One of just two delegates from the U.S. to represent the Girl Scouts of the USA at the 2010 Young Women’s World Forum in London, England from October 16-25, Montclair State University senior Jennifer Gross has come back energized and with a sense of mission.
“Being there gave me a sense of empowerment and I now have a network of people that I know from around the world,” enthused Gross.
The Young Women’s World Forum is the first of three such forums to be held in 2010-2012. The assemblies bring together young women who are 18-25 years old from the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to discuss millennium development goals.
Priorities for discussion at the forum were ending hunger, gender equality, and environmental sustainability.
Participants voted on a 12-point declaration that covered ending poverty and hunger through education, empowering women and ensuring their active participation at all levels of society, and promoting government policies that guarantee sustainable development. The declaration was then presented to the United Nations. Gross said she and other forum members planned to spread awareness in their home countries about the issues raised in the declaration.
“We’ll have a program to educate girls who attend a Girl Scout summer camp in northern New Jersey,” said Gross, who serves as a head unit leader.
The 21-year-old education major from Blairstown, New Jersey joined the Girl Scouts when she was five years old and has been an active member ever since. Currently, she is an adult leader and volunteer.
Gross is also one of 15 Bonner Leaders at Montclair State, and has been for the past year and a half. The Bonner Leader program is part of Americorps, a national service program which gives students an opportunity to perform community service work in exchange for a small stipend and scholarship funds.
As part of her volunteer service, she helps coach a team in Montclair called “Girls on the Run,” which aims to build self-esteem and health awareness among third to fifth graders through running.
The forum attracted delegates, volunteers, and non-governmental organizations from 64 countries.
Gross also attended the World Youth Forum in Mexico in August. She was the only U.S. representative from the Girl Scouts of the USA selected to attend.