For the first time, a current WAGGGS World Board Chair has visited Costa Rica. Nicola Grinstead attended the 18th Latin American Gathering of Girl Guide and Girl Scout Leaders, alongside Grace-Anne Crichlow, Chair of the Western Hemisphere Region Committee, and President of the Asociacion de Guias y Scouts de Costa Rica, Ana Christina Calderon.
The meeting is a wonderful opportunity for leaders from across Latin and Central America to come together every two years. The theme for 2016 was ‘Connect, Grow, Impact’, reflecting the wider WAGGGS triennium theme. 130 Girl Guide and Girl Scout leaders from 14 of the 17 WAGGGS Member Organizations in Latin and Central America had the opportunity to take part in workshops and activities on WAGGGS initiatives, and develop leadership skills.
Nicola encouraged participants at the gathering to embrace the theme together throughout the event. In a speech at the opening ceremony, she said:
“As we start our week together, thinking about how we can grow our global movement in terms of numbers and quality, I ask that in the coming days you bring these words alive. Connect with each other by taking the chance to learn a different perspective and make the best of the opportunity to sit alongside women from 14 different countries. Grow in your own leadership by opening your mind to new ideas and learning new skills, and ensure the highest possible impact by daring to dream of a better world and your own role in making that dream a reality.”
Also at the opening ceremony, the Asociacion de Guias y Scouts de Costa Rica’s first female president, Ana Christina Calderon emphasised the importance of the Latin American Gathering in providing the tools and environment to develop leaders who will go on to make a significant impact on society. Meanwhile, Señor Sergio Alfaro Salas, Ministro de la Presidencia Republica de Costa Rica (First Minister of Costa Rica), gave the support of the government for the association and encouraged participants to take the opportunity to make a difference.
As part of the event, the group took part in a session on promoting volunteering. By learning how to market and sell things, participants developed communications skills to promote volunteering to find new leaders for the growth of the movement. Among other activities were Free Being Me sessions, building personal development and connecting participants to issues of self-esteem in their members.
The Latin American Gathering Planning Team said that they were “excited to provide the opportunity and constructive environment for this important leadership event - the female leaders of Latin America are ready and energised to rise to the challenge!”
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