Guest Author - Megan Nowak
Bridging is an important milestone in a girlís Girl Scout life. Bridging involves taking necessary steps to learn about the next level in Girl Scouts and provide an introduction to the girls coming into a new level. This is an important article on how bridging can be successful for your troop.
Girls bridge at the end of their Girl Scout level. Whether a Daisy girl is bridging to Brownies or an Ambassador is bridging to adults each level is an important one. This is a celebration about all they have done and all they will do. One of the first steps to bridging is finding out the requirements. Usually this involves learning about something from girls in the level you are bridging to and teaching something to younger girls who will one day be in the current level. The activities can range from teaching/learning an activity, song, what Journeys they did and even what field trips they took.
The next step in bridging is talking with the girls about what kind of ceremony they want to have. Do they want to do a ceremony involving an actual bridge? Do they want to make a bridge as troop? Do they want the ceremony indoors or outside? Make sure to involve the girls in the ceremony planning. Plan a day that is perfect for everyone. Will it be a potluck style event with friends and family attending, or just something for the girls to do?
After the ceremony details are planned out start figuring out if the troop has the money for the event. Does it require putting a deposit down? How far in advance does the location need to be reserved? Does the troop have a back-up idea in case of rain? Have the girls decide who will do what the day of the ceremony. Will the leader/co-leader read a special poem or story to the parents during the ceremony? Make sure everyone has practiced their parts in advance so no stumbles or forgets what they are supposed to do.
As the day of the ceremony approaches make sure everything is in place. Has the troop received confirmation on who is attending? Has all the necessary supplies been bought? If you plan on having a lunch/potluck has everyone agreed to help out? Has invitations been sent out to family and friends and RSVPís been given? Double check everything so the troop and parents/volunteers are not scrambling at the last minute to make sure everything is ready.
For the leader: a good idea of something to do is show appreciation to parents who have helped out during the year. Some great ideas are to provide a certificate of appreciation for the parents. You can also go to your local Girl Scout store and purchase some items that might possibly be on sale (t-shirts, cups, pens, etc.) to give to the parents. Another thing I also did was provide a nice presentation object for the girlsí badges and patches to be on. You can do this with ribbons, aprons, tote bags, etc. Whatever you do make sure to identify which object goes to which girl.
Now it is the day for the bridging ceremony. Set decorations up preferably before friends and family arrive. I even suggest having the parents drop their daughters off early so the girls can help in the set up process. Once parents arrive you can suggest they either mingle with the other adults there or suggest everyone grab a chair and sit down. Start the ceremony of by introducing yourself and co-leader and thanking everyone for attending. Follow the rest of the schedule that the girls planned out.
The most important thing when it comes to the bridging ceremony is to make it girl-led. The girls will feel proud of themselves when they see all the hard work they did. Another thing is to make sure that the adults who helped as get recognized for their hard work as well. And congratulations on helping these girls achieve their goal of getting to the next level in Girl Scouts!