A letter from Olivia Nelson Troop 582, Girl Scouts World Ambassador.

My name is Olivia Nelson and I am a World Ambassador for Girl Scouts, one of 330 in the World.  By being a Girl Scout I have been given the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC, Savannah, GA and Chicago, IL.  I have competed in two National Toy Challenge Competitions (one in California and one in Washington, DC—which we  won first place!)  This past year we travelled to the birthplace of Juliette Lowe.  As a result of this experience, my troop created and designed a book about Juliette Low (the founder of Girl Scouts) which is going to be used at the National Convention being held in Mexico!  


I am fifteen years old and a Freshman in High School.  I attended the World Forum in Chicago in July 2012. At the conference the Forum focused on poverty, the importance of education of women and children and environmental sustainability The Forum described sustainability with a big definition making it sound complicated.  My definition of sustainability is easy to understand.   Sustainability – making sure we have and will continue to have the water, air, materials and resources to protect human health and our environment for a very long time.   We need to meet our needs of the present without taking away from the needs of the future generations.  It is sharing what we have now with others and not taking more than we need but saving some for the future.  It is about thinking and using only what we need rather than taking what we want.  We need to make the world a better place for the future.  We need to take care of the air, water, land and those who live here.  Sustainability is not just cleaning up your room – it’s about keeping a house clean that belongs to everyone else. 


While at the conference I was given the question – Can I make the world a better place and is the world counting on me?  I challenge YOU with the same question.   My response is absolutely I can make a difference!    I am just one voice but I can make a difference in our community, county, council, state and world.   Now I challenge you.  You can make a difference in society as a Girl Scout by following these easy with several simple steps:


  • Turn the water off while you brush your teeth. 
  • Plant a garden and trees to help keep your surroundings be green. This ensures a good supply of oxygen which
  •  helps the atmosphere.
  • Don’t use plastic grocery store bags, bring your own.  It can take between 10 and 100 years for a plastic bag to decompose.  
  • Turn the lights, television, DVD player and video game players off and unplug other electronic devices when not in use.  This will help conserve energy.
  • When you outgrow clothes, let someone else use them. Donate them to a charity or children's shelter, or sell them to a second-hand store.
  • In the summer fill a plastic pool with water instead of running a sprinkler for hours at a time.
  • Avoid using paper plates and cups that will end up in a landfill. Use one glass throughout the day so you don't have to wash several. Take your lunch in reusable plastic containers—it will make less waste.
  • Whether you're on the soccer field, at the beach or out camping, pick up your trash before you leave.
  • Recycle and sort the household recyclables, separating glass, metal and cardboard/paper according to community regulations. 


I encourage you also to live by the Girl Scout Laws and make the world a better place.   I hope my efforts and my message have a ripple effect.  If I make small changes with my actions, maybe others will make small changes too.  Over time the ripple effect will grow.  Next thing you know you have generated a tidal wave.  As Girl Scouts we can make a difference.   We can be an instrument of change.  I imagine a better world.  I am only one voice but I am not alone as I am a Girl Scout.!


Imagine if an office building of 7,000 workers recycled all of its office paper waste for a year, it would be the equivalent of taking almost 400 cars off the road.  This is just one statistic of change.  Now, let’s get focused on the changes we can make as Girl Scouts.  Please contact me at OnelsonWorldForum@gmail.com if you would like any additional information on sustainability or the World Forum 2012.   I would be more than happy to pass along any information.


Yours in Girl Scouts,


Olivia Nelson

Girl Scout Troop 582

Campbell County, KY