Event Spotlight: G.I.R.L. 2017

Melissa Kossler Dutton
Participants take a selfie at the Girl Scouts' 2014 convention.

There's no doubt the lineup of activities, speakers and breakout sessions planned for the Girl Scouts of the USA's national convention is girl-focused.

Girl Scouts from around the country helped organized G.I.R.L. 2017, which highlights the characteristics of Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker and Leader, said Tammy Wharton, CEO of Girl Scouts of Ohio's Heartland Council. “Being a girl-led organization, these were determined by girls,” Wharton said. “They vetted everything.”

The triennial event, which takes place Oct. 3-8 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, is expected to draw 10,000 people to the city.

While the event is designed to bring together Girl Scouts from around the world, some parts are open to the public. Visitors will especially enjoy the Hall of Experiences, the convention's focal point, where all exhibitors offer a kid-friendly activity, Wharton said. Stations will focus on STEM, entrepreneurship, global citizenship, life skills, social change and the outdoors, among other topics. “It's going to be very, very experiential and a place for learning,” she said. Admission is $10 for children and $20 for adults.

The Hall of Experiences also will include “campfire discussions” where girls can engage in thought-provoking conversations, entertainment and networking opportunities.

A weekend pass ($165 to $375) includes participation in a COSI overnight or breakout sessions, depending on an attendee's age. The talks, designed for girls in sixth through 12th grades, will cover dozens of topics ranging from self-defense, computer coding and science careers to preparing for college, car repair and addressing bullies. Central Ohioans Jane Grote Abell of Donatos Pizza, Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams and Frederic Bertley of COSI are among the participants.

Nationally known speakers include First Daughters Barbara Pierce Bush and Chelsea Clinton and Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas.

G.I.R.L. 2017

Hall of Experiences

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 6 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 7

Where: Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 N. High St.

Cost: $10 for grades K-12, $20 for adults

For more information: girlscouts.org/girl2017

Weekend Pass with Camp-in

Who: Girls in grades two to five

What: Includes Hall of Experiences, opening and closing ceremonies and an overnight at COSI

Cost: $165 for girls and adult chaperones

Weekend Pass with Breakout Sessions

Who: Girls in grades six to 12

What: Hall of Experiences, breakout sessions, opening and closing ceremonies and other special events

Cost: $315 for girls, $375 for adult chaperones