How to Create Your Own Girl Scout Junior to Cadette Bridging Ceremony
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Time sure does fly. It seems like yesterday that my little band of kindergarten Daisy Girl Scouts needed so much help that I needed two or three volunteers for our meetings to run smoothly. Now my girls are fifth graders, on the cusp of young womanhood. They require little assistance with physical tasks, but do need to steered on the right course because they get so chatty and go off topic.
Photo from Pixabay
In May, my Girl Scout troop will be eligible to climb to Cadettes, the next level of Girl Scouts. I already know that some will not return, while others want to remain. Regardless of who stays and who decides to leave, we will be having a bridging ceremony in my back yard, much like we did two years ago when we bridged from Brownies to Juniors.
For those who remain, they will cross the bridge; those who are leaving will also celebrate their years in scouting with the troop.
One Troop’s Bridging Ceremony
Why Do So Many Girls Drop Out of Girl Scouts at the Junior Level?
Since my troop was founded in 2008, I have had my numbers change with every year. I started out with six girls, climbed to twelve the next year, and then had the next two years see my numbers vary because I had two girls who would join, quit and then come back again.
I was down to nine girls this fall, and then I had two more girls join my ranks, making my troop a band of eleven. We meet after school every other Friday, an incredibly challenging time now that they are older. My girls love the social and community service aspect of scouts, but they also enjoy the down time to just hang out and spend time together.
Fifth grade, the last year of Juniors, seems to be the breaking point for so many troops. They disband and go their separate ways.
One of the main reasons that girls quit scouting is that they are involved in so many other activities. Gone are the days when kids played a sport for fun. Now there is competitive or travel soccer, cheerleading, softball. Kids practice three times a week and then have games on the weekend. Even dance has now gone ultra competitive, with girls taking classes twenty or more hours a week.
When girls enter sixth grade, which is middle school, the homework load increases significantly. More time needs to be devoted to studies, so a troop that meets at night is impinging on study time.
Some girls become bored with scout if leaders do not change up what they are doing with their girls. Arts and crafts and a field trip to the police station are fine for Daisies and Brownies, but tweens need and require more. Trips to the water park or camping is more fun that a picnic in the park or a hike.
And for some girls, there is the “cool” factor that forces them to leave. Girl Scouts is not viewed as a popular activity in some areas, and peer pressure plays a part in how many girls stay or leave. As one of my daughter’s doctors once said, “Middle school is the armpit of adolescence.” Having already lived through it once with my older daughter, I know for a fact he is correct. Middle school girls can be very mean.
Climbing to Cadettes Requirements
There is special Leadership in Action Award Juniors can earn before becoming a Cadette. The Girl Scouts of America website have them listed here.
Another Bridging Ceremony
Girl Scout Junior to Cadette Resources for Leaders
A Third Way to Bridge
Time to Party
Once the ceremony is over, it is time to celebrate! As a leader who has already planned two bridging ceremonies, here is some advice to make it easier on you.
First, delegate who is bringing what item! Send out a mass email to your parents and have them “Reply all” so no items are duplicated. I am always the paper goods person, as being a leader is a wonderful, yet time consuming job. Plus, the ceremony is held at my house, and that means tidying up before and cleaning up after.
Parents can drop off things the day before the party so you can set it all up and have everything ready. I had the water bottles sent the day before so I could have them in the cooler on ice before everyone arrived.
Keep it simple! This is a celebration for fifth grade girls, not an elegant sit down dinner. Keep it festive, fun and easy on yourself.
Do not make the celebration any longer than your regular meeting. Otherwise people may not leave your home!
Some fun things to brighten up your ceremony:
Rainbow Wishes Dessert Plates (8) from Amazon