By Loraine Ritchey

"Thinking Day", World Assoc. Of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.( an international organization dedicated to the development of all girls). Feb.22nd the joint birthday of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell is celebrated annually where all members of WAGGGS meet to think of their sisters worldwide. The members give voluntary contributions to the "Thinking Day Fund" and the contributions are used to promote Scouting in underprivileged or isolated areas to assist with training, or to support projects that deal with the problems of malnutrition, illiteracy or the disabled.

Here in Ohio, 200 Girl Scouts from S. Western Lorain County met in Wakeman.

Each troop represented a different county. France, Ghana, Italy, Poland, Ireland, Germany, Japan and of course Scotland. "Of course Scotland?" Well what could be more appropriate Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts and his sister Agnes, the founder of Girl Guides, were native Scots. The Girl Guides, as I understand it, was first organized to help young women require the life skills needed to survive in the early 1900"s. " Juliette Low ( family friend of Lord Baden Powell) first experience working with girls in a troop was in Scotland. Seven girls met every Saturday; some had to walk as far as seven miles to get there. They learned about cooking, knitting, first aid, personal hygiene, and knot tying… The Scottish girls also became entrepreneurs. They raised chickens, produce and spun wool to sell. This meant that the young girls did not have to leave home to make a living. (The Guide for Junior Girl Scout Leaders)

The girls from each troop had to put together a five minute program, displaying the cultural artifacts, dances, music games and morsels of the native cuisine. It took just 90 minutes to "tour the world". The performers though, at least in Scotland, performed the Fling and the Lilt at least 8 times in that 90 minutes. The girls were given a break by the Piper Jeff Wightman. Jeff, Scout-Life rank BSA working of Eagle rank, played between dances. Jeff ended the day and the tour with a traditional "friendship circle" and tune.

Dancers were Teegan Wightman, Ashley Burns, and Emily Erwin. I am told that they also found time to teach in the "green room". The Girl Guides/Scouts have come to represent those who embody the qualities of "self-reliance, resourcefulness, common sense, and courage" maybe the Highland dancers would like to add "stamina" to that list!

The Girl Scouts weren't the only ones going around the world in 90 minutes. Yours truly, thanks to the internet ( yes! I am liking cyber-space a little better) has bounced from continent to continent. Although I usually save the "cheers and sneers" for a later in the year, I have decided now would be a good time to thank some truly wonderful and "patient" people.

"Cheers" must go to Dr. Bruce Little, Little & Sons, Fine Arts and Antiques, England. http://fineartandantiques.com/ Not only did the "good DR." help me with the fact that I was sending "bad HTML" ( whatever that is) he actually " legitimized" my writing a column about Scotland and it's dances. As it transpires (whilst doing research for a great grandfathers painting) it turns out that my Great, great, great grandfather was actually "lucky Cooper (Henderson) from Aberdeen" Why was he lucky? Well apparently he "found" a cache of gold on a beach in Aberdeen and promptly took off for England. Sorry, I have no idea what happened to the gold or money.

"Cheers" Australia and my counter part, John White. John writes for the magazine "Highland Gathering" his knowledge and support has been very much appreciated in the last few weeks. A sample of John's work and the magazine which pertains to all things Scottish can be found http://hometown.aol.com/duntroonpub or you can e-mail highlandgathering@hotmail.com for more information on the magazine.

"Cheers" USA and Mary Beth Miller , one of USA true champions in dance. Mary Beth has been my mentor in the last few weeks, getting me through the "tangled webb" and I am not just referring the internet. Mary Beth in her spare time also is the owner of Highland X Press (dance supplies) you can reach Mary Beth HighXPress@aol.com . "DANCERS" readers will remember Mary Beth from the article on "United States World Champions".

"Sneers" has to go to "my primary server" the trouble they have caused me with my intermittent e-mail problems. Automated support tech announcements. I am sure that those of you who have been computer literate will smile. However, this situation has caused more frustration ,chaos, tempered with joy ( when things work) in my life than Highland ever did! (and that's saying something).

"Sneers" also has to go to SOBHD. I suggested in a back column (in the last century) that "Highland had taken 2000 years to come to the fore and that it may take until the year 2000 for me to receive an answer(from SOBHD) as to whether dancers were penalized for competing at other competitions" Here we are months into 2000 and still no answer! Maybe they have the same primary e-mail that I do!!!

Scottish Official Highland Dance Assoc. can be reached through Jane Knox jane@cfn.ed.ac.uk . They promise to answer all enquiries.

"Cheers" also has to go to www.danceronline.com I have spent a great deal of time on this particular site. Dancer Television is well worth the visit and helped calm my fraying nerves. Once again, thanks has to go to Owen Goldman, he may have saved my sanity! Word of warning, make sure you have plenty of time to spare when visiting, or like me dinner could end up as Pizza delivery.

The Midwest Regional is coming up this month and will be held in conjunction with the 33rd Alma Highland Festival. May 27th will have the Great Lakes Open Dance Championship. May 28th will find the Highland Dance competition held in the morning and the Great Lakes Closed Championship in the afternoon. The afternoon competition is only open to dancers from the Midwest region vying for a spot in the USIR to be held in Philadelphia. www.almahighlandfestival.com will further your information

As always Questions/comments may be addressed to

Loraine Ritchey,1127.W.4th Street, Lorain, Oh.44052 440.246.6046 or with any luck ritch@adelphia.net

failing that ( and it usually does)