It is that time of year when leaders are planning their Girl Scout bridging ceremonies. While some leaders like to wait until the fall to bridge to see exactly who is returning and how many uniforms and pins to buy (if your troop pays for this expense), others like to bridge in the spring. Many Service Units have camp and other summer activities and they use the girls’ new level, not the one they are technically in until the old registration expires on September 30th.
Photo from Pixabay
No matter when you bridge, many leaders like to give their troop something tangible, like a certificate. These can be placed in Girl Scout scrapbooks along with other memorabilia.
There are many free printable Girl Scout bridging certificates available for leaders to use. Just find one that you like, print it out, and bring it to your local print shop to be printed on any kind of paper you wish. Just be sure to save your receipt so you will be reimbursed.
After two years of being a Brownie Girl Scout, the time has come to fly up in their very own Brownie to Junior Girl Scout Bridging ceremony. Only two years earlier, your girls bridged from Daisies to Brownies. Because they were so little, your co-leader and you had to do most of the work. Now that your troop is older, and they should have a more active role in planning their moving up ceremony.
Photo from Pixabay
The Brownie to Junior bridging ceremony is a Girl Scout milestone. Because it is so important, as the leader, you need to make sure that parents can attend. At least six to eight weeks before the ceremony, send an email out to parents knowing the date, time and location. This needs to be done because many parents work full time, and they need to clear their work calendars.
Another reason for the early notice is give parents time to buy their daughter’s new Girl Scout uniform. Many troops will be bridging, and the local council stores will have a run on vests and sashes. Let your girls get first dibs on the merchandise in stock!
If parents do not want to go to the local Girl Scout Council store, they can always order their daughter’s Girl Scout uniform online.
Before the uniforms are ordered, talk to the girls about vests versus sashes. Sashes fit fewer patches, so if you are a big patch earning troop, vests may be the way to go. If the girls insist on a sash, then have them order the extra large one so more will fit.
A third reason to contact parents in advance is to see if any of the girls are not continuing with scouting. There is natural attrition in any troop due to waning interest, an impending move, or a conflict with another activity. You will want to know this in advance, as the last troop meeting or two will be devoted to planning the Brownie to Junior bridging ceremony, and maybe the girl will not want to attend. You also want to know if a girl is continuing because you need to buy bridging patches and membership pins. You do not want to buy any unnecessary items.
Photo by Hannah Gold
If you are planning on having your Brownie to Junior bridging ceremony at a different location than your regular troop meeting, you will need to get a field trip approval number from your Service Unit contact. You will also have to have parents sign field trip permission slips, even if they are bringing their daughter to the bridging location! Be sure to give your contact a minimum of two weeks notice before your trip.
Advanced notice is also necessary to get your refreshment list in order. In an email, advise the parents that they will be getting a list based on suggestions from their daughters from your next meeting. Keep it simple-plates, utensils, drinks, and finger foods are just enough.
Do you need a bridge for this Girl Scout ceremony? While it would be fun to actually have your troop walk across a bridge, if there are none nearby or getting to it will be more of a hassle than it is worth, don’t stress over it. You can make your own “bridge” out of any materials you want. It can be a walkway like a bride going down the aisle, or an actual wooden bridge you make from palates.
Things to Do Before the Brownie to Junior Girl Scout Bridging Ceremony
Your Brownie troop should actively participate in creating their ceremony. At your meeting one month prior to flying up, have the girls make invitations for their parents. This is an opportune time to give a mini-lesson on the proper parts of an invitation. If a girl needs to make two because her parents are divorced, give her the time to do so.
Ask them what treats they want to have served as refreshments and include that in an updated email to the parents.
Photo by Hannah Gold
For the next part of the meeting, have the girls write about one special memory they have from their two years as Brownies. They will share this as part of the bridging ceremony. Make sure each girl has her name on the paper and she can easily read what she has written. It should be no more than four or five sentences. Collect these, as they will be used for part of the flying up ceremony.
