WEST CARTHAGE A group of Girl Scouts stood around Madelyn E. Neill on Saturday, munching on mangos and couscous and listening to her speech on Benin.
Benin is a small country in Africa, the 15-year-old began. Our theme was education, so in Benin, 55 percent of males are literate and only 30 percent of the females are.
Miss Neill was one of about 60 Girl Scouts who took part in the Bonaparte Trail service units World Thinking Day. The annual event was nationally recognized Feb. 22, but local recognition was postponed because of winter break last month. The goal of the day is for girls to participate in a project that pays homage to their fellow Scouts in other countries.
Theres a mix of kids that are from other places and kids that have always lived here, so I think that blending together of different cultures is a really good thing, anyway, said Sarah Graham, one of the organizers of the event and a troop leader.
The Bonaparte Trail service unit of the Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways is based out of the Carthage area and sees a large influx of students from military families.
Celebrating other countries, for my own daughter, personally, is a really big education and for other girls who have been to other places, they get to share it, Mrs. Graham said.
Its a connection for the local Girls Scouts to the world Girl Scouts. ... Were in a small community and its good to have that awareness that were part of a bigger community, said Katrina M. Lusk, who organized the event with Mrs. Graham.
Each troop in the service unit selected a country that it researched and presented to other troops at the event. Troops were split in half, with one group rotating through the displays and the other giving presentations.
I liked how the girls knew what they were talking about and that they were interested in learning about something new, Miss Neill said.
It makes a great thing, for people to understand what other countries mean, said Nicol A. Chereshmoski, 9. My favorite, Im thinking, was Benin. It has great food and that is a beautiful, beautiful land.
Other stations featured Canada, Ireland, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, India, Vietnam, France, Lebanon, Puerto Rico and Afghanistan.
According to Mrs. Lusk, attendance this year was double last years, which she attributed in part to switching the date. She also said the service unit is always growing, and that could have affected the turnout.
The participation was better and the girls seemed to have a good time and they enjoyed the food, Mrs. Lusk said.
Its a great example of a lot of things Girl Scouts can do, said Mrs. Lusks daughter, Paige. Its a great organization and we always love to have new girls.
Anyone interested in learning more about Girl Scouts in their area can contact the Watertown office by calling 782-1890, or by visiting www.gsnypenn.org.