Reflections on GSP’s 1st National Gathering of Girl Representatives

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I wasn’t exactly satisfied with my talk outline on “Girl Scouts in nation building”. What came as a flash that morning was to give a parallelism between our Girl Reps with the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadets we had met at a planned get together in PMA the night before.

That following morning, the girls were flying high on their ‘enchanted evening at PMA’. They had developed new friendships and got to know a bit on how the cadets, both female and male eat, study, live and breathe the PMA way. To start my talk, I asked them what were the core values of a PMA cadet and immediately, they answered ‘honor, courage, discipline, love for country, loyalty and to excel in CAMP (Character, Academics, Military Skills and Physical Fitness).” Excellent and tough love, indeed!

It’s a rigid 4 years in PMA. When I asked the girls who would like to enter PMA, some 10 hands were immediately raised. They could relate.

Girl Scouting is so similar to military training and yet, it is not rigid at all. Girl Scouting is really more fun at the same time, you learn!  It takes 4 years to produce a good PMA cadet. It can take more years to be a true Girl Scout. Sure enough, many of our girl reps started as Star Scouts or even as Twinklers. They know and live by the Promise and Law, have joined camps and a handful were awarded the Chief Girl Scout medal. One of them had attended a camp abroad. Evidently, the Girl Scout Reps and the PMA cadets are our future, no present crop of young leaders in our country. They certainly have to be aware of that ‘annointment’ and the responsibilities that go with it.

One could easily sense that these ‘cream of the crop’ Girl Reps were definitely outspoken. “Speak Out”, the theme of the gathering was very well practiced. They listened, thought and spoke with conviction. They went through a lot of thinking (workshops) and walking through their action plans. Literally walking to places and termed “power walking” by the planning team.  If they gleefully screamed, it was their version of the “PMA yell”. If they shed tears, it was because of the personal sharing from the lone girl scout, a survivor from typhoon ravaged Tacloban or listening to a resource person who spoke about her harrowing experiences as a battered wife, but who has survived and has found her mission to help battered women through her NGO. Laughter came easily, whether it was a joke or an appreciative reaction to the antics of their older sister girl scouts. You could sense that girls being with girls, brought out the best in them.

Shamah, one of the planning team members pulled our legs when she gave her parting line “Girl Scouting is NOT for me and NOT for you”. She continued to narrate the many opportunities she had in Girl Scouting, but emphasized “it is NOT for me”. We wondered. Why? Who then is it for? Was I relieved when she said “Girl Scouting is FOR OTHERS”. It is really a service for others”.

Isn’t that so? PMA cadets and Girl Scouts are here  to serve others.What a better time and place to be in this one country we have with such idealist- realists!

The 1st NGGR was probably one of the best experiences I’ve had in Girl Scouting!

-Dr. Cristina Lim Yuson