Gool Mehta

I Learned Independence

In India Girl Scouts are known as Girl Guides (GG). When I was around 11, I joined GG and was the only one in my neighborhood. My GG meetings were held on Saturday morning. The name of my group was the King Fisher and there were 8 King Fisher girls in my group. There were 4-5 similar groups in the unit with a name of a bird.

As a young girl of 11, I was determined to attend these meetings all by myself and without the help of my parents. Therefore I learn to use public transportation to get to my GG leader’s house. I remember it was quite a long distance. First I had to walk by myself to the tram (trolley) station, ride in the tram most of the way, and then walk to my leader’s house. I left home very early in the morning to avoid the rush.

After arriving at my leader’s home, I would ring the doorbell and wake everyone up! Yes, it would be around 7 in the morning on a Saturday! After a few weeks it became a joke in the family that it must be ‘that girl’ every time they heard a bell ring on a Saturday morning!

Girl Guides taught me to be come independent. I loved those Saturday morning trips and I felt proud that I could manage the pubic transportation system better than most of my friends. At age 16 I came to the United States in a ship, as an exchange student (American Field Service – AFS program) and spent a year living with a family in El Segundo, California, finishing my high school. I believe that my Girl Guides training of being independent gave me the courage to take this journey halfway around the world and live away from my parents and siblings in a foreign country.

Today my granddaughter is a Daisy Girl Scout and her mother (my daughter) also was a Girl Scout and took part in selling Girl Scout cookies and attended Girl Scout camps.

Gool Mehta
Central New York/ Syracuse
3 years a Girl Guide in India