Parade of Nations: Local Girl Scouts learn about the world

News-DemocratFebruary 15, 2014 

Dozens of Girl Scouts filled the gym at Belleville West High School Saturday to learn about other cultures.

More than 20 troops from Belleville and Swansea got together as part of World Thinking Day, which is coming up on Feb. 22, according to Christine Stewart, who helps lead Troop 345 from Governor French School.

Each troop was assigned a country and put together a display teaching about education, food, landscape, housing and clothing -- basically "what makes them different from here," Stewart said.

There was maple syrup from Canada, fans from Spain and fleur de lis pins from France.

After a Parade of Nations, where each troop and their respective countries were introduced, girls walked from booth to booth to get their passports stamped and collect swaps, or trinkets, representing countries from around the world.

Troop 361 from Ellis Elementary and Abe Lincoln schools displayed Sweden, mentioning Ikea, serving Swedish fish and girls wearing their hair in braids.

One troop member, Kaitlyn Ann Jenkins, wore her Halloween costume of Pippi Longstocking, because the author Astrid Lindgren is from Sweden.

"Otherwise her hair wouldn't be in braids," Kaitlyn said, wearing a red yarn wig with signature Pippi braids growing straight out from her scalp.

Olivia Jackson, also of Troop 361, said she learned "that hockey is really popular in Sweden." Someday she would like to get her real passport stamped in a visit to the country.

Alyssa Vaughn, a second grader at Ellis, carried in a box of "Tiger Balls" from her Troop 286's country of Egypt.

Alyssa and her mother, LaToya Vaughn-Jenkins, made the treat, which included walnuts, cinnamon, honey, almonds and dates.

While Alyssa learned about Egyptian Queen Nefertiti and the pyramids, Vaughn-Jenkins said she was surprised to learn how different Egyptian food was from American fare.

"The food was something unexpected," she said.

Contact reporter Maria Hasenstab at or 618-239-2460.

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