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Two Decades of Kids and Counting

By Sally Torbey

About this blog: About this blog: I have enjoyed parenting five children in Palo Alto for the past two decades and have opinions about everything to do with parenting kids (and dogs). The goal of my blog is to share the good times and discuss the ...  (More)

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Bridging on the Golden Gate

Uploaded: May 17, 2014
Despite having lived in the Bay Area for 25 years, I had never walked all the way across the Golden Gate Bridge until a few weeks ago. In the company of our troop of thirteen Girl Scouts, two troop co-leaders and 6000 other ten and eleven-year-olds and their troop leaders, we traversed the bridge on a gorgeous sunny day to celebrate our troop's advancement from Juniors to Cadettes. How convenient to have one of the world's most beautiful bridges nearby to commemorate bridging to the next level of scouting!

For 30 years, Girl Scout troops have been bridging on the Golden Gate. This year, troops traveled from as far away as Washington, Michigan and Mississippi for the occasion, so our troop felt fortunate to have only a short drive up the peninsula. We caught our first glimpse of the bridge from 19th Avenue as it emerged from the fog. By the time we reached the Presidio, from where we were bused to the Marin vista point, the bridge's towers were visible in all their industrial orange glory. As usual, the wind was blowing off the Pacific making for a cold and blustery crossing, but looking straight up at those towers I experienced their vastness and height in a way I never fully appreciated while cruising across in a car.

The day also included picnicking at Crissy field while entertained by music and booths to explore, and the trading of "swaps" (Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere), a girl scout tradition where troops make a small keepsake to trade with other troops. To finish the day, we joined hands crossing our right arms over our left arms to form the largest Girl Scout friendship circle I have ever been a part of (estimated at 3000 participants), and ended with the traditional Girl Scout hand squeeze and twisting roll out of the circle.

My co-leaders and I remarked through out the day how the girls in our troop have grown and matured. They were confident navigating in the crowd and tireless on the 4 mile walk, chatting sociably. There was absolutely no whining, even when the bus wait was long and lunch was delayed!

I felt very small crossing that majestic bridge with its expansive views of the Bay, San Francisco, and the Pacific, but at the same time, in the presence of all those Girl Scouts, I felt part of something very big, a world wide organization promoting girls serving, learning, and leading.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by PR, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 17, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Your image of three thousand scouts holding hands in a circle moved me to tears. Thank you, Sally!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 17, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Thanks, PR, for reading and commenting. Yes, looking out at 3000 girls smiling was unforgettable!

Posted by Debbie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 17, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Your words create a beautiful image of this excursion and experience for all of those girls. What a day!

Posted by LJ, a resident of another community,
on May 18, 2014 at 6:20 am

Powerful! And funny ("no whining"). And amazing! I remember "flying up." This Bridging will stick with them!

Posted by MidtownMom, a resident of Midtown,
on May 18, 2014 at 10:03 am

This is a fantastic event .. we did this a few years ago and the girls still have so many fond memories (and yes, they want to go back for the next bridging)

I would recommend all the troops who are bridging from Junior to Cadette to participate in this event ( the girls need to be at least 10 yrs old, any younger - they would probably get overwhelmed with the walking /crowd )

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 18, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Hi Debbie,
It was a day they will always remember!

Hi LJ,
The absence of whining made the day super easy for us.

Thanks, MidtownMom, for reading and commenting. Glad to hear your troop enjoyed it, too. I agree, any younger than 10 would probably lead to lots of whining!

Posted by Laura L, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on May 18, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Thanks for the beautiful words Sally. I too enjoyed walking across the Golden Gate, and loved being part of this very special day. I found myself with a few tears as I walked behind my own daughter, realizing how "big" she was and thankful I could experience this with her, two amazing leaders and 6000 other Girl Scouts.

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 18, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Hi Laura L.,
I'm so glad we shared this memorable day celebrating our girls' transition to the next level of scouting. I look forward to many fun times ahead!

Posted by Retired Leader, a resident of Esther Clark Park,
on May 22, 2014 at 1:40 pm

My troop did this in 1998 & loved it. Walking across the bridge was amazing. The logistics were a bit more challenging, but we made it work. I still have a picture of the girls from that day.

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 22, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Hi Retired Leader,
Other than waiting in line for about 45 min at the Presidio for bus transport to the far side of the bridge, the event is logistically really easy now, they definitely have the process down after 30 years! There is a lot of construction going on near the bridge, too, but they got us around it all safely. I will treasure my picture of our troop, too!

Posted by Lauras Mom, a resident of Gunn High School,
on May 22, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Lauras Mom is a registered user.

It's so nice to see this tradition continue!

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