On large 9 x 12 pieces of white construction paper, write each letter in the word JUNIORS in green bubble letters. Hand out to each girl to decorate the inside. If you have more than seven girls in your troop, make designs to go before and after the word, as each girl needs her own paper.. For example, you can make:
Girls this age still play with dolls, so their doll can bridge with your daughter with a uniform of her own.
When they are done coloring them in, tape or glue what they wrote to the letter they colored. That is the order they will cross over the bridge. Your co-leader or you should keep these and bring them to the ceremony. You might want to practice how this will be done at the end of this meeting or at the next meeting.
Make sure that you send an email the week of the ceremony to make sure that all of the girls have their Junior vests or sashes with their name on the label. If you create a ceremony similar to this one, then you will need them.
The Brownie to Junior Girl Scout Bridging Ceremony
Here is how my co-leader and I did our ceremony.
We held the ceremony at my house after school during our regular meeting time, as the art room where we have our meetings was not big enough. I had the parents bring their refreshments and paper goods the day before so I could set up ahead of time and be ready when they all arrived the next day. I also asked the parents to give me their daughter’s Junior sash or vest so I could put them in order of how they were going to be given out. Names were written in Sharpie on the tag.
On the day of the ceremony, once the parents were settled in, we did the flag ceremony, Girl Scout Law and Girl Scout Promise. My co-leader and I each gave a short speech welcoming the parents and sharing a few special memories of the past two years.
We then called the girls in order to have them cross the bridge. Each one crossed over, gave us their Brownie vest and we put on their sash and pinned their wings and membership pin. They read what was on the back of their letter and then stood in place.
When all the girls were done reading, my co-leader and I read this poem from a Girl Scout website (link no longer available):
Two years have passed since you first stood By the magic pool and learned you could Do lots of things in a Girl Scout way And truly live by the words you say.
Five Girl Scout Worlds have become yours Well-Being, People, Out-of Doors The worlds of Today, Tomorrow, and the Arts Have broadened your sights and brought new starts.
In commitment to promises and showing your respect Satisfaction from working together is what you expect. So Brownie Girl Scouts fly on and find That Junior Girl Scouts are true and kind. Now we give you Brownie wings, That you may fly to bigger things!
The girls then “flew away” around my backyard and then we had refreshments.
Is your Girl Scout troop bridging this year? If the answer is yes, then now is the time to start planning the ceremony (this blog post about Girl Scout bridging has ideas for all levels of scouts.)
One thing that will really make the party special is how you decorate. The rainbow is representative of bridging, and therefor the theme of your celebration should be this very colorful one! There is no need for overkill…just pick a few select items and pair them with various solid colors.
Because this is for a Girl Scout ceremony, troop funds should pay for the decor. Leaders should not be expected to foot the bill for party decorations. You devote more than enough time and energy without having to spend your own money.
It’s that time of year when we look at our troop of girls and wonder where the time has gone. Recently, four of my girls attended an older girl led Rope Runner Derby, and watching the little Daisy Scouts running around with their toothless smiles and pigtails made the other leaders and I smile and remember when our girls were that young.
Now they are tall young women (some taller than us) who were the oldest girls to attend a Council event.
If you are a Junior troop bridging to Cadettes or aCadette troop bridging to Seniors or a Senior troop bridging to Ambassadors, then you may be considering giving your girls a gift from your co-leader and you to commemorate this occasion.
Unlike Daisy or Brownie Scouts, who will be happy with a cute little something that you found on Pinterest, your older girls will probably prefer a little something more substantial.
But substantial does not mean expensive.
As your girls have gotten older, you have also gotten busier. While there are so many adorable things you can craft and create, be honest…do you have time to make them? Stop the guilt! You already have devoted hours and hours of your time and you continue to do so if you are moving up with your girls.
Here are some adorable gift ideas for only a few dollars each. Depending on how many girls are in your troop and how many leaders are splitting the cost, the out of pocket cost to you will be minimal. And as an added bonus, you are saving time-a most precious commodity!
