Earlier this week, Oregon Wild staff gathered with community leaders from all across Portland to celebrate International Women’s Day! Attendees heard from a variety of inspiring women (and girl) leaders who are fighting every day for environmental protection, economic and social justice, and equality for all. Speakers ranged from local Northeast Portland community leaders, to national and global justice advocates. It was truly transformational to hear the individual stories, perspectives, and experiences from all around the world, and in particular, highlighted how connected we all really are in our fight to protect the planet. While every single speaker at this event delivered important and insightful remarks, the one speech that received a standing ovation was from our youngest presenter, Josie Overstreet, Girl Scout extraordinaire! Here is her speech which brought the whole room to their feet!
When I think of Girl Scouts, a few words come to mind:
And of course . . .
In fewer words, these words that come to mind, and Girl Scouts in general, embody the theme of International Women’s Day: Conservation, Community and Connection.
I joined the Girl Scouts in third grade, because I thought that it would be a great way to get outside, connect with my friends and do a lot of fun activities.
What I find most beneficial about being part of our troop is that I get the chance to learn skills that help me become an independent person. And I get to be around inspiring women and girls who make me feel powerful and remind me of my potential.
Being a Girl Scout is knowing what it means to be a G for go getter, I for innovator, R for risk taker and L for LEADER. G-I-R-L.
And speaking of leaders, my troop leaders do so much for me and everyone in our troop. They are strong and independent, brave and smart. They remind me that I can be like that too.
Amanda can start a fire from two pieces of wood. She can also corral 20 some-odd 4th and 5th grade girls, every other Tuesday in the basement of a church.
Theresa really knows how to get everyone’s attention and stay cool in an emergency. She is very determined and passionate about what she does.
We couldn’t ask for better role models than our troop leaders.
Probably the best thing about Girl Scouts is that I get to be with my friends and get to do a lot of things that I maybe wouldn’t do if I wasn’t in Scouts—like learning to use a fire extinguisher, or first aid, or be a part of a neighborhood emergency response drill.
We work together to change our community and make it better—as a team.
As a community.
Last year, we focused on raising awareness for grey wolves in Oregon. We made a Public Service Announcement to raise awareness of the wolves, and we planned a fundraising party and auction to raise money for the cause.
We helped place trail cameras to track the wolves progress in the forest, and we donated books about grey wolves to several libraries around Oregon.
I greatly admire people like Greta Thunberg and the young women activists who are changing the world and leaving a really big impact. It goes to show that women and young people can do more than the world expects from us.
I hope our young activism can help people in power learn to be a lot kinder to each other and listen to suggestions. Not get as frustrated with each other.
I hope our generation can inspire many people to be more mindful of the resources we share on this planet and try to leave it a little better than we found it.
I hope people will listen to the young voices of our generation because even though we are only 60% of the population, we are 100% of the future.
If we don’t start changing our lifestyle now, it will impact my generation and the generations to come.
Thank you to the organizers of this event, and thank you all for coming,
And for listening to my generation.