MEDINA — In ancient Egypt, cat owners honored their pets so much that they shaved their eyebrows in grief when the animals died. The mourning period lasted until the eyebrows grew back.
Meanwhile, in France, restaurants occupy the first two floors of the Eiffel Tower, which is about 1,000 feet tall.
These and hundreds of other informational tidbits were shared Saturday during the Medina Girl Scouts’ fourth annual World Friendship Day at Medina High School. About 200 Scouts from more than 20 Medina troops participated.
“People think Girl Scouts are just all about cookies, but they are so much more than that,” said Tracy Gabrielsen, a troop leader and Claggett Middle School teacher. “We provide opportunities to see the world outside our own little bubbles.”
The event, hosted by Ella Canavan Junior Troop 91646, was part of World Thinking Day, an international Girl Scouts program that promotes changing the world for the better.
For World Friendship Day, each Girl Scout troop chose a country to represent. They learned about their countries, then shared what they learned with fellow Scouts at display tables. Featured countries included Sweden, Rwanda, Brazil, Portugal, New Zealand, Japan and Ireland.
Most display tables offered food samples, and some included games from the various countries.
“It’s great because it gets the girls thinking about the world and the differences and similarities we have with other people,” Gabrielsen said. “It also gives the girls a chance to use their leadership skills when they are hosting other troops visiting their tables, because they lead the discussion about their countries.”
The day kicked off with a parade of nations, led by Medina piper Dave Forshew. Then Chethana Yerramsetty, a Medina high school student, performed an Indian dance. The day ended with the Scouts forming a large friendship circle and singing “Make New Friends,” a campfire song.
It was Gabrielsen who helped establish World Friendship Day four years ago. This was after her sister, Girl Scout leader Kristin Lieberth, invited her troop to a similar event in Aurora. Something came up, and the Medina girls were unable to attend.
“Our girls were bummed out, so a friend and I decided to start a World Friendship Day here,” Gabrielsen said.