PLEASANTON -- As any Girl Scout worth her Science in Everyday Life badge can tell you, you only turn 100 once.
The Girl Scouts reached the century mark in March, and the Northern California chapter threw a party Saturday worthy of the occasion.
An estimated crowd of 22,000, largely made up of Girl Scouts and hailing from 38 states and six countries, convened at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton for a bash that included more than 300 activities -- from arts and crafts to zip lines and scuba instruction, to appearances by Nickelodeon and Disney Channel personalities, to a chance to visit Camp S'more and Critter Corner.
"This a great event," Pleasanton Mayor Jennifer Hosterman said after teaming with hip-hop artist Master P in a brief doubles tennis exhibition at the U.S. Tennis Association-sponsored SmashZone. The mayor and the Master squared off against Cymphonique Miller (the Master's daughter) and Max Schneider, stars of the Nick series "How to Rock."
'A great place to bond'
Hosterman informed a small crowd of mostly squealing young girls that she is the first woman to serve as mayor of Pleasanton.
"If I can become mayor of this city," she said, "you can do whatever you want to do."
A Girl Scout who grew up to have three Girl Scouts of her own, Hosterman said her fondest memories with the organization involve taking her girls camping. "At Lake Del Valle, at least twice a
Miller was in Brownies, where she met "so many friends that I still keep in contact with. It's a great place to bond and have fun."
Several young girls were invited to play against Miller and Schneider, among them 10-year-old Sydney Brewster, of Warren, N.J.
"They're both really good tennis players," said Sydney, who called playing with people she has seen on TV "like a dream. It's not even like reality."
Fast passes, long lines
Three of the most popular attractions were the rock climbing walls, the scuba pool and the zip line. In anticipation of high demand for those events, fast passes were made available online. Knowing the date and time the links for the fast passes were to go live, Pleasanton troop leader Margo Tschirky met with two other troop moms at a coffee shop just before the appointed hour. They logged onto the free wireless network, and split up assignments.
In the time it took Tschirky to order 10 fast passes for the scuba pool -- she estimates it was less than 10 seconds -- they sold out. She said a Girl Scout council member told her all fast passes sold out in less than one minute.
"I kind of have a reputation for being organized," Tschirky said as she watched her daughter Diana, 14, bob in the pool.
The wait for the zip line, which launched riders about every 45 seconds, was estimated to be an hour. Those who braved the line were treated to a performance, on a nearby stage, from Radio Disney's Caroline Sunshine.
Lots of 'smiling faces'
Soccer star Brandi Chastain, a former Girl Scout, regaled a crowd with stories of the 1999 Women's World Cup, which the U.S. won when she famously scored on a penalty kick, and how she almost undermined the team's dream with an embarrassing own-goal in the quarterfinal match.
"Carla Overbeck came up to me and said, 'Don't worry. We're going to win and you're going be a reason why,' " Chastain said. "If Carla Overbeck hadn't supported me like that, I might not be talking to you right now."
Chastain urged the Girl Scouts to support each other, and "don't be afraid to be awesome, because girls rule."
"I'm delighted how everything has gone," said Marina Park, CEO of Girl Scouts of Northern California, which spent two years planning Saturday's event. "I'm seeing smiling faces everywhere I go."
It was a day probably beyond the imagination of Juliette Gordon Low, who founded the first Girl Scout Troop, 18 members strong, in Savannah, Ga., on March 12, 1912. The Girl Scouts currently number 2.3 million in the United States.
"Well, she had really big vision," Park said. "I'm not sure she could have quite imagined something like this, but she might not be surprised that it was something that would last 100 years."
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.