How FOU started?
Why FOU became an independent group, not as a troop, not as a council, or not as individual?
Hello. I am Nobuko Asano, a representative for Friends of US (FOU).
Did you know that?---
It was Girl’s idea to establish “FOU”.
The story goes back to around the year 2002. In Kanagawa Girl Scout Council (then), West Shonan District (consist of 14 GS troops) had provided many activities for Ranger girl scouts. Their leaders had a good horizontal connection inter- troops, and they supported the scout projects by providing talent and specialty.
“I want to earn Childcare Aid badge!”
“I want to teach scouts how to canoeing!”
“I want to try snowboarding!”
“I want to plan a meeting with other Ranger scouts from other councils!”
“I want to join an international exchange!” etc…
Every year, scouts requested many different “wishes” and any leader who can support them have been helped to achieve the projects. Some years ago, it developed idea as an overnight skiing camp even included Brownie scouts, several troops gathered to hold that event. Even now after the formation of the district had changed, the friendship has been continuing.
How I met US Base’s Girl Scouts
Personally, I have been interested in International Exchange, and participated to the Winter Conference held by the Girl Scouts of West Pacific. Since then, I made many best friends with US Girl Scout Leaders, and they invited us to their events. So I could attend World Thinking Day and Tama Camp with Japanese scouts who also are willing to do the International Exchange.
In the Capital “Kanto” area, there are three US bases in Kanagawa, and one in Tokyo. In each US base has some Girl Scout troops. Some Japanese troops near the base have been a long relationship with US Girl Scout troop and they had many exchange events and programs. However, if the troop is located far from the base, they have rare chance to join that program, and even when those scouts appeared to the event, they felt out of place. I was wondered why these gap could happened despite we are all sisters and same scouts. I found the reason that there was no network between US representative for the exchange program, Japan liaison, and Japanese leaders who want to join the exchange program. I reflect that point.
Why don’t we make a plan and invite people?
Then we began to make a plan to invite US scouts by ourselves, and Ranger scouts in the district set up the fun exchange program to involved even Brownies and Juniors could join it. The first one was a Day program, held at Zushi Youth House, and introduced Japanese culture. We thought it is necessary to stay overnight to develop the friendship between both US and Japanese scouts, and the plan developed to the Halloween camp from the next year.
Meanwhile, I was trying to make a cooperation with other troops and leaders near the US Bases in order to continue the plan what our scouts made. However their response was not make it easy; some said “we have been dealing with the exchange program by our city’s request”, “We hardly accept other area’s scouts”, “We are all tied up to keep involved our local troops”, or “I am working as a liaison just for my troop”, and so on. I was struggling to coordinate.
Let’s find a company who can share the same goal!
Some Ranger scouts who worked for the first year’s program and then became young leaders, they came to see me and gave a great idea. “Let’s make a group with the company who has the same dream. Let’s share the information for the International exchange.” They also named “Friends of US ~Girl Scouts US-Japan Exchange Friendship committee”.
It is our dream to keep announcing the information to be available many US and Japanese Girl Scout sisters could have many fun exchange programs.
Name: GS Friends of US (GS-FOU)
Purpose: Independent interest group, approved by GSJ of Kanagawa, established 2004. It is organized by Girl Scouts leaders that interested in culture exchange with West Pacific USGS.
Representative: Ms. Nobuko Asano
Member: About 80 leaders and SCAPP of members of Girl Scouts of Japan