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By Sally Torbey

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.