Two teens stage 'Gateway Goes Global' this weekend

From left are Sarah Evans, Julie Hill and Corina McBride. Sarah and Corina are Scouts who have organized this weekend’s conference in Gainesville. Julie is a UF grad student and mentor to Sarah and Corina.

Published: Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 10:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 10:43 p.m.

Corina McBride has a simple dream. But it's beautiful. And powerful.


Gateway Goes Global

A girl's conference
Friday at 6:30 p.m. through Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Trinity United Methodist Church, 4000 Northwest 53rd Ave.

It's not original -- it's called "The Butterfly Effect," and it's well known. If a butterfly flaps its wings in one area, the whole world feels it. One simple change, one abnormal circumstance, inspires waves of action that could have never been.

That's what McBride wants, to have small acts change the world, for the better.

In Gainesville, that dream starts with Gateway Goes Global, an all-girls conference for 8th through 12th graders dedicated to bringing awareness to issues like environmental sustainability, poverty and women's empowerment, with the result being that everyone's actions have a profound role in making the world a greater place.

Beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. and running through Saturday until 5:30 p.m., the conference takes place at Trinity United Methodist Church and is the brainchild of McBride and Sarah Evans, both 16-year-old Girl Scouts who attend P.K. Yonge School and Oak Hall School, respectively.

"I knew since I was young that there were things in the world that bothered me," said McBride. "Hopefully this conference will educate and inspire girls to create a project of their own."

Under the mentorship of Julie Hill, a 25-year-old graduate student at the University of Florida who has 20 years of experience as a Girl Scout, the high school scouts organized the conference's agenda, signed up sponsors, contacted speakers and bought the food.

Hill said she only had to keep them on track, never prod them to stay motivated. Their ethic was inspiring, she said.

"They definitely stand out as what Girl Scouts want their girls to become through the program," Hill said.

Evans said they expect about 20 girls and have specific activities planned to correlate with the issues.

To tackle sustainability, they'll have a trash pile. Girls will visibly see how quickly waste piles up, McBride said. They'll also watch "Half the Sky" to gather an in-depth look at everyday struggles that women endure, like trafficking, poverty and hunger and unequal treatment.

The girls' efforts, which took nearly half a year, began in July, after an inspiring trip to Chicago for the Girls' World Forum.

Both girls were selected to represent Girl Scouts of Gateway Council, a non-profit organization that serves nearly 17,000 girls in 16 counties.

At the conference, they interacted with about 600 girls from 90 countries and discussed international issues that negatively affect the quality of life for women.

When they got home, they felt inspired-and compelled-to forward the message.

So they set to work-but not without some reflection.

McBride said her favorite part of the forum in Chicago was being able to ask questions. She had her doubts about Irish culture. Did they actually only drink and sing in pubs?

"No," she said with a laugh. Three girls from Ireland said so.

For Evans, the trip fueled her views, particularly after listening to troubling stories.

"When I heard stories of other countries, and how women are treated, that just made me angry at the people who do that to people. I think how sick they must be," she said. "And it definitely inspires me to discuss it and do something."

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