By Tara Rappleye, Program Director
I have few memories of being a Brownie in Troop #14 of the former Irish Hill Council in Michigan. I remember riding horses at a nearby camp. I also recall one meeting where we practiced selling cookies over the phone with a plastic, toy phone. My most distinct memory of Girl Scouts though was my Bridging ceremony.
Our ceremony was for all the troops that were associated with the Catholic school I attended. The Daisies were the first to Bridge from one level to the next. I vaguely recall being on stage and reading something about being a Brownie as part of the “Pass It On” section. I do remember being excited for the Daisies I knew who were Bridging to Brownies. Next, it was Troop #14’s turn to Bridge from Brownies to Juniors.
It sounds crazy, but I can recollect the exact moment I walked over the bridge and became a Junior Girl Scout. I was extremely nervous to be up onstage, even as an 8 year old I had a fear of tripping as I walked across the bridge. When I walked across the bridge I was a ball of nervous, but the minute I crossed I smiled and felt nothing but joy. I was looking forward to the new adventures as a Girl Scout Junior. I was also proud of how I’d grown and everything I’d learned in those two years. I don’t recall the rest of the ceremony much, I do recall running around with my troop that evening, laughing, having fun, and celebrating our accomplishments.
The summer after I bridged from a Brownie to a Junior, I moved schools and wasn’t able to connect with a new troop. Even though my time in Girl Scouts was short, it was an impactful time, especially the Bridging ceremony. Only a year ago I walked across the stage and received my college degree. I can remember a lot about that day, but not the exact moment I was handed my diploma. However, I can recall the exact moment I Bridged from a Girl Scout Brownie to a Girl Scout Junior and the feeling of accomplishment that came along with it.
Bridging is a defining moment for a Girl Scout. It celebrates over a year of Friday evenings spent as a troop working on badges, chilly Saturday mornings selling cookies, trips to camp, adventures as a troop, and many other incredible experiences. It gives girls the chance to reflect and share their knowledge and also get ready for the upcoming year of adventures, Badges, challenges, learning, and fun.
Pinterest is full of wonderful ideas to help you plan a beautiful Bridging reception, but remember that the core of the tradition, is the ceremony; the passing on of knowledge and looking forward to the future. Here are some great way you can make your troop’s Bridging ceremony something they remember years from now.
Make New Friends Scavenger Hunt
A great way to meet girls from other troops at multi-level Bridging Ceremonies. Here is the Make New Friends Scavenger Hunt.
Put all the photos you took to good use. Make a slideshow and share it at the reception. Girls and parents will be able to look back at the memories your troop has made over the past year.
Fill out the attached achievement card for each Girl Scout in your troop. Plan a special moment in your ceremony to share an achievement card for each girl.
Web of Affirmations
Grab a ball of yarn, it’s time to share words of affirmation. One girl will start with the ball of yarn and toss it to another troop member, while holding onto the end of the yarn. When the girl tosses the yarn to her troop member she will affirm something the other girl is good at. The yarn will continue to get passed around until there is a web of affirmations.
Goal Time Capsule
Time to look forward. Have your troop look at level they are Bridging too. Tell your girls to write down 3 goals, they can be things they want to get better at or Badges they want to earn. Let the girls know you will work towards these goals as a troop and every few months you will revisit their goals to make sure they are on track to reaching their goals. Keep their goals, so when they complete the next Girl Scout level, they can look back at their achievements.