Bridging from Brownies to Juniors is an Exciting Time for Girl Scouts!
After two years of being a Brownie Girl Scout, the time has come to fly up in their very own Brownie to Junior Girl Scout Bridging ceremony. Only two years earlier, your girls bridged from Daisies to Brownies. Because they were so little, your co-leader and you had to do most of the work. Now that your troop is older, and they should have a more active role in planning their moving up ceremony.
The Brownie to Junior bridging ceremony is a Girl Scout milestone. Because it is so important, as the leader, you need to make sure that parents can attend. At least six to eight weeks before the ceremony, send an email out to parents knowing the date, time and location. This needs to be done because many parents work full time, and they need to clear their work calendars.
Another reason for the early notice is give parents time to buy their daughter’s new Girl Scout uniform. Many troops will be bridging, and the local council stores will have a run on vests and sashes. Let your girls get first dibs on the merchandise in stock!
If parents do not want to go to the local Girl Scout Council store, they can always order their daughter's Girl Scout uniform online.
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Before the uniforms are ordered, talk to the girls about vests versus sashes. Sashes fit fewer patches, so if you are a big patch earning troop, vests may be the way to go. If the girls insist on a sash, then have them order the extra large one so more will fit.
A third reason to contact parents in advance is to see if any of the girls are not continuing with scouting. There is natural attrition in any troop due to waning interest, an impending move, or a conflict with another activity. You will want to know this in advance, as the last troop meeting or two will be devoted to planning the Brownie to Junior bridging ceremony, and maybe the girl will not want to attend. You also want to know if a girl is continuing because you need to buy bridging patches and membership pins. You do not want to buy any unnecessary items.
Photo by Hannah Gold
If you are planning on having your Brownie to Junior bridging ceremony at a different location than your regular troop meeting, you will need to get a field trip approval number from your Service Unit contact. You will also have to have parents sign field trip permission slips, even if they are bringing their daughter to the bridging location! Be sure to give your contact a minimum of two weeks notice before your trip.
Advanced notice is also necessary to get your refreshment list in order. In an email, advise the parents that they will be getting a list based on suggestions from their daughters from your next meeting. Keep it simple-plates, utensils, drinks, and finger foods are just enough.
Do you need a bridge for this Girl Scout ceremony? While it would be fun to actually have your troop walk across a bridge, if there are none nearby or getting to it will be more of a hassle than it is worth, don’t stress over it. You can make your own “bridge” out of any materials you want. It can be a walkway like a bride going down the aisle, or an actual wooden bridge you make from palates.
Things to Do Before the Brownie to Junior Girl Scout Bridging Ceremony
Your Brownie troop should actively participate in creating their ceremony. At your meeting one month prior to flying up, have the girls make invitations for their parents. This is an opportune time to give a mini-lesson on the proper parts of an invitation. If a girl needs to make two because her parents are divorced, give her the time to do so.
Ask them what treats they want to have served as refreshments and include that in an updated email to the parents.
Photo by Hannah Gold
For the next part of the meeting, have the girls write about one special memory they have from their two years as Brownies. They will share this as part of the bridging ceremony. Make sure each girl has her name on the paper and she can easily read what she has written. It should be no more than four or five sentences. Collect these, as they will be used for part of the flying up ceremony.
On large 9 x 12 pieces of white construction paper, write each letter in the word JUNIORS in green bubble letters. Hand out to each girl to decorate the inside. If you have more than seven girls in your troop, make designs to go before and after the word, as each girl needs her own paper.. For example, you can make:
- Exclamation points
- Smiley faces
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When they are done coloring them in, tape or glue what they wrote to the letter they colored. That is the order they will cross over the bridge. Your co-leader or you should keep these and bring them to the ceremony. You might want to practice how this will be done at the end of this meeting or at the next meeting.
Make sure that you send an email the week of the ceremony to make sure that all of the girls have their Junior vests or sashes with their name on the label. If you create a ceremony similar to this one, then you will need them.
The Brownie to Junior Girl Scout Bridging Ceremony
Here is how my co-leader and I did our ceremony.
We held the ceremony at my house after school during our regular meeting time, as the art room where we have our meetings was not big enough. I had the parents bring their refreshments and paper goods the day before so I could set up ahead of time and be ready when they all arrived the next day. I also asked the parents to give me their daughter’s Junior sash or vest so I could put them in order of how they were going to be given out. Names were written in Sharpie on the tag.
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On the day of the ceremony, once the parents were settled in, we did the flag ceremony, Girl Scout Law and Girl Scout Promise. My co-leader and I each gave a short speech welcoming the parents and sharing a few special memories of the past two years.
We then called the girls in order to have them cross the bridge. Each one crossed over, gave us their Brownie vest and we put on their sash and pinned their wings and membership pin. They read what was on the back of their letter and then stood in place.
When all the girls were done reading, my co-leader and I read this poem from the Girl Scout website:
Two years have passed since you first stood
By the magic pool and learned you could
Do lots of things in a Girl Scout way
And truly live by the words you say.
Five Girl Scout Worlds have become yours
Well-Being, People, Out-of Doors
The worlds of Today, Tomorrow, and the Arts
Have broadened your sights and brought new starts.
In commitment to promises and showing your respect
Satisfaction from working together is what you expect.
So Brownie Girl Scouts fly on and find
That Junior Girl Scouts are true and kind.
Now we give you Brownie wings,
That you may fly to bigger things!
The girls then “flew away” around my backyard and then we had refreshments.
As a small gift to our girls, my co-leader and I gave each a large movie sized box of Junior Mints wrapped in green tissue paper.
This is just one example of how to have a Brownie to Junior Girl Scout Bridging ceremony. Be creative, talk to your girls and get them involved in all of the planning.