GIRL SCOUTS ROCK THE MALL!!!!

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Do you ever have that sensation that what you thought you were going to isn't exactly what you wound up going to?   Have you ever thought you knew what a movie was about and it wasn't?   Or gone to a restaurant only to have it wind up being nothing like what you expected?   Well, that would be ROCK THE MALL for me!  

I had heard ever since I came here about the sing-a-long on the Washington Mall.   I must have clicked into the words "sing-along,"   so, when GSUSA changed the CEO meeting to June so we could attend ROCK THE MALL, I was still sort of operating under the notion of "sing-a-long."   I have been to the Mall, which is huge, many times.   There are endless things to do on there, all of which are free.   It always involves lots and lots of walking.   No matter where you go and what you do, it involves lots of walking and some navigation.  

Since we had two busloads on the council-sponsored trip and countless other girls going with their troop leaders, I felt that going was critical.   I had reduced the amount of weight in my bag to drag along that day, knowing walking was involved.   The first clue I needed to be flexible was when the bus driver took a wrong turn, and we wound up in a very expensive neighborhood near our hotel.   Three very tight and unbelievable turns later; we got out on to the main street.   Then across town to another part of town where she was again, confused.   Soon it becomes clear that again the driver is lost.   One of the gold award recipients sitting behind me on the bus treks to the front and uses her cell phone to assist the driver in making the correct turns.   The driver wasn't gracious about it and wasn't grateful.   But this is while we had been watching her making tight turns, near misses with cars while using push to talk on her cell phone.   Scary.   We finally arrive at the breakfast, after the bus that left after us.   After breakfast, we reload on to a bus for the trek to the mall and are dropped off very close to the huge stage for ROCK THE MALL

I thought I would take a stroll; visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial since I was within half a mile of it.   I wandered through throngs of people.   Many Girl Scouts were astutely setting up camp in the shade or near the water of a fountain that wasn't being renovated, so they could play in the water and listen.   I fought my way back from the Vietnam Memorial through bunches of people, most walking or moving toward the large stage for ROCK THE MALL.   As I got within a quarter mile of the stage, I could now hear it.   Hum, not what I expected.   I had been given a program, so I sat down on a bench and thumbed through it.   Well, ROCK THE MALL is exactly that.   It is a ROCK CONCERT on the Mall with more than 95,000 Girl Scouts registered.   It is not a SING-A-LONG THE MALL, which is what was in my image of what I was going to attend.  

The closer I got, the louder it got and the more crowded it got.   It was hard as a single individual to move close to anything.   The tents for the exhibitors had huge long lines.   The line for the snack carts, so long it was unbelievable.    The area around the Washington Monument was a carpet of Girl Scouts, parents, troop leaders and siblings.   The scene was surreal there were so many people, but so was the noise level.   It took me about 30 minutes to transit the Washington Monument grounds, at no point seeing anyone I knew from Southern Alabama.   The sun was hot and there was no place to find any relief from it on the Washington Monument grounds, so I continued toward the Museum of American History, where I did finally see one person from Southern Alabama and found some much desired shade.

The point is that it wasn't at all what I had expected.   I had expected SING-A-LONG not ROCK concert.   That's not to say I didn't enjoy it.   But it wasn't what I thought.   I had some folks who had streamed it say they didn't like the message.   I'm not sure I got what the message was, but from where I sit, if the girls who attended enjoyed it and found it a valuable way to spend their cookie funds, then it was a success.

What I did see was thousands of girls having a great time.   They were eating, dancing, singing along and not noticing the 94-degree heat, with the sun beating down on them.   They were living it the moment and taking it all in.   Sometimes I think we see the wisdom in what children show us.   Relax, have a good time, live in the moment or you'll miss it.

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