We volunteer with the UWEAST Girl Scouts program, where most of the girls are in elementary school. When we first met them, they made me remember what it was like to be that age. I’m all old but they wanted to play tag and their energy was infectious. We were guiding the girls on how to cook; showing them how to peel potatoes, marinate chicken, and chop onions. While we were dicing onions, I talked with the girls about helping their parents cook, what kind of music they like, and what crazy foods they want to try (marshmallows with tomatoes, what?). The physical space in which they run around to play tag or gather around to talk about the importance of education is very open. Sometimes, there are different groups people doing their own different things, which demonstrates their philosophy of inclusion and community.
Because the girls are younger, the facilitators of the Girl Scout program try to grab their attention with fun activities that have substance so they can learn. We talk about the importance of family, of education, and of their East African culture. I was, and am, so impressed by how smart and articulate these girls are. Not all of them know each other, but they quickly become friends by playing games and sharing snacks. As much as we are there to help guide them and teach them, they have also taught me a lot about looking out for one another.