I am a Girl Scout of the Philippines. I never earned badges because there was none given by my troop leaders. I did receive an award as the best Senior Girl Scout in my city. However, what I cherish more are the experiences. I earned plenty of friends through jamborees in the air, sportsfests, camping/mountaineering activities and community service.

Girl Scouts taught me life skills related to empathy, gratitude, compassion, selfless service, respect and survival. I have GRIT (growth, resilience, integrity and tenacity) because I embraced what I learned from girl scouting making life choices and decisions.

My mother was a Girl Scout too and her stories of her own scouting experiences inspired me to pursue it as well. Up to this day, she supports the Girl Scouts of the Philippines.

I also had an older brother who was active in the Boy Scouts. Since I really enjoyed the outdoors but the Girl Scouts during my time had more limited opportunities to go camping, I started being known as the ‘frustrated Boy Scout’. THAT did not deter me from having a life full of adventure though.

The explorer that Girl Scouting developed in me influenced my choice to be a geologist.

I do hope that every girl will be given the opportunity to discover and/or experience Girl Scouting beyond badges, regardless of origin, race or religion. I hope there will be many more occasions for Girl Scouts to interact an international jamboree or exchange programs to always be reminded that we are part of a global movement and our counterparts in another town, city or country are waiting to share life-long friendships with us. Sometimes that’s all we need to light that spark for international understanding and sustainable peace.

We were born with our uniqueness but Scouting raised us as fearless trailblazers.

Scouting is a great way to show every girl or woman that opportunities are endless, that there is unity in all our diversity and that one day – each one of us will be called to lead in our own fields. When the moment comes, it is no surprise that Girl Scouting has given us the life skills to be prepared.