OAKLAND -- Girl Scouts from Troop 32907, which includes Montclair, Glenview and Crocker Highlands, sang their hearts out at the holiday caroling on Lake Merritt.

" 'Tis the season to be jolly," laughed 11-year-old Kit Conheim, as she sipped a cup of hot cider Dec. 14. "I like hanging out and sharing the Christmas spirit with my friends."

About a dozen young Scouts and their leaders boarded the festive "water sleigh," which was draped with multicolored Christmas lights -- and a plastic tarp to keep out the rain and the evening chill.

The "captain," who was decked out as Santa Claus, handed out candy canes and invited everyone to grab a songbook. Then the merry band of sailors launched into a rousing rendition of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus."

"It doesn't matter if you're a good singer or not; it's just really fun," said 11-year-old Olivia Wadsworth, whose mother Kate is one of the troop leaders.

The water sleigh left the boathouse in Lakeside Park and glided slowly through the water, past the 18th Street fountain and the holiday cove with its cheery Christmas tree.

The sparkle from the necklace of lights that encircles Lake Merritt enhanced the holiday mood.

The carolers got through a lot of material during the 45-minute ride around the lake, and everyone had a favorite that they wanted to sing -- from the lighthearted "Frosty the Snowman" to the more traditional "We Three Kings."

As the water sleigh headed back to the dock, the captain told everyone to stay in their seats until the boat stopped, "but keep singing."


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After everyone was safely on dry land, the Scouts posed for a group picture and were awarded a caroling badge.

"We have badges for everything," said leader Kate Wadsworth.

Isabella Walters, 11, said this was her first time caroling on Lake Merritt, although she sings carols at her church every year.

"This is a really fun way to get together and enjoy the Christmas weather," Walters said.

"Holiday Caroling on Lake Merritt" is a program of the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department. The holiday caroling event is fully booked for the season.

However, other boat rides are available. Go to www.sailoakland.com, or call 510-238-2196.