MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Girl Scouts across the globe partake in various activities to help develop them into productive members of society, but how often do scouts get the opportunity to interact with other scouts from a different country?
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Girl Scouts invited local Japanese Girl Scouts to a cultural exchange aboard MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, April 25, 2014, to foster friendship and interact with one another.
“We invited Japanese Girl Scouts on base, and we asked them what they wanted to learn about American culture and they said they wanted to know how make pizza,” said Hyla Melloy, Girl Scouts programs chairman. “Our Girl Scouts love pizza so I think they were just as excited as the Japanese Girl Scouts.”
Melloy said the Japanese Girl Scouts haven’t been aboard MCAS Iwakuni in more than 20 years.
Despite a language barrier, the girls were able to communicate with something stronger: friendship. According to Lance Cpl. Kristen K. Kahalewai, Cadette Troop leader, the girls tore down the barrier, developed a working communication system and enjoyed one another’s company.
Kahalewai mentioned the importance of having interaction between nationalities.
“Girl Scouts are supposed to be a global organization, but when you’re in the United States all you see is the U.S. aspect of Girl Scouts,” said Kahalewai. “You kind of think to yourself, ‘this is it, this is all there is to girl scouting; it’s an American organization.’ But to come to Japan and the Japanese Girl Scouts doing the same things we do, hold the same morals, enduring the same virtues, they’re able to relate on a global scale and not just as an American Girl Scout, but a Girl Scout being a Girl Scout no matter where she lives.”
Kahalewai said the Girl Scouts did this for the opportunity to interact with sister scouts.
“They did it for that self-rewarding feeling of knowing they could go out and meet new friends, no matter what language they spoke,” said Kahalewai. “At the end of the day, they parted ways with smiles on their faces, and as a troop leader, that made me feel really good,”
After all the singing, running and pizza eating, the girls visited the Zero Hangar to share a final experience together.