012 as a team of Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors who advocate for important issues. Members of the team come from across the council to research an issue that affects girls both at home and around the world, like access to education, human trafficking, and environmental sustainability.
Team members work together to create a Global Take Action Project, and they have the chance to collaborate with other girls around the globe through the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
The program culminates in the annual Global Action Summit—an incredible weekend retreat for Cadette Girl Scouts, led by the members of the Global Action Team.
How can girls get involved with the Global Action Team?
Girls apply to be on the team in September. Once the team is selected, members meet over the next six months to plan and research in preparation for the Global Action Summit in June. About 24 girls work together on the team.
So, what does the team do?
Each year, the Global Action Team focuses on a different theme. Last year, that theme was climate change and endangered species. This year, the team is focusing on global women in leadership. Past topics have included access to education, human trafficking, and violence against women and girls.
“We encourage the girls to think about the issue on a global scale, and then what they can do to act locally,” Julie said.
That might mean looking at the impact of climate change on oceans across the world, then zeroing in to learn how climate change impacts us at home in Washington. While researching human trafficking, the team learned where and why trafficking occurs, along with “the harsh realization for many of the girls on the team that it’s not just something happening in other countries, it’s actually something happening in our own backyards here in Seattle,” Julie said.
For many team members, the Global Action Team is like a second troop. Members build lasting friendships with other Girl Scouts while deepening their understanding of a complex issue.
What happens at the Global Action Summit?
The Global Action Team theme comes to life each year at the Global Action Summit.
The team hosts nearly 100 Cadette Girl Scouts (grades 6-8) at a summit at Camp Robbinswold in June. The older Girl Scouts lead the Cadettes through a series of workshops that illustrate the year’s theme and demonstrate how the issue touches women and girls around the globe.
Last year, the team created six interactive stations that helped Cadettes not only see but experience the realities of climate change. Cadettes conducted science experiments using food coloring, dish soap, bird feathers, and other materials to show the real-life impact of our actions on the environment.
For the Global Action Team, the summit is the crowning achievement of their work. For the Cadettes, it’s an inspiration. The summit has spurred countless Silver and Gold Award projects, and after attending the summit as Cadettes, some girls have gone on to join the Global Action Team once they become Ambassadors.
“To see the progression of them from a seventh grader all the way to a twelfth grader and how their leadership changed and their confidence increased has been really cool,” Julie said.
Want to learn more or apply to be part of the team?
The application period for the next Global Action Team will be in fall 2019. Stay up-to-date on the Global Action Team webpage, where you can learn more about this year’s theme and how to get involved!
The 2019 Global Action Summit will take place on June 7-9 at Camp Robbinswold.