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Bonnie: The Head Girl Scout

March, 2011
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img_5015e589afe69cac-2Bonnie Dalaroy will soon become the first girl in Shanghai to earn the Gold Award for the Girl Scouts. The Gold Award is the highest honor in Girl Scouts, followed by the Silver Award that she accomplished in ninth grade.

“I’m just working towards it this year,” said the senior at the SMIC Private School in Pudong, Shanghai. “The guidelines for receiving the Gold Award are undergoing a change this year, but the main idea is to get girls to “take action”; the final stage of the project is to plan and complete an activity that benefits and has a lasting effect on the community.” She hopes she can somehow integrate the Shanghai Roots & Shoots Million Tree Project into her final project, in which she will take a trip to Inner Mongolia to plant trees this April, representing the Shanghai Girl Scouts.

This is Bonnie’s ninth year in Girl Scouts, and probably the last year for her.

LittleStar met Bonnie after the Girl Scouts World Thinking Day event, and talked with the veteran about being a girl scout in Shanghai.

LittleStar: World Thinking Day was recently held at Concordia International School Shanghai. What was the theme for this year? What activities did the Girl Scouts participate in at the event?

Bonnie: Basically, each year the Girl Scouts headquarters in the US sets a Thinking Day theme for all councils around the world to follow. On the day, each troop is meant to prepare an activity that helps girls learn about that certain topic and to lead them to think about how they can contribute to the world. This year, our theme is “empowering women can change the world,” and I think the girls learned about global poverty and hunger in less fortunate countries.

This year’s event was very successful; I’ve heard a parent saying it’s getting better every year in Shanghai. I only oversaw the Roots & Shoots station where we had the girls cut out “leaves” for the Girl Scout tree with their wishes written on there. Other activities we had on the day were having girls drag around a sack of rice to a certain location, having them write in clay, and having them eat rice from a paper bowl. These hands-on activities help girls experience the lives of women who have to endure such hardships every day.

LittleStar: How many other events do the Girl Scouts run each year?

Bonnie: This is my first year in Shanghai Girl Scouts. There are many Girl Scouts events every year in Beijing (I was studying in Beijing last year), such as: Thinking Day, Someone Special and Me event (we used to hold father-daughter dances), autumn and spring camping trips, and the Bridging Ceremony at the end of the year when some girls move up to the next level and so on. But Thinking Day is definitely one of the more important events where all troops gather together. A vital aspect of World Thinking Day is to celebrate the friendship of fellow scouts around the globe.

LittleStar: How many girls have joined the Girl Scouts in Shanghai? How can girls join your group?

Bonnie: I think there are 300+ Girl Scouts in Shanghai now, from eight international schools. Girl Scouts is for girls from kindergarten to 12th grade, but right now, elementary girls make up the largest population, and the number of participants decreases as the grade goes up. I’m the only senior scout (age 16 and up) in Shanghai now. I think anyone can join as long as they remember to register around August.

LittleStar: How is the Girl Scouts run? What is your responsibility in the organization?

Bonnie: We form troops that are relative to our age group (Daisy scouts, Brownies, Juniors, Cadaettes, Seniors) and usually our school and basically our troop leaders lead us in all the activities. However, as you enter the higher level of Girl Scouts, you may also choose to become a Juliette, which means you work alone. I’m a Juliette now as I’m mainly working towards my personal Gold Award instead of going to troop meetings.

There’s also a Shanghai Girl Scouts committee that organizes all the major events and meets regularly with all troop leaders.

My responsibility is just to set a good example for my fellow scouts (especially the younger ones), and encourage them to stand out and make a difference in the world too.

LittleStar: When did you join the Girl Scouts? What does it mean to be a Girl Scout?

Bonnie: This is my ninth year in Girl Scouts; I first joined when I was in third grade. As I enter my last year of high school next year, I’ll be getting my 10-year pin in Girl Scouts; another pretty cool achievement!

When people ask me why I enjoy being a scout, this is what I tell them: I joined Girl Scouts for the same reason as many of you – because it’s fun! Memories of camping trips, sleepovers, and troop meetings remain an important and inseparable part of my childhood. But as I grew older, advancing from a Brownie, to a Junior, to a Cadette, and finally to a Senior Scout, I realized that Girl Scouts isn’t simply about having fun, or even just personal fulfillment, it’s about taking what you learn to benefit others. We are lucky to have so much support from our dedicated leaders, fellow scouts, and the community as a whole. Girl Scouts is the vehicle for us to take our ideas and turn them into actions that make a difference in the world.

LittleStar: Does it take you a lot of time to take care of Girl Scouts issues? How does this experience help your life and make you better?

Bonnie: I’m certainly really busy this year, but I try to organize my time well because the Award is important to me too. My time is already more flexible since I’m a Juliette and primarily working toward my Gold Award. Moreover, my burdens have been lessened substantially with all the support I’m getting from the GS chair, various troop leaders, and the GS community as a whole.

LittleStar: You are going to plant trees in Inner Mongolia in April, right? Is this the first time for the Girl Scouts to join hands with Roots & Shoots in the Million Tree Program?

img_6692e589afe69cacBonnie: I’m the only one sent on this trip! The committee decided I best represent GS in the Million Tree Project because I’m the most experienced and oldest girl. I’ll be representing all of Shanghai Girl Scouts on my trip there. As of now, we’ve donated around 830 trees to Roots & Shoots; I doubt I’ll be able to plant them all though! Donating 2000 trees is our ultimate goal; we’ll get a forest named after us!

This is the first time for the Girl Scouts to partner with Shanghai Roots & Shoots, but we’re looking forward to a great partnership and maybe more collaboration in the future too. I think the Million Tree Project is a fantastic idea and an especially well-organized annual event. I might steer my Gold Award “take action” project in this direction and plan something that causes a lasting effect through Roots & Shoots.

LittleStar: Any words for girls regarding joining the Girl Scouts?

Bonnie: I encourage all girls to join Girl Scouts if they want to learn about becoming stronger as a girl, making an impact on the world, or simply if they want to meet new friends. Girl Scouts certainly offers a fun unique experience, combined with a platform for girls to achieve even greater things in life.

Bonnie is now busy organizing a tie-dying event on March 12th (Chinese Arbor Day). You may find her there and help to make the Earth greener!




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