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TOKYO — More than 200 Girl Scouts, volunteers and leaders from 13 Asian countries will gather in Tokyo this week at the National Olympics Youth Center for the Girl Scouts Overseas-West Pacific annual winter training conference.

Singer and songwriter Melinda Caroll, a longtime Scouting supporter who has written many of the organization’s songs, will perform during the opening ceremony and lead some of the lectures, organizers say.

The conference, called “Learning Luau” this year, has primarily served as a training event for leaders. Last year, it was extended to include workshops for girls, and this year the group continues the trend with lectures for leaders and girls together.

“It really is an opportunity for our leaders, our volunteers, to learn new skills, to exchange information, to interact with people who are involved with Scouting all over the world,” said Hida Avent, the group’s chief executive, who joined the chapter shortly before last year’s conference.

Having combined workshops gives Scouts more access to role models and reminds leaders who they really serve, she said.

“The girls have such wonderful ideas. Girl Scouting is about the girls.”

Participants are expected from military bases throughout the region along with Guam, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and one from Myanmar, Avent said.

While most of the Scouts are Americans living abroad, the conference also welcomes local Japanese Scout groups.

The conference begins Thursday morning and runs through Saturday. It includes lectures on self-esteem, body image, Girl Scout ceremonies, outdoor fun and safety and leadership.

It follows the National Girl Scouts emphasis on healthy living, Avent said.

A highlight for the girls is a visit to Tokyo Disney Sea theme park Friday night. At the same time, adults will attend an auction at the U.S. Navy’s New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo to raise money to send girls to summer camp in Japan and Okinawa.

The auction last year raised more than $6,000.

Groups are expected from every military base in the region, Avent said.

For more information about becoming a member of Girl Scouts Overseas, contact or call DSN 263-3597, at Camp Zama, Japan.


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