Bridging is an important transition in a Girl Scout’s life. It’s a defining moment when a girl 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.
To earn their Bridging Awards, girls should complete one activity for each of the two bridging steps:
- Pass It On! Girls look back on their experiences and share something they learned with younger Girl Scouts.
- Look Ahead! Girls meet with older Girl Scouts and learn about what exciting things are to come.
Note: While the ceremony should always focus on paying tribute to Girl Scouts as they move forward, the health and safety of all Girl Scouts and Girl Scout families remain our top priority. We ask that you take our Troop Meeting Guidelines into consideration as you plan for in-person troop activities to resume. If you feel your troop is unable to take proper safety measures at this time, you may want to consider holding a virtual ceremony.
The most important thing to remember is that this should be designed by the girls in true partnership with adults. The girls should be actively engaged in designing what their ceremony will look like, and it should reflect their personalities and interests. To help guide them, leaders may want to prompt girls with a general outline of common bridging elements. These can include:
This could be a flag ceremony and a reciting of the Girl Scout Promise. Leaders can ask the girls what they think would be a good way to welcome guests and set the tone for their ceremony.
- Presentation and Performance
A great opportunity for girls to share something they learned, a favorite Girl Scout memory from their current level, or what a select line of the Girl Scout Law means to them. It could be through song, dance, or poem they created together. Taking turns lighting candles as each girl speaks is a classic way to add a layer of formality to this ceremony.
- Bridging or Crossing
This is where girls, whether physically or symbolically, cross a bridge and are welcomed to the next Girl Scout level. Girls often walk over a bridge, under an archway, or some other creative way to show girls traveling from one side to another. A leader should greet each girl with the Girl Scout Handshake (shake with the left hand and make the Girl Scout sign with the right) once she reaches the other side.
How do the girls want to wrap-up their time in their former level? They may want to pass the squeeze around a Friendship Circle. (To make the circle COVID-friendly, have girls hold hands with members of their household and pass the squeeze with them!) If there’s something that the troop usually does to close their meetings or events, they may want to share a troop tradition with a bigger audience.
What creative snack ideas do the girls have? Can they come up with a treat that incorporates the colors of the two levels?
Tips and Ideas
- In Girl Scouts, the rainbow is a symbol of bridging. Challenge the girls to think of wearable rainbow art that they can make ahead of time and all wear during the ceremony, such as getting together to make friendship bracelets with multicolored beads or thread.
- If you have photos from events through the year (or level), consider creating a slideshow with pictures and comments from the girls.
- Mark your ceremony with a local twist by hosting it on the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park, or Sewanee Natural Bridge, or host a small, COVID-friendly ceremony with a portable bridge reserved from council. If you are hosting a virtual bridging, have girls choose a bridge for their background to walk across or have them create a bridge to cross. (They could draw a bridge on a piece of paper, put it on the ground, and walk across the bridge!)
- Share this important moment with your girls’ caregivers and other family members, and anyone else the girls wish to invite! Could be a favorite teacher, coach, or someone they volunteered with this year—and be sure to recognize these individuals at the ceremony. To keep in-person guests at a minimum, invite immediate family to join the ceremony and call, FaceTime, or Zoom others in once everyone is settled.
- Check-in with other troop leaders nearby. You might also ask your service unit if it hosts a unit-wide bridging ceremony or if there are other opportunities for your girls to connect with their Girl Scout sisters at this time of year.
- Purchase Bridging Kits for the whole troop! Kits include Drawstring Bag, Bridging Certificate, Uniform Rainbow, Membership Star and Level Disc, Fun Patch, GS Pencil, and Hand Sanitizer ($14 each while supplies last). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to order.