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English Girl Guides meet Sonoma counterparts

Friday, November 2nd, 2012 | Posted by

Girl Guides from England couldn’t resist the colorful gumball machine at a Sonoma Plaza shop. (Dianne Reber Hart)

Sonoma Valley Girl Scout Sarah Hinchman played hooky from school for a few hours on Friday, her Sweet 16th. It wasn’t for her birthday, though. Hinchman had some international business pending.

She was among those hosting a group of Girl Guides from the United Kingdom visiting Sonoma Plaza for the morning. The Guides — counterparts to American Girl Scouts — were on their final day of a whirlwind week-long tour of the North Bay.

Meeting the 31 teen girls and their nine chaperones from Hampshire, on the southern coast of England, put the worldwide Girl Scout and Girl Guide movement into perspective for Hinchman.

Girl Guides taste sourdough bread at the Basque Boulangerie. (Dianne Reber Hart)

“It made me more happy to be a Girl Scout,” she said. “It showed me how special it is.”

Sonoma County Girl Scout alumni and volunteers arranged the trip after traveling to England two years ago to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Girl Guide movement. In return, the British group traveled to the North Bay to mark the centennial of the Girl Scout program in the United States.

“They’re just absorbing everything,” said longtime Girl Scout volunteer Carol Short, who spent the week leading visits to San Francisco, Point Reyes National Seashore, Armstrong Grove, Safari West and Sonoma.

The group stayed at a Girl Scout resident camp in Marin and trekked for an overnighter at a Santa Rosa horse ranch complete with an all-American barbecue and square dancing.

Girl Guides sample cheese at the Sonoma Cheese Factory. (Dianne Reber Hart)

“It’s been really breathtaking,” said 14-year-old Girl Guide Anna Golding.

“It’s once-in-a-lifetime,” added Josie Ashdown, 15.

Their friend, 15-year-old Anna Haines, was taken not only with the diverse beauty of the region and the friendliness of the American people, but with the commonality she has found meeting local Girl Scouts.

“One of the most bizarre things is meeting people from other parts of the world and you share things that are the similar, even though you live thousands of miles away,” she said.

— Dianne Reber Hart

  • http://www.SonomaGirlScouts.com Sonoma Girl Scouts

    It was such a wonderful expereince for the girls to meet one another – memories that will last a lifetime. Something like this really shows our girls how BIG the Girl Scout movement is in creating girls linked around the world who share common interests and passions. We have a Sonoma older girl troop who are now planning their trip abroad for the summer of 2014 and hope to visit these Girl Guides along the way. Thank you PD for sharing our LOCAL news.

  • Tali Mallory

    Love the pictures of these girls trying out some of what Sonoma has to offer! Also interesting to know what brought the girls to Sonoma out of all of the places to visit in the United States.

  • Josie Ashdown

    It was a great experience!

  • Randi Steele

    What a delightful group of young ladies and adults I was privileged to spend this past week with! Seeing some of the sights around our area and walking across the Golden Gate Bridge with them, really let me see them in a fresh light. It was such fun to reconnect with some I had met in 2010 at their 100th, and make some new friends as well. I miss them already!!
    Thank you PD for sharing the fact that even though we live on a large world, we share common passions and interests with others. Girl Scouts and Girl Guides will continue to work together to create a better world.

  • Tia Wilde

    i loved what san Fransisco had to offer and it was great fun helping randi and carren in the kitchen. i just wish we had more time !! xx

  • Becky and Geoff Lawton

    We had a fantastic welcome from the Girl Scouts and the scenery was truly wonderful. Thank you to the team for making our trip in the San Francisco area so great. We have many happy memories to draw upon and will remember the golden colours of Autumn with a glow of happiness and a smile on our faces. .

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Dianne Reber Hart is our Sonoma correspondent.

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