Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Girl Scouts and Tea - A Perfect Match!

I had the wonderful pleasure of being with Girl Scouts of Western Washington this weekend.  My friend Roberta (shown above, she owns Experience Tea) has put together an amazing program that shines a light on world cultures through the lens of tea.  This program is an outreach of the NW Tea Fest. I was privileged to be a helper.  

The program explains what tea is, and then takes the girls on a journey through four tea cultures: China, Japan, England and India.  It's an experiential class.  Girls taste a variety of teas and practice brewing skills. We held two programs, grades 2 - 5 and also grades 6 - 12, and each group delighted me.  The best part, all of the grownups agreed, was watching the girls come alive throughout their learning journey.

(This photo doesn't show much because I am respecting the girls' privacy)

My role was to explain how tea made it from China to Japan, how it's consumed in Japan today (loose green tea, sencha) and to demonstrate making a bowl of matcha (above).  Both groups tasted the matcha, and I was proud of their spirit of adventure! 

My good friend AM talked about how tea made its way to England, and how the concept of Afternoon Tea was popularized, in addition to other things.  Above, she's showing a photo of Anna, the Duchess of Bedford. She also demonstrated brewing loose tea in a pot.

And we wrapped up the journey by visiting India.  Here, the girls learned about how tea is grown there and how chai is an important part of daily life.  They also go to taste chai and traditional Indian snacks.

Aren't these cool?  I want one!  

I am very excited to have been part of this program, and I hope to see this Tea and Culture program become something offered widely.  These things take time. And yet, I can't think of a better way to encourage an expansion of one's cultural awareness than through tea!  Thank you to everyone who worked to make this happen!  I am happy to support the mission of Girl Scouts, "Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place."   

And here's a poem written by Mimi Murray, National Operational Volunteer, GSUSA

Because the Girl

Because the girl
     has a need,
We have an obligation.
Because the girl
     has a choice,
We must be her better choice.
Because the girl
     has high expectations,
We must excel.
Because the girl
     wants to explore,
We must be her guide.
Because the girl
     wants to belong,
We must open our arms.
Because the girl
     is searching for direction,
We must be her compass.
Because the girl
     encounters times of turmoil,
We must be her safe haven.
Because the girl
     is tomorrow's woman,
We must care today.
Because of the girl…
We exist.


Inspired but Tired said...

This is so exciting to read about! I hope more Girl Scouts (especially our Girl Scout) gets a chance to earn that awesome patch sometime.

Linda @ Friendship Tea said...

Love the program and the badge!

Marilyn Miller said...

Thanks for the poem. How special for you and AM to be able to share your love of tea with this group of girls. I think you should have received a badge for sharing.

Margie said...

What a fun way to educate youth about tea!

I heard that Bigelow has released a limited edition of "Girl Guide Cookie Tea". I adore the thin mint cookies and would love to try this new tea but I don't think they're available north of the border.

Ruth W said...

Very fun Steph! I think that's a great idea...and as a tea lover, it's great to see education for the next generation. Too bad we couldn't have linked up! I love the badge! Thanks for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!

Pearl's Tea said...

Steph- So happy the program went well and you had fun. Roberts has done a great job creating this program and I do hope it expands. LOVE the patch- and I agree- you should get one just for presenting!

Martha's Favorites said...

What a wonderful experience! Blessings, Martha

Anonymous said...

Hi Steph,

What a wonderful, fun, and interesting day. I was a Girl Scout and enjoyed every second of it. Wish they had had a Tea Badge when I was involved.
The last time I was in Savannah,
I visited the Girl Scout Headquarters which is housed in the carriage house of Juliet Low's home.

Your look wonderful in your beautiful kimono.

Sending you a hug,

Mary Jane

Rosemary said...

What a fantastic experience for these young girls. And yes, I would like one of those badges!