Friday, November 19, 2010


Life can be a desert. But in the desert, there is an oasis ... somewhere. My solo adventure in New York City (for the NextGen:Charity conference) is becoming a snapshot of the reality of life. I'm tempted to draw all the parallel lines, but somehow I don't think all those will matter to the world at large as much as they do to me. So I'll just share the Girl Scout related moment.

The first night I arrived, my unexpectedly shabby hotel seemed to hold more disappointment than excitement ... UNTIL ... I went to the rooftop terrace. Suddenly the view expanded before me with a bit of breathlessness and I decided to let myself take some time and soak it in. The sights ... the smells ... the sounds ... the laughter.

The laughter? That's not normally a sound I hear in New York City. And then I saw it ... a playground on the roof of a neighboring building. Can you see it there? It's not visually obvious, but there it is ... an oasis of laughter and joy.

And that's where my heart starts talking. This oasis is not part of the natural environment. It was placed there on purpose as a safe place to nurture the needs of children. Caring adults had to deliberately carve out this space and give it a purpose. In the midst of a world that is too busy, too adult, and too cold ... there is a place just for youth. It's very much like Girl Scouts.

Regardless of the environment, Girl Scouts holds an opportunity for an oasis. It's a safe playground where girls can enjoy and explore and develop all those important elements of life: relationships, dreams, goals, accomplishments and overcoming obstacles. It's a place where a young girls can connect with each other and with their world in their own way. It's a place where they can not only build a future and make a difference, but do it with laughter and joy.

Creating a playground in the sky certainly takes some effort, but it's worth it. Hearing the laughter ringing up to the rooftops seemed to call out to me ... not just to find the oasis for myself, but to create it for others as well.
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