Now that you know the who, where, and when of your ceremony, you can plan the what and the how. First, consider the mood of your Bridging Ceremony. Will it be serious? Lighthearted? Reflective? You may also want to have a theme to your ceremony; for example, one group of girls in Texas chose a western theme for their Bridging Ceremony, which they titled “Boot-Scootin’ Across the Prairie.” Establishing the mood and/or theme may help guide girls as they plan the elements of your ceremony.
In this part of the ceremony, you welcome your guests, state the purpose of the ceremony, and set the mood for the occasion. There are many ways you can open your ceremony, including a Flag Ceremony, a general welcome message to the attendees, reading a poem, singing a song, or saying a prayer. Work with girls to decide what’s right for your group!
The Main Part
This portion of your bridging ceremony can be as simple or elaborate as you like—there’s no requirement regarding what you must include unless the girls are working toward the Bridging Award. The focus, especially during the main part of your ceremony, is paying tribute to the girls as they move forward and supporting each girl in her transition.
Bridging ceremonies often utilize a bridge as a prop. The act of crossing is a physical, as well as a symbolic, step into the future. You can use a real bridge in a park, check out a bridge from one of our Resource Centers, or create a symbolic bridge. Some options for creating your own bridge can be found under Tips and Resources. Also consider how the girls will bridge; if you have a large space, they may all walk over the bridge together. Or, you may choose to have each level bridge independently and acknowledge them one by one.
Consider what else would make this ceremony personal and memorable for the girls. Girls may want to exchange SWAPS, sing their favorite Girl Scout songs, or present Silly Awards. Bridging Ceremonies involving larger groups are a great opportunity for girls to put on exhibits about their troop activities, their favorite thing about being a Girl Scout at their last level, what they’re looking forward to at the next level, and/or earning the highest awards. If you’ve chosen a theme, food and games are a great way to develop that theme and bring your guests together.
Just as with the opening of your ceremony, there are many options for closing your ceremony. You may form a friendship circle, thank your guests, or sing a song, among other options. As with all parts of the ceremony, work with girls to determine what options work best for your group!