Friday, April 12, 2019

What you need to know leading up to and planning for a Girl Scout Bridging Ceremony

As a Girl Scout, you’ve probably taken part in a ceremony. You might remember lighting candles or holding the flag, crossing a bridge or welcoming a new girl into your troop. Ceremonies are an integral part of the Girl Scout year, covering topics including rededication, birthdays and awards, and even bridging to the next level of Girl Scouts. 

Bridging is an important transition in a Girl Scout’s life; it honors and celebrates a girl's “graduation” from one level of Girl Scouting to the next. 
Daisies bridge to Brownies
Brownies bridge to Juniors
Juniors bridge to Cadettes
Cadettes bridge to Seniors
Seniors bridge to Ambassadors
Ambassadors bridge to Adults

This transition marks important milestones in each girl’s journey through Girl Scouting and should be celebrated by the troop, family, and close friends. Celebrating this change should be fun, personalized, and memorable for everyone involved. And most of all, it should be designed by the girls, with help from their troop volunteers.


When does a bridging ceremony happen?
Girl Scouts automatically recognizes a girl’s level in Girl Scouting based on her year in school. As soon as one school year ends and another begins, she is considered having moved to the next grade level—but when you choose to host your official troop ceremony is really up to the troop. You might decide to follow the school year calendar and host your bridging ceremony in late May or early June. You might decide to bridge during the summer, when the girls have had some time to finish up the last of the badges or journeys they started. Or, your troop might decide to wait until right when the new Girl Scout year starts (October 1st).


Talk with Girls, Make a Plan
As girls get closer to moving up to another level, tell them what steps are needed to complete bridging, discuss which activities the troop wants to participate in, and then work together to create a plan. 

Remember, a bridging ceremony is a culmination of all that your Girl Scouts have done at a level, and should represent each unique quality of your troop. Make sure girls take a leading role in planning, leading up to and running the ceremony. Just like in other Girl Scout activities, there is a natural progression in the level of participation. As girls get older, their participation should increase!


Plan the Bridging Ceremony
Typically, a Girl Scout Ceremony has three parts; an opening, a main section, and a closing. During the opening, guests are welcomed and the tone is set with an activity such as a flag ceremony or reciting the Girl Scout Promise and Law. During the main section, the ceremony is explained to the guests and run by the girls and co-leaders. During the closing, guests are thanked and the celebration ends with an activity such as a friendship circle or flag ceremony.

Most bridging ceremonies include the following:
  • A flag or opening ceremony
  • Reciting of the Girl Scout Promise
  • Reading or reciting of the Girl Scout Law
  • Crossing a bridge
  • The Girl Scout handshake
  • Presentation of certificates, patches, and other awards
  • Ending ceremony

You might also include:
  • Doing the friendship squeeze
  • Singing a Girl Scout song
  • Serving refreshments
  • Sharing favorite Girl Scout memories or pictures
  • Sharing plans for the next year
  • Something to showcase the uniqueness of your troop 

What is presented to the girls once they bridge?
Below are the insignia traditionally presented to girls as they bridge.

Daisy
Automatically Given: Membership Star with Daisy Blue Disc, Ending certificate, and Brownie Girl Scout Membership Pin
Earned: Bridge to Brownie Award

Brownie

Junior


Senior 
Automatically Given: Membership Star with Senior Red Disc 
Earned: Bridge to Ambassador Award

Ambassador

Girls may also need a new vest or sash, membership stars, and new guide books. The GSNC shop sells Bridging Kits that contain the awards and insignia each girl should receive as she crosses over to the next level in Girl Scouts. The kits are packed in a clear bag and include a certificate that can be personalized!





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