Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all over the world, celebrate World Thinking Day on 22 February every year. On this day Guides and Scouts think about the meaning of guiding and scouting as well as the guides and the scouts around the world. Many troops use this day as a day to learn about other countries and their cultures.
World Thinking Day was first initiated at the fourth Girl Guides' International Conference held at the Edith Macy Conference Centre, USA in 1926. All those who attended, decided that there should be a special day when girl guides and scouts think of each other and exchange greetings to thank and appreciate their service as guides and scouts. All the attendees unanimously proposed February 22 as the World Thinking day; since it was the birthday of Lord Baden Powell, founder of the Boy Scout Movement, and also his wife Olave, who served as the World Chief Guide.
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) choose a theme for every World Thinking Day and proposed related activities. Last year the theme was "Together we can end extreme poverty and hunger." For the year 2011, their theme is "Gender equality and empowering women."
The main objective is to raise awareness of the situation of girls and women around the world and empower them to take a stand against inequality. This is the third of the eight areas of focus made by 189 world leaders at the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000. It is also a part of the WAGGGS Global Action theme, which encourages girls to make a commitment to change the world around them. This year activities have been divided into five main categories. They are group warm-up activities, developing self-esteem and self-confidence, learning together to change the world, living and working for a fairer world, and girls and young women as decision makers. Apart from this there is also, a special speak out category to help girls learn how to advocate on issues that concern them.
The celebration of World Thinking Day in Sri Lanka is going to be a little different from the world celebrations. "We are trying to incorporate non-Guides to our World Thinking Day celebrations this time. Then we can show them what actually the Girl Guides do," says the Director Communications, Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association, Dilmini Peiris. The strength of the Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association is around 30 000. All these Guides will engage in activities such as organizing health camps and giving alms for elderly homes to celebrate the Thinking Day. "However, to keep up with the Association's objective every guide will bring one of her cousins or a friend, a non-guide, to show the activities of the Girl Guides movement", she added.