Here are some adorable bridging gift ideas. You can tuck something meaningful inside like a personal note to each girl.
Girl Scout bridging ceremonies are an important occasion that marks a scouting milestone. Here are ideas for leaders to use from Daisies to Cadettes.
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Why is a Bridging Ceremony Important to Girl Scouts?
Girl Scout leaders have a lot of ground to cover in the spring. Not only are their field trips to take and badges to complete, if your troop is completing the second year of their level, there is a Girl Scout bridging ceremony to plan.Ceremonies have always been an important part of the Girl Scout tradition. Just as parents take note of important educational milestones, scouting wants girls to stop, reflect, and take a look at what they have accomplished. Girl Scouts bridge every two years from Daisies to Brownies and from Brownies to Juniors. When they bridge from Juniors to Cadettes, they spend grades six through eight in that level.
Once a Cadette becomes a Senior, she is at that level for grades nine and ten. The final Girl Scout level, Ambassadors, are for grade eleven and twelve.Each change of levels is a Girl Scout milestone to be honored and noted. These celebrations are called “Bridging Ceremonies”, and they recognize the girls past accomplishments and help push her towards future goals.
There are many resources for Girl Scout ceremonies for leaders to use as they plan their troop’s bridging ceremony. You don’t have to plan it on your own!
Read the Girl Scout Bridging Requirements!
Before you bridge, be sure to check out the official Girl Scouts of the USA website and make sure you are fulfilling the requirements for your level of scouts.
I have dozens of ideas pinned from other leaders and crafty mamas. Everything from bridges, favors for the girls, food to serve and other useful resources are pinned there to guide you make your ceremony memorable.
As soon as you have the bridging date, email the parents and tell them to mark their calendars. Parents who are working full-time or want to get child care for younger siblings need advance notice. In your email, ask them to reply “Yes, I marked it down!” so you know it was read.
Daisy to Brownie Bridging Ceremony
The Daisy to Brownie bridging ceremony is the first of hopefully many bridging ceremonies in the lives of the girls in your troop. How should you go about it? Because the girls are first graders, short and sweet is the best. When my girls bridged, the entire ceremony took about ten minutes, and then we got to eat! It is a good idea to spend part of the last two meetings talking about bridging and practicing what you want the girls to do. That way they will not get stage fright or feel nervous about what is expected of them.
If you have a mixed age Daisy troop, and some of the girls are not bridging to Brownies yet, they can still be a part of the ceremony by having you and your co-leader give them their membership pin and a special first year Daisy certificate. Then you can proceed with the bridging of the rest of the troop.
Fun YouTube Bridging Videos
Watch these to get some ideas to borrow and incorporate. There are many more…just search for “Daisy to Brownie Bridging Ceremonies”.
Here is the My Troop’s Bridge from Brownies to Juniors
Brownie to Junior Bridging Ceremony
Girls who are bridging to Juniors are at the end of third grade. They are way more independent that when they were bridging to Brownies just two years earlier. Because of this, the girls should be must more involved in the planning aspects of their ceremony. They can choose songs to sing, activities to do, even help make the bridge if they want.
Junior to Cadette Bridging Ceremony
I wrote this blog post just for this special occasion. If your girls are continuing, you have reason to be proud!
Party Planning Checklist
Sent email to parents with the date
Asked each parent to bring something for the party
Had girls make invitations
Asked parent to buy vest or sash
Planned the ceremony with co-leader
Practiced with the girls
Bought or made decorations and favors
Made the bridge
Remember to breathe!
Food to Serve at Your Celebration
Once the ceremony is over, everyone is going to want to eat! Your co-leader and you should have some themed refreshments that you make as your daughter’s contribution. Your girls are old enough to either make it themselves or have you help them a little bit.
Here are some ideas for easy rainbow themed food for your festivities.
Fruit KabobsThis is so easy to make, and looks oh, so pretty!