Thinking Day takes local scouts around the world

More than 200 local Girl Scouts expand their world, and collect aid for Haiti

By Mike McGann, Editor,

Local Girls Scouts — part of the Brandywine Valley Service Unit — do a traditional Indian dance as part of the 11th annual Thinking Day at Patton Middle School.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — It might be the quickest way to tour the world, but Thinking Day, now in its 11th year, exposes hundreds of local girls to the tastes and sounds of countries around the world.

Put on Feb. 11 at Patton Middle School by the Girl Scouts’ Brandywine Valley Service Unit — the coordinating unit for Girl Scout troops in the Unionville and Kennett school districts — each troop was responsible for teaching others about a country of their choice. The school’s cafeteria was lined with tables, each representing a different country. From corner, wafted the delicious aroma of Swedish meatballs, while in the center of the room, while in the center of the room, girls in traditional Indian dress were dancing to traditional music.

Scouts at various levels — Daisies, Brownies, Juniors and Cadets — cycled through the room with their passports, guided in part by Seniors and Ambassador scouts. In addition to sampling some of the cuisine and culture of various countries, they also needed to learn important facts and be able to answer questions in order to earn badges.

Becky Shelton of Kennet Square talks to scouts about Egypt on the day that Hosni Mubarak's government fell.

According to Karen D’Augusto, the Service Unit Manager, about 225 girls from 21 troops were able to participate. In addition to learning about various countries, the troops were also asked to donate items to be sent to earthquake victims in Haiti.

“We always try to make it educational,” D’Augusto said. D’Augustino has been helping to run the event since it started in 2001 — as a project of her daughter, Leslie Ann Bernasconi. Although her now-grown daughter eventually moved on from scouting, D’Augustino continues to work on the event as a labor of love.

While there were crowds surrounding virtually every country, the crowds were especially thick around the Egypt display — as the event was going on, the real country was celebrating the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. While a lot of the girls were unaware of the history going on, the parents accompanying them found it interesting.

“It’s not so much the girls, more the parents,” said a rushed troop assistant leader Becky Shelton of Kennett Square, who was busy manning the Egypt table. “Still, it’s a great opportunity for everyone to learn.”

And in a number of cases, to teach. Kristen Nunn, a junior at Unionville High School, was hard at work coordinating the various questionnaires scouts had to complete to earn their badges. Already a Gold Award winner as a scout, Nunn is working to earn a Gold Congressional Award for public service.

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