Bridging is an important transition in a Girl Scout’s life. It’s a defining moment when a Girl Scout becomes aware of her achievements and is ready for new adventures and responsibilities. Celebrating this change should be fun, personalized, and memorable for everyone involved. And most of all, it should be designed by the girls in true partnership with adults.
Most Girl Scouts choose to earn the bridging award for their level. Earning the award offers a chance to look back on what they’ve accomplished while looking to the future. Each level of Girl Scouting has its own unique bridging award patch.
Bridging ceremonies often utilize a bridge as girls take literal steps toward the future. For Girl Scouts, the act of crossing the bridge is both a physical and symbolic step.
Bridging ceremonies can:
- Include troops, groups, or individuals
- Be combined with other activities such as service unit celebrations or camp
- Provide a great way to reach out to individual Girl Scouts or troops from other levels
- Be a great time to present certificates (Check with your council shop or go online at girlscoutshop.com)
There are six levels of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience:
Daisy Girl Scout (grades K–1)
Brownie Girl Scout (grades 2–3)
Junior Girl Scout (grades 4–5)
Cadette Girl Scout (grades 6–8)
Senior Girl Scout (grades 9–10)
Ambassador Girl Scout (grades 11–12)
Five Opportunities to Bridge:
- Daisy to Brownie
- Brownie to Junior
- Junior to Cadette
- Cadette to Senior
- Senior to Ambassador
- Ambassador to Adult
Larger bridging ceremonies can be very moving and powerful. Pre-planning, communication, and organization are the keys to a successful event. Make sure to include a flag ceremony, the Girl Scout Promise, and some classic Girl Scout songs.
When you plan an event for a large group you need to embrace the Girl Scout motto: “Be prepared!” Communicate with troop co-leaders ahead of time to make sure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities.
Who will you invite/where will you hold the ceremony? Expect that each girl will invite three guests. Make sure that your event will be held in a space large enough to fit everyone and is accessible to those of all abilities. Reserve a space if necessary. If you choose an outdoor site consider setting a rain date or make sure there is a safe space indoors to hold the ceremony.
How will you invite attendees? Will you use flyers and email, or mail invitations to each girl? Talk with troop co-leaders and discuss the best way to reach everyone. Combining methods is always a good idea to ensure that everyone gets the message.
When will you hand out certificates? To save time, you might choose to have each troop hand out certificates separately after the bridging ceremony.
How will you handle handing out special awards? You may want to save some time after the bridging ceremony to pay special attention to girls who have earned special awards such as leadership awards.
What about uniforms? Can the entire group organize changing uniforms from one level to the next at the event, or should bridging girls show up wearing their just their new uniform?
Don’t forget to assign kapers! Decide who will be in charge of tasks such as setting up and tearing down, or organizing food and music.
Other things to consider:
- Assign an event leader/emcee (this is a great task for older Girl Scouts).
- Make programs or a slide show so attendees know the order of events.
- Think about the availability/need for electricity.
- Coordinate food collection and set up (if any).
- Coordinate a photo opp. Lots of people will want to take pictures or video. Try to keep this from detracting from the ceremony by making sure people can get close enough for photos/video, or by organizing a photo opp after each bridging session and letting the audience know ahead of time.