Ceremonies have been important in Girl Scouting since the beginning. They are used to celebrate all sorts of occasions. Below are descriptions of some typical ceremonies used in Girl Scouting as well as some resources for actual ceremonies to use. Also, GSUSA publishes an excellent book on ceremonies called Ceremonies in Girl Scouting which should be available at your local Council. You will find that the most memorable ceremonies are ones that the girls plan themselves, however.
Inherent in the Girl Scout Promise is our belief in service to our country. To that end, Flag Ceremonies are used to display our respect for that very important symbol of our nation. Often times, Flag Ceremonies are used to open a meeting or are used as part of a larger ceremony. However they are used, proper respect for our flag should always been shown. Whether you use a "fun-type" ceremony (such as Recipe for a Flag) or a more reverent one, the main criteria is that the ceremony should show this respect.
An Investiture Ceremony is held to welcome a new girl into the Girl Scouting movement. It does not matter what age level the girl is at. If she is new to Girl Scouts, she goes through an Investiture Ceremony to formally join the movement.
A Rededication Ceremony is used to reaffirm belief in the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Since the Promise and Law are the very foundation of Girl Scouts, it is very appropriate to hold this ceremony at least once a year. It can be combined with an Investiture Ceremony if there is a combination of new and continuing girls within a troop.
Sometimes a large part of our program is based around the girls earning recognitions. Presentation of these recognitions is done at a Court of Awards Ceremony. If many recognitions are earned during the year, it may prove beneficial to have Court of Awards Ceremonies several times throughout the year. Likewise, if girls are briding to a new level, receiving their recognitions in a timely manner so that they can be worn on their current uniform is also a good idea.
Whatever form of government a Junior, Cadette, or Senior troop chooses (see Troop Government), a Patrol Leader or Officer Installation can be held. This is the official time when a those individuals assume their office. The ceremony is twofold: the officer/patrol leader agreeing to fulfil the responsibilities of their positions on the one hand, and the troop agreeing to support the officers in their positions on the other hand. Patrol Leaders are presented with their Patrol Leader Cord (worn pinned at the left shoulder and circling the left arm) at this time and are told of its meaning.
A Bridging Ceremony is held any time a girl moves from one age level to the next, i.e., Daisys to Brownies, Brownies to Juniors , Juniors to Cadettes, Cadettes to Seniors, and Seniors to Adults. A Brownie Bridging Ceremony is commonly called a "Fly/Up Ceremony" because the girl is entitled to receive her Brownie Girl Scout Wings. Any girl who was previously a Brownie Girl Scout is entitled to wear her wings. The Bridging patches available at each level need not be earned in order for a girl to bridge. She bridges whether or not she has completed the requirements to earn the Bridging Patch.
February 22, the common birthday of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, is known as Thinking Day. This is a day set aside throughout the world for Scouts and Guides to remember each other. It is commonly a time to explore other cultures and talk about world friendship and peace. Since Girl Scouts and Girl Guides belong to WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts), this is also an appropriate time to present the World Association Pin to invested Girl Scouts as well as discuss its meaning.
Juliette Gordon Low, the Founder of Girl Scouts in the United States, was born on October 31, 1860. Therefore, Halloween Day is known as Founder's Day here in the U.S. Founder's Day ceremonies often include information about Juliette Low and her life or about early Girl Scouting. Contributions are often made to the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund (a fund used to spread Girl Scouting throughout the world as well as to help fund international travel for girls) as part of a Founder's Day ceremony.
A Girl Scouts' Own Ceremony is in fact just that - the girls' own ceremony. Based around a central theme, it is an inspirational and reflective ceremony that the girls plan and implement themselves. Themes may be taken from nature (water, trees, wind, etc.), different things we value (friendship, family, etc.) or even the Girl Scout Promise and Law itself. These ceremonies may be done at any time the girls would like to express their feelings. Many times, Girl Scouts' Owns are done as a closing to camp but they can be easily done at a troop meeting as well.
Candlelighting Ceremonies are very traditional in Girl Scouting. When used as part of an Investiture or Rededication Ceremony, the candles represent parts of the Promise and Law. Candlelighting Ceremonies can also be done with the candles representing other things as well. The limit is only the girls' imagination. Note: For safety reasons, this is intended for Junior age girls and up. If a ceremony of this type is desired for younger girls, adults probably would need to take a very "hands-on" approach. An alternate solution would be to use flashlights with colored tissue paper covering the lights instead of different colors of candles. This also works when the facility you are using does not allow open flames (such as many schools).
Ceremonies can be held for almost any occasion. The limits are endless. Below are some resouces for some different types of miscellaneous ceremonies.
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